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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Or not.

Today is a happy day when you’re in love. Every shop has heart-shaped chocolate boxes and silly plush animals holding “I luv u” hearts. Jewelry stores have specials on diamonds and rings. Couples choose this day to get married or propose. My husband proposed on Valentine’s Day 14 years ago.

It’s all so very romantic…if you’re in love.

If you’re heartbroken or you’re alone or, worse, you’re recovering from intimate partner violence, nothing can seem more cruel than Valentine’s Day because cupid’s arrow has fractured your very soul.

ValentinesDayOMG

Start with a short story for under $2.00, some less than $1,00! That’s less than a good cup of coffee (or any cup of coffee, really).

  • Clockwork Heart,” only $1.49 on Kindle, tells a story about a man who went to horrific lengths to keep his love alive. Written in the Victorian style of H. G. Wells.
  • Heart of Stone, Flesh of Ice,” only $1.49 on Kindle, is based in Japanese Mythology about a supernatural creature who punishes those who exploit, disrespect, and deceive women.
  • The Handy Man,” only $1.99 on Kindle, is an erotic Steampunk story about a man who goes into the business of pleasing women.
  • A Kiss in the Rain,” only $0.99 on Kindle, is an erotic Gothic love story about a man who couldn’t let go of his wife, even after death.
  • Of Aether and Aeon,” only $0.99 on Kindle, is the first short story I wrote. It’s a tragic tale of a woman trapped in a time loop of falling in love and watching her lover die.
  • Zeppelin Dreams,” only $0.99 on Kindle, tells the tragic story of a woman waiting for her phantom lover.

If you want to take a bigger leap, or if you already know you love my writing, please support my work by buying one of my novels:

  • Avalon Revisited. My first novel, and the Amazon.com Gothic Romance bestseller, not to mention Steampunk Chronicles Best Novel for 2012. Available in paperback, Kindle, and other eBook versions. $9.62 paperback; $5.99 Kindle.
  • Avalon Revamped, its sequel, of sorts. This horror steampunk novel follows Constance, a succubus who punishes men that hurt women. Perhaps Arthur is next. $11.66 paperback; $5.99 Kindle (or borrow for FREE with Amazon Prime)
  • The Zombies of Mesmer, the first Nickie Nick Vampire Hunter novel. Teen Steampunk Romance. $11.66 paperback; $3.99 Kindle.
  • The Ghosts of Southwark, its sequel. $11.28 paperback; $5.99 Kindle.

Additionally, more of my work can be found in anthologies and magazines on my Amazon Author Page.

May you all find love, ecstasy, or sweet revenge this Valentine’s Day.

See you in Denver next month at AnomalyCon!

Come up, shake my hand, and tell me you read me on STEAMED!  x0

-_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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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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I wrote this for I Read to Relax but I wanted to share it with you all.

Also, don’t forget to join me, Seleste DeLaney, and Cindy Spencer Pape on Friday at 6 pm PST for #steampunkchat on twitter.

Steampunk’s Place in YA’s Future

By Suzanne Lazear

Young Adult books push boundaries. That’s what many teens do, why shouldn’t some books do the same? When someone says “you can’t do that in YA”, much like a teen, it juts out its jaw, meets the challenger’s gaze defiantly, and mutters “watch me.”

Steampunk, by its very definition is respectfully defiant. Its roots in innovation (and rebellion), Steampunk, especially as a written genre, is constantly changing, discovering, seeing if it is possible to go places no Steampunk has gone before.

That’s partially why all of these discussions on what Steampunk isn’t or shouldn’t be irk me. To me, this seems adverse to the very ideals of Steampunk itself. Sure, like all genres, there are establishing parameters, but Steampunk, like YA, is a genre grounded in exploration. Perhaps we should focus more on what Steampunk is. After all, we do that in YA, focusing on all the great and wonderful things the genre is instead of nitpicking and compartmentalizing.

So much about the very nature of Steampunk (rebellion, identity, hope, innovation, adventure) lend itself quite naturally to young adult stories. YA steampunk writers aren’t afraid to stretch the limits, borrowing and mashing up genres until perhaps it’s not even steampunk anymore yet still has that spark and spirit that make steampunk such an attractive genre to writers. My book, INNOCENT DARKNESS, is “fairytale steampunk”, a mashup of faeries, fairytales, and steampunk. Jay Kristoff’s upcoming novel STORMDANCER is set in Japan, and SHADOW AND BONE, by Leigh Bardugo is what she coins “Tsarpunk.”

