Why Does #Steampunk Matter? By Guest Blogger @ARMeyering

Are you a fan of steampunk? And what exactly is it? Guest blogger and award-winning author A.R. Meyering, creator of The Dawn Mirror Chronicles (and who specialized in Victorian/Neo-Victorian Literature in college) delves into the importance of steampunk and why it matters.

Fans of this genre will enjoy her latest release The Hunter’s Bond, as well as the other novels in The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

Why Does Steampunk Matter?

Steampunk, put lightly, is a fringe genre. Images leap to mind—elaborate DIY gizmos, outlandish costumes, and that eccentrically brilliant handful of people who crave historical fantasy come to life. During my study of Neo-Victorian literature during college, a professor once described steampunk as a genre that boasted “machines that exist far before their time, all which are on the brink of falling apart.” It was a throwaway line during a lecture, but I personally found it to be an illuminating description of the genre.

As of late, steampunk has been creeping further and further into popular culture, flavoring otherwise unrelated games, music, and movies with its eye-catching designs. Where fans may have learned to recognize it for its token gears and antique flair, I regularly see curiosity in those who wonder what the hell steampunk actually is. Just glue some gears on it and call it steampunk, right?

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

What Is Steampunk, Anyway?

Steampunk, in its simplest form, is any type of fiction that features two distinct elements: anachronistic technology and a 19th century aesthetic. That’s really just a fancy way of saying highly-advanced inventions in a Victorian (give or take a few decades) setting. At least that’s how it began to be defined after it was coined in the 1980s by science fiction author K.W. Jeter. I believe the beauty of steampunk is how many die-hard aficionados you will meet who will whole-heartedly argue these points. For all intents and purposes, however, steampunk is a flight of science fancy centered on this time period during which steam-powered machines seemed to be the way of the future.

Steampunk has many fascinating offshoots, such as cattlepunk, a similar genre set in the wild west of the United States, dieselpunk, a mid-20th century variant, and clockpunk, where the trademark cogs so often associated with steampunk might actually feel more at home.

The amazing thing about steampunk, to me, is that it feels like it belongs to the fans more than many other genre of fiction. The spirit of steampunk is ingenuity blended with imagination—it’s that surviving spark of nostalgia mixed with the brave urge to burn recklessly into the future. Steampunk is its own type of music; it’s a warm community of retrophiliacs, of people who create magic out of spare parts, of inventors and artists and dreamers. However, for all its whimsy, there is an undercurrent of darkness that runs throughout it—an unflinching social critique that highlights the monstrosity of the 19th century.

History Happens in Patterns

And no matter what we do, we are doomed to repeat it. 19th century British folks, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites, were somewhat fixated on romanticizing medieval Britain through art and literature, despite its undeniable brutality. I suspect that our modern day Neo-Victorian subcultures look back on the 19th century with the same sort of confused, aching belief that we have lost something special to the past, that we can idealize it to be cleaner and rosier than we want to believe it was, and that we can amend its missteps with our modern outlooks on life and society.

Essentially all of us will look back on the economic and social inequity of 19th century Britain and agree that it was shocking, to say the least. Who wouldn’t recoil when faced with the realities of the lower class struggling to survive in the industrial revolution? At the horror of British imperialism? At a world where the atrocities of slavery were commonplace? Who wouldn’t take issue with the fact that aristocrats earned around 1,200 times as much as soldiers? Of the devastating spread of disease and the reality that it took until the year 1875 before the government stepped in to protect the health of the masses—resistance to this reform came largely from the factory owners who would be taxed to pay for it. And this hardly grazes the surface of the abject suffering that the majority of people lived through in the 19th century, all while a handful of well-to-do families built up the facades of grandeur and austerity that popular culture readily associates with this time period. All while these same well-to-do families rationalized their behavior through flimsy, racist pseudo-science and the nearly unchecked ambition to guard their ill-earned wealth.

Starting to Sound Familiar?

