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Steampunk a Different Reality by Ralph Hieb

August 17, 2019 by in category From a Cabin in the Woods by Members of Bethlehem Writers Group tagged as , , , , ,

This month A Slice of Orange welcomes BWG member, Ralph Hieb.

Ralph Hieb grew up in New Jersey. After spending time overseas serving in the military, he returned home to New Jersey. While attending college he met his wife Nancy.

During the time he spent stationed Europe he didn’t miss an opportunity to travel around. Sightseeing and enjoying the culture are things that he still loves to this day.

Both Ralph and Nancy enjoy traveling to places that they have never been to, though sometimes they like to revisit former destinations. They want to visit Australia and New Zealand someday.

Ralph enjoys reading paranormal novels. He decided that he should try and write one. He is currently writing short stories, but a novel is in his future.


Steam Punk a Different Reality

I have been reading a lot of Steampunk novels lately. And I find them to be not only entertaining but very creative.

For instance if you wish to go somewhere in a hurry and it is only 1896 then you can go to the local airship terminal and board a dirigible for wherever your destination is. