Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “lesbian fiction

#rainbowsnippets: Silver and Stone

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Happy Saturday! Welcome to our next Rainbow Snippets post – 6 sentences of top quality LGBTQIA+ fiction to brighten your weekend. This week our snippet comes from Steampunk author Felicity Banks. (Photo by Cat Sparks) Visit the rainbow snippets facebook page to read more brilliant blasts of LGBTQIA+ fiction.

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EXTRACT FROM SILVER AND STONE

Matilda smelled of smoke and eucalyptus from her time spent burning off the nearby forest: a delicious mixture of our temporary outback home all tangled up with elemental fire. And she smelled of her own unique spice, making me want to lean forward and inhale until I swooned. Her coppery-brown eyes shone in the lantern-light, ready to laugh. Her lips parted. Her breath quickened. . .

            I kissed her, and forgot I was holding a square of tin

 

 

 

rainbow flower image courtesy of mariah22 http://www.freeimages.com


#rainbowsnippets: Heart Of Brass

 

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Happy Saturday! Welcome to our next Rainbow Snippets post – 6 sentences of top quality LGBTQ+ fiction to brighten your weekend 🙂 This week our snippet comes from Steampunk author Felicity Banks. (Photo by Cat Sparks)

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EXTRACT FROM HEART OF BRASS

I braced my feet against the top step, forming a cradle of our linked arms, and pushed with my legs. Matilda popped out of the hole and landed on top of me, crushing the breath from my lungs.

“I love you,” she gasped, choking on the smoke. “Since I first saw you.” 

     “It’s me,” I said, looking up at her in concern. “Emmeline.”

Don’t forget to visit the rainbowsnippets fb page to read all the amazing snippets from this week.

And if you liked that snippet you can read all about Emmeline’s adventures in the first book here…

 

 

Rainbow flower image courtesy of http://www.freeimages.com.

 


Tea at Three: Mythpunk For Monsters

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, thankyou for joining us once again on the swelteringly sultry streets of Steampunk’d Lancaster as we attempt to sell bottles of illegal home brewed lemonade in a desperate bid to pay our rent.

At least that is our ruse for loitering on this street corner this morning, but shhh, step closer, we have something to show you…

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If you’ve been with us for some time you’ll probably be aware that our mistress, Penny, as well as leading a secret double life as an incorrigible octopus and his unnerving gentleman friend (that’s us by the way and we’re not sure we care for the description!) also writes short stories, poems and prose with a far less frivolous flavour in the Mythpunk genre.

If you weren’t aware, you can read some of them here for free: PENNY BLAKE ON VOCAL POETS 

Mahrime – Mythpunk For Monsters is a collection of  mischievously mutilated and punk’d-up folk tales heavily influenced by Penny’s Rromani cultural heritage. Each poem, story or prose piece explores the themes of identity, power and love by putting the monsters, the outsiders, the outcasts, the ‘unblessed’ right at the heart of the narrative.

It’s available now to pre-order on Kindle, free with Kindle Unlimited or 0.99 without and also in paperback if that’s what you prefer (the paperback is full colour with black pages, white text and beautiful white mandala art work by ArtsyBee and comes with a free Kindle copy)

“And what is Mythpunk?” we hear some of you ask…

Mythpunk can be as simple as taking a traditional tale and re-working it to produce something fresh, inspiring and new , or it can be a far more complex synthesising of cultural and mythological evolution; a deep exploration into the cultural psyche or an unflinching dissection of archaic archetypes. A lot of Steampunk involves some Mythpunking along the way and a lot of Mythpunk has a decidedly Steampunk flavour.

 

So, now that we know exactly what we’re letting ourselves in for , lets take a little sneak peek at just some of the things inside the cover…

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Mahrime means ritually unclean  / unblessed in Rromani language, it is akin to the word Unseelie in Celtic lore but it is applied to people. The title story in this collection draws heavily on the experiences and mythology of Rromani People and explores the historical out-casting of certain groups and types of people who are branded as ‘monsters’ because their existence is at odds with a dominant cultural or religious ideal. It also goes deeper to hint at the aspects of self which we choose to lock away because we believe them to be unlovable or unacceptable.

