~The Following Post is About a Story Intended for those Over 18~
The Lords of Aether is a gay steampunk serial. Authors Charlie Cochrane, KC Burn, Jaime Samms, Jason Edding, Stephani Hecht, Z.A. Maxfield and Lex Valentine weave a world of machines and Victoriana with the paranormal and gay rom to bring you a story filled with intrigue, excitement, love, lust, machines and mayhem. The story advances each week with a post from one of the authors. This serial will be as rich as any novel with characters, plots, sub-plots and layers to every scene and post. Visit the site at http://lordsofaether.com or the trailer at http://youtu.be/m0FhyaW8vvo.
The Lords of Aether
by Lex Valentine
The Lords of Aether is a gay steampunk serial written by authors Charlie Cochrane, KC Burn, Jaime Samms, Jason Edding, Stephani Hecht, Z.A. Maxfield and Lex Valentine. Our intent is to weave a world of machines and Victoriana/Edwardiana with the paranormal and gay rom to bring you a story filled with intrigue, excitement, love, lust, machines and mayhem. The story advances with each post from one of the authors, typically posted on Fridays, but more often if the story is flowing. *wink* This serial will be as rich as any novel with characters, plots, sub-plots and layers to every scene and post.
The Lords of Aether is a gay gentleman’s club, but the actual “lords” are the characters the story focuses on. They are members who met and became friends (and lovers) through the club. The authors take you through their lives and the mysteries they become involved in so expect some hot sex, tender love scenes, violent encounters, dark secrets, twists and turns and inevitable cliffhangers.
I’m Lex Valentine and I’m the person who dared to voice this idea of a serial story to some friends. Luckily, I have cool friends who really liked the idea and jumped on board right away, giving this idea wings, feet and flesh and blood.
To build the world of the Lords of Aether, we set ourselves up with a private Yahoo group where we brainstorm and vet our posts before they go up on the site. We toss out ideas like a line of children throwing garbage at a wall to see what sticks! Seriously though, since none of us have ever written steampunk before, we thought this would be a good way to figure out how to do it. We started by choosing a time period of turn of the century. Then we decided whether we wanted this to historically accurate (our world) or some kind of alternate world. We decided on it being a sort of alternate world because we decided to include the paranormal in the story. Werewolves, vampires, and magic are all allowed and we already have been bouncing around a sub plot involving lycanthropy.
Once we settled on the kind of world we had, we moved on to details such as the city and information about the club. Then we each worked on characters. After coming up with one or more characters each, I put together an initial post that had two of my characters meeting at the club. This spawned ideas in the other authors and relationships between characters began to grow out of our discussions about the initial two posts (by myself and Z.A. Maxfield) and the subsequent posts we have planned. There’s a missing person and this leads to the introduction of basically all the main characters and our bad guy who is written by Jason Edding.
It’s been great fun watching and being part of the process of tossing around ideas and watching what they spawn and how they end up. It’s amazing what you can create when you have so many different views on something. My perspective on my characters and storyline shift with each idea the others come up with for their characters and storyline. And of course, we have to fit all the pieces together like a puzzle which makes it a challenge and exciting at the same time.
KC Burn got very enthusiastic about the idea and has been really getting into the plotting, but I’ll let her tell you about the process from her perspective.
When I was invited to join the Lords of Aether authors, I was thrilled by the chance to branch out into a new genre (a little scared, too) and excited to be working with authors that I admire. I’ve read a few books in the past that could loosely be called steampunk, but it’s been a while and I’ve never tried writing it. I grabbed several recent releases to try and figure out what the current trend was. I have to admit, I was surprised by the number that also had paranormal elements. I had assumed the development of fantastical inventions using Victorian technology to be the primary focus of steampunk, but the inclusion of the paranormal provides even more possibilities for our new world.
Writing in any sort of collaboration is new to me. I’ve tried once, but it devolved into a mess of bad puns about a werewolf butcher and his “meat.” Amusing, but not viable. If it were just me, the storyline I have planned for my two characters might deviate as I wrote, but they’d more or less end up where I intended. Already I can see that my ideas are merely a tentative framework on which to build. I might have thought I knew who was going to end up romantically involved with whom, but already those initial ideas are in flux. Having a group of talented authors you can rely on to assist in brainstorming? Awesome. The combination of ideas into a big, exciting story where I don’t know the ending? Pretty damn cool.
Charlie Cochrane is finding the whole experience of organising plot and characters in advance a highly novel one. A confirmed “seat of the pantser”, she’s learning an awful lot, while at the moment only contributing advice on whether a word is anachronistic or not.
She created the loyal but ill tempered club steward, Savage Beare, and will be contributing snippets from his history of the club (a work he has in progress but will probably never find a publisher for.)
For Jaime Samms, a die-hard pantzer, same as Charlie, the whole idea of planning ahead is like asking her to give up chocolate, or…coffee! She says it’s not impossible, but sometimes makes for a grumpy-ass author who’s greatest challenge so far has been accepting the Zen of the delete key. Here’s what Jaime says about her experience with the LOA and group world building.
When Lex first asked me to join this adventure I wondered if my friend had lost her mind, momentarily or maybe mistaken the email address her email program fill in the autofill space, because I’ve never written steam punk in my life. About as close as I’ve got to the genre has been Howl’s Moving Castle, and nary an alpha male has stepped foot in my stories, like, ever. As far as writing historical goes, I might have written something set in the eighties once. And by eighties, I mean 1980’s. But, she assures me it’ll all be okay. At least I have the gay angst romance angle covered.
I am most curious to see how closely my character, Alexi will resemble his bio by the time I’m done with him. I’ll tell you, it was tough writing a bio for a character I hadn’t met yet. Already, he’s morphing into something I hadn’t anticipated when I wrote his life story. Between me and this blog, I think he reflects my own view of this whole venture in that he’s young and inexperienced, and kind of feels like he’s gone and stepped into the deep end of the pool to play with the big kids and left his floaties at home. Good thing he’s an inventor who specializes in boat building…
As for Stephani Hecht, she had pretty much the same take on this idea as everyone else.
When Lex approached me about the idea for a steampunk collaboration, my first thought was, “How in the hell am I going to do this?” Not only don’t I write historicals, but the closest I ever got to anything Steampunk was the one time I watched Wild, Wild West and that was years ago.
Then I found out what other authors were already on board for the project and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Plus, I met Lex last year at RT and I knew what an awesome person she is, so I considered it an honor that she thought to include me in this wonderful endeavor. Now, I find myself looking forward to bringing my characters to life and watching as they interact with the other author’s creations. In the meantime, I’m going to make sure that I watch Wild, Wild West at least ten more times, plus I’m going to be reading every steampunk novel I can get my greedy hands on.
Now, the interesting part of all this has been getting turned down by my pal Z.A. Maxfield for this project only to have her go ballistic with ideas for it over lunch at Don Ramon’s. I guess I made her fall in love with my character Anthony Banning which gave life to her character Shelley Jefferson. And the plotting and brainstorming in person over chips and salsa was amazing.
The experience has been a positive one overall and the world building seems to come easier with more hands to do the building rather than the chaos you’d think would ensue when so many creative hands get into the pot. And we’re having fun which is the main reason to do something like this. We’re gaining readership daily and the wait for installments keeps them on the edge of their seats wanting to know what’s next. You can’t fast forward to the end with this story!
We’d like to thank the Steamed gang for having us and letting us talk about our new venture. We’re so glad Suzanne offered to have us here.
Readers 18 and older can read Lords of Aether at http://lordsofaether.com.