Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where did STEAMPUNK come from?

Steampunk is a genre inspired by a mixture of the real industrialization of Victorian and Edwardian England and the science fiction literature penned during the period.

Authors such as Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are all considered influences of the genre. Ask anyone who has written a Steampunk story and they'll admit to having read some or all of these authors. I have.


The term Steampunk came about in the 1980's Until that time, the genre was called cyberpunk or just Victorian Fantasy. Writer K.W. Jeter was given credit for the Steampunk moniker. It was an apt description because of the steam powered engines developed during the Victorian Era and the manipulation that writers of the 1980's through today use to hype the history to include more and more fanciful inventions that pushed the genre.

Because the stories written during the real Era were so imaginative and built around that grain of truth that all good stories have to make it realistic, the television industry jumped on the band wagon and developed television dramas and movies of almost each and every story.



I think I've seen every film version of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. The one with Rod Taylor is still my favorite though Time After Time with Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenburgen had the interesting twist of having H.G. following Jack the Ripper into year 1979.

The Invisible Man was published in 1897. A combination of horror and science fiction that hasn't lost its appeal even today. The first movie I saw of The Invisible Man was the with Claude Rains and Gloria Stewart. The last one I saw was the remake with Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Shue titled Hollow Man but did you know there was an invisible Man series with David McCallum and a couple of others too. And even one titled Memoirs of the Invisible Man. Can you even imagine Daryl Hannah playing in such a corny movie but what else could you expect from Chevy Chase.


War of the Worlds saw three incarnations on film. The first movie was with Gene Berry and Anne Robinson. Which, despite not having all the special effects the Tom Cruise movie did, is still my favorite. And the series that came from the book starred Adrien Paul from Highlander fame.

Maybe the reason these earlier versions are my favorites are because they rooted inside my impressionable young mind and encouraged my own flights of imagination.

How many versions have we all seen of Frankenstein--a book pinned my Mary Shelley in 1818.


I feel Shelley has never been given nearly as much credit as she deserves since the book fell squarely into the Victorian Science Fiction genre and explored the use of electricity to reanimate the body. She was way ahead of her time. I've probably seen all of Boris Carloff's renditions of the creature. Then there's Robert De Niro's attempt.   One with Parker Posey. And how could any of us forget Young Frankenstein with Gene Wilder. 



Dracula written by Bram Stoker fell within the Sci/fi horror genre too. The book was written in 1897. There was a second story title Dracula's Guest that followed.  
And Edgar Allen Poe's poetry and stories were published around the same time. 


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began publishing his Sherlock Holmes stories in 1887. Over the years I've watched several series and movies inspired by his character. The first movie I saw was with Basil Rathbone. Then there was the series with Jeremy Brett.   And there's a new series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.I loved the movies with Robert Downy Jr. Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  I enjoyed the Robert Downy movies as much as I did reading the stories. And they were perhaps the only movies I've ever seen Jude Law in that I've liked him. What made these movies so good were the totally Steampunk additions of unusual machines and inventions that helped the characters survive as well as the fight sequences that mirrored the genre too.
And lets not forget the new series titled Elementary with Johnny Miller and Lucy Liu. I love the series and the Holmes character is as tormented as Conan Doyle's Holmes character was, but it lacks the unusual technology a Steampunk series would need.


Which leads us directly to The Wild Wild West.  The original series was filmed between 1965-1969. It was  a kind of Wild West James Bond and had the unusual technology like the Bond movies to live up to the hype. (Where did you think the ideas for James Bond's tech came from?) And Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were a wonderful duo. It was a real shame that Martin had a heart attack and missed completely the fourth year of the series. James West and Artemus Gordon the characters were perfect Steampunk characters. So when the movie Wild Wild West staring Will Smith and Kevin Kline came out, I wondered how they would top the original. It was fun and entertaining and had some of the elements of Steampunk the original series had in it, but it wasn't the series. 

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Jules Verne's Journey To The Center Of the Earth has been revered as the hallmark of a Steampunk story and was published in 1874. It explores civilizations and their mores, explores new worlds or an unusual setting, and though it has very little technology involved, it does open the imagination to all sorts of possibilities and has inspired a number of movies. The first in 1959 with James Mason and Pat Boone. Then there's the one with Brendan Frasier. There was another one titled Return to the Center of the Earth with Guy Pierce as well. 

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea followed the same premise. An unusual environment, a civilization with it's own rules and ideas of morality. The movie made in 1954 starred Kirk Douglas and James Mason and was filmed by the Disney studios.

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Edgar Rice Burroughs penned his John Carter's Adventures on Mars and created his jungle hero Tarzan of the Apes during the time Jules Verne was writing about disappearing into the center of the earth. Again a new environment, new creatures, a new morality. 

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And though John Carter has only found success lately starring Taylor Kitsch, Tarzan was serialized on television in a series of movies that spanned 60 years or longer. The last Tarzan Movie made was a cartoon in 2002. Pretty good for a series that was begun in 1912. 

