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

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

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

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

I read Prudence and I love the line,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Gail Carriger related post on Steamed:

Book Monday: Timeless by Gail Carriger

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

~      ~      ~

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

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Today we welcome the Steampunk Romance Tour.

SteampunkRomanceTour_banner (1)

6 Scrumptious Steampunk Romance HeroesSteampunk romance heroes have a few traits in common—courage, strength, and smarts—but beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Authors have been creating yummy heroes in this subgenre so I decided to round up a few notable ones for you.

Christopher Redmond, a Man O’ War from Zoe Archer’s Skies of Fire

Special “telumium” implants make Captain Redmond a bigger, stronger, and faster soldier in a war that spans continents. Plus, the telumium works in a symbiotic nature with his airship. He can’t be away from the ship for long, so his superhuman abilities come at a price. There are other implications as well—what will he do for a living when the war ends? A real thinking woman’s hero!


Rhys Trahaearn, the titular character from Meljean Brook’s The Iron Duke

This hero has bones of iron. ‘Nuff said.


Wellington Books from Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’ The Janus Affair

Books is the head archivist at the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. He’s more suited to his desk job than investigations and field work, but don’t let his mild mannered appearance fool you. This endearing nerd of a hero has a few intriguing secrets that will make you sigh with pleasure.


Jack Hawkins from Nico Rosso’s Nights of Steel

When I first saw the cover for Nights of Steel, I was excited to encounter a person of color as the hero in a steampunk romance. Jack’s prosthetic arm is pretty impressive, too! As if that weren’t enough, he’s a bounty hunter and the setting is an alternate history American Old West. Sweet.


Phineas Hamilton from Nathalie Gray’s Full Steam Ahead 

Phineas is captain of the airship Brass Baron in an alternate universe. Check. He’s a too-cool-for-school anime style pirate hero (that hair!). Double check. He’s also a man of wisdom—he joins forces with the heroine despite her resemblance to an enemy race. Triple check!


Tucker Gentry from Beth Ciotta’s Her Sky Cowboy

This one’s a no-brainer. Check out this hero’s curriculum vitae: ex-Air Marshal; dime novel hero; he’s an outlaw who goes by the handle “Sky Cowboy;” he’s a rogue with a heart of gold *and* a ragtag crew of misfits; his airship is called the Maverick; and he has a dark secret.

Now that’s what I call a feast! Do you have a favorite steampunk/steampunk romance hero?

Giveaway time!

Leave a comment for this post and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the following ebooks (two winners will be picked at random):



Skies of Fire – Zoe Archer (winner’s choice PDF, ePUB, or .mobi)



Nights of Fire – Nico Rosso (winner’s choice PDF, ePUB, or .mobi)

And there’s more! Everyone who leaves a comment at any of the stops on The Great Steampunk Romance Airship Tour will be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize:

$100 e-gift card (winner’s choice Amazon or B&N)



75$ e-gift certificate to Clockwork Couture

1 digital copy of IRON GUNS, BLAZING HEARTS (winner’s choice PDF, ePub, or .mobi)

Please include your email address. The deadline to enter all of the giveaways will be midnight PST on February 14. On Friday, February 15, check back here to see if you’ve won an ebook prize.

The grand prize winner will be announced on February 15 at The Galaxy Express.

About the author

Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.

Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts  

(February 2013; Lyrical Press)

The West just got a whole lot wilder.

A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits–until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.

A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.

A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.

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Announcing my new Steampunk/Romance, Conquistadors In Outer Space, coming this Friday, February 1st. The subtitle is Ana’s Interplanetary Conquest.

Henri de Montaut, from De la terre à la lune (From the earth to the moon), by Jules Verne, Paris (Hetzel), 18??

In an alternate history of 1610 AD, the King of Spain commissions the creation of giant cannons, fashioned from Leonardo Da Vinci’s design, for the purpose of blowing the island of England to the bottom of the ocean. Since that country separated from papal authority, Spain has the approval of the church to separate England from the rest of Europe. Then, after an interrogation by priests with the inquisition, Galileo sees a faraway dot in the night sky with his new telescope. He shows the pope planet X, an actual New World Spain can claim and all the inhabitants can be converted to Christianity. Also all the gold and riches discovered there will belong to Spain alone. So they find a way to use the cannons to that end instead.

Thrown off the Spanish estate she worked at all her life, Ana, a milkmaid, seeks a new life. Disguised as a rich widow, she boards a rocket, to be blasted out of a huge cannon, and targeted for the newly discovered planet, X.  Sparks fly when she finds Ramon, the only man she ever loved, heir of the estate she worked on, is flying to Planet X as well. As the Spanish governor of Plant X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. His conquest is challenging, though he swears to protect and love her, as a noble he cannot marry a peasant. Ana cannot deny her desire for Ramon, but she will not be his mistress. Will his conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life for herself alone amid the wonders and dangers of Planet X.

