Guest Blogger: Gail Dayton
The winner of Gail's book is Becky. Congratulations, Becky! Send me your contact info and I'll pass it along to Gail. Thanks to everyone who participated.
My first steampunk novel, New Blood, was released last year from Tor Paranormal Romance, and the second book, Heart's Blood, came out in January. Despite the titles, there isn't a vampire in sight in either book. But there's plenty of magic.
Steampunk refers to stories of speculative fiction -- science fiction, fantasy or paranormal -- that are set in the "era of steam," usually from the beginning of the Victorian era (1824) up to WWI (1914). Some steampunk focuses exclusively on anachronistic machinery -- steampowered spaceships and the like. Some books, like Soulless by Gail Carriger, have vampires and werewolves. Some --l ike my books -- have magic.
New Blood and Heart's Blood take place in a Victorian Europe where magic is part of every day life. Most people can work minor spells of one sort or another, whether lighting candles or making the wheat grow a little fatter or conversing with Granny's ghost. Then there are the virtuosos. The magicians who can call the spirits of Roman legionnaires, or who can turn aside floods.
There are four kinds of magic in my universe -- in the European tradition, anyway. They are alchemy, drawing its power through non-living elements, like earth, fire, water, air or electricity; conjury, powered by the spirits of the dead; wizardry, the magic of green, growing things, and sorcery -- blood magic.
Because sorcery is powered by human blood, it has tended to creep people out. So much so that the last blood sorceress was killed during the witch hunts some 200 years before the opening of New Blood. Her servant was sent to find the woman who can become the next sorceress. It's taken him this long to do it.
The first story is structured like a traditional fantasy road-trip quest story. The heroine learns of her potential for power and must go seek her fate. Heart's Blood is a murder mystery where the ghosts of the victims become witnesses to their own murders. Both stories have mysterious clankety machine creatures and magic and adventure and romance and good stuff. (Even if I do say so myself, not being prejudiced, or anything.) (Read the excerpts Here for New Blood, and Here for Heart’s Blood.)
The paranormal umbrella is a big one. More like a circus tent than anything. There's lots and lots of room under the big top, enough for vampires, magicians, mad scientists, shapeshifters, white rabbits and daytrippers through space to all live happily together. And I don't know about you, but I like pretty much all of them. I'm tickled to be in the tent with everybody.
Gail Dayton has had a checkered career doing things as varied as teaching junior college history and government, to working as the entire editorial staff (except for sports) at a weekly paper, to many hats as the paralegal for prosecutor handling misdemeanors and juveniles (the stupid, not the wicked) in a rural Texas county. Of all her jobs, she likes writing novels the best. Gail lives on the Texas Gulf Coast, two blocks from the beach, so now all the books she reads are beach reads! :) She was a RITA finalist for Best First Book in 2002, and so far, every book she's published has finaled or won a contest, most recently, the Prism Award for Best Fantasy in 2008 for The Eternal Rose.