Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Welcome Beth Ciotta!

Today I'm delighted to welcome talented author Beth Ciotta, who has written in several romance genres and is looking forward to her first steampunk novel coming out in 2012... but I'll let her tell you about that herself! Welcome, Beth!

Old Worlds, New Wonders

Hello.  My name is Beth Ciotta and I’m a creative spaz.

My publishing history, although under the ‘Romance’ umbrella, is all over the map.  Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary, and in the near future, Steampunk.  There are those who would question the wisdom of subgenre hopping when trying to build (and maintain) a career in publishing.  Indeed it does make it more challenging to grow a devoted readership and perhaps slows the rate of one’s success. (Depending, of course, on how one defines success.)  But even though I know this logically, I can’t ignore the voices in my head or the concepts that come out of nowhere and refuse to fade away.  One such concept started with a title.

The Glorious Victorious Darcys.

 I knew two things.  It was a trilogy based on three siblings—The Darcys.  It would take place in Victorian, England, but with a high-tech, adventure element.  I filed that bit away and a couple of
years later when it came time to pitch new ideas to my publisher, I expanded on the Darcy concept and pitched it along with ideas for a paranormal and two contemporaries.    

I was told The Darcys sounded like Steampunk, something they weren’t looking for.  It wasn’t the first time I’d heard the word Steampunk associated with one of my story ideas, still it surprised me.  Did I even know what Steampunk was?  After a bit of research, I realized I’d been a great fan of Steampunk for years, although my obsession was rooted in movies.  Here are just a few of the films that charmed, mesmerized, and inspired me.
·         Great Race
·         Prestige
·         Sherlock Holmes
·         Sleepy Hollow
·         20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
·         Stardust
·         Time Machine
·         Van Helsing
I was also a longtime fan of the original Wild, Wild West TV series as well as the cult classics, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, and, the oh-so-brilliant brainchild of Joss Whedon’s—Firefly.   

Oh, the fantastical gadgets and gizmos, the edgy fashion, the cool lingo, colorful characters, and, yes, airships!

My passion for The Glorious Victorious Darcys burned strong, even though I knew it was a quirky premise that might never find a home.  Several months ago, while pitching various projects, on a whim I proposed The Darcys to NAL (Penguin).  Between you and me (and okay, the world!), here’s the pitch for the overall trilogy.

1887 (An alternate version of Europe, peppered with anachronistic gadgets and gizmos and futuristic dirigibles.)

In celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, an anonymous benefactor promises fame and fortune to the first man or woman who discovers and donates a technological ‘invention’ of historical significance to her majesty’s British Museum in honor of her beloved deceased husband, Prince Albert.

Lord Jules Darcy, Lord Simon Darcy, and unbeknownst to them, their sister, Lady Amelia Darcy set off in search of three different ‘lost’ legendary inventions. Whilst on their quest, all three fall prey to a sizzling romance and forever love.  In the end, one sibling will bring glory to the British Empire, another scandal, while the third becomes an unwitting accomplice in a plot to assassinate the Queen. Will love or technology save the day?  Will the Darcys prevail or perish? Passion and adventure abound in these humorous steampunk-ish tales.

NAL’s enthusiasm for the project blew my mind!  Before I knew it, we’d gone to contract. (Special thanks to my new editor and champion, Jhanteigh Kupihea!)  This within days of signing with St. Martins Press for a new contemporary series, The Cupcake Club.  I didn’t plan the dual sale, I swear. Once again I find myself writing in two different worlds and all I can say is—lucky me! An opportunity to explore multiple passions.  A chance to spread my wings in Steampunk and soar! The launch book for The Glorious Victorious Darcys is loosely slated for release late 2012.  Meanwhile, please visit the GVD Steamblog for steampunkery tomfoolery and publishing updates.  http://bethciotta2.blogspot.com/

By the way, the first book features, Amelia Darcy. I’ll leave you with visual ‘essence’ of her along with her character profile.

