Grand Prize Winner

Emma Jane Holloway
January 1, 2014  •  No Comments

The last (for now) winner is Mary Ann D., who won the $50 Amazon gift certificate as the grand prize for my A STUDY IN ASHES book promotion. Thanks so very much to all the wonderful contributors and commenters through December. I had a great time and “met” some fabulous people!

Happy New Year, and onward and upward to 2014!


The SteamAble Wheelchair Project

Emma Jane Holloway
  •  No Comments

News of this amazing project came to me from Bruce Rosenbaum, who asked that I help spread the word about what ModVic is up to. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin 2014.

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The SteamAble Wheelchair Project:

We want to modify a wheelchair to take it from ‘functional’ to ‘awesome’.  It is our belief that this highly customized wheelchair will help the recipient Kyron, the 14 year old boy with Muscular Dystrophy who inspired this project.  It will help him gain confidence in his interactions by changing the focus of the conversation and expressing his uniqueness and individuality through his assisted living device.  We will customize a second wheelchair to help raise money for other adults and children who also depend on assisted living technology.

ModVic works with clients all across the country to take personal, meaningful objects, creatively combining them with relevant and cool period objects and machinery to transform the ordinary into incredible Steampunk functional art. The Steampunk art and design process celebrates history, while setting a path for a re-imagined better future — telling the personal stories of individuals, families, organizations and places.

Recently, we have turned our attention to helping children with autism and also assisted living devices as a way of improving people’s lives through art, history and technology. We were inspired to modify this wheelchair by Kyron, who depends on assisted living devices every day.

See the full project description and fundraiser on Indigogo Here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-steamable-wheelchair-project 


Winner

Emma Jane Holloway
December 31, 2013  •  No Comments

The winner of a copy of Chasing the Star Garden, Melanie Karsak’s fabulous new ebook, is Diana H!  Happy New Year!


Winner

Emma Jane Holloway
December 30, 2013  •  1 Comment

The winner of the draw from Bruce Rosenbaum’s guest post is Tempest and the prize is one book from the Baskerville Affair Trilogy. Congratulations!


Winner!

Emma Jane Holloway
December 29, 2013  •  No Comments

The winner for Katherine Gleason’s guest post is Cianna R.  The prize is a pair of hand made earrings.  Congratulations!


A Visit from the Boston Metaphysical Society – guest post by Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Emma Jane Holloway
December 28, 2013  •  9 Comments

BMS_cover_2nd_Issue_(3)_ColorLowRes
Steampunk! Comics! Need I say more?

I’m completely thrilled to have Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Writer/Creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic, visit my blog. Not only is it just plain cool, but I’ve had a long-standing love of comics, so this is like a bonus Christmas present for me. At their best, comics are the perfect marriage of two kinds of storytelling–visual and literary–and have the freedom to play with point of view in multi-layered ways. And, of course, they’re great entertainment–so check out the website, and don’t forget to comment on this post!

All comments on this blog will be entered into a draw for a book of your choice from the Baskerville Affair trilogy!

Remember, EVERY comment made on one of my guests’ blogs in December will be entered for a $50 Amazon gift certificate! This is the last of my December guest blogs, so this is your LAST CHANCE to get in on this draw!

And now I turn the floor over to Madeleine . . .

***

“Steampunk.”

That was the word Alex Diaz blurted out to me as he hopped over the sofa outside the film and TV  production office in Melnitz Hall at UCLA. I simply stared at him as he repeated that word again – “steampunk.”
Tesla Panel1

Little did I know that day and that word would change my life.

We were classmates in a TV Development class and he was a huge fan of a TV Pilot I was developing called BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY, a supernatural procedural set in late 1800’s Boston.  The story was a marriage of my love of THE X-FILES and a historically based feature script I had written called STARGAZER for the Sloan Fellowship. I had heard the term steampunk before, but did not know much else. That brief conversation set in motion a series of events which would lead me to a place I had never been before – Steampunk  Geekdom.

I had grown up reading science fiction, fantasy and tons of historical military fiction. My older brother loves superhero comics, but comics had never interested me, at least not superhero comics. (By the way, he probably has the largest and highest graded DAREDEVIL collection in the country if not the world. I kid you not.)  Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to mention anything about indie comics. Grrr…brothers. But I digress….

