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Posts Tagged ‘Comicpalooza’

gail carriger (2)

Gail Carriger made a book tour stop in Houston, Texas for her new release, PRUDENCE : The Custard Protocol: Book One. In this latest novel, Alexia’s girl, now all grown up, with all the spunk of her mother and then some ventures to the exotic land of India. Her high priority, top secret mission involves tea, vampires and weremonkeys. 

At Murder By the Book, Gail shared with her fans that she did a lot of research for this novel as it is set in India. The mythology used in the book including that of the Rakshasas, India vampires, and the Vanara, India weremonkeys is accurate. In her research she also uncovered the interesting historical tidbit that Bombay was originally several islands the English engineered into one by means of land reclamation projects.

Ms.Carriger also discussed how she comes up with such interesting names for her characters. She uses names for humor. Sometimes the name just comes to her as she’s writing like it did for her main character, Prudence. She also looks names up in Victorian registries and on tomb stones. Sometimes she likes a word so much she just adds a letter or letters at the beginning or end to make a name.  Another way she choses names is what she calls cookies, meaning it’s a treat for anyone willing to do the research. She’ll pull a name from a real historical character or the name will have a hidden meaning or she’ll spell a word backwards for a name. One such cookie is Lord Akeldama. If you don’t know where and what Akeldama is, google it. It’s interesting. I have to say my favorite new character name in Prudence is Spoo, she’s a lively member of the Spotted Custard’s crew.

At the book signing, Ms. Carriger was asked how she explains Steampunk to people who aren’t familiar with it? She says, “Imagine living in a time period where you can take a hot air balloon to the moon.” Speaking of fiction genres, she also divulged that she likes military sci-fi including Rachel Bach’s Paradox series and Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff. And she likes some romance in her sci-fi reads. Ms. Carriger even has a book club on Goodreads where you can read along with her. A book she likes is chosen each month.  Also on My Book The Movie blog you can see who she would chose to cast for Prudence if it were a movie.

I read Prudence and I love the line,

Rue was moved to italics by the gesture. “Mine?”

As you can see from that sentence, PRUDENCE is as charming and humorous as all of Ms. Carriger’s books.

She could be a member of the Spotted Custard crew, perhaps Greaser Phinkerlington or even Spoo.

She could be a member of the Spotted Custard crew, perhaps Greaser Phinkerlington or even Spoo.

In PRUDENCE, the adventure begins when Dama gives Prudence an airship, which she paints to look like a lady bug and she names it the Spotted Custard. Of course her good friends Prim, Percy and Quesnel come along. Intrigue and espionage ensue, which Prudence thinks is all due to the special tea Dama has sent her for but it turns out it’s also about supernatural beings in India, the vampiric Rakshasas and the Vanara, weremonkeys.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say of course in the end Prudence manages to save the day.

The book is a funny, sweet, fresh delight. It’s ever so creatively original – after all it’s by Gail Carriger. I highly recommend PRUDENCE for anyone who likes good books and of course it’s a must read for all Gail Carriger fans.

Here is a video from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego 03/17/15

Other Gail Carriger related post on Steamed:

Book Monday: Timeless by Gail Carriger

Maeve Alpin Reviews Gail Carriger’s Timeless
How To Make A Proper Pot Of Tea by Gail Carriger 
In Which We Get Cozy with Gail Carriger
In Which Author Gail Carriger visits

~      ~      ~

Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 26 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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The first panel I went to at Comicpalooza, last month, was Friday at 10 AM, it was a make-n-take. The beautiful and lively anime voice-actress Claire Hamilton helped me and the other attendees create a tentacle necklace. I had so much fun in that make-n-take. I mean who doesn’t love tentacles?

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

Making Tentacles at Comicpalooza

We were all provided with polymer clay in a vivid selection of colors. The clay comes in four sectioned off areas. We each took one of those small sections in the color of our choice for the tentacle and a half section in another color for the suckers. We pulled off enough off the bigger section to roll and shape it into our tentacle. Twisting it around until we had it the way we wanted it. Then we took the half portion of a small section of clay and used the edge of our comicpalooza badges to slice it into small pieces. We rolled those into tiny balls for the suckers. We were each given a toothpick and used it to make the indentions in our suckers. We stuck the suckers onto the tentacle. We also used the toothpick to punch a hole in the clay so we could string it onto a cord for a necklace.   When we were finished we used special hand held dryers like blow dryers but hotter, to firm them enough until we could get them home and bake them. Heating our Tentacles

Once home we baked them in our kitchen ovens at approximately 110 degrees for about 30 minutes. When you try this in your on oven, please be aware oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the tentacle to make sure it doesn’t bake over or under the needed time.

