Interview with Bec McMaster, Author of Kiss of Steel and Giveaway!

 

Bec McMaster is the author of Kiss of Steel, a sexy steampunk romp that blazes with action and romance.  Bec dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her book, and she brought along a copy for one of you to win! Check out what she has to say, and then enter for your chance to win a copy of Kiss of Steel!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Bec McMaster] Dreamer, adventurer, glass half-full kind of gal with an addiction to paranormal romance, steampunk and alpha heroes. Wannabe world traveler.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Kiss of Steel?

[Bec McMaster] Kiss of Steel is set in a steam-fuelled London where the aristocratic Echelon rule with an iron fist and crush any and all who oppose them. With their puppet queen, blood taxes and automaton army, the only man they don’t dare touch is Blade, the notorious Devil of Whitechapel – and one of their own.

Fleeing from the Duke of Vickers with a secret he’d kill for, Honoria Todd is forced to accept Blade’s protection. Infected with the craving virus that makes the Echelon what they are, Blade has his own vendetta against the duke. When Honoria comes into his life she could be the key to bringing down his old enemy – or the very salvation he never dared dream of.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Bec McMaster] I’ve always had this idea about an aristocratic race – almost like a corruption of the ton – that rule a dark and dangerous world. Then this image sprang to mind of the steamy surrounds of Whitechapel and a desperate woman hurrying through the crowds, glancing over her shoulder. Watching her from the shadows was a dangerous man with his own intentions and secrets. I couldn’t wait to find out who they were.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Honoria?

[Bec McMaster] Uptight, fierce, protective.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Blade would never have in his pocket?

[Bec McMaster] 1. A plain white cotton handkerchief. It would be silk and most likely something garish, like red, or gold.

2. A book. Raised in the rookeries, he’s never had the time to learn to read.

3. A pistol. He prefers something that will get him up close and personal in a fight – like brass knuckles or a cut-throat razor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Blade’s single most prized possession?

[Bec McMaster] Blade doesn’t really care about material things, but his most prized possession would be his home – and the adopted family of strays he’s gathered over the years. He never really had a home growing up, and he lost his sister at a young age, so the instinct to create his own family and to protect them is a strong one. He’ll fight to the death to keep it all.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Bec McMaster] My grandfather used to read to me every time I stayed at his place, and they would be wonderful, exciting stories that let my imagination roam as a child. He was the one who made me fascinated with reading and all of the amazing worlds out there in books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Bec McMaster] 1. Tea and copious amounts of it. Preferably English Breakfast.

2. My ugg boots to keep my feet warm – and because writing is such a glamorous job.

3. Two cushions to prop me up nice and straight and keep my back comfortable.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Bec McMaster] Wicked as They Come by Delilah S. Dawson. I finished it last week and it was such pure steampunky-fun with blud-bunnies, an interesting take on the vampire mythos and a charming hero who has spent years waiting for his love to come to him.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Bec McMaster] Wow, this is really tough. As I said above, my grandfather read to me from a really early age (I can’t ever remember not reading or being read to), so it’s hard to know what grabbed my attention the most. A quick list of my favorite childhood books includes Brer Rabbit, Nicky and his Forest Friends, Hiawatha, the Children of Cherry Tree Farm, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit. I could go on. I obviously liked talking animal stories. And witches.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Bec McMaster] As any writer will probably tell you, this doesn’t happen very often. I love to read, though I need to make more opportunity for this (my TBR shelves groan in agreement), I love cooking, walking the dog, going to the gym, playing netball, hanging with my boyfriend, reading travel brochures and plotting my next trip.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Bec McMaster] At my website at www.becmcmaster.com, @BecMcMaster on Twitter and Facebook www.facebook.com/BecMcMaster. I love to hear from readers!

Thank you so much for having me!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Kiss of Steel to give to one of you! Just fill out the widget to enter! Earn extra entries for following.  US and Canadian mailing addresses only, please.

 

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Didn’t win? You can purchase Kiss of Steel from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below. Available in both print and digital.

 

KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012

A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London…

When Nowhere is Safe

Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it’s the last safe haven. But at what price?

Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It’s been said he faced down the Echelon’s army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he’s been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She’s so…innocent. He doesn’t see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he’s been seeking.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.

Under the Sea Giveaway Hop! Win Cuttlefish by Dave Freer!

 

Welcome to my  Under the Sea Giveaway,  hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and The Musings of ALMYBNENR.  This hop runs from September 14th to September 20, and you can win lots of new reads.  Click here for a complete list of blogs participating in the hop.

I am giving away a finished copy of Cuttlefish by Dave Freer.  I enjoyed this seafaring adventure, and I think you will, too!

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery and capture. Under flooded London’s canals they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty – the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no further than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

 

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Just fill in the widget below for your chance to win.  Earn extra entries by following.  US shipping addresses only, please.

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New and Notable Releases: Week of September 3 Part One

Here are new adult releases for the week. It’s a monster list, with quite a few titles from my wish list.  I think I am most excited for Her Amish Man because it looks wonderfully cheesy, and  Not Proper Enough.  Are there any must haves from your list? Check back tomorrow for new and notable Young Adult releases.

Click the titles for the Amazon product page.

 

Alone Time: Visits to Petal, Part 1  by Lauren Dane (Sep 4, 2012)

Guardian (Berkley Sensation) by Catherine Mann (Sep 4, 2012)

Her Amish Man by Erin Bates (Sep 4, 2012)

 

In Rides Trouble: Black Knights Inc. . by Julie Ann Walker (Sep 4, 2012)

The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James (Sep 3, 2012) 

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster (Sep 1, 2012)

 

A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner (Sep 1, 2012)

The Last Renegade (Berkley Sensation) by Jo Goodman (Sep 4, 2012)

Not Proper Enough (A Reforming the Scoundrels Romance) (Berkley Sensation) by Carolyn Jewel (Sep 4, 2012)

Playing to Win by Jaci Burton (Sep 4, 2012)

Ruined By Moonlight: A Whispers of Scandal Novel by Emma Wildes (Sep 4, 2012)

A Season for Sin by Vicky Dreiling (Sep 4, 2012)

When You Give a Duke a Diamond (The Fallen Ladies) by Shana Galen (Sep 1, 2012)  

Witch Born by Amber Argyle (Sep 5, 2012)

Dragon’s Moon (A Children of the Moon Novel) by Lucy Monroe (Sep 4, 2012)

 

How to Drive a Dragon Crazy (Dragon Kin) by G.A. Aiken (Sep 4, 2012)

In a Fix by Linda Grimes (Sep 4, 2012)

The Kingmakers (Vampire Empire, Book 3) by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith (Sep 4, 2012)

The Lost Night (A Rainshadow Novel) ) by Jayne Castle (Sep 4, 2012)

The Map of the Sky: A Novel by Felix J Palma (Sep 4, 2012)

Primal Possession: A Moon Shifter Novel by Katie Reus (Sep 4, 2012)

Ravenous (Clare Point Vampires) by V. K. Forrest (Sep 4, 2012)

Riveted (A Novel of the Iron Seas) by Meljean Brook (Sep 4, 2012)

The Skybound Sea (The Aeons’ Gate Book Three)) by Sam Sykes (Sep 4, 2012)

A Tale of Two Vampires: A Dark Ones Novel by Katie MacAlister (Sep 4, 2012)

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova (Sep 4, 2012)

Two Ravens and One Crow: An Iron Druid Chronicles Novella  by Kevin Hearne (Sep 4, 2012) (Novella)

The Wild Road: Book Three of Karavans by Jennifer Roberson (Sep 4, 2012)

Are any of these on your must have list?

Waiting on Wednesday–The Steam Mole by Dave Freer

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I finished Cuttlefish by Dave Freer not long ago, and was thrilled to discover that there will be another book featuring Clara and Tim.  There is no plot synopsis yet.  The Steam Mole is high on my wish list anyway.  In stores December 2012.

 

 

Order it here:  The Steam Mole

What are you waiting on?

Cover Shot! The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

The cover for The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley is so cool.  I love the colors and the flashes of lightning, and the creepy masked guys in the background – they are really creepy!  The world-building seems interesting, what with the automatons powered by human souls.  Human souls. Really?  I’m am very intrigued by this book!

In stores November 2012.

  

An alternate 1895… a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.

It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.

But all is not well…

A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.

Professor Moriarty.

When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.

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Review: Cuttlefish by Dave Freer

 

Title:  Cuttlefish

Author: Dave Freer

Publisher:  Pyr

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The smallest thing can change the path of history.

The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.

Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery, and capture. Under flooded London’s canals, they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.

Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty—the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no farther than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.

When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.

Review:

Cuttlefish has been on my radar since I first saw the cover on Amazon.  When I received a review copy, I could hardly wait to start reading it.  Between the covers, I found a compelling adventure, one that was enhanced by the two extremely likable protagonists.  Tim and Clara made the book for me, and it was on the strength of their personalities that I eagerly journeyed to the end.  The pacing could be a little slow as the Cuttlefish journeyed across the ocean, and without these protagonists, who demand that you pay attention to them, I don’t know if I would have found the book as enjoyable.  Sometimes the journey holds your attention, and sometimes, it’s your companions who make the trip worth taking.