 

The Road Back Lost

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This Mythpunk’d version of The Company Of Wolves is a response to the ideal that we all have both an internal and external collective of wise guiding voices who can teach us our culture, our heritage, our purpose and our place in the world; these voices, intuitions, bodies of lore, family, elders, clan-folk etc are supposed to teach and guide us safely through the wild woods of life and all the dangers therein but what if we don’t have them? What if our family or culture or bodies of lore or even our parents and home have been lost to us? This is the situation for many people today as war and poverty tares children away from their families and cultural white-washing tares culture away from people and places it in the hands of the fashion industry. So what can we do? Try to go back? Try to move forward? Or stay and become the wolf?

 

DAMAO

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Damao means ‘to overcome’ ; the final piece of prose in this collection echoes the hopeful thought that is embedded throughout the book  – with solidarity and support for eachother we can overcome the problems inherent with being labelled ‘outcast’ or ‘monster’, we are not alone and we will endure.

 

So there you have it, Mythpunk for Monsters, we hope you enjoy it, and now I think we will just sit back on this soap box here and sample some of our own lemonade, this day is far too hot to be doing any work and my tentacles are wilting despite the negligee we borrowed from Nimue Brown and her Hopeless Sinners yesterday I think what I really need is a parasol…

Thankyou for joining us on the street corner today, hm? What’s that Max? You think YOU ought to write a book? Honestly, I really don’t think ANYONE is going to be interested in anything you have to say… well alright then I will ‘wait and see!’ … and who exactly do think will publish such an atrocity? Hm? …. oh you’ll ‘find a group of marvelous monsters as mad about tea and tentacles as you are’ will you? Well good luck with that my friend! I shan’t be holding my breath…

While we wait to see what, if anything, comes of Max’s new ambition, let me thank you once again for joining us today and for supporting our endeavors as always and whatever kind of monster you happen to be please, do remain always,

Utterly Yourself.

 


Morning Cuppa: My White Dahlia

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s deliciously dark and delightfully delinquent parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True some have called it the dingy , disused cellar of an abandoned fish factory but we consider that such people have no imagination.

You find us this morning surprisingly glad of our relocation to this veritable fortress of subterranean artisan workmanship – having endured the screams of the poor unfortunate souls who were unable to find shelter from the flesh eating Liver Birds last night we are now counting our blessings! But, as ever, we are in need of a good cup of tea and something excellent to read whilst we sip it…

 

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We are utterly besotted with the writing of CM Blackwood, but after being thrilled by the horror and suspense of ‘Who Murdered Dr Damien’, we were not sure what to expect from this first book in her new floral romances series. Slowly, slowly, page by page we were ensnared by this intensely dark and heart breaking novel. Nothing is two dimensional here, nothing can be taken at face value as the layers of character and plot depth built until we felt that same psychological intensity that is the hallmark of good horror writing… but this is a romance novel isn’t it? Yes, yes it is, but it is a romance novel for fans of deep, dark, psychologically thrilling fiction.

The power imbalance between Adette Salazar , desperate and vulnerable assistant, and her new employer, the infamous and alluring author Dahlia Frobisher , is stark but both women are strong, passionate and determined to succeed in the post-war London that is still a male dominated playing field.

Cautious friendship develops slowly and awkwardly into a strained but passionate romance between the two women as guards are lowered and raised in an enthralling emotional interplay between two desperately lonely women, whose horrific pasts sit like grim ravens upon their shoulders. Will Adette and Dahlia be able to leave their demons behind them and lose themselves in the loving relationship they both crave? Or are the ghosts of the past too powerful to be forgotten?

This novel left us exhausted, exhilarated and ravenous for more – we can’t wait for the next book in the floral romances series.

And now that is the kettle singing, won’t you join us in a refreshingly delicate brew of Jasmine White Tea from Rosieleatea? 

We wish you a most satisfying afternoon and hope you will join us again tomorrow for elevenses, when we will be showing you our first #inktober instalment,

So, until then, please be always

Utterly Yourself.

