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coverA few days ago, a new small press and a new Steampunk anthology took their first breaths… To help launch this new endeavor, I’ve put together a post to introduce the press and then the authors who have stories in the anthology. – Ray

 

First, a few words from the head of Witty Bard Publishing  about the company and the new anthology: 

My name is Anna Victoria Jones, I prefer to go by Victoria or V. I have been working in Marketing at a Fortune 500 company for about 3 years, prior to that I received 2 degrees in IT. I am back in college, pre-law, at the moment. I have always loved to read and write and I have stumbled into a lot of terrific indie authors over the years. I was shocked, however, that no one else that I knew had heard of them. I have also had a few friends go through a traditional publisher and they are seeing pennies of the profits and are not really seeing much in the way of promotion either. I looked around at publishing options and there really isn’t a middle ground.
I started Witty Bard Publishing, LLC (WBP) to bridge the gap between a total self-published author and a traditional large corporate publisher. I use my marketing knowledge and business skills to promote the authors that, otherwise, may go unnoticed by so many willing readers. WBP focuses on promoting and rewarding quality writing no matter the writer. The competitions we host are one way to do that very thing. My judges do not know the names of the stories or the authors while they are judging. This way there is no author bias on the part of my judges; they grade the writing on its own merits. My plans for WBP include continuing to host competitions, while also offering many other author services, including editing/proofreading, publishing, promotion, etc., more information on those services can be found on our website www.wittybardpublishing.com. My main goal is and will always be to help authors receive the notoriety they deserve.
WBPLogoI am very new to the Steampunk genre. It is something that has always interested me, but I have never become that involved with it. After I decided that I wanted to do competitions I was trying to decide where I should start and a friend suggested Steampunk. I started learning more about Steampunk and I found it super interesting. I have enjoyed reading all the amazing stories that were submitted. I am super excited to see so much interest from the Steampunk crowd! If there is enough interest so soon, I may do another Steampunk anthology with the next set of competitions.
I think that this anthology has turned out very well! I was super excited by the amount and quality of entries and all the interest within the community. There is such a huge amount of diversity between the stories and I think that everyone can find something they love in the anthology. I cannot wait to publish it!
I am always looking to meet new people and I would appreciate any suggestions for future contests. I am also accepting applications for future judging spots, feel free to contact me. 🙂
Happy Writing!
V

 I also had the opportunity to ask the other authors about their stories and writing…

 (the images below will give you an idea of where our authors hail from)authorsmap

1. Author Name – Website

Lee Parry – www.themire.co.uk

John Walton – www.facebook.com/john.walton.927543 

Seamus Sweeney – www.nthposition.com/author.php?authid=217 or scarfaceproject.blogspot.com

Ross Baxter – www.amazon.co.uk/Ross-Baxter/e/B0041DO99U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_3

Nicole Lavigne – http://www.nllavigne.wordpress.com

Liam Hogan http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk

Ray Dean www.raydean.net

 

2. The first – Your story is published in the first “Witty Bard” Publication – how excited are you to be a part of this inaugural event?

Lee: Very excited. It’s the first competition I had entered and I was thrilled to have won.

John: Very, It’s always good to get in on the ground floor then you become part of the history

Seamus:  It is an honour to be considered worthy of inclusion. It is an exciting development and I am extremely impressed with Witty Bard’s professionalism and enthusiasm.

Ross: Very excited, its always great to get a piece published and even better when its with an outfit like Witty Bard.

Nicole: Very excited. It’s a fun theme and I am looking forward to reading the other stories in the anthology. Doubly excited because this is also my first publication.

Liam: It’s always lovely to see one of my stories find a home, and being part of a “first” makes it extra special, hopefully Witty Bard can go on to many more anthologies, and I can say I was there at the start.

Ray: Love the energy of it all. Our publisher was so on the ball and things just kept rolling along. I hope to keep a strong working relationship with Witty Bard!

3. Is this your first Steampunk story?

If yes – what prompted your foray into the genre?

If no – did this story take you in a new direction within the genre?

Lee: No — I had previously self-published a novel that had significant Steampunk elements. It was more tongue-in-cheek and straight-up comedic than my novel. The novel had similar elements (as the short story’s protagonist was a supporting character in the novel)  but was far heavier and dramatic than the short story.

John: I am currently busy with a series The Voyages of the Black Thistle No1. This is a back story of one of the devices and some of the characters. Which will eventually form a companion volume. So to answer your question, not a new direction but an opportunity.

Seamus: Not really, but it is my first published one. Various threads in Irish history have acted as my inspiration. One is a chap called Henry Joy McCracken, who was one of the United Irishmen who, inspired by the French Revolution, rebelled in 1798. McCracken was a Presbyterian mill owner in Belfast. It is one of the ironies of history that the movement for Irish independence was initially led by Ulster Presbyterians, who would in later times be the bulwarks of Unionism. Reading about that period in history and subsequent events, there are many other roads that things could have gone down. There was much sympathy between Catholic communities and “dissenter” ones, well into the 19th Century we read of the communities helping each other to build churches and meeting houses. Also, as someone raised and educated in the Republic of Ireland, little of the industrial heritage of the whole Island was taught to us. I was also inspired by a book called “Jacquard’s Web” which essentially described how the loom invented by Jacquard in the early 19th century was a form of early computer. So, somewhat in the spirit of Gibson and Sterling’s “Difference Engine”, I postulate mass computational technology arising much earlier, but using spinning/weaving technology. I retain, at least in broad terms, the social structure of those industries, with cottage-based spinning giving way to industrial processes as the 19th Century continued. And also it is very much a muscle-power based industry.

I’ve written three of these “flaxpunk” stories so far, of which “An Honest Ulster Spinner” is the middle story chronologically. The first story deals with Henry Joy McCracken with various other twists. It probably has more exposition than the other two, and another speculative fiction element which I won’t give away here. In “real history” McCracken was executed  after the 1798 rebellion; that doesn’t quite happen in my timeline! The third follows Caroline, the daughter in “An Honest Ulster Spinner”, many years later. I’ve submitted both to various outlets so we’ll see what happens. They are standalone stories but with some overlap.

Ross: No. I’ve got a Steampunk Novella published with Phaze.com, available on Kindle. However, it’s Steampunk with a difference – it is erotic Steampunk written for a (very) mature audience (!)Writing erotic Steampunk pays well, but is a very narrow genre. The story in Witty Bard is more mainstream, and has allowed me to play a bit.

Nicole: It is the first Steampunk story that I have completed. I’ve read a few Steampunk stories and really enjoyed the juxtaposition of technology with history. Plus, it’s fun and the costumes look cool.

Liam: Ahem. I may have squeaked in by the narrowest of margins in definition terms. But that’s okay. I seem to have predated steam by (quite) a bit, and it’s rather less punk than others in the anthology! I tend to write all sorts of styles, depending on the seed-idea for the story – some horror, some sci-fi, some urban fantasy. And now, a little bit of Steampunk.

Ray: My first published story was Steampunk and so are a few of the other stories that are published or in the process of publication. This story is the first one that I’ve written that was set in my ‘hometown’ – The Hawaiian Kingdom/Sandwich Islands.

4. Hopefully your muse has continued to draw upon more Steampunk inspiration, are you planning to write more Steampunk stories? Short or novel length?

Lee: I am writing another short story set within the same universe for a similar competition, and I am also working on a second novel — again, set in the same universe.

