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!


(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



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.


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.





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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?


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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. 


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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Heather Hiestand is the author of seven novels and numerous novellas and short stories. Her latest release is a steampunk romance novella, Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas.

Airships on my Mind

by Heather Hiestand

Thanks for allowing me to visit today, Steamed!, and discuss one of my favorite topics.

Gadgets are a perpetually exciting part of writing steampunk and the airship is one of the most durable elements. Some authors have them drifting across the sky, providing a backup, some have characters travelling on them in casual fashion, and some of our characters have to get a bit more up close and personal with these lighter-than-air machines. There are as many variations to the airship as there are writers to imagine them.

Here is the first view of an airship in my novella, Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas:

Linet dashed back to the window. Yes, a rope ladder, just like the ones she’d climbed thousands of times to her father’s dirigible, the Christmas, dangled outside, a little lower now. Ladders had been the staircases of her life until she was seventeen, carrying her from earth to sky, larceny to freedom.

Who had found her? Her father had enemies, to be sure, but no enemy would be visiting her on Christmas Eve. No one from her old life had crossed her path in all this time. Perhaps her sister Terrwyn had finally reappeared?

She reached through the window and grabbed the ladder, then frowned. That knot with a gash on the left side looked familiar. One rung was painted red, the next, green. Her gaze rose, unbelieving.

The Christmas tossed gently, grandly, merrily, on the wind, the green and red-striped balloon over the deck radiating holiday cheer. She watched the propellers turn for a minute, dumbfounded.

When I wrote Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas, I didn’t have to know too much about airships, but as I write the sequel, Captain Fenna’s Dirigible Valentine, I’m having to understand them a bit more. Lots of sky battles in the new story! I’m far from an expert, but I’m making use of some excellent websites.

Here is my list:

To start, Wikipedia always has great information. http://www.wikipedia.org. Just search on whatever term you are wondering about, like dirigible or zeppelin.

I use Mapquest to figure out travel routes for my airships. http://www.mapquest.com

If you need to understand the basic parts of a dirigible, here is a good site:  http://history.howstuffworks.com/world-war-i/dirigible1.htm

Fantastic real world information:  http://www.airships.net/

Need some help with air acrobatics? http://www.greenharbor.com/fffolder/questions.html#anchor1234506

I use actual ships to figure out layout and size of the ship part of my flying contraptions. Sales sites for ships, versus aircraft, are very handy for that. One site I use, that has slideshows of actual boats, is:  http://www.boatquest.com.

This is a discussion on Steampunk Empire about building steampunk airships and models:  http://www.thesteampunkempire.com/forum/topics/building-an-actual-airship?xg_source=activity&id=2442691%3ATopic%3A569797&page=2

~ Heather Hiestand

Captain Andrew’s Flying Christmas links:









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Today we welcome Natalie Zaman.

Natalie Zaman is the co-author of Sirenz (out now) and Sirenz Back In Fashion (2012)  with Charlotte Bennardo.  Her work has appeared in various magazines, newspapers, e-zines and anthologies for adults and children. She’s currently plotting disasters for the characters of Sirenz and working on a Victorian steampunk fantasy for teens. Natalie lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.

The Mourning After

by Natalie Zaman

The thing that drew me to attempt to try writing Steampunk—or, considering my MS, Steampunk-lite ;)—was its Victorian sensibility. There’s something about 19th century life, minus the cholera, questionable standards of cleanliness, mortality rate…

Our forebears who lived in the previous-previous century were more closely connected to death than we are today—in ways that can seem, well, almost morbid. And they’ve left lots of fascinating clues to that connection in their ephemera and trinkets and clothing and customs. If loss is a part of your WIP, consider incorporating some details of Victorian mourning into your story to bring in a romantically dark aesthetic. Here are three of my favorites…


Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials, and survives us, like love.– Godely’s Lady’s Book, 1855

The good folks at Godely’s were quite right—hair lasts. And the Victorians, those sentimentalists, took it to heart. Another thing about hair—just about everyone had some (apologies to those with bare heads!). Not everyone could afford the more elaborate trappings of mourning, but hair weaving was a skill that anyone could master. For some it became an amusing parlor art, but for others, it was a means to pay tribute to a loved one.