Excerpt:

In an instant the loudest boom and ka-chung noises he ever heard rattled his ears as the metal projectile shook violently. He clenched his teeth as every muscle in his body quaked with the blast.

“It is the Estrella. It is hurdling through space to planet X.”

He recognized the voice of the priest who strapped him in. Ana’s ship, De Nunez had told him. “Is all well,” he yelled out. “Did they lift off safely?”

Now that he had found her again, he needed to protect her. Once they arrived on planet X, he would seize this second chance to win her heart for she’d stolen his long ago.

“Si.” The priest’s tone held a tinge of awe. “In a blaze of light they blasted through the heavens. They are in God’s hands now.”

Ramon let out a long breath of relief. Ana was safe, shooting through space. The Estrella had cast off and the Juanita would soon follow. When his rocket blasted off in an explosion of light and fire, he wouldn’t hear anything.

He felt his mind loose itself in drowsiness. He shut his eyes under the power of this death like sleep and prayed in twenty years he would wake. When he did, he’d be on Planet X with the woman he’d always loved. He knew for the next twenty years of the voyage, he would dream of Ana.

Contest: Comment below to enter my new release contest to win a PDF Ebook of Conquistadors In Outer Space.

Maeve Alpin, Steampunk Romance Author

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I twisted the wrench, securing the new equipment in place. The gauges and dials all read in the green. The ridiculous machine that shouldn’t have even been possible was working perfectly.

Another Lolita–I didn’t know her name, to me she has always been “the annoying one”–stepped up and frowned, tapping the instrument. “This isn’t right.”

A heavy sigh escaped me before I could stop it, but once it was out I felt better and vowed not to stifle my exasperation again. “The captain told me to make it work, and it works.”

“But it’s not right,” the annoying one insisted, tapping it again. “Anyone who knows engines will question not only its purpose but its effectiveness and–“

Calmly, I wrapped my fingers around her wrist and pulled her hand away from my invention. I might have applied a bit more pressure than necessary, but I was done playing nice with her. “And anyone who knows this ship will see that it works and, at the end of the day, that is what the captain wants. Why don’t you go about your business and do your job. I’m sure you will perform it exactly right.”

Scowling, she spun on her heel and stalked out of my engine room.

Before the door hit her skinny backside, I muttered, “I’m sure you’ll remember where to find me when you break something else.”

~~*~~

When writing steampunk (or any fiction for that matter), there is an issue of terminology. Often there is a proper term and a common term that an author has to decide between. When writing non-fiction, of course one should err on the side of the “correct” word. But, with fiction, an author isn’t necessarily dealing with an expert. Not everyone who enjoys science fiction is a rocket scientist (or even understands any math beyond–hopefully at a minimum–some basic algebra). Not everyone who reads historical fiction is necessarily an expert in that era or even a history buff at all. Most people who are drawn to fiction are drawn to the story. Therefore, when choosing terminology, it’s often in an author’s best interest to select things that are recognizable to a general audience.

Take, for example, Clockwork Mafia. The history of organized crime in the United States traces back to Italy and Sicily where “The Black Hand” operated. It was essentially an extortion racket wherein the group would offer “protection” for a fee. This is similar to what most people know of the early mob in America. The name traveled with the “business.” The term mafia came into use in the late nineteenth century and was used in the US, but didn’t become popular until prohibition. 

Now, in the world of the Badlands, history has been tweaked. To that end, when organized crime came into the story, I had no problem whatsoever with using the word mafia. (My editor did cut “mob,” but I was okay with that.) I honestly would have argued had it been suggested that I change “mafia” to “The Black Hand.” Granted, the latter has this dramatic flair that speaks of dark evil and all sorts of foul deeds, but to the average non-history-buff, the term would have been meaningless. Everyone knows what the mafia is, and since these are steampunk romances we’re talking about the focus is supposed to be on the couple.

Anyone who knows my work knows that I aim for balance but, at the end of the day, I could either slow down the pacing of the book to explain to the average reader what The Black Hand was, or I could let the word mafia speak for itself. I chose the latter because it works and serves the purpose. 

And, considering the word was used often in print by 1891 in the states, it’s actually not wrong either. 

 

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Puttering amongst my old berth in the back of the cargo hold, I stumbled upon a scrap of paper. Since I hadn’t had the chance to sneak into the captain’s library, I salivated over the opportunity to read something not written  in the log book. I examined that piece of paper so long and so hard that my head began to throb with the implications. Even as I rubbed at my forehead in an attempt to dull the ache, I continued to stare and plot.

