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Posts Tagged ‘guest thursdays’

Today we welcome Edrie from the Army of Broken Toys!

Raised on a farm in North Dakota, Edrie never thought her Lawrence Welk accordion skills would come in handy. Now from heifers to the Hynes Convention Center and everywhere in between; follow Edrie as she tells you about her life and her Army of Broken Toys.

Steampunk Theatre

by Edrie

For the past couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in the making of a steampunk theatre piece with my band Walter Sickert & The ARmy of BRoken TOys. The piece started out as a SteamCRUNK radio play called “28 Seeds: The Last Radio Show” created for the RPM Challenge (if you are at all into AWESOME music – you should check RPM out!) which you can listen to for free on our Bandcamp page.  After hearing the radio play – a Boston based experimental theatre company Liars & Believers convinced us to go in on a huge experiment with them – bringing 28 Seeds to the stage, steampunk style!

After a year of script writing by a very talented writer (and our band’s Mandolin and Mustache) Meff and collaboration, and work-shopping and previews and begging for money  – we premiered the play on 4/20/12 at the Boston Center for the Arts . There were accolades, and a behind the scenes video, and we generally sold out each of the 16 performances to a very appreciative crowd, but what, my dear readers, made this a steampunk play?

Well, I’m not sure actually. It might be funny for me to admit this, but really steampunk is so many things to so many people that it’s awfully hard to pin down a definition that makes everyone happy. It’s not all gears and cogs (though to be sure we had plenty of that on set) or even the kind of costuming used (it certainly ran the gamut) or even the music (really no one can agree about what steampunk music sounds like – and frankly I like it that way).

For us it was much more the collaborative, inclusive nature of the production. The roll-up-our-sleeves-and- get-it- done-together attitude that everyone from the band, actors, and production staff to the theatre, producers and audience had.  For me, steampunk is really more about community than accoutrements. The latest ray gun is cool and all, but only when shared with others who have equally cool new monocles, spats or a steam-powered typewriter.

It’s the community that makes the experience and that is what steampunk theatre is; an experience rooted in community!

~Edrie

(One of the BRoken TOys)

28 Seeds tells the story of how greed and ignorance destroyed the world. This is H.P. Lovecraft meets rock music, steam power, and 1000 channels of TV beamed directly to your head; it’s government conspiracy, burlesque, ray guns, and tentacles; it blends a live rock show, science fiction, dance, theatre, video and sound into an immersive performance experience.

“Over 25 Boston artists and performers are involved in this unique collaboration. We’re bringing together innovative theatre, with all its story-telling tools, and the wild music of a live steampunk band. We have musicians, actors, dancers, video artists, sound artists, graphic artists and more. All are sharing in this wild collaborative work… ”

28 Seeds (the SOUNDTRACK) out NOW – st(r)eam it free HERE

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First I have a winner to announce.  BBS Used Book Buyers  you have won a copy of Jana Oliver’s The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. Please email me to claim your prize. There’s still time to win God Save the Queen by Kate Locke.

Now, on to today’s guest. Today we welcome Coleen Kwan, who’s first steampunk romance Asher’s Invention just released from Carina Press on Tuesday! ~launches cupcake canonon~

Coleen Kwan has been bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance whether it’s sweet or sensual. She lives in Sydney with her partner and two children. When  not writing,she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching The Office. Visit her at http://www.coleenkwan.com

 

A Greek Inventor and a Famous Chef

by Coleen Kwan 

Thanks for having me on your blog today!

 When I started writing steampunk, I found I had to do a lot more research than I realised. Now, research is a great way to put off actual writing, and it can also be fascinating.  As I trawled through the internet I stumbled upon some intriguing tidbits which I’d never known about.

Take the steam engine, for example. From my school days eons ago I assumed that the steam engine was invented around the turn of the eighteenth century by a Scottish engineer. Turns out an ancient Greek is credited with inventing the world’s first steam engine. Hero of Alexandria lived in the 1st century AD. He built the aeolipile, a steam-powered turbine.

 

 The aeolipile consists of a sphere which can rotate on its axis and has nozzles bent in opposite directions. Water is heated, either inside the sphere or in a boiler below, and the resulting steam shoots out the nozzles, which creates torque and drives the sphere which then starts rotating. It’s not known whether Hero’s aeolipile was put to any practical use, or whether it was just an interesting curiosity, but it’s definitely a steam engine.

