Steamy Cogs: A Collection of Steampunk Romances, Guest Review by Thessalonica Jones

Steamy Cogs: A Collection of Steampunk Romances

Anthology by Bess Hamilton, Laurie Stewart, Jessica Ripley, and Bonnie Lynn Carroll

Who says Adventure is not for the “Weaker Sex”? The Steamy Heroines in this collection of Romantic Escapades certainly would say “Pshaw!” to that. Thessalonica Jones, Adventurer Extraordinaire, checks in to give us some well needed “Cog-nizance” on just how much Steam and Adventure we ladies can generate.

What is Steamy Cogs: A Collection of Steampunk Romances About?

Steamy Cogs was created by Eighth Ripple Press to showcase female authors in the genre of Steampunk. The challenge was to create storylines that not only gave the reader a bit of Steamy romance, but also had strong female characters as their central focus. The authors delivered in hearts (and Spades, as well).

“Jewel Bearing Heart” by Bess Hamilton

The Collection of stories are all different in their approach to the central heroine and the type of Steampunk they appeal to. Bess Hamilton’s story “Jewel Bearing Heart” is a more historic tale that speaks to the Victorian Steampunk fan. There are still elements of the fantastic in her story, but a great deal of historic references are used as well.

Faith, the protagonist of the story, is involved in the very real industry of creating facial prosthetic pieces for wounded soldiers of WWI. This heroine also drove ambulances and was active in other critical Behind the Lines duties. Faith is portrayed as a woman of intelligence, courage, and skills that are not all apparent at first glance. In this Historic Steampunk tale, Bess weaves an adventure of espionage and intrigue. But she still manages to allow for a glittering Fancies of the Heart.  

“Contessa” Laurie Stewart

Laurie Stewart’s contribution “Contessa” is an Alternative Victorian Universe take on the Steampunk genre. So, the reader still enjoys the “bustle” and flavour of Victorian English characters, but with a less historic edge. Her story involves a lovely dose of literary whimsy. The story is set in an alternative version of our history. A world in which Air Ships are a common form of travel and Lower Canada exists.

“Contessa” focuses on Air Ships and dastardly deeds done with a healthy amount of Tongue in Cheek shenanigans. Unlike Bess’s Faith, Laurie’s Contessa is a rather fun and mischievous heroine. But her hijinks get her into a rather Steamy situation. In a high stakes game of cat and mouse, she cleverly maneuvers both the Air Ship, its crew, and her social status to solve a murder mystery. The fate of the world depends on the Contessa discovering the dastardly villain before it has explosive repercussions on the international diplomatic stage. She does, however, manage to squeeze into her Social Calendar a rather heated romance as well.

“Clockwork Journey” by Jessica Ripley

Jessica Ripley gifts the reader with her own unique take on the Steampunk genre in “Clockwork Journey”. It has an almost “Wild, Wild, West” feel with a good dose of Diesel Punk for good measure. However, it is not set in the American Frontier like the “Wild, Wild, West”. The story unfolds in a fictional universe in which people live in a Dystopian Frontier World that runs on mechanically driven technology.

Carleigh Walker becomes an agent of the “Powers That Be.” Against her better judgement, she is accidently caught up in an incident of Clockwork intrigue. In this tale of mechanical creatures and underworld mechanisms Jessica gives the reader a great heroine to root for. Carleigh Walker is what many would describe as a Diesel Punk-like Heroine. She is mechanically inclined, has the brass cogs to go up against even the most heinous of arch criminals, and takes no guff from anyone. She is also, intuitive, clever, and quick thinking, but just enough of a girly side to indulge in steamy romance. Just the way us Diesel Punk Gals like our heroines to be.

“Sing a Song of Freedom” by Bonnie Lynn Carroll

The last in the Collection of Steamy cogs is “Sing a Song of Freedom” by Bonnie Lynn Carroll. Bonnie gives us a fictional world that is set in a popular universe in Steampunk, Post-Apocalyptic North America. In this future world, books and knowledge are forbidden. Only basic machinery is allowed in a world devastated by man-made disaster. In Zee’s life experience only a select few, those who control the resources thrive. She is faced with survival while trying to keep the people who come to her aide safe from her Keepers.

In Bonnie’s story, the reader learns of the protagonist through snippets of memories. They lead her to a greater self discovery and purpose in life.  Due to the restoration of her memory, Zee struggles with an inner battle just as fierce as the one she is tasked to fight for those she has grown to care for. She is a character torn inside with the programming of her past and the possibility of a brighter future. If she can trust in it, if she can just learn to let go of her fears and open her heart. This heroine is a great “Stick It To The Man” character that personifies one of the core attitudes found in Steampunk. Plus, a supernatural twist.  

So, What Are My Final Thoughts?

Well, as a seasoned adventurer I must say that the collection presented a nice selection of heroines in a few of the different subgenres of Steampunk. I travel through many universes, times, and dimensions in my daily grind. And I am happy to see them portrayed here in this book. The world would be a mighty drab place if we only focused on the usual corsets, goggles, and Victorian “bustle”. Steamy Cogs is a light read that does exactly what the Publisher had in mind. It gives the reader Steamy adventures that are driven by strong female protagonists with some heat on the side. Family friendly, of course.

Could There Be A Steamy Future For Our Four Heroines?

It would be interesting if the authors were to write more short stories, or perhaps novels, about these central characters. After speaking with Bess Hamilton, she noted that more than a few readers had inquired if there was a future novel about Faith in the works. She did not deny that it could be a possibility, but no plans are set for such a venture at this time.

Perhaps we shall chance upon them in another universe or time. Because, the future is yet to be determined and there is always another Turn of the Cog. Let me know what you think of this collection, leave a comment. Safe travels and see you in the next dimension.

Author Bio:

Natasha Klassen (AKA Thessalonica Jones) is a seasoned Steampunker. She has enjoyed over ten years of celebrating the genre by creating radio plays, an assortment of various Steampunk events, Mummy Unwrappings, and much more. Natasha firmly believes in the Steampunk genre and feels it is the most fabulous way to connect with other Creatives. Bringing people together one DIY/fun event at a time.

You can learn more about Natasha Klassen (Thessalonica Jones/Ms. Mumford) by following these links below:

Natasha (as Ms. Mumford) is the founder and President of The of the Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken. A group that focuses on the celebration of all forms of Steampunk. Anyone is welcome to join us, we have Cthulhu shaped cookies. Check it out!

There is also a website for The Society for the Ethical Treatment of Kraken. It is our hope that we will have our radio play series, The Inn Finit, available here for digital download by January 2020: https://www.subgenres.net



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