That drawer where stuff gets put

#SteampunkHands Solving the Mystery of What’s Missing:

(image by Mr Xpk)

THANKS to Kevin D Steil, our Airship Ambassador, for inviting me to take part in Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015. I’m honoured to be in the company of incredible creators sharing works, thoughts, and passions within the international spectrum. At this World Tour pit stop, allow me to wax philosophical (over your preference of tea, wine, brandy, or a pensive pipe), while I get to the heart of why I like steampunk. I like to look into the past to find ourselves–especially our missing history– within LGBTQ, people of colour, or non-western cultures. Steampunk is where we can (finally!) enhance ourselves through rediscovery and take our imaginations to a new level.

This is image from: http://xdl.drexelmed.edu/item.php?object_id=2373

A memento of the Dean’s reception, held Oct 10, 1885.

Anandibai Joshee graduated from Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMC) in 1886; Kei Okami graduated from WMC in 1889; Sabat Islambooly graduated from WMC in 1890.

 ~

Peering into the past through old photographs, first-hand accounts, antique possessions, and places is detective work and the anthropological hunt; we’re all digging for treasures of understanding and often we trip over distressing artefacts and events. Learning history means learning how we’ve hurt each other, dehumanised and taken things, bodies, dignity, and identities. And along with the unseemly there are beautiful remnants of human experiences. The past can never be fully known or understood, bad or good. But what’s gleaned can answer what we hadn’t known was missing from our present, and when these pieces are locked in, it’s inspiring.

This book is: Human Zoos, the Invention of the Savage, by Gilles Boëtsch and Nanette Jacomijn Snoep.

~

Steampunk: Solving the Mystery of What’s Missing

Regarding me: being a woman and a lesbian; being an American person of colour, absorbed into the “melting pot” culture, and a person raised Buddhist, it becomes hard to find “me” in our world. I don’t belong in the “old” country of my parents, nor do I want to, therefore who am I, and how do I perceive myself? Steampunk is my present answer.

I love the trappings of our Western culture and history; the clothes, places, architecture, languages, vehicles, and people. And I see myself as a strong, learned female, ready to be an exemplary example of such a culture. Past the midpoint of my life, I’m still ready. But society’s mirror doesn’t point in my direction, and when it does it’s often disappointing, reflecting stereotype, fantasy, or myself in innocuous background roles.

Elizabeth Watasin, at Clockwork Couture for the Comics and Literature event, 2014.

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In reality, I’m wrapped in the cloth of generations of human experience and our imagination. With no mirror, I create my own and visualise the best archetype I can be. This is the metaphor of steampunk, where history becomes the base to build “what if”; where seeds of change, like those I explore in the Dark Victorian series, aren’t killed but flourish. Straight, white, privileged males wrote and interpreted all our history for the Western culture. Therefore it is hard to find the accounts of the disenfranchised, the ignored, the non-English, and those who engaged in their cultures in secret.

This book is: Women in Pants, Manly Maidens, Cowgirls, and Other Renegades, by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Greig

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So what to do once we identify what’s missing? Arm ourselves. We find photos of Victorian people of colour, uncover 150 year old accounts of women cross-dressing or “married” to other women, rediscover historical key points where oppression can be rewritten, and make Change happen. We restore the silenced or forgotten to the world, saying: remember this? Well here we are again, new.

Metis group, Alberta (1900-1901) L-R: Agatha Garneau, Archange Garneau, Charlotte Garneau, and Placide Poirier.

From: Glenbow Museum, http://ww2.glenbow.org

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I tackle the criminalisation of being lgbtq in history, undo it, re-visualise it, and create the better world needed, with pulp fiction and penny dreadful fun. But for others the improved world can be whimsical, charming, fantastic, frightening, epic, sensual, and rollicking too. Do it in music, self-identity, cosplay, fiction, blogs, crafts, fashion, games, comic books, art, design, food, and even as a lifestyle. This is the gift of steampunk.

Creating alternate history and identities may seem frivolous in light of “real world” problems, but storytelling, art, and personas are a way–like great tales, poetry, and songs–of imparting amazing, new ideas and possibilities. It is necessary to realise our potential, and it’s possible 150 years from now we may be rediscovered again. The realm of steampunk is imagination taken into forgotten crevices of our many historical selves and lighting them anew.

Celebrate, have fun, and most of all, enjoy being You.

~

AND for the occasion of Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015, it is with great pleasure that I present an excerpt of my F/F Gothic and dark romance, Medusa: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread Vol 2, on Booktrack for you! FREE, the story is layered with a soundtrack and sound effects for your listening pleasure. Enjoy, and Steam on!

http://www.booktrack.com/read/8a11ca95b9e24133a3747eb816d83bcd

All the best, ~Elizabeth

STEAMPUNK Hands Around the World 2015:

BEGINS!

Image by the gracious Mr Xpk !

Our grand pooba, Airship Ambassador sez:

“Welcome to the second year of Steampunk Hands Around the World!

Last year, we saw the breadth and depth of what our global community has to offer, and from that arose not only new friendships and connections, but also new collaborations for projects which we’ll read about this month.