Hair could be incorporated into jewelry—in the form of watch chains fabricated from lengthy braids…

An intricately braided watch chain made of human hair. Photo credit, sonnetofthemoon, flickr

… or plaits and portraits preserved under glass…

This image is made completely of human hair. The artist clipped the hair into tiny pieces and painted the picture with it

Hair could also be used to create larger, three dimensional pictures…

Mourning wreathes were usually horseshoe shaped (open to heaven). Flowers were formed by wrapping hair around wires and then shaping them into flowers and leaves. These often represented families rather than one single person. New elements were added to the wreath as people passed away

It’s important to note that not all hair jewelry and/or art was specific to mourning. I remember being showed a school-girl’s journal at an antique store with a section devoted to hair weavings for each of her friends, her remembrances of them. Sometimes large scale hair sculptures could be representative of communities or families with new elements being added with each new addition, rather than exit; births, marriages and adoptions.


Victorians were masters of the accessory. Just as they had specific attire for funerals and mourning, they had appropriate jewelry to compliment those shadowy suits and gowns. While some of the jewelry was certainly black—not all of it was. Symbolism was far more important in mourning jewelry than it being made out of black material—the most common being jet or the more affordable gutta percha (a natural form of rubber) or vulcanite—a substance created by the Goodyear company.

A brooch made of vulcanite. This material made it possible for jewelry to be massed produced. There are material tests that can be done on jewelry to determine whether it’s jet or vulcanite (as in tests for Bakelite)—but if a piece looks like it was molded rather than carved, it’s probably vulcanite.

Jewelry paid homage to the life of the person who passed. The story of their life and profession or vocation was told through symbols—and they weren’t always the associations that we have today…

Far from being a symbol of deception or evil, the snake was considered a symbol of eternity—all things considered, this could be quite comforting. But the sentiment transcended mourning. Snake jewelry could also be a love token. Prince Albert gave Victoria a snake engagement ring!


Post Mortem Photography.

Do you remember the film, The Others? Grace Stewart, played by Nicole Kidman stumbles upon a photo album that both disturbs and fascinates her—all of the pictures are of dead people. Not everyone could afford a painted portrait of a loved one. Photography made it possible for more people to keep images of those who were important to them. But this was an age where the mortality rate was high and disease could carry off anyone—old, young, generally healthy or otherwise—at any given time. Sometimes the post mortem photograph would be the only image a family would have of their loved one, especially if the person was young.

Mourning photos weren’t only taken of the dead—but those who mourned them. Sometimes the mourners would be captured with their loved ones, lying beside them or holding them. Or they would be alone, as in this image

Post mortem images can be beautiful, haunting, and let’s be honest—disturbing. Still, once viewed, it stays in the mind, a memory veiled with the mercurial haze of an old tintype. What would your character say or think if he was holding one of these in his hands?

Victorian Mourning Resources…

(Mourning art and jewelry) http://artofmourning.wordpress.com/

(Jet and Jet Jewerly) http://www.whitbyjet.co.uk/

(Hairwork) http://www.victorianhairartists.com/

(Post Mortem Photographs) http://burnspress.com/

(Post Mortem Photographs) http://thanatos.net/

(Victorian Rituals—mourning and otherwise) http://home.kendra.com/victorianrituals/vic2.htm

~Natalie Zaman


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Today we welcome author Alison DeLuca. 

Alison DeLuca is a writer of urban fantasy for young adults.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.   As a teacher she taught every grade level in every kind of school district possible.  She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

The Creation of the Governess 

by Alison DeLuca

My steampunk Crown Phoenix series is set in Edwardian England. One of the main characters, Mana, comes from an island country and has dark skin. This would be no big deal today, but in Edwardian England it would have been an interesting social situation, to say the least. Mana is one of my favorite characters that I ever created, and I hesitated over handling her place in English society.

