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Dressing up like a Victorian lady

When I first decided to attend the Baltimore Book Festival, I also decided to dress Victorian, the era my series The Luminated Threads is set. I already knew it’d be fun because I put together a steampunk costume for a RWA conference a few years ago.

Dressed as a Steampunk Astronomer

But that was fantasy and easy–I could collect up and wear anything I liked, which I did and won second place in our fantasy chapter’s annual contest. Putting together a Victorian look involves more preparation than going to your local retailer or party supply store, and this time I wanted to be a bit more correct…but not completely correct. I only had the funds to dedicate to what people would see, not the underthings. If you want an entirely correct version of dressing Victorian, please see Victoriana Magazine’s How to Dress 1860s.

Also, I wanted to dress like a character from my 1868 series, but not the heroine. Annmar enters the story wearing a mourning outfit, and one more formal because she works with business clients, drawing advertisements for their steam machines. Because I’m more of a jeans and t-shirt wearer, I chose to dress like the owner of the farm Annmar goes to work for, Mistress Constance Gere:

A woman strode along an avenue created by rows of fruit trees. She was tall, her lean figure dressed in the style Mrs. Rennet wore, a ruffled blouse topped by a suit vest styled for a lady. But unlike Mrs. Rennet, this lady had on a split skirt, the kind worn by women who rode horseback. She would most certainly be holding a sword when she rode—

I’d seen this split skirt online in Historical Emporium. I’ve trolled their site along with other research sites, and they seem the most reasonable and easily accessible, unless you go to a con or DIY. Also because of finances and figuring out what I want to do in the future, I decided to reuse my vest-style corset. The black Brush Twill Riding Pants would work perfectly. Unfortunately, even though I carefully took measurements, the size was too big, so a replacement is on the way. They seemed sturdy and not too long, which was a concern because I am only 5′ 4″.

Historial Emporium Brush Twill Riding pants.The blouse was a simple decision: The Victorian Ladies Blouse in white.

Victorian ladies blouse with stand up collar

The collar is the correct stand up one, the sleeves are nice and full. I like the fabric and the fit.

Boots…my old ones looked and felt great, but the sole cracked after only a half-dozen wearings. I ordered the Victorian Ankle Boot, tried them on–they fit fine–and my husband said, “What are you thinking? You’re going to sprain your ankle. Again.” Uh, right. I do have a issue with weak ankles and lengthy sprain recovery. And getting around any festival or conference is no walk in the park.

Victorian ankle boot

But they’re so cute. sigh.

With a week to go, I was running out of time. I scoured the internet for likely substitutes with Victorian low heel boot and found Payless had something that would do, and in stock locally! I ran over and voila:

Black low heel lace up bootsBrown low heel lace up boots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have a decision to make. The black boots will likely go unnoticed under the black riding pants. However, Mistress Gere is a farm owner and likely to be wearing rougher work boots, the kind Annmar sees the other farmworkers wearing:

“May I borrow a pair of those boots in the back hall?”

“The Wellies?” Mary Clare frowned. “They’d be huge on you. Try my work boots.” In a thrice, she had them off.

Annmar laced the leather boots and stood. These fit better than the ones last night. And walking— “Much less sloppy,” she told a grinning Mary Clare. Her sore feet and the rough ground slipped from Annmar’s mind a few steps into the orchard.

I also envision Mistress Gere needing to carry a few items out to the fields, which would be much easier if she wore a belt and hung things from it…clearly I have more work to do this weekend!

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It’s a party…and you’re invited!

I’ll be at the Eros Element Facebook Release Party Tuesday, August 25th. Please join me!

Eros Element Facebok Virtual Release Party

I’m on from 6:30-7:00 with steampunk activities. Commenters will be entered to win a copy of The Unraveling during my hosting time. The complete schedule is:

5:30 PM Cecilia Dominic
6:00 PM Red L. Jameson
6:30 PM Laurel Wanrow
7:00 PM Megan Morgan
7:30 PM Jillian Neal
8:00 PM Viola Carr
8:30 PM Linsey Hall
9:00 PM Cecilia Dominic

Five Favorite Steampunk Stories

Today, I’d like to welcome guest blogger Cecilia Dominic. Cecilia is a fellow steampunk author, with her novel Eros Element releasing August 25th.

Thanks so much for having me today, Laurel! It’s always fun to go back and think about books I’ve enjoyed.

I first found out about steampunk when my friend and fellow author James Bassett suggested I submit a story to his and Stephen Antczak’s anthology Clockwork Fairy Tales. I did, and they rejected it, but I was hooked. I started reading more of the genre and stumbled into Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. I went from hooked to in love. I’ve since read other steampunk works, and here are some of my favorites, in no particular order.