This year, our month long event celebrates the theme of Steampunk: Our Playground, Our Classroom, Our Workshop, and several dozen creators will share their perspective and examples of how steampunks from around the world have fun, learn, and create.”

HUZZAH (hoists tea cup). I’m late, in that the official opening of the event was this last Sunday, but I was releasing MEDUSA: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread Vol 2 at that tyme. ^v^ Since then many blogs AROUND THE WORLD have published pieces for the occasion. Here is my friend and fellow writer Suna Dasi of Steampunk India, “Ships, Clocks and Stars. A Steampunked Celebration of Longitude History”.

I will also publish a blog piece called, “Steampunk: Solving the Mystery of What’s Missing” on Monday (Pacific tyme), Feb 9th, AND offer chapter one of MEDUSA as a free Booktrack for all to enjoy. So watch for that release!

And you can enjoy ICE DEMON as a Booktrack in the meantime. Booktracks are books with a soundtrack and sound effects, and I like to multi-layer mine for a superb auditory experience. It’s super fun and FREE to listen to, so do head over and enjoy:

http://www.booktrack.com/#!/?booktrackId=ebc14978cc7c4911aaef0e7005257d1f

Radio! It’s like olde tyme radio. And MEDUSA’s Booktrack is shaping up to be really fun. But back to the #SteampunkHands celebration—I hope you’ll join us! 🙂

all the best, ~eee

NEW release: MEDUSA is here

DV_MEDUSA-SMASHWORDS copy 2

MEDUSA: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread Vol 2 is now LIVE at Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords. 🙂 Amazon geolink: getBook.at/DVMedusa

2.99$ is the sale price. By end of Feb it will go up to match my other books. The synopsis:

Blind Elvie Chaisty discovers a breathing British Museum marble and soon more “living” statues appear in London. Meanwhile, a masked, monocled sculptress invites guests to her provocative marble garden, to be experienced by touch alone. The rich and the specially invited Elvie are enchanted by the sculpted bodies that can be discerned beneath their hands until one visitor dares to make a deadly discovery. Journalist Helia Skycourt and her stick for hire, Ellie Hench, must find out: is the monocled woman the centre of a death cult, one helping young women to an eternal state? Helia and Ellie race to solve the mystery before the sculptress’s fascination for Elvie seduces Elvie into her marble garden, permanently.
With a special appearance by Artifice, artificial ghost and heroine of the steampunk Dark Victorian series, MEDUSA is a gothic, romantic horror set in an 1880, mechanical and supernatural London. An F/F dark romance and psychological, gaslamp fantasy.

This one is a step up in sensuality than my usual fare. I am also very happy to have tried my hand at haptic perception. Please enjoy! 🙂

All the best, ~eeee

Clockwork Couture Comics & Literature was a nifty event:

. . . the setting, participants, and people who visited made it so. There was no big stress, it was a comfy, intimate venue, we brought tea, cookies, and music, we had our own kitchen, bathroom, mini-lounge area and Dalek (yes, full-grown Dalek—inert, thankfully), a breeze coming in through the windows, good conversation, and honestly, it was really nice to see all the genuine smiles.

Very, very different from doing a 50K+ attendee event, a mid-sized show, or even a mid-sized genre show. It was plain nice!

It heartened me to see people at ease and to listen to authors talk earnestly about their books. It was getting back to craft and leaving the commercial environment behind.

PICTURES!

My table is actually to our right; I was lounging for a bit and happened to take this pic leading down to the entrance. Clockwork Couture, the li’l steampunk boutique-that-could, is a floor below us. This room is their community center and is still being renovated. But you can see how nicely the space is coming along. The space is also used to host workshops, gaming, photo shoots, and so on.

Hee hee! Dru is funny, she looks mischievous here, but I think she was going for sweet, which she is! I really liked her table set-up, and I loved her covers. After taking a look at the French version of the first Clockwork Heart book and hearing Dru describe her Icarus-winged heroine, I had to pick up her trilogy. Seated to our left from Dru Pagliossotti was Jaymee Goh and her Steampunk World anthology plus another multicultural speculative fiction anthology. To our right was Madeleine Holly-Rosing and her Boston Metaphysical Society comic book and novella series, then Patrick Scullin, creator of Super-Siblings and his latest, Pandamonium.

Okay, in linking to Boston Metaphysical Society‘s site I just saw Emily Hu’s latest page (she’s the artist). GOOD work.

Here we all are!

From L to R: Me (Elizabeth Watasin), Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Jaymee Goh, Dru Pagliossotti, and Patrick Scullin! (with Dalek photobomb).

If I could do just wee events like this, I’d be happy, but promoting oneself is a strange and necessary business. Anyone who knew me from my past life/career would never imagine I’d put on a hat, dress up, and actually talk to strangers in a public venue. I’m still not that person entirely but I’ll do it because I have to. And it’s not a matter of putting on a hat to be something for show.

It’s about becoming the person you think you’re meant to be.

I call this, “Me, the 13th Doctor, with Friend Dalek”. 😀

All the best, ~~eee