I wanted her to be a real person, who had intelligence, beauty, and humor. I also wanted her to exist in a realistic society, although one that was filled with steampunk elements. Therefore, Mana had to face a level of prejudice that was abhorrent to write but necessary for the story. She had to overcome what would have been a natural attitude, sadly, at the time. It was a very difficult type of mental gymnastics: I wanted to create a sympathetic character that was strong in her own right and yet have her confront social morés and keep her dignity within a long, complicated plot.

As she developed a personality and characteristics, she started to win other characters over in the story. Her first conquest was the difficult, neglected daughter of a rich man, Miriam, who had become almost feral in disposition. Next were some of the servants in the house where Miriam and Mana lived, a very difficult thing to accomplish.

In The Night Watchman Express, Mana was viewed from the point of view of Miriam, the child, and that was a huge help to me as a writer. Children are prone to love easily, and as Miriam began to truly accept and respect Mana, her governess, the true character of the woman from the islands emerged. The girl admired Mana’s patience, neatness, and the way the governess never raised her voice and yet got people (Miriam included) to do what she asked.

It was a very delicate nuance to develop. I thoroughly enjoyed creating Mana, and I hope that one day you will invite her into your imagination as well.

 ~Alison DeLuca

 Fresh Pot of Tea blog http://alisondeluca.blogspot.com/
On Amazon http://amzn.to/p13tCl

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My apologies for the radio silence.  I do have some epic news for you…but you’ll have to wait until Monday. 

Until then, here are the winners I owe you:

The winner of The Faerie Ring is:

Jessie Ball

The winner of the toy airship is:

Mina Gerhart


Today we welcome author Maureen O. Betita!

Rules? I Don’t Need No Stinking Rules!
by Maureen O. Betita

I love that about steampunk. I’ve been to several big steampunk conventions and one thing most everyone agrees on…we don’t want rules. We don’t want a definition; we don’t want to be hemmed in.

Yes, steampunk roams free across the plains of the ‘what if’. It almost seems, as a genre, it’s more about a feeling, an aesthetic, than a strict interpretation of anything. This is one of the reasons it’s one of my favorite new genre mutations. (I know it isn’t really new-new, just new to the greater world.)

Because, I, too, want to roam free. I’m one of those writers who didn’t know about the rules, or the concept of format. All those silly acronyms were like hieroglyphs to me. I just wrote. And if I crossed POV or head hopped or used too many adverbs or… Well, you get the picture. Obviously, at the rate I worked, I would never see anything published.

So, I learned some of the rules. The basic rules. About grammar and punctuation and POV and head hopping… I still tend to use run on sentences. (Notice?) But mainly for the effect of effective babble.

Yes, effective babble.

In many ways, this is one way to look at steampunk. Effective babble. It wanders and roams and plays with words and inventions that boggle the mind. Not the purely high-minded scifi inventions created by luminaries such as Arthur C. Clarke, penning the concept of satellites before the idea was more than a gleam in the eye of communications specialists all over the world. Or Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics.

Nope. Steampunk creates…oh…mechanical wings with gears, powered by steam. An earth mover that undermines an entire city, or a blend of mechanical and biological…hence an airship created from a whale. See? Effective babble!

Open any page of the Girl Genius comics and you’ll see inventions and innovations that defy every law of gravity, mechanics, physics…and yet…they aren’t magic! Which is one of those weirdly wonderful things about steampunk. Seldom is magic part of the mix.

And I say seldom because being the free roaming spirit it is…sometimes magic is part of things.

I love it!

For those of us who see ourselves as closet anarchists…steampunk is our wetdream.

When I began to create the world of The Kraken’s Caribbean, I wanted elements of steampunk, without the steam. I wanted magic and I wanted some technical toys. But mainly, I wanted pirates. So, no steam. But pirates. Hence, piratepunk was born. My personal name for the genre of The Kraken’s Caribbean.

The Kraken’s Mirror introduced a pirate haven of Tortuga, roundabouts 1690, where there were blenders at the bar and margaritas! My pirates do their work with an iPod strapped to their belts, heads bobbing to the music of the internet. A corner juggler may be using rubik’s cubes to amaze his audience. There’s ice to keep the drinks cold. And sanitation. Vampires act as the defense system for the island. Werewolves wander the forest and zombies gather in the swamp.

