Friday, December 16, 2011

Four Steampunk Stories (with Stacy Gail)

On the fourth Day of Christmas the Book World gave to me....

Four Steampunk Stories
Three Co-zies
Two Fabul-Agents
And the notice of a best selling book!

I have a guest today, and if you've been around here any length of time, you know her. Stacy is one of my very favorite people and long time writer friend. We may have met online, but we ended up real life friends several years ago—soul sisters of sorts, intent on causing the world a little more mischief and laughter because... you know... people don't just play enough.

Stacy has had a STELLAR year as a debut author. She's been writing a long time, but was timid on sending things out until she discovered a TRICK... There are publishers who look for something specific now and again and post calls for submission. She has responded to several of these BRILLIANTLY, and because she is willing to stretch and grow, she has also learned to write in some different genres.

This fall (since August) she has had three novellas published, all romance, but the first was Sci-Fi, the second traditional and this one (I've read them all and love them all, but THIS is my favorite) Steampunk.

This one is part of an anthology with three other stories and I will let Stacy tell you a little more about it all!  Welcome Stacy!!!

First off, I would like to thank Hart Johnson for allowing me to invade her space so I can gab about my latest project, a Christmas steampunk romance called CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET, published by Harlequin’s digital-first imprint, Carina Press.  Just so you know, I think Hart might have a vested interest in this project, since she did a wonderful job in beta-reading it.  Thank for everything you do, Your Tartness! *tacklehugs*

How CRIME WAVE was Born:
Well, first you take a daddy, then you take a mommy… (Do you all remember that talk?  I’m still traumatized. *shudder*)

As to how this particular project finally got itself written, the answer is pretty straightforward.  Last March the executive editor of Carina Press, Angela James, sent out an innocuous Tweet: Open call for submissions for Christmas Steampunk antho—deadline May 15th.

At this point, I had no idea who Angela was, or that Carina Press was Harlequin, a publishing house I had long given up on.  All I cared about were those two luscious little words—OPEN CALL.

Did you know I’m somewhat notorious for being an open-call whore?  Yeah.  I’m not too proud to admit it.
As luck would have it, I’d been having trouble stifling a random character for quite some time.  This character had no home or any real story behind her; all I knew was that she was a thief.  No, wait.  Not just a thief.  She was a brilliant, gadget-making, ice-water-in-the-veins kind of thief who made the Mission: Impossible crew look like ham-handed amateurs.  But she didn’t have a frame.  The chick was totally out of context, so no matter how much of a pain she was trying to get my attention, I kept kicking her to the curb where she belonged.

Then I read the call for steampunk submissions, and in a heartbeat Cornelia Peabody finally had a home.  She was a loner, on the prowl for the next big score.  But I couldn’t make her a total meanie, so she targeted faceless institutions and their goodies, rather than individuals who had prized possessions they couldn’t live without.  But ultimately her life of crime had to bite her in the bum, and that was where the vengeful love interest, Roderick, suddenly appeared.  He’s on a mission to make Cornelia steal back what she took from him, and he’s got a few tricks up his own sleeve to make sure she does it.

The Antho Sisters

We don’t sing, or dance, or perform for the troops (well, at least I don’t… though I want to, now that I’m talking about it).  The one thing we do is promote.  I’m squeaky-new to the publishing business, but JK Coi, PG Forte and Jenny Schwartz have been at this business for years.  Almost from the time we found out the name of our Christmas steampunk anthology—A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS—Jenny was emailing everyone on how we needed to coordinate.  By the end of that first week, PG had set up a private author’s loop on Yahoo, and promos/interviews were lined up with several online review sites, because JK seems to know everyone.

I did my part by being the comic relief. :P

Carina Press knows how to do the splashy promos as well.  They introduced A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS this past summer at New York ComicCon, and its various holiday anthology authors (all 12 of them) were highlighted at Books On Board with our very own Carina Press/Harlequin web page.  (FYI… if you take a quick peek at the FAQs, you’ll see a couple of familiar names under my “Recommended Read” section—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention Hart Johnson/Alyse Carlson and Riley Adams/Elizabeth Spann Craig, because they are all sorts of AWESOME).  It’s been great, this whirlwind of activity, and through every step I’ve had JK, PG and Jenny helping me along.

But Enough About Me…
Let talk about CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET!

Roderick Coddington is on a mission to make Cornelia Peabody pay. After identifying her as the thief who stole a priceless Faberge egg from his dying sister, he finds her and shackles a deadly timepiece to her arm. If she doesn’t return the egg by Christmas morning, she will die.