John: Oh Yes – both

Seamus: I would like to explore this flaxpunk world more. I would see it developing as a series of vignettes and episodes, getting a sense of everyday lives lived in a specific world. At the start of 2014 I had notions of writing a story a month along these lines but things haven’t gone entirely to plan!

Ross:  If the right idea comes along, then yes. I find it very hard to write Steampunk, and need a great idea to help me carry it.

Nicole: I have another Steampunk short story in the works right now that will be quite different from Stolen Cargo.

Liam: Absolutely. I’m going to try my hand at a proper Steampunk short story, for Steampunk Trails – Steam punk meets the Wild West. Lets see if they like it.

cover

Ray: Have a bunch in the process of publication and I’m always working on more… both short and novel-length.

So… how do you get your copy???

1. Use any of these links to find a format to order:

2. Reply to this post and I’ll select a random participant to receive a KINDLE copy of the anthology 

– to be considered, please have your ‘comment’ completed by end of  Monday May19, 2014

 

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Writing a series is a lot of fun, but the task isn’t without its pitfalls. The most obvious is continuity. After half a dozen books, it can be hard to keep track of every character and remember exactly what they look like, how old they are, and what they like for breakfast. Good record keeping can help that, of course, but even then–how much detail do you write in a series bible? Especially about characters who initially seem relatively minor, like servants or a friend of a friend?

Furthermore, the thing about records is you have to remember to USE them. In the Gaslight Chronicles, I didn’t think I needed to check up on the coloring of Wink, one of my major characters (heroine of book 4) because I’ve always had a very clear view of her in my mind. However when I was preparing to write her story, Moonlight & Mechanicals, I read through two previous books, where she was a secondary character and found, to my chagrin, that her eyes had changed from brown in book 1 to green in book 3. Both were compatible with her darkish copper curls, so I solved the problem by giving her changeable hazel eyes, that shift tone depending on clothing. It seems to have worked–at least I haven’t had any readers or reviewers call me on it yet.

Another problem that can crop up is that as the series continues, each protagonist has to remain unique. This is also something I’ve struggled with. Having just turned in book 7 last week, I’m starting to see personality types duplicate. It was particularly awkward with book 7, because the heroine was Melody, who is Wink’s best friend, fellow adventurer and fellow engineer.  It took a fair bit of work to give Melody her own quirks, but when I really pondered it, she’s not the same person. Wink is the oldest of the Hadrian brood, Melody is the youngest MacKay. Wink lived on the street for many years, Melody has always been wealthy and loved by a large extended family. So of course those differences in background would be reflected in their personalities, even though their temperaments and careers are a lot alike. Melody’s story, which is scheduled for March, 2014, will show you a young woman who loves designing and building airships, but has a weakness for pretty gowns and sensational novels.

The trick with heroes is that even in a series, they all have to be, well, heroic. Brave. Strong. Handsome(ish), Loyal, dependable, and smart. So keeping them from being generic is a tough trick. It’s a skill I’m certainly still honing, and I’m really grateful to have an editor who will say, “He sounds an awful lot like… Make him different.” You can thank her for Connor’s playfulness, Liam’s troubled past, and one of my favorites, Sebastian, from the upcoming Ashes & Alchemy (Jan 6, 2014), whose quiet strength was a challenge to write, but well worth the effort.

Lastly, I’m going to mention time. There are series of books I remember from my childhood, where the characters never age, even though they have adventure after adventure. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys come to mind. That always bugged me. I do keep very detailed charts of when characters were born, so I know how old they are in a certain book.

In steampunk, or any alternate history, you particularly have to keep track of not only how the characters change and grow with time, but how the world around them changes, both with respect to the actual history of the time period, and to the ways in which your fictional technology will grow and change, and change society. In the first Gaslight books, the splitting point from the real world is about ten years back. Because computers were invented in the 1840s, by 1851, there are wonders the Victorians didn’t really have. By the third book, in 1859, there are more things, like telephones and even a budding LAN network, but there is also a smog problem in London so dire that everyone walks around in gas masks. (Don’t worry–Wink is working on air scrubbers!) 🙂

I don’t think the Gaslight Chronicles will run forever. But if they do, even I don’t know for sure what’s in store down the road. I do know 2 things: 1) they will never become so powerful as to overwhelm their world. Someone will rise up to put them back in their place among the rest of humanity.  and 2) Their world will be ever-changing. Just like a real one. 🙂

What do you think? Do you like series that take place in a short span of time or over years? And how long is too long? When’s it time to pack things in and create a whole new reality?

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A couple weeks ago, I got to do something cool–I went to the inaugural event of a brand new steampunk group.

In Michigan, there has long been a lot of steampunk activity in the Detroit area, and a number of people who attend the Detroit events do so from around the state and even into Ohio. There’s been some attempt made to get a group going in Grand Rapids, but until recently, the Lansing area was devoid of organized steampunks.

Not any more. Introducing, Capital Steam, which is largely, at this point, a Facebook group. Something I’ve learned about the steampunk community is that there are both formal and informal organizations. Formally, you have the smaller groups, predominantly airships, where informally, you have all the steampunk fans in the region who show up for various events. For instance, in Detroit, the Detroit Steampunk Consortium, Up in the Aether, and the Ann Arbor-based Woodruff’s Grove Steampunk Society all have pretty much overlapping members, as does Steampunk Michigan and Survivors of the Great White North. Now, many of us have also joined up with the fledgling Capital Steam. Since I live about equidistant from Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing, I have no qualms about this.

The first event came off beautifully. In the afternoon, small groups met, in garb, at various local attractions. I was at the R. E. Olds (yes, as in Oldsmobile) Museum, and both fun and education abounded. I met some new friends I can’t wait to see again, and saw some really cool old vehicles as well as other accoutrements of the era.

In the evening, we all met for a lovely dinner in the restored railroad dining car at Clara’s Lansing Station. A few of the Detroiters showed up to lend their support, and a number of totally new recruits arrived as well to start things off right. There was good food, excellent company, wonderful clothing, a fair bit of booze and enormous amounts of laughter. Following dinner, some of the crew retired to a local coffee house/pub to end the evening.

The next event, scheduled for October, is tea at a Lansing mansion, the Turner-Dodge house. I’m looking forward to this eagerly, and already planning my wardrobe.

It was just about a year ago that I discovered southern Michigan had an active steampunk community and went to my first event. It’s been a wonderful, busy, crazy 12 months. A meme I’ve seen on social media says “Happiness is finding other people who are the same kind of crazy as you.” Yeah, that applies to my experience with the steampunk community over the past year.  Can’t wait for year #2.

In other news, I will be appearing at PandoraCon in Cincinnati, Oct. 9-11. If you’re in the area, come look me up! I’ve also been approved for a steampunk panel at the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans next May, and will be one of the hostesses for the steampunk tea. Finally, my January Gaslight Chronicles novella, Ashes & Alchemy is up for pre-order on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Drumroll, please…

Here is the cover for Moonlight and Mechanicals, a Gaslight Chronicles novel, coming October 22 from Carina Press.

Image

Now those readers familiar with the Gaslight Chronicles might wonder why Wink, who hates corsets with a passion, is not only wearing one of the infernal devices, but isn’t wearing anything else over it. While a lady who works with machines for a living might be seen in coveralls, she’s still too much of a lady to ever appear in public in her undergarments.

