Although at the bottom I answer questions about steampunk, I always think that my writing is the best way to say something about my books. So there’s a little excerpt below, down there under this next heap of letters. My series is called The Steamwork Chronicles, and Book #1, Iron Dominance, won Best Erotic Steampunk for 2011 at The Romance Reviews.
Giveaway details right at the very bottom!
I’ve always adored grand plots and in Steel Dominance, Book #3, I decided to write a story based on the vast and imaginary steampunk Byzantine empire. In our world the ancient Greeks changed the name of the city of Byzantium to Constantinople and then got themselves all besieged and conquered by the Ottoman Turks. In Steel Dominance the Ottomans never quite finish the siege and it becomes a centuries old stalemate.
So I dragged out a big cauldron and threw in many ingredients:
Dankyo, military, strict, a man with a need to dominate his partner.
Sofia , a smart steampunk geek who has a submissive streak she’s not yet figured out.
An emperor who loves getting his own way and who has a nasty habit of eliminating those who get underfoot by squashing them. He rewards his assassin with people she’d like to kill.
Xiang is the emperor’s assassin with a decades old need for revenge against Dankyo.
Final ingredients – the tangled spaghetti of political intrigue, BDSM power dynamics, some clockwork spiders with graffiti on their little minds, and the puzzle of the Clockwork Warrior.
If you love colorful and complex plots, steampunk, and novels you can immerse yourself in, Steel Dominance is awaiting you.
The bow viewing lounge with its three long reinforced windows was crowded with eager passengers. Dankyo had found them a spot at the front and stood behind her, his body up close, his chest pushing at her when he inhaled, and his palms heavy on her shoulders. She’d have protested and stepped away, but there was nowhere to go and no way to do it without seeming strange.
So instead Sofia breathed in and out with little tight movements, watched the scenery go by, and dug her nails into her skin.
Scenery, watch the scenery.
Ahead was the city of Byzantium with the crosses and domes of churches and mosques lacerating the sky, and farther to the right was a slithery silver hint of the Bosporus. Beyond that, just visible on the opposite bank, were some of the taller buildings of the rival Ottoman city. Centuries of off-and-on sieges had left Byzantium with stout metal walls shaping its outskirts, and they shone with gold and silver in the afternoon sun as if they intended to flare into molten incandescence at sundown.
A loudspeaker came on. “Time for disembarkation in twenty minutes. Passengers are advised to have their baggage in order.”
People either side of them moved away, and when only a few were left and Dankyo hadn’t said a word, she made to follow them. He stopped her. His hands tightened on her neck, and he shifted behind her until his lower body pressed into her buttocks.
Then he nipped her ear and spoke in a warm, rumbling tenor. His breath carried his words in deep to curl inside her mind and paralyze her with their power.
“This is Byzantium, where slaves do as their Masters bid them. Where no one will know if you surrender yourself to me. Not your friends; not your family.” As he spoke, he slid one hand down her front, following the curve of her breast, then lower, until the flat of his hand rested on her belly. He pulled her back against him, gentle but sure.
“Sofia, will you let me take you to the edge and beyond?”
My erotic steampunk is based around the BDSM genre.
And now for some steamy steampunk questions and answers!
What does Steampunk mean to you?
For me, it’s no longer just a Victorian setting with steampunkified modern inventions. Steampunk has burst loose from its corsets and can now encompass far more. Alternate histories, parallel worlds, and even post-apocalyptic futures like in the gorgeous YA Mortal Engines series are waiting to be written about.
The essentials are to have that slightly Victorian feel with ample diabolical contraptions using steam, clockwork, and airships along with other retro-scifi engines and weapons and gadgets. Corsets are wonderful but the steampunk cosplay costumes out there on the net are astounding and great inspiration. They verge on fetish sometimes which is spot-on for where I like to go. Little itty bitty leather tops with buckles are SO not Victorian but you’ll definitely find them in my stories
My steampunk is retro scifi with magic. I have no idea how most of the stuff I incorporate in my stories would work in the real world. Though, for instance, gauss guns are a real concept, they just don’t work well enough to be weapons. Some authors try to explain how their ideas would work, but when that’s things like timber spaceships…I mean really, it’s magic. We just throw in steam and clockwork and aether and pretend because that’s far more fun!
What is your favorite thing about steampunk or writing about steampunk?
The fact that there is very little limit to what you can incorporate if you shine it up well and give it the right ‘look’. Want zombies or vampires? Throw them in the mix. There are some limitations but they are just enough to keep the setting familiar and to make you feel comfy when you slip into a steampunk story.
What is your favorite steampunk accessory?
Weapons and contraptions:
Something dropped with a crack and creak from the belly of the gondolier airship—a black thing, spinning. Then, in the flickering light of explosions and with moonlight painting splashes of silver, he saw wings snap out from the falling object—it slipped sideways, then soared into the night, smooth as an owl on a predatory errand.
But I do go mad with clothes too. My corset in Iron Dominance (Book #1) was a reader favorite. I also seem to have a thing for animal sidekicks and in Steel Dominance I have Zigzag who’s a type of clockwork dog.
What turned you on to steampunk?
I think I wandered in after reading scifi for many years and I felt so at home, I stayed.
Do you have any upcoming Steampunk stories you can tell us about?
Steel Dominance is the third book in my Steamwork Chronicles series that began with Iron Dominance. This is the story of Dankyo, Head of Security and fighting man with a determination forged in steel. What he wants done, gets done ASAP.
A brilliant researcher, Sofia must unravel the ancient puzzle of the Clockwork Warrior or her career will be in tatters. Yet the tomb of the warrior is in the dangerous city of Byzantium, inside the harem of the emperor. She knew she’d have to pose as a slave—but not that her “owner” would be the incredibly bossy, gorgeous bodyguard she’s been assigned.
A life of military duty has left Dankyo unprepared for Sofia. He’s never met a woman quite like this. She’s smart and beautiful, and she’s something that he’s finding almost irresistible—despite the way she fights against masquerading as his slave, she’s submissive right down to the bottom of her soul. And that’s bringing out every dominant instinct in his body.
But even as he realizes she’s captured his heart, the city explodes into madness. Surviving seems impossible. Can love and a Dom who will never give up overcome sheer bloody-minded evil?
Who is your favorite character of all from one of your Steampunk stories?
Right now it’s Dankyo. I’m partial to those I’ve most recently enshrined in ink.
He’s pretty much an ideal man – caring and loving. He takes charge in the bedroom and yet he’ll walk over broken glass to save you from whatever evil might come your way.
What’s the hardest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
Like any invented world, you have to be on your toes so as to keep the rules of your world consistent, and even better, to make sure everything interweaves well.
What’s the easiest thing about creating a Steampunk universe?
The fun you can have doing it. Seriously it’s amazing when you can let your imagination free to play in the cogwheels and clockwork.
What does steampunk allow you to do as a writer that no other genres can?
Steampunk is a funny hybrid mix so it lets you combine magic, fantasy and scifi in a very beautiful way. A story with a steampunk setting just seems to have a gorgeous finish – like a well-polished brass contraption. You want to smell the oil, run your hands over the golden metal and hop in for a spin as soon as you see it.
What are the challenges and advantages to writing a steampunk story?
I think the advantages I already mentioned. The challenges to me are no different to any story. If your imagination is zipping along well, it’s a pleasure to write these.
How much research does it take and how much imagination.
For me it’s more imagination than research, because I go for the steampunk story that’s set in an alternative earth. I may use some of our history but by the time I’m finished with it nothing is quite the same. Steel Dominance is set in Byzantium, which long long ago in our world was Constantinople. I did look up climate and flora and the history of the Ottoman Turk sieges and how the Ottoman conquered the city, and then I changed it all and added steampunk. You’ll recognize things if you know your history, but it’s skewed. Even the immense Bosporus River has morphed. I narrowed it so it was feasible to put a giant bazaar (market) on top of it. Every Saturday they crank up the engines and it unfolds over the river until it links in the middle.
To me, imagination is essential when you write steampunk.
I’m giving a copy of Steel Dominance to someone who comments. Good luck!