I set about reading everything I could about steampunk and soon decided that it was the genre I had been waiting for all my life. All the things I love were there: science fiction, history, tech stuff.  So I redeveloped the story into an alternate history of Boston during the late 1800’s.  The story resonated with everything I liked to read: a strong female character, class struggles, a lead character who is torn between doing what is right and doing what he wants.  Using some of the leading historical characters of the time (Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Houdini), I was able to bring a sense of place to the world. It took a lot of time and a lot of research, but bringing this story to life became an obsession.

Granville ImageFor those not familiar with story, it’s about an ex-Pinkerton detective and his spirit photographer partner who battle supernatural forces in late 1800’s Boston. Think “Before Mulder and Scully, there was Hunter and O’Sullivan.”

Not long after I finished writing another episode of the show a few people I trust and respect suggested I turn the pilot into a comic. (Yes, there are more Boston Metaphysical stories out there.)  Sure, I said. I can do that.  Who knew it would take even more time than being my dog’s personal assistant? (Which I was, but that’s another story.)

To help me understand steampunk more, I attended my first ever steampunk convention – The Gaslight Gathering in San Diego.  Boy was that fun. The costumes were amazing and the creativity was astonishing. I loved the dioramas, the steam driven mechanicals, the workshops on Victorian hair design, costuming and even metal working. Imagination ran at full steam here. (Pun intended.)

To prepare for this event, I did what any good steampunker would do and visited various thrift stores and second hand costume shops. Living in Los Angeles, I was able to frequent a number of the stores that obtain wardrobe from film and TV.  I came up with a cool vest, a hat and some jewelry. I then plundered my old jewelry box for accessories and found an old watch with no hands, my dagger earrings and my copper owl. I managed to attach the old watch to my hat, add a plain white blouse, some black jeans and I was ready to go. Being on a budget, I needed to keep it simple. Since then, I’ve changed out hats, added goggles and some other pins to my basic wardrobe. Recently, I’ve also pulled together a western steampunk costume. For special occasions I have two corsets (black and hunter green) which I mix and match with other things. I am told all steampunk outfits are a work in progress.

My husband has even started to become more involved. Being an engineer, he’s fascinated with any machine that is steam driven. He’s been doing more and more research and is pretty keen on building a working Tesla lab that I can display (and maybe sell) at conventions.  Time permitting he should be able to create something pretty awesome.

Since Gaslight Gathering I’ve attended numerous other steampunk events and I learn something new every time. But the thing which sticks with me the most is the generous nature of the community and the fact that I’ve
been welcomed wherever I went.  Thank you, guys. You’re the best.Caitlin1

 

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Madeleine Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the steampunk webcomic Boston Metaphysical Society.

Also a TV and feature film writer, Madeleine holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA where she won numerous awards as well as the Sloan Fellowship which requires integrating science and technology themes into a script. Madeleine has just completed her first novel, a middle-grade fantasy, and has published a number of short stories and novellas based on the BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY universe which are available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords.  Her short story, THE CLOCKWORK MAN was published in eSteampunk magazine (March 2013) and THE WAY HOME was published in an A1/Atomeka/Titan Comics anthology in November 2013 along with three special illustrations by Emily Hu. Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and historical military fiction.

For more information on the webcomic, the novellas and the upcoming Kickstarter in January 2014, please visit the website at Boston Metaphysical Society.

Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and Google+.

 

 

 


Winners!

Emma Jane Holloway
December 26, 2013  •  1 Comment

The winners for Chris Kohout’s contest are:  Forrest F, Laurie W, Ivy, Smeek 1958, and Alexanna Rae.  The prizes are 5 copies of Einstein Must Die!  Enjoy, people!


Oh the “Byrony”: The making of Lily Stargazer – guest post by Melanie Karsak

Emma Jane Holloway
December 22, 2013  •  12 Comments

Chasing the Star Garden_PaperbackD4.jpgIt’s with great pleasure that I welcome Melanie Karsak, author of the Airship Racing Chronicles.  For me, one of the great things about social media is connecting with other authors and it’s been a pleasure making Melanie’s acquaintance! 

She’s generously offered an international giveaway to all commenters on this blog for an autographed copy of Chasing the Star Garden plus book swag.

Remember, EVERY comment made on one of my guests’ blogs in December will be entered for a $50 Amazon gift certificate!  

***

First, my thanks to Emma Jane Holloway for inviting me to drop by her blog and talk steampunk. It is a pleasure to be in such delightful company. I am very excited to for the release of Emma Jane’s third book. Congratulations, Emma Jane. Now, let’s talk Byron.

Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. That is how Lady Caroline Lamb described the historical George Gordon, Lord Byron. When I decided to write a steampunk series, I knew that I wanted Lord Byron to be a central figure in my work. Byron was a rock star of his age. And honestly, if I can be all fan girl for a minute, he is pretty darned cute. When I set about creating my steampunk world, I didn’t want Queen Victoria or Tesla to be the sun in my solar system, I wanted Byron.

Given I can barely understand the man I’ve married, I knew I could not write from a man’s consciousness. Byron could not be my protagonist. Instead, I decided I would write from the perspective of one of Byron’s lovers. Lord Byron was infamous for his sexual appetites. In fact, he went into self-imposed exile to flee possible persecution and damage to his reputation for his bisexuality. I imagined that being in love with Byron would be a lot like being in love with any man you can’t quite tie down . . . thrilling and unfulfilling all at once. What kind of woman would be with Byron?

In walked the concept for Lily Stargazer. I wanted Lily to be a less than perfect character. I wanted her to have anti-hero qualities: questionable morality, cynicism, a self-destructive

byron energy, a rebellious nature, and questionable sexual appetites. In other words, I wanted her to be a Byronic heroine!  The term Byronic hero, as we know, is inspired by the attitude cultivated from the historical Lord Byron himself. Oh, the “Byrony.”

Link to Wiki on Byronic Heroes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byronic_hero

Lord Byron bio videos:

The irony for me was that I didn’t even really think about the fact that she was Byronic. I just wanted to write a character that was true to the dark, crappy sides of life. There is a tremendous body of literature on the indenturing of children during the Industrial Revolution in England. Children suffered in horrible working conditions that are akin to slavery. I wanted to write about a woman who suffered at the hands of others and did not bounce back.

Link to Youtube series on the Children who built Victorian England (bring tissues): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87eVOpbcoVo

Despite her terrible past, as revealed in the novel through flashbacks, I envisioned Lily Stargazer as a woman who accidently found herself in a profession that was typically male dominated: as an airship pilot. And I wanted Lily to be good at what she did, really good. In fact, I wanted to punk the norms of 1823 (and today, really) and make Lily the best at a male-dominated sport. Take that, male sports. Lily Stargazer, an airship racer with a famous lover and an opium addiction, was born.

lord byron quotes mad if dont writeChasing the Star Garden is available now in paperback and at most ebook vendors. The second novel in the series, Chasing the Green Fairy, will be released in the spring of 2014.

Amazon US Link: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Garden-Airship-Racing-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00GXUU6IC/

Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chasing-Garden-Airship-Racing-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00GXUU6IC/

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/melanie-karsak

Melanie Karsak Author Pic by Orange Moon StudiosConnect with the author online!

Blog: http://melaniekarsak.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelanieKarsak

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak

 


Winner!

Emma Jane Holloway
December 21, 2013  •  No Comments

The winner of the draw on Paul Genesse’s blog for one of my prize packs and a $10 Starbucks gift card is Raonaid!  Congratulations!


Steampunk Design’s Future: Fleeting Fad or Elegant Creative Solution? – guest post with Bruce Rosenbaum

Emma Jane Holloway
  •  9 Comments

brucerosenbaumAnyone who reads A Study in Ashes will see the key role that the makers play in the story. They’re the ones who secretly keep the people’s independence alive in their secret sheds and forges while everything else goes to pieces. That insistence on independent creativity and craftsmanship appeals to both my heart and my mind and is (at least in my opinion!) the keystone to the steampunk movement.

It’s with great pleasure that I invite Bruce Rosenbaum, President of ModVic, LLC, into my virtual parlour. He’s  an artist, designer, and community activist. Since any artist’s work speaks for them with more eloquence than anything I could say, please check out this virtual house tour and his awesome website to see exactly what it is he does.

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LOOT ALERT!

All comments on this blog will be entered into a draw for a book of your choice from the Baskerville Affair trilogy!

Remember, EVERY comment made on one of my guests’ blogs in December will be entered for a $50 Amazon gift certificate!  

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mr. Rosenbaum …

***

There is no singular history or definition of Steampunk – therein lies its beauty. The possibility of change, reimagining, improvement, valuing the humanity and contributions of each person – gives the Steampunk movement ‘legs’ into future time periods and eras.

In interior or object design, the contrast and juxtaposition of new and old styles (eclectic) can be trendy, but Steampunk bucks the trend in favor of timelessness. It offers boundless possibilities of infusion or blending of opposites: old and new; past and present; Victorian/industrial décor and modern-day technology.

