Scrumptious Reading – Why I write Steampunk
By Theresa Meyers
I adore tea. I’m not ashamed to admit it. In fact most weeks it’s tea with my non-writing mommy friends that keeps me sane and enables me to write. It’s probably one reason I enjoy writing steampunk. The other, well, that’s pure fantasy. And since I write steampunk (which is Victorian-era-like settings with fantastical inventions, science and for me, romance) tea is a very appropriate pastime. I also happen to collect teapots and spend far too much at the Market Spice store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market on things like their chocolate mint tea, apricot tea and world famous Market Spice tea (which is both spicy and sweet enough not to need anything extra). But I digress.
What makes scrumptious reading is more than just the flavor of a story, it’s also the tart tang of the dialogue or the spicy heat in the sensual moments between characters. We like the texture of the setting and the scent evoked by description. For me, writing steampunk blends the best of all the things I enjoy most about writing. Since I started out writing historical romance, the idea of setting a story in the late 1800s appealed to me from the beginning. What can I say? I like bustles and think corsets are fun. But in steampunk we get to go even further. Why wear a beautiful corset under your clothes? Wear it out the outside and show it off!
I also write paranormal romances. Because steampunk has its roots in science fiction, I could easily adapt my steampunk romances to include paranormal creatures of the night – Victorian monsters if you will–which was utterly appropriate because the Victorians were fans of the paranormal. They loved séances and tarot cards, crystal balls and mummies, exploring the ancient mysteries and uncovering new scientific discoveries that made our normal seemed out of this world (hey – Jules Verne did talk about flying to the moon).
Steampunk isn’t something you can easily explain. Believe me, I’ve tried. The best I’ve been able to manage when people ask me what I write is to tell them, “Did you ever watch Wild West with Will Smith? What about the television show Supernatural? Well if you mashed those two together, that’s what my books are like—only with more sexual tension.”
Afterall – I can’t earn the moniker of “putting the steam in steampunk” if it doesn’t have something steamier than a tea kettle or engine boiler, can I?
Well, in honor of the release of THE SLAYER, my second steampunk romance for Kensington, I’d like to share a favorite tea-time recipe with you. I hope you enjoy both it and reading whatever scrumptious stories you love most!
Teatime Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange rind
1 cup dried cranberries (sweetened are best)
¾ cup milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. (Alternatively put it in a food processer and whir it around a bit – does the same thing.)
Stir in the sugar, orange peel and cranberries.
Add enough milk to make a soft sticky dough. Pull the mixture together and then turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface.
Shape the dough into a circle and roll out to a 1-inch depth. Using a floured cutter, cut out scones.
Place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.
Alternative: once completely cooled, you can also ice the scones if you want. Use 1 cup powdered sugar with 1-2 teaspoons orange juice (from the orange you got the rind off of). Drizzle over scones.
And Jen ended up with an extra copy of The Slayer, which she’s giving away to a random commenter with a US address. So, be sure to leave your email address in your comment when you’re entering Theresa’s Rafflecopter contest and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, May 2.