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Day 4: Steampunk with Heart: Steampunk FAQs

If you have any questions about what Steampunk is… today’s the day to be here reading… Rie Sheridan Rose and Cindy Spencer Pape are here giving you the Steampunk FAQs.  Almost to Friday… Never mind… I’m too excited to read what they have to say today!  Scones to nibble on… Coffee…

-Dara

Steampunk with Heart:†Steampunk FAQ
withRie Sheridan Rose†and†Cindy Spencer Pape

**see bottom of post for steampunk giveaways**
**see†Steampunk With Heart Page†for Facebook Party schedule**
What to ask (or not to ask) your friendly neighborhood steampunk author.† Here are some of the mostly commonly asked questions, how Cindy Spencer Pape and† Rie Sheridan Rose usually answer and what theyíd sometimes like to say.
1) What the heck is steampunk, anyway?

Cindy: This is the big oneóthe one we hear ALL the time. My answers range from snarky (Jules Verne on crack) to oversimplified (science fiction set in Victorian times). For folks my age and over, I sometimes reference the old Wild, Wild West TV show. The long answer, which I never say, is that steampunk is a blend of historical feel and advanced technology. Itís not just a fiction genre, although it certainly is that, but itís also a mood, a feel, and a thriving social phenomenon. It embodies futuristic technology, sometimes fantasy elements, and a rebellious attitude, along with a return to pride in manufacturing and craftsmanship. Most of all? Itís a whole hell of a lot of fun.

Rie: I usually say science fiction/fantasy set in a Victorian time frame. What might have happened if Steam technology had been developed along the times that Verne and Wells postulated? Emphasis is often on adventure and romance, as those are very Victorian tropes.

2) Why write steampunk? And why do you mix fantasy and/or romance elements into your steampunk stories? Or donít you?

Cindy: Again, because itís fun. I like writing books that Iíd like to read. I love mixing history, SF, fantasy and romance. Itís not everyoneís cup of tea, but itís what I enjoy.

Rie: I started off writing Steampunk as a challenge from my writing partner, but I really enjoy it. I’ve always been an Anglophile, and the Victorian era is so rich in detail and history. Is there any period as romantic in retrospect? The clothing, the manners… Mixing in the concepts Cindy mentioned is very accurate to the period, and adds spice to the writing. It makes for a very fun, open, and exciting genre to explore.

3) Whatís the coolest gadget youíve invented for your books?

Cindy: Gee, Iíve had cybermen and networked computers in Victorian London. Typewriter, telephone, germ theory and dirigible are all there ahead of their real time. Rings that eject poison darts and clockwork powered artificial limbs. Beyond all of that, however, the coolest creation in the Gaslight Chronicles world is George, the mechanical dog. George is kind of like Mr. Data on Star Trek. Heís exceeded his components and programming to the point where heís really more or less a living creature.

Rie: My biggest and best invention is Phaeton, the Marvelous Mechanical Man. He is a nine foot tall automaton with self-awareness and superior strength and reflexes. I also have an airship, a Steamcar, and a “Mechano-Velocipede” which are integral to the plot.

Since I am only on book one of the series, I haven’t been as creative as Cindy.

4) How much research do you do, or do you make it all up?

Cindy: Short answer: Quite a bit. Long answer: I do a surprisingly heavy amount of research for my steampunk stories. I very carefully take the key incidents that changed my world from the one we live in, then I follow those changes and decide how they would have effected everything else in the world where the characters live. In my case, the tipping point is twofold: 1) Magic has always existed and been acknowledged, and werewolves, vampyres, etc. DO exist. Therefore the Order of the Round Table was never disbanded in England and still exists, Knights with extraordinary powers who protect England from supernatural threats. 2) The computer was invented in the 1840s, by a man called Babbage, and is called an analytical engine. (Thereís history behind this. Babbage in fact, did design this machine, but it was never built in our world.) Since a woman wrote the code for this machine, women in the sciences were catapulted ahead of where they were in our world. I also do a lot of research on clothing, settings, historical events and figures. In Cards and Caravans, I had to tweak the Scottish legal system, since they werenít really burning witches in the 1850s. But that means I had to know it before I could tweak it. And maybe, in a world where magic was a known reality, those laws might have been a little different.

Rie: Yes, I do. I research the technology to the point where I can make sure it is logical and not impossible. I check dates and events to make sure that I don’t put something in that hasn’t happened yet for no good reason. I research clothing, architecture, foods, etc.