It’s there. Right there. If only I could–

“Lolita Seleste! Why aren’t you at your post?” The captain, Lolita Suzanne, rounded the stack of crates that towered over me, anger writ in the pinching of her brows and the tight line of her lips. I was in trouble.

“I came here for my break and–”

She pointed toward the ladder, not deigning to speak until I started that way. “You specifically requested boiler duty. If you want to make yourself indispensable to this ship, you cannot shirk your responsibilities.”

“Yes, Captain.” I still clutched the paper in my fingers as I climbed. This was, by no means, the proper time to ask, but if I waited I would lose any chance. “Captain, I believe part of the reason for my daydreaming is that I’m unaccustomed to so much time confined. Some time on the ground would do my state of mind a world of good. Re-focus my attention.”

She tilted her head, eyeing me in a most discomfiting manner. “Aye, Lolita Seleste. I can see where that might be of some benefit. The ship will touch down tomorrow in order for the crew to participate in something called #steampunkchat. Foolish beliefs about romance and airships. Nonsense really, but it will provide you the opportunity you’re looking for. You may accompany Lolita Cindy on her errand.”

Not at all what I had in mind. “But, Captain–”

“She is attending the World Steam Expo. Surely, someone with aspirations such as yours could benefit from joining her.” The captain tilted her head toward the crumpled paper in my hand.

My lips twitched, and I had to fight the urge to smile. “Aye, Captain. I surely could.”

“Dismissed.” The instant she turned away, I raced toward the boiler room. Then her voice pulled me up short again, “Oh and, Lolita Seleste, do make sure you dress the part. I will not allow any of my people to present our dirigible or crew in a negative light.”

“Aye, Captain.” She’d as much as told me to blend in. Surely she wasn’t giving me permission to… No. Preposterous…

.

In case you haven’t figured it out, I will indeed be attending World Steam Expo in Dearborn, Michigan, this weekend, along with fellow Lolita Cindy Spencer Pape. If you happen to be there, I’d love it if you found me to say hi on Saturday or stopped by the Local Authors panel we’ll be part of on Monday at one. (I will have a limited supply of Badlands buttons and chapter books as well as postcards with discounts for ebooks at the Carina Press website.) In addition, don’t forget about the last #steampunkchat before the summer hiatus. It’s tonight at 9PM Eastern time. The topic is romance in steampunk, and I’ve heard rumors there will be book giveaways!

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I must admit, I’ve stowed away once or twice on the great ship Steamed! This last time though, your lovely Captain, Lolita Suzanne, said the ship was in need of some new crew members. Since she had the most adorable little pink and pearl gun pointed at my head, I didn’t bother to ask what happened to the others. Instead, I told her to point me to my new quarters.

Warrior women in a time of steam work, right?

After getting settled into a spot somewhat more comfortable than the back corner of the cargo hold, she informed me that one of my primary duties would be posting an update to our log once a fortnight. The topic, of course, needs to focus on all things steam.

“But what of vampires?” I asked.

“Are they clockwork?” she replied.

With no intimate knowledge of that sort on the vampires, I asked, “But what of gods and romance and warrior women and…”

She cut me off with a look that told me in no uncertain terms that her princess gun was close at hand. “Steam, Lolita Seleste. If it does not fit in the world of steam, it has no place here.”

To which I smiled, nodded, and wished desperately that the cat hadn’t stolen my knives. But, upon closer examination, I realized that with the exception of the vampires (who I’m fairly confident have no clockwork parts) I could indeed speak on the others if only I could work in the proper angle. As I’m bucking for the job of chief mechanic on this bird, I’m pretty good with angles…

To that end, it is with great pleasure that I announce that the story of the warrior women of the Badlands and the dirigible The Dark Hawk is not ending with Badlands. I have recently sold the sequel, (tentatively titled) Clockwork Mafia, to Carina Press. I do not have any information on release date yet. However, I can tell you a couple things. First, there are two more books planned in the series beyond this one. Clockwork Mafia focuses on Henrietta, book three will center on Mahala, and book four will wrap up the series by following Laurette.

And, as you may recall, the last time I stowed away (prior to the insanity of being caught…) I offered up a prize that included a digital copy of Badlands as well the opportunity to have a Badlands warrior in one of the future installments named after them (there is a SLIM chance this could still happen with Clockwork Mafia). This ingenious device known as Random.org drew from the twelve comments other than my own and came up with the number four. That devious Lolita Cindy obviously tampered with the machine. And as there is already a Spencer in all of the books, she and I are destined to have words over this. It took me a moment, but I repaired the machine, and the new winner is comment #5… CLOTHDRAGON! Congratulations! Please contact me at selestedelaney(at)gmail(dot)com to collect your prize!

