Gothic Steampunk Gaslamp Fantasy. Bringing you uncanny heroines in shilling shockers and adventuress tales.
Neil's observation: astute (side eye).
And I'm enjoying that social network, because I'm visual and can post steampunk/goth/victorian/vintage/anything purty pics---AND self-promote me books and everyone else's---without feeling strangled by the FB environment. It is nice, and I hope you'll Friend me there!
. . . I disappear from Booklikes for a few days and you people post up a storm! ;)
I have been head-down, trying to get the Dark Victorian: MEDUSA manuscript done. I don't know why the story occurred to me right after releasing ICE DEMON; I was supposed to get to work asap on EVERLIFE, the third Dark Victorian book ( Ice Demon and Medusa are single penny dreads in the same 'verse). But that's what happened back in October, and the writing was interrupted numerous times by doing events, the last one being LOSCON. Enough was enough, I said. We're now at 41K+ words on MEDUSA as I write this.
Blind Elvie Chaisty discovers a breathing British Museum marble and soon more “living” statues appear in London. Meanwhile, a masked, monocled sculptress invites guests to her provocative marble garden, to be experienced by touch alone. The rich and the specially invited Elvie are enchanted by the sculpted bodies that can be discerned beneath their hands until one visitor dares to make a deadly discovery. Journalist Helia Skycourt and her stick for hire, Ellie Hench, must find out: is the monocled woman the centre of a death cult, one helping young women to an eternal state? Helia and Ellie race to solve the mystery before the sculptress’s fascination for Elvie seduces Elvie into her marble garden, permanently.
With a special appearance by Artifice, artificial ghost and heroine of the main Dark Victorian series, MEDUSA is a Gothic, romantic horror set in an 1880, mechanical and supernatural London. An F/F dark romance and psychological, gaslamp fantasy.
This is my most 'romantic' writing to date, which gives people fair warning who want more kiss-assery in their reading to give it a skip. There *is* pummeling and DEATHHH going on, but some readers really don't want 'romance', interestingly. However, with this I am going for the gothic Carmilla/Dracula vibe, and I'm diggggin' it. :D
The 'FILL' bit is only to show where I'll be stitching the various together. This was from a few days ago and already rearranged. It's also one of the more benign scenes in the book, where Elvie, being completely blind, is introduced to the monocled sculptress's studio. And she doesn't yet Know. ^v^
I did take time out to do the ICE DEMON soundtrack thing at BOOKTRACK , because I wanted to give people something for the Holiday occasion, but now I really need to get this done, to the beta reader, then back to me, then to the editor (who has been waiting for this thing, plus 2 other stuff from me :-/), then back to me, and then finally into print. And the photographer and digital artist are waiting patiently for their monies so we can get to the cover. The MEDUSA cover is already mocked up, and it looks Really Good. :)
Time to rob a bank! Just kidding, ha ha.
Wishing you all a Great Holiday Season.
Please ENJOY, free to play and read at the Booktrack link. Happy Holidays! :D
It took me about two days to lay down music and sounds for chapter one of Ice Demon: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread. I am amazed at how Booktrack helped me create this auditory experience, and with a great foley, ambiance, and music library. All for free. You can download their iPhone or Google Play apps, but can as easily read in your browsers. Then the drama unfolds and plays as you read. In my case, the sounds of harbor waters, creaking ships, ship bells, wind, cold, horse hooves and carriages, footfalls, and ominous moments. Getting my hands on voice actors would be beyond my (invisible) budget, but to be able to do this, which is just like Radio Drama, is almost a bit much! I adore foley! I'm the one who annoys everyone with my slide whistle! :D
Therefore, please enjoy, as it has the Hitchcock'ian moments where I hope to make you jump out of your seat. :) And no slide whistles (until I write an all-out comedy).
