Tag Archives: Steampunk

The Crown Phoenix Series by author Alison DeLuca


I’ve read the first in this series and really enjoyed it. I do hope to get to the others to find out more of what happens in this steampunk world that Alison has created. Here Alison tells us about torturing us readers.


An underground factory, a terrifying laboratory, and an Edwardian hospital…

Miriam has only her guardians’ son for company, and she and Simon dislike each other from the start. But they must find a way to trust each other, or they will end up on the sinister Night Watchman Express.

Torturing Readers

Kissing in books is great, magical, clean fun. A first kiss between characters is a beautiful thing, a moment of romance. It’s the point where the interaction between two people takes a completely different turn, and if it is done right, the reader should feel that jolt of electricity, an investment in the couple’s desire as their lips meet.

Creating that spark is a delicate process. To my mind, the force that really drives it is tension. The “will they or won’t they” tightwire is a delicious torture for readers, to keep them up far beyond their bedtimes as they turn the page just to read one more scene.

Keeping that tension building for one book is a huge sleigh of hand trick. Yeah – how about four? I’ve separated my leads for three books, and as I come close to finishing the fourth, I might have to finally satisfy the readers who have stuck this long with me.

Building the long relationship between Miriam and Simon required a lot of adventures, side forays into other lives, a setting at the turn of the last century, and a few moments that allow readers to glimpse the electricity that has been building between the two of them. And, of course, the most important part has been their own personalities. Simon was handsome, had an eye for the girls, and thought he had fallen for someone else. Miriam was impatient, and very angry at the hand life had dealt her.

So when they first met, there were indeed fireworks, but of a different variety. The two of them fought and argued at the start. That’s when I allowed different sides of each to emerge – Miriam’s loyalty, and Simon’s courage.

As well, they both had to have a sense of humor. I wanted to think of their being able to sit down and have a long conversation, as friends, before I allowed any kissing to happen. If I didn’t do that, then the kiss would have been pure, simple, physical attraction and nothing more. There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but for me, at least, that just doesn’t create enough tension and excitement.

So, here is an example of the tension-building:

“And how about you?” Miriam asked.
“What about me?”
“Won’t you miss that Cantwell woman?” Miriam blurted out the question, and she dropped her gaze onto her hands in her lap. How ridiculous of her to blush!
“Well, Miriam,” Simon said, “as a matter of fact, no, I won’t. I won’t miss that dreadful woman one bit. In fact, when she had me in prison up there, in that dreadful room, and I felt like I had lost my mind, it was you that I saw. I saw you in a dream, and that’s what saved me from losing my mind.”
“Oh,” Miriam said. Suddenly the house got very still and very quiet. Simon’s gaze was intent upon hers, and for some strange reason, she couldn’t look away. And she found she couldn’t breathe, either. Her heart began to hammer in her chest, and her mouth opened in a slight gasp.
Simon’s grin disappeared. He opened his mouth to say something, closed it again, and edged a bit closer to her on the step.
At that moment, Neil appeared at the top of the stairs and trailed down, dragging his feet on the worn treads of the stair carpet. “What are you two talking about?” he asked.


About author Alison DeLuca

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.


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#steampunk The South Sea Bubble by Alison DeLuca #coverreveal

For the last volume of the Crown Phoenix series, Lisa Daly was kind enough to design another cover for me. The book is The South Sea Bubble, and here is the blurb:

An Edwardian hospital hides many secrets:

A mysterious patient lurks in the cellar…
A secret passage leads to danger…
Coded messages reveal new riddles…
Visions of danger haunt the people of Grimstead Manor

Lizzie and Miriam find horror, adventure, and romance surrounding the strange vessel known as The South Sea Bubble.

“Compulsive reading!”
“Addictive steampunk.


simon's eyes

“Oh, stop the dramatics,” Simon groaned. “What on earth are you talking about? Of course I’m not leaving until we sort all of this out and you tell me what – is – going – on!” His voice rose in volume on each successive word.

Miriam looked at him. Her eyes were dark and very direct. “No, Simon.” Her lower lip trembled, but she took a deep breath and seemed to recover. “I will not.”

