Felony Book Fair

The Felony Fiction Book Fair I hope that you have made a dent in your TBR piles and are looking for something new! The Felony Fiction Book Fair is sponsored by NY Times and USA Today best-selling author Patricia Loofbourrow and features mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Unquiet Dead is one of the featured novels. Learn…

Read More

Steampunk: The First Decade

Article focusing on steampunk during the mid-1980s through 1996, and especially on the literature that serves as the foundation for a genre that has since branched into fashion, music, and more.

Read More

Choosing an Audio Book Narrator

What’s an author to do? When I think of voices, of style of speech, I think of characters. Joan Hickson (from the Miss Marple series) sounds completely different than Brian Glover (from the Campion mysteries). Do I want someone who sounds like Benedict Cumberbatch, Sean Bean, or Gary Oldman. (And since Gary Oldman uses a different accent in every movie, which version would that be?)

Read More

Unquiet Dead Out in Audible

[button text=”Buy It Now on Audible” link=”https://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Unquiet-Dead-Audiobook/B07BQFX2S7″ align=”center”] Chris Pavesic, author of The Revelation Chronicles, invites you to experience the first novel in the intriguing realm of Chiaroscuro. In a world of steam-powered technology and magic-wielding fae, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill a series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere. Narrated by Penny Scott-Andrews.…

Read More

Amazon Giveaway & Limited Time Offer

To celebrate the launch of Unquiet Dead, I am hosting giveaways on Amazon. Unquiet Dead (Chiaroscuro Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition). Click to Enter NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Mar 31, 2018 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.     Starter Zone (The Revelation Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle…

Read More

Using Visual Models for Effective WorldBuilding

The first season of The Frankenstein Chronicles hits the mark for a work that is not steampunk and has a lot to offer those who want to learn about effective worldbuilding.

Read More

Changes

Hi all– If you have been a long-time reader of my blog, you will have noticed a few changes in the format. This will soon be accompanied by some changes in my posting schedule. For the last year I have been posting 5 days a week. Posts about writing, reading, cooking, gaming, health and beauty,…

Read More

Quest of Thunder

Recently I reviewed Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel, the first book in the Stormbourne Chronicles. You can read that review here. The second novel in the series, Quest of Thunder, has just been released and I am excited to share the next part of Evelyn Stormbourne’s journey with you. Blurb Evie must restore her divine…

Read More

Review: Nikola Tesla and the End of the World

Nikola Tesla and the End of the World Blurb When physicist Sophie Clarke builds a strange machine from long-lost scientific plans she unwittingly transports Nikola Tesla to modern-day London. Unfortunately Tesla brings another historical figure along with him: an autocratic automaton. Two brilliant scientists. A slightly unhinged enemy from the future. This could lead to…

Read More

Heir of Thunder by Karissa Laurel

Author: Karissa Laurel Release: 2016 Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy Series: Stormbourne Chronicles Edition: Kindle Publisher: Evolved Publishing, LLC The Lord of Thunder has passed, leaving daughter Evelyn Stormbourne to overcome her kingdom’s greatest enemies, but first she must embrace her dominion over the sky. The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne,…

Read More

Viriconium

Author: M. John Harrison Release: December 18, 2007 Genre: Steampunk | Cyberpunk | Fantasy | Dark Fantasy | Sci-Fi Edition: Kindle Publisher: Random House LLC  Blurb A magnificent city existing on the ringes of the past, and on the brink of destruction, Viriconium • With a foreword by Neil Gaiman Available to American readers for…

Read More

Sunless Skies Victorian Steampunk LitRPG Launches on Steam

After playing and reviewing Fallen London (read the review here) I eagerly awaited the next LitRPG game from Failbetter Games.  Sunless Skies launches on Steam Early Access on August 30, 2017. By the time this post publishes, it should have been available for about 12 hours. For the first week, the game will be available for…

Read More

A Steampunk Writer’s Resource: The Victorian City

The Victorian City delves into the history of the era and provides a good base for any writer interested in creating a steampunk novel with Victorian undertones. I recommend it as a great place to start your research.