I also note, for those who want to give their books an auditory experience with Booktrack, that they've great sounds for genre fiction. They're tagged 'steam punk' (yep, that spacing), for gears and machinery, 'zombie' for erm, gross things, 'scifi' and so forth for your spaceships and space opera. There are transformations, horror bits, and magical battle sounds. It is ALL COOOL. As well as contemporary sounds. I was amazed to find enough to do Victorian period. OH! And you can add your own sounds/samples, which would only be accessible by you for your book. Therefore, please dive in, and I hope you'll let me know when you do that so we can follow each other over at Booktrack! :D
(Reblogging to remind myself):
The first pages will test you. William Gibson drops word after word of future slang, explaining none of it. I didn’t form a clear picture of what was happening in the story until I’d read two thirds of it. That can be frustrating for some readers, intriguing for others.
Some science fiction writers do their world building with info dumps disguised as prologues, or with long-winded explanations stuffed into dialogues. Some writers simply abandon their plots while pausing to provide back story. Gibson uses none of these devices. His world building occurs gradually and in context. By the time a character explains an element of his world, the reader has already assembled most of the information, and the explanation confirms the accuracy of his suspicions.
Gibson abandoned cyberpunk when the cyberspace of the web developed in a manner unlike the cyberspace of his imagination. The present-time based novels preceding The Peripheral aren’t cyberpunk. Yet even without the cyberpunk milieu, Gibson manages to put current technology to unique and futuristic uses. In The Peripheral, he returns to cyberpunk in futures that are both fresh and firmly rooted in present trends.
The two futures he presents diverged from one another, yet information can pass between the two via a server in an undisclosed location. That may sound farfetched, but Gibson makes it work, teasing the reader with hints, as he gradually unfolds his story. His style of story construction may tax some readers’ patience. They should stick with other authors. But if you’re a fan of the slow reveal, you’ll like this book.
Pa~dam! Well, more than these came in, but I didn't want to overwhelm. :-p I'll mention the Shire Classics book in another post, because I've quite a few of the Shire books.
Another order from Book Depository! I've had Ronald Searle's Tres Riches Heures de Mrs Mole on watch because it was an out of print book. The truly jewel-like illustrations (hence, the title) were never meant to be published, as they were each done for Searle's wife each time she had a chemo treatment. She is Mrs Mole. And heck, I can't help a few tears when looking at these, for they are very precious, very loving, and of course, so very beautiful. I guess they printed some more, that's how I got my copy. A hardcover with dustcover, if you love illustrations I really recommend running to Book Depository and getting this beautiful book, for it is an expression of hope and the greatest of loves, given during a time in the Searles' lives when things seemed darkest.
Woo hoo! With all good intentions, I've a pile of garden/botany books needing reading for certain story research. It's nutty that Elle Black's POISON GARDEN manuscript has been hanging around since this time last year because it gets overlooked for other things supposedly More Important. That's not cool, it's going to be another great mystery/horror story and she needs another book. Gee, Elizabeth, get to work! ;)
But this one crossed my path because Theodora Goss recommended it on FB. I can't have a garden (unless in containers), and the gods know I'm very good at killing poor, green things, but nature itself and the act (or art) of growing things are sometimes where poetic understanding begins.
A Rizzoli publication! WHO loves Rizzoli coffee table books? I do! And the libraries who cull their lovely hardcovers and sell 'em? Me! So *my* copy has that cellophane archival wrapping on it that librarians do, and yes, the numerical markings, but it's still in Fyne condition and heck, I got it for under 10 bucks. nOW I may immerse meself in the English country life!
PEERING into the cottages and gardens I would certainly not be allowed in. Cor, blimey!
That's not the best pic, nor the best spread! But what a score. :D
~~~ of course there will be more books later. When does it end? Never! ~~~
Living in an altered past that never saw the end of the Great Depression, Jeannine, a librarian, is waiting to be married. Joanna lives in a different version of reality: she's a 1970s feminist trying to succeed in a man's world. Janet is from Whileaway, a utopian earth where only women exist. And Jael is a warrior with steel teeth and catlike retractable claws, from an earth with separate - and warring - female and male societies. When these four women meet, the results are startling, outrageous and subversive.
