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The INNOCENT DARKNESS read-along starts today! Join in the fun!

Someone asked me to talk about the Steampunk fashion in INNOCENT DARKNESS. So, here it is.



Is there something you want to know about writing, steampunk, or the AETHER CHRONICLES books? Tell me on my facebook page!


Suzanne Lazear is the author of the AETHER CHRONICLES series. INNOCENT DARKNESS (book #1) is out now. CHARMED VENGEANCE (book #2) releases 8-8-13. Learn more about the Aether Chronicles on the series website.

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Women With Weapons - Comicpalooza 2013

Women With Weapons – Comicpalooza 2013

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

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

 Steam Lolitas - The Cup Cake Girls - Comicpalooza 2013

Steam Lolitas – The Cupcake Girls – Comicpalooza 2013

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

A Cup Cake girl with the Steam Lolita panel

A Cup Cake girl with the Steam Lolita panel

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

Lady Blue - Comicpalooza 2013

Lady Blue – Comicpalooza 2013

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

Steampunk Sweethearts - Comicpalooza 2013

Steampunk Sweethearts – Comicpalooza 2013

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

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

Shiny As A Copper Penney
Shiny As A Copper Penney

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

Steampunk Poision Ivy

Steampunk Poision Ivy

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

Lolita Alice and the Mad Hatter

Lolita Alice and the Mad Hatter

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

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

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Today we welcome back author Seleste deLaney.  One lucky commenter will receive a digital copy of Badlands as well as the opportunity (if they wish) to have one of the Badlands warriors named after them in a future story.  Contest ends April 15, 2012. 

Seleste deLaney never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.  Visit her website at http://selestedelaney.com/

Fashion in a Time of Steam

by Seleste deLaney

When I created the world of Badlands, I wanted four very definite regions: the Union, the Confederacy, Texas, and (of course) the Badlands. Along with their different social attitudes—about pretty much everything—I came to realize that each place would have different ideas about clothing.

Ever was easy. The Badlands is a place where life revolves around the necessary. Ideas like “decency” and “propriety” don’t mean a lot when you’re a woman dealing with violent criminals on a daily basis. Clothes for Ever are more for protection than fashion, which is one reason she viewed her dress uniform with such disdain. It was so fitted she couldn’t fight in it effectively and, in that scenario, fighting without “armor” became preferable. It’s an attitude women from the Badlands, including the Queen, share and respect.

Aboard the Dark Hawk, however, there were two other women. As a former slave, Mahala didn’t care about a little bare skin one way or the other. To her, clothing was a sign of choice, and choice was a sign of freedom. Though she grew up in the Confederacy around women of status who dressed like traditional southern belles, her tastes skewed in a different direction. She loved and appreciated having the right and the means to purchase her own clothes, but she wanted very badly to leave her past behind her, so she disdained anything that would make her feel “like a lady.” Frilly clothes and the accessories that go with them were things slave-owners wore. So Mahala chose utility in the form of fitted breeches and men’s style shirts in bolder colors than she would have been allowed in her past life.

One womann, however, clung to her past life desperately. Out of the Dark Hawk’s crew, Henrietta was the only one to really balk at Ever’s state of undress when she came aboard (and that included the men). Born to Philadelphia society, Henri was raised to be both a scientist and a lady. The traditional steampunk garb of corsets and bustles became something that were a part of her because of that history. Even rushing around to deal with crew injuries, she made sure to always present herself in such a way that she would feel equally comfortable walking into the halls of Congress to visit her father. For her, those articles of clothing were her nod to propriety on the Dark Hawk, they were the thing that linked her to the life she left behind.

For those of you who have read Badlands, you know I like to challenge the way in which my female characters view themselves. Ever had to accept certain conditions in order to fulfill her mission—one of them being clothes—just as Henrietta had to accept that sometimes clothes and a veil of propriety are nothing more than masks.

Discussion point: When reading steampunk, do you require the bustles, corsets, vests, and pocket watches, or does the lack of them make you look for the reason behind their absence?

One commenter will receive a digital copy of Badlands as well as the opportunity (if they wish) to have one of the Badlands warriors named after them in a future story.

 ~Seleste deLaney

Website: http://selestedelaney.com/

Blog: http://selestedelaney.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seleste-deLaney/111903172206874

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SelestedeLaney

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/selestedelaney/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4243796.Seleste_deLaney

 Badlands

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation’s border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union. 

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen’s assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever’s reluctant ally. 

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn’t find them first…

You can read an excerpt here: http://selestedelaney.com/Seleste_DeLaney/Stories/Entries/2011/2/28_Badlands.html

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It’s Monday and first thing off we have a winner to announce.  The winner of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall and Other Lands anthology is…

Danya

Congrats, please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize. 

Next off, I’m going to continue to my series on how I created some of my Steampunk outfits.  Even if you’re not the crafty sort (like me) you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy an expensive ready-made Steampunk outfit (as pretty as they are).  You may already own some of what you need.

