Amazing Steampunk Giveaway: Indie Steampunk Extravaganza!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Yes, my friends, it is the year of steampunk! Don't all those covers look great together? If you haven't read any works in this genre yet, well, what are you waiting for? For readers not familiar with steampunk, let me give you a few fast facts. You can read more about steampunk HERE.
  • Steampunk is usually in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre and is usually considered Alternative History. Some writers are heavy scifi (you can't make me say syfy) and some writers are more fantasy-oriented. As well, you will find a lot of steampunk writing has heavily romantic themes (including Chasing the Star Garden).

  • Steampunk takes its cues from Jules Verne and HG Wells instead of (or more than) from Tolkien. Steampunk works often depict scientific invention ahead of or alternative to its time: airships, steam-powered machines, clockwork gadgets (clockpunk), sky pirates, submarines, etc. Think League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

  • Many steampunk works are often set in the gaslamp aesthetic of Victorian England. But steampunk enviroments can be evoked from any period, including in Dystopian works. Karen Kincy's Shadows of Aspodhel, for example, is a deiselpunk work set in 1913 Austria-Hungary. 

Ready to get started reading in your new favorite genre? Get to work!

Hey look, I have TEN ebook copies of Chasing the Star Garden up for grabs! Get yours now before Chasing the Green Fairy is released!

This giveaway is INT!

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Steampunk, magic, and zombie delights! What to expect in 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I am so excited about 2014. I have several great projects in the works and look forward to sharing new characters and worlds with you! One project that has been in-the-works for a decade is about to see the light of day. THAT is super exciting for me. If I just had more time or minions . . . I could really use some minions!

Definite Project Release Dates:

March 4th, 2014: Chasing the Green Fairy, the second novel in The Airship Racing Chronicles series, will be released. This novel is complete and is in the last round of edits. Cover creation begins in January with a reveal shortly after!

May 7th, 2014: For a TBA stand-alone project. This novel is also complete. It is a YA fantasy/alt history novel. The novel is currently under going editing but cover creation is already underway and OH MY GOSH! I can't wait to show the cover to you!

Working Hard by Caramel

Planned projects:

The Airship Racing Chronicles III (I'll reveal the title when I release Green Fairy) is plotted and about 15,000 word completed. Right now I am really busy with editing the projects I mention above (and working full-time and raising a 4 and 3 year old), but I hope to complete writing this novel in May then begin the polishing process with Cat Carlson Amick, my amazing editor, for a fall release.

I have an additional Airship Racing Chronicles Novel also planned. This would be a stand-alone novel set in Lily Stargazer's world and parallel to Lily's storyline. This novel is plotted and brain-ready to write, now I just need some time . . . and minions.

Steampunk Minions by Aimless Me

The Harvesting Series

Layla is being stubborn, but I am going to try to pry her back out of my brain once The Airship Racing Chronicles works are completed. I actually have about 20,000 words of The Shadow Aspect finished and the third novel in this series plotted. I just need to limit the number of voices in my head at one time. I hope to move back into this series after I complete (well, kind of complete) Lily's story arch.

2015 Projects


My brain recently exploded with an AWESOME idea for a contemporary paranormal series. The idea is outlined, arch is plotted for two novels, but this fun protagonist needs to get in line! I'm pretty excited about this work and hope I can get to it soon!

I have other projects that I am slowly working on, including my Slavic book, but one thing at a time. One thing about the writing life, you never have enough time! Minions, I need minions!

2014 is going to be great!

 Happy New Year!!

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Emailing Diana Gabaldon; A look back . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In 2013, I experienced some great firsts as a writer. I launched Chasing the Star Garden, the first novel of The Airship Racing Chronicles, bringing Lily Stargazer to the world. I love Lily and am excited the book has done well. My wishes for my writing are very modest, and after spending a lot of time learning about this industry, I'm happy about where I am.

Chasing the Star Garden did very well on it's release date in the UK, #3 in Steampunk!:

And in the US, I even scratched down to #7 in Steampunk at one point!:

During release week, I sold more copies of Chasing the Star Garden than I have ever sold of The Harvesting. This tells me one thing: I learned a lot in 2013.

