Emerald Skies Preview!

Hello Lovelies!

I’m thrilled to announce that my first young adult novel, “A Dream of Emerald Skies” is coming soon!

I am doing a sneak peek with the first three chapters via digital download FREE Sunday-Monday, February 10-11 on amazon/kindle!

The link is here:

Emerald Beginnings: A Society Series Short Story https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NHZHCCC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_qI8xCb702CTFT

Share as much as you like and feel free to review and comment!

February is going to be one big busy creative month culminating in a massive event on March 1st. Please watch this space for announcements!

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

———–

Events:

  • March 1st-Steampunk First Friday at the St. Louis Science Center. Watch this space! And yes, another book release!

More Information:

-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam.

BOOKS – all my books are on Amazon.

Vampires!!

-A vampire collection “The First Ten Bites” is on Amazon/kindle:

The First Ten Bites, Black and White Edition: The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v. 1-10 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978093241/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_kzm4zb0KAZABG

Steampunk!!!

The Kicho is here!

The Kicho: The Dolls of Society Series, v.1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/173159075X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_V2wlCbQR04GN6

The first Society Series continues on Amazon/Kindle!

-“Strax and the Widow”-And so the Discussion began…Strax is a weird west steampunk adventure. The Lady has arrived at her destination. See where that place is.

-“Revenge and Machinery”-the Strax sequel is full of intrigue, action, romance, mystery. and the spinoff of “Strax and the Widow”.

-“A Long Reign”-A Society Series spin off, Amazon UK Storytellers competition semi finalist and bestseller. A darker side of Steampunk.

ALL my written works are here, my amazon author page:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

Dogs!

-A Sleepy Book of Dogs is available on Amazon. Great for the pooch lovers!

Social and Media Links!
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
https://mobile.twitter.com/thecountesssp
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steampunkcountess/
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-goodreads-Victoria Szulc

SHOPS!-note if you see ANY item on social media, please don’t hesitate to contact me about purchasing. DM me please through whatever media you are using.

I have most of my steampunk and gothic items in the Boo-Tique at Haunted STL Tours. This is a physical shop you can walk into. Hours and information at HauntedSTLTours.com

-My squareup store is open! Here is the link:

https://squareup.com/store/haute-hen-countess

-Etsy: NOTE if you see something you like, get it ASAP, I do not have an exact date of when I’ll be closing the Etsy store.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen

-DPOP: thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Thank you for reading!

Victoria

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A Chat with Phoebe Darqueling

Hello Lovelies:

Last week I did an interview with Phoebe Darqueling. I just wanted to pass along an update from Phoebe:

There’s just one more day to pick up the e-book for the special $1.99 pre-order price. You can find it at the OWS website, Amazon and a variety of other e-book retailers.

We’re right in the middle of my digital book tour, so you can get more behind the scenes action by visiting my website and checking out the character spotlights, excerpts, reviews, and more. 

For people who want to learn more about Steampunk as a genre and stay up to date on you can sign up for my email list and receive a free copy of The Steampunk Handbook

 Phoebe on social media:

 Facebook group, on Twitter and Instagram.

The original interview here:

Hello Lovelies:

Over a year ago I met my online editor for Steampunk Journal. After some fast and fun messaging and emails, I found that Phoebe Darqueling and I had much more in common than just steampunk. Normally my blog is about my art and writing, but today, I wanted to share a little interview with Phoebe, to talk about steampunk and her writing. Her latest work, Riftmaker, comes out in about a week.

The Countess: Tell me a little bit about yourself? Family, educational background, places you’ve lived?

Phoebe: I hail from the frigid north (AKA Minnesota) and I stayed there through college at one of the many wonderful, small liberal arts colleges there. My major was Cultural Anthro, which I definitely feel has done a lot to shape my approach to both fiction and life in general. I also have a minor in Art History, and went on to receive an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State. Since then, I’ve moved a bunch of times, including just over a year see-sawing between Greece and Bulgaria, and now my current residence in Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany. I’ve got two older brothers, as well as gaining extra siblings through my awesome in-laws, who are some of my closest friends. 

TC: How did you become a writer?

P: It’s been a pretty crooked path, and the answer depends on how much you count nonfiction writing as part of the equation. My mom started a creativity competition for kids when I was really little, and around the age of 16 I started to help write challenges for the program. There were some short stories and some wretched poetry in there as well, but what I really liked doing for a long time was writing compelling essays. 