Oh, and time travelers stroll the streets while a matchmaking albino kraken stands guard over the entire world.

Yes, pirates inhabiting a world I could see steampunk would find interesting.

So, in the second volume, The Chameleon Goggles, I have Tortuga under attack from a very nasty steampunk world, intent of harvesting all that is profitable from the Kraken’s haven. Novan has come for its escaped citizen, but Captain Jezebel isn’t going easy and with the help of the chameleon goggles and a swashbuckling Mick March, Tortuga will force Novan to regret their actions! (coming October 20th!)

Bwah ha ha!

I have a third in the works involving a pirate circus…

Would I have felt so free to create this world without the example before of Gail Carriger? And Scott Westerfield? Cherie Priest? I don’t know. Maybe, but maybe not.

Steampunk. Piratepunk. Effective babble…what wonderful worlds!

Is there a favorite bit of fantastical babbling you’d like to see slip into the steampunk universe? Tell me about it (include your e-mail addy, please)  and I’ll set one of you up with an e-copy of The Kraken’s Mirror AND The Chameleon Goggles when it’s released!

Yup, I’m Maureen O. Betita and I write along the shores of the beauteous Monterey Bay in California. I walk my dog along the bluffs where I study the waves, watch the dolphin teach the surfers a thing or two and dream about pirates. When I’m not at pirate festivals, renaissance faires, scifi/fantasy conventions or steampunk gatherings…

Explore my worlds at
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Maureen-O-Betita-Author/155907664465540  
Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/maureenobetita
and www.romancewritersrevenge.com (Where I babble as 2nd Chance, the bartender of a ship full of writing pirates.)

Contest ends at 11:59 PM PST 10/19/11.

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Today we welcome MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier.

Veronique Chevalier is the eccentric Françican (Français-American) Chanteuse (Songstress) known as The “Weird VAL” of Dark Cabaret.  She’s an unparalleled Parodist; a Steampunk-lish Chanteuse, and Spooky Polkanista, who has been described as a twisted incarnation of Edith Piaf from an alternate reality – the one in which her parents are Jim Morrison, and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and her godparents are Lucille Ball and Weird Al.  As a self-proclaimed “Mad Sonictist,” she takes maniacal pleasure in combining previously unrelated musical forms into new, unholy combinations. She vows to leave no genre unadulterated in her quest to create the ultimate Sonic Frankenstein.  She originated the genre of “Gothic Polka”. Her twisted brand of humour hits at the core of daily reality. Being gonged off the premiere season of America’s Got Talent (which is FAKE reality) was irrefutable proof her gifts are wasted on the masses.

What Is “Steampunk Music?”

by Veronique Chevalier

MADemoiselle Veronique Chevalier

There seem to be more and more debates floating through the aethers on the subject of “Steampunk Music,” so I wrote this piece from the viewpoint that I have as an artiste. Although I have performed at numerous Steampunk events, and shall continue to do so as long as the invitations keep coming my way, I don’t call myself a “Steampunk” artiste, per say.

I prefer the word “artiste” without any descriptors, because I create to please myself, and I appear at non-Steampunk events (Cabarets/Music Halls/Gay Venues/Burlesque Rooms) as well. I do feel very privileged and honoured that many fine folk in the community appreciate my special brand of ODDitory MADemoiselle-ness.

However, I know that people new to the Steampunk community, as well as long-time adherents, yearn for more musical choices, so that they might have a soundtrack, as it were, to complement the aesthetics and spirit that drew them to the community initially.

In the spirit of inclusiveness, I’d like to share a couple of invaluable resources for Steampunk-ish music. Incidentally, there is no universal agreement about what constitutes “Steampunk” music, since it commenced as a literary and aesthetic movement. However, it does seem to follow that numerous music artistes enjoyed by many Steampunks (and in whose ranks I am honoured to be included) are congregated in the following two websites:

Gilded Age Records
* http://www.gildedagerecords.com*

The world’s only artist collective, founded by Joshua A. Pfeiffer of Vernian Process & Evelyn Kriete, focused on musician’s combining old world aesthetics and sounds with current genres of music. Steampunk/Cabaret/Swing/Ragtime/Gypsy-Punk/Darkwave/etc.