This, I think illustrates one of the problems with the label steampunk. In an alternate history world, there’s always the question of just HOW alternate everything is. In the Gaslight Chronicles, technology and certain social mores are more advanced than they really were in the 1850s, but fashion and most of society is fairly authentic. However, I believe for marketing purposes, the publisher has decided to use a more contemporary steampunk vision on the recent covers. I’m truly curious to see if this works. So any thoughts on this from the readership? Do you like to see your steampunk characters in Victorian ruffles, or modern daring? Something in between? I’d love to know how people feel about this.

In other news, I’ve sent off the manuscript for the fifth Gaslight story, Cards and Caravans which is scheduled for next March. Now I have to tear my brain out of this steampunk world and into another, to finish a partial manuscript for my agent. It’s always interesting and sometimes awkward to switch gears (pun intended) and remember what version of reality you’re righting. This new project is later than the Gaslight books, although so far the rules of the reality are pretty similar. With everything you tweak in a world, you have to think about what has changed in technology, and how that might have changed the people in the world. It’s a new challenge, and I think those are always exciting. So onward and upward…

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Having spent all day today (Tuesday) working on the final edits for Moonlight & Mechanicals, coming in October of this year, I’m definitely in a steampunk state of mind. Earlier this week I drafted proposals for two new steampunk romance novels, so I’m on a roll, which feels awfully darned good!

I’m also excited to be attending and speaking at the World Steam Expo in Dearborn, Michigan this weekend, and have been mulling over my costume options for days. (okay, maybe weeks–I love playing dress-up!) There are some wonderful main author guests, including Gail Carriger, but I’m delighted to be part of a local author panel on Monday, with the fabulous Seleste DeLaney, Steven Harper, and David Erik Nelson. Hopefully we can show the world that southern Michigan is a force to be reckoned with in the steampunk world. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll think about dropping by and saying hello. I hope to have a full report from the Con for my next blog.

The icing on my steam-covered cake, however, is the upcoming release of Book 3 of my Gaslight Chronicles series, Kilts & Kraken from Carina Press. The book releases on Monday, June 4, but you can preorder it now at Carina, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. It’s also available as part of Carina’s anniversary collection: Editor’s Choice: Volume I.

Here’s the blurb, for your enjoyment, and a tiny little excerpt to whet your appetite. (Calamari, anyone?)

Kilts & Kraken

by Cindy Spencer Pape

Blurb: Magnus, Baron Findlay, longs to bring the wonders of the steam age to his remote island home, but his hands are full fighting the vicious kraken ravaging the coast. When he’s swept to sea during battle and washes up on the shore of an isle in the Hebrides, he is near death.

 Struggling to establish herself as one of the first female physicians in Edinburgh, Dr. Geneva MacKay is annoyed when The Order of the Round Table sends her north to care for an injured highlander. To heal him, Geneva escorts the handsome warrior home, just in time to defend the villagers from another onslaught.

As the attacks escalate and they work together to fight off the threat, neither Geneva nor Magnus can resist the overwhelming attraction between them. But as their relationship deepens, a new threat arises – from within the village itself…

(PG excerpt: book is hard R)

The darkness tried to drag Magnus back into its depths and he had little will to fight. It was comforting, this darkness, warm and free of pain. You’ve struggled enough, it seemed to whisper, let go.

He would have, but for another voice, one not as subtle but far more sweet. “Come now, sir. Open your eyes for me.”

Magnus tried. The rich, feminine voice held the soft burr of a lowlander, with educated overtones. How had such a one come to his island? How had he not known? He was laird of Torkholm, and all who came here had to be approved by him.

“Who are you, sir? Won’t you at least wake and tell me your name?” Soft, cool fingers stroked Magnus’s forehead.

He moved his lips to answer the lass. From the silkiness of her touch and the sweet scent of her leaning over him, he might have thought her an angel, but he knew better. Dead in battle or not, he’d have never ended up in Heaven. A valkyrie, perhaps? The Valhalla of his Norse ancestors was a far more likely fate for him than the vicar’s pearly gates.

“His heart rate and breathing are weaker,” the sweet voice said. “I’m worried, Alice. He didn’t wake at all last night. Though his wounds haven’t festered, he seems to be losing strength.”

“He’s in God’s hands,” said another female voice, a little older, a little deeper, and oddly familiar. A door opened and closed, but he still felt the touch of strong, feminine hands, the fingers laced with his own.

At long last Magnus was able to unglue the lashes on one eyelid. The light in the room blinded him for a moment, but his vision adjusted and soon he was able to see. A woman sat by his bedside, her flowing hair the color of his favorite roan stallion. Her fingers tightened on his as she realized he’d woken. “T-Torkholm,” he gasped between lips as cracked as a mud path on a hot day.

The lass—pretty in a strong, country sort of way—pressed him down when he tried to sit. “Your hip is injured. Don’t move.” With her other hand, she held a water-filled sponge to his lips. “Only a little to start with.”

The cool liquid felt wonderful on his parched lips, but a single sip was all he could manage. He blinked again, this time both eyes focusing on her. “Magnus Findlay.” His name seemed to be dragged from his lips. Pain seared through him from more places than he could name, and he’d never once felt this weak. What was wrong? Why hadn’t the island healed him, as it always did?

He blinked again and the answer swam into focus, for a moment at least. This was a strange room—one he’d never seen before. Magnus sagged back against the woman’s arm, and let her ease him down to the pillows. The darkness began to close in again. One thought registered, ringing through his brain.

He wasn’t on Torkholm. He was going to die.

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It’s Book Monday. For those of you new to the blog, Book Monday is an occasional feature where I talk about books I really love that I think you’d enjoy as well.

The Girl in The Steel Corset
by Kady Cross
Releases May 24th 2011 from Harlequin Teen  (ARC provided by Harlequin Teen)

The Girl in the Steel Corset is steampunk YA by debut YA author Kady Cross (who’s written historical romance for adults under the name Kate Smith)

I love this book.  I love this book so much it’s hard to come up with something beyond hot damn, this book kicks ass.

Which it does. 

Why do I love this book so much?

Let’s start with the cover.  Can I tell you how much I love this new cover trend with the girls in amazing dresses.  I want that dress.

One of my favorite things about this book is how there’s a collage of cogs and gears on every chapter page.  It’s such a neat detail that adds to the ambiance
of the book.

The gadgets and tech are seamlessly woven into the worldbuilding (as it should be).  The story is fun, fast-paced, and original, yet pulls from classics.  I love that we have the “Jekyll and Hyde” mythos with a female protag.  Findlay Jane is a badass, and I do love me a strong, unusual heroine.

But this is far, far more than a classic retelling.  That’s just one thread that makes up the rich tapestry that is this story. 

Findlay Jane is only one of the teen characters in this story and most of them have unusual abilities, like X-Men, only set in an alternate version of Victorian London with automatons and my personal favorite, the aethernet.  There’s Griffin, the handsome leader, and patron of the bunch.  Sam, his best friend, and Emily, the inventor of the bunch who makes much of the gadgets–including Findlay’s steel corset. Together the four of them must work to catch the Machinist, who’s seeks to use automatons to further his dastardly scheme–with a little help from an American Cowboy named Jasper, and Jack Dandy, lord of the underground.

Aside from the mystery and adventure, there’s a bit of romance as Findlay is torn between Griff and Jack.   You want to root for Griff, because he is this kind and loyal lord who tries to control his own abilities, protect his friends, and do due diligence to his father’s legacy.  But at the same time Jack is so tempting, because who doesn’t love a rogue with a sensitive side?