I found my way back to fiction mostly as a means of escape. The story of Riftmaker basically poured out of me at a time when my world had gone rather dark. (I wrote a whole article on the experience for people who want the gory details) I knew I had just over a year until The Mister and I were moving to Bulgaria for his PhD research, and I remember thinking at one point, “It’ll be a trudge, but no one can trudge like you.” Which horrified me, because who wants to think of themself that way? So, not long after, I became the primary curriculum writer/blogger for the creativity program, and dove headfirst into writing fiction. 

TC: Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?

P: I really like what I lovingly refer to as “bad science.” These are concepts that make some semblance of sense, but turn out to be false. Or the phenomena are real, but the explanation is just plain wrong. I enjoy taking these concepts and creating stories around them. This can make what I do a little tough to classify sometimes because it is sits right where fantasy and science meet. 

I’ve also realized that the idea of worlds that are separate but overlap somehow, be they actual portals you walk through or the ability to see the dead among us, has a real hold on me. That is more like a common theme than inspiration though, because it seems to be where I end up but not necessarily where I start. 

TC: Let’s specifically talk about Steampunk. For some artists, musicians, authors, and creative folk, it’s been hard for them to nail down a description of the genre. What is your definition of Steampunk and what elements do you use in your work?

P: I usually say that Steampunk began as a literary genre that was influenced by the real and imagined setting of the Victorian era. This created an aesthetic that has since spread widely to all sorts of mediums. I tend to take the anthropological approach of looking for patterns in what people say fits into the Steampunk genre (descriptive) rather than drawing hard lines between things (proscriptive). 

There are definitely some people who would say what I do isn’t in fact Steampunk. I recently had a bit of an altercation with someone who said that if a story takes place in the present or future, it simply can’t be classified as Steampunk. Riftmaker takes place in the present, but in an alternate universe, and by his narrow definition, it wouldn’t count. But the Steampunk aesthetic trappings in the book are undeniable, and as the author who knows that is what influenced me as I wrote it, I can say it is definitely a Steampunk book. 

I actually tend to call No Rest for the Wicked Gaslamp fantasy instead, because at least in this first book of the series, there’s no significant tech to speak of and I don’t want people to go in expecting airships and mechanical beasts like I have in Riftmaker. It’s more like historical fiction with a paranormal twist.

In both cases, there is some kind of twist of trope or history, and that is central to what it means to write “punk literature” in general. 

TC: Do you do mash ups or blends? Like steampunk and Sci-Fi classics like space opera?

P: Steampunk is one of the most mashupable things out there. Which is why it’s kind of weird that I haven’t done anything like this yet, except that it’s safe to say that Riftmaker is a branch of second world/portal fiction. 

In my short stories, I’ve been doing some dabbling in mashing up classic fairy tales with other genres, such as my horror re-telling of Pinocchio in The Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales and a noir Cinderella story where she’s a “cleaner” for the mob. So, that is really where my head (and my pen) have been lately in terms of mashups. 

TC: Tell us a little bit more about Riftmaker.

P: At its heart, Riftmaker is a twist on classic “a boy and his dog” trope, but uses a fantastical setting to explore the ideas of friendship, prejudice, and identity. The main character is Buddy, a dog who wakes up in a human body in a strange city on the other side of a rift in time and space. You can find out a little more about him as a character and read an excerpt at another stop on my blog tour. 

His boy follows him through the portal and undergoes his own transformation, becoming a dog himself. The world they land has magic and monsters, and people who hold a deep-seated prejudice against anything from “the other side.” These things have shaped their society and puts both Buddy and his boy in danger. Though not exactly the danger anyone expects…

TC: Lastly, they always say you’re only as good as your last performance. What do you have up next in your author arsenal?

P: I am in the strange but wonderful position of having had two publishers become interested in my two different books around the same time. So my next release is just around the corner! No Rest for the Wicked is coming your way March 28, just six weeks after Riftmaker drops on Feb 14. 

In terms of my writing plans, I have started the sequel to No Rest for the Wicked. I have a five-book arc planned for that series, so that should keep me busy for a while. I do also have another standalone book roughed out, which will take place here in the Black Forest of Germany and involves a horror film crew who accidentally awaken fairy tale creatures that have lain dormant for centuries. This one will be deliciously darker than my first books, and draw from the lesser-known Grimm fairy tales for inspiration. I’ve also got a writer pal named Kathrin Hutson, and we’ve been dying to write a novel together, so hopefully that’ll come together this year as well! 

TC: Thank you Phoebe for chatting with The Countess today!

