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Posts Tagged ‘Steampunkapalooza’

As a contributing author in Shanghai Steam & the Steamfunk! Anthology, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world.

The Pacific Commercial Observer 
29 April, 18–
by Ray Dean

advertIt has come to this humble reporter’s attention that a rash of attacks perpetrated on women touring seaside locales has not given rise to widespread panic. The reason? A simple cure created by the world renowned chemist, Dr. Oh!

“I truly had no idea why such a thing was even needed,” heiress Wilhemina Chatsworth informed us as she lounged in the sitting room of her rented flat. Her feet pillowed on a richly brocaded ottoman, Miss Chatsworth made some mention of her injury. “I am able to move about on my own,” she assured me, “most likely I would have suffered a much greater injury had my most able companion not leapt to my defense.”

At such time, she did indicate the woman standing a few feet away. Dressed in a sensible day dress of woolens, the woman of indeterminate age and unremarkable looks stepped forward.

When asked for her name, the woman demurred, insisting that her actions were nothing out of the normal. That any other person, armed with Dr. Oh’s Octopodiform Deterrent, would be able to protect someone in their acquaintance from such an attack.

The atomizer, she explained, was one that contained an ample supply of the deterrent. Displaying the conveniently sized bottle, one that we are assured fits easily into a moderately sized reticule, she demonstrated how easy it was to use.

London Weekly Record
21 June, 18–

The shores of Lyme are known for their dark beauty and wild waves. Many flock to the town to experience the majesty of the ocean, but a sinister shadow now lies beneath the waves. A shadow with eight appendages has terrorized both visitors and denizens alike.

While many pressed for an increase of police at the water’s edge, the local constabulary asked that any visits to the Cobb be postponed until the danger had abated. On any given day, nearly a score of visitors could be found treading the slick stones beside the water.

One such visitor, a young woman by the name of Philomena Prentiss, was nearly dragged into the sea by the fearsome shadow.

As a few visitors raised the alarm and called for assistance, Miss Prentiss watched in horror as a second tentacle snaked out of the waves and wrapped around her wrist.

A gentleman nearby, who asked to remain nameless, gave the young woman great praise for her quick thinking and quicker hands.

“Even with the unwelcome attention of the mysterious beast, the young lady was able to loosen the strings of her purse and from its dainty confines withdraw a smart-looking bottle. One spritz and the creature rushed out to sea before the tides!”

When Miss Prentiss divulged where she had purchased the bottle of Dr. Oh’s Octopodiform Deterrent, the shopkeeper was soon sold out of the miraculous product and planning on ordering a number of cases for his stock.

ETSY listing –
http://www.etsy.com/listing/67383459/steampunk-advertisement-11-x-14-inch-art

~Ray Dean

http://raydean.net

 

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Caitlin Kittredge writes both YA and adult books including The Iron Codex series. She is the proud owner of an English degree, two cats, a morbid imagination, a taste for black clothing, punk rock, and comic books. Visit her website at www.caitlinkittredge.com to learn more.

 

The Finish Line

by Caitlin Kittredge

itcoversmallI read a lot about starting a steampunk story—how to worldbuild, how to create compelling characters, how to mix up timelines and history to make a unique, compelling universe—but I don’t see much about endings.

The last book in my Iron Codex trilogy was released in February  and while I’m sad to have the journey end—as any writer would be—I never intended the series to be more than three books. I always had an end in mind, a destination for the journey. I don’t think that’s necessary—some of the best writers I know start with no end in sight and figure it out as they go. But I knew these characters and their world had a single story to tell, and then I’d exit gracefully.

ngcoversmallYet, as I drew to the end of writing The Mirrored Shard, I found myself leaving little things open. Aoife, Dean and Cal get their endings—some happy, some not so happy—and the plot that carried me for three books wrapped up, but I left more ends open than I anticipated. Was I just being wistful? Maybe. But I think it’s a sign that maybe I didn’t say quite all I had to say about the world of the Iron Codex. Maybe there’s a short story, or a novella in my future. I can’t say!

I like little openings for future stories scattered here and there in the natural arc of the story I’m actually telling. I don’t like ambiguous endings. I blame a childhood of serial stories, mostly in comic book form, that led me to be the sort of writer who has to leave a few trails of breadcrumbs here and there for alternate storylines.