In the meantime, if you are curious enough about this stowaway turned crew member, you may find me lurking in various places (as lurking is one of the things I do best), such as:

Website: http://selestedelaney.com

Blog: http://selestedelaney.blogspot.com

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

Facebook profile: http://www.facebook.com/seleste.delaney

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

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

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

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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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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

Congratulations!

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
www.maureenobetita.com
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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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.comt

Multicultural Steampunk by Maeve Alpin

As the hub of the industrial revolution, Victorian Britain and its culture will continue to be one of the strongest settings for Steampunk fiction. That said, it is not the only legitimate setting. After all, even Jules Verne’s most memorial character, Captain Nemo, mentioned more than western European aristocrats in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. “Do you think I’m unaware of the suffering people and oppressed races of this planet, the poor to be comforted, the victims to be avenged?” In our modern world most people share the Captain’s concerns and a trend toward multicultural Steampunk mirrors this.

One book that breaks out of the typical Steampunk mode is Cold Magic by Kate Elliot. The first book in her Spirit Walker trilogy focuses on Celtic and African Cultures. Another novel cultivating cultures other than those of Western Europe is The Burning Sky by Joseph Robert Lewis, the first book of the Halcyon Trilogy. This alternate history is set in exotic Morocco in the 16th century, a melting pot of the people of West Africa and the Mediterranean. It encompasses the Amazigh, Yoruba, Igbo, Mali, Spanish, and Persian cultures.

For Steampunk in an Irish setting try James White’s As Silent Stars Go By. In this alternative history, Ireland, the most powerful nation, launches a space flight to a new world, which includes their allies, the Redmen, the natives of north and South America. For more Steampunk exploration of ancient cultures, check out Maeve Alpin’s Steampunk/Romances. Though As Timeless As Stone is set in Paris, and the soon to be released As Timeless As Magic takes place in London, they both include an ancient Egyptian time traveler as a main character. Her brand new novel, To Love A London Ghost, coming October 7th features an unusual Steampunk heroine, a Celtic warrior ghost from the Iron Age, who died on the bank of the Thames fighting Julius Caesar.

Steampunk settings and ethnicities aren’t limited to Western Europe. After all, Steampunk is for everyone and the literature should emulate that.  The popular trend toward Multicultural Steampunk is sure to grow.

 Maeve is giving away a toy airship from the film The Golden Compass. Please comment below to enter.  Contest ends October 5th at 11:59 PM PST.  Open Internationally. 

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Today is the last day of Steampunkapalooza.  Thank you so much for your participation, for your comments, for entering our contests, and your continued support.  This blog wouldn’t keep on if it wasn’t for each and every one of you. 

There’s still room in my May steampunk online writing workshop.  It’s different from the last one and I’d love for you to join us.  Info here.

We still have some contests going on.  Don’t forget that each day you comment during Carina Press week you’ll be entered to win a Carina Press prize pack of the four Steampunk e-books featured.

You can still win a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, a Twisted Tale of Stormy Gail mug and trading cards,  or another swag and book bag from RT.

Today we welcome back Steampunk author Cindy Spencer Pape.

Author of over forty popular books and stories in paranormal, historical, and contemporary romance, Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance fantasy, mystery, and even more romance. Cindy firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in Michigan with him, two adult sons & an ever-changing menagerie of pets.  Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her home.

Research vs. Reality in a Steampunk World

By Cindy Spencer Pape

When Carina Press asked me to write a novella that tied into my Gaslight Chronicles series, I was thrilled. I loved writing the first book, Steam & Sorcery, with its blend of steam technology, Arthurian legend, urban fantasy, and uptight Victorian society. What I needed though, were characters to hang the story on. I didn’t want to skip ahead to any of the street children from Merrick and Caroline’s story. I wanted something that would bridge the gap between the generations.

Since I had the whole Order of the Round Table to work with, I decided on the young Marquess Lake. (Does the name du Lac ring any bells to tell you who he’s descended from, LOL?) But he needed a strong heroine. Someone who wasn’t impressed by his title or his powers. Someone with a career of her own. Then the title Photographs and Phantoms clicked in my brain and I knew she was a photographer, a savvy career woman, troubled by ghosts, or something like them. And just like the click of a shutter, it all came together.

Now came the tricky part. Much of the steam technology in my world is made up, my own version of alternate history. But in the late 1850s, photography was already thriving and evolving as both a science and an art. So I decided to leave it alone. Gasp. Yep, the only difference is that Amy has a clockwork cart to carry her equipment when she goes down to photograph tourists on the beach. The rest of her techniques are authentic to the era. I figured why mess with something that was already in place? Thus began a couple weeks of reading books and websites on Brighton Beach, England, photography in the 1800’s, fashions, and even the invention of fire escapes on buildings came into play. I think adding the factual details when possible helps set the tone for the clockwork pets and steam-powered zeppelins.