I've read a ton of advice on how to succeed as a writer. Some advice is good, some of it is complete crap, but one thing that is really true: in order to do well, you have to engage. You can't hide behind your computer screen and hope for the best. Writers are often introverted by nature, but we live in a social environment. The reality is, there are really wonderful, kind, generous people out there. If you don't go out and meet them, and be authentically interested in them, then it's your loss. For me, the problem has always been intimidation.

Back in 2005 (ish), I was lamenting that I could not get a literary agent to represent a paranormal novel I had written. It is a long, long novel. The story is awesome, but looking back now, I see the writing is horrible: written from multiple points of view, lots of passive voice, too much description, etc. I was CERTAIN the problem with my novel was that it was too long. I was so certain, I emailed Diana Gabaldon and asked her opinion on long novels (I didn't send her my novel, I just emailed her about long novels in general).

The Diana Gabaldon

Diana was putting out massive, best selling books. What was my problem? Diana Gabaldon emailed me back . . . let me say that again, Diana Gabaldon emailed me back (I nearly fainted from fan girl glee!) and was so kind and so encouraging. In fact, I kept a print-out of her email from my AOL account (yep, you've got mail!). Diana didn't know my novel was a train wreck, but she encouraged me to keep trying. I loved her for that. And I loved her for writing back. She was a writer, and I was a lowly wanna-be. But I did keep trying. I took a break for a bit, which I plan to write about soon, but I was always writing in my head.

During the first week of Chasing the Star Garden's release, I noticed this one fleeting moment:

Now, my book is no longer sitting so pretty (hell, I'm off the alt history Top 100 list now), but I was RIGHT FREAKING THERE for just a moment, and it was all the win I ever needed as a writer. Even if I never sell another copy, it was a dream come true.

So what is the moral to the story? Back when I emailed Diana Gabaldon, I was intimidated by real authors and the writing world. I was envisioning all the fabulous authors out there sitting at their Victorian writing desks composing masterpieces. Why would they ever talk to me?

Last summer, I started connecting with people. I wanted to meet all the other steampunk authors out there. I just wanted to get to know them. I loved their books, and I wanted to meet them, talk to them, and help promote their works. I came up with the idea for SteamU; The Steampunk University Lecture Series as a way to connect. And when I did, well, guess what . . . just like Diana Gabaldon, everyone is really awesome! Duh. It's about the people, stupid. And not just the authors, but the bloggers and the readers too! I love that social media has killed the perceived iron curtain between writers and readers. My goodness, it's a blast!

If you are just joining the party in 2014 but have big writing dreams, my advice to you is this: keep trying, invest in yourself, and engage. I wish you the luck you deserve.

Best wishes, thanks, and much love to all my online and offline family and friends.


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Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No matter what holiday you are celebrating, I wish you the happiest of all seasons. Thanks to all my family, friends, and fans for their support this year!

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The No Kiss Blogfest Sign Ups, Event Coming Jan 2nd, 2014

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pucker up!

On January 2nd, a number of authors and bloggers have joined together to bring you a one-day blogfest event: The No Kiss! What is a no kiss? It's when your favorite couple almost, kinda, just about has that amazing kiss then BLAM, something happens: a no kiss.

Here is one of my favorite examples:

Why don't you join us in the fun? There is still time to sign-up! Just drop by Amalia Dillin's fabulous blog and join the No Kiss Blogfest!

Stop back on January 2nd and I will have an amazing sneak peek at one of my own No Kiss scenes from an upcoming novel!

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Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Blog Hop

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Today I am delighted to be participating in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by Bookhounds and I'm a Reader, Not a Writer. I love the image selected for this blog hop banner. I grew up in Pennsylvania but now live in Florida. Every once in awhile, I wish for a quite winter's night with the moon beams making the snow sparkle. It's really odd to wear shorts and sandals while putting up holiday lighting! Enjoy "In the Bleak Midwinter"

For this blog hop, I am featuring some treats associated with my recent release, Chasing the Star Garden. Here is the blurb:

An opium-addicted beauty.
An infamous poet living in self-imposed exile.
An ancient treasure about to fall into the wrong hands.

Melanie Karsak's Chasing the Star Garden takes readers on a thrilling adventure from the gritty opium dens of gaslamp London to the gem-colored waters of the ancient world. Lily Stargazer, a loveable but reckless airship racer with a famous lover and shattered past, reluctantly plunges into a centuries-old mystery in a steampunk romantic adventure best described as Dan Brown meets Mary Shelley.