For all of its flaws and eccentricities, I believe that Steampunk’s historical context features a great potential for meaningful social critique. Instead of trying to ignore the unfortunate truths of the past, they can be addressed and discussed. Steampunk is a bizarre sort of abstract microcosm of our own society, all wrapped up in a quirky package, and it matters because it is a way we can recognize the glaring flaws of bygone times­—flaws that are still very much a problem in today’s world—without the interference of our contemporary egos.

It matters, also, because it simultaneously fixates around just the sort of hopeful spirit that ushers in the anachronistic, before-its-time brilliance that leads to a better world. I say, let’s keep dreaming about clanking, aether-run airships en route to the stars because it shows us not only where we have been, but where we are going.

About The Hunter’s Bond

A storybook life ended in one bloody night…

Left injured, alone, and penniless, noblewoman Beatrice Langford can only think of exacting revenge on the ones who took everything from her. After getting a job as a barmaid from tavern-owner Miles Creedy, she soon discovers his dark secret. Following Creedy into the underworld of crime and vigilante punishment, she is tempted by an opportunity to learn skills deadly enough to carry out her vengeful plan. Beatrice may need to sacrifice everything in order to succeed, including her humanity.

From award-winning author A.R. Meyering comes this prelude to the final installment of the steampunk fantasy series The Dawn Mirror Chronicles.

The Hunter's Bond by A.R. Meyering

The Hunter’s Bond by A.R. Meyering is available now in trade softcover or eBook

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Merlin’s Knot by @MarkAndersenTales #ModernFantasy #Arthurian #MythsAndLegends #amreading #bookdesign

Merlin’s Knot by Mark Andersen is a modern-day fantasy set in Houston, Texas and is the first book in the Merlin’s Thread series. Perfect for fans of Merlin, King Arthur, and the weaving of legends set in modern times. Designing the cover for this novel was very design intensive and will be the subject of a future blog you won’t want to miss.

To purchase in either eBook of trade softcover, click HERE

About Merlin’s Knot:

Where in Texas has King Arthur gone?

Merlin the magician sleeps for fifteen hundred years…until his mystical connection to the mind of legendary King Arthur awakens him. Finally, the time has come to find the lost king and return him to his ancient destiny: saving the Britons in their hour of greatest peril.

The quest leads Merlin to Houston, Texas, where his link to Arthur becomes hopelessly tangled. The snarl centers on Alfred, a laid-off engineer suffering his own existential crisis. After Merlin coerces his help, they follow their only clue to a suburb called The Woodlands.

As they unravel the secrets of Arthur’s present life, returning the king to his own time becomes harder. Now Merlin must find a way to reconcile free will with fate—and repair history’s tapestry.

Read a sample chapter by clicking HERE.

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Cover design for print and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our print wrap design for the trade softcover

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our custom-designed print interior for paperback and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our custom-designed print interior for paperback and eBook

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Our matching eBook design because readers deserve to experience the same book design no matter which format they prefer to read

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Cover Design: Merlin’s Knot by @mandersentales #ModernFantasy #KingArthur #ContemporaryFantasy #Arthurian #amreading #BookDesign

We really enjoyed designing the cover for Merlin’s Knot by Mark Andersen—book one in the “Merlin’s Thread” series. Perfect for fans of King Arthur and contemporary/modern fantasy. Available now for preorder. Releases Thursday, May 5th in trade softcover and eBook.

Merlin's Knot by Mark Andersen

Cover design for print and eBook—Releases May 5th, 2016

Pre-order the eBook from Amazon now at the special introductory price of $2.99

Merlin Cover Model: Marion Z. Skydancer
Copyright © 2016 Dragon’s Chyld Studio. Image used with permission and appears courtesy of Dragon’s Chyld Studio. All rights reserved.

About the Book
Where in Texas has King Arthur gone?

Merlin the magician sleeps for fifteen hundred years…until his mystical connection to the mind of legendary King Arthur awakens him. Finally, the time has come to find the lost king and return him to his ancient destiny: saving the Britons in their hour of greatest peril.

The quest leads Merlin to Houston, Texas, where his link to Arthur becomes hopelessly tangled. The snarl centers on Alfred, a laid-off engineer suffering his own existential crisis. After Merlin coerces his help, they follow their only clue to a suburb called The Woodlands.

