It’s a WIP!: An excerpt from Arlington Creed and the Case of the Marinated Mariner.

It’s been a while since I posted any of my Steampunk. This scene is from chapter two; Arlington has gone back to the crime scene when a guest arrives and brings some rather interesting news.


The sound of a horse-drawn carriage echoed through the woods. Creed glared hard at the driver and passenger as they came closer. This was all he needed. Spectators walking through his crime scene.

The buggy stopped just short of their carriage and the young male passenger hastily jumped down. He looked no older than early twenties and his clothing hung awkwardly as though it didn’t properly fit. He pulled a large black bag from the carriage and gently swung it over his shoulder.

Creed threw down his glove on the small table. “What the devil is this nonsense?”

The young man gave a wide smile as he walked toward the men. “Detective Creed, I presume.”

“And who might you be?”

The young man held out his hand. “Daniel Harriden of the Department of Unusual and Dubious Events.”

Creed eyed him carefully. “I’ve never heard of it.”

Harriden seemed out of sorts and he retracted his hand. “I’m not surprised. It’s part of a new branch of the Government. Her Highness, Queen Victoria, has decreed that all commonwealth countries establish their own branch of D.U.D.E., to better protect the Empire.”

Creed exhaled deeply. “And what exactly does this department of unusual and doubtful-“

“Dubious,” Harriden corrected.

Creed nodded. “My apologies, this department of unusual and dubious events want with me?”

The young man looked surprised. “Did you not get the telegram from Chief Inspector Patterson?”

Creed frowned. “No.”

“Oh, well my superiors at D.U.D.E have gone over the original report filed in Montreal and determined that this drowning warrants an investigation from our department, and that you are to assist in any means possible.”

Creed took a sip from his glass. “Is that so?”

“Yes.” He carefully put down his large bag and rummaged through the various pockets in his jacket. “I have the telegram here from Her Majesty, affirming your new appointment.” He brought out a crinkled telegraph from the inside breast pocket and handed it to Creed. “We report only to Queen Victoria herself.” A look of embarrassment appeared on his face. “I mean, my superiors report to Her Majesty. I don’t ever speak with her. Ever.”

Creed read over the telegram. It looked real enough and like most telegrams he’d read. The emblem of the office of Queen Victoria was prominent in the top center of the letter. He handed it back to Harriden. “So I am to assume we are working together for the foreseeable future?”

Harriden nodded, taking the paper and stuffing it back into his breast pocket. “It is my pleasure to inform you that as of this date, September nineteenth, eighteen-hundred and sixty, you and I shall be working together as a team.”

“Lovely.” Degan’s dry tone made Creed smile.

Creed let out an exasperated sigh. “Well then, Mr. Harriden, if Her Royal Highness has bequeathed that we become a team, then who am I to argue?”

Harriden nodded and smiled. “Good. Glad to see you’re in good spirits about this.”

Creed stabbed at his food. “Why wouldn’t I be? Nothing wrong with having someone younger to do all the heavy work.”

Harriden scanned the woods around him. “I would be all too happy to carry on your investigation while you eat.”

Creed nodded. “Thank you.”

“Now, if you don’t mind catching me up on our case.”

The detective wiped the corner of his mouth with a linen napkin. “Nothing really to it. A body washed up on shore several days ago and I-” He caught himself. “We are now left to investigate.”

“Any clues?”

“None that I’ve found, but we have a meeting with the local coroner later today. He might give us something more to investigate.”

“Splendid. In the meantime where should I begin?”

Creed made a thoughtful gesture. “I’m thinking…the lake.”

Harriden looked out over the water. “The whole lake?”

“If you prefer, but I would start where the body was found.” Creed pointed to a patch of long, flat grass along the shore. “He washed up over there in the bulrushes.”

Harriden nodded and carefully made his way down to the shoreline with his black bag. Creed eyed him suspiciously and his doubt returned. Was Chief Constable Patterson trying to removing him from the constabulary because of his injuries?

“Perhaps they recognize your knowledge and experience and wish to incorporate it into this new endeavour?”

Creed looked up at his butler. “What are you talking about?”

“I’ve seen that look before.” Degan removed the empty plate. “You’re suspicious of this decision from your superiors. Am I correct?”

“Am I that transparent?”

“Only with me, sir.”