The Mirrored ShardI tried to strike a good balance in Mirrored Shard—all the major threads ending where I’d always intended them to. But there’s still one large element left without resolution at the end of Mirrored Shard, and that’s absolutely on purpose. In another time, with another set of characters, this could absolutely be its own series. I’ve only ended one series before the Iron Codex, and since those stories were serial, not really connected, it was very different. The heroine got her ending, the plot wrapped up, and everyone could pretty much go home happy (except the bad guys, of course.) This time, I like to think I was smarter, and left myself with another story to tell, a small door left open to sneak back into this world I’ve devoted close to half a decade to writing in, imagining, dreaming about.

Like I said, maybe I’m just wistful. I love steampunk and Victoriana, so I know I’m definitely nostalgic!  But maybe in the future I’ll get another chance to go back to the start with a new set of characters and revisit Aoife’s world, explore that last thread left loose. Loose threads, after all, beg to be pulled and they exist in all of my favorite books. Tantalizing possibilities that, once explored, can lead to brave new worlds of their own.

~Caitlin

http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

 

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Seleste steampunk bustle

At a young age, Seleste deLaney discovered the trick to not being afraid of the monsters under the bed was to turn them into heroes. Since that time, she’s seen enough of human monsters that she prefers to escape to fictional worlds where even the worst demons have to play by the rules and the good guys might end up battered and bruised (or dead), but they always win. And really, isn’t that the way it should be 

She is in the process of relocating to southeast Michigan with her two kids (and a pair of fierce, attention-hungry slobber-monsters of her own) and is hard at work on her next book. In those rare moments when she isn’t battling terrorists, vampires, or rogue clockworks, she can be found all over the Internet, where she loves to interact with readers. To that end, you can find her at her WebsiteBlogFacebook ProfileFacebook PageTwitter, and Pinterest.    

The Big “What If?”

By Seleste deLaney

It’s been said that all the best stories start with “Once upon a time…”

Then of course, there’s the redneck version of that which says all the best stories start with “Hey, y’all, watch this…”

For myself, all the best stories start with a storyteller sitting back and thinking to themselves “What if?”

  • “What if vampires roamed Victorian London?”
  • “What if the Black Plague brought forth a mutant gene that turned nobles into monsters but let them live forever?”
  • “What if the monsters are us and a simple potion makes them come forth?”

SL_Badlands_250x400Sci-fi and fantasy are all based on the “What if?” And nowhere is this more true than with steampunk. It allows us to imagine a world where genetic manipulation, advanced prosthetics, and all sorts of wonderful things were created and perfected far before their time. More than that, though, it allows us, as readers, a glimpse of a world that might have been, if only tiny bits of history had changed and advancement had never been stalled.

When I first wrote Badlands, I knew I wanted a region run by women, but I didn’t know how it would have come about. Thoughts of Australia as an English penal colony came to mind, and I thought to myself, “What if the United States had done that? Sent all their criminals off to somewhere else?” For me, that question was the birth of Ever’s people. Criminals would be shipped across the Mississippi and their families would often follow. Eventually the wildness would need tempering, giving rise to leadership that wouldn’t automatically be distrusted by the Union—women. Not the criminals themselves, but their wives and daughters. (There were sons too, but with nameless and faceless criminals, they’d be more suspect.) Violence would spawn the need for control, resulting in the Border Guard.

The funny thing about questions is they tend to spawn more questions. Readers wanted to know more about the world Ever, Spencer and the Dark Hawk crew lived in, so I wrote more. The sequel, Clockwork Mafia, comes out at the end of the month, and I do hope you’ll all check it out.

But for me, the most interesting bit was how questions about the world that wasn’t led me (via questions from my children…go figure) to conversations about multi-verse theory and the possibility that all worlds imagined by authors exist in some other universe. And that led to time travel and dimensional rifts and…eventually it will lead to a new series very different from Badlands, but with that same heart of adventure and political intrigue.

That’s the joy of story telling—there are no limits but what can be imagined. And in the world of steampunk, the imagination has no limits.