Since I am set in New York City instead of the UK, it is a bit easier to find out some things.

5) Have you readÖ (insert your list of other peopleís books that are or may be close to my genre)

Cindy: Answer: yes, no, maybe. Much steampunk is YA, and I donít read a lot of that. I also donít read a lot of hard SF, where itís all about the technology and the world. I like my character-driven stories and my romance, so thatís most of what I read. I have read William Gibsonís The Difference Engine, which† is one of the seminal works of SF. Also, since steampunk is so maker-driven, there is a lot of self-published and web-original work out there. I read some, but may not have had time to read all of it.

Rie: I have read most of Gail Carriger’s work (all of the Parasol Protectorate, but haven’t started Finishing School yet.) Gale Dayton’s Blood books were wonderful. I am way behind, but I will be reading a lot more!

6) Who are your favorite steampunk authors?

Cindy: LOL, besides myself? Snark. I love MelJean Brooks, Gail Carriger (except for the book where the main couple breaks up at the endóHATED that one) Kate Cross and Seleste Delaney. There are so many more I need to read, but havenít yet.

Rie: Mostly the two mentioned above, Tee Morris and Phillipa Ballentine, but I haven’t read any of the Ministry novels, just the short story collection.

7) Where can I buy your books? Are they at WalMart?

Cindy: My steampunk series, so far, is only in e-book. Thatís kind of awkward in a community that wants everything to look like itís 1885. So yes, you can get them at Amazon, or B&N, or the Carina Press website. No, you canít get them at the grocery store. Sorry. I wish that wasnít the case, believe me.

Rie: My book is available in paperback, but you have to special order it to get it in a brick and mortar store. It is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or through Zumaya Publications. It is also an ebook, and I believe can be gotten at Smashwords and Kobo as well.

8) How many more books will there be? When is the next one coming out? Which characters are in it?

Cindy: Truthfully? I donít know. It depends on a lot. Mainly, sales. Thatís the hard reality of the fiction business. The more they sell, the more there will be. A girlís gotta eat, you know? There are two more on the table with my publisher. Thatís all I know at the moment. The characters? Well, thatís up to the publisher, too. Letís just say thereís one more MacKay sibling and a whole bunch of Hadrians who still need happy endings.

Rie: I hope I am just getting started. I am currently working on Book Two of the series, but it is proving a bigger challenge than I thought! It’s my first sequel. Theoretically, it will be out this year…but it has to be written first. All the main characters should be back. I love my characters, particularly my heroine, Josephine Mann.

9) Where do you get all your cool steampunk clothes?

Cindy: Thrift shops. (Iím short, so a lot of skirts are floor-length on me, so I cheat there.) Renaissance festivals. The vendors there tend to be awesome, but pricey, so build your wardrobe a few pieces at a time. Catalogs and online companies like Victorian Trading Co., Pyramid Company, Corset-Story and Holy Clothing. Finally, thereís the custom vendors. Thatís where things get really pricey, but really, really, cool. Iím not very crafty, but honestly, if you can sew, you have it made.

Rie: Most of my wardrobe is thrift store as well, with certain key pieces being bought at conventions. My main vice is hats. I have way more hats than logical…

10) Last question:† How do you come up with the ideas for all this far-out stuff?

Cindy: Usual answer: No idea. I just have a wild imagination. Snarky answer #1: Iím just twisted like that. Snarkier answer: The idea fairy leaves them in my shower and under my pillow, so I find them when itís least convenient.

Rie: Everywhere. A chance comment can lead to a bit of an idea. One thing follows on another. I might read something and file it away for later. Dreams sometimes. Ideas come from everywhere. You just have to collect them.


“To me, Steampunk is an alternate look at a period of history that fascinates almost everyone. What would have been different if technology had taken a slightly different direction? And it is fun to play with the gadgets.”

Rie Sheridan Rose’s short stories currently appear in numerous anthologies.†She has authored five poetry chapbooks, and collaborated with Marc Gunn on lyrics for his ìDonít Go Drinking With Hobbitsî CD. Yard Dog Press is home to humorous horror chapbooks Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits and Bar-B-Que Grill and Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again. Mocha Memoirs published the individual short stories “Drink My Soul…Please,” and ìBloody Rainî as e-downloads. Melange Books carries her romantic fantasy Sidhe Moved Through the Faire. Zumaya Books is home to The Luckless Prince as well as her newest novel, The Marvelous Mechanical Man. You can find her at her website.