 

 


Our Steampunk Summer Reading List…

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Well, our boys may be out pounding the streets in the hopes of making ends meet but, in their quieter moments, you can be sure they’ll be kicking their tentacles up on some Tiffin Den table and trying to drown their sorrows in a good book. Here (in no particular order) is their “(mostly) steampunk summer reading list” and they will be posting reviews again starting from September… HAPPY HEAT WAVE EVERYBODY! 😀  – Penny

The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom by Leah Cutter

For The Love of Temperance (Ichabod Temperance 4) by Ichabod Temperance 

Dead Magic (Ingenious Mechanical devices 4) by Kara Jorgensen

Six Gun Snow White by Catherynne M Valente 

Threats (Steamship Chronicles 2) by Margaet McGaffey Fisk

Amster Damned (Timeflight Chronicles 1) by Nils Nisse Visser 

My White Dahlia (The Floral Romances 1) by C M Blakcwood

Golden Seal (Garoul Series 1) by Gill McKnight

Ashes of the firebird (Firebird Fairytales 2) by Amy Kuivalainen

The Brazen Shark (Clockwork Legion 3) by David Lee Summers

Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo  

Anne Bonnie 3 by Tim Yates

 

And what about you? Have you got a stack of excellent fiction to tide you through the torrential sunshine? Any recommendations that you feel I should add to this splendid stack? (Shameless self promotion is actively encouraged in the comments section…)

 

Big Boisterous Blessings on all your summer shenanigans,

Penny  🙂

 

 

 


Morning Cuppa: Who Murdered Dr Damien?

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! A very warm welcome back to Max and Collin’ s ravishingly refreshing and zestily zany parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True some have called it too piquant for their tastes, but we consider that such individuals are simply sour that they have not yet received an invitation.

Well you find us this morning safely returned from our inter-dimensional jaunt to MCM Comic Con in London (for some reason your London is not a clockwork city run by Land Pirates as ours is but nevertheless our tri-cornered hats, fake mechanical limbs and crys of ‘arrrr me hearties!’ did not seem to be out of place)

Unfortunately operating the photographic device we had brought with us whilst preventing our small hoard of street urchins from half-inching shiny things, assaulting aliens with their lethal balloon-swords and getting themselves locked up by the security team meant we didn’t actually take many photographs, but here is a small taste of some of the steampunk splendidness that was on show in case you weren’t able to make it there yourselves …

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But now the excitement is all over and we  are very pleased to be home and able to kick our tentacles up on the table with a splendid pot of Lady Grey tea from Mystic Brew Teas and an excellent book… like this one…

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Katie is a 28 year old woman in crisis; her relationship (if you could ever call it that) has crumbled and she’s back at her father’s house popping pills and drowning her sorrows while her demonic step sister is trying to win the world’s worst tantrum award. But when the little brat falls down the stairs, breaking her neck, Katie is blamed for her murder and sent to Greystone Asylum… a dark and terrifying place where death stalks in a black hood and no one is quite what they seem. Who is the mysterious murderer? What secrets are the doctors harbouring behind their office doors? And will Katie survive long enough to find out?

To call this book a contemporary lesbian murder mystery would be accurate but not do it justice. The raw reality of Susanna Kaysen meets the gripping horror of Paul Hoffman in this dark and twisted tale which, amongst the sexual intrigue and the pervading tension, has at its heart some deep questions about humanity, our concept of self and our judgement of others.

Overall, a gripping page-turner which horror and mystery fans will adore.

Now our oracular cephalopterois is straining at the leash to tell us something so let us pop him into his teacup and what his far seeing spines have plucked from the aether for us this morning…

 

Oh ho! Well, that makes sense because it is indeed lemonade season here in Ire and our meticulously maniacal landlord Montmorency has been badgering us again about getting out there and selling the stuff so, for the next few weeks we will be All Over Lemonade; its history, place in Victorian culture and lots of luscious recipes for making your own.

So, we invite you back to join us tomorrow for some lusciously lemony elevenses and until then, please be always,

Utterly Yourself.

 


Soup of the day with steampunk author Gill McKnight

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously there is no Pendle any more, since those dreadful land pirates , The Chronic Agronauts, utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats, but I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is author Gill McKnight! Good morning Gill, thank you so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Can I take your hat and miscellaneous weaponry? I do apologise for the heat in here but I must keep the fire burning even in this weather!