 The aeolipile wasn’t Hero’s only invention. He also created automatons which he used to mount a fully automated play complete with special effects like fire and thunder. He also invented a vending machine which dispensed holy water when a user deposited a coin into a slot! This man was seriously gifted.

 From steam engines to food. How much food did the average 19th century epicure eat? In Alexis Soyer’s ‘The Modern Housewife’ (published 1849) he details a list of average daily meals:

“BREAKFAST.––Three quarters of a pint of coffee, four ounces of bread, one ounce of butter, two eggs, or four ounces of meat, or four ounces of fish.
“LUNCH.––Two ounces of bread, two ounces of meat, or poultry, or game, two ounces of vegetables, and a half pint of beer, or a glass of wine.
“DINNER.––Half a pint of soup, a quarter of a pound of fish, half a pound of meat, a quarter of a pound of poultry, a quarter of a pound of savory dishes or game, two ounces of vegetables, two ounces of bread, two ounces of pastry or roasts, half an ounce of cheese, a quarter of a pound of fruit, one pint of wine, one glass of liqueur, one cup of coffee or tea; at night one glass of spirits and water.”

It’s also interesting to note the huge variety of food that was eaten in those times. They ate pigeons, partridges, grouse, plovers, teals, peacocks, deer, eels, turtle, hares, and a huge variety of fish.

Soyer was one of the most celebrated cooks in Victorian England. During the Great Irish Famine of 1847 he invented a soup kitchen in Dublin which dispensed soup for free to thousands of starving poor people.

So, a Greek inventor and a famous chef — just two of the interesting tidbits I uncovered during the writing of my first steampunk romance.

 ~Coleen Kwan

http://www.coleenkwan.com

 

Asher’s Invention

Five years ago, Asher Quigley broke his engagement to Minerva Lambkin, believing she was an accomplice in a scheme to steal his prototype for a wondrous device. Minerva swore she was innocent, though the thief—and Asher’s mentor—was her own father.

Now, sheer desperation has driven Minerva to Asher’s door. Her father has been kidnapped by investors furious that he’s never been able to make the machine work. Only Asher, now a rich and famous inventor in his own right, can replicate the device. He’s also become a hard, distant stranger far different from the young idealist she once loved.

Despite their troubled past, Asher agrees to help Minerva. He still harbors his suspicions about her, but their reunion stirs emotions and desires they both thought were buried forever. Can they rebuild their fragile relationship in time to save her father and their future together?

Purchase Asher’s Invention at

Carina Press http://bit.ly/KEP0io

Amazon http://amzn.to/IpClNx

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/Id8RZq

Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/IavZXG

iTunes http://bit.ly/M2VD0C

 

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Today we welcome back Steampunk Author Maeve Alpin.

Maeve Alpin loves reading and writing about ancient times. It’s only natural that she loves alternative history just as much. She had a lot of fun combing the mystery and magic of ancient Egypt with the prim and proper, frill and lace, of an alternate Victorian age of steam robots and time travel machines for her As Timeless As Stone novella. Drawing on her love for a happy ending, she’s had sever…al works published: five romance novels, three novellas, and short stories in four anthologies. She lives in Texas with her family; her grown son, her granddaughter, and her spoiled cat, Severus. Visit her at   http://MaeveAlpin.com In addition to her Steampunk/Romances she writes Celtic/Romances under the name Cornelia Amiri

Steampunk Media

By Maeve Alpin

The captain and crew of Steamship Isabella along with the band Steam Powered Giraffe, The Spine, The John, and Rabbit in their robot makeup, discussed Steampunk media at Clockwork.con. As fellow artist there are many similarities between musicians and writers. Steam Powered Giraffes said, “We write what we write and the Steampunk community embraced it.” To a novelist that would be the same as saying, I write from the heart. I love people who write from the heart whether it’s regarding literature or music.

Also their statement that, “Steampunk music is developing, there is certainly no set definition” is also very true of Steampunk literature and my favorite cross genre, Steampunk/Romance. Great samples of Steam Powered Giraffes and their use of media can be found at their youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/SpineRaptor/featured, be sure to check out the Captain Albert Alexander video. Also check out the back-story of Steam Powered Giraffes. http://www.steampoweredgiraffe.com/cavalcadium//about.html.