It all begins on one of the worst days of Lily’s life. She just lost the London leg of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix. To top it off, a harlequin fleeing from constables shoved a kaleidoscope down her pants, told her to fly to Venice, then threw himself from her airship tower. What’s a girl to do? For Lily, the answer is easy: drink absinthe and smoke opium.

Lily’s lover, Lord Byron, encourages her to make the trip to Venice. Lily soon finds herself at the heart of an ancient mystery which has her running from her past and chasing true love and the stars along the way.

Because Lily, my protagonist, is an airship (think hot air balloon) racer, I wanted to give you an adorable airship prize. I found a wonderful Etsy shop, Mmim, where the artist has some fantastic wooden boxes with hot air balloons.  So, in honor of the 1823 Airship Grand Prix, I have 2 gifts up for grabs:

1) a Mmim designed Hot Air Balloon Box (this box is adorable and will be great for keeping jewelry or gears, you decide).

2) an autographed paperback of Chasing the Star Garden

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Don't forget to keep hopping!
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Fabulosity Reads Blog Tour Spotlight: My Beautiful Suicide by Atty Eve

Monday, December 16, 2013

Novel Description:

Suicide is selfish.

It tells the world that you are weak. It tells the world your family and friends have failed. It leaves them with guilt that they could have done more but didn't. It tells them they are clueless and helpless.

I am weak, but I am not selfish.

My suicide will not leave my family and friends with guilt and shame; it will leave them thankful that they knew me for the short time I was here.

- Cosette Hugo
Her brother died. Her parents divorced. Her high school bully is relentless. Cosette doesn't have a lot to live for, but it isn't until she accidentally kills someone that Cosette makes the decision to take her own life.
Unwilling to bring shame to her mom, best friend Mattie, or her boyfriend Chris, Cosette decides the best method of suicide is to become a victim of the local serial killer, The Poser. But every time she goes out to find him she gets attacked; her instincts take over, and she ends up killing her attackers. This quickly leads to unbearable guilt. Desperate to finish this before she gets caught or racks up more victims, Cosette does the unthinkable.
"And when I reach my final goal, to meet my brother in heaven, and we're looking down at my victim in Hell, he will say to me 'Well done, Cosette. What a Beautiful Suicide.'"

About the Author

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Family life was rough with a religious mother and a short-tempered, alcoholic father. (Picture Archie Bunker) My escape was reading and music. I think I was the only kid with my nose in a book during the Air Force Academy football games.

As a teen I was an 80's new waver with black shaved hair, a pale face and bright red lipstick. I was very self destructive and always got into trouble. Needing a change I followed my father's footsteps and joined the Air Force.

During my four year enlistment I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada where I met my wonderful husband. We both got out of the military and moved to Southern Indiana, on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. I have two teenage boys whom I try to embarrass but have yet to succeed, they have great senses of humor.

I wrote my first novel over ten years ago and was on the verge of having it published when, sadly, my publisher passed away. I shelved my books for a few years to work on our family business. Now I'm back to writing and have decided my fate is in my own hands. And since I hate being told what to do I am self-publishing.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Author's Blog: Connect with the Author

Fabulosity Reads



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Cover Reveal: True Fate by Shayna Varadeaux

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Name: True Fate

Author Name: Shayna Varadeaux

Publish Date: January 6th 2014

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy




Strange things have always happened to Nia, and until now she’s written them off as flukes. At nineteen she has seen her fair share of odd occurrences and just feels lucky.

When Nia unknowingly spoke a prophecy on her eighteenth birthday she freaked out her best friend, Rhea. Nia realizes she needs to find some answers. Rhea makes her promise to go and see her Great Aunt Amarie, but she isn’t sure if her crazy aunt could really help.

Nia finds herself unexpectedly drawn to a stranger and begins dreaming of people who seem to know everything about her.

They offer little in the way of information as to how and why. It all feels too real but Nia is unsure, at least until she wakes up with a trinket from the encounter.

When dreams and reality collide Nia will have to face dangers she never knew existed. Ready or not she will have to discover her True Fate.