More about Clockwork Mafia (coming April 29 from Carina Press):

Clockwork_Mafia_final

Inventor Henrietta Mason is retiring from airships and adventuring to return home to Philadelphia. Determined to erase all trails leading to her late father’s duplicity, she dismantles his lab and removes all records of the Badlands gold. While in the city, she can’t resist the lure of a charity gala but winds up regretting the whole experience. Well, everything except a heart-racing dance with a certain U.S. Marshal.

His career and vengeance on the line, Carson Alexander must prove a connection between Senator Mason and the mafia. He lucked out happening across Mason’s strikingly beautiful daughter, only to have her slip through his fingers. On a desperate hunt to track her down, he never expects his search to take him into the brutal Badlands.

With a mechanically enhanced enforcer after them, only Carson knows the extent of the danger they face. He’ll have to win over Henrietta’s trust, and her heart, before it’s too late…

Pre-order Clockwork Mafia at Carina PressAmazonBarnes & NobleAll Romance Ebooks, and Bookstrand.

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Today we welcome Maureen O. Betita

I’m Maureen O. Betita, creator of The Kraken’s Caribbean Series and A Caribbean Spell Series. I live in California and am so damned lucky to find Steampunk conventions flourish on the west coast.

 

Steampunk Convention(s)

By Maureen O. Betita

LoreleiΓÇÖs-Song200x300There is nothing like attending a Steampunk convention. Big, little, in a hotel, on a cruise ship, wearing a corset or overalls. It’s just…a world outside of itself. And inside itself. I often feel as if anything could happen at one of these conventions.

Dr. Who could wander thru one of these wonderful events and no one would blink. Captain Jack Sparrow, Sherlock Holmes (pick your favorite)…and Jack the Ripper, Mr. Hyde, Dracula. As if there is a huge neon sign blinking into the cosmos – ALL ARE WELCOME!

Flash Gordon? Come on in! Ming the Merciless? We have a table for you right over here. Miles Vorkosigan? Luke Skywalker? Captain Nemo! Love the turbin, let me set your sword over here…

Wander any Steampunk conference and you’ll see it all. If you open your eyes and look. James West and Artemis Gordon just wandered thru the ballroom, Jim took a spin with that redhead sporting tentacles under her skirt…

Music plays, commerce takes place, couples wander, arm in arm, posing for pictures. Tea is served, battles are discussed, as are great scientific accomplishments. The man from SETI is in the forward meeting room, setting up a slideshow. The company following whales from the dirigible are babbling about how close they got to a mother and calf, migrating to Alaska.

And off in a corner, there are shadows and strange meetings. Beneath the haunting music of Unwoman  a writer huddles, scratching away at her tablet, beset with an idea…

I was that writer. Aboard the Queen Mary at Her Majesties Royal Steampunk Symposium, Long Beach, California. I thought, what if…

smallprayerAnd Lorelei’s Song was born. My newest release from Decadent Publishing, a mix of Steampunk/horror/erotic romance. What makes it Steampunk? It takes place at a Steampunk convention, mostly. What makes it horror? Well, the descendants of Cthulhu are stalking their prey. What makes it erotic romance? There are two of them and one of her and she wants to be caught.

Cthulhu was part of the Steampunk con on the Queen Mary. The Sunday morning service was in homage to his great tentacleness and from there…I knew. I had to see his horribleness wander a convention.

For those who don’t know who Cthulhu is…get thee to Wikipedia! His immensity has become a bit of the patron god of Steampunk. Born of the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft…or channeled, who knows… he’s taken the world by steam! And his distant sons take Lorelei…

Here’s an excerpt, the men are setting up the Steampunk convention, hoping to find the one woman who can help them remain sane and handle the strength of their passion… Unknown to them, she’s in the room. Instincts try to take control…

His nostrils caught the perfume of something different. Spicy, with a hint of dry driftwood, it wafted in the air and he froze. Damn, what the hell was that? He started at a sharp rap on the table. “Fuck.”

“Get up here!” A kick arrived with the plea.

He rose, rubbing his head, to find Jerrod snatching up a pair of goggles and sliding them on.

“What the hell?”