 

Soulless by Gail Carriger – yes, I had to mention this one since it was my gateway steampunk drug, er, bookPrint

The first book in the Parasol Protectorate series embodies many things I love about the steampunk genre – a feisty misfit heroine who prefers matters of the head to those of the heart, mystery, urban fantasy elements, and interesting devices. The heroine Alexia is also half-Italian, which is a fun twist, and she is so romantically disadvantaged it’s fun to see how she manages to stumble into love. There’s also a Scottish werewolf. Yes, I’m all about the Scottish werewolves. I’ve read books two and three of the series, and they continue to be very entertaining.

 

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

Iron Duke

I will admit to a bias against zombies that made me pick this one up with trepidation even though it had been highly recommended by a friend. This particular friend loves my books, so she must have good taste, right? This is one of those stories that you’ll think about long after it’s over, both because of the heroine – another half-breed misfit – and the well-drawn secondary characters. It’s darker than Soulless, but still a great story, and the zombies aren’t that prominent. I haven’t read further in the series but intend to, especially since the second book is about treasure hunter Archimedes Fox and airship captain Yasmeen, two of those great secondary characters. Just added it to my wish list.

 

 

Disenchanted & Co by Lynn ViehlDisenchanted & Co

I found this one because I picked up the first part for free as part of some promotion, and of course I had to continue all the way through the second book, The Clockwork Wolf. In this fascinating alternate history setting, the United States lost the Revolutionary War, so Victorian mores have a stranglehold on the land. The heroine, Kit, is a private investigator who doesn’t believe in magic but is being stalked by a deathmage. The way Viehl handles the love triangle between Kit, the deathmage, and the sweet police inspector is very clever. This was one of those cases where I found myself reading a steamy scene in a public place and really hoping no one else was looking at my phone. Write the third book, please, Ms.Viehl. Like, now.

 

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason (Young Adult)

Clockwork Scarab

Sure, Sherlock Holmes has been through many retellings by now, and there’s no Benedict Cumberbatch to be found in this version, but this is a really fun book. Mina Holmes, niece of Sherlock, and Evaline Stoker, sister of Bram, have to team up to solve why London’s young society ladies are disappearing. The contrast between Mina’s calm, rational (of course) personality and Evaline’s brash, impulsive one creates enjoyable tension, and there are some sweet love interests to keep things even more interesting. The second one is waiting for me on my Kindle as a reward for when I’m done with my next project.

 

 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Young Adult)

Clockwork Angel

I picked this one up, read the first chapter, and put it down with a meh. So what is it doing on this list? Two words: Will Herondale. Yeah, I feel like *such* a cougar because he’s like, seventeen, but O.M.G. His tragedy makes him older in spirit. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. I re-read the book, made it through the first part, found Will, and my interest and the story picked up rapidly from there. The Shadowhunters are a mysterious organization dedicated to hunting evil entities. It sounds intimidating, and they do have some mad fighting skills, but at its heart, it’s a group of barely organized misfits in a big old castle, which makes it fun. Heroine Tessa Gray falls in with them and falls for Shadowhunter Will, who is under a curse. And Jem, who has his own problems. And I won’t spoil anything for you, but this is the best YA love triangle I’ve read in a long time. I’ve read the second book, and the third is waiting on my Kindle for me.

 

Hopefully that’s enough to get you started, and I hope that you’ll fall in love with the genre like I did. Up next in my queue – The Unraveling, of course! Also, please come meet and chat with Laurel at my virtual release party on Facebook August 25 at 6:30.

~~~

About Eros Element, Aether Psychics Book One

 Eros Element

If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison.

After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.

Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school’s faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether.

Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar—and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal—while hiding the truth of her father’s whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin.

Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery—and break their hearts.

Warning: Allergen alert! This book was produced in a facility that handles copious amounts of wine, tea and baked goods. May contain one or more of the following: a spirited heroine, a quirky hero, clever banter, interesting facts both made-up and historical, and lots of secrets. It is, however, gluten free.

Buy Eros Element at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Books | Kobo | Samhain Publishing

If you’d like to check out a free steampunk story by Cecilia, you can read it here.

 ~~~

About the Author

Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had aCecilia Dominic much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each. She also enjoys putting her psychological expertise to use helping other authors through her Characters on the Couch blog post series.

 

Find Cecilia Here:

Web page | Wine blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Interview and #Giveaway coming!

