Music and Mayhem: the World of Cherry St. Croix

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By Karina Cooper, author of ENGRAVED

Whenever I write a project, I have a playlist or a type of music I dedicate solely to that project. This has made for some interesting compilations over the years, across several platforms. A lot of my contemporary and “for fun” listening playlists appear on Spotify, while I use Grooveshark for much of my fantasy worldbuilding.

Cherry, however, was different.

Throughout most of her misadventures, I relied on classical music to carry me through the bulk of it. Everything from Baroque symphonies to the Romantic Period classics, every step above the drift and below was punctuated by a score from periods past. Yet as I wrote Engraved and Transmuted, I relied heavily on three scores: The Black Swan and the combined scores of The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

To be fair, when I first sat down to work on Engraved, I fell back on my classicals. What could possibly go wrong with Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and all the other greats?

Turns out, not wrong so much as not right. As I was writing, I realized something was missing. There just wasn’t enough… creep. I needed creep. So where else to turn but movie scores?

Now, as I write the final pages for Transmuted to Angels & Demons’ ‘God Particle’, I can’t help but be grateful for these marvelous composers and the atmosphere their music inspires. From the thick, devil-fog below to the gilded cage of above, from the Midnight Menagerie’s manicured lawns to the circus terrors it inspires, the misadventures of Cherry St. Croix are punctuated beautifully by the haunting, ambient scores of musical geniuses.

And there’s a side benefit to this: when I wake up to an earworm in my head, as I did earlier, then the music helps drown that out!

So if you’re reading Engraved and wondering what Transmuted will have in store for you come January, give these scores a listen. Who knows, maybe they’ll inspire your own misadventure!

Tell me, adventurous ones: what’s your favorite music to listen to as you write, read, or go about your days?



ENGRAVED by Karina Cooper

Cherry St. Croix returns to the fog-ridden streets of Victorian London, where the balance of power threatens all that she loves.

I will not wither without laudanum. Sober and determined, I have chosen another way– alchemy, and the pursuit of wellness it embodies. My name is Cherry St. Croix, and though freedom is finally at my fingertips, I return to the blackened streets intent on righting the wrongs I’d left behind.

All is not well in London low. Caught in a war between gangs, men are torn limb from limb, and I am called on to ascertain how. The immoral Karakash Veil is no doubt involved, and Micajah Hawke, a prisoner in his own Menagerie, cannot soften the danger this time.

Armed with the alchemical arts I have learned, my ever present guardian, and what few friends are left to me, I embark on a campaign to rescue the ringmaster I cannot abandon, save the Brick Street Bakers from annihilation, and finally face that which frightens me the most–my own heart.

Book five of the St. Croix Chronicles

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The Many Faces of Tarot

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Karina Cooper's Tarot DecksDid you know that I like tarot? It’s true. I might have something of a problem.

The first deck I ever owned was the Arthurian deck, which you can see on the left side of the picture. I’ve had that deck for—wait, let me get the abacus out… okay, too long. Since I was a sophomore or junior, I think, in high school. I love tarot. I love the art, and the symbolism and the fantastic way it can help one work through questions one might have about life, the universe, and everything.

I had never, until now, successfully thought of a good enough reason to bring tarot into a book series. Sure, there’s all the usual methods—the fortune teller, the tarot as a method to figure out plot, and so on—but I really couldn’t settle on one.

Until Mr. Oliver Ashmore.

Tempered finally introduces Cherry St. Croix’s mysterious guardian, and I had so much fun with him. Cherry, fierce defender of reason and science over myth and magic, is suddenly placed face to face with a different kind of tool altogether: Tarot.

Tarot as Alchemical Tool

Wait, wait, I’m crazy, right? Well, a little bit. Here’s my overlap: in extreme short version, alchemy is the pursuit of perfection; perfection includes not just physical perfection (e.g., gold, immortality) but a perfection of the soul, too (e.g., Zen, or inner harmony, spiritual strength); Tarot is, in what’s commonly called the Fool’s Journey, about reaching the conclusion of a cycle beginning at the naive Fool and culminating in the completion of the World.