About the Author:


Shayna is a happily married mom of three teenagers and a native Texan. She is a highly addicted reader and an avid reviewer with a love for generating buzz for other authors.

“Life is chaos and reading is my relaxation. Writing comes second only to my family and my music. I love playing the bass and singing backup vocals for my husband. A tattoo artist turned author, following my dream and loving it!"

"I am currently writing True Fate, my first YA Paranormal Fiction! I hope to publish by the end of the year or the beginning of next year. Luckily I have my best friend who is also my supportive husband to cheer me on. I'm definitely looking forward to the painful journey of becoming a self-published author!”

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There's a text from Rhea, her best friend. It's a reminder about their road trip next week and their need for cooler weather clothes shopping. She cringes at the fact that she'll have to actually shop sooner rather than later. Nia texts her back quickly while she hands over the ten dollars she had ready and takes her receipt and change. Preoccupied with correcting her auto correct fiasco, formerly known as a text, she slams hard into what she's certain is a body.

Her messenger bag hits the linoleum with a crack! She's hoping beyond hope that it wasn't her MP3 player. Nia stifles a groan as she digs in her bag as a hand comes into her vision and a decidedly male voice says, "I am so sorry, please, let me help you up."

Nia hadn't even really look at who she ran into, but was sure to have pink cheeks. She spends so much time in her head, she doesn't ever notice much around her. Right now she's speechless, staring at the lightest blue eyes she has ever seen igniting her blood like it was on fire. The tips of her fingers tingle from his touch and her heart feels like it's running on rocket fuel. She can't shake the shuddering warm butterflies infiltrating her insides.

"Oh, no, it's my fault. I.....I wasn't looking where I was going.” she replied shyly. 'Who was this shy girl!?' She internally chided herself.

Was she the only one feeling this hum of energy? It's an almost tangible feeling, but by the odd look on his face of familiarity mixed with wonder. 'Maybe he feels it too', she thought.

His radiant smile made a dimple in his cheek, causing her breath catch in her throat. "Nah, it’s okay, really.” he simply replied. She gave a small smile biting the inside of her cheek and took that moment to look him over. He's not too short and not too tall, if she had to guess he was five, nine or five, ten. He has short hair that's dark as night. She noticed black scrolling filigree peeking out of his barely rolled up sleeve's on his light olive skin. His comfortable attire was almost her favorite part. She was utterly embarrassed to be caught enjoying the view. But she knew she had indeed been caught. She could tell by the confident look on his face, almost approving her ogling. 'Snap out of it Nia!’ she shook herself mentally.

Barely coaxing herself to speak, for fear of seeming like a total creeper staring at him. 'Say something!’ she commanded herself as she fumbled a question out, "Well... maybe... I mean if you're not here with someone or, umm..... Do you wanna have lunch with me?” Nia asked wanting to kick herself. 'That was smooth, real smooth. Ugh!’ she thought biting her bottom lip.

He held out his hand for the second time and his dimple ignited fully, causing Nia to gape like an absolute fool, "Name's Aaron Pierce and I would absolutely love to." She took his hand delighted by the tingles it inspired. "Epifania De La Garza. But you can call me Nia.”
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December New Release Giveaway Hop

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today I am delighted to take part in the December New Release Giveaway Hop via Book Twirps and Refracted Light Reviews!

My new novel, Chasing the Star Garden, was released on December 4th and has been met great reviews! I wanted everyone to have a chance at winning a copy of the novel so I am offering a great Chasing the Star Garden Swag Pack including a signed paperback of the novel, a novel pendant, and a novel pen!

Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday, everyone!
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SteamU Finals Week: A Steampunk Christmas List

Dear Santa,
The students at SteamU have created this Christmas shopping list. They have been good all year, and I think they deserve something nice! Here are a few of the items we put on our Christmas list this year. Won't you be nice and drop a few of these steampunk goodies in our stockings?

Stocking Stuffer #1: A Chad Schimmel Steampunk Fountain Pen

This summer I was cruising Kickstarter and spotted Schimmel's campaign for his steampunk pens. Aren't they lovely! Chad Schimmel's campaign was funded and now he has a wonderful line of steampunk pens on the market. He also created amazing steampunk jewelry and a other wonderful pens. Dear Santa, won't you bring us a fine fountain pen?