All and all, this was a great read full of twists and turns.  Kady Cross has her Steampunk worldbuilding spot on.  Though this is YA, I think adults will enjoy this just as much and it will appeal both to Steampunk fans and those new to the genre.

So, when do I get to read the next one?

I have an ARC of The Girl in the Steel Corset to give to one lucky reader.  Just comment in the box below.  Contest ends Sunday, May 8th at 11:59 PM PST.  Open internationally. 

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This month on the STEAMED! blog we’re going to declare it Fantastic February. We’ll be looking at the fantasy element in fiction. However, this post is where real life intrudes. There is no doubt that the wonders of the Victorian age were splendid, but there was one thing that did take time and wasn’t so very progressive – the mail. In this one instance alone (ok, that and perhaps dental hygiene) I am so very grateful for the wonders of the modern age, including the Internet and email.

Let me say, you don’t know what you have until you lose it.

My case in point is today’s blog on behalf of fellow Harlequin author Oliva Gates who is currently living in Egypt without Internet or cell phone access who has a book out starting today, Feb. 1, titled To Tempt a Sheikh (which now that I truly consider it, might indeed be the fantasy of some of you – so it still fits with this month’s blog theme.)

Here’s a tasty bit about Oliva’s story:
He rescued hostage Talia Burke from his royal family’s rival tribe and swept her into his strong embrace. But Prince Harres Aal Shalaan soon discovered there was more to the brave beauty than he knew. Talia held information vital to protecting his beloved kingdom…and she had every reason not to trust him.

Marooned together at a desert oasis, Talia couldn’t resist Harres. Yet even as his sizzling seduction entranced her, his loyalty to his family and country would always make them enemies. Falling for the sheikh would be her heart’s greatest mistake…but she feared it was already too late….

As I mentioned the book is out TODAY and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books A Million and bookstores everywhere. Also available at eharlequin both in print and as an ebook.

If you’d like to take a mini-fantasy vacation of your own, you can even read a first chapter and visit Olivia’s webpage, click here.

With best regards to our esteemed STEAMED! readers,

Lolita Theresa

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Today we welcome back one of my favorite visiting lolitas, author Eden Bradley who’s not only one of the fabulous Smutketeers but also writes under the name Eve Berlin. Thank you so much, Eden, for coming and visiting us today.

A Journey of Pants and Other Steampunkian Things, Myself Included
by Eden Bradley/Eve Berlin

My travels to the 2010 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention began with a pair of pants…Well, it actually began long before then, when my fellow authors and dear friends R.G. Alexander, Crystal Jordan and Lilli Feisty and I decided to blog together, and the Smutketeers blog was born.

The four of us love Steampunk everything: fiction, clothing, the fabulous computers, furniture, cars and jewelry, being made by brilliant and creative minds. We all write various sub-genres of erotica and erotic romance, and since we all had Steampunk stories in mind, we decided the Smutketeers blog must be Steampunk in style-one uniting factor among many. Before we launched the blog we got together in the Nevada desert and did our first photo shoot. Blistering heat and high winds aside (and with the aid of a pitcher or two of margaritas) we managed some very interesting pics. As soon as it was done we knew we wanted to do it again! But since we all live in different areas of the country, it’s not often that we’re all in the same place at the same time. That time finally came for us at this year’s RT Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

R.G. found the most fascinating location for us-the Depot Rail Museum. There we were allowed to shoot in front of-and on-their antique Vulcan Locomotive, as well as in Car 100, an elegant private executive rail car originally built for Ringling Bros. in 1886.

We all wanted new costumes for the shoot-any reason to make a new costume!-and since this year I’m launching my new pen name, Eve Berlin (my first ‘Eve’ book,
PLEASURE’S EDGE,
will be out from Berkley Heat in October), I needed two costumes-one for Eden and one for Eve. Eden likes to wear her petticoats, so I wanted something a bit different for Eve, and decided she should be in pants. But finding the perfect pair of Steampunk pants isn’t all that simple, costume geek that I am, so I decided to make them myself-that’s half the fun, anyway! It began with a pair of inexpensive, tweedy pinstriped capri-length slacks bought at a local department store…

They weren’t terribly interesting, but made an excellent base for the design I had in mind. I immediately stripped the plastic buttons from the belt loops, replacing them with brass cogs and clockwork bits, some of which I had on hand (as any good Steampunk fan should!), and some which I purchased for this project.

But I also wanted to feminize the look a bit and add a dash of Victorian, so I bought a few yards of very wide cotton lace. The lace was a pale, yellowy cream color-not quite the right shade, so I tea-dyed them until I got the tone I wanted. Tea-dyeing is a simple process and antiques most fabrics beautifully—cotton takes the tea particularly well. I gathered the lace, sewing it onto two lengths of grosgrain ribbon which I would use to anchor it inside the hem of the pants. But before that, I wanted to add a bit more detail, because in my mind, Steampunk style is all in the details.

I spilt the side seams of the pants open at the bottom-just a few inches-folded and sewed the edges back, and hammered brass grommets in. I used a darling thin brown ribbon to lace through the grommets, corset-style, and tied them with a small bow, then sewed the lace into the cuffs. I decided to sew that thin ribbon onto the edge of all the pockets, and added some tiny brass studs, as well, then used some vintage-looking brass and silver safety pins to anchor several lengths of antiqued chain, and the pants were done! All I needed was a sheer Victorian blouse, a tweed vest, some antique pins and other bits of jewelry (most of which I made, as well), with some flowers and a bit of clockwork in my hair.

One thing I love about Steampunk is the variety of styles. You can be purely Victorian, or add other elements: Wild West, Cyber, Deisel, and there are a million ways in which the styles can be mixed and melded, resulting in a very personal style statement.

I loved the way the pants—both my costumes, actually—turned out, and the photographs too!

Back at home, R.G. Alexander has sold a Steampunk story to Berkley, and the rest of us are still working on our proposals. I am dying to have the time to write it. I’m hoping it’ll be next year, but my current contracts have kept me busy! I have my upcoming Eve Berlin release with Berkley Heat, and in January my first Harlequin Spice novel, THE LOVERS, will be out, as well as two more releases this year from Samhain, SUMMER SOLSTICE, Book Three in my contemporary Celestial Seductions series, out August 10th, and BLOODSONG, Book Two in my Midnight Playground vampire series, out September 7th.

You can stay tuned to all the Smutketeers’ book news on our blog: www.Smutketeers.com Or you can visit my websites: www.EdenBradley.com or www.EveBerlin.com. And you must visit the Smutketeers to see the pics from our latest photo shoot in our gallery! All for Smut, and Smut for All!

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Hello my lovelies–I have some exciting news to share!

My steampunk erotic, ‘Steam Heat’ sold to Harlequin for their Spice brief line in a two book deal! They will be releasing back to back in 2011! I am so excited! Seriously, I am still passing virtual rum around to everyone! I will keep you up-dated as I get more info! I will give you the little blurb to keep you entertained for now!

                                                                   Steam Heat – Blurb

   What does a half succubus, a scientist and a feisty female steam engineer have in common? Not a lot. Until, they are thrown together in a race against time to re-power the dying crystal that purifies the earth’s air. Suddenly it is up to Angel, Nick and Jezebel to save the world. The only way to supply the energy needed to power the crystal, is to find out exactly what makes a half succubus tick……

Now on to other exciting news of the day! My steampunk romance novella ‘Love in a Time of Steam’ is available for pre-order! It is just $0.99! To order click here!