Good morning, Mrs Baker. It’s a pleasure to help out and I don’t mind the heat at all. It’s good for the wet beriberi.

 

Indeed! Now then, have a seat here by the window where it is a little cooler. How was your journey here from your own dimension? Did you come by time machine, or is your camper van wired for inter-dimensional travel?

On the number 9 bus. I waited hours for the dirigible before they finally told is it was cancelled due to seagulls?

Ah yes, we have similar problems here with the Liver Birds but that number nine is always reliable. Ah, now I see you have  brought some soup with you today to share with the orphans!

Yes, I brought my famous chickpea and turpentine soup. It cleanses as it nourishes and makes your colon sparkle.

Oh how…er….interesting! Goodness I think it is making my nostrils sparkle already! Now while that is simmering away nicely, filling the bakery with its fumes, why don’t you tell me a little more about your steampunk adventure The Tea Machine, have you brought a copy with you to show us?

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I once had a history teacher who postulated that if the Romans had manged to use steam as a power source other than for bathing, then with their verve and vim we’d all be living on Mars by now. The advances would have been mind-blowing with the right power in the right hands at the right time.

Marvellous, I know that Max and Collin enjoyed it very much indeed! What lured you in to writing in the steampunk genre? Was it the tea?

Tea and crinoline – the ying and yang of any well-kept parlour. What could possibly go wrong when these two forces get together.

Oh absolutely!

Also, there are some fantastic authors out there who get the Oolong flowing. I’m thinking of Gibson, Powers, Carriger, Reeve, Priest, and Blaylock, the list is endless. They all acted as catalysts to my imagination.

The story is full of believable, loveable characters, particularly Weena the giant space squid! Do you have a personal favourite, or are they all your ‘darlings’?

It’s so unfair to have favourites, but I do have a slight preference for Millicent. Mostly because she shoulders the plot and drives it through all sorts of rubbish. Such a trooper – every author needs one.

The story takes us from the Victorian era to the height of the Roman Empire, two very different settings which you capture the essence of perfectly, did you have to do much research to inform your writing?

I tend to make it all up. If I so much as open Wikileeki, or anything like it, or go browsing this or googling at that, I lose hours of writing time. Really the internet is a time travel machine in its own right, in that the present seems to disappear whenever I open it.

And it should be obvious I dig deep into the cannons of Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells, Lovecraft, Melville, and, of course, Nora Roberts.

There is plenty of frivolity, humour and whimsy woven into your steampunk world but you skilfully manage to draw the reader’s attention to a lot of important issues such as equality, exploitation, industrialisation and religion and how seemingly innocent things –like tea – can be manipulated to satisfy greed and power lust. Do you think it is important for science fiction / steampunk to challenge and expose these issues?

It’s the nature of the beast. I think steampunk authors naturally go against the flow. The inversion of historical norms can’t help but throw up closer inspection and commentary. And science fiction has a long pedigree of commenting on the nature of humanity and the world around us.

Now you have hooked us all in with the first book and left us on a splendid cliff hanger, when can we get our hands on the next book in the series?

Parabellum is pencilled in for 2018. I have too much on my plate to bring it in any earlier. I write full time now and somehow seem to manage to produce less? Why is that?

And where else can we find your writing?

www.gillmcknightwrites and www.dirtroadbooks.com should do the trick.

Marvellous! Do you have any other new releases or events coming up soon?

A contemporary lesbian romance this May, and part five of my Werewolf series this July. Why was I complaining above?

So plenty to look forward to then! Well thank you so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, my dear, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and I do hope you will come and talk to us again when Parabellum is released! Now then, I must say that soup really does smell like it must be about ready, even with the window open it is making my eyes water! Shall we start dishing it up?

I’ve enjoyed myself today, Mrs Baker. Thank you so much for inviting me over to help. The little, rickety orphans are a joy to behold. Could you pass me that ladle, please?

Certainly! You know I think I will keep a jarful back for next time my flame-throwing parasol runs out of juice, or perhaps when the landlord calls…

Thankyou all of you for joining us in the soup kitchen today I hope you will join me again next week so until then,

Blessings on your brew my dears!