I foresee Steampunk and Steampunkian tales (or those with Steampunkatude) as becoming a mainstay of YA. Because both genres have similar guiding principles. Because in both genres, when someone says “you can’t do that”, we say “why not?”

Because YA and Steampunk is.

Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens. They have faeries in them. Her debut novel, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book one of The Aether Chronicles, is now out from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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It’s book Monday!  For those new to Steamed, Book Monday is an occasional feature where I talk about a (usually) Steampunk book I really enjoy and think you will, too. 

The Vespertine

by Saundra Mitchell

Review copy provided by Harcourt Children’s Books

The Vespertine isn’t Steampunk, it’s a Victorian historical.  I was attracted to it because it’s about Amelia, who goes to Baltimore for ball season in Baltimore in 1889 in order to make a good match.  I *adore* balls and fluffy Victorian dresses.  But this isn’t some light, fluffy story.  No, the balls and dresses simply set the stage for a  lush historical tale of longing, social games, forbidden love, and just a hint of magic. 

Magic?

Yes, I just used the “m” word.

I wasn’t expecting a paranormal element, but for me it added so much depth to the story.  Amelia starts getting dreamlike, and sometimes disturbing, visions at sunset.  At first, these visions skyrocket her popularity, as she only has months to meet the right people to make the right match.  But soon her visions start coming true, and when the darkest things she sees happen, there’s no turning back and could ruin everything she’s come to Baltimore to achieve.

The Victorians did love their visions and esoteric mysteries so this paranormal element meshes very well, making it really (to me) a historical with paranormal elements rather than a full-on Victorian fantasy or even Gaslamp…though the mysterious Nathaniel bring it awfully close to Gaslamp territory (and I do love me a good Gaslamp). 

Ah, Nathaniel.

Who doesn’t love a good story about forbidden love? 

Amelia meets Nathaniel at a party.  But Nathaniel isn’t there to make a good match, like she is.  He is an artist who hires himself out at a “fourteenth”, so there’s never an unlucky thirteen  guests.  Nathaniel and Amelia are instantly attracted, and of course, a poor artists isn’t the type of guy she was sent to find to marry in Baltimore.  But this isn’t as typical of a story-line as you might think.  There relationship is complicated, and even though the attraction is there from the start, they have to work  to develop it, making the relationship portions of the story very fresh and intriguing. 

Amelia is a great character, not an insipid Victorian socialite, but a rather plucky, independent girl who’s sent alone to her cousin’s to experience the wonders of the big city and the decadence of ball season, wonders she’s never seen before, which lends to some great moments.  Imagine what it might be like to see a big city for the first time, or go to your very first ball wearing a ridiculously beautiful, extravagant gown by the lkes you’d only seen before in magazines? 

Then imagine discovering you have abilities that could, if exploited right, help your social standing, brining you into contact with all the “right” girls?

And what about falling in love? 

Or the fear that one wrong step, like even being in the same room alone with a man, could lead to your ruin?

Or that the man you love is not one you could marry?

The whole tale is richly woven, textured, and decadent, like a really good chocolate truffle.  The tale very lyrical  and I devoured most of it in one sitting. 

There are no automatons or rayguns, and fans of action packed stories may find it oddly quite (but not boring, her attention to detail and compelling story see to that).  Overall, this is a very compelling read. 

And the end.

Oh yes. 

The end will take your breath away.

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Today, as Steampunkapalooza 2011 continues, I’d like to welcome Saundra Mitchell, author of the young adult book The Vespertine.

Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture-deliverer and a layout waxer. She’s dodged trains, endured basic training, and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children, and makes paper for fun. She’s also a screenwriter for Fresh Films and the author of Shadowed Summer and The Vespertine, and the forthcoming The Springsweet. She always picks truth; dares are too easy.

 

Let’s Go Dancing

by Saundra Mitchell

Let it be resolved that in 1889, it wasn’t just the upper crust who danced the night away during their rigid and formalized ball season. The American middle class did just as much fan flirting and dance-card gaming as their wealthier counterparts, but I suspect they had more fun doing it.