So, the elements of Steampunk are Unusual Environments, Unusual Mechanized Technology, and An Unusual Civilization with its own morality.  But the genre encompasses a  wealth of imagination as well. And in fact the Steampunk Genre has inspired a movement that embraces  an unusual wardrobe, unusual inventions, jewelry and much more than I can list in this blog since it's already grown longer than it needs to be.

I hope I've given you some food for thought and a great list of books you'd like to read. 

Read on,
Teresa Reasor


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Regency Serial Killer

When I started writing Captive Hearts in 2005 I had it in my head I wanted to try something different in my book than the Regency Romances I had read.  Most of the Regencies I'd read at that period were light fare. Drawing room dramas with romantic conflicts that though entertaining were not dark. I wanted to write a DARK Regency.With touches of humor here and there.

I wracked my brain for several days trying to figure out what kind of story line I could do that would satisfy my suspenseful craving. And decided I needed a serial killer.

I had just read several books on Jack the Ripper. One of the best I've read to date is titled THE COMPLETE JACK THE RIPPER CASEBOOK BY DONALD RUMBLELOW Rumblelow is a retired Scotland Yard Detective and I was fascinated by his book. It goes into depth how the lower class lived during that period, what London was like, and of course the murders there in White chapel. (It is not available on kindle but is in print and well worth the read.)

Though the Jack the Ripper killings happened in the Victorian Era instead of the Regency I thought--what if I create the first Regency serial killer. Thus Jamie was born. 

Jamie loves to love the ladies---to death. And he has a propensity for being very brutal about it.
His mother was a prostitute.  She was thrown out of her parent's home when she became pregnant and had to take up the profession to feed herself and her child. Then took to drink to assuage the pain of her circumstances.

Jamie is a product of that environment and already has a brutal attitude toward women,  but what encourages his addiction is his father's influence. Garret Drake comes into his life when he's twenty. Jamie's mother has long since died and he has lived on the street for most of his life and done whatever he had to do to survive. But Jamie has something special that helps him feed his dark cravings. He has charm and has inherited his father's handsome bearing and intense green eyes.

Drake is the man who got Jamie's mother pregnant, then disappeared. And he does have moments of regret about that. But instead of taking Jamie off the streets, and attempting to control him, Drake encourages his son's brutality and attempts to use it to his benefit. He is both revolted and fascinated by Jamie. Instead of writing the scenes in which Jamie is at his worst or his best, which ever your perspective may be, I wrote them from Drake's point of view.Which added a small interesting twist to the whole relationship, or at least I think so.

How would a real father feel about watching his son murder? But we're not talking about a normal father, but one who has climbed the social ladder as a business man and been accepted into some of societies most powerful people's homes. He has his finger in several businesses ventures tied to the upper class, but he wants MORE. He craves the excitement of the underworld his son lives in and he wants to harness it for his own advantage.

But Jamie is still his son. And in his own dark twisted way, Drake does care about him.

It will be up to you, the reader, to tell me if I did their relationship justice. And which of them is the worst or the best villain--amongst all the other villains in the book. And there are several. 

I hope you'll give Captive Hearts a try so you can tell me.



Read On,
Teresa Reasor





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

THERE'S A WHOLE LOT A SHAKIN' GOING ON AND A FREE READ!

I've been very, very busy this month. I did a 1000 and 1000 challenge with Kerry Nelson of writing 1000 words a day and reading 1000 words a day.  The reading part is never a challenge. I read over 1000 words every day anyway. But the writing 1000 words is a little more work.  By the end of the month, I had done 21,500 words. I had broken the 32,000 word mark on my latest SEAL book and I've written 4500 words on the next short story in my To Capture A Highlander's Heart short story series.  So I'm closer to 25,000 total.

I'm determined to break that 1000 words a day thing though. So, that is going to be my goal for the month. Write at least 35,000 words for the month.

I'm on the down hill slide of finishing my 10th year with Eastern Kentucky University. I teach Art Appreciation at one of the satellite colleges here in Kentucky.  




Next, I have just re-released my Scottish Historical Romance HIGHLAND MOONLIGHT. If you haven't read it here's the blurb:

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Seduced and shamed by Alexander Campbell, the warrior to whom she is betrothed, Lady Mary Mac Lachlan flees to the Campbell stronghold of Castle Lorne and demands sanctuary from Alexander's father.

Though Alexander seduced Mary for her own protection and his men's, his actions have greater repercussions than expected. His betrayal destroys Mary's trust and his belief in himself as a man of honor. Determined to heal the breach, and claim Mary--who now carries his heir--as his wife, he follows her to Lorne and finds himself brought before a council of arbitration on charges of rape.

When Collin Mac Lachlan, Mary's father tries to coerce her into testifying against Alexander, Mary refuses. But when violence threatens to break out between their clans, Mary is forced to wed him to fulfill their betrothal agreement and save him from the executioner.

Amid the hostilities between their clans and the wounds inflicted on her heart, can Mary find the love and happiness she's always craved or will she discover she's been chasing a dream as illusive as Highland Moonlight?