Here are some youtube videos on making tentacle necklaces:

Making tentacle necklaces is fun, easy and … very Steampunk. A tentacle necklace make-n-take is also a great panel to do for readers at a convention.

                                      ~          ~         ~

 Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space, which is as crazy and as entertaining as it sounds. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Women With Weapons - Comicpalooza 2013

Women With Weapons – Comicpalooza 2013

Whether your costume or your characters attire is a Steampunk ghost, pirate, vampire, mechanic, world explorer, airship crew member, a proper Victorian lady or something altogether different, I wanted to share helpful pointers from panels at Comicpalooza, this past Memorial weekend.

Since I’m a Lolita at Steamed, let’s start with Lolita fashion.

 Steam Lolitas - The Cup Cake Girls - Comicpalooza 2013

Steam Lolitas – The Cupcake Girls – Comicpalooza 2013

When developing a steampunk persona and the costuming for it, you may find yourself building a lot of drama and hardship to your characterization. However, Lolita personas are lighter, let’s just have fun, let’s  have a tea party. For that reason many women are attracted to Steampunk/Lolita fashion crossovers.  For a good start to Lolita fashion, take a nice white blouse, add a frilly petticoat and a skirt trimmed in lace.  Goodwill, Salvation army, and local thrift stores are excellent places to get accessories and props to build a costume.

A Cup Cake girl with the Steam Lolita panel

A Cup Cake girl with the Steam Lolita panel

Whether you’re a Lolita blending steampunk into your costume, a steampunk persona mixing Lolita concepts into your outfit or working with a straight stempunk characterization for your attire, one thing to keep in mind is well fitted garments flatter any figure. Garments that are too large are as bad as clothing that’s too small. Regarding corsets, use those with steel bones, avoid the plastic ones as they bend when it’s hot, and become lumpy. Queen size women should ensure their corsets fall a bit longer in  front. Corsets should close to about 4″ all the way for a comfortable, even fit. It’s less expensive to invest in a custom fitted corset, than buying a dozen inexpensive ones that don’t look or feel quite right.

Lady Blue - Comicpalooza 2013

Lady Blue – Comicpalooza 2013

Don’t foreget bustles, they add a lot to an outfit. They don’t make your butt look big; they make your skirt look full. Certain silhouettes require a bustle to fill out your skirt and add a polished, proportional look to your dress.

Steampunk Sweethearts - Comicpalooza 2013

Steampunk Sweethearts – Comicpalooza 2013

Other than a corset, the most expensive part of your costume may well be your shoes. Granny boots are always popular for steampnk. Consider investing in a good pair of Doc Martins that appeal to your steampunk self. For dancing at a a Steampunkb all you will need something more feminine. Cherries Jubilee is a great source for source for Steampunk shoes, her emeblishmens are amazing.

Regarding menswear, a man’s waistcoat or vest  needs to be long, such as one purchased from a big and tall store,

Shiny As A Copper Penney
Shiny As A Copper Penney

so it covers the shirt to the top of the trousers. That prevent the tummy from bulging under the vest. Pants should be worn at the waistline, around the belly button, not beneath it. Most men will find suspenders work best. Men should keep spats in mind, to add a touch of completion and pizazz to their outfit.

Steampunk Poision Ivy

Steampunk Poision Ivy

For both men and women, stemapunk costumes should look complete, from head to toe, for example don’t wear tennis shoes with a period dress. Also, though accessories are key to a Steampunk look, don’t’ go overboard, keep to the less is more fashion philosophy.

Lolita Alice and the Mad Hatter

Lolita Alice and the Mad Hatter

For examples and ideas, I’ve included a few photos I snapped at Comicpalooza in Houston Texas. So have fun and enjoy creating your or your characters’ Steampunk costumes.

Maeve Alpin is the author of four Steampunk/Romances: To Love A London Ghost, Conquistadors In Outer Space, As Timeless As Stone, and As Timeless As Magic.

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I had a blast at Comicpalooza’s weird and wonderful Memorial weekend. Every aspect of Comicpalooza was a carnival of the fantastic and the Steampunk ball was no exception.

A Belle of the Steampunk Ball

A Belle of the Steampunk Ball

The music was merry the hall was grand and one and all came with their dancing shoes on, in costumes both elegant and outrageous.

Buxom damsels in bustles and corsets and dapper men in Victorian attire swung their feet, kicked up their heels, and bounced at the ball.

Performances began with Frenchy and the Punk. Their flapper cabaret, Great Gatsby sound was a party in itself.