Read More

The West that Wasn’t: Steampunk Inspirations

The concepts of wildness, independence, and freedom of the frontier West have long represented the American spirit for many writers. Frederick Turner described the frontier West as one of the defining elements in American national identity—the “dominant individualism” that Turner saw as a hallmark of American character: “The coarseness and strength, combined with acuteness and acquisitiveness; that practical and inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things.”

Read More

From This City of Nightmares . . .

In 1987 K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” in a letter to Locus magazine. Jeter used the term to qualify the neo-Victorian writings that he, James Blaylock, and Tim Powers, were producing. This term was in part a play on the term “cyberpunk,” which was a popular genre in the late 1980s. Steampunk is a genre of speculation, whether it is set in an alternative version of Victorian England, in an alternative American West, in a future where steam power rather than electrical current runs the world, or in a fantasy setting where steam power is in mainstream use. It owes a debt of gratitude for its creation to such authors as Jules Verne, Mary Shelly, and H.G. Wells: Their works are speculative and include many of the aspects that readers now associate with modern steampunk novels. In terms of world building, though, the genre owes an even larger debt to Charles Dickens and his depiction of Victorian England.

Read More

Monstress: Awakening

  Authors: Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda Release: July 16, 2016 Series: Monstress Genre: Steampunk | Horror | Dark Fantasy Edition: Kindle Pages: 192 Publisher: Amazon Digital Services I picked up a copy of Monstress because I liked the look of the artwork—a mixture of art-deco-influenced steampunk and manga—and I was intrigued by the storyline.…

Read More

Fallen London

Fallen London Producer: Failbetter Games Genre: Steampunk | LitRPG | Lovecraftian | Gothic Edition: IOS Platform Download for Free Here: Fallen London Blurb “Thirty years ago, London was stolen by bats. Now, Hell is close and immortality is cheap, but the screaming has largely stopped…” Fallen London, acclaimed literary RPG and winner of The Escapist’s…

Read More

Steampunk is More Than Its History

Is it necessary to have read H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine or Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to understand the steampunk aesthetic? Does anyone who attends an event dressed in Western steampunk attire need to view all of John Ford’s movies about the Old West and every episode of the Wild Wild West before partaking? Or is this prior knowledge only a part—a foundation—that can add to a person’s appreciation?

Read More

George Eliot’s Influence on Alternate Histories

In the steampunk genre there are many Victorian Era authors who have influenced modern works. Many writers espouse names like Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and H.G. Wells. Yet another Victorian Era writer, Mary Ann Evans, popularly known by her pen name, George Eliot, created works of fiction that explored the connection between the individual and society and explored the idea that a single decision or action could alter the course of history: This viewpoint has been explored at length by steampunk authors who create story worlds based on alternate histories.

Read More

The City of Blind Delight

“The City of Blind Delight” is a short story in Other Worlds Than These, an anthology that explores the theme of other worlds and the road not taken. Valente’s story is a wonderful example of the genre. It is one of those stories where there are touches of steampunk, of fantasy, and of sci-fi. Some readers may not feel that it is “strictly” steampunk because it lacks certain elements, such as a setting inspired by Victorian England or the American West. However, I would argue that Valente creates a blended genre that simply has a little more “punk” than “steam.” And really, aren’t both of those words important to the genre?

Read More

The Tinkerer’s Daughter

I purchased this novel through a free offer in Bookbub and I have subsequently purchased the other two novels in the series. I am looking forward to reading them over the holidays—preferably curled up on the couch with a cup of eggnog-flavored latte by my side. This series is a mixture of the fantasy and steampunk genres. It is appropriate for YA readers.