All of this was during the last couple months of last year. Then, as serendipity would have it, at Christmas, my in-laws passed on to us a big pile of family photographs. Imagine me grinning as I picked out cartes-de-visite, wedding photos, death photos (ick!) glass-plate albumin negatives, and Daguerreotypes, not to mention guessing years by the presence of hoops or bustles. I guess research is never wasted, is it? (grin)

To find out a little about my plucky Canadian photographer and her very British Knight, check out Photographs & Phantoms, a FREE download from Carina Press, to help celebrate their Steampunk Week.

Photographs & Phantoms

A Gaslight Chronicles Novella

Available as a Free Download from Carina Press

Click here to order, or here to read an excerpt.

Blurb: Brighton, 1855

As a member of the Order of the Round Table, Kendall Lake is overqualified to be investigating strange phenomena at a seaside photography studio. But since the photographer is related to the Order’s most powerful sorcerer, Kendall reluctantly boards a dirigible to Brighton.

Amy Deland is haunted by a shadow that appears in some of her recent portraits. In each case, the subject died within days of the sitting. Does she have her grandmother’s gift of foresight, or has she somehow caused the deaths?

As Kendall and Amy search for answers, their investigation draws them together in a most improper way. But it seems the evil presence in the studio is determined to keep them apart…

~Cindy Spencer Pape

www.cindyspencerpape.com

Comment for a chance to win a Carina Press e-book prize pack.  Grand prize contest is open internationally.  One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries).  Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box.  Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.

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Carina Press Week continues during our last week of Steampunkapalooza.  Don’t forget to comment every day for a chance to win a prize pack of Carina Press Steampunk e-books.

First we have the winner of one of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Percy Parker books:

Tina

Congrats!  Email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.  Didn’t win? You can still win a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, or another swag and book bag from RT.

Speaking of Steampunk goodies, there’s an epic contest going on right now at the ARe Cafe sponsored by our friends at the ARe Steam Society.  They’re giving away twelve different Steampunk e-books  and steampunk hair stuff (and who doesn’t want steampunk hair stuff.)  Check it out.

Today we welcome Christine Bell.

Christine Bell is one half of the happiest couple in the world. She and her handsome hubby currently reside in Pennsylvania with a four-pack of teenage boys and their two dogs, Gimli and Pug. If she gets time off from her duties as maid, chef, chauffeur, or therapist, she can be found reading just about anything she can get her hands on, from Young Adult novels to books on poker theory. She doesn’t like root beer, clowns or bugs (except ladybugs, on account of their cute outfits), but lurrves chocolate, going to the movies, the New York Giants and playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Writing is her passion, but if she had to pick another occupation, she would be a pirate…or, like, a ninja maybe. She loves writing fun and adventure-filled romance stories, but also hopes to one day publish something her dad can read without wanting to dig his eyes out with rusty spoons. Christine loves to hear from readers, so please feel free to get in touch with her via the Contact Page.

The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale
by Christine Bell

First, let me say that I am SO excited about Steampunk Week at Carina Press! There is a great line up of books and authors, and I’m honored to be a part of it. The covers have all been gorgeous, and Carina made this cool video trailer so this has been a really fun month so far.

What I love the most, though, is the spread we’ve got. While all of this week’s books have steampunk elements, they also run the gamut of sub-genres. From erotic to paranormal, from western to time travel romance, the bases are covered.

Now, I know some purists who like their steampunk EXTRA steampunk-y, with nuttin’ else mucking it up. I’m not one of those people. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy straight steampunk. I truly do. But, as a reader, I also love seeing it mixed with other sub-genres to come up with something new and fresh. And, as an author, I like the freedom of taking the things I enjoy most when I’m reading and mashing them together.

When I was writing The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale, I knew I wanted it to be a time travel romance with a steampunk feel. I also had a loose outline of the plot. What I didn’t know was that my main character, Stormy, was going to be sarcastic and really funny. Since the tale is told from her point of view, I let her dictate the tone of the book. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with my character and, even though I knew I was veering a bit from the traditional, dark-ish, dystopian vibe that is so often present in steampunk, I couldn’t bring myself to change it. So, while there is a bit of grit (think medieval torture chambers and sanitariums) and it’s chock full of characters living on the fringe of society (think street urchins, fortune tellers and time pirates) my world is actually pretty much like real-world London and real world New England during the Victorian Era.

Instead, I chose to “get my steampunk on” through the invention of time travel complete with gears and goggles and wormholes, which only my characters are aware of. At the end of the day, I tried to deliver a really fun adventure story that both satisfies the steampunk craving, while still capturing a feeling of hope and happy-ever-after. I hope I succeeded!