“Oh, is that so?” His voice dripped with sarcasm. “And I suppose you think I’m just going to waltz off and forget all about you, Lampala, and last summer.” He raised one finger and stabbed the air in her direction. “I’m not going to, my girl, and don’t you forget it. I will not give up on you, although apparently you have given up on me.”

And finally a gorgeous cover who the author is lucky enough to have the artist as a friend who shares her passion…


J.L. Mulvihill #steampunk guest post – The Boxcar Baby book tour


Welcome to my stop on The Boxcar Baby book tour. If you enjoy steampunk its one to take a look at.      The Boxcar Baby is the first in a series and one of the newest from Seventh Star Press.


Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB’Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it’s up to AB’Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB’Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa’s spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB’Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries … and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.

The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.’

Hey Jess, I just stopped by to say Hi and to share with ya’ll my thoughts on steampunk. I’m often asked why I write steampunk and I guess one reason is that the steampunk genre is such an inventive and hands on genre. By hands on I mean you can be part of it yourself even if you don’t write it.
When I first took on the challenge of writing steampunk I had to understand it so I started trying to make stuff like hats, guns, and goggles, you know really getting into it with the glue gun and the leather and twine. I scrounged my craft closet and garage for anything brass and just started putting things together. At first some of my projects did not turn out so well but after a while I really got better. You should see the first pair of goggles I made, they’re so rustic; I made them out of door stoppers, leather, and joke glasses.
When I see people cosplay steampunk, I really admire the time and effort they take to put into their costumes or weapons and such. There is a lot of thinking and inventing that is involved and I believe that is one of the things I love most about steampunk. I also believe that is why this genre is so popular; it causes people to think outside the box and then get their hands dirty while doing it. People don’t just dream up stuff of their own too, they reinvent like steampunk Darth Vader, or Steampunk super heroes, not to mention they recycle. Lots of old stuff you would never dream of using is being reborn in a whole new genre.
The other thing that has drawn me personally to steampunk is that I grew up with it, in a sense. I am a big fan of L. Frank Baum and I read all of his Wizard of Oz books. I don’t know what it is about those books that fascinated me so much but I read them over and over. Well it turns out those books are pretty darn steampunk, so apparently a seed had been planted in me long ago and I just didn’t know it.
A suggestion I would like to offer you and your readers is that if you have never read Morlock Night by K. W. Jeter., then you absolutely must read this book. This is the book that cornered the phrase “steampunk,” and this is the book that if you read it, will help you understand the true meaning of the genre.
Some other good steampunk reads I like are of course all the Dreams of Steam anthologies and Clockwork Spells, and Magical Bells, put out by Dark Oak Press/Kerlak. In these anthologies you will find steampunk stories written from the view of a variety of authors. Another young adult series I happened on recently that incorporated steampunk, American folklore, and American bluegrass music, is the Clockwork Dark series by John Claude Bemis. I found it very interesting how he incorporated all these elements into a working story. Of course I am a lover of the classics but I am always on the hunt for a good steampunk.
Well it’s been fun chatting with ya’ll but I must be on my way. Thank you so much Jess for letting me stop by, and don’t ya’ll forget to check out my book The Boxcar Baby from Seventh Star Press.


JLMulvihill-PhotoAbout J.L. Mulvihill: Born in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaing fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing. The Boxcar Baby, the first novel of her Steel Roots Series, was released by Seventh Star Press in the summer of 2013.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them “Chilled Meat”, a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and “The Leprechaun’s Story”, a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology, Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing)

J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

Author Links:











Tour Schedule and Activities:


