Welcome to guest author Laura Strickland, here to talk about her new book, Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure. Take it away, Laura!
The thing I hear most often when I attend Steampunk Festivals and other events promoting my books is, “What’s Steampunk?” It’s a fair question. Many readers aren’t familiar with the genre, and feel a bit intimidated by it. But as I’ve learned since starting this wild ride, penning my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures series, there’s no easy answer. Steampunk means something different to all those who love it.
For some of us, it’s all about the gadgets. Steampunk aficionados love to tinker. They build teapot racers, life-sized robots and fully-operational automatons. Others love the costuming, and the chance to transform into someone other than their every-day selves, to walk for even a few hours on the wild side. Goggles and helmets, brass-buttoned jackets and sweeping skirts…and stepping through the looking glass.
For me, it’s all about what-might-have-been. What if the glorious age of steam heralded by the Industrial Revolution had never been superseded by electricity and the internal combustion engine? What if the Victorian age hadn’t died but merely morphed into something bigger, grander—and more twisted?
If you’d like to imagine the Steampunk world, think Victorian, with a twist. Just a little bit darker (a la Jack the Ripper), a little bit weirder, and to those of us who appreciate the strange, that much more delightful.
The characters in my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures books are real—far from perfect, they have warts and fears, and disadvantages. The city’s real too—Victorian Buffalo, city (if not time) of my birth. Buffalo makes the perfect setting for Steampunk, industrial, gritty and yes, it has an edge.
Me, I love the edge. I love the twist. If you do too, come walk the brick streets of Steampunk Buffalo with me. You may never want to leave.
BUFFALO STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aauK5ob3zI
Blurb for new release: Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure
When Maddie MacGillicuddy loses her job, she’s desperate to find another. Though good jobs are available at the stables, only men are hired. A big, strapping girl, she becomes Matty in her brother’s clothing. Complications arise when a city magnate, assembling a tournament hockey team, admires Matty’s skating skills and recruits “him,” with real money and the city’s reputation on the line.
Huritt Gilbert is used to battling his way through life. At the stables, he routinely endures racial slurs, sometimes striking back. He’s never met a woman like Maddie and would do anything for her, including accept the dangerous position of goalie for her team. But when competition heats up, loyalties get twisted. Will Gilbert and Maddie play for glory, or love?
“Gilbert, you should see how good Maddie skates.”
“I’d like to,” Gilbert said in his dusky voice. The dark—which somehow matched that voice—seemed to close around them. It made the encounter feel more intimate than it should.
Maddie shivered. “I’d better get Roddy home. It’s getting colder.”
“Going to snow some more, too,” Gilbert offered, not taking his eyes from Maddie’s. “I can always tell.”
He wagged his dark head. Maddie had a sudden and completely inappropriate impulse to plunge her fingers through that black hair. But he still held her fingers captive.
He told her, “I get an instinct for certain things—sometimes I just know.”
“I see. And are you never wrong?”
He shrugged those wide shoulders. “Seldom enough.”
“Come on, Maddie,” Roddy demanded, completely immune to any undertones. “I’m hungry.”
“Yes, all right.”
She tugged at her fingers again; this time Gilbert let them go. Together, they climbed up over the bank and trudged to the foot of Ferry Street.
“Do you live far?” Gilbert asked. “Can I see you home?”
“Peach Street,” Maddie told him, wishing this somehow enchanting encounter had happened on any other day than the one during which she’d destroyed her life. “I think we’ll be all right.” She hoped so.
Gilbert nodded. “Maybe I’ll see you again on the ice.”
Later she wondered if he, with all his bright instincts, had uttered a prophecy.
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she’s writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura’s mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Author Web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317
Author Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Author Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/760146.Laura_Strickland
Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951
BookBub page: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=Laura+Strickland
This is my first book and my first series. It is a story I had to write. I spent years being fascinated by accounts of ancient earth as well as the thought of other civilizations inhabiting our galaxy. The way my mind works, I am always trying to find a theory that fits the facts, solves mysteries, answers questions, and explains everything – from ‘What is the origin of man?’ to ‘Are we alone in the universe – and if not, where is everyone?’ to ‘What is the meaning of life?’
Over the years, as I started to theorize potential answers, I realized I was creating a grand mosaic. I also realized the magic would be in unveiling these answers in an unfolding story.