Love in a Time of Steam – Blurb

Ashlyn hasn’t seen Gray her former lover in five long years. Not since the day he believed her to be a traitor to the military cause they both served.

   Now as the volatile nature of their planet is reaching a fevered pitch, and the war over water to run their steam-powered technology is threatening all beings, she must face him once more.

   Despite her intense hatred towards Gray, Ashlyn can’t let the father of her child be murdered by General Dagnus, the leader of the opposing army. Risking her life, Ashlyn lays everything on the line to save the man that betrayed her once. As they work together to survive, will they be able to rekindle the passion they once shared?

Have a steamy day! ~Elizabeth

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 So I have some fabulous news! My steampunk short “Love in a Time of Steam” has been accepted by  Tease Publishing  and will be releasing on July 15th in e-book! It will also be releasing in print as a part of the “Love Like Clockwork” steampunk anthology in a few months! I just got my cover and it is so lovely! I want to say thank you to the lovely Kate and James, who run the amazing Parliament and Wake website, for gracing my cover! I will keep you informed of preorder info and all that good stuff! I will blog about the fun I had at the World Steam Expo next week!!

Love in a Time of Steam – Blurb

Ashlyn hasn’t seen Gray her former lover in five long years. Not since the day he believed her to be a traitor to the military cause they both served.

Now as the volatile nature of their planet is reaching a fevered pitch, and the war over water to run their steam-powered technology is threatening all beings, she must face him once more.

Despite her intense hatred towards Gray, Ashlyn can’t let the father of her child be murdered by General Dagnus, the leader of the opposing army. Risking her life, Ashlyn lays everything on the line to save the man that betrayed her once. As they work together to survive, will they be able to rekindle the passion they once shared? 

~Elizabeth

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We have a terrific guest for you all today. But first I’d like to announce the winner of the clock hand earrings from EJP Creations.

…drum roll please…

~*~*~*ARWEN*~*~*~

Congratulations, Arwen!  Please email me at suzannelazear @ hotmail so you can get your prize.

Didn’t win?  You can still win the “ear wings” from Creative Habits or a copy of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales.

Let’s give a big Steampunkapalooza welcome to today’s guest–young adult writer Scott Westerfeld. Scott has written a number of incredible books for young adults including the Midnighters and Uglies series. His Steampunk book, Leviathan was released last fall with the sequel Behemoth to follow in October, 2010.

***

I’ve written five science fiction books for adults, and I’m best known for my Uglies series, which is also science fiction. So people often ask me, How did you wind up writing a steampunk series?

I should probably to come up with some sort of literary-sounding answer, but the real story is one of pure self-indulgence.

After the success of Uglies, I figured I could do pretty much what I wanted. That is, I had this one shot to write something that was maybe a bit less commercial, because I had a publisher and fans who would support me.

So I decided to embark on a series that contained all the props and themes that I personally enjoy, including, in no particular order: airships, walkers, derring-do, swords, awesome clothes, and strange chimeric animals. And really, steampunk was the only genre flexible enough to incorporate all these.

Steampunk is a literature of collage, in a lot of ways. You can build steampunk out of a whole bunch of contradictory elements, from the real past or from the Victorian period’s imaginary futures, from feasible alternate technologies or crazy pseudo-sciences like hollow earths and spirit photography. You can decide what to include based on visual appeal, or on story needs, or on world building, or even your personal politics (challenging colonialism and sexism is big in steampunk, after all).

I started my collage by imaging a world that was divided into two warring sets of countries. The Clanker Powers, Germany and Austria-Hungary, use machines like we do (but much steampunkier) while the Darwinist Powers, France, Britain and Russia, engage in a form of Victorian (well, Edwardian) bio-engineering. I had a girl dressed as a boy to serve in the Royal Air Navy, and the son of the Archduke Ferdinand disguised as a commoner trying to escape his father’s murderers.

Like I said, it was all the stuff I really liked, all crammed together.

But about sixty pages into the first book, I realized what was missing. You can’t do a collage without pictures! So at that point I spent an endless time (about a year) searching for the right illustrator. I finally found Keith Thompson, who created a sort of “Edwardian manga” style based on the illustrations in Punch Magazine of 1914.

To show you what I mean, here’s my girl-dressed-as-boy, Deryn, showing that engineered military beasts don’t scare her:

And here’s the eponymous airship over London:

At last, everything was in place. And luckily for me, my publisher really got it, and came along for the ride. They printed the books on wonderfully thick and heavy paper, and added color end papers with an amazing map that Keith created. It really looks and feels like a book from 1914. (Back when even books for adults had illustrations.)

After all, part of doing steampunk is living the part. Putting on the right frock or the perfect pair of goggles. So I’m pleased to bits that I wound up with the book equivalent of a velvet waistcoat.

Not to mention some pretty awesome clothes created by Keith:

But this is just between us. In interviews, I usually talk about wanting to create a metaphor for the collision of metal and flesh that was World War I, or something like that.

So don’t tell anyone, but it was mostly to have an excuse to buy a really good waistcoat.

***

Leviathan blurb (from scottwesterfeld.com)

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

***

Thank you so much for joining us today, Scott!  Those illustrations are amazing, and I think a lot of us are partial to Steampunk clothes.  For more information on Scott Westerfeld and his books please drop by his blog and website. Watch for Behemoth in October, 2010!

Keep tuning in all week for more great authors as Steampunkapalooza continues. Tomorrow we have author Regina Riley. Please join us on Saturday, April 24th for prizes and mayhem as we help author O.M. Grey release her new book Avalon Revisited. Young Adult author Kate Milford stops by on Sunday, April 25th.

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Hold on to your fishnets, today’s visiting Lolitas are the one and only Smutketeers! (Today’s interview may not be appropriate for those with delicate sensibilities or under the age of majority.)

Lolita Suzanne: Welcome to Steamed! and thanks for helping us celebrate our birthday by being part of Steampunkapalooza. Could you please introduce yourselves and what you write?

Eden: I’m Eden Bradley, also soon to be published as Eve Berlin with Berkley Heat, and I’m the oldest of the Smutketeers-everyone’s big sister. Or grandma, depending on the day and how badly the others are misbehaving. I write contemporary, futuristic and paranormal erotica and erotic romance (so far, anyway), with a specialty in the kinky stuff. Well, not everything I write is kinky. Um… I suppose it depends on your definition of kinky…but I digress. I write for Bantam/Delta, Harlequin Spice, Berkley Heat, Samhain Publishing and Phaze Publishing. I love long walks on the beach, younger men, art, books and stiletto heels, not necessarily in that order. And Steampunk everything, of course!

Lilli: I’m Lilli Feisty. I think I’ve written a bit of everything: romantic comedy, light paranormal, urban fantasy… but my main focus is contemporary spicy romance. When it comes to my sex scenes, people often ask if it’s based on personal experience. Well, the answer is, pretty much! 🙂 I write for Grand Central Publishing, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. I’m the bad girl of the group. I’m the one you’ll find at the back of the bar, lounging in a chair smoking a cigar and waiting for one of Eden’s studs to bring me a cocktail. 🙂 I also cuss like a sailor. Mmm. Sailors. That’s the only reason I take long walks on the beach. 🙂 I also am obsessed with music, dancing and writing really horrid poetry.