Ergo, alchemy utilizes tarot.

Want to know more? Mr. Ashmore has you covered. See how deftly he manipulates his addled ward into giving alchemy more of a chance than she has been willing until now. Watch as our intrepid heroine struggles for a eureka! moment that has, so far, eluded her.

Have you ever had your cards read? Are you a collector—of Tarot, that is, not of bounties (although far be it from me to judge)—or perhaps just idly interested? Or are you one of those who favor the deification of reason and science over that of the more esoteric arts?

Tempered: The St. Croix Chronicles

Tempered: the St. Croix ChroniclesForced out of London’s coal-blackened streets, Cherry St. Croix is faced with her most difficult undertaking yet: sobriety.

At long last, my guardian, the enigmatic Mr. Oliver Ashmore, has revealed himself—and his order is clear: I am to be dried out at once, regardless of my wishes.

I loathe the country estate I am imprisoned within. Footsteps follow me, voices call for me, and my sanity wavers. In my fevered dreams, I am haunted by those I failed, while waking proves no protection from the ghosts of my reckless past. The craving for laudanum plagues me. I require a distraction.

To unravel the alchemical mysteries of my mother’s family, I must rely on Ashmore’s tutelage. I am lured to the art and drawn by the secrets my guardian possesses. Yet the deeper I delve, the more I believe that something dreadful disturbs these haunted corridors. In my madness, I fear that what it wants most…is me.

Available now from Carina Press! Or you can read an excerpt here.

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How Hot is Too Hot?

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Some people like their romance sweet, some readers like the characters to steam up the page. I’ve written a lot of romance, much of it erotic. There’s not a lot of sexual content I shy away from. I’ve published over 50 books and novellas, and each one has had at least a few fairly explicit sex scenes. But what does a writer do when sex just doesn’t fit the book?

In Ashes & Alchemy, I decided not to force it. Even though morals are a little different in my steampunk version of 1960, my hero, Seb, is still a gentleman, through and through. He not only falls in love with Minnie, the heroine, but he also respects her deeply. Minnie, mind you, doesn’t necessarily agree with this waiting business. She’s not an innocent young maiden—she’s a mother, after all. But she’s had a rough life and Seb’s out to prove that he considers her just as special as any diamond-studded debutante. So…no sex until after they’re married.

I had a choice. I could tweak Seb’s character and have him give in. It’s a novella, so it’s not like there’s room for much extraneous fooling around. Or, I could wait until the very end to slip in a little heat. Since I fell so deeply in love with Seb on my own, there was no way I was going to weaken his resolve. In this case, the characters won the battle. Seb and Minnie will have the rest of their lives together to heat up the sheets. I hope my readers aren’t too disappointed they’ll only get a taste.

So tell me, what would you prefer, as a reader or writer? Stick with the author or series’ standard heat level, or follow the characters and the story? I did struggle with this question and would genuinely love to know your opinions, since I’m sure it’ll happen again. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my peek at how the middle class lives in the world of the Gaslight Chronicles.

Ashes & Alchemy
Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance e-Books.

London, 1860
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that’s not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.

Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian’s doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness—the same illness, it seems, that’s responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy’s classmates.

Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it’s he who will need protecting—from emotions he’d thought buried long ago.


Contest: a Rafflecopter giveaway  Win a custom piece of steampunk jewelry or pocket watch from The Spectra Nova. Enter again by following my Bewitching Book Tour over the next two weeks!


Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after and brings that to her writing. An award-winning author of 18 novels and more than 30 shorter works, Cindy lives in southeast Michigan with her husband, two sons, a granddaughter and a houseful of pets. When not hard at work writing she can be found dressing up for steampunk parties and Renaissance fairs, or with her nose buried in a book.

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Introducing Agamemnon Frost

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Agamemnon Frost sort of crept up on me, over time. A slow…inveigling. Which is just like him.

Writing a steampunk story set in Liverpool had been at the back of my mind, but I’d shied away from it for a long time. It crystallised when my son started to practice Jujitsu. And yes, there is a connection. Honest.