As they unravel the secrets of Arthur’s present life, returning the king to to his own time becomes harder. Now Merlin must find a way to reconcile free will with fate—and repair history’s tapestry.

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Designing Vengeance: Target Of Vengeance by @RebeckaVigus #Suspense #Mystery #amreading #bookdesign

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus is a standalone novel of mystery and suspense.

To purchase, click HERE

About Target Of Vengeance:

A tragic car accident and the loss of her family brings Maggie Parsons back to her hometown as its new elementary principal. Just when she thinks she’s on her feet, odd occurrences begin to happen at school and at home. Vandalism, missing children, strange telephone calls…and it all appears to center around her old classmates. Now Sheriff Norton must find out what is happening in his hometown before another target of vengeance is selected.

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka VigusCover design for print and eBook

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus

Our print wrap design for the paperback

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus

Our custom-designed print interior for paperback and eBook

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus

Our matching eBook design because readers deserve to experience the same book design no matter which format they prefer to read

Read a sample chapter of Target Of Vengeance:

Reading a book is an experience—our designs bring your book to life by incorporating all the elements from cover to interior to matching eBook. Experience Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus and read a sample by clicking HERE.

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Cover Design: Target Of Vengeance by @RebeckaVigus #Thriller #Suspense #amreading #BookDesign

Our cover design for the upcoming release Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus. Available for purchase Friday, March 11th in paperback and eBook.

Target Of Vengeance by Rebecka Vigus

Cover design for print and eBook

Releases March 11th, 2016

BLURB:

A tragic car accident and the loss of her family brings Maggie Parsons back to her hometown as its new elementary principal. Just when she thinks she’s on her feet, things start happening at the school. The school gets trashed in the middle of the night, a fence is cut open allowing two boys to disappear in the woods, an old door leads to another child missing and it all seems to center around her old classmates. Who is stalking them? Can Sheriff Norton find the culprit before something serious happens? Who will be the next target of vengeance?

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Hunting A Serial Killer During A Zombie Apocalypse @wmschlichter #PostApocalyptic #SciFi #Dystopian #amreading

The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter is the first book in his zombie series, No Room In Hell. The series features action, adventure, and horror, as well as a serial killer on the loose during the zombie apocalypse.

To purchase the book in either paperback or eBook, click HERE

Blurb:

When the dead walk the earth, everyone has an agenda…

St. Louis Detective Marcus Danziger seeks clues to his daughter’s pre-apocalyptic murder by a serial killer. Excused from the case, Danziger returns to his precinct after the zombie outbreak with only one goal on his mind: to retrieve the evidence to destroy the killer before the entire city falls to the undead and the murderer escapes to the safety of Fort Leonard Wood.

In a world where the rules no longer apply, Danziger won’t allow the living or the dead to stop him.

Read a sample chapter of The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by clicking HERE (Note: graphic content)

No Room In Hell: The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter

Front cover for eBook and Trade Softcover

No Room In Hell: The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter

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No Room In Hell: The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter

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No Room In Hell: The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter

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No Room In Hell: The Good, The Bad, And The Undead by William Schlichter

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Cover Reveal: Bitch Witch by @SRKarfelt #Witches #ContemporaryFiction #books

Our design for the latest offering from S. R. Karfelt, Author—Bitch Witch arrives Friday, May 13th. Preorders start today. Let the magic begin!

Preorder at a special introductory price:  http://bit.ly/1mMoR9u

Bitch Witch by S.R. Karfelt

Available in eBook and trade softcover Friday, May 13th

BLURB:

Can good triumph over evil…when evil runs in your veins?

The problem is Sarah Elizabeth Archer doesn’t have to put up with anybody’s crap.

Coming from a long line of witches who lost their souls to dark energy, Sarah is determined to change her fate. Turning her back on her birthright, she smothers her natural instincts with a boring job and quiet life.

But when Sarah gets pissed off, all bets are off. And anything can happen when you piss off a witch.

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