Thursday, 28 July 2011

Welcome Kady Cross!

Please welcome today's brilliant guest of honour, Kady Cross, aka best selling author Kathryn Smith. I'm doubly delighted that Kady's joined us today, because she very kindly stepped in to the party at short notice. Without more ado, welcome, Kady!

Why Doesn't Steampunk Have a Show on HGTV?

Hi there! I'm Kady Cross, author of the Girl in the Steel Corset from Harlequin Teen. I like to consider myself fairly crafty, but I'm rubbish with a sewing machine. I can get by on small projects, but bigger ones... well, let's just say I always seem to bite off more than I can chew when it comes to my inner couturier. I can, however, do some other crafty things that don't seem to vex me quite so much. I can decoupage and solder (a little). I have an assortment of acrylic paints and polymer clays in my basement. I've recently taken up altering shoes.

What does this have to do with Steampunk you ask? Well, one of my favorite aspects of Steampunk culture is that 'do it yourself' attitude that permeates the scene. DIY is encouraged. Go to any Steampunk gathering and you'll see people carrying weapons that they've made out of old lamps, corsets that they made out of tarps, spats made from faux leather, hats that have been labored over for hours... the list goes on. One of my good friends is a bit famous in the community for his inventions -- the kind of stuff way beyond my ability to create.

Probably everyone who is into Steampunk has seen Datamancer's computers and keyboards. Gorgeous! Eric Freitas' clocks blow my mind. Oh, and those Topsy Turvy hats! They're all fabulous and born from an intrinsic artsy/crafty nature. Dr. Grymm's Amelia Earhart and Edgar Allan Poe machines are fully interactive, providing an amazing experience for the participant. When you see the individual pieces that go into creating something like this, you can't help but think - WOW. And then, you realize how easy he made it seem.

I'm no milliner, but I've made a few Victorian/Steampunk hats that I'm quite proud of. I've made some jewelry, and soon I'll make my own spats and alter some footwear -- when my schedule permits. I've yet to tackle sewing a costume, but I have augmented clothing that I have. It's amazing the difference stitching on a few key pieces of metal can make, or the right appliques.

Steampunk craft books are popping up here and there -- showing you how to make jewelry or softies. Some showcase the work of other creators that will make you think you'll never be half so talented. I'm surprised Martha Stewart hasn't jumped on it yet. Hell, there have been Steampunk wedding cakes. Why isn't there a show on HGTV or TLC about DIY Steampunk? Isn't there at least a website or something? I haven't found a thing, but if you know of something please let me know. I think we need a Steampunk craft show for those of us who sometimes need a little outside inspiration, or to showcase our incredibly talented Steampunk family.

I'd love to hear from other people who have made their own Steampunk items. And please feel free to share some of your favorite artists and sites. Thanks so much for stopping by to read my post!

Excerpt from The Girl in the Steel Corset ©Kady Cross

“It’s not safe having her here,” Sam insisted, trying to bash Griff with his will once more. “For her, or for us. We can’t afford to call attention to ourselves not with those…things out there.” His voice cracked on ‘things’. They all heard it. They all ignored it.

He meant the machines. The automatons. Most were perfectly harmless, but there was nothing quite as frightening as metal out of control. That was why Griff had the remains of Sam’s attacker in Emily’s workshop, so they could figure out what had happened to turn an uncomplicated underground railway digger into a murderer. It had attacked five people -- only Sam survived.

“What would you have me do, Sam?” Griff ran a hand through the thick mass of his hair. “Toss her out like rubbish?”

Sam’s mouth opened and Griff knew he was going to suggest just that. Emily jumped in, “You know we can’t keep her for long, lad. She isn’t… one of us.”

Griff’s mouth lifted on one side, a half grin he always got when he thought he was right. “I’m not so sure about that.”

“What does that mean?” Sam scowled. “Why do you have to be so damn cryptic all the time?”
Sam’s frustration was so strong Griff could almost taste it. He’d known the big lad long enough to know when he was spoiling for a fight, and he also knew that physically he was no match. Sam was the strongest person in Britain, perhaps the world. But Griffin had his own powers, that didn’t require brute strength.

He could become one with the Aether, that mysterious indiscernible force that was in everything and everywhere. It was also the realm of the dead – where ghosts existed. It was like another dimension hidden within the normal world. He didn’t know why, but he could feel it in his veins, and when he called it the most terrific power came forth to serve him. All that universal energy filled him, making him feel as though he was part of everything and somehow everywhere. Sometimes it scared him. So much so, that he hadn’t confided any of it to his friends. Nor had he confided just how much he believed the terrible power took from him.