We were looking for Karate lessons for my 7 year old, but the times never suited, so we expanded the marital arts search and found Jujitsu lessons. Me being me, I googled its history as I knew little about it, and came across the strange fact that Jujitsu was very popular here in the nineteenth century. It was taught to Victorian gentlemen in the business district as self-protection against gangs of roughs who saw them as easy prey. The image of a well-dressed Victorian provincial gent taking on criminals with slick, fast kicks and punches lingered at the back of my mind. I didn’t know it yet, but I’d just met Agamemnon Frost.

Still, the idea of writing a SF historical/steampunk story scared me. The research needed would be vast. But…the world poured into Liverpool in the nineteenth century. I couldn’t ignore the wealth of history right outside my door. Literally. My street is built on land once owned by a copper and shipbuilding magnate. The mysterious death of one of his family started me off down the rabbit hole of research.

Forty reference books, a wall of OS maps and a scary amount of Scrivener research links later and I still needed more. Yes, I had the nebulous idea of secrets, of everything not being quite as it seemed, but I now needed characters to discover this hidden world. The quote, “A man is no hero to his valet” gave me the first true hint of my main characters.

I hunted for a reason to throw the two men into each other’s path. Enter huge machines that did the job of soldiers, setting men adrift and scrambling for any work they could find. And that necessity would be the only reason for a decorated soldier like Edgar Mason to consider working for an fashion-plate of a dandy such as Agamemnon Frost. Well, Mason likes to tell himself that. There may be other reasons.

But where had the technology behind the machines come from? Mars fascinated the Victorians, and as a nod to HG Wells, I really couldn’t resist! Not that Mars is the whole truth…

So sprinkle in my love of Sherlock Holmes, the mask of the Scarlet Pimpernel and a hefty dose of Martian threat and the Agamemnon Frost serial was born.


Kim Knox brews sex, magic, darkness and technology in a little corner of North West England. She writes erotic science fiction and fantasy romance for Carina Press, Entangled Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing, Cleis Press and others.

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Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death


Book one of Agamemnon Frost

Liverpool, 1891

Decorated artilleryman Edgar Mason was forced to find new work when the British Empire replaced its foot soldiers with monstrous machines. Now he waits on the Liverpool elite as a personal servant. He has just one rule: he won’t work for fashion-addled dandies.

Agamemnon Frost, however, is far from the foppish man-about-town he appears to be. He’s working to protect the Earth from an alien invasion being planned by a face-changing creature known as Pandarus. And on the night he plans to confront the aliens, he enlists Mason to assist him.

For a man to love a man is a serious crime in Victorian England. But when Mason meets Frost, his heart thunders and his blood catches fire. And when Pandarus drags the two men into the torture cellars beneath his house of death to brainwash them, Mason’s new passion may be all that stands between him and insanity.

The trilogy continues with Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships.

Buy links: Carina Press || Amazon US || Amazon UK || B&N || Audible

A Little Bit of Fan-Service Wrapped in Love

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The Mysterious Case of Mr. StrangewayWhen I first started writing The St. Croix Chronicles, I had no real intentions to do any novellas. At the time, I figured that the books would have more than enough going on to fulfill any storytelling craving I might be having.

Cherry’s stories are filled to the brim with adventure, with choices both good and bad, with the people she meets and the things she does that affect them. It’s an ongoing tale about choices and consequences, cause and effect, and—naturally—my three favorite ‘M’s: murder, mystery and mayhem. That was more than enough, right?

Then I went to TeslaCon—a weekend long steampunk affair that prides itself on its immersive environment and hilarious “historical” re-enactments. I had a blast. I attended panels, spoke on LGBTQ matters in the steampunk aesthetic, met so many great people. I had so much fun that I’m going back this year and pulling together a writer’s track for attendees.

While there, I met a gentleman by name of Mr. Strangeway. When I first uploaded the image, I called it “The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway”. After all, he might look like an everyday sort (in a kilt!), but looks really are deceiving. In truth, our Mr. Strangeway spends his time much like Cherry does: adopting armor and hunting down vagrants!