I'm so thrilled with the cover and the book. It was amazing revisiting the story and revamping the dialogue. I'm very proud of it.




Next project will be to complete the edits for my book Captive Hearts.  I got the rights back for it as well and I'm doing rewrites, edits, and have a brand new cover for it. I think my cover artist Tracy Stewart from SIMPLY BOOKISH has done a fantastic job!!!   


SO HERE'S THE COVER REVEAL FOR CAPTIVE HEARTS !!!



AND THE BLURB: 

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Bent on seeing her family's murderers caught, Lady Katherine Leighton strikes a bargain with Captain Matthew Hamilton. They will wed just long enough for her to shed her uncle's hampering control and pursue the investigation her uncle refuses
to undertake.

Betrayed by one woman, Matthew doesn't trust the English beauty who offers him freedom from prison in exchange for wedding vows, but knowing it is his only escape, he agrees to the arrangement. From the moment their lips meet to seal the vows, a passion ignites between them they are eager to ignore.

When the savage highwaymen who killed her family come after Katherine, Matthew feels honor bound to keep her safe. But Katherine wants more than his honorable intentions. She wants his love…And she’s willing to fight to get it.

 CAPTIVE HEARTS WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS MONTH!!!

ALSO TO CAPTURE A HIGHLANDER'S HEART : THE BEGINNING HAS GONE FREE ON AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, KOBO, APPLE, SMASHWORDS. SO BE SURE TO GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD. THE SECOND SHORT STORY IN THE SERIES IS LONGER AND ALSO HOTTER. IT WILL BE TITLED: TO CAPTURE A HIGHLANDER'S HEART: THE COURTSHIP.  I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED WHEN IT'S BEING RELEASED.


  TO CAPTURE A HIGHLANDER'S HEART : THE BEGINNING HAS GONE FREE ON AMAZON, BARNES AND NOBLE, KOBO, APPLE, SMASHWORDS. SO BE SURE TO GET YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD. THE SECOND SHORT STORY IN THE SERIES IS LONGER AND ALSO HOTTER. IT WILL BE TITLED: TO CAPTURE A HIGHLANDER'S HEART: THE COURTSHIP.  I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED WHEN IT'S BEING RELEASED.

Tired of loving Gabriel Campbell from afar, shy lady’s maid, Grace MacNab announces her interest by showing him what she has to offer—her heart.
Taken unaware, Gabriel dismisses her feelings as a temporary infatuation.
Can Grace make him see the woman she is—and win his love? Or will he hold on to past perceptions and deny the passion between them.
(This is a short story of 3066 words)



My Paranormal Steampunk Story AN AUTOMATED DEATH  is available for 99 cents at Amazon.  So check it out. It's 14000 words. And a very unusual story.

HERE'S THE BLURB: After his wife’s death, clockmaker Alan Cartwright focuses all his energy on his work and his eight-year-old son, Brenton. Father and son bond by building a lifelike automaton, designed to resemble Brenton in looks and talent: The boy is an extraordinary artist. Before the automaton is finished, Brenton is run over and killed by a carriage driven by Sir William Tyndale, a decorated soldier and knight who lost his own wife and son during service in India. The accident leads to strange occurrences and an unholy obsession.

The automaton comes to life, communicating with Alan through written messages and drawings of the past and the future. Alan is convinced Brenton’s spirit possesses the machine and refuses to sell it. Sir Tyndale sees the likeness of his own dead son in the device and is determined to have it by any means.

Driven by grief and fatherly love, the two men are set on a collision course with the soul of a young boy trapped between them, and Brenton's reasons for possessing the automaton a mystery to them both.

This book has two endings, one dark, one light. Which makes it even more unusual.




And don't forget about TIMELESS  my paranormal romantic Suspense set in Scotland.
IT'S 139,000 WORDS FOR $2.99. A real bargain.
 Here's the blurb: 
Archaeology student, Regan Stanhope, lands the chance of a lifetime when she’s chosen to work on a summer dig in Loch Maree, Scotland. The ancient monoliths hidden beneath the loch are the most important discovery since Stonehenge. And for seven hundred years, they have been waiting—for her.

Saturation diver Quinn Douglas is contracted to recover some of the megaliths from the loch’s bottom. The job will breathe life into the struggling salvage business he and his brothers are building. But from the moment he arrives, Quinn is plagued by dreams and feelings from a past he did not live. Or did he?

Regan and Quinn are drawn to each other as they research the monoliths and the reason behind their shared visions. But both sense something mystical at work, delving into their minds, manipulating their emotions. And when they finally discover the monoliths’ extraordinary secret, they know they must seal them away from those who are desperate to unlock their power. Even if it means remaining caught in a timeless struggle between the past and present forever.
I thought I'd start releasing small excerpts of my NEXT Navy SEAL book  BREAKING AWAY next month. And see what you  think. 
Read On,
Teresa J. Reasor