Age: 20
Nationality: British
Parents: Lord Reginald and Lady Anne Darcy
Siblings: Older twin brothers, Jules and Simon
Passions: Air Ships, Aeronautics, Reading, Leonardo da Vinci
Goals: To own and pilot an air ship. See the world.
Trivia: Determined to live life on her own terms, Amelia has rejected six marriage proposals and has successfully distanced herself from 'society'. Her best friend, Leo, is an 'enhanced' falcon.
Did I mention all of my stories, no matter the subgenre, feature humor, adventure, and sexy romance? 

So, when did you first fall in love with Steampunk?  Let’s talk favorite genre movies!  Comment for a chance to win a copy of The Steampunk Bible: An Illustrated Guide to the World of Imaginary Airships, Corsets and Goggles, Mad Scientists, and Strange Literature by Jeff VanderMeer and S. J. Chambers.  A neo-vintage gem!

Curious about my creative spaz efforts? Visit www.bethciotta.com

Special thanks to Marie for the invite to the party. What fun!

Today Beth is giving away a copy of The Steampunk Bible to one lucky winner who answers her questions above, or comments on her post in some other way. Sorry, this contest is limited to US residents. The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread. 


  1. Funny how you can love a genre -- Wild, Wild West, Sherlock Holmes, Victorian Sci-Fi, etc. -- and never know it WAS a genre.

    I heard of Steampunk a couple of years ago when a friend showed me a computer keyboard his wife custom-ordered for him. It had the old black, round typewriter keys, and had the feel of a classic Remington typewriter... but it plugged into their Mac. I was charmed, searched online, and found something called Steampunk, which I soon discovered had a literary equivalent.

    You can see the keyboard on this page: scroll down to find the keyboard custom-designed for Cinema 16:9 http://www.datamancer.net/keyboards/deco1/deco1.htm

    Thanks for exploring this new genre for us! Can't wait to read the books.

    - Maura

  2. Maura,

    Thanks so much for sharing that link. How cool is that keyboard? I saw something similar awhile back on The Steampunk Workshop blog. Pictures that showed how he created the SP keyboard AND a matching monitor! Check this out:

    I want one. :)

    So did you purchase the keyboard? If so, do you like the 'feel' of it? Curious.

  3. Hi Beth! I cannot wait to read Darcys! I first loved steampunk with Brisco County Jr. It was one of the few tv shows that I would purposely make sure that I was home to watch. I LOVE the mix of technology/science and the late 1800's cowboys and victorians and the like. I so wanted the movie Wild Wild West to be better. I was so excited to see it, but I didn't love it. I can't remember why exactly becaues I have not seen it eons.

    I was always drawn to the charm of the airships, the outrageousness of some of the technology, and the sheer wild frontier of this concept ... it is really endless. A meld of perfect fantasy elements.

    I also adore the movie, Kate & Leopold, but was also left wanting by so much story that seemed to be missing. I researched it a bit because I wanted to see why such a promising concept had come through lacking. It seemed that the writers did have more story, but much of it was cut to make it a more traditional romantic comedy. Pity. I think that is why it suffered. It should not have. All of the other elements were there for it to be so satsifying.

    Is that new movie with Daniel Craig steampunk? I did not really see what it was about, but did see a poster with a cowboy and some techie thing on his wrist. Seems to fit the bill.

    Most recently I have fallen in love with Cherie Priest and her book, Boneshaker. I am halfway through and am looking forward to the next book that is already out. I think she has more stories than that too. I also have a YA book on my shelf called Airborn, which I have not read yet.

    I look forward to reading more steampunk and especially yours!


  4. It sounds terrific - as does the Cupcake club. I'm just relieved that someone else out there watched Briscoe County!

  5. Beth, this sounds a fascinating series! Looking forward to reading it! Amelia seems to be a bit of a rebel - is there a lot of you in her?

    Maura, thanks for the keyboard link - how fab is that? Beth, love the monitor too! Not sure I'd have the patience to do soemthing like that, even supposing I had the skill, which I don't :).

    Cyndi, I haven't heard about the Daniel Craig film. Love Boneshaker, though, and keep meaning to read the sequel!


  6. Hi, Beth!! This sounds awesome! I can see how steampunk would be a great fit for you and your writing! And you know what a sucker I am for sibling stories (loved your Western sibs), so I'm eagerly awaiting your Darcys! *sigh* Another year... ;)

  7. I didn't purchase the keyboard... but if you visit Lansdowne (just west of Philly in Delaware County), you can try out the Cinema 16:9 keyboard yourself. Tell David Titus, my friend who owns the place, that I sent you. :-)

  8. Cyndi, thanks so much for joining the party! I adored the views you shared on the Steampunk genre. Maybe writing one is in your future??

    As for Cherie Priest, she has a really interest blog. If you're not familiar, here's the link.

    Brisco County Jr.--Sigh. I actually have the dvds now. Next time we meet, we should have a marathon!

    The Daniel Craig movie is called 'Cowboys & Aliens. ' Or Cowboys vs Aliens. I forget, BUT it is on my MUST SEE list. And yes, I'd call it steampunk. Can't wait!

    Kate & Leopold- Ditto, ditto, ditto. And still, I've watched it a few times. :)

    Wild, Wild West--I wanted to like the movie morethan did. The old TV series however, I loved.

    Oh, geez, now I want to watch movies, instead of writing. I'm in trouble. :)

  9. Oh, and I just saw that monitor -- it's to die for!!!

  10. Hi Christi,

    So glad the two series sound a appealing to you! Both very different but both fun. Ah, another Brisco County fan! Unfortunately, I don't think a lot of people got the humor. So dry and campy. I was so bummed when it got canceled. Firefly is another one that sucked me in and then it was gone! *sigh*

  11. Marie, you pegged Amelia. A true rebel! I'm more the quiet artistic type, happy to live vicariously through characters like her. LOL

  12. Fedora!! So great to see you hear. For what it's worth the hero of AMELIA, although operating a smuggler's airship in Europe, is actual a cowboy from the American West. You can see his pic and profile on the GVD Steamblog. ;)

  13. Maura, thanks for the tip! Not sure when I'll be out that way next, but will keep it in mind for sure.

  14. Beth,

    I always been a Steampunk lover without realizing I was. I always loved anything scifi. Scifi for me was any H.G. Wells movies. The same movies you listed I couldn't get to the theaters fast enough to watch.

    I love Wild Wild West and I had a crush on actor Robert Conrad, sigh. The same with the Adventures Brisco County Jr. I was so sad when that show didn't last that long.

    Sometimes I feel I'm and old soul trapped in the wrong body. I always dreamed big as a kid. My mind was always on the future when I was little. I guess this is why I accept all this fantastic discovery's and never blink an eye.
    This was a very nice blog.

    Teresa K.

  15. Sounds like we're 'like' souls, Teresa. I know exactly what you mean. I often feel as though I'm 'old world'. Then again, I also believe in past lives so maybe my feelings are rooted in a past reality? :)

    I bet almost every girl/woman who watched the original WWW, had a crush on Robert Conrad. Aside from being very handsome and charismatic, his butt looked awesome in those tight pants! (Ditto for Brisco County Jr. LOL)

    Oh, and if you love HG Wells, check out the series: The Infinite Worlds of H.G. Wells. I got it through Netflix. Really good!

  16. I started off with Jules Verne, too! He is definitely the master. In fact, I just finished re-reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth. What a great story. I have loved every version of that movie. I was also majorly disappointed in "The Core," which could have been great if they hadn't tried to sell us made up physics as if it were real in today's world. If they had dressed it up as steampunk instead, they would've gotten better reviews, I think. People are willing to stretch their imaginations, but not if they try to make us believe it's true and good science. Unfortunately for some movie makers, we're not quite as stupid as they think we are. :-)

  17. Like you, I loved steampunk before it had a label. All the same movies you named were my favorites too. Your book sounds fantastic. Congrats on the dual sales! Would love to have a Steampunk Bible of my own. :)

  18. Zita, what did you think of the version of Journey to the Centre of the Earth starring Brendon Fraiser? Although a little campy, I thought it had heart. Also I saw itin 3-D which was kind of fun. :)

    I have to look up 'The Core'. I'm pretty sure I saw it and was disappointed too. Just need a reminder of who was in it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Hello, Cate! Thank you so much for the well wishes. I'll take them! Good luck with the drawing. 'The Steampunk Bible' is really, really cool. :)

  20. I liked the Brendan Fraser version very much. Well, he is Canadian, after all :-). Truthfully, though, the special effects were very well done and they followed the story fairly well for having modernized it.