The Villainess and the Bounty HunterOnce I titled the original image, I thought to myself: That sounds like a story title, right?

Next thing I knew, I was contacting him to ask if I could use his likeness for an inspiration, and at his excited encouragement, The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway was born!

Initially, I had thought to make this novella take up the slack between Gilded and Corroded, but for those of you who read the former, you know how difficult it would have been to make that happen. (No spoilers!)

Meanwhile, I was fielding emails, tweets, Facebook messages, even in-person flailing asking me why, oh, why wasn’t Micajah Hawke in Gilded for any longer than he was, and other such spoileriffic things. In a  flash, it came to me: not only would I create a character inspired by Mr. Strangeway’s love of steampunk Mandalorian armor, I would give these (rabid!) readers a glimpse of something Cherry has only hinted at.

So, a little novella inspired by a chance meeting became a chance to show just when, how, and why Cherry introduced herself to Hawke—five years less the wiser, five years less patient, and five years before Tarnished painted Hawke in an all-new light.

So, how awesome is our Mr. Strangeway? This awesome: half of everything I make with this novella will be going to Make a Wish, Steampunk Boba Fett’s charity of choice. Why? Because I wrote this for fun, because I love a good opportunity to lend a hand to kids, and because The Mysterious Case of Mr. Strangeway was as much for me as it was for you.

As a Star Wars fanatic, how could I not enjoy this?

So, here’s my question to you: if you could steampunk out any character of choice from your favorite book, comic, movie or TV series, what would you choose and how would you do it?

Buy It: August 5th, 2013

Karina CooperAbout the Author

After writing happily ever afters for all of her friends in school, Karina Cooper eventually grew up (sort of), went to work in the real world (kind of), where she decided that making stuff up was way more fun (true!). She is the author of dark and sexy paranormal romances, steampunk adventures, crossover urban fantasy, and writes across multiple genres with mad glee. Her award winning steampunk series, The St. Croix Chronicles, is the RT Reviewers Choice Awards recipient for Best Steampunk Novel 2012.

One part glamour, one part dork and all imagination, Karina is also a gamer, an avid reader, a borderline hermit and an equal rights activist. She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a husband, a menagerie and a severe coffee habit. Visit her at, because she says so.

It’s All About the Clothes

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Let’s face it, when it comes to steampunk as a genre, a lot of people discover it—not from a book—but from seeing people dressed up at conventions and the like.

The aesthetic of steampunk draws them in before a great story ever comes into it. At least that’s how it happened for me. I’d heard of steampunk, but it wasn’t until I met a group of women dressed up at ConFusion that I decided I had to know more.

I don’t mean physically—anyone can fit in a corset if it’s the right size—but for various reasons, most of them don’t want to.That’s the road that led me to write Badlands, but the clothes aren’t just the path to steampunk, they’re also an integral part of the world and characters. I have mad love for corsets, but not all of my characters wear them—for the simple reason that they don’t fit.

Henrietta is my corset-girl. She loves them and wears them like a second skin. The corsets and the skirts and bustles…they all speak to the world she left behind and the mother she lost. No matter how well she fits on the Dark Hawk, she doesn’t want to forget where she came from—doesn’t want to forget that part of her is, and always will be, a lady. (One of my favorite scenes in Clockwork Mafia actually revolves around Henri and why she insists on wearing the clothes she does.)

At the opposite extreme is Ever. She’d rather stab herself with a hot poker than strap herself into a corset. For her, it’s a safety measure. A corset would inhibit her movements (much like the formal jacket she wore in the opening scene of Badlands).  As a warrior, that’s unacceptable. Granted, she’s had to wear one upon rare occasions, but that’s only upon orders directly from the queen. For Ever, simple clothes that allow her freedom of movement without giving her enemy much of anything to grab are preferable to just about anything else.

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Speaking of the queen, Laurette of all the women in the series, goes with the flow regarding clothes. She wears whatever is necessary or most appropriate for the situation. In the Union on official business? She’d wear a corset and bustle for the simple reason that it’s expected of women of a certain standing. On her own turf she’s much more practical. She still wears dresses more often than not (and she has a preference for lacy things) but doesn’t see the point in tying herself up for appearance sake.

