Curiouser and Curiouser: Steampunk Alice in Wonderland Now Available!

It's Time!

I'm really excited to share that my Steampunk Alice in Wonderland Retelling, Curiouser and Curiouser is now available on Amazon! The book will be a special release price of 99 cents for the next few days, and is free to read in Kindle Unlimited!

Novel Description

To save the Hatter, Alice must bargain with the one man she despises so much that she might still love him.

Alice thought she'd turned over a new leaf. No more working for Jabberwocky. No more making deals with the ruthless Queen of Hearts. No more hanging around The Mushroom with tinkers, tarts, scoundrels, and thieves in London's criminal underbelly. But she'd been bonkers to dream.

Hatter's reckless behavior leads Alice back to the one person she never wanted to see again, Caterpillar. Pulled into Caterpillar's mad schemes, Alice must steal a very big diamond from a very royal lady. The heist is no problem for this Bandersnatch. But protecting her heart from the man she once loved? Impossible.

Sometimes love is mad.

See how New York Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak re-imagines Lewis Carroll's classic fairy tale, Alice in Wonderland, with a steampunk twist! Join us at The Mushroom in gaslamp Victorian London.

Sneak Peek

Chapter 1: The Pocket Watch

“Curious.” I strained to look out the window of the carriage at the crowd thronging toward Hyde Park. A man on a Daedalus steam-powered buggy motored past. The well-dressed ladies in the back seat, their parasols shading them from the late afternoon sun, laughed wildly as they sped by. “Where are they all going?”
“The Crystal Palace,” Lord Dodgson pronounced grandly. “The Great Exhibition opened this week. I was planning to have a look myself,” he said, snapping the paper he was trying to read in an effort to straighten it, a motion he’d made ten times already since we’d left Hungerford Market. It was starting to get on my nerves.
“Her Majesty already opened the exhibit?” I asked, trying to hide the disappointment in my voice.
Lord Dodgson laughed. “Don’t you keep up on the local gossip, Alice? The whole town is talking about the Crystal Palace’s opening. A whole building made of glass and filled with mechanical inventions and wonders from the world afar…what a sight. I heard the opening was grand. Crowded but grand.”
I frowned. I’d thought the opening was next week. The park was located close to Lord Dodgson’s London home. I’d hoped to catch a glimpse of Queen Victoria but had missed my chance once again.
Half hanging out the carriage window, I strained to get a look at the festivities. The revelers had cleared a path and stood to watch as a man led a clockwork horse, its steel and copper body glinting in the sunlight, into the park. I could just make out tents sitting in Hyde Park’s green space. “Then I guess that means the airship races have started,” I said. In fact, the Great Exhibition’s opening had been timed to the British Airship Qualifying races.
“I didn’t fancy you a fan of the aether sports,” Lord Dodgson said.
“I’m not. But I have a friend who adores them.”
Adores, of course, was the wrong word. I tried to calm the uneasy feeling that rocked my stomach. It was Friday. If the races had opened on Monday, then Henry might already be in trouble. Had I seen him that morning? Had he gone to the shop? I tried to think back but couldn’t remember. Last race season he’d gambled away everything he owned down to the clothes on his back. Even his favorite top hat had gone to some bloody airship pirate. Race season always equaled trouble for my dear friend who couldn’t help but try to hedge his bets. His reasons for trying were honorable. His methods, however, were suspect.
“I’m not for any of that nonsense either,” Lord Dodgson proclaimed. “Racing around the sky like we were meant to have wings. No, no. My carriage will do just fine. It gets us where we need to go, doesn’t it, Alice?”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Lord Dodgson laughed. “When you use formal address, you sound trite.”
I grinned. “What an odd thing to say. Shouldn’t one try to adopt manners?”
“Perhaps. But perhaps not when they are completely contradictory to that person’s general nature.”
