Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Guest post by Beth Ciotta + Giveaway

Please give a warm welcome to the lovely Beth Ciotta who stops by Ex Libris on her worldwide blog tour celebrating the release of His Clockwork Canary, the second book in her exciting The Glorious Victorious Darcys series. Today she'll tell us about the inspiration behind her beloved The Glorious Victorious Darcys series, and if you answer her question at the end, you could even win a signed copy of His Clockwork Canary! :-)

The Victorian Age meets the Age of Aquarius –Welcome to My Wild and Wacky World!
by Beth Ciotta

A couple of years ago I had this grand idea for a series—The Glorious Victorious Darcys. All I really knew, at the time, was that it would feature three siblings (The Darcys) embarking on a global treasure hunt in the name of fame, fortune, and redemption. I knew it would take place in some ‘version’ of Victorian times and feature airships and anachronistic automobiles. I knew there would be love and adventure.

When I described my idea to a few writer friends, they pegged the concept as “steampunk”. That made sense to me and it excited me as well. I’d never written a steampunk story. What a hoot this would be! A Victorian story with futuristic influences. Problem was, I couldn’t simply dive in and write. I had to know how my world came to be. Which entailed… Worldbuilding.

While researching Victorian times I came across several social, cultural and political aspects that reminded me of revelations and rebellions of the late 1960s. I skimmed the pages of a fabulous book featuring stories and pictures from the ‘free love’ era. My imagination soared and my universe was born!

Imagine the 1960s. Race riots. Viet Nam. The Cuban Missile Crisis.

Imagine a group of fanatical peace activists happening upon a means of time travel and jumping back to the source of departure, the mid-1800s, in hopes of altering the future and avoiding specific global atrocities.

Imagine their good intentions going horribly wrong and, instead, the two centuries meld setting the world on an unknown course.

I imagined and ended up with a spectacular and endearing alternate era—The Victorian Age meets the Age of Aquarius.

This alternate version of history provides an amazing playground for The Glorious Victorious Darcys. The launch book—HER SKY COWBOY—released in November of 2012 and was greeted by critical acclaim, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. GVD 1.5—HIS BROKEN ANGEL (a bonus digital-only novella)—released last month, May 2013. The latest installment—HIS CLOCKWORK CANARY—hit shelves June 4 and is also earning stellar reviews. Needless to say I am thrilled! Read on a peek inside my wild and wacky world.

His Clockwork Canary by Beth Ciotta

Book #2 in the The Glorious Victorious Darcys series

History is repeating itself.

For ambitious engineer Simon Darcy, winning Queen Victoria’s competition to recover lost inventions of historical significance is a matter of pride—and redemption. After all, it was Simon’s failed monorail project that left his family destitute, and winning the tournament would surely restore the Darcys’ reputation.

Simon sets his sights high, targeting no less than the infamous time-travel device that forever changed the world by transporting scientists, engineers, and artists from the twentieth century. The Mod technology was banned and supposedly destroyed, but Simon is sure he can re-create it.

His daring plan draws the attention of Willie G., the Clockwork Canary, London’s sensationalist reporter. Simon soon discovers that Willie is a male guise for Wilhemina Goodenough, the love of his youth, who left him jilted and bitter.

He questions her motives even as he falls prey to her unique charm. As the attraction between the two reignites, Simon realizes that this vixen from his past has secrets that could be the key to his future…as long as he can put their history behind him.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Book Depository US - Book Depository UK


“I now pronounce you, man and wife.”

Willie stared at the simple band Simon had placed on her left ring finger, tears pricking her eyes. How ridiculous. Reverend Karma had not only kept the ceremony not only temporal but amazingly brief. She’d forgone her timepieces, but she would swear less than two- minutes had elapsed between “Welcome” and “Blessings on your union.” If anything, she should feel slighted, not overwhelmed, yet her heart had blossomed so, squeezing against her lungs, she could scarcely breathe.