“My eyes. I can’t—” His kinsman turned his back on the nearly empty room. “I smelled something odd and—”

“Okay, okay. Sit and—”

“Get me the hell out of here!”

Jerrod gripped his arm tightly, head turned so Nicholas could glimpse the shadow of the change on his cheek bones.

Nicholas didn’t think. He wrapped his arms around his cousin and pulled him down to the shadow of the table. Lowering a hand, he gripped the steel-rod erection he knew he’d find beneath the loose pants.

Holding the rigid cock, he whispered, “I smelled her, too. She’s out there. You just have to be stealthy. Be the monster who stalks. Blend in. We’ll find her.”

 “I…want….”

The hollow echo of the deepest crevasse of the ocean reverberated against Nicholas’s bones in the low voice.

“Yeah, we’re gonna find her, and we’re gonna fuck her, and this time, we aren’t going to hold back.”

……

Lorelei’s Song – available as an ebook at Decadent, Amazon, Smashwords and most e-outlets.

Tell me of your favorite monster and who you would like to see wander a Steampunk convention. One random comment will win a copy of Lorelei’s Song.

~Maureen

www.maureenobetita.com

 

Decadent http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=751&osCsid=od4lb7goki9vvlpaa1t5519og7

 Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Loreleis-Song-ebook/dp/B00C2FCZ4U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364509074&sr=8-3&keywords=Lorelei%27s+Song

 Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/300475

 

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It’s time for Steampunkapalooza–our annual month-long blog party filled with special guests, prizes, and mayhem.

It also means that Steamed is four. Yes, we’ve been running this blog for four years. Launch the cupcake cannons.

So, thank you so much for making this blog a success, and here’s to many more years of Steamed.

Here’s this year’s Steampunkapalooza schedule-check back often and enjoy!

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Monday April 1 – Kickoff

Tuesday April 2—Deliah Dawson

Wednesday April 3—Airship Vindus

Thursday April 4–Maureen O. Betita

Friday April 5–Seleste DeLaney

Monday April 8–PJ Schnyder

Tuesday April 9–Deborah Schneider

Wednesday April 10—Teen Librarian Toolbox

Thursday April 11–Kate Milford

Friday April 12—Maeve Alpin

Monday April 15—Zoe Archer and Nico Rosso

Tuesday April 16—Karina Cooper

Wednesday April 17—Cindy Spencer Pape

Thursday April 18—Theresa Meyer

Friday April 19—Colleen Gleason

Monday April 22—Caitlin Kittredge

Tuesday April 23—TBD

Wednesday April 24-Kassy Taylor

Thursday April 25—Veronique Chevalier

Friday April 26–Syfer Locke

Monday April 29—Raye Dean

Tuesday April 30—Closing Party

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It’s nearly April, and April means Steampunkapalooza!

Steampunkapalooza is Steamed’s annual blog party we hold to celebrate our birthday. Yes, the Steamed blog is four! Four! 

All month long where will be special guests, prizes, and mayhem. I’ll post the full schedule for as soon as I have it!

Here’s to another great year!

~Suzanne

http://www.suzannelazear.com 

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Today we welcome author Annie Seaton.

Strong and Sassy Steampunk Heroines!

By Annie Seaton

When I decided to write my steampunk story, Winter of the Passion Flower, my heroine was constantly in my head, telling me what to do!  She wanted to be the one in charge, the one who called the shots, and the one who did most of the adventuring. Thus it became a very easy story to write as Indigo de Vargas y Irausquínno pushed the swashbuckling action to the limit.

One of the concerns when you  are writing about a strong heroine, particularly in the steampunk and romance genres, when most readers love an alpha male is to be able to balance the strength of your hero and heroine so that the action and the romance are believable and satisfying to the reader.

Gail Carriger has done this perfectly with Alexia Tarabotti in the Parasol Protectorate series. As well as being a strong female character, Alexia drinks tea, carries a parasol and has been known to faint!

Indigo appeared in my mind, all of her characteristics already in place. Being the ultimate pantser and one who does not take time to do character sheets and plotting, my characters evolve through their actions and this really works effectively for me. When the book was finished, I reflected on Indigo’s character and tried to marry it to words that would be characteristic of a strong and sassy heroine.

