Monday, October 13, 2014

Guest Post: Why I Write Steampunk by C.V. Madison/ Book Giveaway!

There is something fantastic about writing Steampunk. We take the prim and proper world of the 19th century and dial it up to eleven. We take the style of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne and add a little modern nuance. We make our characters push the limits of the world they were born in. It is speculative fiction at its finest.  

There are no cell phones or high powered rifles. No television. You might be lucky to have a radio. Books are all the rage. Your characters have to walk or ride a bicycle. Depending on your timeline, cars weren't invented yet or too expensive for most people to own. Clothing is classy. Stylish. Women often wore bustles and layered gowns. Men wore smart trousers and detailed vests. Hats were removed when indoors. Manners were paramount. Gentlemen offered calling cards before paying a visit. Ladies had sewing circles and ice cream socials. The world was a simpler place.

Setting the stage in the past gives us a wealth of limitations. Limitations we can push the boundaries on. Take social mores and tip them on their ears. Homosexuality was frowned upon, but that didn't stop men from taking lovers under covers. Women were expected to wear skirts and act like ladies, but that doesn't stop them from being like their male counterparts. You like ships? They're steam powered and can fly. How do they fly? You decide. The industrial revolution, as impressive as it was, takes on a whole other burst of ingenuity. It's a bygone era we can use as fuel for fanciful flights of fantasy.

Not as much for the historical? No problem. Steampunk has you covered. Take a fantasy world created from scratch and drop in your steam powered contraptions. What if society collapsed and in its place, a world of steam power crops up? Water is a renewable resource and if we've stripped the planet of its coal and oil, steam seems a suitable power source.

Steampunk allows your mind to wander onto the what-ifs and make them fantastic.

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About the author
            C.V. Madison is a licensed massage therapist, author, feminist and gamer full of schadenfreude pie and Mountain Dew. She pens urban fantasy, horror and steampunk with a side of heavy romance. Her characters are straight, LGBTQIA and some shades not on the spectrum. She has been published in both fiction and non-fiction anthologies.
            Through the month of November, she can be found in local coffee houses, over caffeinated and armed with her trusty laptop as she strives to bang out 50,000 words in 30 days for National Novel Writer’s Month. She serves as a Municipal Liaison for Columbus, Ohio.
            She is a writer for the Caffeine Crew and does book reviews and promotion for the Yeah Books! Blog.


C.V. Madison is celebrating the release of her new book "With Proper Maintenance"

Release date: 09 October 2014
Publisher: Jupiter Gardens Press

Named the youngest head engineer in the history of his company, Ethan Cole’s first voyage on the Platinum Bow is his chance to stand out from his father’s shadow. His dream is dashed by the roguish Cecil Goode, promoted to Ethan’s position just before the ship sets sail. When the Bow is hijacked by pirates, Ethan and Cecil have to work together to bring the pirates’ nearly wrecked ship to safety. Will they make it to port before the ship plummets from the sky? And what will become of the combustible passion between them? Will it outlast the pirate attack?

Book buy links:


Check out the giveaway for "With Proper Maintenance"

Giveaway codes:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Race Day Recipes: Slow Cooker Beans & Rice

'Tis the season.  The leaves are turning, the mornings and nights are cool.  It's time to have a pot o' something bubbling away in  the kitchen.

Today we've got super easy Beans & Rice

 Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours


  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 8 oz. smoked sausage diced
  • 16 oz. red or navy beans (soaked overnight when you start from dry)
  • 1 4oz. can diced green chilis
  • 1 14 oz. can diced no-salt tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Chili pepper to taste
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 32 oz. water
  • 4 cups cooked rice

  1. Dice all fresh ingredients
  2. Turn slow cooker on to LOW
  3. Add beans, onion, garlic, green chiles, tomatoes, sausage to pot
  4. Season with chili pepper, salt, pepper to taste
  5. Cook for 8 hrs--until beans are soft
Serve over white rice

What's better to curl up with a good book or a long Sunday NASCAR race than a comforting bowl of rice & beans?


S.D. Grady is celebrating the release of her latest novel "The King's Mistress."

JOIN IN A TREASURE HUNT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A FREE ECOPY OF "THE KING'S MISTRESS"  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW  Full of desire and political intrigue, you won't want to miss it!

As a token of my gratitude for reading, click here for a FREE download full of fun facts and activities you can use at your next masquerade ball.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Who Gets to Be On Top? The Timeless Class Structure of Court Politics

Oh, we don't have a class structure anymore. Not in America. There are no titled lords, kings, queens, knights or even those that are called servants.  That is something that belongs to the storied past we so often visit when we read those historical romances we all adore. Right?

You had better think twice. How often do we hear of the Bush fortune?  Or even the Clintons?  In a land where every child is told they can grow up to be president how true is that? It seems it requires a great deal of wealth in order to attain the highest office in the country. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a hierarchy left to those with less money.  There always has been--even into the storied past of Europe's curious system of nobility and royalty.

In politics, whether we speak of the one in charge of a country or even the servant at the top of the food chain in a great house, there is always a class struggle. The butler has managed through hard work and hopefully a sense of fair play to claw his way to the top of the servants quarters. He is no longer seen as a mere footman, or worse--a chimney sweep.  He now had the comforts associated with his new designation in life; a comfortable chair, perhaps his own fireplace and even a fairly soft, clean bed.  Let's not forget the notoriety of being the single person in charge of the comings and goings of this great house--who his master invited to stay after supper this evening.

But dare he think of rising past his place into the House of Lords? No, of course not. That belongs to yet another being. One born on silk sheets.  And yes, the un-named baron will be accepted into his assigned place amongst his entitled brethren. However, the larger question is how shall he stay there? Has he truly achieved his status in life, or is he only on borrowed time?

For yes, money will buy you the spot at the head of the table, but it won't keep you there. The butler knows that. Something greater is required to maintain your spot within the greater society. You've got to make friends and at least know how to obtain the kind of information that will ensure their loyalty.  Ah...loyalty. This is the thing that wins votes, or swords, or simply a polite nod at a ball.

Garnering your loyal friends is truly how the class structure has always worked. There will always be a single person at the top of the food chain--no matter what their appellation might be. Whether we speak of the ladies of the court, those serving as pages to the great men, or yes, the one person elected to the highest office in the country.  A single person will hold in their hands the knowledge, and thus own the ability, to humble those who stand on the next tier down ensuring the loyalty of all those beneath him.

Perhaps the most apt phrase when considering this pyramid of political hunger is, "What goes up must come down."  For somebody on that bottom step is likely to whisper a secret that will shake the entire foundation, bringing those on top crashing to their end.

However, watching those that climb to the top is perhaps the most entertaining sport of all time. What glamour to be found! What lies will be uncovered? Best of all--who will be dragged down by their own hubris? When that pinnacle is vacant, what then? The inevitable next step--the next person who has built the respect and loyalty of those around him will ascend, reestablishing the symmetry of the world.  

Leaving just one on top.  How utterly delicious.

Thanks for joining me on my Bewitched Book Blog Tour! S.D. Grady is celebrating the release of her latest novel "The King's Mistress."
JOIN IN A TREASURE HUNT FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN A FREE ECOPY OF "THE KING'S MISTRESS"  CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW  Full of desire and political intrigue, you won't want to miss it!
As a token of my gratitude for reading, click here for a FREE download full of fun facts and activities you can use at your next masquerade ball.