Read More

Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo

Author: Cat Rambo Release: February 1, 2011 Genre: Steampunk | Fantasy Edition: Kindle Pages: 24 Publisher: Tor Books Buy it here: AMAZON Blurb Desiree feels the most at home with her clockwork creations, but Claude worries about all this science and Darwinist nonsense—after all, where do clockwork fairies fall in the Great Chain of Being?…

Read More

The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall

Although The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall is part of a series, it can easily be read as a solo novel. The influence of P.G. Wodehouse (an English humorist) can be seen in the characters of Reggie and Reeves (akin to Bertie and Jeeves). There are also obvious similarities between The Unpleasantness at Baskerville Hall and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Fans of the mystery genre will recognize elements from other great mystery writers, like Agatha Christie. (Reggie’s mention of “little grey cells” calls to mind the character of Hercule Poirot). But few casual mystery readers will draw a parallel between the novel and the story that is recognized as the first modern detective story, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Read More

The Mechanicals by Nix Whittaker

The Mechanicals is Nix Whittaker’s second book in the Wyvern Series. The first, Blazing Blunderbuss, was published early in 2016. It is not necessary to read the first book in the series to enjoy the novel, but knowledge about the characters and the story world can add a depth to the story, particularly at the start of the novel.

Read More

Dead Magic by Kara Jorgensen

Dead Magic is the fourth novel in Jorgensen’s Ingenious Mechanical Devices series and is the second novel to feature the characters of Emmeline and Immanuel. Although Dead Magic is a sequel, it is not necessary to read The Winter Garden first. (Although you absolutely should read all of the novels in this series! They are excellent.) Jorgensen provides enough details in the narrative to catch a reader up to the plot line of the new novel.

Read More

Mechanica: Book Review

Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell, is a young adult steampunk retelling of the Cinderella tale.   Mechanica, like other modern fairy tale adaptations (Wicked, Maleficent, Frozen) present a strong female character in Nicolette, who is derisively named “Mechanica” by her stepsisters. Like other versions of the Cinderella tale, the mother dies, the father remarries, and then he…

Read More

Not-So-Dreadful Pennies & Steampunk Smashers

Whenever I travel I make sure to tuck several bright, shiny pennies into my handbag. Not because I want to spend them; after all, what can a person purchase for a penny in the current economy?* I carry them because I want to pay 50 times their worth to have them stretched by machines until…

Read More

5 Minutes with Nix Whittaker

Advice to aspiring authors: Write a bad book first. Finishing a book is probably the hardest thing you have to learn to do. So first write a bad book. Once that is under your belt write a second book and then decide if the bad book is worth publishing. Ask any writer out there who has been writing for years and they say their first book was the worst.

Read More

Unique Convention and Festival Accommodations

As springtime blooms in North America, conventions and festivals (especially outdoor festivals) start to appear in the calendar. Travel is certainly a consideration when planning what events to attend, as is finding a place to stay when you arrive. Many attendees plan to stay at the hotel associated with the convention centers, but there are more whimsical (and less expensive choices) available if one takes the initiative to search. One such inexpensive accommodation is available in downtown Chicago: Vincent Van Gogh’s Bedroom.

Read More

A Revolution in Printing: How A Steam-Powered Press Changed the World

When discussing steam-powered machines and the Victorian Era, many focus on the revolutionary additions made to travel. Steam-powered locomotives or ships are considered groundbreaking innovations that helped to shape the course of our world. Yet another steam-powered ingenious device created during the reign of Queen Victoria had what some would consider an even larger impact on the world: A steam-powered printing press revolutionized the print industry and improved the literacy rate throughout the western hemisphere.

Read More

French Steampunk: April & the Extraordinary World

April and the Extraordinary World is a steampunk animated film from the producers of the 2007 Academy Award nominated Persepolis. Its directors, Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, have worked on classic animated movies like Persepolis and The Adventures of Tintin. It features the work of graphic novelist Jacques Tardi, who created one of the most famous French comic heroines, Adele Blanc-Sec, and stars Marion Cotillard, who won the 2008 Best Actress Academy Award. In a review for i09, Germain Lussier describes the movie as introspective and influenced by the works of Jules Verne, Douglas Adams, George Lucas, and Jayao Miyazaki (2015). The trailer looks fantastic and features Tardi’s signature graphic style, humor, social criticism as well as an intrepid young female protagonist.