Founded by Jordan Bodewell, “Sepiachord is the “genre that doesn’t exist”. It is to music what “Steampunk” is to literature and cinema: something that looks back to the past to comment on the present while looking sideways at the future. A cubist aural experience. As goth & glam are the bastards of David Bowie, Sepiachord is the made from the genetic material sown by Tom Waits.

Sepiachord is assembled like a clockwork orchestra, from such elements of music Sinister Circus, Cabaret Macabre, Chamber Pop, Organic Goth, Celtic/Gypsy Punk, Mutant Americana, Ghost Town Country It is the music our grandparents or great-grandparents would have listened to, if they were as off-set as we are.”

“A Sepiachord Passport” released under the Projekt Records imprint, is a compilation with a generous selection of 20 tracks by as many artistes, and is an excellent way to dip one’s toe into the Steampunk Music pool. It may be ordered from the Projekt website:

Coming late fall 2011, Steampunk is a two volume CD soundtrack for G. D. Falksen’s novel The Hellfire Chronicles: Blood In The Skies. This musical compilation represents the combined work of some of the top steampunk bands and musicians from across the world, who have come together to provide you with music to listen to while reading Blood In The Skies. The soundtrack also features an exclusive preview of the book, read by the author.

Disc 1

Disc 2

With great eSTEAM,

~Veronique Chevalier


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Today we welcome writing team E.C. Belikov and Elias Anderson!

Elias Anderson’s writing experience ranges from staff writer and reporter for the Coastal View News (Carpinteria, CA) to food critic, freelance copy writer, and editor. He has published poetry, articles, essays, and short stories.  His most recent work includes the novel Blood&Gasoline, and the short story compilation 13 Tales Of Abject Human Misery, both of which are available at http://www.elias-anderson.com.  He currently resides in Denver, CO, with his wife and children.

E.C. Belikov is a former MMA fighter with a record of 3-1, and full-fledged geek/gamer, who has been writing in one form or another pretty much all his life. Previous pieces of fiction include a collection of short horror stories titled FERAL and most years of his tax return forms (joking, please don’t audit me…again). He hopes to have his first full-length novel—a cyberpunk/sci-fi offering—completed by the end of the year. You can learn more about him at ecbelikov.com

Together E.C. and Elias have written Look Homeward, Clockwork Angel.  It is the first in a series of Steam Punk novellas and stories chronicling the harrowing post-apocalyptic adventures of the crew of the airship Masamune and the lives they touch along the way. You can find it on Amazon, for the Nook, and at Smashwords.

