Blog Archives

Victorian, With a Twist

Welcome to guest author Laura Strickland, here to talk about her new book, Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure. Take it away, Laura!

perf5.000x8.000.inddThe 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 What if the glorious age of steam heralded Laura and Dax 2019by the Industrial Revolution had never been superseded by electricity and the internal combustion engine?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?

EXCERPT:

“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.”

“Oh, yes?”

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.

 

buy links:

 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Checking-Buffalo-Steampunk-Adventures-ebook/dp/B0849RR8MM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Laura+Strickland+Cross+Checking&qid=1580680806&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Cross-Checking-Buffalo-Steampunk-Adventures-ebook/dp/B0849RR8MM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=laura+strickland+cross+checking&qid=1580680963&s=books&sr=1-1

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cross-Checking-Buffalo-Steampunk-Adventures-ebook/dp/B0849RR8MM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=laura+strickland+cross+checking&qid=1580680881&s=books&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cross-checking-laura-strickland/1136271198?ean=2940162971597

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cross-checking-4

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/cross-checking/id1497766433

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/cross-checking-by-laura-strickland

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51472051-cross-checking?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=7s4mvR7x3F&rank=2

Author bio:

Laura and Shannon SteampunkMulti 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

Author Twitter:

Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/laurastricklandauthor/

BookBub page: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=Laura+Strickland

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Hydra author R.S. Hunter!

Thanks for being with us today. First, would you tell us a bit about yourself? What area of the country do you live in, do you have a family, pets, etc. Are you a coffee fiend, or do you have another “addiction” you must have on your desk at all times?  

It’s great to be here. I’m R.S. Hunter, a science fiction, fantasy, and horror author from sunny San Diego. I live in the suburbs so I use writing as a way to escape them.

 Unlike a lot of writers I know, I don’t drink coffee. However, I am a sucker for a good craft beer. (One of the perks of living in San Diego). All I need when I write is my laptop and my headphones. That’s what you’ll find on my desk, which also doubles as my kitchen table.

 Tell us about your new novel, coming in September from Hydra Publications. 

My debut novel, The Exile’s Violin, the first book of the Tethys Chronicles, is a steampunk adventure tale that follows a young woman’s quest to unravel the mystery surrounding her parents’ murder. Along the way she teams up with bored socialite Clay Baneport, and the two of them discover a conspiracy that threatens the fate of the world.

 How would you best describe your books?

 I have a lot of experience with video games and writing about them, so I think because of that, my books have a very strong visual quality to them. A lot of times when I write, I try to picture how the scene would look in a movie or in a game.

 The Exile’s Violin has clear steampunk influences along with parts that feel like action/adventure movies. But I’ve also been told that some parts of it have some noir influences. I wasn’t trying to channel that when I wrote the book and characters, but I can’t say I’m complaining!

 What is your favorite genre to write? To read?

 My favorite genres to write and read are speculative fiction. Hands down. I’ve been in love with genre fiction ever since I saw Star Wars as a small child. I also like horror a little bit, but it comes in third after SFF. To clarify, I like horror books. Horror movies on the other hand scare the hell outta me. No thank you.

 I wrote The Exile’s Violin and its sequel, Terraviathan, because they were the books I wanted to write at the time. I don’t try to chase trends or try to jump on the next big thing. I write what I like—explosions, science fiction, fantasy, gun fights, sword fights, etc.—and I just try to make sure it ends up being the best damn book I’m able to produce.

 

What do you most like about writing? Least like? When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

 I love being able to create new worlds and characters. That’s one of the best parts about speculative fiction; I’m not hampered by real locations and people.

 Many other writers out there all say things like they started writing when they were 4 etc. etc. Not me. I’ve loved reading all my life, but I didn’t start writing fiction until college. I asked the professor of my World Literature class if I could write a story instead of writing a final paper. She said yes. I wrote the story. Passed the class. Workshopped the story the next semester, and then it became the first thing I ever had published.

 Do you belong to any writing groups? Are there any writing websites you find particularly useful?

 I want to find a local SFF writing group that focuses on novels rather than short fiction, but I haven’t had any luck yet. As far as websites go, I like Absolute Write and Goodreads. I also have a bunch of “name generator” websites bookmarked. Those sites are life savers.

 Is there any special music you like to listen to while writing? How does it inspire you?

It all depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to videogame music, remixes, and electronica. Other times I’ll listen to heavy metal or classic rock. I have to have music on while writing though. Silence and me are enemies.

 Tell us a little about your path to publication. How many books have you published? How many stories did you write before selling one?

 The first piece I had published was a short story called “Runner” in the Abaculus II science fiction and fantasy anthology. The Exile’s Violin will be my first published novel. I know it’s incredibly rare to have your first novel also be your first one published, but the book has undergone significant changes between when I first wrote it and where it’s at today.

 What are you writing now? What’s next for you—will you be making personal appearances anywhere our readers can find you?

 Right now I’m working on revising and polishing Terraviathan, the sequel to The Exile’s Violin. Unfortunately due to financial reasons, I won’t be able to travel to any conventions. There might be a few local signings around the San Diego area, but there’s nothing definite yet.

 Readers can visit my website (http://rshunter-author.com) for more information about me and my work. And of course, follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/rshunter88). I love talking about writing, speculative fiction, videogames, TV, and just about anything on there.

THE STORY:

 
Why hire mercenaries to kill an innocent family just to obtain one little key? That question haunts Jacquie Renairre for six years as she hunts down the people responsible for murdering her parents.
 
Not even accepting an assignment to investigate a conspiracy that aims to start a war can keep her from searching for the key. Armed with her father’s guns and socialite Clay Baneport, she continues her quest for answers abroad.
 
With the world edging closer to disaster, Jacquie is running out of time to figure out how the war, the key, and ancient legend are intertwined. The fate of the world hinges on her ability to unravel both mysteries before it’s too late.

 

Thanks so much for coming by today–steampunk is definitely an up and coming genre, and I’m sure this book will be fabulous!   Lyndi

%d bloggers like this: