Grab a glass of  virtual champagne, it’s release party time for my new Steampunk/Erotica/Romance, Conquistadors In Outer Space, just released yesterday, February 1st.

It’s 1610 AD in an alternate history, the King of Spain commissions the creation of giant cannons, originally fashioned from Leonardo Da Vinci’s design, for the purpose of blowing the island of England to the bottom of the ocean. Since that country separated from papal authority, Spain has the approval of the church to separate England from the rest of Europe. Then, after an interrogation by priests with the inquisition, Galileo sees a faraway dot in the night sky with his new telescope. He shows the pope planet X, an actual New World Spain can claim and all the inhabitants can be converted to Christianity, also all the gold and riches discovered there will belong to Spain alone. So they find a way to use the cannons to that end instead.

Conquistadors In Outer Space is a nod to Jules Verne’s, From the Earth To The Moon, one of my favorite books. The subtitle is Ana’s Interplanetary Conquest.

Thrown off the Spanish estate she worked at all her life, Ana, a milkmaid, seeks a new life. Disguised as a rich widow, she boards a rocket, to be blasted out of a huge cannon, and targeted for the newly discovered planet, X.  Sparks fly when she finds Ramon, the only man she ever loved, heir of the estate she worked on, is flying to Planet X as well. As the Spanish governor of Plant X searches for gold, the treasure Ramon seeks is Ana. His conquest is challenging, though he swears to protect and love her, as a noble he cannot marry a peasant. Ana cannot deny her desire for Ramon, but she will not be his mistress. Will his conquest of her heart succeed or will Ana make a life for herself alone amid the wonders and dangers of Planet X.

Q &A

1. What does Steampunk mean to you? Steampunk is Victorian Sc-fi, I’ve also heard it described as historical Sci-fi with a nod to the great Victorian era writers who actually invented speculative fiction: Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelly, and Bram Stoker.

2. What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk? The creativity and the beauty of it.  The gadgets are mind blowing amazing, it’s not ‘oh wow look what this does’, it’s ‘look what this does and look how shiny and beautiful it is and how fun’- so much fun. You don’t think ‘oh that’s so technically advanced, what genius came up with that,’ you think ‘oh that’s so magical, what artist created that, I want to play with that all day.’

3. What is your favorite steampunk accessory? My hat. I have a deep purple felt with a raspberry colored satin sash. It has a clockface on the side and a peacock feather along with two raspberry hued plumes. I also have a Steampunk Empire pin on the sash. To me that clockface is a time travelling machine and the minute I put that hat on I feel transported.

4. What turned you on to steampunk? At the Apollo Con convention in 2008 a writer friend told me about the genre. Though I hadn’t heard the term Steampunk before then, I realized I loved the genre and that it fit my writer voice. I goggled the term Steampunk and picked twenty books in the genre that seemed the most popular. I read them for a better knowledge of the genre. Though Steampunk had been popular since the 1980’s, Steampunk/Romance was a brand new cross genre in 2008. I have four Steampunk/Romances so far, including my brand new release Conquistadors In Outer Space.

5.Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about? I recently submitted a clockwork novella, called Brass Octopus. So keep your fingers crossed for good news on it. A Spinster Librarian, Piety Plunkett, is happy alone with her books, until her sister transforms her with a brass octopus beautifying machine. With her new look, the librarian catches the lusty attentions of Ross Butler, London’s most notorious rouge. Piety insists she will not wed but devote her life to her position as head librarian, but Ross will stop at nothing to win her.

6. Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?  I love Sexton, my hero from To Love A London Ghost. Sexton Dukenfield, is a self-made man, a ghost hunter. He grew up as an orphan on the streets of London which is why his voice is so husky from exposure to all the cold winters with no shelter. He has no desire to fit into social circles and no respect for authority. He’s usually grumpy. Outlandisly so. He doesn’t care what people think of him. Still, there is an incredible sweetness in his nature, though he works hard to hide it, but his concern for others shines through. There’s a constant humor to his bluntness. I would love being around Sexton all day.  He would keep me laughing.

7. What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe? I would say fitting it all in, the machine or machinery, a dark side or the horrors of  Victoriana or the historical era your setting is in or based on, and bringing it together smoothly so it reads like a perfect fit and seems real.

8. What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe? Changing history. It’s the most amazing thing to look at famous historical characters you love, or a historical even that always intrigued you, or an issue like the way women or children were treated and being able to say, I can change that anyway I want.