Of the main women in the series, Mahala usually dresses like Ever. But she has a bit of Laurette’s attitude about her. If a corset would make life run smoother, she’d wear one and not utter the least complaint about it. In her case, it’s her history rather than her present that dictates her attitude toward clothes. Too much finery makes her suspicious of people—one reason she’s never liked or trusted Henri—but she’s also pragmatic and will do (or wear) whatever it takes to get the job done. Like Ever, that includes nothing at all if necessary.

So really, I started writing steampunk because of my love for all the—as Ever puts it—“Finery and frippery,” but at the end of the day only made one character that fit the image. What do you think? Should more of the women be dressing to the nines or should the clothes fit the characters—whatever that means?

Clockwork Mafia:

Inventor Henrietta Mason is retiring from airships and adventuring to return home to Philadelphia. Determined to erase all trails leading to her late father’s duplicity, she dismantles his lab and removes all records of the Badlands gold. While in the city, she can’t resist the lure of a charity gala but winds up regretting the whole experience. Well, everything except a heart-racing dance with a certain U.S. Marshal.

His career and vengeance on the line, Carson Alexander must prove a connection between Senator Mason and the mafia. He lucked out happening across Mason’s strikingly beautiful daughter, only to have her slip through his fingers. On a desperate hunt to track her down, he never expects his search to take him into the brutal Badlands.

With a mechanically enhanced enforcer after them, only Carson knows the extent of the danger they face. He’ll have to win over Henrietta’s trust, and her heart, before it’s too late…

Buy at: 

Carina Press


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If you aren’t going to be able to see her next week at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention or the end of May at Up in the Aether Con—or even if you are—you can also find Seleste around the internet:






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Time Travel Can Mess With Your Brain

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I’ve always loved the concept of time travel. One of my favourite movies is Back To The Future. I loved the crazy professor, the DeLorean time machine, and the “flux capacitor” which magically made the time machine work. I also loved how neatly interwoven the past and present were, and how, when Marty McFly returned from the past, the present was altered because of his actions.

So when I began writing Asher’s Dilemma I thought I had time travel all sorted out in my head. Turns out, once you accept that time travel is possible, the door is opened to all sorts of mental gymnastics. I spent hours pondering the various scenarios, wondering what would happen to X if Y did this to him in the past? Would X disappear? Be wiped out from history? Travel to another dimension?

As I investigated time travel, I discovered scads of information on the subject, and I realised I had to choose a theory of time travel from one of three broad choices:

(1) There is only one single fixed history which is unchangeable

(2) History is flexible and subject to change

(3) There are multiple co-existing timelines.

Even after I’d chosen my theory, I had to work out my storyline to fit in with it. Many roundabout arguments with myself ensued enough to make my head ache. Every now and then I had to remind myself that I was writing fiction, not a scientific thesis! It’s a strange experience striving to be logical about something that is unproven, illogical, and—so far— impossible.

Time travel glitches not withstanding, I hope readers will enjoy reading Asher’s Dilemma as much as I enjoyed puzzling it out.

Ever since he awoke one day on the floor of his workshop with a brain-splitting headache, Asher Quigley has been haunted by fleeting visions of a beautiful woman everywhere he looks—a woman he’s sure he knows, but can’t recall. In spite of this he has finished his most wondrous invention yet, one that will literally make history: a time machine. But before he can complete his exacting calculations a bizarre accident causes the device to be activated, with him inside! He awakes to find himself in his lab, eight months in the past, and suddenly he remembers her…

Asher knows that something in the near future causes Minerva Lambkin, the woman who turned down his marriage proposal, to be erased from existence. And he’s sure it has something to do with his device. Alone in a familiar world where he doesn’t belong, he’ll have to find a way to destroy the time machine to save the woman he loves from extinction. Even if that means erasing his own future.

ASHER’S DILEMMACarina Press | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

Improving on History

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A few years ago (okay, MANY years ago) I studied Australian social history at university. It was part of a combined History and Sociology degree. Life got in the way, and I never did get around to that Honours degree, but I remember my research into the early colonial years of Western Australia, especially the letters and diaries of the women of that time. They were strong women.

