Tag Archives: Steampunk

Tainted Available for Pre-Order

Pre-OrderIt’s finally here! Tainted, the first book in my steampunk series, is now available for pre-order! For those of you who don’t know what steampunk is, Tainted is a mixture of Victorian historical and fantasy/science fiction. In Tainted, I ask what happens when a young woman has the ability to manipulate the laws of science, but every time she does, a piece of her soul dies.

So what are you waiting for? Here is the link: http://amzn.to/20GXuuV

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What Happens When Your Soul Dies?

Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of science. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn’t find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.

Book one of The Soul Chronicles series.

How to Create a Steampunk Costume

For the last two weeks I said I would share how I created my own steampunk costume, including some things I made myself or how I cut the cost on some of my items. One thing I love about steampunk is its variety and eclectic style. There is really no right or wrong way to create a steampunk costume. The very nature of steampunk is pulling odds and ends together. So feel free to pick and choose what you want to create your style.

When I first started thinking about my own costume, I knew I wanted a corset. There is something elegant about a corset. But I didn’t want to wear a Victorian gown. I wanted something more spunky and adventurous. So when I went to choose my corset, I spent days searching out Pinterest and steampunk sites figuring out what style I wanted.

The most expensive part of my costume was my corset, but that was fine since—for me—that was the most important part. I created the rest of my costume around the corset. After searching, I settled with a steel boned, overbust, brown brocade corset and love it! For those of you wanting numbers, it was about $80. Note: you will need to take your measurements carefully in order to get the right corset. Steampunk costume

Once I had my corset, it was time to add all the other pieces. First thing I did was search my closet for a shirt or blouse and skirt. Why buy something when I might already have what I’m looking for? I found a cute peasant shirt that looked perfect with the corset. Cost? $0 🙂

Unfortunately, I needed to buy a skirt. So I started popping into clothing stores whenever I was at the mall. I knew I wanted the skirt to be brown, but I wasn’t sure about long or short. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I was able to be casual about my search. After a couple months, I found a knee length skirt with lots of creases and natural wrinkles, giving it a worn look (perfect for that adventurous look I wanted). Cost? $20.

All right, I now had a shirt, skirt, and corset, but needed something for my feet. And with a knee length skirt, I knew I wanted boots. I expanded my search to include online and thrift stores. Note: You can find some awesome things at thrift stores, so pop in and look. I ended up not only finding a pair of boots, but some small ivory kid gloves at a local thrift store. I wanted gloves too, but could never find leather gloves small enough for my hands that didn’t go above my budget. The gloves were the wrong color and not fingerless (which I wanted), but I figured at $1 I could experiment and try making my own gloves. And the boots were $3.

Steampunk costume

Dying gloves was definitely an experiment. I tried different dyes, resulting in different colors, the last one being a dark hunter green. Nice color, but not the color I wanted. My husband had one more idea and brought home some shoe polish. I thought sure, why not, and rubbed the polish into the gloves. Not only did they turn out the right shade of brown, the polish made the gloves look like leather (score!). I then cut the tips off and had my own fingerless gloves! The only problem I ran into was a small bit of the polish came off after wearing the gloves for a couple hours, but it was hardly anything and worth the leathery look.

For my head, I had a couple options (top hat, goggles, lace, etc…). Since I was going for that spunky look (and wanted something to hold my hair back), I went with goggles. I found a pair online for $10, but they were black. So I bought a can of brown spray with texture, covered up the goggle part with tape, and sprayed them a nice brown that matched the rest of my outfit.

I finally had my costume and could now customize if I wanted to. I found a wire necklace at a hobby shop and a key charm. Total: $6. I found a watch with a leather band and charms online for $2. And I found a pocket watch which I technically got for free during a bogo event, but would have cost $15.

So after months/years of casual searching at the mall, thrift stores, and online, I spent a total of $135 on my costume, $80 of it on my corset. I’m sure I could have found a skirt at a thrift store and saved even more, but $135 on a costume I will wear every year at cons, book signings, and parties is not bad 🙂

So how can you create your own steampunk costume without breaking the bank?

First, decide what look you are going for. Western? Victorian? Adventure? Elegant?

Second, decide what piece(s) are important enough to you to spend money on.

Third, take the time to look. The wonderful thing about steampunk is you can find all sorts of fun and strange things for your costume in places other than a costume store. Try thrift stores, army surplus, flea markets, and online.

Fourth, make it your own. Want cogs? Go for it. Want lots of lace? Go for it. Steam prosthetic? Go for it. There are not set rules for steampunk. Have fun and be creative!

Steampunk costume

My Writing: 2015

2015Every year I like to look back and see what happened, and look forward to what the new year will hold. So here’s a look at 2014 and a sneak peak at my plans for 2015.