Chad Schimmel Online

 Stocking Stuffer #2: An Erin Keck Clockwork Gears Clock

I started seeing these beautiful clocks EVERYWHERE steampunks roam, but nothing was tagged with the artist! After a bit of research, I discovered the maker of these gorgeous steampunk clocks was PA native Erin Keck. Erin makes the clocks to order and can make a clock for you large enough to cover your entire wall or a standard size clock. She can also tailor the clocks to fit your personal passions. Santa, we know this won't fit in the stocking. Will you be a dear and leave one under the tree?

Here is a video by Erin discussing her clock designs and how to make a clock:

Connect with Erin!

Stocking Stuffer #3: An Aimee Stewart 2014 Steampunk Calendar

If you missed my interview with the talented Aimee Stewart earlier this year, you can still read that here: Author Spotlight, Aimee Stewart. Aimee is a gifted artist whose work bends from the whimsical to the steampunk and everywhere else in-between. I admit I am a bit fan girl about her work. This year, dear Santa, please flood Aimee's Redbubble account with orders for her steampunk calendar!

Find Aimee's Work Here:

Stocking Stuffer #4: Brian Kesinger's Victoria and Ottis T-Shirt

As a steampunk, I have mixed feelings about t-shirts in general, but I adore Brian Kesinger's Victoria and Otto series. I do believe that we all should have such a splendid t-shirt to run about in when our daily life frowns upon bustles and corsets, don't you? Besides, while you are at Clockwork Couture, you will find oodles of other goodies to enjoy. Santa, get some goggles while you are there. They will help you drive your sleigh, with or without Rudolph!

All things wonderful at Clockwork Couture

Stocking Stuffer #5: Steampunk Jewelry from Aunt Matilda's Jewelry Box

Clearly, Santa, I could be here all day, and I really haven't been that good of a girl. But if you don't mind, can you stop by my dear friend at Aunt Matlida's Jewelry Box and pick us up some lovely steampunk jewelry? I would really appreciate it!
Well, students, finals are done. Take a much needed break and join me again in the spring semester for some more engaging lectures by writers such as Karen Kincy and Scott Kincade. Have a wonderful holiday season, and do pick up some reading for extra credit, won't you?
~Class Dismissed!
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SteamU Final's Week: Author Spotlight, Pauline Creeden

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dear Students,
For today's SteamU lecture, I want to spotlight a best-selling writer in the Christian steampunk genre, Pauline Creeden. In the steampunk genre, Pauline, alongside Melissa Turner Lee, is the author of Armored Hearts and Winter Fae. My zombie fans will also devour her zombie novel Sanctuary. Let's take a look at Pauline's Armored Hearts Series.

Armored Hearts

Novel Blurb:

When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.

Novel Trailer:

Winter Fae:

Creeden and Lee have also teamed up to provide their readers with a prequeal to Armored Hearts in Winter Fae.

Novel Description:

Once upon a time, a fairy princess gave up her home, her family, and her birthright for the love of a human lord. But life outside has made her sick. When she returns to the land of fae with her son, she discovers things are not as they should be. Will she find the healing she so desperately seeks for herself and invalid son? Or will she be received with the coldness of winter?

Novel Trailer:

Because I know many of the readers on this page are zombie lovers, let me also introduce you to Sanctuary, the first novel in Pauline's series. I have to tell you, I was really happy when I met Pauline. I started thinking I was the only one on the planet weird enough to write zombies AND steampunk.

Novel Description & Trailer:

In a heart-racing thriller described as Left Behind for the Hunger Games Generation, Jennie struggles to find a safe place for what’s left of her family. But it seems as though there is no place sacred, no place secure. First the aliens attacked the sun, making it dimmer, weaker, and half what it used to be. Then they attacked the water supply, killing one-third of Earth’s population with a bitter contaminate. And when they unleash a new terror on humankind, the victims will wish for death, but will not find it…

About the Author

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.

Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine and the 2013 Book Junkie's Award for Best YA Historical. Her debut solo novel, Sanctuary, has already been nominated for 3 readers choice awards.

One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.

Connect with the Author
I hope you enjoyed today's spotlight. Stop by tomorrow for my Steampunk Holiday Shopping List!

~Class Dismissed!

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