Instead of giving Sam the fight he wanted, Griff turned to Emily, which only annoyed the bigger boy all the more. Wisely though, Sam held his tongue. Emily had been silent all this time, watching and listening. She nodded at him – on his side as he believed she would be.

Did you see how she ran through the park?” He asked Sam.

The large boy scowled. “No. I didn’t notice her at all until we were upon her.”

“Exactly.” Griff’s gaze travelled to each of them as he continued, “One second all was well and the next she was in front of us. I had barely sensed a disturbance in the Aether before I hit her. No normal human could move that fast.”

“What the hell is she then?” Sam demanded, his fists clenched tight at his sides.

Griff shrugged. “I have no idea. But the three of us should find out, shouldn’t we?”

“Cordelia isn’t going to like this,” Emily reminded them. Griff’s aunt wasn’t due back from Yorkshire until the day after tomorrow. She was up there investigating strange circles that had appeared in a farmer’s field.

“It’s not her house, nor her decision,” Griff reminded her.

Emily held his gaze. He’d always admired her backbone. “If she is like us. Then it’s our duty to help her.”

Griff glanced at her. Emily rarely talked about herself as being different. That Griff knew of she had no abnormal abilities other than her uncanny knack for science. Had that changed?

Sam shot her a dark look, then one at Griff as well. “The two of you are too bloody trusting. Being like us doesn’t make her good any more than being metal makes one of those monsters a toaster.”

Griff would have laughed at the absurd comment had the door to the library not burst open at that exact moment. It was the housekeeper, Mrs. Dodsworth.

“What is it?” Griff asked, stepping forward with a frown. The woman was positively white in the face. Had one of the few automated servants left in the house turned on them? After Sam’s attack Griff had decommissioned many of the machines out of consideration for his friend, and for the safety of every living creature under his responsibility.

“It’s the girl you done brought home, Your Grace. I think you should come right away. It’s like she’s got the very devil in her!”

Griff took off running. Emily and Sam followed, chasing him up the stairs to the room where the girl had been left sleeping just a short time ago. A man came flying out of the open doorframe like a child’s toy tossed aside. Sam caught him before he could hit the wall.

“Thank you, Master Samuel,” the footman said in a shaking voice as Sam set him on his feet. “I thought she was going to kill me. She’s like a demon, she is!”

Sam’s mouth tightened as he lifted his gaze to Griff’s. “I told you so..."


In her other life Kady Cross is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 books. She is lucky enough to have a husband who shares her love for the slightly twisted, and all things geek, and a houseful of cats with whom she shares her darkest secrets.  When she’s not listening to the characters in her head she’s either trying to formulate the perfect lipgloss or teaching herself to solder. She has a weakness for all things girly, sugar skulls, and boots. Her love of books and makeup borders on addiction – from which she never, ever wants to be cured.

Today, Kady is kindly giving away a copy of 1000 Steampunk Creations by Dr. Grymm to one lucky winner who answers her question about homemade steampunk items, or who comments in some other way on her post. The contest will end at midnight tonight, and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.


  1. One of my favourite blogs is The author does a lot of steampunk crafts and shows step-by-step how she does it. Plus, she's a really talented writer, (she's also the author of and is just a pleasure to read. I haven't yet tried out one of her crafts, but I plan to...probably :-).

  2. Oh my...I never thought about actually doing 'steampunk' crafting...I really need to look that up and get started. Sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder if there are cross stitch patterns of steampunk'm off to google!!!

    in Germany

  3. Hi Kady.

    Thanks for joining us today! Tell me, what made you go down the Young Adult road with this story? Was it just the way the characters came to you?


  4. It sounds like fun making your own steampunk things. It would help to see what other people are doing to get some inspiration. I have seen courses/workshops in millinery and jewelery making so maybe they would be a good place to try out some ideas (would help to have a teacher who could help with techniques).


  5. I haven't made anything, but do love the steampunk jewelry. I love the blending of Victorian femininity and robust mechanical components that make it unique.

  6. I haven't made my own Steampunk item yet but I have drawn up a few ideas. I love the idea of making my own but I am afraid of making something totally aweful!! HAHA! I would love to win the book. Maybe give me some ideas.

  7. I'm absolutely rubbish at sewing or craft of any kind, so I couldn't make anything steampunk if I tried. But I admire those who can! I'll have to buy instead :(.

    I'll be back in a moment with Kady's winner!


  8. And Kady's winner of 1000 STEAMPUNK CREATIONS is...


    Congrsts, Zita! Could you please send me your postal address? Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com should find me!

    Many thanks to Kady for joining us yesterday!


  9. YAY congrats Zita!!

    in Germany

  10. Late to the steampunk craft party! Making the clothes and jewelry would be challenging, but fun.