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

Read a sample chapter of The Hunter’s Bond by A.R. Meyering

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Love Paris? It’s now on sale… @JulietteSobanet #romance

Love Paris? Then don’t miss this exclusive sale!

Now through April 26th  Meet Me in Paris by Juliette Sobanet is on sale for only 99 cents and £0.99

Meet Me in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Purchase this title on Amazon by clicking HERE

And, as a special thank you, Juliette’s first poetry collection I Loved You in Paris is on sale for FREE everywhere through April 29th.

I Loved You In Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Purchase this title on Amazon for FREE by clicking HERE

 

Special Message From Juliette:

And for any of my readers who leave an honest review on Amazon for either Meet Me in Paris or I Loved You in Paris, just send me a message on Facebook with the link to your review, and I’ll gift you a Kindle copy of one of my other books ~ your choice! (And if you already have them all, the next one is on me!) Reviews are so, so helpful for authors, and I wanted to give back to my readers who take the time to leave them. So thank you!

 

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April Book Giveaway—Minstrel and Money & The Human Condition #HistoricalFantasy #FinancialPlanning

Now through April 30th, you can enter to win signed print copies of these great reads at BHCAuthors.com. This month features Minstrel, the award finalist, historical fantasy by Marissa Ames and Money & The Human Condition by Douglas Obey, an excellent nonfiction book, which explains how money works as well as offering tips for money management and financial planning.

Minstrel by Marissa Ames and Money & The Human Condition by Douglas Obey: The featured April Author/Book Spotlights at BHC Authors for April 2016

Click HERE to enter to win through April 30th, 2016

About Minstrel

The Tir Athair series introduces medieval fantasy to a wide audience, bringing intrigue, adventure, and a little romance into a highly accessible and engaging saga.

A troupe of entertainers rides into town on the eve of a kingdom’s fall into chaos. The good king has died and twin princes grapple for the throne. Forced into servitude, the players witness deceit that enslaves people from the king’s guard all the way down to a young washerwoman forced to live three lives. When Riordan takes the crown, his twin indentures the minstrel into recording the kingdom’s true history, a decision that condemns both Liam and the prince to a death sentence.

Minstrel details the start of a civil war, through the eyes of a minstrel whose life of poverty becomes a much more dangerous game.

About Money & The Human Condition

Make your money work for you…

With so much at stake—family security, financial growth and retirement—it is concerning that most people have little to no understanding of financial matters, investments or how the economy works. Nor do they believe the basic concepts behind financial growth are anything they need to know. They simply look at their 401K report quarter after quarter, note the changes and wonder, “How did this happen?”

Why in the most capitalistic society on earth, do we Americans understand so little about how money works? A fascinating dichotomy, really, and one rooted in both western culture and human nature. Understanding this will help you master the art of making money work for you instead of continuing to work so hard for it. What’s so fascinating is that it is more about the study of human behavior than finance and money, hence the title of the book, Money and the Human Condition.

Purchase Minstrel or Money & The Human Condition in eBook or paperback on Amazon. Minstrel is also available in audio format on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.

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Designing I Loved You in Paris by @JulietteSobanet #Poetry #Romance #Paris #amreading

I Loved You in Paris by Juliette Sobanet is the companion poetry book to her sizzling memoir Meet Me in Paris. Explore the raw emotions of love, loss, and ultimately, hope, in this collection.

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

Blurb:

In this companion poetry book to her sizzling memoir, Meet Me in Paris, Juliette Sobanet gives readers a heartbreaking look into the raw emotions of a romance novelist as she loses her own happily ever after. From the impossible pull of forbidden love to the devastating loss of her marriage, and finally, to rebuilding life anew, Sobanet’s courageous poems expose the truth behind infidelity and divorce and take readers on a passionate journey of love, loss, and ultimately, hope.

Read a sample chapter of I Loved You in Paris by clicking HERE

I Loved You in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Front cover for eBook and Trade Softcover

I Loved You in Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Full Print Wrap Design

I Loved You in Paris by Juliette Sobanet Interior Design

Interior and eBook Section Designs

 

I Loved You in Paris by Juliette Sobanet eBook Design

Matching eBook Design

 

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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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Cover Reveal: I Loved You In Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Our cover design for I Loved You In Paris by Juliette Sobanet. This beautiful book of poetry is a companion to her bestselling memoir, Meet Me In Paris.

I Loved You In Paris by Juliette Sobanet

Available in eBook and trade softcover February 23rd

BLURB:

In this companion poetry book to her sizzling memoir, Meet Me in Paris, Juliette Sobanet gives readers a heartbreaking look into the raw emotions of a romance novelist losing her own happily ever after. From the impossible pull of forbidden love to the devastating loss of her marriage, and finally, to rebuilding life anew, Sobanet’s courageous poems take readers on a passionate journey of the heart that illuminates the power of the truth in our universal experiences of love, loss, and ultimately, hope.

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February Book Giveaway—Deny Tomorrow and The Legacy #MilitaryRomance #RomanticSuspense

Now through February 29th, you can enter to win these great reads at BHCAuthors.com. This month we are giving away a signed print copy of the sizzling military romance Deny Tomorrow from author Ann Heathman and Judith Blevins’  The Legacy, a romantic supernatural suspense set against the backdrop of New Orleans.

BHC Authors February 2016 Book Giveaway—Ann Heathman and Judith Blevins

Click HERE to enter to win one or both through February 29th, 2016

About Deny Tomorrow

When truth leads to heartache and death, it’s easier to deny truth than to face it…

Special Ops leader Zach Acevedo takes his team undercover to assassinate the region’s prominent warlord. He finds Arianna Garrett, a beautiful investigative journalist hiding beneath a burqa. Zach fights to protect Arianna from the danger she faces if discovered, while Arianna strives to expose the team’s covert activities. When the truth surfaces and lives are at risk, who will compromise integrity to hold onto love?

About The Legacy

One night…one moment…changed her life forever… 

Blood is a most peculiar essence, or so the ancient mystics say. A mysterious flow—the carrier of life. Even the demons know the power it can unleash. But such things never entered into the minds of Grant and Caroline Alexander. They were the perfect couple, deeply in love and lost in Grant’s music and the sweet rhapsody of their lives. He was an acclaimed piano virtuoso rocketing toward stardom.

Everything seemed perfect until tragedy struck one dark, stormy night. In that instant, everything changed. Caroline struggles to come to terms with what has happened but she is rapidly drawn into a strange and foreboding world in which she has no control. Convinced she is going crazy, she seeks the help of a psychic, Quinton Lucas. This encounter plunges her into a place of terror and discovery.

Will she be strong enough to break free from what reaches out to her from the grave? Follow Judith Blevins’ spell-binding tale of love, hate, deceit and terror as she takes you on an exciting journey set in the mystique and intrigue of New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Purchase Deny Tomorrow or The Legacy in eBook or paperback on Amazon.

LOVE TO READ?

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