It was only then that I started putting any thought into the protagonists and antagonists – and discovered the joy in creating characters that were as realistic as I could make them.
Once all of this came together, the story poured out of me and very smoothly filled pages. My biggest insight, however, came after I finished. After seeking so many answers for so long I came to an unexpected conclusion – humanity is heroic after all…
About the Author
William Lee Gordon is the author of six Best Selling sci fi novels. He also writes political non-fiction under the pen name of StressFreeBill. With the realism of hard science, he loves writing action-filled adventures that keep readers turning the pages.
Check out his website and register for the Free Newsletter to receive free content, share ideas, debate plot ideas and receive new book announcements:
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ABOUT THE BOOKS:
Here Comes Earth Book 1 Genre: Science Fiction
Where did mankind really come from? Why are we here?
We can’t understand the past until we embrace the future.
These critical mysteries take center stage as Earth emerges into a Galactic Society that is far more perilous than anyone could have imagined. Our history is far more complicated than we could have known. Can a few brilliant minds find a way out for Earth?
One saving grace is that there are those that believe ancient clues foretell that Earth has a destiny, and if we can survive our present difficulties we might just find out what that destiny is…
Dr. Mark Spencer was a young and up and coming history and anthropology professor who was all too familiar with what happens to less advanced civilizations when suddenly exposed to others of considerably higher technology. There’s only one survivor and the culture witnessing magic isn’t it.
When modern day Earth suddenly finds itself on the losing end of that proposition a team of the world’s best scientists is put together to find a solution.
Of course the advanced society being friendly, Earth’s citizens uniting, and the world’s politicians working together for the common good would help tremendously, but… what if none of that were true?
Here Comes Earth Book 2
The Galaxy is Filled with Humans… They Know More about Our Past than We Do…
Some will Fight for Us; Some will try to Destroy Us… Earthers are Special; But do we Really Want our Destiny?
Mark and Julie are brilliant scientists and Major Reagan has kept them and others alive to this point, but the most dangerous confrontations will not be with the Noridians, it will be with the Lower Houses of The Accord.
Destiny is a thought-provoking journey that will cause you to inspect your basic values. From what it really means to be human to wondering if there’s room in the universe for God.
It’s also a fun read.
Here Comes Earth Book 3
The Long-Awaited Conclusion to the HERE COMES EARTH Series…
Earth’s Diaspora is well underway and the colonies are flourishing. There are Dynasties of The Accord, however, that resent Earth’s expansion. Charli Morgan and Lucca Spelini each lead their respective teams from colony to colony, preventing interference and keeping the peace.
Standing up to the Dynasties is one thing, but what happens when Lower Houses of The Accord start butting in?
Dr. Mark Spencer hasn’t been heard from in years until he suddenly shows up one day. The news he brings… isn’t good.
Remember when Bob Barker closed out every episode of THE PRICE IS RIGHT by exhorting his viewers to spay and neuter their pets?
So my readers may have noticed I’ve taken on a new cause– helping shelter kitties. (see THE TROUBLE WITH CATS, above) Asheville in general is a serious spay and neuter territory, but all the same, spring into summer is called “kitten season” for good reason. Here’s a graphic that shows exactly why it’s a problem:
Do you have the money to pay for 2 million cats–food, water, vet, toys, litter, etc? Well, neither do the shelters, even with foster parents, even with adoption events, even with the resources they can beg borrow and steal.
So PLEASE. Take care of your pets and also let the local feral cat colony specialist know about wandering kitties. They will trap, neuter and release, to help keep down the number of kitties who may eventually end up being euthanized because there is just no one left who can take them.
Authors often agonize over whether their books will remain relevant, especially those who write young adult stories and others that use a particular setting or set of jargon to make their points. Even as I wrote the Color of Fear series, critique mates would point out the use of SoCal cadence in Valery Paz’s “Valley Girl speak,” and pop culture references in the banter of electrogeek Eddie Garrick. (It’s true, though–you can’t stop the signal.)
The series tells the story of a world hit by terrorism, and the apocalyptic plague that has wiped out most of the Caucasian population of the world. Mixed blood has saved some whites, but the majority of the survivors, especially in the hard-hit United States, are people of color. Blacks. Native Americans. Asians. Hispanics.