Crystal: I’m Crystal Jordan…I write a little bit of everything that’s dirty, but mostly paranormal and futuristic erotic romance. Pretty much anything that allows me to say, “Well, it’s MY world and I say they can do it that way. It doesn’t matter if people can’t do that in real life. I get to make it up as I go along!” I’m the bossy one of the bunch, don’t you know? My publishers are Kensington Aphrodisia, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain Publishing, and Ellora’s Cave. I’m happy to take a long walk on the beach with Eden and olge her younger men, but she can keep her four inch heels. I go barefoot (except for cute nail polish)!

R.G.: I’m R.G. Alexander and I AM the innocent one of the group. Don’t listen when they tell you I write mostly paranormal ménage and more—it’s all lies and slander. Okay…maybe not. I write for Berkley Heat, Samhain, and Ellora’s Cave. I would probably be watching Eden and Crystal walk on the beach with those studs as I spend hours trying to make the perfect sandcastle with my hubby. 🙂

Eden: Okay—R.G. is hardly innocent. Just sayin’. And just to clarify, I have ONE younger man and am blissfully happy with him, so there’s no need for anyone to lock up their sons. And my fellow Smutketeers are welcome to ogle my younger man any time they like. And Feisty, you know he’ll happily bring you a cocktail.:)

LS:  Well, I’m so glad you all can join us today.  How did you come up with the name “The Smuketeers” and your clever catch phrase “All for Smut and Smut for All?”

Eden: R.G. found a website that addressed the different psychological profiles of the four Musketeers, and she matched each of them to one of us. Then she was talking about doing a sci-fi series called ‘Smutketeers in Space’ with characters based on each of us, which we all thought was hysterical. That somehow turned into a Steampunk idea (R.G.’s agent is currently shopping that proposal).

How did we come up with ‘All for Smut and Smut for All’? We have a lot of four-way phone conversations (we all live in different areas of the country) and that was one of those strange, organic things that just happen with us a lot. You get the four of us on the phone together and anything can happen-it often devolves into something smutty from there. A lot of erotic fiction authors fondly refer to themselves as smut peddlers, so that term is tossed around a lot, and it seemed natural for us. I truly can’t remember who came up with the term ‘Smutketeers’ (maybe R.G. or Crystal?) or who first said ‘All for Smut and Smut For All’.

LS:  Those sound like some great phone conversations.  I do love the idea of “Smutketeers in Space.”  You four have a new continuality series coming out, the “Wasteland” series. What *are* these stories about? When will they come out and where can we buy them?

The Smutketeers: Our Wasteland Series novellas will be released one per week during the month of May from Samhain Publishing. Here’s the overall blurb, and one for each of our stories:

THE WASTELAND SERIES

Coming from Samhain Publishing in May 2010!

In 2012, the world came to a grinding halt as radiation hit from a massive solar storm. Crops died, animals perished, cities fell, and humans became little more than beasts themselves. Under the threat of starvation, civility was reduced to mere memory. Only the strongest men survived, and physically weaker women and children wasted to nothingness.

More than a century later, humanity struggles in the desert Wasteland. The solar radiation rendered most women infertile, and the population dwindles more with each year that passes. Scattered up and down coasts, isolated cities eke out an existence from fishing, foraging, and hunting for what little game is left. Outside the city walls, men face the threat of pirates and raiders.

Few women remain, divided into four classes: Whores, Breeders, Priestesses, and Wanderers. They are as reviled as they are worshiped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. To touch a Whore, a man must sacrifice his riches. To touch a Breeder, a man must sacrifice his freedom. To touch a Priestess, a man must be chosen by the gods. And to touch a Wanderer may end up costing him his life.

There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.

Crystal Jordan~~ Book One: The Wanderer

Lilli Feisty~~Book Two: The Whore

Eden Bradley~~Book Three: The Breeder

R.G. Alexander~~Book Four: The Priestess


Crystal: Here’s the blurb for my book:

WASTELAND: THE WANDERER by Crystal Jordan

Release date: May 4, 2010

Love is the most dangerous experiment of all.

There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.

The few remaining women are as reviled as they are worshiped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. And to touch a Wanderer, he may pay with his life.

For Ezra, the risk is worth the reward. People speak his name with the same reverent terror reserved for ancient wrathful gods, but he must always be ready to fend off those who would take what’s his. And what he wants to be his is Kadira.

Kadira, adopted after she witnessed the slaughter of her devoted parents, has vowed never to love or need anyone. It seems only fitting that she, an outsider, accept Ezra’s demand in trade for the fuel technology her clan needs—but her deep, unexpected need for him is the torture she’s fought all her life to avoid. Worse, the greater her wrath, the more he seems to like it.

Ezra’s mercenary half delights at having the warrior woman in his arms. His scientist half can’t resist the urge to see what makes her react—and what makes her explode.

The real experiment: if the bond they forge is strong enough to make her want to stay.

Lilli: And here’s my blurb:

WASTELAND: THE WHORE by Lilli Feisty

Release date: May 11, 2010

Her quest for freedom plunges her into dangerous waters…of desire.

Bryn is a “Rose”, but her life is no garden. A stolen child, prostitution is the only life she’s ever known—except on the nights she sneaks out in stolen men’s clothing to explore the city. A tiny taste of freedom that makes her long for a life outside sexual servitude, at the mercy of any man who can pay.

Xander remembers no other home except his pirate ship, smuggling weapons or anything else for a fee. He’s been happy with his life and his lover, Hawke…until he rescues what he thinks is a young man from robbers.

Figuring she can blend in with the crew, Bryn jumps at the chance to escape the Brothel. Then she discovers Xander and Hawke have a taste for pretty boys—and that she has a taste for them. In their arms, she embraces their incredible gift: control of her own sexuality.

Though women are considered bad luck at sea, Xander isn’t of a mind to give her up. Yet the time is drawing near when the ship must return to Wasteland to resupply. And what awaits them there is a danger that could tear them apart.

Eden: Here’s the blurb for my book:

WASTELAND: THE BREEDER by Eden Bradley

Release date: May 18, 2010

Destined to serve the desires of an entire city, all she wants is one man. Or maybe two…

Born to the Temple, Nitara knows the Great Goddess’s plan for her: to bring life into what is left of an arid and wasted Earth. Since puberty she has been trained to arouse and titillate, to ensure the continuation of the human race.

As is the custom, the man captured for her is strong of blood, though considered little more than a wild animal. Yet when she looks into his eyes, she sees no primitive creature, but the man whose face and hands haunt her sensual dreams.

For Akaash, a hunter and warrior, it’s his shame that he will be sacrificed to a goddess he doesn’t believe in, for a people who are not his own, leaving behind his Wanderer clan—and his bonded lover, Dhatri. Locked in the bowels of the Temple, he has a month to ponder his fate, all while falling helplessly under the spell of the virgin temptress who will soon take his life.

With each tortuously erotic encounter, however, Akaash realizes that Nitara is as much a prisoner as he. If he can just get a message out to Dhatri, there may be a slim chance both of them can escape…

R.G.: Here’s my blurb:

WASTELAND: THE PRIESTESS by R.G. Alexander

Release Date: May 25, 2010

Damn the rules, damn the gods…even if he has to share her, she belongs to him.

High Priestess Xian has followed the Path of the Peaceful Sun since she was chosen at birth. Yet the joy she receives from helping others is overshadowed by her growing belief that the world they live in is…wrong.