Feminism has evolved and changed over the decades and this book was written during the Second Wave of Feminism (often referred to as Women’s Lib) during the 1960s-1970s. I know that it is difficult for young women born in the 1980s and later to believe some of these things, but there was a time when your career options as a woman were very limited—you could be a nurse, teacher, secretary, or a housewife. When I was in high school in the 70s and making high academic marks, I was strongly discouraged from taking typing classes (something akin to some of the keyboarding classes offered today, but with archaic typewriters rather than computer keyboards) because I was being encouraged to think of myself as a potential manager, rather than a secretary. In those days, bosses dictated their letters and secretaries typed them—no self-respecting man knew how to type. Even if you worked in one of these roles outside the home, it was expected that when you became pregnant, you would quit your job—often, your employer would helpfully fire you to make room for a replacement who was not pregnant. After all, women just worked for “pin money,” to supplement the household income for the fripperies that all women desire (which of course justified paying them very little, as they weren’t “supporting a household” the way that men were supposedly doing). Hard to believe in these days when there are more young women in universities than young men, isn’t it? Now, women are free to become doctors and lawyers, professions which to all intents and purposes barred female students until recently, or to take any other university courses that they desire.
Birth control drugs were not an established thing—the pill was just coming on to the market during these decades and was not always easily available. Doctors were men, generally speaking, and reserved the right to tell you whether you were worthy of birth control. And this was an improvement from earlier years when people could be arrested for giving out information on various birth control methods.
If you were female and unmarried by your mid-20s, you were pitied. Poor thing, you’d never be a whole person and never have children. Being a wife and mother was the be-all and end-all. I don’t think it even crossed most people’s minds that you might be a lesbian, because there were so few women who were out of the closet. Sure, a few folks might say “nasty” things like that behind your back, but most people just considered you pitiable.
So, the Feminist Movement of this time period was very much a reaction against enforced domesticity. Women had acquired the right to vote, but really didn’t have many options in other facets of their lives. The patriarchy was still firmly in place, and feminists had to roar in order to be acknowledged or heard at all, let alone change the status quo. They burned bras (as symbols of their sexualization for the benefit of men), and they demanded equal pay, equal educational opportunities, and equal access to the job market. Some of the more dedicated feminists declared themselves political lesbians, to protest society’s ingrained sexism and “compulsory heterosexuality.” They were removing themselves from the patriarchal structure in the only way they could find and in a way that (during those years) was guaranteed to shock.
We’ve come a long way, baby! And if you don’t understand this background, you also won’t understand The Female Man. Russ shows just how much male privilege dominated, how inferior women were assumed to be. We still have a way to go [see for example, the Jian Ghomeshi scandal at CBC or the lack of a sexual harassment procedure on Parliament Hill—places where men still seem to hold the balance of power]. Male entitlement still exists, but it's circle is shrinking. As Russ says as the end of the book, won’t it be a happy day when readers of this book don’t understand what she’s on about?
This is book 153 in my science fiction/fantasy reading project.
Madison is now my inspiration! :D "OUR BRAIN RUNS ON BOOKS". What a fantastic speech!
---is going to kill me with all these gorgeous facsimiles! ahhhh
If I'd known sooner to search for 'facsimiles', I'd have bought their reproduction of Bradshaw's Hand Book to London instead of someone else's. Oh well!
via amsterdamcyclechic on Flickr:
It hasn’t been a month since I last read in a Portuguese online newspaper a chronicle defending that it’s worthless to read new books. The author states that in a human life, being an assiduous reader, we would only get to read 4000-5000 complete books. And as so, he would rely on the “test of time” to choose his reads, thus omiting new releases on his personal library. As we all know, classics have earned their title because their message has remained valid or, at least, questionable for (sometimes) centuries and so even the most rebellious teenager on the 21st century would benefit somehow from reading them. Funny enough, one of my most recent posts is about a list I am trying to follow while picking up new reads – the “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die”. While it would be impossible for me to stick exclusively to that list, because my interests always cause me to drift away from that path, choosing that list implies that I trust someone else’s opinion on what should be read. Of course, that is a very personal choice, but I do think it is important to do so in order to avoid wasting my time, since I barely ever quit reading mid-way. There are many valid ways to value someone’s opinion or even get suggestions of books you never even heard about – through friends, if yours are the bookish type, through literary critics, Goodreads ratings (although that is a tricky one, ever since Amazon bought it, I must say) and, of course, fellow bloggers, IF their tastes are similar to yours, because I do find that the majority of bloggers are too much influenced by new releases (a.k.a. publishing companies) and therefore they become expert marketers. All the information is out there, you just need to pick through it.