The lovely–and bag fanatic–Vicki Batman is hosting me on Get Lost In A Story this Wednesday, July 8th (here!–live on Wednesday!). It’s a not-to-be-missed post for two reasons:

1) We’re offering a giveaway of a print copy of The Unraveling to one lucky commenter

and

2) I’m revealing what’s in my heroine Annmar’s bag–not your typical Victorian heroine’s bag, but a leather satchel, a la those carried by Civil War soldiers.

Civil War Leather satchel

What a bag, huh? As one of my reviewer’s said, “… Annmar’s newly found roots give her the mettle to be a woman far ahead of her time!

I’ll be in and out through the day to chat and answer questions about my new release. 🙂

Reviews and interviews!

I’ve had a couple of very nice reviews posted on my Amazon page–thank you so much!

If you’ve read The Unraveling and are able to post where you purchased it–which is only Amazon just yet–or on your favorite book site, like Goodreads, that would be great. Reviews help readers find new authors, which is downright tricky in today’s digital world.

Want to know more about how I came to write The Unraveling? I have two interviews coming up:

Wednesday, 7/8  ~~   Get Lost In A Story, Guest, Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, 7/21 & 28 ~~  History Undressed, Guest posts on my granddad’s steam engines

This Wednesday’s will feature a giveaway of a print copy of The Unraveling to one lucky commenter selected via random.org.

Come chat with me!

Celebrating #IndieBooksBeSeen

Laurel Wanrow & #IndieBooksBeSeen

Big day on social media for Indie authors!

Refresh of my blog tour schedule

I have two features up today:

Monday, 6/29  ~~  Jessica E. Subject’s SFR Monday Blog, Interview

Monday, 6/29  ~~   Jill Archer’s Blog, Five Photographs Interview

 * * *

And more to come:

Wednesday, 7/8  ~~   Get Lost In A Story, Guest, Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, 7/14 ~~  History Undressed, Guest post on my granddad’s steam engines

* * *

My debut novel, The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads is out!

 The Unraveling - Kindle

Buy the ebook! On sale for .99 until June 30th.

Buy the trade paperback!

* * *

Release Day for The Unraveling!

My debut novel, The Unraveling, Volume One of The Luminated Threads is out!

 The Unraveling - Kindle

Buy the ebook! On sale for .99 until June 30th.

Buy the trade paperback!

* * *

With the generous help of friends hosting me, I’ve put together a blog tour for the release, with interviews and giveaways.

My Goodreads Giveaway is finished. Congratulations to Danae, the winner of a signed print copy of The Unraveling! Thanks to all who entered and virtually shelved a copy. 🙂

Now, the schedule:

Tuesday, 6/23  ~~  Nancy C. Weeks, Romance Suspense Author Blog, Interview

Wednesday, 6/24  ~~  C. D. Hersh’s Wednesday Spotlight, Excerpt featured

Thursday, 6/25  ~~   Sarah Allen’s No Write or Wrong Blog, Interview

Friday, 6/26  ~~   Toni Decker Books, Character Interview

Monday, 6/29  ~~  Jessica E. Subject’s SFR Monday Blog, Interview

Monday, 6/29  ~~   Jill Archer’s Blog, Five Photographs Interview

Wednesday, 7/8  ~~   Get Lost In A Story, Guest, Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, 7/14 ~~  History Undressed, Guest post on my granddad’s steam engines

Please visit, I love chatting with readers!

 

Goodreads Giveaway of The Unraveling

I’m offering a signed print copy of The Unraveling on Goodreads. Failing to get their widget to work, I’ve decided it’s better to spend my time writing and just post this plain link!

Enter Giveaway

Good luck!

Going to UtopYA?

We’re less than 24 hours from the start of UtopYA, an author-fan con a fellow steampunk author has raved about.

UTOPYA

It’s four days of fun in Nashville, Tenn, an easy drive for me (who likes driving across country–really!) and the focus is on young adult and new adult supernatural and contemporary fiction–right up my alley! But sadly I’d already booked my summer with self-publishing and trying to squeeze in a bit of writing. LOL.

Instead, I’m going in spirit with my friend Nooce Miller. Nooce has spent weeks, not just getting her print book formatted to perfection for the Saturday night author signing, but creating an exciting raffle basket, giveaways and running down the best deal in the midwest for a beautiful banner.

Nooce Miller at UtopYADoesn’t Theo look lovely fullsize, wielding her geared shotgun to protect her airship! It’s Nooce’s first signing as a published author–I’m so excited for her! If you’re traveling to Nashville, pop into the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel and look for Theo’s magenta airship on Saturday, June 20th.

Have fun, Nooce! *waves* Totally enjoy your first signing. 🙂

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