Without vast empires to merge and old money to protect with proper matches, the middle class showed up at their balls… to dance. To flirt, and fall in love; to gossip and steal sips of brandied punch. But, since the very-well-heeled weren’t opening their private ballrooms to the masses, the masses instead attended public balls.

Public balls were often held as fundraisers- they might be for a charity, or a public works project. Sometimes, to raise money for a church or synagogue. Unions also played host, as well as social clubs. And then there were plenty that were simply money-making ventures. Hotels especially enjoyed the extra revenue of hosting public balls on the holidays.

There were no invitations to manuever. Public balls were advertised in newspapers, and notices were posted in the post office and in other meeting places. For a fee, anywhere from a nickel to several dollars, anyone could attend, as long as they were properly dressed. (And yes, that meant along with specifically segregated balls, some public dances were multicultural events.)

Sometimes, you’d pay your admission in advance- dance cards often served double duty as the ticket. Others took cash at the door. Once inside, you’d find a string quartet or brass band in the corner providing music, a refreshment parlor and a ladies’ necessary. Unlike private affairs, public balls didn’t generally include dinner.

Which means you pay your money, you get your dance card, and you get straight to flirting, straight to the intrigue, straight to the best part of ball-going season: the dancing. Who said the rich get to have all the fun?

~Saundra Mitchell

http://thevespertine.com

 

I have a copy of The Vespertine to give away to one lucky commenter.  Contest ends April 11 at 11:59 pm PST, contest open internationally.  So if you went to a Victorian ball, what part of it would you look forward to the most?

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Steampunkapalooza is here!!!

First off, I’d like to announce the winners of our Steampunkapalooza kickoff giveaway of five copies of Rise of the Iron Moon.

And the winners are…

Tina

Katherine Wagner

Nicole

Carlie A.

*lizzie starr


Please contact me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to collect your prize.

Today to officially kick off Steampunkapalooza 2011, I am very excited to introduce Caitlin Kittredge.  I also have a copy of her new YA Steampunk The Iron Thorn to giveaway   to one lucky commenter.

Caitlin Kittredge writes the Iron Codex novels, steampunk fantasy for young adults.  She also writes urban fantasy and horror for adult audiences.  She lives in Massachusetts with comic books, cats and far too many vintage dresses.

 

 

 

Why Steampunk Fantasy

by Caitlin Kittredge

I get the question a lot: Why steampunk fantasy?  Why choose to set a story about Lovecraftian monsters, evil faeries and blood-drinking nightstalkers in an alternate 1950s where steam power runs the world and the atomic age never came to be?  Couldn’t I just as easily have set my novel in modern-day Akron, Ohio?

No offense to the lovely city of Akron, but yes and no.  I love steampunk—I was a genre fan long before I decided to take a crack at writing it.  More than steampunk, though, I love genre remixes—two unexpected story elements juxtaposed so they prop each other up, rather than conflicting.  One thing that always surprised me, though, was the rigidity of some steampunk proponents.  It must be set in the Victorian era.  It must only have a science fiction basis, no magic, monsters or otherworldly creatures mucking it up.  Not to say that you can’t choose what steampunk is your steampunk—you absolutely can, and should.

My steampunk happens to have tentacle monsters.

Steampunk called out to the type of story I wanted to write—one not just about a girl trying to save her brother from the machinations of the faerie court, but one about a totilitarian government who keeps its citizens “safe” with its great machines, but also uses those same machines to grind dissidents under its heel.  Take away the vast winds of change swept in by the Manhattan Project, and you’ve got a government that won World War II with the help of steam, a government that demanded total obedience from its people, lest they lose faith in science and reason and allow the unthinkable to happen—to allow in the magic that, though science might try to stamp it out, is evident in every corner of the world I created.

Steampunk usually features at least some alternate history, and I love it.  I love asking what if, so when I decided to write my alternate history, big steam powered cities and fleets of dirigibles slotted themselves in pretty naturally.  I also think it’s a genre that suits itself wonderfully to combining with others.  The rigidity doesn’t need to be your steampunk. I don’t necessarily follow the “steampunk can be anything you want” school of thought—goggles and gears don’t make a story, movie, or whatever steampunk on their own—but I do think it cries out for fresh blood, for new elements, be they fantasy, mystery, horror, what have you.

