*Contest is closed*
For Day 3 of my Giveaway-A-Day Countdown to My 25th Birthday Bash, I’m handing things over to Aria from Aria’s Dark Musings! Take it away girl!
So, here I am…sitting down, getting ready my first guest post (which I must say, is really crazy. I mean, really, who wants to hear what I have to say, right? But, hey it’s Amanda’s birthday, and as the Birthday Girl Extraodonaire, its her party! So on I ramble…even if she‘s the only one who really reads it!)
There are a few things that really piqued my interest in my subject matter (to which, when said Birthday Girl liked the subject matter, I actually jumped up and down a little. No one saw, thank goodness.) But I must backtrack to make it clear why…
As some of you may or may not know, I am also a tribal fusion belly dancer. As far as the art form, what makes its so appealing, not only to myself, but to others in general, is in fact the fusion aspect. Think of your favorite cookies…a little peanut butter, the ooey gooey dark chocolate chips…maybe some cherries (getting hungry, huh?) or thin mints….Now imagine the best parts in any way you like them. Yummy, right? Well, for me, that’s what tribal belly dance is. And the costuming…even more ingredients. Now, maybe you’d like to throw in a little flavor. Because this is where my journey took root. The fashion, and its influence by Steampunk. Like Black Lotus. Warning, here, addictive and gorgeous. Drool worthy even.
All right then…
Unbeknownst to me, I had already dabbled a bit in the Steampunk flavor before I even shimmied for the first time. Doctor Who, anyone? Yeppers. My mom used to torture me (I let her think that, anyways). Loved the ties, the hats, even the technology…British accents, Victorian influences and sometimes, those girls wore…corsets!! (At least, in my little girl memory). Flash forward…my first hand made glue together costume. Beautiful gold brocade with a rich wide deep burgundy stripe halter top. There‘s that tid bit of Steampunk influence, barely there. Hmmm…and then there’s the music. Beats Antique, a zany mutli-layered style of music created by a belly dancer (the fantabulous Zoe Jakes) for belly dancers. She’s not the only one, so I suggest a little field trip to youtube if you are so inclined.
Then….I did it.
I turned to Wikipedia. And that’s a can of worms that I still, to this day, reference.
Now, the Steampunk genre, at least in my humble opinion, is as young and varied as tribal belly dance. Well, Jules Verne did come before, I admit it.
So close your eyes…
WAIT! How will you read this? (Silly me, I know. Sounded good at the time, though!)
How about, use your imagination…and let yourself sink back to the Victorian Era. Imagine a dirigible…maybe bowler hat or two, corsets, traditional Victorian garb with all its pinstripe glory. (okay, maybe I like the pinstripe glory.) A dashing set of goggles perched high off your forehead (because you love adventure and exploration in all forms), giant gears, exposed levers and rivets with sheet metal plates, steam driven technology…maybe even a steam powered man. Gorgeous dark wood, heavily shellacked lit by exposed flames or bulbs, or ornate colored glasswork lighting your way…maybe a little dusty. No transistors (okay, had to look that up, not lying.) Your fingertips touch leather, felt, mica, ivory, maybe even some glass or hemp. No plastics, nylon, Styrofoam…fiberglass. Maybe a little under the sea voyage. Feeling me, yet?
Add in that feeling of exploration, of discovery…imagine being high in the air in a giant dirigible, and your intelligent, witty, and even at times a little proper (with the proper dose of sarcasm or snarkiness thrown in for good measure). Because, at its roots, Steampunk is English, after all. In origin, anyway. (BTW, the whole “punk” in steam punk should reject the codes and conduct of that of which it portrays, at least in some way. Hmmm….I always liked a little rebellion.) In case you’re wondering, there are in fact off shoots that are considered somewhat American in their substance, called Edisonade…which I could go on and on about, too.
Now, while I don’t even pretend in the slightest to be an expert, lets just say I am a very interested party. As a matter of fact, there is much debate on the purity of the whole genre, and how its splits into different off shoots (cyber punk, steam sci fi,gaslight romance etc.). You can literally spend hours looking into it. And I so encourage you…you may be pleasantly surprised…or confused…or even inspired.
So, how does all this relate to a book blog? Well, let me tell you…
My first encounter with Steampunk lit that was a conscious effort began with my favorite mall bookstore closing in favor of the outside version across the street. Every single book was *gasp* on sale (yep, I spent far too much, and still haven’t made a dent in the pile), and on what must have been my fifth or so trip that week, I had been browsing the shelves, picking up, putting down, and picking up. The sweetest little old man, who must have been in my mind what my granpa had looked liked, smiled at me and handed me a small paperback book. After telling me the pretty girl on the cover reminded him of me, I had to buy it. I am so easily flattered. Plus, it seemed to make him happy. Did I mention the sale? So I added it to my pile.
It was Soulless by Gail Carriger.
And to my happiness, she had combined this new interest with…PARANORMAL!! So witty, full of historical facts woven with fiction. Okay, sensing the whole fusion thing here? Needless to say, I now want my very own parasol. And possibly a werewolf. Maybe a lovely corseted dress in…*shakes head*. Trying to stay on topic, promise.
But, what about other books, you may ask? Well, I have to say, my very first Kindle edition is in fact Avalon Revisited by O.M. Grey. Another Steampunk Paranormal, but entirely different. To say that I have been savoring this one would be an understatement. Because what I have discovered, is not just the setting, or clothing, or even the technology about Steampunk attracts me, it’s the tone and pacing. Sigh…and O.M. Grey has me, hook, hemp line, and copper sinker.
On my short list, and maybe a few will land on yours, too…Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Love this cover), Changeless by Gail Carriger, Steampunk Anthology(a gorgeous mini tome full of information)…and I would love any suggestions to further explore my new discovery.
Now, please remember, I’m just dallying, and while I did do some research, I am so not infallible. So, if I made any mistakes, please forgive me…and don’t be mad at Amanda over anything I did. Because its her party, remember?
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll add those goggles to my next belly dance costume!!
Thanks so much Aria! I’m so glad you could join us for my Bday Bash!
Now on to the 2nd part I know you’ve all been waiting for! Today’s giveaway is going to be Steampunk related!
~1 winner will receive one surprise Steampunk handmade item. What is it? Who is it made by? All part of the surprise!
This is international! You must be a follower. Contest ends May 31st. For any other questions, please refer to the rules.
To enter fill out the form and leave a question or comment for me or Aria (hehe Did I mention I was going to do that to you Aria? mwah!) or about Steampunk in general.
Don’t forget to check out the giveaways that have already happened & see what’s still to come on the schedule!
*Contest is closed*