Steampunk Sunday – Steampunk Fashion

Found on Steampunk Parade

Found on Steampunk Parade

One of the things that drew me to the Steampunk genre was the fashion. Mainly Victorian-based, the Steampunk world is full of corsets and skirts, goggles and top hats, frills and fancy dress. I read somewhere that Steampunk is what happened when Goth’s discovered brown.

I love the dressy part of Steampunk fashion. There is nothing casual about any of it and one could almost imagine people of Victorian era actually wearing these outfits. There’s also a bit of daring to them as well, especially for the outfits for women. Steampunk women embody the rebellious side. They break with tradition, are more free-spirited, and it reflects in the clothing. The more rebellious outfits I’ve seen have pants instead of the long skirt, a big no-no in Victorian era, but if you’re travelling around the world and getting into all sorts of interesting situations, you can’t very well do it wearing a long skirt now, can you.

Fashions for men are a little more embellished than normal. Most men’s outfits I’ve seen lean toward a scientist or outlaw-type, as they represent more of the outlaw than gentlemen aspect. I could be wrong, but I’ve seen very few outfits for men that were not geared this way.

I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Steampunk fashion.

Steampunk Fashion

When I started the board I was pinning just about anything, then I noticed how some

Found on Huangstudio

Found on Huangstudio

of the fashion was less Steampunk and more sex. Not that there’s anything wrong with a sexy outfit, but considering the era this genre takes place in, I find it out of place for a scantily-dressed woman. Rebellion and free-spirited does not mean that you show off everything the Goddess gave you.

I plan on putting together a Steampunk outfit. I’m going to start from the top down, as I already have a few ideas in mind.

Steampunk Sunday; Inspirational Art.

One thing that attracted me to the Steampunk genre was the art. Now I’m not talking about the oodles of pictures of everyday things with gears and cogs glued onto them. No. I’m talking about the art inspired by the genre. Beautifully drawn worlds that depict strange and wonderful worlds full of flying machines, strange inventions, and beautiful outfits. If you go on Pinterest you’ll see some incredible artwork. Some of them just floor me they’re so beautiful.

It’s pictures like this that inspire me to write Steampunk. To be a part of this fantastical world of gears and steam and Victorian sensibility, to add to these worlds, or create a new one where just about anything goes.

If you write Steampunk, what about it inspires you?

Book Review; Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


soullessOne of the first things I noticed when reading was the style of writing. I assumed the author wrote her book in the same way of other books written during the Victorian era. I’ve read several classics, including Dracula, several Jane Austen, and Anne Radcliff, so I am familiar with the overly descriptive prose. It gives the book an overall Victorian tone. What I wasn’t expecting was the constant POV shift between characters, and right in the middle of a scene. Very confusing.

My second observation was that for it being a Steampunk novel, there wasn’t much in the way of technology. This was not a problem to me. Each writer has a different idea of what is required, technology-wise, and I was glad to see a bit more towards the end. There are a few ‘steamy’ scenes in the book, but nothing that could be considered erotic.

This book was recommended to me by several friends when they heard I was interested in reading Steampunk. I felt it dragged a bit, and there were a few places that I skimmed through, but overall it was an enjoyable read. There are more books in the series, but I’m not sure if I’ll read them or not.


3 out of 5

Author Guest Post! Katy O’Dowd

Today I am happy to bring you a new author, Katy O’Dowd! Her new book,  a Steampunk novel called THE LADY ASTRONOMER was inspired by the life of Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), who suffered from both Smallpox and Typhus, was a milliner, soprano, her brother William’s assistant . He, in turn discovered the planet Uranus, then known as George’s Star for the King who funded the build of the ‘Great Forty-Foot’ telescope. More importantly, Caroline became the first woman in recorded history to discover a comet. Not to mention the first woman in the UK to receive a working wage, from the King if you don’t mind.

The floor is all your, Katy!


Thanks Darke for having me over to your blog!

There’s Something Really Appealing About Writing Steampunk.

There’s something really appealing about writing Steampunk – never mind that wars have been started over lesser things than how to define exactly what it is.

I was recently asked to write an article on ‘What is Steampunk?’ for the writing resource writing, ie which was a very interesting experience, as I was going on the premise that people didn’t know what Steampunk is. At all.