She glanced up at Simon. “Did I say, ‘I do’?” She could not recall. How woefully insane.

“You did.” His intense gaze sparked in a new and perplexing way. Smiling, he leaned in and brushed a tender kiss across her lips. “Hello, Mrs. Darcy.”

Mrs. Simon Darcy.

Wilhelmina Darcy.

Her senses whirled. What had she done? This would never work out. Although maybe it would. Maybe they could indeed be curiosities together. First and foremost, she needed to find the clockwork propulsion engine and ensure its safety and then she needed to somehow thwart or appease Strangelove. She needed to protect her family. And that family now included Simon.

Good God.

Willie gathered her wits as Simon led her to a table where Reverend Karma now stood with a pen and certificate. Whilst waiting for them to sign their names, the hippie preacher man described various amusements to be found upon this skytown, suitable romantic entertainment, unless of course, they preferred something more decadent. She barely heard a word. She was too busy trying to properly grasp the pen. Frustration bubbled and she almost wished she’d worn the Thera-Steam-Atic Brace.

But then Simon closed in, wrapping his hand around her forearm and lending support as she managed a signature. His palm burned through the thin lace of her sleeve, ignited her blood, and tripled her determination to overcome this physical setback. After tonight she would work most avidly to strengthen her muscles. She would become wholly self-reliant and this troubling sense of inferiority would forever vanish.

Willie watched as, after signing his own name, Simon thanked Reverend Karma, then pocketed the marriage certificate. A keepsake, a token of their personal commitment, but surely not a legal and binding document. All the same, Willie felt different, transformed. Her mother had been wrong. Simon had not rejected her because of her race. He had embraced her diversity and all the mystery attached. He had made her battle his own.

How extraordinarily courageous. How remarkably rebellious.

“I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Vic and Freak.

A fire stirred within. A flicker of purpose. If every person was afforded one chance to make a significant change for the betterment of this world, perhaps this banned marriage was her unique opportunity. She had never taken a public stand for her race. She had always operated behind false identities and names. Perhaps it was time to fight in the open. Something inside of her snapped and burned and for the first time in her life, Wilhelmina-formerly-Goodenough, understood the true meaning of rebel.

“I thought we could dine first, something exotic,” Simon said as he ushered her toward the petal-strewn exit. “Then perhaps you would fancy dancing to outlawed music, or a bit of radical theater, or a starry ride aboard the Ferris wheel.”

“I would fancy a sampling of all of those things.” She would enjoy the tolerance and freedom of Skytown as never before and then she would top off her wedding night with “spectacular.”

Pausing on the threshold, Simon pulled Willie’s tinted spectacles from his inner pocket.

She waved them off, cupped the back of his neck, and pulled him down for a highly inappropriate kiss, given they were not alone. She heard the celebratory tinkling of finger bells and Reverend Karma saying, “Far-out.” Willie welcomed the passionate heat, a surge of confidence, and the rebellious spark stoking her blood. Heart pounding, she eased away and met Simon’s curious gaze. “No more hiding.”

He framed her face and scorched her soul with a proud and seductive smile. “Tonight is ours, Mrs. Darcy. Tomorrow, we take on the world.”

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - Book Depository US - Book Depository UK

Storytelling comes naturally to award-winning author Beth Ciotta. Dubbed "fun and sexy" by Publisher's Weekly, Beth is published in contemporary, historical, steampunk, and paranormal romantic fiction. "I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course) gets a happy ending!"

Beth lives in NJ with her husband, two zany dogs, and a crazy cat. A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing. To learn more about her colorful life, visit her website, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.


Beth has generously offered a signed paperback copy of His Clockwork Canary to a lucky commenter!

To be entered just leave a comment and tell us: what is your favourite thing about the steampunk universe/sub-genre?

Giveaway is only open to US residents and ends on 21 June 2013!

Good luck!

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