Airship Isabella uses the media of videos as well.  Here is fan fiction piece, Fallout Houston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzQ5OmZnwo8&context=C3080fd3ADOEgsToPDskIbbLq3NQpsNePeXqEvJ5nJ

Writers have used the media of book trailers for awhile but they are an even better choice now as more and more people are utilizing smart phones. Eighty seven percent of all smart phone owners read their email on the phone. Videos play well on smart phones so they are a great way to promote your Steampunk books.

Whether you’re speaking of a band, an airship, or a lone author, Steampunk is an esthetic and a mindset with limitless boundaries. For writers creatively utilizing media will help inform others about this genre we love and about our books. To sum it up, in the words of Steam Power Giraffe in their song Brass Goggles, “Wind me up, turn the gears.”

Here is the trailer for my Steampunk/Romance As Timeless As Stone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQEOp9l9ZFA

For everyone, the sequel to As Timeless As Stone, As Timeless As Magic is free at the Kindle store on Amazon from today 02/23/12 until 02/27/12. http://www.amazon.com/Unparallel-Adventures-Traveling-Egyptians-ebook/dp/B006VOW3PY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1329874762&sr=1-1

Blogging Contest: I’m giving away a free PDF Ebook of my Steampunk/Romance As Timeless As Stone to everyone who leaves a comment, please include your email address. Visit my website at http://MaeveAlpin.com

~Maeve Alpin

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Kim Lakin-Smith, author of Cyber Circus – shortlisted for this year’s British Science Fiction Association Best Novel award.  Her new work, Queen Rat is published by Murky Depths and is available from Amazon.co.uk, or order direct from the author’s website for a personalised, signed copy.  For more information about Kim and her latest news, visit www.kimlakin-smith.com or follow Kim at www.twitter.com/kimlakinsmith

 

The Real Inspirations for My Fictional Characters

by Kim Lakin-Smith

 Philip Reeve, luminary author of the Mortal Engines series, kindly described my novel Cyber Circus as “…definitely some kind of ‘punk’: violent, grungy, transgressive and bristling with attitude,” adding, “Compared with it, most Steampunk that I’ve read needs to be reclassified as ‘Steam-Easy-Listening’ or Steam-Middle-of-the-Road’.” Such descriptions from my favourite author left me humbled – also newly aware that while my writing is heavy on the mechanics, it is the ‘punk’ aspect of the steampunk genre which really gets my juices flowing. From my debut novel, the dark fantasy Tourniquet, to my recent short stories – The Harvest, The Killing Fields, Field of the Dead… – I’ve always been drawn to the rebel and the outcast. In Tourniquet, I focused on the punkish aspects of the gothic and rock music scene. In Cyber Circus, I concentrated on a dust-punk world where the freaks of the circus provide welcome relief from the drabness of existence. In my latest story, the Young Adult novella, Queen Rat, it is the teenage protagonists who add a punkish flavour.

                                     Queen Rat is set in the underwater world of the Free Ocean where 14-year-old Princess Ratiana Clementine Saint John of the submersible Victoriana is to wed Prince Simeon of the Aesthetes. Neither is keen on the match. Princess Ratiana – ‘Rat’ for short – is the Victoriana’s acting captain, given that both her parents are borderline senile. She is used to her rough tough people and, in spite of her personal tutor’s best efforts to refine her, has adopted their wild ways. In contrast, Prince Simeon is an orphaned Aesthete who is more likely to be found with his head in a book in the royal library than playing dodge with a cloud of jellyfish. They are an unlikely match – and desperately young to be forced into the constitution of marriage. But for a long time, the notion of a small pool of suitable partners combined with marriage at a young age was notorious among royal families across the globe. 

 In creating Rat, I wanted to pay homage to her most famous ancestor, the real life British monarch, Queen Victoria. While Victoria is often associated with the strict morality of the period, her actions as a young woman reveal the sort of spirit, strength and passion which underpins the character of Rat.

Victoria was raised under the Kensington System, a strict and complex set of rules devised by her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and her attendant and rumoured lover, Sir John Conroy. Reacting against the presence of the then King William’s illegitimate children at court, the duchess banned Victoria from any hint of sexual impropriety. Consequently Victoria shared her mother’s room every night, was not allowed to descend the staircase unattended, spent her days isolated but for her beloved King Charles Spaniel, Dash, and was consistently badgered to make Conroy her private secretary. Given the restrictions of her childhood, it is fascinating that, on inheriting the throne at age 18, Victoria banished Conroy from her presence. It wasn’t long before her mother too was evicted from the palace. Victoria remained distanced from the duchess for the rest of the latter’s life.

Someone who noted Victoria ’s feisty personality was her future husband, Prince Albert , who wrote “(She) is said to be incredibly stubborn and her extreme obstinacy to be constantly at war with her good nature…(She is said) to enjoy sitting up at night and sleeping late into the day.” Apparently the future queen’s quirks did not put Albert off – on the15th of October 1839, he accepted Victoria ’s proposal of marriage. The success of their union, which produced 9 children, alongside Victoria ’s extreme mourning for her husband when he died at the age of 42, reveals that she was not only spirited but intensely romantic.

There is also an essence of Prince Albert about my character Prince Simeon. Like Simeon, he was a foreign royal who combined intellectual pursuits such as the study of law, political economy, philosophy, art history and music, with physical prowess in gymnastics, fencing and riding. Notably, Albert was heavily involved with the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Similarly, he was gifted with a very clear sense of right from wrong. Over time he adopted many public causes including educational reform and a worldwide abolition of slavery, as well as running the Queen’s household, estates and office.

To my mind then, the ‘punk’ side of my steampunk novella Queen Rat lies in the ghosts of the monarch and her consort prince who inhabit my main characters. Rat and Simeon have to fulfil several life-threatening Grand Rites together before the knot can be tied; in order to survive they must learn to work together and utilise body, mind and soul. It’s a fairly useful analogy for a happy marriage, and one which served their famous ancestors well.

 ~Kim

 www.kimlakin-smith.com 

 www.twitter.com/kimlakinsmith

 

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Emily, aka “Professor Raven” runs Professor Raven’s Curiosity Emporium on Etsy.

Steampunk: My Coal-Dusty Heaven

by Professor Raven

I am in finally in heaven: steamy, coal-dusty heaven. Several years ago, I knew that I wanted to create, I wanted to write, I wanted the American version of success. I ran out and bought tools and supplies, the likes of which I knew nothing. My first attempts at jewelry creation were amateurish, awkward, and not beautiful. But I learned, refined my technique, my pieces became a wee bit more sophisticated. I still had no real focus.

I found the Twilight series (don’t hate) and thought that could be my focus. However, since all of my Twilight-inspired pieces had my own brand of sarcastic gothism imposed, they weren’t run-away best sellers. I still hadn’t found my niche.

About two years ago, I was introduced to the steampunk genre. Not only was I in love, but I had found a creative home, a style I not only understood, but a style I felt understood me. I’ve always been an imposter: a lonely, weird soul pretending to be normal. In steampunk, I found a place to belong! The steampunk community has been mostly welcoming, societal outsiders like me, friendly, warm, and weirdly entertaining. I found my focus!

Since embracing steampunk, I’ve not only narrowed my focus significantly, improved my technique, and started branching out to new mediums. I’ve met authors, bloggers, and been embraced as an artist in my own right. Sure, I’ve run into the odd purist who thinks that “merely slapping watch parts on something does not steampunk make”, but for the most part this is a welcoming community.

At my shop, I believe that steampunk is a state of mind. I love combining industrial, Victorian, and gothic elements into a cohesive piece. I love talking with other Steampunks and getting their unique take on our genre. I’ve started listening to steampunk bands and their eclectic sounds.

As a “social misfit”, I’m a bit perturbed that steampunk seems to be gaining mainstream ground; while this makes it easier for us to be accepted and find low-cost goodies, it also makes it harder to craft the genre we want, and harder for the true craftsmen to grow. I don’t count myself in the latter group *yet*, but I’ll get there.

While mainstream acceptance of the genre and its presence makes it easier for us to “explain” ourselves, I can’t help but wonder: what happens when popular opinion leaves us alone? And just how much more unique would our gear-driven world be if mass popularity hadn’t intruded itself?

–Emily
Facebook.com/Professor.Raven

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~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.