    The Core was with Hillary Swank and Aaron Eckhart. They had to go to the centre of the earth to restart the core after a secret government experiment shut it down. Yes, I said restart the core. They traveled to the centre of the earth in a digging machine made of (get this) unobtainium. Personally, I think this is where they should have gone steampunk. Really, really bad science in this one.

  21. Zita, so glad I'm not the only one who liked the BF version. I thought it was exciting, and like I said, had heart. :)

    Oh, and I DID see The Core. And it is the one I was thinking of. Don't you hate it when so something so promising fizzles? Ah, well.

  22. Ooh-ee, gang! You're hearing it here first. Just heard from my editor. The official launch date for the 1st Darcy book is... November 2012! It'll be here before we know it. ;)

  23. Hi Beth,

    Steam Punk sounds cool. I love the original Wild Wild West. I have all 4 seasons on DVD. I like Sherlock Holmes too. Happy to see you here!!

  24. Tammy, thrilld as always to see you! Thank you for stopping by the party. Steampunk is definitely cool. Another cool thing about the original WWW series--the villains! So deliciously wicked! :)

  25. I am really looking forward to the world of the Darcy's. I don't know much about Steampunk (yet), but I do love escaping into a world other than the one I reside in. As for the fashion? I so wish we could rock that look in our everyday world. I'd love to wear a mini top hat to work! Think I could get away with that?

  26. Elle, a mini top hat, maybe. Not so sure about a leather corset!

    So glad you're looking forward to The Darcys, and, yes, part of the fun WILL be the fashion. The fur-trimmed goggles you sent me are hanging above my laptop for inspiration!

  27. when you fell in love with the steampunk was when you watch the movies the great race but the darcy are steampunk

  28. I'm another fan of Brisco County Jr and The Wild Wild West! And The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen! :) Your trilogy sounds absolutely awesome!!!

    I'm almost inspired to get back to work on my own steampunk story. :)

  29. The Great Race is vintage steampunk, Desi. Great fun. :)

  30. Tori... another Brisco County fan? No wonder we click! As for your own steampunk... dig in and have fun, woman!

  31. Like you, it took me a while to realize I liked steampunk all along.

    Loved League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Prestige.

    Can't wait to see the new Sherlock Holmes slated for Dec. 2011 I believe.

    Sleepy Hollow and Johnny Depp-- definitely can't go wrong there. lol

    Stardust was such a sweet romance.
    While Van Helsing was everything dark and tragic.

    Of course I loved the Wild Wild West. Cowboys and gadgets--- I'm all for it.

    I just watched the Firefly series for the first time. I agree, brilliant! I wish it would have took off. What a shame it didn't.

    As for Brisco County-- I love to re-watch those episodes again.

    Your books sound like something I'd love to read. Congratulations on your contracts.

  32. Beth, thank you for being such a wonderful guest of honour at the party! I've enjoyed reading all the comments and it's great to know how many steampunk fans are out there,witting and unwitting :).

    I'll be back in a moment with Beth's winner...


  33. Oooooh, this looks like one to go on my to buy list!!!

    in Germany

  34. And Beth's winner of The Steampunk Bible is...


    Congratulations, Cynthia - I'd love to have it myself :). Could you please contact me Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com, with your postal address? Thanks!


  35. Karen, just now seeing your note. Thank you for chiming in! Love your take on the movies.

    Marie, thank you again for inviting me to party. What fun! And thanks to all who came and boogied!

    Lastly, congrats to Cyndi!!

    Have a great day all!

  36. Big congrats, Cynthia!!

    in Germany

  37. Wow! Thanks, guys! I am SO psyched to have won this Bible. It sounds freaking awesome! I'm loving this steampunk party! :-)