2014 brought a lot changes, starting off with the sale of Marcher Lord Press. My publisher underwent a change in ownership and name. It’s different now, but not bad. I am looking forward to working more with Enclave Publishing in 2015.

A year ago I was finishing the last book in the Follower of the Word series. Heir of Hope took me almost a year to write, but it was a year well spent. I can’t wait to share with you the conclusion to Rowen, Lore, Caleb, and Nierne’s journey. Right now the projected release date is March 23rd.

On that note, I hope to reveal the new covers that were commissioned for the Follower of the Word series sometime this month. They are amazing, if I do say so myself ;). So be watching for a cover reveal!

I am now working on a new series. It is a Victorian steampunk (which is a definite change from fantasy). Steampunk is a genre that can be set in either a Victorian or western time period and usually involves steam-powered machinery rather than advance technology.

I’m about a third of the way through the rough draft of the first book, Tainted. I forgot how hard rough drafts are (especially when starting a new series), but I am also enjoying the new characters and settings. Right now the series is under consideration by a publisher, but I don’t know yet if it will be acquired. In either case, I plan on finishing this series :).

So that’s what 2015 is shaping up to look like for my writing, and what an exciting year it looks to be!

Fantasy and Science Fiction Reads

During the month of October I have been celebrating anything and everything speculative. And it wouldn’t be complete without sharing some of my favorite books or books I am looking forward to reading. So if you are looking for a nice, cozy book to curl up with this winter, check out some of my suggestions 🙂

Fantasy:

The RynThe Ryn by Serena Chase. The story is your typical young person finds out they are royalty, but I love how Serena puts a unique twist on this by giving Rose (who later finds out she is the Ryn, the future savior of her people) the ability to hear other people’s thoughts. That and Rose has red hair (I love red hair!). To read my complete review of The Ryn, click here. To find out more about The Ryn, click here.

 

 

In Darkness HidThe Blood of the Kings series by Jill Williamson. Another fantasy with people who can hear minds. This three book series is a two time Christy awarding series (along with multiple other awards) and just plain good. To find out more about In Darkness Hid (the first book) click here.

 

 

 

daugher_of_light_lgAnd of course, my own fantasy series. The Follower of the Word series centers around Rowen, a young woman who discovers a mark on her hand, a mark that allows her to see inside the human soul. There are those who are terrified of her power, and so banish her. And then there are those who wish to possess that power and search all the Lands for Rowen, the last Truthsayer. To find out more about the first book in the series, Daughter of Light, click here.

 

 

Steampunk:
I love steampunk: the gadgets, the historical flavor, the meshing of fantasy and technology. So of course I need to add some steampunks to my list!

CrosswindCrosswind by Steve Rzasa. The Stark brothers live in a western steampunk world filled with aeroplanes and trains, and lots of adventure! Click here to find out more.

 

 

 

Armored HeartsArmored Hearts by Pauline Creeden and Melissa Turner Lee. When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Click here to find out more.

 

 

 

Science Fiction:
A Star Curiously SingingA Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz. In the future, Earth is ruled by Sharia law. Follow Sandfly, a debugger and a slave, who goes to a space station to fix a robot for his masters, a robot that has went mad. But little does he know his life is about to change. To read my full review, click here. And to find out more about the book, click here.

 

 

Fairytale Retellings:
The Healer's ApprenticeMelanie Dickerson has written many great fairytale retellings, minus the magic. In other words, what if the story really happened hundreds of years ago in our world? I love her stories and you will to. You can start with any of them, there is no particular order. So I will point you to the first one she wrote: The Healer’s Apprentice (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty). Click here for my full review and here to find the book. Bonus! All her ebooks are currently on sale on Amazon 🙂

 

 

Medieval Mythology:
IHeartless wasn’t sure how to categorize these last books until I saw someone else label it as myth. Yes, myth, but more like celtic or some other medieval myth, not Roman or Greek. Anne Elizabeth Stengl writes some amazing stories filled with dragons, princesses, elves, and trolls. Generally, I get tired of the same fantasy trope characters, but Anne breathes fresh air into these stories. They are truly unique and some of my favorites. The first book in her Tales of Goldstone Woods is Heartless. Click here to find out more.

 

 

Just Plain Strange:

Amish Vampires in SpaceYes, that is the category I would put this book in (all puns intended). Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz is just that: Amish vampires in space. But less you think this book is a spoof, I personally know Kerry has taken the time to really flesh out the Amish culture and ask what would happen in the future with this group of people? How would they live, what would their lives be like if there was planet colonization and space travel? And the vampire part, more science than horror. Really, you need to check it out. Click here.

 

I wish I had more time and space to list out more of my favorite books, or books on my reading list, but then you would be sitting here reading this blog instead of out searching for your next book. So go forth, my friends, and read!

And please leave a comment and tell me what your latest favorite fantasy or science fiction is 🙂