Today’s outfit is something I pieced together mainly out of things I already owned.  I love costumes and have a trunk full of stuff.  I had no idea I even already had most of the stuff I needed to create a cute outfit until I wanted to put together a mostly black outfit. 

 

1.  The skirt is just a big, black lacy skirt I’d picked up somewhere at some point.  It’s one of those skirts that can be everything from Gothic to pirate to gypsy.  It’s full enough that I can wear it over a hoop and very comfortable.

2.  The black lace blouse is actually from Forever 21, of all places, as are the gloves.  I bought them last summer when they had a ton of victorian-ish stuff.  They often have great jewelry and you can’t beat the prices. 

3.  What ties this all together is the black corset belt.  This one is from Clockwork Couture but I nearly used a black waist cincher that I usually used for the Renaissance Faire. 

See, just a few easy pieces that you may already have — blouse, skirt, waist cincher/corset can be thrown together to create a basic outfit.  Then you can accessorize it depending on your style and what you already have.

4.  Because I’m obsessed with hats, I already owned the perfect hat.  I got this one from Ms. Purdy.  I actually have a few of her things and I really like them. 

5.  The necklace was a gift from a friend, but I love it and wear it with most of my Steampunk outfits.

6.  Finally, I added a tie-on bustle, which is exactly what it sounds — a big, ruched piece of fabric designed to look like a bustle you simply tie on top of your skirt.  There are a ton of types of these from punk mini ones made of net to elaborate and elegant ones.  I got this one on Etsy from Loriann.  Tie-on bustles are inexpensive ways of changing up your outfit and they’re a lot more comfortable to sit in.  This wasn’t something I had on hand, but that I bought to complete the outfit. 

View of tie-on bustle. Picture by Loriann.

 
See, easy.  Take stock of what you already have and don’t be afraid to repurpose.  That blouse from Renn Faire, skirt from your belly dancing days, or hat you bought for your cousin’s wedding may have other uses–especially if you’re willing to replace buttons, add gromets, or add a little flair to it/  Make a list of what you still need to complete your outfit and case thrift shops, the internet (I’ve found a lot of good costume pieces on ebay and Etsy), or perhaps even try to make it.  If you’re gearing up for something, I’ve found that it’s easier on the pocket-book (and less daunting) to plan ahead and buy one piece per paycheck until I have everything I need. 
 
Now, I just need some gadgets…has anyone seen my raygun? 

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I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day.  We’re holding a Steampunk writing challenge over on the Writing Steampunk Yahoo group during the month of May.  There’s still time to join in–make sure to say you found us on Steamed.

We have quite a few prizes to give away today and if you don’t win we still have a contest going for Steampunk pocket watch.

First off we have a The Twisted Take of Stormy Gale mug and some romance trading cards from Christine Bell.

Hilde

Next we have the prize pack of  Steampunk e-books from Carina Press.

Laura Kaye

Finally, we have the ARC of The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross.

Jessie

Congrats to our winners, please email me at suzannelazer (@) hotmail to claim your prize and thanks to all who entered.  More contests will be coming.

I wanted to share how I put together some of my Steampunk outfits as I’m amassing more for the different panels and speaking engagements and such I’m starting to do.  I’m not a seamstress in any way shape or form, so I tend to buy things here and there over weeks, months, or even years and put them together.   Hopefully this will be some inspiration for your own Steampunk outfits.  A word of warning, I lean very much towards the Steampunk princess vein and don’t have a ton of gadgets–or even goggles.

Outfit #1 — Steampunk Lite

I needed an outfit that was Steampunky, but not full on for events where I’m speaking as a Steampunk writer, but not necessarily on Steampunk.

I started with this outfit from Steampunk Threads as a base.    I chose it because it was feminine and a bit old fashioned, but not specifically Victorian.  It could serve as a dress for anything from a tea to a school visit and could easily be Steampunked up.  For sake of time I bought this ready-made outfit, but something similar could be fashioned from thrift-store finds–or even your own closet.

Picture from Steampunkthreads.com

I added some really great boots from Clockwork Couture I already had.  These boots are unfortunately out of stock, but they have other amazing styles.

photo from clockworkcouture.com

I added a hat very much like this (because you know me and hats) only there’s more  green in mine.

Photo from Maritime Arts on Etsy

A pearl necklace with a little clock on it from my jewelry box added a little elegance.

I love gloves so I got these from Clockwork Couture, which go with several outfits, though I forgot to wear them when I did a panel at the Burbank Book Festival over the weekend.

Photo from clockworkcouture.com

Finally, I put it all together with a really great belt I found at Mad Girl Clothing.  They’re not up on the website yet (I bought it at the Renaissance Faire).    Any waist cincher or corset would probably work, though I didn’t want to go the full-on corset route for this particular outfit.   I liked this belt because there’s a little pocket for a pocket watch and an additional pocket that’s just the right size for some business cards and a handful of buttons.  I don’t have a picture of it by itself, but here’s the whole outfit.

So, what do you think?  Subtly Steampunk? Well…perhaps the belt is a bit much but I love it.  But now I want a bigger hat…

Are you building a Steampunk outfit?  Where are your favorite places to find things?

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I am happy to say that Steampunk was everywhere at the recent Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which was held in Los Angeles, April 6-10, 2011.  Yes, I am finally just getting around to writing about it.  Do you know how much time Steampunkapalooza takes?   

RT was amazing, I’d never been to one before and had a few reservations.  There were several Steampunk panels — I was on one Steampunk panel and one about writing historical fantasy (with Gail Carriger, squee).  One of the publishing houses, Samhain, had a Steampunk high tea. 

Then, of course, there was the Steampunk Social that I was in charge of along with Kady Cross, Kassy Taylor, Deb Schneider, and Seleste deLaney.

I volunteered to make about 250 cakepops for the social–because you all know I’m a huge slacker and have nothing else to do than spend 10 hours baking.  Per hotel rules, every cakepop had  to be individually wrapped, too.  Good thing I was local and didn’t have to fly them in my suitcase. 

I’d also picked up all the clothes from the fashion show from Clockwork Couture, who graciously lent us all the beautiful fashions our models wore.  RT involved a lot of me schlepping things from my car to Kady’s room, since I had the clothes, the cakepops, the centerpieces, the fans, several door prizes, and a lot of things for the swag bags.  Kady also volunteers her room for us to put all 100 of the swag bags together.  (Did you know we work very, very hard to put these socials together?)

Also, I was in full Steampunk dress most of the time.   Since Leanna Renee Hieber couldn’t make it I even wore (nearly) all black one day in honor of her, since usually she’s the one in black and I’m the one in pink. 

The social itself went really well.  Close to 100 people gathered for Steampunk swag, cake and tea, a fashion show, a costume contest, and lots of door-prizes. 

But you really want to see gratuitous pictures of Steampunk clothing, not hear me babble about party planning. 

Here’s Kady Cross, the Steampunk track captain. 

And here’s the fab Kassy Taylor. 

Here’s Deb Schneider, along with the winner of our costume contest (the one in the sash).  She *made* her costume on a treadle sewing machine.  Wow.

I don’t have a close up of Seleste deLaney.  (Seleste, why don’t I have a picture of you?).

Since this was tea and cake, I wore pink and a large hat for the occasion.  Not that I need a reason to wear a large hat. 

The fashion show was a smashing success and everyone loved the pretties from Clockwork Couture

Here’s Beth and Erin (same dress, different color). 

Here’s Erin and Zoe Archer.

Here’s Marcella. (I love this dress.)

And, for some reason I don’t have  a close up of Kristen Painter.  (Can you tell my camera died, so I had to gather pictures.  Thanks to everyone who I begged, borrowed, and stole pictures from.)

We had several people come to the social in costume, so we had a costume contest.   Here’s me getting the crowd to help us pick a winner.  Can anyone identify these lovely ladies?  We never got their names. 

Over all, the social was a smashing success.  Despite the hard work, I’d plan another one of these in an instant.  Here’s everyone in costume (except for Kristen. She’s somehow escaped all of my pictures.  Anyone have any pics of her in costume?)

Do you have a favorite outfit?  A favorite flavor of cakepop?  A random comment on Steampunk or Steampunk fashion?  I have one more bag of swag and books from RT, including the *very last* swag bag left over from the party.  I’ll give it to one lucky commenter.  Contest closes April 30 at 11:59 PM PST.

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In case you need books to read, here’s a great list of steampunk books. 

I have a case of the Mondays. 

I’m going to be doing a couple of panels at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in April in Los Angeles (including one with Gail Carriger, squee!)   

 I need clothes to wear.  I can’t actually buy things to wear, but I still need them.

If I could buy new steampunk clothes for this convention, this is what I’d buy:

I would get this beautiful skirt in black from Clockwork Couture because I could wear it with so many different things…Oh, how I want this skirt so much!

I would love to find a little cape like that to go with it.  I am also fond of hats.  I like this one I found on ebay to pair with it.

I have this wonderful tan asymmetrical steampunky blazer I wear to work.  I found this great skirt on ebay.  I bet I could put them together and create a nice look for a panel. 

I’d pair it with this lovely hat from Maritime Arts, only I’d want the ribbons and flower in green.

In case I actually make it to the masquerade ball, I’d want this mask in cream from Asfina on Etsy

If I had an infinite amount of money, I’d get this dress from Bound By Obsession, because it is really, really amazing and would match my clockhand tiara. 

Isn’t it breathtaking?  I covet this dress.

 

I love my clockhand tiara from EJP Creations.  But this one from SparklyJems is a beauty. 

 

Okay, that sums up my list of things I wish I could buy for RT.  If you’re going, look for me.  I’ll be there with bustles on…

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