Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steampunkish Books To Be Reviewed! Coming Soon~

These are just some books in my stacks that I plan to read in November.  I wanted to share some quick notes on them.

Book #4 in the Clockwork Century Series by Cherie Priest
this is not-to-be-missed if you're a steampunk aficionado!
Cherie Priest has put her stamp on what it means to be a woman writer of the steampunk genre.

Others of the books in this Clockwork Century Series are:
"The Boneshaker,"  "Clementine," and "Dreadnought" respectively.
Read more about this book here:

"The air pirate Andan Cly is going straight. Well, straighter. Although he’s happy to run alcohol guns wherever the money’s good, he doesn’t think the world needs more sap, or its increasingly ugly side-effects. But becoming legit is easier said than done, and Cly’s first legal gig—a supply run for the Seattle Underground—will be paid for by sap money.
New Orleans is not Cly’s first pick for a shopping run. He loved the Big Easy once, back when he also loved a beautiful mixed-race prostitute named Josephine Early—but that was a decade ago, and he hasn’t looked back since. Jo’s still thinking about him, though, or so he learns when he gets a telegram about a peculiar piloting job. It’s a chance to complete two lucrative jobs at once, one he can’t refuse. He sends his old paramour a note and heads for New Orleans, with no idea of what he’s in for—or what she wants him to fly.
But he won’t be flying. Not exactly. Hidden at the bottom of Lake Pontchartrain lurks an astonishing war machine, an immense submersible called the Ganymede. This prototype could end the war, if only anyone had the faintest idea of how to operate it…. If only they could sneak it past the Southern forces at the mouth of the Mississippi River… If only it hadn’t killedot inside it. But it’s those “if onlys” that will decide whether Cly and his crew will end up in the history books, or at the bottom of the ocean."

Just a picture of me and my grandmother Charlotte Flowers Triplett last week in London after the World's Fair honoring Queen Victoria.  I'm the girl on the left-hand side.  Grannie's on the far right.  What fun we had!!  We tripped the boardwalk home afterwards.

Wild, wild West, anyone?  It's a strange treat to meet all the "boys" of the OK Corral in steampunk!  What was once a veritable freebie has now fled up the charts in sales and 5 stars category.

Here's a quick summary:

"The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advance of the Americans east of the river. An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Alva Edison out West to the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on a mission to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic. Hired to protect this great genius, Wyatt Earp and his brothers. But there are plenty who would like to see the Earps and Edison dead. Riding to their aid are old friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. Against them stand the Apache wizard Geronimo and the Clanton gang. Battle lines are drawn, and the Clanton gang, which has its own reasons for wanting Edison dead, sends for Johnny Ringo, the one man who might be Doc Holliday's equal in a gunfight. But what shows up instead is The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo, returned from the dead and come to Tombstone looking for a fight. Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where "Bat Masterson" hails from the ranks of the undead, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same."

Hope you have great reading plans for November, too.  Leave me a comment and let me know!


*Note:  All summary quotes are taken from Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steampunk Fascinating~ "The Art of Steampunk" by Art Donavan

Published by:  Fox Chapel Publishing
Pages:  128
Genre: Art Exhibit

The Dame's Review:

Steampunk by its very conception was meant to be quirky and odd-placed, not-of-this timeframe; actually, quite disarranged. In this collection of museum-exhibited pieces of steampunkery (if that's even a word)we find a daunting group of work from artists of all minds and capabilities. I found this book both charming and awe-inspiring. I could look at it over and over for ages.

Art Donovan, the man who coordinated the exhibit and compiled the works in this small book, has a keen eye for the wonders of steampunk and its place in the world of fine art. He comments that, "Steampunk has already influenced everything from product design to fine art and fashion." To which I want to make a resounding clap of hands! Jules Verne would be so amazed and joyful to see what his imagination wrought, and how man has taken it to the next steps and beyond.

In this book we see the beautiful, clean line and artistic aesthetic of physical scientific materials juxtaposed with natural products
and man-made materials such as refined leather and rubber. I'm only touching the surface when I give that much description because the clocks, lamps, laptops and other pieces shown in this exhibit will sit you back in your seat, spellbound and gaping.

This book may answer that question we had as children; why would someone want to be a "Cat Burglar?" Why in this case is because the amazing, inventive gadgets made into works of art are so superior and elegant they are incomparable treasures!