Is she a risk-taker, is she brave, and does she have attitude? Tick…yes to all of those.

Does she have a strong survival instinct in the face of adversity?
Does she passionately believe in a cause?

Does she have the respect and admiration of the other characters?

Does she recognize when she makes mistakes?

Tick… yes to all of those.

Sassy is defined as impudent, vigorous and lively and it can be very easy to overdo the ‘sass’ to the point where a character can become unlikeable. Sassiness must be balanced with strong by softness and an underlying reason for the sassiness must be demonstrated. A passionate belief in a cause, where the heroine fights for truth and justice in our alternate steampunk world, whether it be on a global scale or within a relationship must provide a backdrop for each of the sassy heroine’s actions and reactions.

So how does an author convey the strength of a strong and sassy steampunk heroine, yet still keeping her as a believable and likeable character? One of the most satisfying reviews of Winter of The Passion Flower recognized Indigo’s strength:

 I especially like that Indigo is the scientist and I love that Indigo needs to rescue Zane! Both characters were light and fun and fit in perfectly with this swashbuckling plot. (The Romance Reviews)

Detailed descriptions of both setting and physical characteristics are very important. The use of strong verbs, both when describing the actions of the heroine and in her dialogue are essential to provide a backdrop to successful characterization.

Strong dialogue, where the heroine shows her intelligence, and demonstrates her ability to make the right decisions under pressure, can convey much about her strength of character in very few words and can be a most effective tool for telling the reader about her.

Having the respect of secondary characters is integral to the success of a strong female character and this can be demonstrated successfully though both dialogue and action. Mr and Mrs Grimoult in Winter of the Passion Flower came alive for me in their love and respect for Indigo. It is essential that the soft side of the strong character comes to the fore when required and the reader gets a balanced view of the character.

Excerpt:

“Madam, here are your goggles,” insisted Mrs. Grimoult, holding them out to Indigo as she peered down through the transparent floor of the dirigible. Indigo glared at her as she observed Mrs. Grimoult roll her eyes at her husband.

“Madam, the putrid air will not be good for the baby’s health,” coaxed Mr. Grimoult. Indigo reached over, donning the goggles, without a word, taking great care not to disturb her magnificent hairstyle

When there is a fight or an action scene, it is essential to use the right creative technique to convey action. Short sharp sentences are effective. The heroine must always win! Indigo is physically strong and this made it very easy to convey her strength of character, which complements her physical strength and size.

Excerpt:

She bit. She slashed. She screamed. No holds barred, she fought dirty. Her life depended on it. Using her fingernails, she gave a grunt of satisfaction as skin ripped beneath them. Her adversary released her as she ran for the road, pulling the scarab controller from her bag.

The relationship of a sassy heroine with the hero must always be full of fireworks. After all, he is threatening her independence and making her feel emotions that she is unused to, as well as threatening her control. They must always be at odds—both physically and in dialogue.

I love this moment between Indigo and Captain Dogooder…

Excerpt:

Their eyes locked, and she moistened her lips in a slow and sensuous movement. Indigo moved in closer, and the captain’s eyes darkened.

She bit him sharply on the lip as she brought her knee up hard to his groin. Pushing him away, Indigo spat words at him. “You will learn your place in the scheme of things. Do not ever touch me without invitation. Do not ask questions about things best left unsaid.”

Summer of the Moon Flower, the sequel to Winter of the Passion Flower is set ten years later and follows the adventures of Sofia, Indigo’s younger half sister. It has been an interesting journey, as Sofia is petite and fragile and writing her as a strong character in an action packed romance, when she doesn’t have the physical strength of Indigo has been challenging.

Again, setting, physical description of characters and the use of strong dialogue have been essential in the creation of a vivid picture of her personality, and to convey her strength of character. Sofia is directing me through a process where she is more proactive than Indigo. Most of the action scenes and interactions in Winter of the Passion Flower were reactive; in the sequel Sofia is much more in charge of what happens!

Make your sassy steampunk heroines human… let them make mistakes, let them show their emotions, give them a soft side. So…when you are creating your steampunk heroines, make them the heroines that we all secretly envy!

~Annie Seaton

Winter of the Passion Flower Lyrical Press March 2012

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