So, how about you? Are you a purist, or do you like to see a mix of genres? Are there facets of steampunk you feel are integral to the genre that you just can’t live without?

One commenter will win an awesome mug featuring my book cover, plus a set of my Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale romance trading cards (which, I must say, are drool-worthy)!

~Christine Bell

http://www.christine-bell.com/

Oh, there’s still room in my May steampunk online writing workshop. This one will be really hands on to help you develop and finish your ms.  We may even get into pitching… Info here.

So how do you like your steampunk?  Straight up or mixed up? 

One lucky commenter on today’s post will win a “Stormy Gale” mug and romance trading cards.  Contest open until May 4th, 11:59 PM PST.  Grand prize contest is open internationally.  One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries).  Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box.  Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.

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Carina Press week continues here at Steamed!  Don’t forget to comment on each post this week (Tuesday-Friday) for a chance to win a prize pack of all four featured Carina Press Steampunk e-books.  We still have other contests going on including a copy of one of Leanna Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful books , a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, or another swag and book bag from RT.

Today we welcome Carina Press Steampunk Author Marie Harte.

 Marie Harte has been writing for as long as she can remember. Interest in the written word, no doubt spawned by her English teacher father, continues to this day. She’s a voracious reader, boggling everything from romance to horror to fantasy and more. She’s in love with the art of putting pen to paper…so to speak.  Marie currently has nearly fifty titles with Amber Quill, Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, Samhain, Total E-Bound and Whispers Publishing.  Journeyman’s Ride is available now from Carina Press. 

The “Steam” in Steampunk

by Marie Harte

Steampunk is such a great representation for the kind of book I’ve always wanted to write. The rules are vague, the lines confining the genre full of gaps and crumbling mortar. Here, creativity rules.

There are certain tropes when one thinks of steampunk. Goggles, gas lanterns and steam locomotives, for example. Or Victorian ladies running amuck in London trying to avoid dastardly villains, who always seem to have a zeppelin at hand for some nefarious purpose.

The aforementioned are some of the images I envisioned when I heard the word steampunk, and that’s only after I researched the term. I’d heard of cyberpunk, but steampunk? Yet this niche genre is growing, and so are its strictures.

In my story, Journeyman’s Ride, I felt free to create wonderful inventions that shouldn’t exist where steam—and not electricity—is a major source of power. I used a steam locomotive to ground myself in the genre.  But take note: the train crashes early on, and my story is set in the West, a growing trend among alternative novels. I didn’t mind going there, as I’m a sucker for a good Western.

I’m also a huge fan of Norse mythology. And cannibals.  And mechanical monsters. I love the idea of juxtaposing civilization against raw wilderness, where both environments exist yet neither overrides the other. Where else but in fiction can you find a world teased with civility that isn’t overcome (or tainted) by it?

Ideas swirled, and my story became much more than just a romance with a steampunk backdrop. Was it less steampunk and more fantasy? Too much erotic fiction, not enough danger?  Where did I need to draw the line, or did I need to draw one at all?

When is steampunk not so much steampunk? 

When does fantasy or creativity test the boundaries of the genre?  I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think it’s an easy answer. My book has so many descriptions it’s dizzying. It’s erotic, romantic, Western, steampunk, and contains the mythic element of Norse gods.

All this might seem like a lot to throw into a novella, but it’s all just background. The real story centers on two protagonists who need to resolve conflict and grow together. That they do amidst a retro world that glues together several genres into one anachronistic story is half the fun.

This first foray into steampunk has addicted me, and I plan to delve into this world again in the future. More gods, more steam and gaslight tech, and more romance. I don’t claim to be the foremost authority on steampunk as a genre, but I do know romance. A splash of danger, a hero’s journey, and a rich world are nothing without memorable characters.

I’d like to think I—and my Carina contemporaries—have added to the steampunk experience from a romance perspective.  We’ve taken this gaslight/steam world, added a dash of love, and mixed it up to produce adventures that keep a reader turning pages.  Sexy, retro, and romantic. Think of it as even more “steam” in your steampunk.

Cheers!

~Marie
www.marieharte.com
http://marieharte.blogspot.com
Journeyman’s Ride now available at Carina Press

What do you think of the intersection of Steampunk and romance?  Anything you’d like to see? 

Grant prize contest is open internationally.  One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries).  Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box.  Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.

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Today we welcome Steamypunk Author Bonnie Dee. Her steampunk romantic adventure Like Clockwork is now available from Carina Press.

Tic-Tok of Oz, or What Turned Me on to Robots

By Bonnie Dee

Mechanical people fire our imagination from I Robot to the Stepford Wives. The concept of what it means to be human and whether synthetic life forms can develop humanity was explored in great depth in Battlestar Galactica. Is the quality of humanity judged by the ability to reason or is it necessary to feel emotions? If a mechanical being develops emotions such as love, does it also require a certain spark—call it the soul—to be more than a replicant?