Fast forward to 2012 and you’ll see I’ve found a way both to celebrate the strength of those colonial women — and to correct some of the mistakes history made.

Did you know history makes mistakes?

One of the biggest here in Western Australia is the way we’ve ignored our geographic realities. Sure, we’re pretty isolated *understatement alert* Our main city, Perth, has been called the most remote city on Earth. But we’re also relatively close to India.

In the colonial years, one of the first exports from Perth was horses to India — the British Empire connection. And sandalwood. In fact, the sandalwood industry is big business even today. Big enough that we have sandalwood smugglers!

But back to India. History missed a huge opportunity by not developing the Australian-Indian connection. Fortunately, Steampunk lets me fix these sort of errors.

Courting Trouble is the second story in The Bustlepunk Chronicles. The Bustlepunk Chronicles are set in Western Australia, in the 1890s, and they’re Wild West with an Aussie twist. In Courting Trouble, I take the idea of Bombaytown (introduced in Wanted: One Scoundrel) and really explore it.

Bombaytown never existed — but I really wish it did. I can picture it so clearly. It is like San Francisco’s Chinatown, but Indian. In Courting Trouble, Bombaytown is preparing for Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Diwali is a joyous festival, with flowers and firecrackers and overflowing friendliness — which makes the evil threatening it all the more terrifying.

Courting Trouble

Swan River Colony, Australia, 1895

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is respect. Her beau, American inventor Jed Reeve, may be more enlightened than most men, but lately his need to protect her is at odds with her need for independence. Esme begins to wonder if a modern woman can share her life with a man without losing some of herself.

With his courtship of Esme stalled, the last thing Jed needs is the pressure of saving the Prince of Wales. But when blueprints for a sonic destroyer fall into his hands, he uncovers an anarchist plot that could have deadly consequences.

While investigating the threats, Jed is determined to keep Esme out of harm’s way, despite her protests. But when the terrorists capture Jed and demand a priceless emerald in exchange for his life, it’s Esme who must draw on all her strength to save the day.

Carina Press    Amazon    B&N
Read the reviews at Goodreads


author photoJenny Schwartz is an Australian author in love with living in the suburbs. What could be nicer than chatting to your neighbour over the back fence? She’s currently mis-using her history degree to write steampunk and can be bribed with TimTams. You can catch up with Jenny at her website, on Twitter, Facebook  or Tumblring about steampunk.

Antho Sisters…Unite!

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Last year around this time, edits for my first Season of Invention book had been completed. It was being included in Carina Press’s steampunk holiday anthology, and so the other contributors and I had put together a private Yahoo group to talk promotion strategies, but we also made a Facebook page (where we’ll be holding more contests as our next steampunk books release!), a Twitter hashtag (#ClockworkXmas), and we thought up some really fantastic ideas for contests.

This was the first time I’d been part of a collaboration like this, and it was the most amazing thing to have the combined talent and diversity of those three brilliant authors working together with me. It meant that something I had always dreaded (the “P” word – Promotion) was suddenly a fun thing…and I think we all felt that way, it certainly came across in our blogs, our tweets, and everything else we did to help bring visibility to Angela’s anthology.

But the best part is that, even after the release of A Clockwork Christmas, the “Antho Sisters” have continued to be the staunchest supporters of one another. The bond that we formed over our mutual experience became something greater than a desire to collaborate on promotion. It became a friendship that I treasure. I can’t express how grateful and honoured I am to have these women in my corner.

So, it’s with a certain kind of sibling sort-of pride that I say, since the release of A Clockwork Christmas, PG Forte has been hard at work and before the end of the year, we’re going to see some AMAZING stuff from her, including a sci-fi holiday story that will knock your socks off and the continuation of her Old Sins vampire series!

Stacy Gail has certainly been busy! She’ll have another novella in this year’s Sci-Fi anthology with Carina Press called How the Glitch Saved Christmas. She’s also contracted with CP to publish TWO new series!! Her Earth Angels series is heart-pounding, hot paranormal and the first book is called Nobody’s Angel. Her Texas series is small-town contemporary romance featuring characters who will steal your heart.