The Marvelous Mechanical Man (A Conn-Mann Adventure)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Josephine Mann is down to her last two dollars when Professor Alistair Conn hires her to work on a wonder–a 9-foot-tall automaton Jo dubs Phaeton. When an evil villain steals the marvelous mechanical man, Jo’s longing for adventure suddenly becomes much too real…and deadly.

“Steampunk is being able to mix together all the things you love from the Victorian, modern and all eras in between, along with the addition of future tech and fantasy.”

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book. You can find her on her website.

Ashes and Alchemy (The Gaslight Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†| Audio
London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes. Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor for her daughter Ivy who has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Seb sniffs a case and musters every magickal and technological resource he can to uncover the source of the deadly plague, but it’s†he†who will need protectingófrom emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

ENTER TO WIN
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Day 1: What Is Steampunk with Heart?

Hi All! This week I’m giving over my blog to Steampunk with Heart, a great group of authors with a phenomenal story to tell. 

Sit back, relax, grab your cup of coffee or tea, and let them transport you to their amazing vision.  Be sure to check back every day this week to find a new part of the tale. 

See you next week! ~ Dara

What is Steampunk with Heart?
8 Authors, 5 Blog Posts, and an Abundance of Steampunk Giveaways

**see bottom of post for steampunk giveaways**
**see†Steampunk With Heart Page†for Facebook Party schedule**
MONDAY:†What is Steampunk with Heart?
TUESDAY:Steampunk IS Romance (Susan K. Quinn, Scott Tarbet)
WEDNESDAY:†Things We Love About Steampunk – Multicultural, Adventure, and More†(Jay Noel, SM Blooding)
THURSDAY:†Steampunk FAQ†(Rie Sheridan Rose, Cindy Spencer Pape)
FRIDAY:†The Heartbeat of Steampunk: Romancing the Machine†(Jacqueline Garlick, MeiLin Miranda)
Below is an introduction to each of our eight authors, a peek at one of their steampunk books (many of our authors have several), and what “Steampunk with Heart” means to them.

“Steampunk with Heart is a romantic look backward at a bygone Victorian era (or entirely fictional analogue of one), where we alleviate some of the oppressive ideas of the past while keeping the lush aesthetics and romantic ideals about relationships and love.”

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It’s possible she’s easily distracted. Her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can subscribe to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!) or stop by her blog to see what she’s up to.
Third Daughter (The Dharian Affairs #1)

Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print

The Third Daughter of the Queen wants to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon force her to accept a barbarian princeís proposal of a peace-brokering marriage.

“Steampunk With Heart is for those whose steampunk tastes lean more to the romantic than the gadgetry.”

Scott Tarbet is the author of A Midsummer Nightís Steampunk from Xchyler Publishing, Tombstone, in the paranormal anthology Shades & Shadows, and the forthcoming Lakshmi, Dragon Moon, and Nautilus Redux. He writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah. Follow Scott E. Tarbet online at his website or on Twitter.†

A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk†
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeareís classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoriaís Diamond Jubilee.

“Steampunk is all about questioning authority and challenging conventions. That’s where the PUNK aspect of Steampunk comes from.”

Jay Noel: After doing some freelance writing and editing for more than a dozen years, Jay decided to stop procrastinating and pursue his dream of being a novelist. He’s been blogging since 2005. Jay spends his days working in medical sales, but he can be found toiling over his laptop late at night when all is quiet.†He draws inspiration from all over: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.†You can find Jay at his website.


Dragonfly Warrior
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
The tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and†Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.

“Steampunk is the genre where the oober nerd is the hero, and the athletic type gets to be the laughed-at sidekick. LMAO! Science geek trumps the strong brute. How could you not love that?”

SM Blooding†lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Bird who is really a bird. The guitar and piano have temporarily been set aside. She’s learning to play the harmonica. The bird is less than thrilled.†Her real name is Stephanie Marie (aka SM), but only family and coworkers call her that, usually when theyíre screaming at her. Friends call her Frankie. You can find out more about her and her writing at her website.

Fall of Sky City (Devices of War)
When Synn ElíAsim is captured, his Mark is brutally awakened. He finds himself the most powerful Mark, and quickly becomes a coveted weapon in the war between the Great Families and the Hands of Tarot. However, only he can decide how he will be used to shape the lives of all the tribes.