When I was a child, I avidly read whichever books from the Oz series I could get my hands on from the early Frank Baum books through the continuation of the series by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Sidenote: I still remembered her name without looking it up because it’s so unusual. I actually liked Thompson’s books better—The Hungry Tiger of Oz, Kabumpo in Oz and Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz in particular—probably because her stories always had a romance element which Baum’s books lacked.

Anyway, the character Tic-Tok of Oz was a mechanical man who was rather cold at the beginning of the story but developed personality through interaction with humans. What does this have to do with my new steampunk novella Like Clockwork? Not so much except that reading about Tic-Tok as a child started a lifelong fascination with synthetic life forms and the question of where humanity lies.

Like Clockwork, available as an e-book from Carina Press and at other online stores such as Amazon, B&N and Kobo, is a tale of murder, mayhem, espionage, inventions, romance and steam.

Victoria Waters is a woman ahead of her time, part of a team of scientists that created working automatons. She intended the machines to replace human laborers in dangerous occupations, but the original project idea mushroomed beyond her expectations. The mechanical people have replaced all types of workers, putting much of the lower class out of work.

Dash is a man who has lived a life of poverty in one of the worst slums in London. Only the intervention of a kindly mentor taught him to use his keen mind. He is part of a subversive group called the Brotherhood which speaks against the influx of automatons. To draw attention to their cause they plan to kidnap Victoria and hold her ransom until their demand for representation on the Commission for Animatronic Affairs is met.

Dash soon finds his captive is on the same page in her beliefs and willing to help the Brotherhood reach their goal. But when the Southwark Slasher strikes again, murdering a woman who was close to Dash, he and Victoria’s relationship abruptly changes. They become close very quickly, sharing personal history and discovering a mutual attraction.

Danger looms as Victoria learns more from a colleague about the Commission and their long term agenda for the automatons. Romance blooms as Dash and Victoria grow closer. And death threatens when Victoria comes face to face with the Southwark Slasher.

To whet your interest, here’s the prologue of Like Clockwork:

London, 1898

If he slit the body from sternum to groin and peeled back the flesh, he could see what made a woman tick. If he probed a little deeper into that steamy, sticky mess, he could remove her pulsing heart and examine it. Maybe at last he could understand what made him different.

Precision. That was the key. Each cut, each motion must be meticulous, following a careful order he’d designed for himself. It was akin to a schematic, an exquisite plan. Unfortunately the insides of a woman were so messy. There must be a way to suction off the blood. He should figure that out. It would make his work so much easier.

He watched the woman’s eyes as she beheld her beating heart in his hand and continued to gaze into them until they went from wide and horrified to blank and glassy. Then he knew her workings ticked no longer.

He positioned her body in his pre-arranged pattern, keeping her heart for himself. Removing his gloves, he packed them into his black satchel and clicked the latch closed. He rose, removed his smock and stowed it too in the case. Then he checked his overcoat for traces of blood—wouldn’t do to take the messiness away from the scene with him. After brushing away a spot of dirt from the broadcloth, he decided he was in as pristine a condition as when he’d arrived. He strode away from the sprawled body in the alley, swinging his satchel lightly and whistling a tune.

It was a pleasant night and he had accomplished much.

~Bonnie Dee

http://bonniedee.com

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Today we welcome Meljean Brook, author of the Steampunk romance The Iron Duke.

Meljean was raised in the middle of the woods in western Oregon, and hid under her covers at night with fairy tales, comic books, and romances…and that pretty much explains everything about her writing after she emerged from beneath her blankets and crawled in front of a computer.  Meljean is the bestselling author of the Guardians paranormal romance series and the Iron Seas steampunk romance series.

Steampunk Musings

by Meljean Brooks

A guest post on December 30th seems to scream for a retrospective of the year 2010, or a post offering predictions about the steampunk genre in 2011. Maybe a serious look back on the rise of steampunk, its increasing popularity in the mainstream (hello, fans of Castle!) and what we might expect next year: Will the popularity continue to rise, and more people become aware of its existence? Will steampunk burn out and fade into the relative obscurity of only a few years ago?

And that’s exactly what I’d intended to write for today. I suppose that might be called a “Ghosts of Steampunk’s Past, Ghosts of Steampunk’s Future” post…but I obviously just watched the Doctor Who special, “A Christmas Carol,” and I’m letting the spirit of the season get to me, and so instead of wondering about where steampunk has been and where it’s going, I’m far more interested in the constant, ever-changing present of it, and all of the fun and wonder that includes.