So I hummed and hawed, and reckoned that the easiest thing to do (not that I’m lazy, you understand) was to turn something from current popular culture into something Steampunk.

An excerpt from that article goes a little something like this:

“Let’s say the Dowager Countess is having tea with the Countess at the Abbey. They are bemoaning the fate of Lady Mary who has not yet agreed to marry her cousin Matthew. In races Carson to say that Beryl Patmore’s eyesight has deteriorated again and the whole house is about to burn down as she has mistaken bullets for peppercorns.

Instead of being simpering little ladies, although the Dowager Countess could hardly be described as such, they race into action, tucking their long skirts into their bloomers – I know, I know, slight time lapse, forgive me – and run to help. The DC outside to her awaiting dirigible, which she pilots to the nearest lake. Luckily Carson has come with her and between them they devise an ingenious device which sucks the water from the lake, whereupon they fly back and hose it all over the house. While risking life and limb, obviously.

Meanwhile, the Countess meets Lady Mary in the hall. She is wearing breeches, off to Egypt for a bit of exploration, don’t you know, while deciding what to do about Matthew. Her mother hurriedly explains the situation to her and they head to the lab, don goggles, and invent an eyepiece for the Cook so that such a thing need not happen again. And everybody knows quite how hard it is to find a decent Cook.”

Now that might be quite simplistic, and if you are a fan of Steampunk you know all that already. The best part for me though, was that writing the article brought into very clear focus what I love about writing within the genre – it is so much fun. Glorious imagination abounds, with a dash of not taking oneself in any way seriously, tea, adventure, derring-do, experiments, tea, inventions, tea, kick-ass heroines, amazing fashion, tea. And more tea. There really is something appealing about writing Steampunk.

Lucretia’s life as an astronomer is quickly turned on its head by her eldest brother when he is commanded by the king to build the grandest telescope in the land. Her nights spent on rooftops gazing at the stars are replaced by adventure as the family move to be nearer the king. In a race to build the Forty-foot telescope on time, misfortunes take their toll. The lady astronomer finds court life to be more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Can she find the strength inside to overcome the obstacles threatening her destiny? Only the stars will tell.


The Lady Astronomer was published by Untold Press on 26th September 2012. It is currently available as an eBook, and will be out as a paperback later on in the year.



Where to buy:

You can purchase The Lady Astronomer on Amazon USA and Amazon UK.


Author bio:

Katy is an arts and entertainment journalist and has worked for Time Out, Associated Newspapers and Comic Relief and her articles have appeared in The Times (London), Metro (London) and many other arts and entertainment publications, paper and online.

She reviews for the Historical Novels Review and the British Fantasy Society, is a commissioning editor at Pendragon Press and is co-editor of the Nasty Snips II Project for that press.

Alongside writing with her Dad under the pen-name Derry O’Dowd, whose first book ‘The Scarlet Ribbon’ was chosen to launch the History Press Ireland’s fiction line, she writes under her own name.

‘The Lady Astronomer’, a YA Steampunk novel, is out with Untold Press now. She is currently writing a Steampunk adult series because writing for tweens and teens is damnably hard work.

Steampunk Sunday: Can you Steampunk it?

In the last few years, the genre of Steampunk has exploded with popularity. While many fans say it was popular before now, I don’t recall seeing anything past five years ago that was connected to the genre, except for maybe that Will Smith movie Wild, Wild, West.

If you’re unsure of what Steampunk is, I found this beautiful description on STEAMPUNK MAGAZINE;

~BEFORE the age of homogenization and micro-machinery, before the tyrannous efficiency of internal combustion and the domestication of electricity, lived beautiful, monstrous machines that lived and breathed and exploded unexpectedly at inconvenient moments. It was a time where art and craft were united, where unique wonders were invented and forgotten, and punks roamed the streets, living in squats and fighting against despotic governance through wit, will and wile.~

Reading that excited me even more about writing in the genre!

Another thing that I like about it; no matter what style you write it, Steampunk always has a Victorian Era feel about it. The nineteenth century itself was a transitional period in human evolution, and the idea that a world so full of mechanical innovations could have (and in some cases, did) roam the streets fascinates me. Machines working without modern means of power; not on batteries, or electricity, Steampunk is about as low tech as you can go.


*further reading/references*

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