9/23 Come Selahway With Me Contest

9/23 Fantastical Adventures Through the Paper Realm Review

9/23 The Flipside of Julianne Top Ten List

9/24 Jess Resides Here Guest Post

9/24 Beagle Book Space Promo Spotlight

9/25 Sheila Deeth Guest Post

9/25 Spellbindings Promo Spotlight

9/25 Lost Inside the Covers Review

9/26 A TiffyFit’s Reading Corner Review

9/26 Azure Dwarf Promo Spotlight

9/26 Rachel Tsoumbakos Character Interview & Review

9/26 A Daydreamer’s Thought Author Interview

9/27 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

9/27 Kayla’s Reads and Reviews Promo Spotlight

9/28 WTF Are You Reading? Review

9/28 Bee’s Knees Reviews Guest Post

9/28 Word to Dreams Promo Spotlight

9/29 The Cabin Goddess Interview

9/29 Illuminite Calginosus Promo Spotlight

9/29 Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews Character Interview

9/29 JeanzBookReadNReview Guest Post

9/29 Book and Movie Dimension Review


Buy Links for The Boxcar Baby:

Print Version  / Kindle Version  / Nook  /  Kobo  / iBookstore


Untimed by Andy Gavin review

Untimed, Andy Gavin


Untimed by Andy Gavin is a book I’ve had for some time. Andy very kindly sent it to me all the way in Australia, much appreciated. I had read and reviewed Andy’s first book The Darkening Dream which is an excellent novel. Untimed is Andy’s second and check out that cover. Great stuff huh.

The inside is and isn’t as great as that cover. I feel quite mixed on this one. The Darkening Dream was a mature YA novel, historical and religious details that Andy clearly put a great deal of time and research into. Untimed you could say is historical it is time travel after all but it’s a mixed bag.

Andy is a very talented author who’s books will always be on my TBR list just because he wrote them. Untimed when I started it sucked me in. So fascinating a story about a kid who’s mother doesn’t even remember his name. Most people over look him, Charlie just blends like wallpaper you know its there but you don’t care or remember. When Charlie meets a Tick-Tock a time traveling steampunk cogs and wheels robot man thing and they go hurtling back in time I was all omg this story is so cool. Then Charlie is back in time with no clue what the hell is going on, where he is or how this craziness happened. Good stuff right but then he meets Yvaine. Charlies discovers that he can travel through time. One direction only, downtime for boys and uptime for girls like his fellow time traveler Yvaine.

Up to that point I was all eager to read the book but once Charlie meets Yvaine I put the book aside and it sat there for quite some time. I wanted action adventure hell time travel not a love sick boy and a girl from idk the dark ages with views that were ones I couldn’t relate to which was the big problem. I thought Charlie was a stupid little boy who could only think with his puberty raging hormones and Yvaine a teen mother who lived such a different life that I simply couldn’t relate to either one and quite frankly disliked them both. Then for some reason I picked the book back up. I never really got to like them but once I read past a point in the story and they finally went time traveling I got into the story and breezed right through it wanting to know what would happen.

Charlies dad is as annoying as he is, being a time traveler as well and doesn’t tell his son what to expect or prepares him in any way other than telling him to read history books. Being frustrated with characters is not fun. Loving a story though and the premise the author has created makes for an interesting time. I got to warm up to Charlie and Yvaine but thought the sex between the two of them was just weird. I’m no prude but teen sex just makes me go yuck kids especially when the pictures in the book which are great by the way make them look like they are 10 or 12, 14 if you push it. Yvaine is a teen mother no less but then she is from 1500 something so probably the norm then but you’d think Charlie would have some sense and not pork some chick he met not to mention get drunk endlessly what the hell is that. Stop making me feel like a scolding old lady.

These issues prevented me from loving the story. The tocks I wanted to know more about, the history of them and the time travellers that had my attention. The book lays way for a sequel and again I’m happy to read anything Andy writes but I hope there will be more of what I enjoyed to read and less of the ridiculous teen porking.


Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates.

As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously.

Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem.

When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it.

And there’s one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

Crown Phoenix by Alison DeLuca book tour


The always lovely Alison DeLuca is on today to talk about her Steampunk series The Crown Phoenix. Be sure to check it out as well as the huge giveaway going on throughout the tour with the chance to win a kindle.