Normally seven days is more than enough time for Cornelia to carry out the perfect crime, but Roderick’s intrusion into her life is beyond distracting. He challenges her mind, and ignites her body with desire she’s never felt before. But worst of all, he threatens the independence she values above all else…

As Roderick spends time with Cornelia, he realizes there’s a lonely soul hidden beneath her beautiful but criminal veneer. Falling for a thief wasn’t part of Roderick’s plan, but plans can change and he has no intention of letting another priceless treasure get away from him.

(Now, don’t you want to read that?  Of course you do! :D)

Okay, Let’s Talk About Me Some More…

Come to find out, reviews are scary.  Whenever I get a Google Alert that CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET has popped up somewhere on the web, I can’t look.  Then I can’t not look (insanity, thy name is WRITER).  Thankfully though, the reviews have been pretty darned spiffy.  And I can prove it!

Library Journal—“ Gail’s Crime Wave stands out”
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer—“ My favorite tale is Stacy Gail’s Crime Wave in a Corset. I adore the spunky, intelligent wit of Cornelia. The chemistry between her and Roderick is delightful. The plot was exciting and I would love to read a full length version of this story.”

Kiki Howell for SUSPENSE MAGAZINE—“With any anthology—and this one was a great one on the whole because I liked each story for different reasons—you still have one tale that just sweeps you away more than the others. For me, it was the first story, Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail.”

NYT Best-selling author, Shannon Stacey—“ I got to read an advance copy of this story and it’s one of my favorite reads of 2011. Top three, I’d say off-hand, without looking at everything I read this year… Once I got about ¾ through, my house could have been on fire and the firefighters would have had to carry me out still reading because I never looked up from the Kindle.”  Goodreads review ( way happy about this one.  I happy-danced until I threw my back out, but it was soooooo worth it.)

So, in Closing…
Um… well, that’s pretty much it.  CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET is now out in all its steampunk glory, both as an ebook and as an audiobook at  And who knows?  If everything goes right (and I can arm-twist Hart Johnson into beta-reading once again), this is just my first step into a Victorian-era world with a gritty, vaguely sci-fi twist.  A perfect world for the likes of the ingenious Cornelia Peabody, as well as a few other characters who have nudged their way to the fore.  Like I mentioned earlier, some characters are pushy like that. ;)

P.S. Am I the only one who has pushy people in her head?  Or are you like that as well?

Buy Links for CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET (because I have to sell this, yo):
Carina Press
Barnes and Noble

Look at those reviews! I'm not even remotely surprised. Have you noticed that Crime Wave and Clock Work have the same letters? (yeah, okay, so that's arbitrary...)  Anyway, I wish you and your sisters the best of luck with this and definitely recommend this to all of you!!!


Old Kitty said...

Hello Stacy and welcome to your Cornelia Peabody!! She sounds awesome and slightly scary oh but ever so NAKED! Yay!! Take care

Alison said...

STEAMPUNK? I am there! Congrats on the books; they look fantastic. And, great interview too!

Stacy Gail said...

*waves at Old Kitty* Hi again! :D You just KNOW there has to be a naked bathtub scene (or two, heehee) as a nod to The Naked Tart. I'm just one of her devoted minions, doing my best to spread the naked truth! ^_^

Hiya Alison! Oooh, you like steampunk too? The gadgets, the clockworks, the corsets... I was able to arm a muff with a Lady Derringer, then make a really bad "that's one dangerous muff" joke. There's no other genre where I could have gotten away with that! :D :D :D

Hart -- Omigosh, Crime Wave and Clock Work... they're almost IDENTICAL. D'you think they were separated at birth? O_o Thanks again for letting me come over a play, you wonderful person, you! *HUGS*

Michael Offutt, Supra-Genius said...

I think I may have to go around looking for the "open calls". It sounds weird but I too may aspire to be an "open call" whore. It doesn't sound half bad.

Deb and Barbara said...

Congrats, Stacy! Sounds like a great adventure you're on. Hart, I've read and just about commented on the last several posts, but then have to go tend to something. As I write, my husband is calling me! Excellent days of Christmas, heartbreaking story about the funeral. xoxo B

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-you've nailed it!


Stacy-HA! Loved the bathtub scenes!!! of course... had no idea they were all about ME!!! erm... sort of.

Michael-GREAT idea! Go with that!

Barbara-life gets crazy sometimes, eh? And thank you!!!

J.K. Coi said...

I'm just chiming in to say READ CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET!!! Now, peeps! You won't regret it. Stacy is made of awesome!

Stacy Gail said...

Michael -- looking for open sub calls not only worked for me, but my amazing brainiac of a brother as well, who's now been published multiple times in the past few months. Good luck!

B of Deb and Barbara -- having three book releases in the span of 95 days has been cooler than Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, that's for sure! Though I may have lost my mind somewhere along the way...