Clara is the daughter of a chemist, and when her mother arrives at her school, frantically demanding that Clara follow her with no questions asked, the girl is bewildered.  What is going on?  Why are these scary guys chasing after them?  Clara is a clever girl, and after overcoming her initial fear, she quickly starts to question everything that’s going on around her.  The Russians are determined to capture them, as are the British, all to gain possession of her mother’s research.  And here Clara thought her mother was dull and boring, and overly engrossed in her research!  In reality, she’s the object of a dangerous manhunt that will take them all over the world!

The two end up on the Cuttlefish, a submarine at smuggles goods from around the world back to London.  In the years after the Big Melt, life is difficult for all.  There isn’t enough food being harvested, nations are bickering over limited resources, and the super powers are battling for control of shipping lanes, overland trade routes, and mining facilities.  Once it’s suspected that Clara’s mother’s research could tip the balance of power, everyone is after them, with orders to capture them, or barring that, kill them so that the research doesn’t fall into another nation’s hands.   Yikes!  These guys aren’t playing around, but Clara’s resourcefulness and courage proves to be quite a match for all of the bad guys.

On board the sub, Clara meets Tim.  Tim was raised in the tunnels under drowned London, and there is no love lost between them at first.  Confused, Tim wonders why the women are on the sub.  He also suspects, at first, that Clara is over-privileged and over-indulged.  As they share one dangerous adventure after another, Tim slowly learns how wrong he is about his new friend.  Clara’s honest and open friendship makes him question how he perceives the world, and makes him re-evaluate his plans for the future.  I loved how their growing friendship brought out the best in both of them.  Where Clara is weak, Tim is strong, and visa versa.  While Tim is more laid-back and more of a thinker, Clara is impulsive, jumping into any situation without hesitation.  They manage to get each other into, and back out of, several hair-raising scrapes, by learning to trust and rely on each other.  I loved their relationship.

The pacing was a little sluggish near the end, but the last 50 pages were frantically urgent, keeping me on the edge of my seat.  I couldn’t put the book down, even though it was far past my bedtime.  I was so engaged in the survival of the Cuttlefish that I couldn’t set the book aside.  The thought of being chased across the Pacific, trapped in a crippled submarine, actually kept me up after I finished.  The tension was almost unbearable, and I marveled at the steadiness and calm efficiency of the captain and crew.  I quickly decided that I could never join the Navy, because I would have gone off my rocker if anything like that had ever happened to me!

The strength of Cuttlefish is the likability of the young protagonists, as well as the strong action sequences, especially the huge, heart-pounding near disaster at the end.  I loved the characters, and I can hardly wait to have another adventure with them.  The Steam Mole will be out in December; it’s already on my wish list.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

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Cover Shot! Her Sky Cowboy by Beth Ciotta

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I can tell that Amelia is a woman who likes to take risks.  Just look at her outfit.  From the goggles perched on her head to the  layered fringed skirt, everything about her screams, “Look at me!”  Then look at the cowboy standing next to her.  He’s kind of dull in comparison.  How I hope her wildness glams him up a bit, because he clearly has no imagination when it comes to his wardrobe!

In stores November 2012

Amelia Darcy has no interest in marrying well. Her heart belongs to the sky and the dirigibles of brass and steel that swoop over Victorian England. But when her father, an eccentric inventor, dies, the Darcy siblings are left with scrap metal—and not a penny to their names.

Their only hope to save the family reputation and fortune is to embark on a quest to discover an invention of historical importance in honor of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Armed with only her father’s stories of a forgotten da Vinci workshop, a mechanically enhanced falcon, and an Italian cook, Amelia takes flight for Florence, Italy.

But her quest is altered when her kitecycle crashes into the airship of ex–Air Marshal—and scandalous dime novel hero—Tucker Gentry. Tuck agrees to escort Amelia to her destination, but the two are challenged by political unrest, a devious sky pirate, and their own sizzling attraction. Soon the pair is dragged into an international conspiracy that could change the course of history…again

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Cover Shot! A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious by Mary Wine

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Like the heroine of A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, the cover for Mary Wine’s steampunk novel has my interest piqued.  I love the heroine’s expression, but the guy looks kind of dorky; I don’t know if it’s the goggles, his derby, or his goofy grin.  What do you think of this cover?

In stores August 2012.

On the outside, Janette Aston appears to be a proper young lady; however, the people of England have no idea that this poised young miss secretly studies the scientific discoveries of the mysterious Illuminist Society. Janette soon grows hungry for more secrets about this Society, and she finds herself impersonating an Illuminist to discover more information. As she is exposed to secrets and dangers she never could have imagined, she begins to wonder if she’s finally gone too far. But when she runs into gorgeous Illuminist Guardian Darius Lawley, she finds that, while her life is in danger, her sense of curiosity is most certainly piqued…

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