DSCN0464Professor Elemental’s performance as always was rollicking fun. I say steam, you say, punk. “I say steam, you say, ____.  I say steam, you say, _____.” Proffesor elemental’s youtube video

Marquis of Vaudeville with their rockin circus of sound, the smooth mellow vocals of Toby Lawhon,  and a sensual base guitarist with a magnetic flair and whipping hair had everyone prancing and dancing. Marquis of Vaudeville’s youtube video

Abney Park

Abney Park at Comicpalooza

The ball reached the height of amazement when Abney Park took the stage and the magic of music reached a whole other level. Abney Park’s youtube video

May I have this dance?

Now that the ball is over, the dancers have left, the booths at Comicpalooza have been taken down and all the stars have gone. So we are left waiting for the ball and Comicpalooza to come in 2014.

Maeve Alpin is the author of four Steampunk/Romances: To Love A London Ghost, Conquistadors In Outer Space, As Timeless As Stone, and As Timeless As Magic.

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In writing Steampunk, which can be referred to as historical sci-fi, we have the advantage of living about a hundred years into the future of the time period our books are set in. Though we have to research science, mechanics, and history for our stories, we have leeway in knowing more about the future than our characters, since we actually live in it. I think that’s so cool. Also, it’s always good to know more than your characters. Sci-fi writers however, often find the science in their stories pre-empted by new discoveries. That was the subject of a panel I attended last weekend at Comicpalooza. Larry Niven, author of the award winning Ringworld series, who’s been writing for over fifty years, and Timothy Zahn, best known for his Star War novels, who’s been writing for over thirty years, made up the panel on Future Tense, Present Tense.

Green Lantern at Comicpalooza 2012

Photo taken at Comicpalooza 2012 – Larry Niven retooled the Green Lantern universe for DC Comics

About the same time Larry Niven began writing, Nasa started sending up probes. Due to discoveries made by the probes, Niven had to make adjustments to the science in his stories. He was working on books set on Mars at the time, and based on new information from the probes, he had to keep changing Mars, which he found annoying, especially since it was a series.

Nasa has done more to mess up science fiction writers’ stories than any other government agency. Saturn use to be the only planet with rings, now they all have rings.  Then there’s Pluto. The little planet that wasn’t. All the stories which mentioned it have been discredited since it’s no longer a planet.

Larry Niven said, “The problem with anticipating is you can anticipate, but the universe will take everything in a different direction. Predicting the near future is a dangerous game.” Speaking of predictions, Timothy Zahn’s favorite theory on the Mayan’s is they were counting down to the re-release of the hobbit. Makes sense to me.

Larry Niven commented on people thinking sci-fi writers are ahead of the scientist. “They’re not ahead of them at all, they’re following them, looking right over their shoulder. The writers are basically trying to write stories more interesting than the scientists’ articles. Sometimes they get something the scientists don’t and sometimes it’s just not there, like the canals on Mars.”

When a fan asked Niven about his thoughts on Space X’s recent success with the Dragon capsule, he was delighted it reached the space station and added, “Maybe we will get cheaper space ships. It’s obvious we need space travel, it’s the reasons for it that keep changing. We use to want rocket ships to go to the moon, now we need them to stop the next asteroid impact.”

Photo Taken at Comicpalooza 2012 - Timothy Zahn is best known for his 9 Star War novels

Photo Taken at Comicpalooza 2012 – Timothy Zahn is best known for his 9 Star War novels

Timothy Zahn noted the current emphasis in science on gene splicing and nanotech fusion. He feels the challenge in writing sci-fi stories about them is that a lot of times physics is simple in concept but not in execution.

Niven feels the moral of the story is know more than your characters. Timothy Zahn pointed out even after some of Niven’s stories were invalidated by new scientific discoveries, they still were reprinted several times. Zahn feels authors need to write the story well enough so it will stand up even if the science in it doesn’t.

If you think of those 19th century authors who inspired Steampunk, such as H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, the stories are as wonderful now as when they were first written even though the science in them is obsolete. Though I read the book forty years ago, I still sometimes think of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and the telepathic Martian woman who fell in love with an earthman because when she was with him he thought only of her. I’m even happier books like that were written now that I know there are no Martians, because I still got to know some through the imagination and talented writing of sci-fi authors.

What I love about sci-fi is that fanciful glimpse into a future where no matter what comes against us, we humans find a way to overcome it. In Steampunk we’re able to go back to a time, simpler in many ways, but riddled with extreme injustice to children, women, minorities, immigrants, and the poor, and we’re able to make it better. Our stories remind the readers that society has learned some things and improved. I don’t care too much about how far we advance scientifically, if society can become fairer, kinder, more peaceful, I’ll be happy with that.  Present tense, past tense, I just hope the common sense reflected in sci-fi writers’ heroes will take hold on society. Then mankind really will have a bright future.

~ Maeve Alpin

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