At a crossroads, unsure of her ability to do her job—unsure of anything—she journeys to the ruins of the old city, hoping to uncover secrets that will give her clarity. Instead she finds the path to her goal clouded by an unexpected desire for her handsome guard, Hel, and for the battered stranger they find along the way.

Hel can’t prevent Xian from reaching out to the mysterious Siraj, but there is danger in allowing him to stay. Siraj belongs to no caste, follows no rules but his own. And Xian’s fascination with him makes Hel’s blood boil. No one can know that Hel has always loved her, or the secret he’s kept hidden for years. But Siraj’s advances, and Xian’s curiosity, force Hel to cross lines he never before dared…

LS:  Wow, those sound amazing.  What an incredible world and beautiful covers.  These stories are “erotica”, right? What can someone expect when picking up an erotic novel? How are they different from romance novels? Do they have strong characters? Strong stories? Would the “average Jane” enjoy them? (What about the average Joe? Do guys ever read your books?)

Eden: These stories are erotic romance, which means they all end with a happily-ever-after. The difference between erotica and erotic romance is that happily-ever-after, or at least a happily-for-now. While erotica focuses more on personal journey, erotic romance’s main focus is a developing relationship.

The difference between romance and erotic romance is that in erotic romance the sex is a crucial part of the story arc, character development and relationship development. It’s a sort of sub-plot in itself-in well-written erotic romance, anyway. And I believe strong characters and strong stories are crucial to any well-written book. Writing sex doesn’t absolve an author of the need to write a good book. I write very character-driven books, so character development is hugely important to me.

I think erotic fiction has a wide appeal-a lot of women you might never suspect read it. I get a lot of male readers from my appearances on Playboy Radio and I’ve definitely had fan mail from men, although I couldn’t say for sure if they are the ‘average Joe’s’. Maybe I don’t want to know-lol!

Crystal: Yes-mine always have strong characters and very strong stories. We each took a different group or caste of women in these stories so we could develop them and make them very individual and strong. I consider myself the average Jane, and I love them! As for the average Joe, I’ve gotten thank you notes from men-does that count?

Lilli: Sex all by itself is a story. Sex is when you’re the most vulnerable, when you’re the most intimate. Sure, it can also be hot, but when I write sex, it’s more about how my characters react to the sex, and that’s what I find interesting.

R.G.: My husband likes my stories. (But don’t tell him I told you.).

Eden: You know we can’t keep any secrets from him. He knows everything about all of us! R.G.’s husband is an honorary Smutketeer. We use him as a consultant.:)

LS:  Though each of you has your own story, the world is the same, right? How do the stories crossover? Do they need to be read in order? What challenges do you face when writing in a shared world? Was this a new concept for you all?

R.G.: Yes, the world is the same, and one we developed together over a period of nearly a year. It’s almost a snow-ball effect, where each story builds on the other. I wrote the last story in the series, and I tried to pull all the loose threads together. They can be read as stand-alones, but to see the whole tapestry, I vote for reading them in order.

Crystal: I’ve actually done a shared world before. One of the challenges I’ve found is that you can step on each other’s toes when trying to claim your own space, so one of the things we did to avoid that in this series was to share the basic world but each writer’s own caste of women we developed individually. So, there was a shared space, but also an individual space for each writer.

Eden: This is my first shared world. R.G. and I both wrote about the Temple of the Goddess, so we worked very closely together on developing that religion, and while we were writing we checked in with each other pretty much daily by phone and email. R.G. and I both incorporated characters from the Wanderer tribes that Crystal developed, so we made sure to check details with her, and Feisty checked in with each of us, as well. Consistency is crucial when writing a shared world with multiple authors.

I have written futuristic and sort of post-apocalyptic London-although the apocalypse was more a political breakdown-in my Midnight Playground vampire series from Samhain. Book One, THE SEEKING KISS, is out now, and Book Two, Bloodsong, will be out later this year.

Crystal: I’ve written shared worlds before, as well as futuristic and post-apocalyptic, in my books CARNAL DESIRE, UNTAMED, and in a series that is yet to be published (but check the Smutketeers blog for more news coming soon!).

R.G.: And Crystal also wrote futuristic in her novella, IN ICE, which is in Volume V of Kensington Aphrodisia’s Sexy Beast anthology. And that is a must read!

I’ve done alternate universe sci-fi in my books, WHO WANTS TO DATE A SUPERHERO and WHO NEEDS ANOTHER SUPERHERO, available at Ellora’s Cave. Though I haven’t written post-apocalyptic, I write a lot of alternate universe stories based on various world mythologies, especially my Children of the Goddess series, available from Samhain, and my Temptation Unveiled series, also available through Ellora’s Cave.

I had a great time creating the religion for our Wasteland series with Eden, which was based on a compilation of ancient earth myths and religions. I majored in anthropology and minored in mythology and religion, so these subjects fascinates me.

LS:  The idea of a post apocalyptic series is very cool, what gave you the idea to do that? Did one of you come up with the idea and share it with the others or did you come up with it as a group? Was selling the idea a challenge? What about writing in this genre? What difficulties did it pose versus writing contemporary?

R.G.: That was another four-way conversation gone horribly wrong, or horribly right, depending on how you look at it.

Eden: I think it went absolutely right!

Crystal: Was selling the idea a challenge? Hell no-we have the most awesome editor on the planet (luckily we all have the same Samhain editor). The moment we mentioned it to her, she was on board. She is the queen of Armageddon!

I don’t write a lot of contemporary, so for me it was ‘Thank God it wasn’t contemporary!”

Lilli: I write a lot of contemporary, but I have written some paranormals as well. I also love paranormal books and movies. I’m a huge Joss Weiden fangirl, and I think I put a little Firefly into my pirate ship.:) The biggest challenge for me was jumping into a world I didn’t create. While it was fascinating and fun, every once in awhile I had to turn around and go, “where am I?” LOL

Eden: I most often write contemporary, so for me it was a huge challenge. Although I had just written my first vampire futuristic for my Midnight Playground series, I’ve never done this much world-building before. It was hard, but I loved it. It was so much fun to get to write outside my usual box-there’s so much more creativity involved when writing an alternate world. I plan to do it as often as possible!

LS:  I would definitely say this was a conversation right.  So did you have the world first and then come up with your stories? Could you each share a little about your creative process?

Eden: We kind of started with R.G.’s Musketeer psych profiles, then went off from there-which is what usually happens with us. I ended up writing a virgin heroine, which is totally against type for me; obviously we didn’t all stick with those psych profiles. Except for Crystal, who will totally kick anyone’s ass. *G*

I can’t remember how we ended up there. So much of the writing process is a mystery to me, to be honest. My writing process includes a lot of chocolate and the occasional tears. Seriously. I have this Van Gogh-like belief that we must suffer for our art-lol!

Crystal: The process just happens-it’s like magic. And R.G. kept calling to tell us about these end of the world documentaries she was watching, until we figured out exactly what our particular 2012 apocalypse was about.

R.G.: The whole time Eden was writing THE BREEDER, she was totally manic-one day she hated it, the next day she loved it. That’s her process. *G*

Our editor knows a lot about apocalyptic theories, so she was a big influence.

