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Steampunk dreams

A few summers ago, I got the wild hair to turn my living room into a steampunk masterpiece. Not that I knew a whole lot about steampunk, mind you. But I’d been fascinated by the fashions and decor for awhile, and I liked Wild Wild West and Firefly (which isn’t steampunk but it is Chinese and Chinese is cool).

steampunkery and zoos 027We added the Victorian interest in nature by having mounted butterflies with microscopes, the old steam trunks, the Persian rugs… and this Chinese cabinet which was truly a beautiful antique, with lacquered carvings all across the front panels.steampunkery and zoos 024

This was the highlight of our collection, acquired in a dusty old antique store in Asheville, North Carolina. We were in love with it. (Right now though, I’d love to sell it so I don’t have to move it again. It’s very solid and heavy!!)

 

We added the gear-naked clock, and a gear-laden chicken. (see below).

So what have I written that qualifies as Steampunk?

Absolutely nothing.

One of the delights of steampunk is the adherence to knowledge of machinery and science. I’m a mother, not an engineer, damn it, Jim. One day, I might take the time to research and educate myself in an effort to get up to speed enough to write on the subject. I like what I see that other people do, for sure. I mean, who doesn’t like magic steampunkery and zoos 029flying machines and submarining 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea??

steampunkery and zoos 031Another facet of steampunk that I love is the focus on travel. People are always flitting about in airships, or on boats or underwater or into space, even. The curiosity of the Victorian Era just continues on in spades.

Sure, there’s still politics and poverty and all the other parts of modern society, but the chase for knowledge seems to be valued above all else.

And they love one thing I also love: the octopus.

Not just your average little inking cephalopod, either. They don’t mess around. Their octopi can take down whole boats. And they are ubiquitously useful. Do you need one of your very own? Check out this video! They come in chandeliers and door handles. They make lovely Halloween costumes. Need I say more?

What do you think about steampunk? What’s your favorite example?

One of my sister authors has a beautiful photographic novel entitled THE DOOR—this post is part of her campaign to raise funds for its publication before she goes on for her Masters’ degree. Hit the link above to enter the contest and capture your clue words for the scavenger hunt of the week. Win wallpapers and other bonus gifts. Most of all, support starving artists everywhere! 🙂

octopus

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it’s out! Read an SFFS snippet, then pick up HORIZON SHIFT in ebook, paper or hardback!

Release date finally! I’m so excited. I wanted to have this book in hand before I started writing HORIZON STRIFE, which is due to the publisher by July 1. Just a chance to immerse myself in Captain Rogers’ world again.  His attitude sometimes reminds me of Mal Reynolds, and I just LOVED that show, always will.horizonshift800x1200

I managed to build my Horizon Crossover page this week almost in time. But it helps fill out the story and has all the buy links. So I’m pretty happy. (Yes, I know THE ELF GUARDIAN came out this week too, but that’ll have to wait for next week’s SFFS.

So, snippet for this week–

Captain Rogers takes his ship down to the nearest planet, Mariel, for repairs. He and a couple of his officers mosey into the nearest town to unload some scrap metal and buy land to bury their dead.

Enjoy!
Careful to stay in character, he waved a hand at the thin almond-eyed server and asked for some sandwiches and more drink.

“Sure, Captain—you’re a captain, aren’t you?” she whispered, sounding desperate.

“Does it show?”

She studied him with more than idle curiosity and then went to the back.

Dani arrived at the bar a few minutes later. The captain pulled out a chair for her and she slipped into it, face flushed. “I unloaded all the uridium scrap for coin and they wanted more!”

Rogers nodded, noting the farm boys  had now focused on his table. “If you want a drink, I expect the boys will buy you one.”

“It might be a great offer, but I’m not looking for love, sir.”

***

But then they don’t leave the bar without the Captain finding himself a wife.  Always something…. 🙂

Find other fascinating snippets at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday today and every week!

SFFS for December 15– A new book for the New Year!

I’ve been absent from the Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday line-up for awhile, having three different manuscripts in the editing process, which is a huge but satisfying timesuck. 🙂  Today I’m excited to share the newest space opera in my repertoire, the first in the Horizon Crossover series, HORIZON SHIFT, which will be out after the first of the year.

horizonshift800x1200 HORIZON SHIFT tells the story of Temms Rogers, a career captain with the Confederation, who leads a rebellion against what he sees as the greedy, grasping hands of his superiors in the Fleet. He uses a bit of untested alien technology to escape a space battle, nearly destroying his ship in the process. When he wakes up, he discovers his crew decimated, his ship badly damaged, and he has no idea where he is. Even once he gets his equipment working again, he finds himself in an area of space no one of his faction—maybe his whole race—has ever been before. Lost, and alone.

 Not quite alone.

 His former commander Jal Burko, bent on revenge, hasn’t given up the fight, determined to punish Rogers for the rebellion he led.

 Desperate, the clock ticking, Rogers enlists an assortment of people to help him rebuild and repair his ship, many of them misfits who deserve a second chance, each with a special talent to share: a runaway bride, a 17-year old navigation whiz sold into slavery, a cocky xenophobic engineer, a pair of genetically engineered lizard-humans. He even finds a friend aboard he never expected.

 A chance meeting with an economic power called the Consortium brings Rogers powerful friends, and the key to putting the clues together.    But the appearance of a strange autistic boy, abandoned in the Doubtful’s cargo bay, becomes the catalyst that may save the ship and its crew from Burko’s single-minded hatred when all else fails.

Rogers, like another captain so many of us love, Malcolm Reynolds, tends to look into people and see the best side of them, even if they seem to be misfits. He’ll have the chance to see how his choices pay off in 2014’s HORIZON STRIFE and then HORIZON DYNASTY the next year.

So here’s our snippet for this week:

“Everyone strap in!” From Rogers’ seat, set in the middle of the back wall of the bridge, he checked each of the other stations. His officers grabbed belts and secured themselves, ready for anything.

‘Anything’ was what they were about to get.

 “Weapon activated, Captain and positioned toward the fleet. Now!”

With a silent prayer, Rogers clenched his fist and waited to see what would happen.

To his surprise, there was no explosion. Nothing left the ship. A ray of red light seemed to flutter in black space ahead of them for a few moments, then it coalesced into a cloudy opening – a wormhole.

***

HORIZON SHIFT will be available from Dragonfly Publishing in the next few months. Thanks for stopping by–read other snippets from talented sci-fi and fantasy writers at Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Maybe you’ll find the next big thing!

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