Doctor Who is to blame for that, as well – as is Craig Ferguson, and his awesome little song about the show (If you missed it, it’s here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9P4SxtphJ4) that concludes with the assertion that Doctor Who is so beloved by fans because it features the “triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.”

And the first (or maybe fifth) time I watched that little song, I thought: “Hell, yes. That’s exactly it!” Except I wasn’t thinking of Doctor Who at that moment; I was thinking of steampunk, and how many times I’ve tried to explain exactly what the appeal is – more than airships and gadgets, more than just the adventure. But there, Craig Ferguson summed it up for me in a neat little way: it’s the team-up of intellect and romance, and their inevitable triumph.

How is that not fist-pumpingly awesome?

Of course, steampunk is sometimes accused of being entrenched in the romantic past, and I don’t think that’s entirely wrong. It feels like there should be more tension between intellect and romance in steampunk – not unlike the tension that often existed between the eighteenth and nineteenth century romantic writers and their contemporary scientists – but the notion of science and intellect itself has been romanticized (the thrill of invention! the triumph of discovery! the celebration of the brilliant individual!) so that the tension is all but gone.

I don’t think it’s mired in that romanticism, though. What I’ve read of the genre doesn’t demonize rationalism or rigorous scientific thought (whether the actual science in many steampunk novels is all that rigorous, however… that is a discussion for another day, when I am far, far away.) There’s often a heavy dose of realism running through steampunk fiction – the effects of the Industrial Revolution (in Europe or elsewhere) are hard to ignore, after all – and it’s easy enough to pick out 20th century social and political viewpoints (where hopefully Steam actually tips his hat at Punk). It’s almost like reading a retrospective spanning two hundred years … except that the narrative is set at the beginning of the time period instead of the end, and it’s all speculative.

Steampunk gives us hundreds of years to expound upon, expand, twist, and explore – all through sharp, contemporary goggles. A retrospective of a single year simply can’t compare to that.

~Meljean

http://meljeanbrook.com

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The Steamed! Halloween Author Invasion starts on Sunday–are you excited? I know I am. We kick off with YA author Tera Lynn Childs as some of our favorite non-steampunk authors “invade” the Steamed! blog this coming week for spooky posts, prizes, and mayhem in honor of Halloween. From October 24-October 31 stop by each day for a new author and new giveaway. See you there.

Today we welcome author Kristen Painter. Her steampunk romance, Miss Bramble and the Leviathan was just released on Tuesday from Samhain. One lucky commenter will win a copy. To enter, just leave a comment. Contest ends October 30th, 2010 at 11:59 PST.

Kristen Painter is a former college English teacher, personal trainer, advertising exec, maitre d’, and runway model. When not building fantastical worlds, creating new characters or plotting herself out of a corner, she hangs out in the forum at Romancedivas.com, the award-winning site she co-founded with Jax Cassidy, blogs at www.kristenpainter.blogspot.com (except for Tuesday’s when she’s on deck at www.fictionistas.blogspot.com) or tweets at http://twitter.com/Kristen_Painter.

To Be Or Not To Be…Steampunk, That Is

When Suzanne invited me to guest blog, I couldn’t for the life of me think of anything steampunky to talk about despite the fact that my steampunk romance, Miss Bramble And The Leviathan, came out on Tuesday from Samhain.

Then it occurred to me that I might be able to offer some handy lists for folks who weren’t sure if they were really “steampunk” or not. So, here goes…

You might be steampunk if:
1. Your sunglasses are actually goggles.
2. Top hats are part of your everyday wear.
3. Your pet requires winding and the occasional touch of oil.
4. Tea is your favorite drink, especially when served from your antique Victorian tea set.
5. It takes you fifteen minutes to remove your coat due to the number of buckles.
6. Corsets are a mainstay of your lingerie and outer wear.
7. A trip to the hardware store means you’re getting a new outfit.
8. Most of the electronics in your house have been rehoused in custom-made brass and wood cases.
9. As soon as the financing comes through, you’re trading your car in for a dirigible.
10. You travel by train whenever possible.

You’re so not steampunk if:

1. You think an iron lung is a new submersible device.
2. You spray paint all of your electronics copper.
3. The only gears you own are the ones you shift.
4. You’re pretty sure Jules Verne is the guy who mows your grass.
5. Your favorite steampunk outfit was purchased at Abercrombie.
6. You’ve got goggles, all right. The same ones you wore on the high school swim team.
7. You’ve renamed your cat Sprocket to help build your street cred.
8. You just build a robot! Out of pipe cleaners!
9. You think spanx and corsets are basically interchangeable.
10. You once asked someone if a difference machine really made a difference.

Have any more to add? One commenter will win a copy of Miss Bramble And The Leviathan!

– Kristen Painter
www.kristenpainter.com

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