While those people are trying to recover and pull together the remains of the shattered nation, from out a concrete bunker in the northwest comes Bernard Ellison, the self-styled Gabriel, a ideological brother-son of the Posse Comitatus, the American Vanguard and other white nationalists. Gabriel commandeers an abandoned radio station and broadcasts to the faithful:
“How long, my friends, have those terrorists been watching and listening to our communications, so that they knew precisely when to strike? Bin Laden and his people clearly read our country’s weakness. The Universal Jihad Front that launched the Second Holocaust, they, too, understood how far our leaders had left us vulnerable. Listen to this.” He played the government spokesman’s clip Eddie had played on his show a few days before. “Does that sound like a government that can protect you, my friends? I think not!
“Without a strong, healthy government to keep those foreign devils off American ground, do you believe they just stayed home and played in the sand? How do we know they didn’t take advantage of the apocalypse to begin landing ships on our unprotected shores, spilling thousands of them out to take your wives and daughters? Will they recruit those of color who survived in this land? They are banding together, taking aim at the real Americans who are left.”
The propaganda-filled diatribe paused for a moment, then continued, “My friends discovered a nest of potential murderers right here in our heartland just last night. We’d tried to contact these rebels, to show them the truth, but instead, they returned threats and violence. They ruined a major highway!”
A note of stricken sadness came into his voice. “Now crossing our great land will be so much more difficult. Why do these people insist on destroying the world?”
At about the same time in the story, a small band of people trying to get to St. Louis, where the new capital is forming, have this conversation with a ham radio operator who’s keeping them informed of the state of the nation:
“KC-five-NXS, KC-five-NXS, this is K-two-JJB. Hang, are you there? What’s going on?”
“KC-five-NXS, yes, I’m here.” Hang settled onto the floor in front of the radio as the others gathered around. “Thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to let you know we’re going to be delayed—”
“What? I don’t think you can wait any longer, son. Word came down this morning that Gabriel’s on the move. His people set off explosives all along the stretch of I-Eighty between Omaha and Lincoln, knocking out the road. It’s impassable.”
“Cabron,” Valery hissed.
San eyed Charlie, his worst fears coming to life. Yeah, I do know what I know, fool. “We need a map,” he said.
“I got one in the truck,” Terry said, and he hurried out.
“Why would he do that?” Hang asked. “Don’t his people need to get around, too?”
“Word has it that some groups in the two cities planned to set up a blockade, aiming to take Gabriel out. Apparently he just got the jump on them. He’s celebrating on his damned station, claiming the other side was the attacker. I’m not sure how much of what he says you can believe, but we’ve got confirmation from our men on the ground that there are plenty of dead, and they aren’t Gabe’s people.”
“Whoa.” Deflated, Hang leaned back against the bookshelf where the radio sat.
“How many dead?” Marie asked.
“Reports range from just a few to hundreds, depending on who’s telling the story.”
Terry came back with the map, and they spread it out on the table. Mere inches separated Lincoln from their intended route on Interstate Seventy, inches that translated into only one hundred and seventy miles. And they still had three states to cross moving east.
Sound familiar? Does it sound like “Many sides” are at fault? How much more relevant can you get?
THE COLOR OF FEAR SERIES from Zumaya Publications and Lyndi Alexander
Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.
But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.
Book Three–ADVERSARIES Coming Soon!
After terrorists unleash a virus on the world that kills most of the Caucasian population, Lin Kwan has finally found her scientist father in America and can deliver the precious herbs he asked her to bring from China. But their reunion is nothing like she expected.
Survivalist and white supremacist Gabriel leads his army of Angels against the new U.S. capital of St. Louis, determined to punish those who lived through the horrors of the virus and re-establish whites as the ruling class. He plans to tear out the heart of the city by first destroying its heroes, then negotiating its surrender.
Xi San, Valery Paz, Eddie Garrick and the other survivors rally to fend off Gabriel’s attack, only to find their city under siege from a much more insidious opponent–the remains of the federal government bureaucracy, which insists on taking control.
And assassin Jin Piao has never been closer to his objective, now that Kwan, her father and the healing medicines are within his grasp. Will he follow his orders and kill them, to save his own wife and child?