I’ll be reviewing Riftmaker for Steampunk Journal in an upcoming edition. You can check out the review, and steampunk pieces that both Phoebe and I have contributed to the Journal at SteampunkJournal.org

As always, thank you for reading,

Victoria

Anatomy of Rejection and Other Feelings

Hello Lovelies:

I want to thank everyone who follows my page for your support.

Like a lot of people, the combined cold/bad weather and government shut slowed things down quite a bit and I am scrambling to make changes for spring.

This has been one heck of a winter. With the cold, in January, between a finished/published short story and my current WIP, I made it past 35,200 words. That doesn’t include five blogs, two photo shoots, and promoting too. I was satisfied with the turn out. I still have to finsh the current WIP, but it’s well on its way with the first few chapters going off to the editor soon.

During this time, I got a rejection for one of my submissions to a large publishing group. My hands were trembling and heart pounding as I scrolled through the results on my phone. My name wasn’t on the list on the Facebook page to go to the next round. I got the same notification via email a while later.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to curl up and sleep, because at this point I’d been working myself ragged. I reminded myself that this was my first time trying this particular contest. That there were close to 1500 entries, and less than a fourth of that were picked for semi finals.

This came on the heels of losing out on a great apartment in one of my favorite neighborhoods. I was tired of disappointment.

I then did what I always do. I got right back to work. Continuing work on my latest book. Even though I was pissed. And grumpy.

I also made some hard financial and art decisions. February was originally booked with 3-4 shows. I cut all but the biggest. I didn’t have time or money to prepare. I looked at the return on investment and decided I couldn’t commit to something that didn’t get me a guaranteed return.

That may sound selfish. But last year I cranked out an incredible amount of work. However, some things just didn’t sell. Some shows were poorly attended. I had to sit back, get real with myself about where I needed to place my focus and passion. It took a load off my mind to stay on course and knock out some distractions.

The day after the rejection, I got yet another email I wasn’t expecting. The company running the contest still ranked pieces on a 1-100 scale. I was thrilled to see I received an 82.

Being an artist/writer is a roller coaster of emotions. I’m hanging on for the ride. I’m expecting some other news this week. I appreciate any support and I’m always grateful for my patrons.

February is going to be one big busy month culminating in a massive event on March 1st. Please watch this space for announcements!

Again-back to more writing…

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

———–

Events:

  • March 1st-Steampunk First Friday at the St. Louis Science Center. Watch this space! And yes, another book release!

More Information:

-If you would like to be on my newsletter list, please message me your email. The newsletter goes out 4-6 times a year. That’s it. No daily spam.

BOOKS – all my books are on Amazon.

Vampires!!

-A vampire collection “The First Ten Bites” is on Amazon/kindle:

The First Ten Bites, Black and White Edition: The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v. 1-10 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978093241/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_kzm4zb0KAZABG

Steampunk!!!

The Kicho is here!

The Kicho: The Dolls of Society Series, v.1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/173159075X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_V2wlCbQR04GN6

The first Society Series continues on Amazon/Kindle!

-“Strax and the Widow”-And so the Discussion began…Strax is a weird west steampunk adventure. The Lady has arrived at her destination. See where that place is.

-“Revenge and Machinery”-the Strax sequel is full of intrigue, action, romance, mystery. and the spinoff of “Strax and the Widow”.

-“A Long Reign”-A Society Series spin off, Amazon UK Storytellers competition semi finalist and bestseller. A darker side of Steampunk.

ALL my written works are here, my amazon author page:

amazon.com/author/victorial.szulc

Dogs!

-A Sleepy Book of Dogs is available on Amazon. Great for the pooch lovers!

Social and Media Links!
-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc
-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP
https://mobile.twitter.com/thecountesssp
-YouTube-The SP Countess, link to one of my videos here: https://youtu.be/jEz9QSInhWg
-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/steampunkcountess/
-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-goodreads-Victoria Szulc

SHOPS!-note if you see ANY item on social media, please don’t hesitate to contact me about purchasing. DM me please through whatever media you are using.

I have most of my steampunk and gothic items in the Boo-Tique at Haunted STL Tours. This is a physical shop you can walk into. Hours and information at HauntedSTLTours.com

-My squareup store is open! Here is the link:

https://squareup.com/store/haute-hen-countess

-Etsy: NOTE if you see something you like, get it ASAP, I do not have an exact date of when I’ll be closing the Etsy store.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen

-DPOP: thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Thank you for reading!

Victoria