~Lex Valentine

 

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Maeve Alpin loves reading and writing about ancient times. It’s only natural she loves alternative history just as much. She had a lot of fun adding an ancient twist to the Victorian age in her Egyptian/Steampunk/Romance As Timeless As Stone by Lyrical Press. And her newest release, a Celtic/Steampunk/Romance, To Love A London Ghost by Eternal Press. She lives in Texas with her family; her grown son, her granddaughter, and her spoiled cat, Severus. Visit Maeve Alpin at http://maevealpin.com.

Victorian Ghosts – Steampunk Style

by Maeve Alpin

Engrossed in spiritualism and Gothic novels, many Victorians, haunted by ghost, held table rapping séances. A parlor game still played to this day kown as the Ouija board received its paten in 1890, invented by an American lawyer, Elijah Bond. You can take a look at those first boards in the antique galleries and play an online version at The Museum of Talking Boards http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/WebOuija.html. The Victorians also loved to tell ghost stores in grand style by candle and gas light as cold winter winds howled outside. Among the Victorian authors who crafted classic ghost stores were M. R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Violet Hunt, and Henry James. The most popular ghost story from the Victorian age, A Christmas Carol, like the Ouija board is enjoyed to this day. My favorite is the Mr. Magoo version, as a kid I watched it every year. You can enjoy it online at http://www.hulu.com/watch/197592/mr-magoos-christmas-carol. Most people today are also familiar with another classic Victorian tale, Oscar Wilde’s The Canterville Ghost, if not the short story itself then one of the film versions which are often shown on TV. I always liked the one with Jodi Foster. With all this inspiration from Victoriana it’s no surprise I wrote a Steampunk/Romance with a ghost as the heroine. Walk on the wild side of Victorian London with the ghost and the ghost hunter with my new Steampunk/Romance To Love A London Ghost.

Here is the Blurb:

When Queen Victoria orders Sexton Dukenfield, premiere phantom hunter, to track down England’s missing ghost he stumbles into Ceridwen, a phantom warrior woman of an ancient Celtic tribe. Not only does he find her intriguing as a piece of the puzzle of the missing spirits, but he’s also haunted by her sultry sensuality. Though they both burn with desire, it’s difficult to quench their fiery passion since Ceridwen is so translucent. Every time Sexton touches her, his hands pass through her misty body. On a mission through the bustling narrow streets of London, to a dreary match factory, and even to the Otherworld and back, to stop a genius scientist and his phantasm debilitater machine, the ghost and the ghost hunter seek the secret to freeing the boundaries of life and death. 

Excerpt:

Taken off guard, Sexton finally managed to catch his breath.“Do you see her?”

Katie bobbed her head, then raised her thin, trembling arm and pointed at the apparition. “Ghost.”

The specter spread her feet in a warrior stance with her back straight and her chin tilted up. “Keep your box and magic beam away from me.”

Even in these strange circumstances, Sexton couldn’t help but notice the ectoplasm outline of the lush bulge of her heavy breasts. He riveted his eyes on them, then his gaze roamed to her waist, which flared into curved hips and long, supple thighs. “These?” He held up the device he clutched by the brass handle and grabbed the one strapped over his shoulder. “No magic, just boxes. They measure energy and heat, to tell me if phantasms are near. They can’t hurt you. Though I don’t need them now. I can see you, I know you’re near.” He turned his head toward the child peering at the specter from behind him.

“She really is a ghost,” Katie said.

“Indeed, and looking right at me.” Sexton looked back at the stunning spirit. He could tell her hair had been blonde and her eyes a sky blue. He felt warm being near her, rather than cold. Looking the phantasm in the eyes, he said, “I’m not going to hurt you and I was just going to ask you to not hurt me. I can help you go back to the light.”

“I’m not going to harm you, but I’m not going to the light or anywhere else until I free the others and bring vengeance on those men for capturing me.”

“Do you mean by others that there are more phantasms are in the factory?” He nodded toward the building. “Captured by men, did you say?”

“Yes, eight ghosts.”

Sexton took a deep breath. “Well, well, you are just the phantasm I was looking for.”

Please comment below to be entered in the drawing for a Steampunk Basket, including a Steampunk papier-mâché gun, Steampunk jewelry, (necklace and pin) and Victorian holiday treats.

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! Contest closes December 7, 2011, at 11:59 PM PST. 

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