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GoS_WebBetween now and October 31st I’m giving away several Kindle copies of my works, including the new Avalon Revamped, the eclectic collection Caught in the Cogs, and the teen romance The Zombies of Mesmer. The last is in preparation of The Ghosts of Southwark (its sequel) release on November 1st.

A few of these giveaways have already come and gone. Those who “like” my FB Fan Page were the only ones in the know, so go “like” that page now. You wouldn’t want to miss out on future freebies!

For the others, stay tuned to my Amazon Author Page to see what’s free when between now and Halloween. You’ll get hints as to when the next free book is available on my FB Fan Page.

Additionally, I’ve put up several new, never-before-seen short stories on the Kindle, all for under $2. Steampunk readers will especially be interested in “The Clockwork Heart,” written in the style of H. G. Wells. Here’s what one reader says about it.

This author has captured the feel of a period piece and still engaged the reader in the manner of a modern piece of fiction. Very engaging, her writing casually sneaks in and demands your attention. I enjoyed this story thoroughly.

Here’s a list of all the short stories recently listed on Kindle:

“The Clockwork Heart” – Written in the style of H. G. Wells, this Gothic Steampunk story will make your heart bleed and your skin crawl. $1.49 (FREE with PRIME, as are the rest below)

Inevitable Enlightenment.” Trace the existential thoughts of a zombie after the apocalypse. $0.99

Come to Me.” Jason’s boring Monday turns into one full of adventure and horror when his mother’s strange affliction takes him and his sister around the world. Based in Scottish Mythology. $0.99

The Handy Man.” After losing his hand in a work accident, Linus Cosgriff adapts a new invention to please women and relieve them from symptoms of hysteria. Adult Content. $1.99

Heart of Stone, Flesh of Ice.” Several men mysteriously disappear after a night of passion during a ski vacation. Based in Japanese Mythology. $1.99

Hannah & Gabriel.” Dark Fantasy Steampunk retelling of Hansel & Gretel. $1.99 (This story is also available along with 11 others, poetry, and articles in the collection Caught in the Cogs: An Eclectic Collection for only $2.99.)

-_Q

OMG_2013Olivia M. Grey lives in the cobwebbed corners of her mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist, like the Amazon Gothic Romance bestseller Avalon Revisited and its sequel Avalon Revamped. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various magazines and anthologies, like SNM Horror Magazine and How the West Was Wicked. Ms. Grey also blogs and podcasts relationship essays covering such topics as alternative lifestyles, deepening intimacy, ending a relationship with love and respect, and other deliciously dark and decadent matters of the heart and soul.

Read more by O. M. Grey on her blog Caught in the Cogs, http://omgrey.wordpress.com

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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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Today we welcome the Ladies of Mischief

Textile Arts — A Fascinating Frontier that Weds Form to Function and Design to Desire

By Blue Stocking-Reads For The Ladies of Mischief

From the shimmer of a fine silk to the rough heft of homespun wool to the smallest and laciest of unmentionables, textiles bind our lives together. And not just ours: Human beings have been weaving and stitching, spinning and sewing, for millennia, back to prehistoric days and up to today. The Egyptians had their thin, fine linen shifts, and the Romans their bulky, urine-bleached wool togas (imagine that overwhelming smell on a hot day!) — although they only wore them on special occasions. And the Byzantine and Chinese courts dazzled with all the pageantry that legions of cloth artists could provide. From hundreds of types of tassels at the height of the French court to the intricate lace of Holland, textile arts had already reached an incredibly high level when “just” done by hand. By the time of the French Revolution, industrial-style factories with huge looms already existed to feed the ever-growing needs of the mercantile class. The march of the machine only intensified through the true age of steam and beyond.

But factory-issued doesn’t spell the end of handmade! The ladies of the Victorian era were indefatigable crafters, knitting and crocheting and tatting lace, creating dresses from patterns found in popular magazines like Peterson’s. (Go ahead and look through a recent issue of Cosmo to find a pattern for a handmade morning dress with lace collar. Go ahead. We’ll stay right here and wait for you to get back.)

Imagine reading an instruction for a knitted piece that said, simply: “cast on sufficient stitches for piece, knit in pattern to completion, bind off in pattern.” That’s the rawest pattern you may ever see!

Yet if a lady knew what she was doing — through years of expertise and practice — she could take that minimalist pattern and create something useful and beautiful.

The ladies of Mischief is a collective of knitters, crafters, artists, and steampunk enthusiasts who are creating a book to explore the amalgamation of knitting and steampunk. We are working hard to have this work completed by the spring.

The patterns in our book are more like the most fantastic, intricate creations the Victorians could dream of — complicated and delicate, beautiful and fine. Don’t worry — we will walk you through each step, row by row and line by line.

You won’t need a hand-cranked home sock machine, as some Victorian ladies used (although don’t let us discourage you from getting one… and modifying it to according to own designs, of course!).

All you need are the same forthright spirit of adventure that rises up to meet the call: “I am a puzzle to be solved, a pattern to be plumbed and understood, a challenge to be met!”

Join us in new adventures and let’s make textile history together!

~The Ladies of Mischief

http://theladiesofmischief.wordpress.com/

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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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Steampunk for the Romantic in all of us

by Arabella Wyatt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Arabella Wyatt

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

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Steamy Places

by Nishi Serrano

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream …” Edgar Allan Poe

Places fuel our imagination. When we journey the planet to locations that influence our minds to think of times past or possibilities of the present, it inspires all manner of divineness in our hearts. And for this reason, as a guest writing on the most esteemed ‘Steamed!’ blog, I wish to share a few of these magical sites that have unlocked within me romantic, otherworldly musings. As a suggestion with these fascinating spaces, one would be advised to dress in your very best steampunk attire to fully immerse in the experience.

Afton Villa Gardens:

If you live anywhere in or near Louisiana, I suggest a sojourn to Afton Gardens. Whimsical and mystical, it is one of those eerily beautiful sights left over from the Victorian era. Be warned though, you must go when the days are cool, as it gets quite steamy otherwise.

There are paths lined with sentinels of greek mythology, an expansive and lush labyrinth, and stairs that lead you up airy paths to nowhere in particular except for a view of the magnificent landscape. The ticket price is five dollars to enter, and it is virtually devoid of tourist. If you have a row boat, there is a charming pond on which to cruise. Bring a picnic basket and tea. You will want to stay there forever. www.aftonvilla.com

Rip Van Winkle Gardens:

Since I have mentioned the South, this grand spot is one you can spend the night at, and is not far from Lafayette, LA. They have a quaint café, tales of pirates and sinkholes, and a garden filled with peacocks, ruins, and hidden paths.

Imagine yourself wandering the starlit passages arm in arm with your true love as you search the night for the ghosts of pirates past. www.ripvanwinklegardens.com

Now let us travel to the West, where anything is possible and most likely probable!

Columbia, California:

If, like me, you are a western steampunk at heart, Columbia is a dream come true. I never tire of visiting this originally kept gunslingertown. I once spent two nights and had quite the adventure. Let me give you some advice—no matter how much whiskey you can slam at the saloon, a midnight walk does not mean you can pet a random roving mountain lion just because you think it is a deer!

And if you wander amongst the eldricht shaped rock formations, be on the lookout for bandits (we snuck up on the one in the photo getting ready to rob the stagecoach!)! Don’t forget to visit the schoolhouse and do a snip of ghost hunting in the cemetery behind it. www.columbiacalifornia.com

Mcmenamins Edgefield:

Built as a country poor farm in 1911, the charm of Edgefield and its grounds is not to be missed. Gather a group of your friends and stay at least one night, and bring your parasols and goggles. There’s a shack for fine cigars and a lawn for summer concerts (or croquette!).

Mcmenamin’s is famous for brewing their own spirits, whether it be port, wine, brandy, or beer, the libations flow until you say “Alas, good gents—no more!” www.mcmenamins.com

Wherever you find yourself, there are treasures to be had with but a bit of poking around. Dig, do your research,and then assemble your jolly fellows for a romping good soiree that is only limited to your imagination!

If you would like to read more about my adventures visit my blog at: http://www.nishiserrano.blogspot.com

My steampunk erotica ‘Mile High Airship Club’ can be had August 19th at: http://www.decadentpublishing.com

~Nishi Serrano

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Today we welcome Steampunk author Stella Price

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

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

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

So shall I introduce you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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