Sunday, February 21, 2010

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.

Hi. My name is Gail Dayton and I'm a writer. Specifically, a writer of books where magical things happen, things that are just a twist away from normal, into the paranormal.

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.


Gail will give away a copy of her book to one commenter. Her winner will be selected and posted on Tuesday evening. Stop back by to see if you won.


Blogger s7anna said...

I'm really looking forward to reading a steampunk themed gotta love the elements of magic in it.

Happy Reading
Anna Shah Hoque

4:45 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

What a great post! I enjoyed finding a new author. The steampuck novels sound real interesting. I like the ideal of magical things happening everyday.

4:49 PM  
Blogger donnas said...

Great post. I havent had the chance to read anything classified as SteamPunk yet but I am looking forward to it. It sounds like an interesting genre and time period to place stories like this in. Thanks for sharing!!

bacchus76 at myself dot com

9:38 PM  
Blogger Bart said...

Never knew what it was called, but I always liked it. Steampunk, that is. Love the concept, ever since I read The Difference Engine. Played Space 1889 (a steampunk RPG before there was a name for it.) Looking forward to reading the Blood novels.

7:34 AM  
Blogger mariska said...

I'm so want to read this book since i saw the cover couple months ago.

furthermore it's from A new for me Author :)

uniquas at ymail dot com

7:41 AM  
Blogger Boone Brux said...

I love steampunk and your books sound like they have an original premise. I love the cover art. Congrats and thanks for the insight into the steampunk world. It's always been a bit sketchy for me.

10:00 AM  
Blogger tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post today, sounds like my kind of read! I'm always looking for new authors to read.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'm really thinking I may like the steampunk books after reading so much about them. Looking forward to reading yours!! Thanks

Rosie Carlo
rosie0512 @ hotmail . com

1:52 PM  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I haven't read any steam punk books yet. This book does sound like one I would enjoy though. Great blog.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Stull said...

Sounds like a very interesting series. Can't wait to read!

9:18 PM  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Great post. I have not read any steam punk books. Your books soundg good.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Gail Dayton said...

It's so exciting to see readers interested in steampunk. I'm sorry I didn't respond earlier--I have elderly parents who can't remember anything & I had to be out of town to take them to doctor appts. (They're doing pretty well, except for the memory thing...)

Anyway, thanks so much to all of you for your interest!

10:56 AM  

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