From Tourist to Native: A Pair Of Authors’ Journey Into A Sepia-Colored World

by E.C. Belikov and Elias Anderson
This whole process started out slowly…it began in each of us discovering that the other was a writer.  We’d give each other stuff to read over and E.C. did an edit on one of Elias’s books.  Throughout all this we found similar tastes in not only books but movies and music, and though it wasn’t something either of us had ever really had an interest in, we started kicking around the idea of working on a project together. Mostly it would be as an experiment, with neither of us expecting much from it.   Meanwhile, and unbeknownst to E.C., Elias had a clear image of a scene in his head about a woman walking into an obviously Old West-style saloon and being served drinks by a robot, then having a confrontation with a man that had (for lack of a better phrase) a bionic arm. 
Then E.C. said, ‘Let’s write an Alternative Western’. Though it was mostly a throw-away remark (who knows what ‘Alternative Western’ even means?) Elias kept thinking on it, and thinking about that scene in the bar, and how maybe the woman had gotten there in a giant airship like the ones in the Final Fantasy games he used to play on the SNES.  He brought the idea of the scene to E.C., who really dug the concept.  It really clicked for Elias one day when looking through some of Bjorn Hurri’s Star Wars art…Steampunk! THAT was the entry point we’d been looking for without really knowing we’d been looking for it. 
Elias had been a fan of the genre and had long been toying with the idea of writing something within it, but hadn’t come up with anything.  He brought the idea to E.C. and the project was propelled forward almost immediately. We dove further and further into the world of cogs and corsets, researching like crazy, coming to websites like this one for genre specific tips, all the while writing the first draft of an untitled piece with no clear conception of what it would turn out to be.  We used Elias’s bar scene as a jumping off point, not knowing even then that it would eventually be the actual beginning of the story.
We did know, at least, that we wanted a character driven story, with a strong plot. We weren’t writing Steampunk just to write Steampunk. We wanted a story that melded with the setting, not a story about the setting. Had we set out to write a story about Steampunks, rather than a story about people in a Steampunk world, we would have most certainly failed, and deserved it.
Immersing ourselves in the setting and source material as we did brought rapid change. For a time, everything was about Steampunk; we showed each other photos, passages from other writers, shared tips that we’d received. We think there’s a good bet we annoyed the crap out of the people around us. Well, except E.C.’s girlfriend who caught the bug too, and is gearing up to put together a costume for the next Denver Comic Con. Just about everyone else though probably found us insufferable and wanted to slap us.
But that’s okay, we forgive them. They’ve yet to dream in sepia.
Though we’d both been fans of the genre, one of us a little more than the other, but largely it was an outside, casual thing,.  We both dug the idea of an alternate history making a much different present and the opportunity to change that into a much different future…plus everything just looked cool!  We don’t think that writing this story brings us fully into the community…anyone can say (with varying results) “Add goggles to the main character and steam-ify this scene by 60%!”. 
For us, the community itself brought us into the community.  We’ve both been around the Internet long enough to know that most niches, especially when your primary entry-point is based online, can be tough to really become a part of.  It was such a pleasant and welcome surprise to find the across-the-board encouragement and acceptance that we have. More than airships and retro-fitted anachronistic future-tech, we think THAT is what Steampunk is really about, and we’d like to take this time to thank all of you for it.

~E.C. Belikov and Elias Anderson


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Steampunk for the Romantic in all of us

by Arabella Wyatt

It’s hardly an obscure fact that reality quite often fails to live up to fiction. In reality we have bills to pay, people to please who don’t necessarily please us in return, and jobs that eat into our time and, at worst, our souls. In fiction, we can soar above this and be heroic, romantic, and unconventional. In part, this helps explain the success of science fiction and fantasy, as well as the enduring appeal of certain archetypes; the rebel, the pirate, the mad scientist etc.

It was thinking along these lines that made me want to write something that was just plain, simple fun. Something with action, adventure, and romance. Given that I have long enjoyed the aesthetics of steampunk, and that I’m a bit of a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, it was no surprise when the two meshed in my head and I had the core idea of steampunk pirates. So be warned – these are not the pirates of airships. These are the other sort, traditionally seen with an eyepatch, a parrot, and a wooden leg. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Of course, a lot of the above is film fiction rather than actual fact, but even so, the pirate is an enduring image. I liked the idea of bringing piracy and steampunk together and began planning the story, knowing from the outset it had to have certain ingredients from each genre; a protagonist who, while undoubtedly heroic, has a few flaws. An adventuress defying convention. A good pirate, and a dastardly pirate. A Victorian setting mixed with advanced technology. A silver woman who crashes into the sea onboard her spaceship…

Maybe the last one isn’t a convention, but I knew who she was and how she fitted into the plot. Thus was born Lady Mechatronic and the Steampunked Pirates. Having got the ingredients I gave them a good stir and immediately hit a snag or two. For one thing, there was too much going on. The logistics of getting character A into location B, and ensuring that there he can meet character C, who will have an effect on D, dictated a certain shape to the story. For example, in making the hero, Captain Hartwell, a reluctant pirate, he had to have a nemesis to make him that pirate, and that nemesis quickly turned into his superior officer, the iniquitous Admiral Johnson. Which meant I had no place for the villainous pirate.