Lilli: These girls did so much world-building, I was lucky. I just opened the door and stepped into the Wasteland. J And then added a few hot pirates and a prostitute. My favorite part was writing little things that referred to the other books. Like, at one point my hero mentions trading with this inventor. The inventor is actually Ezra in Crystal’s book, and you never meet him in mine, but I like how those tiny details tie the individual stories together.

LS:  That sounds very, very cool.  I do love the way they all overlap/interlink.  In the past decade there’s been an explosion of sub-genres. Has this growth made it easier or harder for “out of the box” stories to find homes? Are you excited with the whole movement towards genre-blending? How do you think this will influence the types of stories we’ll see on the shelves?

Eden: I think the publishing industry is more open to ‘out of the box’ story ideas in general, not just in cross-genre. My first Harlequin Spice novel, THE LOVERS (out in January, 2011), has a primary female/female relationship through part of the book, which is very new in erotic romance. I love that some of the publishers are willing to take on different, more challenging material.

LS:  You’re having an event at the upcoming Romantic Times Convention and a contest to promote your series, can you tell me about it?

Eden: We have several things planned for the Romantic Times convention, coming up at the end of April in Columbus, Ohio.

We’re doing another photo shoot, so we’ve been putting together our Steampunk gear. I’m such a costume geek, and I love Steampunk, so I’m in heaven! And we’re having a very special contest for those attending the RT Convention. We’ll be at Club RT to meet and chat with readers on Friday, April 30th from 11AM-12PM. We’re having a drawing, and we’ll dress the winner in Steampunk gear (unless they have their own, of course) to be photographed with us! There will be some other little goodies involved, too. You’ll be able to enter on the Smutketeers blog the week before the convention (we all leave on April 27th)  in case you can’t make the Club RT time, but the winner must be available for us to reach by cell phone at noon that day, and ready to be dressed and photographed at 12:30. We’ll publish photos on the Smutketeer blog. It should be a blast!

LS:  That sounds like so much fun.  I’m very jealous I can’t go, but some of the other Lolitas will be there.  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Eden: Since this is the Steamed blog, I should mention that we’re kicking around an idea for a Steampunk anthology for next year, so stay tuned on the Smutketeers blog for more information! I have a sort of City of Lost Children-ish/cyberpunk idea, but erotic, so not so much the children part…lol! It’s just more about the tone and the vision.

We’ll also be presenting a panel at RT with Samhain managing editor Laurie M. Rauch on Thursday, April 29th from 10AM-11AM, ‘Sextopia, Writing Sex Scenes Across the Ages and Genres’. We’ll be doing some fun giveaways, so if you’re at RT, be sure not to miss it! I’ll also be participating in a reader party on Wednesday afternoon, ‘It’s Fun to Be Bad’, with some of the star authors of erotic romance, as well as last year’s Mr. Romance, Charles Paz! And I’ll be doing a paranormal panel with some truly amazing authors, including the fabulous Mary Janice Davidson on Wednesday morning.

I have a few releases coming up from Samhain. SUMMER SOLSTICE, Book Three in my Celestial Seductions series, will be out this summer, followed in the fall by BLOODSONG, Book Two in my Midnight Playground series. In May my second Harlequin Spice Briefs, NIGHT MOVES, an erotic train story, will be available. And in October I’ll be debuting my first Berkley Heat novel written as Eve Berlin. PLEASURE’S EDGE is a very romantic BDSM-themed erotic story. I’m excited about the new pen name (I write as Eve exclusively for Berkley), and my gorgeous new website: www.EveBerlin.com

R.G.: RT!! I can’t wait!
News, huh? Well I have my first Berkley Heat book, POSSESS ME, coming out August 3rd, I’ve just signed up for a new 3 novella anthology with Berkley Heat for 2011, and I’m finishing up several e-book series with Samhain and Ellora’ Cave. I also currently have a proposal out for an erotic romance series that is-yes-Steampunk! Cross your fingers.

Crystal: I can’t wait to do the RT panel with my girls. This is gonna be tons of fun!

Let’s see…what else do I have coming out? I just signed a new three book deal with Kensington Aphrodisia, so I have sequels to my shape-shifter books UNTAMED and ON THE PROWL in the works. I also have two erotic urban fantasy novels coming out in 2011 and 2012, but they don’t have official titles yet. Lots of magic, sex, tormented characters, and a few werewolf terrorists thrown in to keep things interesting.

In August of this year, I have SEXY BEAST 9 coming out from Kensington, which is about a mercurial woman who twists a stoic shape-shifter king into knots. Then in October, there’s PRIMAL HEAT, where an ancient race of alien shape-shifters come to claim their mates on earth. For e-books, I have a couple of series I’m working on for Samhain Publishing. First, of course, is the WASTELAND story with my Smutketeers. I also have my UNBELIEVABLE series about a naughty guardian angel who helps the truly hopeless cynics fall in love. Then I’m kicking off a series about demon triads that give you a triple dose of smut. Yummy!

Lilli: Yes, our panel is going to be so much fun! I am really looking forward to it. And now that I’ve overcome my fear of speaking in public, I’ve become quite the talker. And you just never know what’s going to come out of my mouth. J I’m currently finishing up a contemporary for Grand Central about an uptight L.A. chef who is forced to work for an earthy gal who isn’t impressed with his “cultured” ways. It’s a really fun book! And, of course, we have our Wasteland series coming out, which was super fun to write. And I’m currently working on a Steampunk series that takes place in Victorian England. The best part is I get to go to Burning Man this year as research. So much cool Steampunk art there! I can’t wait!

LS:  So many great things, wow.  Thank you for taking the time to come visit us today, we really appreciate it!

Smutketeers: Thanks so much for having us! We love visiting the Lolitas!

We hope everyone will visit us on our group blog: www.Smutketeers.com , and on our websites:

www.CrystalJordan.com

www.LillianFeisty.com

www.EdenBradley.com

www.RGAlexander.com


Thank you so much for dropping by today and we hope you come back soon. Yesterday we announced the winner of the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest. If you comment on that post you can also win a copy of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by tomorrow, Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for O.M. Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem. We’ll be joined by debut young adult author Kate Milford on Sunday, April 25th as Steampunkapalooza continues all April long.

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I just got my book cover for “Bound by Blood” my upcoming paranormal romance from Lyrical Press. I may be a bit partial, but I think it is FABULOUS! It isn’t steampunk, but my heroine does wear goggles!

Mila Deluca is an immortal vampire powerful in magic with a quick trigger finger.

Bryce D’Angelo is a lethal warrior as sexy as he is deadly and pack leader to the Lycan clan.

Two equally powerful species, they are each other’s greatest enemies whose lives collide in the midst of a world filled with chaos.

As an uneasy alliance is formed to right wrongs and impart justice what begins as lust turns into something deeper even in the face of a dangerous evil.

They must become one before they face the enemy in a final show down that will decide the fate of the world

      To save the world they must become, “Bound by Blood” 

 ~Elizabeth

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Two Steampunk Lolitas to be in Upcoming Anthology!

Mammoth book of time travel romance

My time travel short story Lost and Found will be included in the anthology THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF TIME TRAVEL ROMANCE to be released in December 2009 by Constable & Robinson in the UK and Running Press in North America.  I pitched the story as a mash up of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Groundhog Day and Life on Mars.

I’m in the book also, writing as Colby Hodge.  My story is Time Trails and has a Texas Ranger, a time cop and steampunk elements that include a time machine and brass scorpions.
 
Congrats, Ladies!  The book is avaliable for preorder and the cover is hot!
 

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