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The 2016 Goldie Awards Finalists are announced!

Both my MEDUSA: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread, and Charm School’s WRECKING FAERIE made finals in the Golden Crown Literary Society’s 2016 Goldie Awards! *whew*
Congratulations to all the finalists! http://bit.ly/1SU0kbD

Considering that I’m a little unconventional in my characters and stories, I’m gratified! 🙂

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MEDUSA: 2015 Rainbow Awards winner :)

MEDUSA won Best Lesbian Fantasy & Fantasy Romance, and was runner-up for Best Lesbian Book. Very honoured and grateful!

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“More than 450 books, almost 170 judges, all over the world, and many, many submissions, from indie publishers, from mainstream publishers and a lot of self-published authors. And, to me more important of everything, we raised more than 17.300 dollars donated to LGBT charities”

https://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/4770143.html

I’m also very proud to be a part of an awards that raised so much for community non-profits. Competition was really stiff, which makes winning such an honour. Check out more of the winners and runner-ups as there are many great books! 🙂

See MEDUSA: A Dark Victorian Penny Dread, here:

http://amzn.to/1jOLwRl

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#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.

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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.

 ~

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

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What is the Dark Victorian? (an illustrated narrative)

(I began this informal narrative over at my Facebook Fan Page and then realised it would make decent material for a Dark Victorian Compendium. So here we go.)

What is The Dark Victorian: Well, friends, how to begin. Hm. (voiceover)

THIS IS London, 1880, and eldritch knowledge had a chance to flourish in this world, with the usual consequences. When supernatural evil runs amok, HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission agents are there to take care of such menaces, though these resurrected former criminals tend to succumb more often while in service rather than triumph. In this black arts world, it’s still Queen Victoria’s London; vibrant, monied, industrious, mechanically advanced, as well as polluted, congested, seedy, and dreadful. It’s the age where Darwinism, secularism, suffragism, the spiritualist movement, the Free Love movement, sexual ‘deviancy’, marriage reforms, vegetarians, and all manner of ‘new thought’ challenged old institutions. It’s also the time of colonialism, mechanisation, steam power, air power, and a rapidly growing middle class. Into this world a young woman is reborn in eldritch fire and lightning. She is named ‘Artifice’.

Gustave Doré, "Ludgate Hill"

Gustave Doré, “Ludgate Hill”

(Chug chug, clatter clatter clatter).

Art with a wee bird.

Art with a wee bird.

But she prefers to be called ‘Art’.

(tweet tweet. I don’t know why the bird is there, it just wanted to be).

Artifice (an early portrait).

Artifice (an early portrait).

Agent Artifice: You may ask yourself, ‘Who is this Artifice?’. Executed criminals resurrected to serve as agents in HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission are reborn without any previous memories (or as Art’s partner, Jim Dastard, likes to say of her: she’s sprung fully formed from Zeus’s forehead). Therefore, it is a mystery that here’s this unusually tall woman (by Victorian standards), and quite unsexed (since she has the developed physique of an avid physical culturist), and QUAKER, who somehow deserved the gallows. As Jim counsels: ’tis the start of a new life and a second chance shouldn’t be wasted. Now she’s an artificial ghost and working on the side of Good. By the end of BONES, Art is nine days living (a pretty good record for a Secret Commission agent). But Jim knows from previous experience with partners (may they rest in peace), that aspects of Art’s past will soon catch up to them.

Helia Skycourt, journalist and velocipedestrienne.

Helia Skycourt, journalist and velocipedestrienne.

Like this woman for example. Lady Helia Skycourt (she prefers to be addressed as ‘Miss’), who’s a journalist for The Times, an avid velocipedestrienne, and apparently a madwoman.

More, later. ^v^

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