The list I mentioned before includes both contemporary and classic reads, as well as works from very diverse origins, and it has been updated in 2012 and those are the main reasons I chose it. Also, I tested it. I calculated my average of ratings on the books I had already checked, and it was superior to 4/5, which has satisfied me.
While I do agree that classics are a major reference, I do feel like reading contemporary stuff makes me feel a part of something, like I contributed to the background scenery of that play. Also, readers can better understand different realities to their own, ethnical, racial, sexual, political, with a direct reflexion in their daily lives. I do think it is of the utmost importance to understand our own reality and the current tendencies in as a many ways as possible. Besides, refusing to try it, is quite limiting. I do think I could be fulfilled as a reader, through classics only, but I don’t like to think I could be missing another spectrum of colours entirely. Even if my favorite contemporary authors won’t make it to a Nobel prize or don’t survive the next decade, I have enjoyed them and to me they’re eternal. I do believe Literature should always be lived, albeit critically.
Find more of my writing at http://heartbeatvariations.blogspot.com
"Nils Holger Moormann’s Liesmichl is not only the ideal side table for all Bibliophiles it is also the perfect gift for all Bibliophiles. With storage space for books, an ingenious holder to ensure you don’t lose your page and a handy shelf for mince pies and sherry, Liesmichl offers everything you need to ensure a relaxed and stress-free reading experience."
Original Deutsch article here:
Where to buy:
I order too many physical books, it's gotten to the point where the mail person just dumps them at my door, rings the bell, and runs off, not realising he/she dropped off my neighbor's books at my place (thank goodness I didn't rip those packages open). The mail people must wonder why I haven't gone electronic yet---I have! It's just that much of what I want is 1) non-fiction (which is easier to reference-tab and retain info from in physical format), 2) out-of-print 3) cheaper than the e-book version (seriously, especially as I've no qualms about buying ex-library editions or 'damaged' books at $4.00 ea, free or included shipping. This is how I get LOTS of delicious hardcovers! :D).
So I thought I'd finally take pics of what comes in. I'm uncertain if shelfies will be a thing for me though that will be fun. Once I tear them out of their envelopes/boxes, I tend to squirrel them away in whatever pile is for whatever topic I intend to research on. AND if I shelfie, you'll all learn how incredibly boring my reading list is, because I get VERY EXCITED about Victorian cookbooks and whatnot. :D I also don't take the time to add all my treasures here on Booklikes; it's a time issue, and it would make my TBR list very, very long (and overwhelming). I like to maintain the illusion that I am on top of it! (HA).
So ENQUIRE WITHIN UPON EVERYTHING 1890, the 400pp+ facsimile hardcover from Old House Books Publishing just arrived from Book Depository. This was the giant reference book for Victorians to refer to about Everything, from how to clean stains to how to play cards, to how to cure that cough and how to get a job (ladies). Now I'll know how to blacken that grating!
Lovely bookmark from Book Depository!
My friend Kate Danley, award-winning author and playwright of such works as The Woodcutter, the USA best-selling Maggie for Hire (kick-ass urban fantasy) series, the O'Hare House Mysteries (period mystery), and much more just released her first illustrated all-ages story, The Spirit of Krampus, ILLUSTRATED by Abigail Larson, whose work with the Poe Museum and her own Gothic Victorian illustrations I just adore. And I have one of her hardback collections (if she's issued more), but of course I can't find it because my shelving 'system' is a mess. So anyway, here is The Spirit of Krampus, which accompanied my paper copy of the scholarly version of Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla!
With inquisitive cat paw!
With a dented corner on a brand new book! Thanks Amazon!
That is a Beautiful font the book layout person did for Kate. Look at that. I am jealous she did an illustrated novel (which I'd attempted with my gallery of illustrations in the back of the print versions of the Dark Victorian series---I've since given up on doing those), that she did this project with Abigail Larson, whose work I adore (I Know, I said that already), and that it's all laid out so pretty. This is what making books is all about. Yes!!
AND NOW ~~~ I'm going to run back to my latest manuscript.