Read More

Book Review: The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879

In the forward to G. D. Dempsey and D. K. Clarke’s (2015) The Victorian Steam Locomotive: It’s Design & Development 1804-1879, Dr. Pete Waterman begins by stating that even people who are enthusiastic about the age of steam power can sometimes be blasé about its history. It is hard in this day and age of technological wonders to comprehend the magnitude of the innovative process behind the development of the steam engine. In just over 90 years we moved from the simple idea of boiling water, to making steam to generate power, to the steam engine we know to this day. As Waterman explains, the engine design has not significantly changed since the Victorian era; it has been tweaked here and there, but essentially remains the same. For those of us who are steam train enthusiasts, we might say that it is hard to improve on perfection!

Read More

Steampunk Sculptors Creating Art Through Recycling

Using recycled materials in art is not a new concept, but steampunk sculptors seem to be discovering innovative means of harnessing the abundant source of raw materials provided by the current culture’s disposable lifestyle. As steampunk sculptor Aaron Ristau explains, “products are obsolete within an ever decreasing amount of time, putting an increasing strain on our ability to deal with man-made waste” (qtd. in Von Slatt, 2009). The range of art being created is a testament to the creativity of artists who make use of “stuff” that had had a life already—a life that is often far removed from art.

Read More

The Language of Flowers: A Victorian Tradition

For centuries people have attributed meanings to flowers, herbs, and various plants. Interest in floriography, or the language of flowers, soared during the reign of Queen Victoria. This cryptologic style of floral communication could “say” what members of the society dared not speak aloud: the rigid social constrictions of the upper class helped to create a “language” that is indeed beautiful to behold.

Read More

Interview with Steampunk Author Kara Jorgensen: Creative & Professional Writing

Kara Jorgensen is an independent author with two highly successful steampunk novels—The Earl of Brass and The Winter Garden—and a novella—An Oxford Holiday—in her Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Her newest novel, The Earl and the Artificer, will be released on January 30, 2016. But the publication of this novel is unusual; it also serves as the Master’s Thesis for her MFA in Creative and Professional Writing. Not only did Jorgensen have the clamoring voices of her fans demanding the next installment in the series when she was writing, but her thesis advisor adding pressure as well!

Read More

Review: The Best of Spanish Steampunk

I received this anthology as a gift and opened it with a great deal of anticipation. Short, speculative fiction has been my favorite genre for many years and reading an entire anthology of steampunk stories would be a treat on a cold winter day. But as I read, I found myself to be puzzled: there were ghost stories, gaslight romances, alternate histories, and references to Victorian authors and their creations, but very few elements that reflect the steampunk aesthetic.

Read More

Soar: An Animated Short Film Airship Adventure

Soar is one of those magical animated short films that demonstrate more storytelling ability than a feature film. It tells the fantastical tale of a young girl who befriends a tiny boy pilot who’s dropped out of the sky. Through the course of a single day, she must find a way to fly her new friend back home before he is stranded on Earth forever.

Read More

The Asylum: Steampunk Destination Travel

Looking for an unusual steampunk-themed travel destination for 2016?

Billed as the largest and longest running steampunk festival in the world, the Asylum takes place this year August 26th to August 29th in the historic City of Lincoln (“Welcome to the Asylum, 2015). Many of the venues that house festival activities have ties to Victorian England and lend an authentic sense of time/place to a festival which celebrates, in part, a reimagining of that era. But steampunk is more than a neo-Victorian celebration, and additions like a costume parade, professional tea dueling, “illicit” market, and craft zones add flair to the proceedings.

Read More

Steampunk Tea Parties: A Holiday Tradition

Steampunk-themed tea parties are particularly popular in North America during the winter. Knowing a bit about the history of tea and the rituals surrounding its consumption can help a participant enjoy the experience. There are also some traditional resources and touches of whimsy that can help you host a party of your own.

Read More