“But aren’t manners completely contradictory to all of mankind’s nature? If, in essence, we are little more than creatures who are brutish and sinful, then manners are merely a mask for the base matter that lives within us all. And if that’s the case, we’d be wise to drop them entirely, if we wanted to be more honest. Or should we all lie and adopt the best of manners, thus go around being false? At least we’d all be equally false.”
Lord Dodgson laughed again then removed his monocle and looked at me. “Alice Lewis, you might be the brightest girl I’ve ever met.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, mister,” I replied with a wink.
“Now, there’s the scruffy guttersnipe I hired,” he said then snapped his paper once more. “Is there another way to take that comment as anything but a compliment?”
“At least five. Possibly more.”
“Alice,” he said, shaking his head. He looked back at his reading.
Well, it was true. Did he mean to imply he’d met only a few women of intelligence, or that most women were unintelligent, or that he thought he would meet wittier girls in the future, or when he said I might be bright did that mean he was uncertain, and how did he define bright anyway? Was he referring to my hair? Or maybe my eyes? Or did he just mean he found me intelligent? Thinking about it gave me a headache, and I was already a mess of nerves worrying that Henry had already gambled away every shilling he had. Come to think of it, Bess said he hadn’t been by for dinner last night.
The carriage rolled to a stop outside Lord Dodgson’s home. I smoothed my white apron and grabbed the packages sitting on the seat beside me.
“Your Grace,” the footman said, opening the door.
Lord Dodgson sighed heavily, folded his paper under his arm, and grabbed his cane. His bad knee would be aching after his walk through the market, but I guessed he wouldn’t complain. He’d had too much fun shopping for his niece’s birthday. The parcels I juggled were proof of that. I don’t think there was an item left at the market suitable for a girl around the age of six. What would other six-year-old girls receive for their birthday now that His Grace had purchased the lot? Of course, when I was six, I’d been at the workhouse laboring on a machine until I’d found different employment in the city. It’s amazing how quickly little fingers can learn to do very evil deeds. But young Charlotte Dodgson, the lord’s niece, would never have to worry about learning how to pick a pocket. A better life was reserved for her, and I didn’t begrudge her for it.
“Your Grace,” the footman called, his voice full of alarm.
A moment later, Lord Dodgson cried out in pain.
I emerged from the carriage to see that he’d slipped on the cobblestone, landing on his bad knee.
I dropped the packages, cringing when I heard the telltale clatter of broken glass, then rushed to help him up.
“Steady him,” I told the footman. “Easy, Your Grace. We’ve got you.”
“Son of a bitch,” Lord Dodgson muttered.
“Manners, Your Grace,” I said as I gently lifted him.
Despite himself, Lord Dodgson laughed. “Ow,” he said, then laughed again. “Ow…oh, Alice.”
Steadying him, the footman and I helped our master stand up.
A moment later, I heard feet rushing quickly down the cobblestone toward us. The sound of it set my nerves on edge, and my old instincts kicked in. The runner didn’t slow as the footsteps approached. I moved to grab the knife hidden out of sight under my apron, but my hands were all tied up with Lord Dodgson. If I let go, he would fall.
“Watch yourself, boy. What? Hey,” the footman called.
A boy with a mop of striking white hair, wearing an expensive but oversized waistcoat, slipped between us and was gone again in a flash.
“My pocket watch! My grandfather’s pocket watch,” Lord Dodgson cried, clutching his vest where he always kept his pocket watch. “Stop that boy. He stole my pocket watch. Alice!”
I glanced up the street to see the boy dangle the pocket watch teasingly before us.
“Rabbit,” I hissed.
“Your Grace…I need to—”
“Go, Alice. Go.”
The footman held tightly onto Lord Dodgson so I could let go. I turned and faced the boy. Rabbit, the little albino street rat, was grinning at me. Sneaky little pickpocket. What was he doing in my part of town? He’d grabbed the watch so deftly. Not bad. Some people said he was almost as good as I used to be.

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