Jenny Schwartz knows Steampunk like no other. She embraces the drama of it, the romance of it, and her work embodies steampunk with a sweet and funny Australian flair in a way no one else can match. When I heard (and got a chance to read) the second book in her Bustlepunk Chronicles and realized that Esme and Jed’s story would continue, I was beyond excited!! Look for Courting Trouble in October!!

Join me in a big sisterly squee for all of my Clockwork Christmas antho partners, but don’t forget to check out Broken Promises too. It’s available now!

For a chance to win a copy of the Clockwork Christmas anthology AND a copy of Broken Promises, tell me about a time when you’ve collaborated with others on a project. How did it go? Was it a good experience, or did it make you want to tear out your hair?


JK Coi

BROKEN PROMISES (Book 2, Seasons of Invention)

Photobucket Former ballerina Callie Carlisle is determined to rebuild her life with her new mechanical limbs. She’s just learned to accept the enhancements that saved her from certain death when she experiences uncontrollable twinges and flashes of light that obscure her vision. Terrified of literally falling apart, she resists telling her husband. Jasper’s already vowed to keep her out of harm, and she doesn’t want to worry him further.

When the War Office’s General Black arrives with an urgent mission—rescue the doctor who created Callie’s enhancements—she has no choice but to accept. A rogue agent and former patient of the scientist believes the biomechanical modifications he received are killing him, and he’s out for revenge.

Callie must reach the doctor before it’s too late. But with an overprotective Jasper at her side, and her alarming symptoms getting more frequent, will she be able to hold herself together long enough to save the doctor…and herself?

You tell us: How do you like your steampunk?

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Long before I heard the word “steampunk,” I knew I loved clock gears, old keys, Art Nouveau, Neo-Victorian costumes, time machines, Michael Moorcock and anything with brass, copper and rivets. But it took me awhile to warm up to contemporary steampunk literature. Carina Press authors such as Robert Appleton, Christine Bell, Cindy Spencer Pape and Seleste deLaney finally turned me into a fan.

Robert mentioned Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle when he blogged about The Mysterious Lady Law. Which might explain why I enjoy his books so much. I read quite a bit of Victorian Era literature and some of my favorites include those authors, as well as Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, William Thackeray and Elizabeth Gaskell. Since steampunk is based on the Victorian Era, I expect it to have a voice and feel (at least somewhat) akin to the classics of the period.

One of the charms of steampunk is that it may be mixed with a variety of other genres. Cindy Spencer Pape’s Gaslight Chronicles series includes magic-and-fantasy. Island of Icarus by Christine Danse is a Male/Male romance. Christine Bell’s The Bewitching Tale of Stormy Gale is a time-pirate adventure. Cruel Numbers is a detective mystery by Christopher Beats. Selah March’s Heart of Perdition is gothic horror along the lines of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

With anything I read, I want great characters and a compelling plot, of course. But I think world-building is absolutely essential for steampunk. I don’t want to read, as my friend Jill calls it, “find/replace steampunk.” As if the author wrote a generic story, then went through and substituted “dirigible” for “airplane,” “corset” for “dress,” and “steam” for “electric.”

But enough about me. You tell us, how do you like your steampunk? Romantic? Supernatural? Scientific? Do you enjoy elaborate descriptions of fantastical contraptions? Automatons and mad scientists? Explorers and airship pirates? With Victorian morals and conventions, or with modern sensibilities? Are you getting a little bored with gears, goggles and dirigibles, or can’t get enough? Do you want it set in Victorian London, or would you like to read some steampunk set in far-flung locales? What are some of your favorite steampunk stories, and what do you think is missing from the genre?

J.L. Hilton is the author of the Stellarnet Series, including Stellarnet Rebel (January 2012) and the upcoming sequel, Stellarnet Prince (November 2012) published by Carina Press. She is also a jewelry artist whose work is featured in the books “Steampunk Style Jewelry” and “1000 Steampunk Creations.”