“To me, Steampunk is an alternate look at a period of history that fascinates almost everyone. What would have been different if technology had taken a slightly different direction? And it is fun to play with the gadgets.”

Rie Sheridan Rose’s short stories currently appear in numerous anthologies.†She has authored five poetry chapbooks, and collaborated with Marc Gunn on lyrics for his ìDonít Go Drinking With Hobbitsî CD. Yard Dog Press is home to humorous horror chapbooks Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits and Bar-B-Que Grill and Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again. Mocha Memoirs published the individual short stories “Drink My Soul…Please,” and ìBloody Rainî as e-downloads. Melange Books carries her romantic fantasy Sidhe Moved Through the Faire. Zumaya Books is home to The Luckless Prince as well as her newest novel, The Marvelous Mechanical Man. You can find her at her website.

The Marvelous Mechanical Man (A Conn-Mann Adventure)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Josephine Mann is down to her last two dollars when Professor Alistair Conn hires her to work on a wonder–a 9-foot-tall automaton Jo dubs Phaeton. When an evil villain steals the marvelous mechanical man, Jo’s longing for adventure suddenly becomes much too real…and deadly.

“Steampunk is being able to mix together all the things you love from the Victorian, modern and all eras in between, along with the addition of future tech and fantasy.”

Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. Award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book. You can find her on her website.

Ashes and Alchemy (The Gaslight Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†| Audio
London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes. Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor for her daughter Ivy who has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Seb sniffs a case and musters every magickal and technological resource he can to uncover the source of the deadly plague, but it’s†he†who will need protectingófrom emotions he’d thought buried long ago.

“Steampunk with Heart is all about freedom of expression. The opportunity to create unique and diverse characters in unprecedented and unusual worlds. It’s about adventure and inventions and romance…oh my…”

I’m Jacqueline Garlick. Author of YA, New Adult, and Women’s Fiction. I love strong heroines, despise whiny sidekicks, and adore a good story about a triumphant underdog. I love to read, write, paint (walls and paper) and plan cool writing events for cool writers (check out niagarawritersretreatandconference (dot) com.) I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate, grammar, and technology.You will always find a purple wall (or two) in my house (perhaps even a door) and a hidden passageway that leads to a mystery room. (Okay, so you wonít find a hidden passageway but a girl can dream, canít she?) Oh, and tea. There will always be tea. I love specialty teas…and collecting special teacups from which to drink them. (See website for collection, plus Facebook and Goodreads.)

In my former life, I was a teacher (both grade school and college-don’t ask) and more recently, I’ve been a graduate of Ellen Hopkinís Nevada Mentor Program and a student of James Scott Bell, Christopher Vogler and Don Maass. An excerpt from LumiËre earned me the 2012 Don Maass Break Out Novel Intensive Scholarship.†LumiËreóA Romantic Steampunk Fantasyóis my debut novel, Book One in my young adult The Illumination Paradox Series.
Lumiere (The Illumination Paradox)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything.†After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her fatherís prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures, but just as Eyelet locates the Illuminator, itís whisked away by an alluring thief. She follows the boy, enduring deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the Illuminator, only to discover the miracle machine they both hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.†

“Steampunk is at least in part a yearning for technology on a more human, intimate scale–handmade, ornate and wondrous.”

MeiLin Miranda writes literary fantasy and science fiction set in Victorian worlds. Her love of all things 19th century (except for the pesky parts like cholera, child labor, slavery and no rights for women) has consumed her since childhood, when she fell in a stack of Louisa May Alcott and never got up.

MeiLin wrote nonfiction for thirty years, in radio, television, print and the web. She always wanted to write fiction, but figured she had time. She discovered she didn’t when a series of unfortunate events resulted in a cardiac arrest complete with electric paddles (“clear!”) and a near-death experience. She has since decided she came back from the dead to write books.†MeiLin lives in a 130-year-old house in Portland, Oregon with a husband, two teens, two black cats, a floppy dog and far, far too much yarn. You can find her at her website.

The Machine God (The Drifting Isle Chronicles)
Kindle†|†Nook†|†Print
Folklore Professor Oladel Adewole leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt to pursue his all-consuming interest: the mysterious island floating a mile above the city. The first survey team finds civilization, and Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.†The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the mechanical creature is–and what it can do–he risks his heart and his life to protect the Machine God from the world, and the world from the Machine God.


ENTER TO WIN