Today I proudly present a special guest Cindy Spencer Pape. Cindy’s a very talented, prolific author and a wonderful friend to meet on the loops. She’s written Regency, Sci-fi, shape shifters, westerns, and all manner of fantasy genres. She does all of it well, and I predict she’ll soon be known as the author to go to in the Steampunk genre.
I know you’ve already heard of it. Steampunk has been around for a long while and to make a bad pun Steampunk is building up a strong head of steam! It’s definitely a trend on the rise like a hot air dirigible and I love it.
So what is Steampunk? The stock answer to anyone who asks is “It’s like the ‘Wild Wild West’, at least that was the answer I was repeatedly given when I first started asking about Steampunk years ago and the answer told me absolutely nothing!
I was so frustrated. I didn’t know what they meant. Were they talking about the Wild, Wild West TV show or the Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster re-make? (How strange was that pairing?) and what was it about either show that made it Steampunk? For a long time I just didn’t get it.
Then I started noticing Steampunk at Renaissance fairs. All of a sudden these wonderful stovepipe hats, coat and tails and leather strapped goggles started showing up at the fairs incorporated into the costumes. People started looking like characters from a Dickens’ novel. The Steampunkers had no cares at all about mixing time periods—in fact they encouraged it.
I found it refreshing. I even went wild and bought myself a bustle.
Then, Steampunk worked its way into movie theaters. Hugh Jackman’s “Van Helsing” is a wonderful example of a Steampunk revisionist tale with its James Bond-like armory full of monster fighting weapons such as automatic crossbows and many other gadgets that did not exist in the fictional Van Helsing’s time.
Robert Downey Jr.’s Sherlock Holmes is another recent Steampunk tale.
Then it hit me—Steampunk is the willful act of handing our favorite heroes and heroines of the past the tools, technologies and philosophies they never possessed and letting them explore their world using some of our modern gadgets and knowledge. Viola!
I realized Steampunk comfortably occupies a world and mindset that never existed but should have. It’s a reality that marches to it’s own drummer.
Many great authors of the late Victorian age were so far ahead of their time they actually saw the future. I’m thinking of Jules Verne. Verne’s accuracy of the century yet to come was uncanny. He either had a great mind with a strong trend toward science and decided to write fiction instead, or he was a prophet. His vision was crystal clear.
H G Wells is similar in his untimely descriptions of how alienating the coming world wars would be.
Bram Stoker the creator of Dracula and Van Helsing was very modern in his style of writing and included many new fangled devices in his book, including telegraphs as a plot device, blood transfusions and young ladies sitting down at the typewriter to compose personal letters—all novel elements and shocking for their day.
Perhaps the most famous of all is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s—Sherlock Holmes. The way the stories are written sets the tone for every forensic and analytic crime novel to come—it’s amazing stuff.
So why is Steampunk important? Because we are living in strange times and the future is unknowable but a few brave authors /visionaries are holding up a curved mirror named Steampunk, that can look into our past. Possibly by an act of sympathetic magic, in looking back we can catch glimpse of our future or at the very least see a few lovely or interesting things worth going back for.
So when you hear the word “Steampunk” think visionary, futurist, humanist. Think of Jules Verne and the other great minds that chose to use entertainment as a means to inspire and hint at all that is possible for humanity.
Now I would like to introduce you to Cindy Spencer Pape’s latest release “The Gaslight Chronicles, Steam and Sorcery” available now from Carina Press.
It’s already getting rave reviews! Enjoy.
XXOO Katalina Leon
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR & CONTEST
I want to thank the scribes for having me here today and letting me share the fun. To celebrate the new release, I’m running a contest. Comment on any (or all) of the blogs I visit on my blog tour this week. One entry per person, per blog stop. You can visit my blog to find the other stops. After the final stop on Sunday, March 13, I’ll draw one winner for a free download of Steam & Sorcery, or their choice of my other available titles. Happy Reading!