What is something about you that no one knows? –
I have a huge crush on Jake Sully, the virtual version with blue skin. What can I say? I like my men to be 10 feet tall and ride flying lizards.
What are you reading now? –
As usual, I’m deep into several books: The Queen’s Necklace, by Theresa Edgerton, Dark Places by Shaun Allan, and The Book of Paul by Richard Long. I want to read “There are Spiders in this Book: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It” and Losing Hope by Johanna Garth.
Who are your favorite authors? –
I love the Brontes, Georgette Heyer, Stephen King, Ann Tyler, Verne, Wells, Conan Doyle and Dickens, and Haruki Murakami. That’s a diverse group, but each author has an element of surprise – a different way of looking at the world.
And favorite books? –
The Stand was amazing. Each time I read Jane Eyre I notice something new. The Accidental Tourist is magical and touching. And John Dies at the End made me gasp with laughter and horror.
What is your work space and writing routine like? –
We have an office where I escape whenever I can. As soon as my kid gets on the bus I run in there and write for hours. I have dreams of creating a room of my own, but for now I’m lucky to have a room to create, even if it is littered with junk mail and unpaid bills! Oh, and several projects that my kid is working on, involving lots of glue and wire hangers.
I keep a huge notebook with ideas, lists of characters, maps of fantasy lands for stories I’m working on, and invented languages. There are pictures of cover ideas taped up to my monitor, and a cup of tea at my desk at all times.
Why delve into the world of steampunk, what about it appeals to you? –
 I always loved science fiction and Gothic / Victorian fiction. Combining the two is a delightful possibility for a writer! I’ve heard it explained as “The future, reimagined by the past.”
I adore creating my own technology for my books. It’s important, in my opinion, to base everything on real-world physics and math, so I do a lot of research. I also have to get my time period right – the Edwardian era – so that requires learning mannerisms, language, cooking, and clothes of that age. Learning that background is one of the most enjoyable parts of writing.
Do you have any plans to try a different genre? –
Yes! I have a dieselpunk story on the back burner, set in World War II. It’s about the London refugees – children who were put on trains to escape London and the bombing Blitz. Their parents had no idea where their own kids would end up; from my standpoint, that just cries out for adventure. Of course, CS Lewis already used this idea in his Narnia books, but I plan to add time travel, some very devious villains, and my own Punk element.
What new story do we have to look forward to and when do we get to read it? –
The South Sea Bubble, the final book in the Crown Phoenix series, is nearing completion on the first draft. Soon I’ll have to say goodbye to Mana, Miriam, Simon and the rest – it will be very difficult to let them go. The final book involves a hospital in a huge Manor, much like Downton Abbey. There are bathyspheres and mermaids, but everything has real-world logic to explain it. I’m enjoying this manuscript enormously.
Please tell me about the Crown Phoenix series? –
The Crown Phoenix itself is a quantum typewriter. You can read the prequel to the series, when the device is invented, for free on Wattpad here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/3372731-a-magic-shadow-show
The books start about fifteen years later, when a young girl, Miriam, gets a governess, Mana. Mana is from the island of Lampala, and she is a bit magical (again, there is a logical reason for that.) Miriam and a boy called Simon are kidnapped and put on a sinister train, The Night Watchman Express, and that kicks off an entire series of adventures.
There are underground factories and island princesses and human experiments – it’s all very mysterious.

Alison DeLuca grew up on an organic farm in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Her parents were British, so in the summers she went to stay with her grandparents near Dublin.

There was no stereo or TV there, so Alison, her sister, and her cousins spent the summer inventing stories and plays for each other. “This gave me the ability to entertain myself with my own imagination in any situation,” she says. “We used to be taken to tea with great-aunts, and we were expected to sit on an uncomfortable couch and not move or say a word. It was possible to endure it because I was watching my own little stories play out in my mind.”

After graduating from West Chester University, Alison became a teacher of English and Spanish, teaching students from kindergarten up to college level. She loved teaching, and it was with reluctance that she left the classroom to be a fulltime mom when her daughter was born.

While she was teaching and raising her daughter, Alison took every free minute she had to write. The Night Watchman Express and The Crown Phoenix Series were the result.

She is currently working on the final book in the series, as well as several other projects.

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Synopsis for all three Crown Phoenix books

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