9. What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can? There is an incredible freedom in writing Steampunk. I can let go of historical restraints and let my imagination run wild. As it’s alternative history, I get to play around with the past and improve upon it, change it for the better, make it more exciting, I can do anything I want. I love writing and reading Steampunk. It’s the craziest genre there is and the most fun.

10. What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story? An advantage is  you don’t have to stay within the restraints of history, you can let your imagination go. Another advantage is all the fun plot points and elements, such as gadgets,  inventions, mad scientist, or plots that give a nod to the work of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, including space travel, time travel, cannons, rockets, and underwater submarines or cities. Other elements are airship pirates, cogs, gears and clockwork, wonder kids, robots, paranormal creatures – usually vampires and werewolves – created by or tied to technology, hot air balloons and Zeppelins, dystopian societies, secret societies, city states, steam computers, Egyptology, flying cities, secret schools, nitroglycerin, and social mores. It’s a lot of fun. The challenge is creating strong fleshed out characters, concentrating on the romance as much as the steampunk elements so the story will still seem real to modern day readers, including many that may not be familiar with the genre.

11. How much research does it take and how much imagination? One of the main reasons I write Celtic/Romances set in ancient times and Steampunk/romances usually set in the 19th century is because I love history. I find historical research fun. Even when writing alternate history, you have to possess a clear understanding of what actually happened in order to change it and still make it believable to the reader. You don’t have the restraints in Steampunk of having to follow the history to exactness, but you do have to know the history. You often have to research some basic science for Steamunk stories, especially when it comes to machinery. In steampunk, if you need to be creative with history or science to make your story work, you can. Not only can you but in Steampunk it’s expected, it’s part of the genre.

Conquistadors In Outer Space – Excerpt:

Ramon called Juan Ortiz and after speaking to him the conquistador darted off and returned leading two fumbums.

“They are so big.” Ana rubbed her forehead.

“They are not as smart as horses and their necks are thin and weak, you can’t grab on there like you can with a steed and they have two legs not four, the ride is not as smooth or steady.” As Ramon spoke the birds began screeching.

Ana stepped back, staring at the monstrous, angry fowl.

Juan Ortiz laughed.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Ramon arched one brow.

“Yes. No more walking.” Ana lifted her hands and shook them in the air. Then she knotted her skirts so she could ride easily.

Juan grabbed a fumbum and lifted its wing.

“Climb up.” Ramon laced his fingers together and stooped beside the bird so Ana could step into his hand and boost herself onto the fum- bum’s feathered back.

“Oh, it’s so soft.” Ana wiggled a bit on her mount to get adjusted. “Hook your legs over its knees.” Ramon pointed to her legs which were bare with her skirts raised for riding.

She did so and tucked her feet around its thighs, slipped her hands under the fumbums wings and clinched its wing pits there.

“Lean back.” Ortiz’s grin spread across his whole face.

The fumbum skittered across the ground, Ana yelled and held on tight. “It’s like riding a mad chicken.”

“You haven’t even gone anywhere on it yet. All you did was mount it.” Ramon chuckled.

Pulling tight on the bird, she managed to calm it and bring it to a stop. “Your turn.” She gazed daggers at Ramon.

He grabbed his bird’s wings, raised his bent knee and climbed up onto the fumbum, who then walked backwards as Ramon adjusted himself.

Ortiz mounted his bird as did the other conquistadors and Ana held on tight beneath the fumbum’s wings as her bird ran faster than a horse at hard gallop. The wind streamed through her hair. Her fumbum’s wings flapped faster and faster until it lifted off the ground. She looked over at Ramon flying at her side. The entire army and most of the settlers, everyone who wasn’t walking, took to the air on their mounts, heading to the next alien village.  She leaned her head back, releasing a trill of laughter. It had been a long time since she had this much fun.

Flying at her side, Ramon turned his head toward Ana. “We shall marry as soon as we reach the village.”

“Si.” As she flew on her fumbum over the bare orange sand, she felt Ramon stare at her breasts as they bobbed with her rhyth- mic ride. A fire burned beneath her skin. Only his touch could quench the flames which licked her flesh from inside. She wanted her wedding night now.

Here, have another glass of cyber champagne. Thank you for celebrating my new release with me. Please comment below to win a PDF ebook copy of Conquistadors In Outer Space. Please visit me at my website or facebook or twitter.