This blending of opposites is called Janusian Thinking (see Psychiatrist Albert Rothenberg) and we are employing creative problem solving techniques through the synthesis of opposites. The best inventions and innovations have come about through bringing opposites together for one elegant solution (think of the hammer, pencil and jackknife).

The idea is bringing two opposites together in your mind, holding them there together at the same time, considering their relationships, similarities, pros and cons and interplay, then creating something new and useful.

Our Janusian ‘future-past’ approach functions as a reconciliation of contradiction to a unique creative solution to our problems of today. It’s incredibly liberating to look at the world around you and your life and say it doesn’t have to be this way – what I have can be improved through our own thought process and the process of reimagining and making. We can overcome life’s paradoxes and problems by forming creative and elegant solutions.

 

Steampunk as a Popular Design Aesthetic

 

Steampunk as an aesthetic, at its essence, is a design solution with divergent thinking, innovative and imaginative designs and elegant infusion of all time periods and functions.

At this time – early 21st century, the focus has been on going back to the Victorian period or Industrial age—late 19th century and early 20th century. This time period in history was when our man-made machines first transformed the world and  craftspeople were abundant and proud to make things that would seemingly last forever.

The Victorian age is also a unique time in U.S. history – producing highly imaginative, high quality machines and beautifully crafted objects that now in large part have outlived their usefulness in the modern world. Steampunk now is about giving new life to these intrinsically valuable objects, re-inventing the pieces again so it is assured they last another 100 years into whatever period comes next.

In fact, Steampunk design can go two ways: (1) Taking authentic Victorian objects, rooms or homes and modernize them for today’s use or (2) Taking modern items and “Victorianizing” them to appear they are original from the period.

 

Steampunk: Form & Functional

 

My own Steampunk design focus has been on infusing 21st century technology into authentic Victorian objects to give them new function, new purpose in our lives today.

 

In our own home – we’ve been somewhat obsessive in bringing this design aesthetic to fruition. The two best rooms in any house to create Steampunk design are the kitchen and office – places that employ quite a bit of 21st century technology to make our lives easier and more productive. Our Steampunk House does have a Steampunk kitchen and office – you can actually take a virtual tour by visiting our website www.modvic.com.

 

You’ll see Steampunked appliances, kitchen island, cabinetry, fixtures and alike. In my Steampunk office – it’s a room out of Jules Verne’s Nautilus – complete with a Steampunk Victorian Pump Organ Command Computer Workstation.

 

A technology trend that has been helpful to all Steampunkers is the push towards miniaturization in electronics. Smaller is better for Steampunk inventors because it’s quite a bit easier for us to fit more technology into smaller existing spaces of Victorian cabinets, desks, and period objects of all sorts.

 

There are some general Steampunk ‘modifying rules’ that I try to stick by. If you’re not careful, you can transform an object to a point where you lose the essence of what it was — obscuring its rich history and original purpose.

 

ModVic’s 6 Steampunk Modification Rules:

1.     Creatively modify primarily authentic Victorian or industrial period objects, salvage items or antiques as the basis (skin) for housing modern technology.

2.     Modify objects that are in need of TLC (currently in a state of disrepair). You want to feel that you’re ‘saving’ the object and giving it a new life where otherwise it might have been left to the dustbin or trash heap of history. Note: Please don’t modify antiques that have great value in their present condition – Steampunkers still value period items ‘as is’ and don’t want to devalue great objects.  Steampunk inventions may also include recycled items to promote environmentally-friendly reuse designs.

3.     Inventions should be of outstanding individuality, beauty and exquisite craftsmanship. You want to mirror the original maker’s pride in the quality of their work.

4.     Seamless blending of the period item and new technology leading to a feeling of ‘permanence’ to the Steampunk technology design solution. Your creative design solution should feel that the object could have somehow been originally intended to house modern technology when it became available.

5.     Use of cutting edge technologies within the Steampunk design. Modern technology has a limited life and it makes no sense to install technology that is already or soon to be obsolete.

6.     Understanding how quickly new technologies can be replaced with even newer technologies – reversibility should be built into the design process for future designers to incorporate new technologies into the Victorian objects in the future.

 

By its very nature Steampunk is timeless. The rejection of the present comes out in a nostalgia for the past or a idealized future – a Utopia. Steampunk combines a love for all periods and fuses the best elements of the past, present and future. It’s empowering – Steampunkers control the mix, they define it and they will change it as they see fit.

Bruce Rosenbaum

President

ModVic, LLC

www.modvic.com