BUY INFO, BLURB, & EXCERPT
Steam & Sorcery
Gaslight Chronicles #1
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Available from Carina Press
Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.
Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she’s ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.
When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery…
He glowered. “You work for me, remember? I said no.”
“I’ll resign, if that’s what it takes.” She wouldn’t of course. Leaving those children was unthinkable.
“If you resign, I won’t be your employer.”
Triumph sang in his slow, smug smile. “So then I can do this.” His action was so swift she barely saw him move before he’d dragged her up onto the desk, scattering books and papers left and right as her skirts slid across the polished surface. At the end, she knelt at the far edge of the desk with him standing in front of her, so close she could hear his heartbeat.
Caroline squeaked. That was all the sound she could get out before his lips came down on hers. Immediately, she stopped fighting him and wound her arms around his neck, kissing him back. When he slipped his tongue along her lips, she opened for him. She’d read about this, imagined it, but neither had done justice to the sensation of being crushed against Merrick’s chest while his mouth plundered hers.
Her entire body responded to his touch—even her stomach cramped with some kind of need. His hair slid through her fingers, thick and silky, while her other hand pressed against the broad strength of his back. Even through waistcoat and shirt, he radiated warmth. Sliding her hand down his back, feeling the shape of his muscular form, was too much temptation to resist.
His hands weren’t idle either. One cupped the back of her head, holding her in place. The other roamed up and down her spine, then around to settle on her hip before slipping inside her dressing gown to caress her through nothing more than the thin cotton of her nightgown. Instinctively she shifted to the side, allowing him more room to explore, even as she trailed her own fingers down past his belt. The muscles of his bum were every bit as solid as those of his shoulders, and she dug her fingers into the firm flesh through his woolen trousers.
Merrick’s gasp urged her on, even as his hand moved up under her robe to the side of her breast, which felt heavy and tender, almost bruised, but somehow soothed by the glide of his palm. He nibbled at her lips, then slid his mouth down to the column of her throat, and she instinctively arched her neck. The movement put her breast more firmly into his hand and he squeezed lightly, which only made her yearn for more. When his thumb rasped along her nipple and he nipped the tendon at the base of her neck, she let out a broken cry.
Caroline wasn’t a fool—she knew where this was leading. She simply didn’t want it to end. For the first time in her life, she was willing to go where her emotions led. Her fingers trembled as she opened the buttons on his waistcoat and pulled his shirt free of his waistband. Then her hands were there, under his shirt, touching bare, warm flesh, even as he rolled her nipple between fingers and thumb.
She needed to be closer. Scooting forward on the desk, she sat back on her heels so she could widen her knees, allowing Merrick to stand with his hips between them, so she effectively straddled his thighs. When had he untied her dressing gown and pushed it open? Now only his trousers and her flimsy nightgown separated them, making his desire more than obvious where it pressed into her stomach. One of his hands still tormented her breast, while the other made quick work of the buttons at the neck of her nightgown. As soon as it was open, his lips trailed downward, skating across her collarbone, then down into the valley of her sternum before he ran the tip of his tongue around her breast. Finally, he lightly licked her aching nipple.
“Oh!” She arched her back, pressing herself even closer, as if begging for more—embarrassing, but probably true.
Merrick seemed to understand. His lips closed around the sensitive bud and he drew it into the wet heat of his mouth, dragging a moan from deep in Caroline’s throat.
Then she felt his other hand sliding up her thigh—under the hem of her nightgown. His fingertips were callused and rasped slightly on her skin, but his touch was exquisitely gentle. She could do little more than grip what part of him she could reach—his waist with one hand, a shoulder with the other, and spread her knees just a little wider as his hand approached her core.
“Christ, Caro,” he muttered. He pulled his mouth away from her nipple and kissed a line to the center of her chest, speaking a word or two between each kiss. “So lovely. So responsive. So bloody damn tempting.”