So that’s why steampunk fantasy, on my end.  I’d love to keep combining, keep remixing.  I get so excited when I authors or creators doing things  like noir steampunk, 1920s grit and darkness fused with automatons and ray guns, or Imperial Japanese steampunk, set during the conflicts of Meiji Japan. (Steam-powered samurai, anyone?)

Those are my remixes.  I’d love to hear some of yours!

~Caitlin Kittredge

http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

 

Contest ends Sunday, April 10th at 11:59 PST.  Open internationally.

 

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Welcome back for day #3 of the Halloween Author Invasion. Come back every day for a new Halloween blog post and a new chance to win a great prize.

October 26 — Young Adult Author Inara Scott
October 27 — Paranormal Romance Author Jacquelyn Frank
October 28 — Young Adult Author Simone Elkeles
October 29 — Paranormal Romance Author Maggie Shayne
October 30 — Young Adult Author Ednah Walters
October 31 — Urban Fantasy Author Jeanne Stein

Today our blog is invaded by paranormal YA author Inara Scott. She’s talking about Kick-Ass Halloween Costumes and giving away a copy of her book Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

Inara Scott is the author of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, a young adult paranormal mystery featuring a kick-ass heroine who would much rather be blowing things up than working on her makeup. You can find her at www.inarascott.com, and on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t worry, there aren’t other Inara Scotts out there. You’ll find her.

Kick Ass Halloween Costumes
by Inara Scott

If you’ve visited a costume shop recently, you’ve no doubt realized that adult women are supposed to be “sexy” on Halloween. Almost everything I saw on the rack took a seemingly normal outfit and added the word sexy in front of it to make it a Halloween costume. Sexy police officer! Sexy cheerleader! Sexy nurse! Sexy Eskimo! (Seriously, sexy Eskimo? Are you kidding me? When’s the last time whale blubber and long underwear were sexy?)

Now, here’s the thing: I love dressing up and I love costumes. Seeing the little girls dressed up like faeries and princesses is one of my favorite parts of Halloween. I even enjoy getting a little princess-ey myself when the occasion presents itself. I don’t have a tiara, but I have been known to wear high heels and show a little cleavage when I’m going out with the hubby on date night. So I have nothing against pretty, sexy costumes. But sexy without creativity doesn’t do it for me. And I’d like a little variety, okay? And if it isn’t too much to ask, I’d like to see some “kick-ass” in front of some of those outfits, instead of just sexy.

I think this must appeal to all you steampunkers, because if one thing defines steampunk, it is definitely kick-ass.

Am I right?

I thought so. 🙂

I’d like us all to muse for a moment on what it would mean if Halloween costumes for women were all about the kick-ass. Kick-ass nurse. Kick-ass cheerleader. Kick-ass Eskimo. I think, first of all, you’d have to raise the neckline on these outfits, because it would be very hard to focus on ass kicking while falling out of your top.

Next step, let’s see some real weapons, okay? Give that Eskimo a nice long spear, the cheerleader could use a brass knuckle tucked into her pom-poms, and the nurse? Well, it makes me shudder, but there’s a lot of damage to be done with a syringe.

Now for footwear. You’ve got your boots ready, right? I want to see something stomp-worthy here. No slippers or heels (unless they are razor sharp and ready for action). I want to see Doc Martins, combat boots, and lots of leather and laces.

Finally, let’s talk for a minute about color. I’m okay with the occasional pink, but let’s mix it up a little. This Halloween let’s go bold; channel your inner Wonder Woman and find some red, blue and gold. While we’re on the subject, a pair of indestructible bracelets and lasso of truth might be in order. But make sure that leotard isn’t going fall off if you raise your arms above your head, okay? Thanks.

So, to repeat: this Halloween let’s just say no to sexy nurses and head straight for the superheroes. I want to see weapons, boots, and bold colors. No weenies need apply.

~Inara Scott
www.inarascott.com

What superhero would you like to dress up as one day? One lucky poster wins a copy of Delcroix Academy: The Candidates.

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