Hart -- HA! Seriously, have you ever taken a good long look at a vintage Victorian-era tub? Those babies were HUGE. Methinks those starched and stuffy Victorian types knew EXACTLY what to do to get things steamy, knowwhatImeanwinkwinknudgenudge? :D

JaaaaaaaaayKaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!! *tacklehugs*
*crashes into the Tart's pudding pool*
*invites others to join in*
Thanks for dropping by! Since we're here covered in pudding (which is par for the course when you blog with Hart Johnson), is it okay if I let everyone know your Christmas steampunk novella, FAR FROM BROKEN, had me in tears by the 3rd page? That's right, y'all. The 3rd page. JK Coi, my antho sister, did an AMAZING thing with her novella in A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS -- she started the book with the black moment, and worked her way out of it from there. There are no words to describe the triumph I felt for her characters, Callie and Jasper, when they achieved their Happily Ever After ending. So, so good. <3

P.S. Hart, what flavor of pudding are we working with today? ^_^

Hart Johnson said...

*dives into pudding pool*

SWEET! (see how I did that)

JK-Welcome! I agree with you on Stacy!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Why didn't someone tell me there was a pudding pool? I'd have woken up earlier!

Being an Aussie, timezone confusion is a given ... Stacy, JK and PG have been the best at covering for my late-to-every-party behaviour.

Stacy, I love your post and you deserve all the fab reviews for Crime Wave in a Corset. Anyone who hasn't read it ... get out of the pudding pool and go do so!

Helena said...

Congratulations on the great response (and reviews!) to Crime ave in a Corset. Of course I'm enormously jealous, but I plan to read it anyway.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Aren't you glad you answered the call? I'm not a short story writer, but I know several people who are.

Stacy Gail said...

Jenny, Jenny, Jenny! *waves wildly* Good morning to you, sweetie! You know, I was thinking about the "roles" we antho sisters play, and to my way of thinking, you are the heart and soul of the group. If it hadn't been for you, I doubt the four of us would have become the friends we are now. That same knack for creating strong relationships shows up in your writing. It's no wonder Angela James chose WANTED: ONE SCOUNDREL out of around 80 subs; the relationship that springs up between Esme and Jed is so genuine, it just leaps off the page. <3

Hi, Helena -- oh gosh, are you a fellow steampunk writer? You'd be surprised at how many there are out there, considering it's a subgenre that's somewhat new to the scene. We've had the tremendous opportunity to meet with some since A CLOCKWORK CHRISTMAS came out, so I feel we should have some sort of a super-sekrit handshake or something. =D

Hey Alex -- boy howdy, you bet I'm glad! Tami is bang-on correct in saying I'm timid when it comes to subbing; in fact, she was being kind. I am a TOTAL WEENIE. But like our editor is fond of saying, "how can I say yes if you're afraid to hear no?"

Angela's kinda smart like that. <3

Jenny Schwartz said...

Stacy, you made me tear up. Thank you, sweetie. But truth is, the four of us just clicked. You're all amazing...and one of the greatest joys of this new venture into steampunk.

'kay, enough of this mushy stuff (no matter how true and heartfelt)...

Like Stacy said, if you're scared of sub'ing stuff ... we all are. I'm a huge coward but in writing that old extreme sport motto is really true: "Feel the fear. Do it anyway!"

Happy writing and even happier sub'ing :)

Hart Johnson said...

YAY, Jenny! Glad you stopped by. I loves me some Aussies... in fact I'm an honorary one! Though I'd think you'd be early... since if you're late, it's tomorrow...

Helena-you will love this! Stacy has GREAT attention to detail--something you two have in common.

Alex-I can't write shorts to save my life, but this novella thing has some appeal as an intermediate...

Stace *sniffs* You big sap... and I forgot to answer earlier--I am ALWAYS happy to beta for you!!!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Hart, LOL, I do live in tomorrow!

*sending virtual tim tams to an honorary Aussie*

Stacy Gail said...

Wheeee, oh I just LOVE it when my friends meet! Jenny, JK, I dedicated CRIME WAVE IN A CORSET to Hart (and my bro), because she. Is. AWESOME. :D

I totally agree about the novella length being a toughie! Before I tried these open calls for submissions, most of my projects were in the 60K to 80K range. But I've since learned that my little pea brain is remarkably limber. If asked, I suspect I can write just about anything on demand, and what's even crazier about that is I actually enjoy it. ^_^

Jenny, I love the analogy of extreme sports and subbing, so that's going to be my new motto -- "Feel the Fear--do it anyway!" Brilliant!

*bursts out laughing* Hart, why does every Aussie you meet give you Tim Tams??? You're like a Tim Tam magnet *cough*lucky*cough*

Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your Twelve Days of Christmas, Your Tartness. As always, it was wonderful!

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh steampunk! This sounds great.

Hart Johnson said...

*loves Tim Tams* They're the BEST!