To make things worse, as the book progressed, I realised that Johnson was a character who demanded more space, not least because he’s a fat git. And so one of Johnson’s minor henchmen was promoted to second villain status, to leave Johnson free for future development. This resulted in another problem, in that the book was potentially growing into the size of an encyclopaedia, and given that I was aiming at a novella – a quick, exciting, light bite of a book – I had to look again at the ideas and decide that a sequel was going to be needed. Probably several.

This meant that the practical decision to curtail the first book raised yet another issue; the steampunk elements had hardly been explored, it being the nature of the plot that these elements would develop in a logical, straightforward way… so although the components were there, I didn’t have the space to delve into them too much.

This made me worry that the title, concerning steampunk pirates, could be a trifle misleading, but there I have had to shrug and hope there is in fact enough retro-tech to make the ardent steampunk fan happy – and there is still the promise of future steampunk developments to come. Such as what is happening to the galleon the pirates are travelling on…

So, if you pick up a copy of Lady Mechatronic and the Steampunked Pirates and you’re disappointed with the relative lack of steampunk in it, please accept my apologies, be patient, and wait for book two in the series, where just a little more will be revealed…

~Arabella Wyatt

Lady Mechatronic and the Steampunked Pirates is available now from Devine Destinies, and will soon be available from Kindle, Fictionwise and other third party sellers.

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Today we welcome Steampunk author Stella Price

Stella Price writes Steampunk as Dagmar Avery and runs the Authors After Dark convention. Her new Airship, the PenNInk, will debut November 2011 online. Watch for it. You can check out all her work at www.stellaandaudra.com

Airships. You know them, you lose them, you even write them into all your books of steamy goodness. But did you know that airships are real? No not in the “Duh, zeppelins and dirigibles…” way.

A lot of people outside of the steam community don’t know this but Airships are popping up all over the country. Airships, or groups or troupes with a common goal in the steam community, are responsible for conventions, events and performances. Think of them as non union unions. I personally know of 4 “official Airships” that do everything from Setting up events to performing at conventions and traveling to do panels.

So shall I introduce you?

The Airship Archon, from Ohio, is the premier steam group. I met the majority of them at MARCon this year and was greatly impressed. They work as a unit, and are committed to keeping the steam community an open and welcoming place for people to explore. You can see more about them at their website, www.airshiparchon.com

If you check the website for the Airship Isabella, their mission is much the same as Archon, as they are also populated by performers, Artists and visionaries, and they are committed to helping people create characters to get into the real spirit of steampunk.

The A.S.S. Titilus, the Northeast answer to the Archon, is all about performance, information, and fun. As Im personally close with the Captain, A Count Named Slick Brass, I have been able to see both on the forefront and behind the scenes what this Airship does. For those of you at AAD this year, the Crew of the Titilus came to wreak havoc on the con floor for Saturday, and they were the MC’s for the Steamball. They are staples of the East Cost Steam events and like most airships… are completely for Hire.

Now the 4th? Im proud to say Im part of the 4th, and we are affiliated with the Titilus (loosely… LOL). The Airship PenNInk, So named because the majority of our crew are writers, goes live via the web soon! Our mission is to bring the new horizon of steam literature to the masses of the steam community, as well as a unique fashion sense and sexiness the community is missing. And remember, just because your not showing a little leg, doesn’t mean it aint sexy!

I’m the Captain of this rag tag ship, along with my amazing crew: PJ Schnyder (Weapons expert), A.L. Davroe (our Anthropologist), Leanna Renee Hieber, Our perpetual passenger,  Lia Hable, Lady of All things pretty and tentacle driven (she hides them under all her voluminous skirts its quite frightening…) and Marilyn Hacket, our first mate and bringer of Airshanties.

But You know a crew doesn’t live on ink alone… And we have our support crew who must always be mentioned. Our Steamstress, Brandi, Mercenary Mandi, Madame Kelly, Our Barrister Kayleigh And Ladies James and Sandy… Without them the PenNInk would cease to function.


An Airship is easy to put together, and more airships out there I think is a good thing. You have a common goal? You enjoy the lifestyle, and dressing up and having a good time? Are you always in a group anyway? Start your own airship. It’s a great way to get known… or join an existing one… Most take crew all year long. It’s a great way to get into steampunk…

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