When you peruse this book, it will take you out of the 21st century and place you someplace else, and you'll want to don brass, iron, leather, jewels, stone, crystals and'll want to be wound up in a time machine and a steampunk gizmo for a trip. You'll wish you'd been at this amazing display of formidable artists' designs.

Please enjoy a part of the exhibit yourself!

5 clockwinding stars


Monday, October 3, 2011

Steampunk Jewelry Artist~Dereck Maltez's Extraordinarily Weird & Wonderful Work!

Dereck Maltez Rocks Steampunk Jewelry Designs!

Red, Taxidemist's Reptilian Eye Ring w/ Copper Wiring and Gear

Steampunk Reptilian Eye Ring Screams Futuristic!

Mr. Maltez's Description of These Rings

 "...ring is hand made with insulated copper wire and electric copper wire, this is a craft, with a rifle Bullet Casings and mounted, glass taxidermy eye and gear from watch and bead.

The Dame's Point:

Visiting Mr. Maltez's "Wire Jewelry and Steampunk Jewelry by Dereck Maltez" on Etsy is an incredible experience!  I ran across the shop by a crazy happenstance this past weekend.  The jewelry designs jumped out at me because of his use of taxidermy, of all things!  What a genius idea for the perfect concoction of steampunk and sy-fy accouterments.

What I also love about Dereck's designs is that it reflects steampunk's vital genre grounding:  female and male equality.  Both men and women will look kranked in his jewelry.  The assortment of styles and pieces Dereck has mixes things madly.  And, his prices are too reasonable, with the rings shown above going for under $60.00.   That's just a steal. 

I Love The Heavily Geared and Sproketed Look of This One with the Jewel!

A Frightening Masterpiece of a Mechanical Spider--Pendant or Pin
The Spider's inspiration was the mechanical one in "Wild, Wild West" movie!

Dereck Maltez is the Dame's choice for Steampunk Jewelry Artist of the Season.  I hope you've enjoyed the tour of his creations and that you'll visit him on his Facebook and Etsy sites.

Dereck's Etsy Blurb:

"Jewelry Designer of the Steampunk Movement" :
Steampunk Rings, Bracelets, Watches, Necklaces, and more.
 Exclusive designs by : keoops8 and steamwire,

Visit Dereck Maltez here: (fans page)

In Conclusion :

I'm hoping to get an interview with Dereck in the near future with a forecast of his new designs for the Winter and Spring.  Can you see the influence of Florida beaches and sunshine?

*Please let us know what you think of his jewelry.  We'd love some feedback!


Steampunk's Crankin' New Books ~ Steampunk Week Wonders!

The Dame Speaks of Steampunk Week:

These are some choices taken from Barnes & Noble.  One of the things I enjoy about this genre is the inclusion of strong women characters.  These books live up to that equation.  Bully for them in this 21st century!

...a weird Wild West story.
Complete with a dead, mangled Doc Holliday, horseless stage coaches and Wyatt, Women and the Boys
Steampunk style!

Steamy tropical environs of late 1800's where plague survivors take steamworks to flee vampire 2010 battles
Love and looming dangers!

Book 4 in the "Clockwork Century"
"Gandymede" the underwater war ship to end the war?
Cherie Priest is the womanpunk writer personified!

If you can't read one of these, at least think about buying a steampunk book this week!  Support the writers who are making this genre a stand-out for this generation.

What are your favorite steampunk novels of the year??


Cory Doctorow's Dickensesque Story in "Steampunk!" Anthology Foreshadows Good Book!

Published by:  Candlewick Press
Pages:  Preview Ebook
Cory Doctorow Story:  "Clockwork Fagin"
Available Free:  Barnes & Noble/Nook


Imagine an alternate universe where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover over volcanoes in steam-powered airships. In Steampunk!, fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, embrace the genre's established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings as diverse as Appalachia, Ancient Rome, future Australia, and alternate California.

Get a preview of the anthology by sampling one of these inventive tales for free-Cory Doctorow's "Clockwork Fagin," in which orphans use the puppet of a dead man to take control of their lives.

The Steampunkish Dame's Review:

Far be it from me to put the kabosh on anything Cory Doctorow has a hand in contributing to!  He is one of my idols of sy-fy, fantasy (?), and contemporary other-worldly writing.  I can't turn around without reading or hearing about his adeptness at curving the words and making characters stand on end for his adoring fans.  I'm one of them.

Once, I took that survey that's supposed to tell you whom you write like most.  Yep, you guessed evaluation came back "Cory Doctorow."  This was some time ago, and frankly, I'd never heard of him.  Since then, how things have changed!  And, how certain I am that nobody can really write like he does.

This Anthology of steampunk stories has foreshadowings of madness and gear clickings. If Doctorow decided to participate along with other very well known authors of the mystic and strange, it's a book we need to snap up as soon as it becomes available. 

You'll get a "charge" out of Cory's Dickensesque story. Go by and get it for free if you have a Nook!

An anticipated 5 grinding gears of goodness


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Steampunk Series Coming! "Nightshade" Author Andrea Cremer signs deal w/ Penguin...

Published by:  Penguin Group
Pages: 480
Genre:  YA fiction
Released:  June 2010


"Nightshade" ~ Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack's alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything - her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

NOTE from the Dame:

Media Bistro's,"Galley Cat," newsreporter Maryann Yin has released yet another scoop detailing author, Andrea Cremer's deal with Penguin for a steampunk series!  Given Cremer's success with "Nightshade," I can only grit my teeth and yearn for the release of the first book!
But, first, here's one of Yin's interviews with Ms Cremer, who's just a young adult, herself talking about "Nightshade"~

Interview with Andrea :  October 22, 2010

Andrea Cremer (pictured) did that in her debut novel, Nightshade. She used her scholarship and research to incorporate social issues about gender, power struggles, and sexuality into her book. We caught up with Andrea to find out a little bit more.

Q: Nightshade is about a werewolf. How do you stick to conventional werewolf canon and mythology and how do you deviate?

A: One of the things about Nightshade that I think is really different is that it’s described as a werewolf book, but I often tell people it’s not a werewolf book because it does break so much from werewolf convention. I grew up in the north woods of Wisconsin. I’m literally right on Lake Superior and in the middle of a national forest, so the wilderness to me was something that was really wonderful. I spent most of my days as a young girl out making up imaginary worlds and imaginary people with my brother and my best friend in the forest. That was the way we liked to spend our days.

Wolves and other wild animals to me were always fascinating; they weren’t something that were scary or monstrous, they were just cool. And so, I never pictured myself actually liking werewolves in terms of people picking teams for either vampires or werewolves. In all my reading, I had always firmly been in the vampire camp. I couldn’t figure out why it was that I didn’t like werewolves.

So when I got the idea for Nightshade and it was inspired by the main character, Calla [Tor] who is the alpha female wolf of the pack, I knew she was a girl and I knew she was a wolf. I felt just stuck because ‘Well, I don’t like werewolves so how am I going to write a book about a girl who’s a werewolf?’ And I realized what I needed to do was to create a new mythology of wolves that matched the way I felt about them.

That wasn’t wolves who were half-man/half-beast and its hideous mutations where it took an awful amount of time to change that involved the cracking of bones and lengthening of snouts and left you with something that was just awful to look at. But, was actually a creature that was fully wolf and fully human; Calla and her pack love their ability to change into wolves. That it was an instantaneous change and something they considered to be a gift; that it wasn’t a disease or a curse the way so many werewolf mythologies have been portrayed.

Q: How do you handle writing about touchy subject matters like the violence, gender issues, power struggles, and sexuality featured in Nightshade?

A: I have a “day job.” It’s definitely more than a day job; I’m a history professor. I have a PhD in early modern history and my research specialization is the history of sexuality and violence, particularly the way it ties into warfare and religion. So just in studying the history of gender politics and sexuality for the last ten years, it was what I wrote my PhD on. It’s something that I have just been aware of in all the historical research I’ve done as a major under-fitting of the construction of human society. To write a story that was largely about power and struggles for power. It’s a coming-of-age story about this girl’s sexual awakening and her struggle to maintain her identity despite external forces that are trying to limit her strength.

It was so important for me to have those issues at the forefront because I think books offer a really important safe space for people of all ages, teens especially because they really need those spaces but I think adults as well. To be able to reflect on the way society puts expectations for sexuality and gender out there and try over and over again to thwart them. Sometimes it’s in very subtle ways through media and pop culture. Other ways it’s very overt in actual forms violence for people who step out what are considered to be societal norms. I really wanted to not be afraid to touch on those issues, not just even touch on them but really explore them.

In the book, I really wanted to address sexual double standards for young men and young women. It’s such a huge, huge problem that’s infuriating. More and more women are strong and in positions of power in society, yet still we have an attitude of girls have to be responsible for their sexuality but boys will be boys. I just feel like that happens over and over again. The recent slew of stories about texting scandals and bullying in schools towards LGBT students, but also straight students, the blame is almost always put on the girls for not being sexually responsible and not acting like good girls. And for boys it’s just, ‘Oh, boys will be boys. Of course, they’re going to spread around this scandal because they’re boys.’ I feel like that is something that hurts our society so much and sends a terrible message to girls about trying to figure out who they are and what their place can be in the world. I just really wanted to hit on those issues without fear.

Q: What courses do you teach at Macalester College?

A: I teach courses on violence in early American history (colonial through the Civil War), gender and sexuality, Native American history, historical philosophy and methodology, and religion in early modern history (1500-1800).

Q: Describe your writing process.

A: My writing process is really chaotic. I don’t write chronologically. I write scenes as they come into my mind. So what I do is, the key conflicts and key points tend jump into my head as I’m thinking about the story. I just write them down as I feel them. I feel like I almost go into a trance when I write; it takes over my entire life. When I’m in the middle of writing a first draft it happens very quickly. I wrote the first draft of Nightshade between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There’s a lot of revising that happens after that, but the initial process is just all consuming. I’ll do things like pour orange juice on my cereal, throw clothes into the trash instead of the laundry hamper, or get into the shower and get right out again having totally forgotten to wash my hair because I’m just so lost in the story. When I write, I basically create those major scenes and then it’s almost like a web of thinking about how they’re connected. I refer to myself as jigsaw puzzle-writer because I end up with all these pieces and then it’s fitting them together to make the story.

Q: What are the differences between writing academic papers and fiction novels?

A: In academic writing you make an argument and defend it using evidence that other scholars can track, vis a vis footnotes. When writing a novel I’ve found that my process is much more about being carried away by the story rather than deconstructing its content.

Q: What plans do you have for future projects?

A: Nightshade is a trilogy. The second book Wolfsbane will be published in July 2011 and book three, Bloodrose, is due out spring 2012. The fourth book is a prequel to the series that chronicles the origins of the Witches War in the 1400s. I’m working on a steampunk trilogy that I describe as historical dystopia about an alternate 19th century where the American Revolution failed. The steampunk is not as yet under contract.

Full Disclosure: This GalleyCat Correspondent has been an intern at Penguin Group (USA) in the past
Now:  Maryann Lin's Newest Article:  September 27, 2011Nightshade trilogy author Andrea Creamer has inked a deal with Penguin Group (USA)’s Philomel imprint for a new YA steampunk series.

The first book, titled The Inventor’s Secret, is slated for publication in fall 2013. Executive editor Jill Santopolo negotiated the deal with InkWell Management literary agents Richard Pine and Charlie Olsen.
Here’s more from the release: “The series is set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery…As part of the deal, Philomel has also acquired a second prequel to Nightshade entitled RISE, which is scheduled for publication in summer 2013. The first prequel to Nightshade,entitled RIFT, is scheduled for publication in fall 2012.” (Photo Credit: Gina Monroe)

In addition to the Nightshade prequels, Cremer will wrap up the trilogy with Bloodrose which will be released in January 2012. She also has a collaborative book project with Will Grayson, Will Grayson author David Levithan in the works; this project is called The Invisibility Curse and will be published in 2013.

The Dame's Final Word:My thanks to Maryann Lin and Andrea Cremer for sharing this great news with those of us who love her books!  Meanwhile, any of my readers who've missed reading "Nightshade," need to catch the wave!

I saw her final book in this series at the bookstore yesterday. The covers are going to look gorgeous on library shelves, y'all!
You really have to go to Amazon to see the book write-up


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pawnography! "License To Pawn" by Rick Harrison

Quite often my sweet husband takes a nosedive into the unknown and takes up with a new adventure/obsession with something "strange."  I found this serendipitous oddity a very attractive characteristic when we first met (I flag??), and frankly, it's had its ups and downs on my last nerve over the years.  All in all; however, there's never a dull moment with Anthony if you just sit back and brace yourself.

The show is mind-boggling.  As I sit in my little apple green recliner writing reviews while DH watches "his" shows, I'm wont to look up once in a while to see what's going on. 

Against my better judgement, sometimes I'm captured by  the absurdities of men: Men in the greater outdoors hunting with lots of equipment (guns, bows & steel tipped arrows, whistles, bright florescent suits, misshapen, weird hats & assorted other "gear"), excavating big mountains with equipment they don't know how to maneuver & in icy weather, clambering about and becoming lost without food in crumbling old caves with their teen aged daughters, panning for gold in muddy streams and gleefully coming up with minute particles which value is less than the cost of the pan, or pulling up by hand man-eating fish in mosquito infested jungles...  Recently, I've been pulled in by pawn shops on the Tube!  Ugh!  This wars against every bone in my WASPish, DAR body, and would disgrace my family.  

Primary among the shows is Rick Harrison's straight from Las Vegas "Pawn Stars."  Pawn Stars is a fabulous program!  I love it, and it's become my latest dirty little out in the open!
Rick is an intelligent, witty and well-informed guy who actually makes wise choices about some seriously fabulous items brought to his shop.  The experts Rick brings in to evaluate some of the items are so learned they add a dimension of knowledge and intelligence that rivals experts I've seen and heard from auction houses and museums in Boston.  A couple of them are experienced in museum collections and authentic documents of early America and interesting to hear and watch. I have learned a good deal from Rick, his dad and these experts.

One of the most fetching (did I use that word?) and hilarious things about the show is Chumly, Rick's doofus nephew.  Chum is a complete novice at pawn, and life, it seems.  He has no idea what's "good" and what's "fake," what are stolen goods, what's trash and what's treasure.  He is a guy whose life is chockful of accidents and mishaps; i.e., nearly everything he touches falls apart, breaks down, or costs the shop money. In fact, Chum nearly costs his grandad more money than the shop brings in on some days!  In the latest episode, Chumly test flies a valuable, antique kite and snags it on a highwire electrical flew it--you can't get it down--you bought it!  LOL

Chumly is the fall guy for the show, and makes it all worthwhile to watch...just for the hilarity of it.  Rick's dad is also sooo funny as he glumly and stoically mumbles his way through all the trials and troubles of the shop and Chum.  And, Big Hoss, Rick's son, who is assigned to watch over and teach Chum, as well as to be the Ass't Mgr., lumbers along making a couple of wise choices on the way, but mostly watching Chumly mess up and telling on him.  Honestly, Chum is the best comedic character on tv.

All this to give you some kind of intro. into Rick Harrison's new book "License To Pawn" which I wholeheartedly recommend for your sweethearts...and you when you want a different ride on the wild side.  :]

Book Summary from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Press:
In Las Vegas, there’s a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick’s dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.

Rick hasn’t had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together.

License to Pawn also offers an entertaining walk through the pawn shop’s history. It’s a captivating look into how the Gold & Silver works, with incredible stories about the crazy customers and the one-of-a-kind items that the shop sells. Rick isn’t only a businessman; he’s also a historian and keen observer of human nature. For instance, did you know that pimps wear lots of jewelry for a reason? It’s because if they’re arrested, jewelry doesn’t get confiscated like cash does, and ready money will be available for bail. Or that WWII bomber jackets and Zippo lighters can sell for a freakishly high price in Japan? Have you ever heard that the makers of Ormolu clocks, which Rick sells for as much as $15,000 apiece, frequently died before forty thanks to the mercury in the paint?

Rick also reveals the items he loves so much he’ll never sell. The shop has three Olympic bronze medals, a Patriots Super Bowl ring, a Samurai sword from 1490, and an original Iwo Jima battle plan. Each object has an incredible story behind it, of course. Rick shares them all, and so much more—there’s an irresistible treasure trove of history behind both the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the life of Rick Harrison.

From the Bookish Dame's perspective this is a no-brainer book purchase.  Everyone will love, your husband/significant other, and your teen aged kids, and the neighbors!

5 stars to the TV Show, and to this book

The Bookish Dame/Deborah

PS:   Have you ever been into a pawn shop?  Ever pawned anything?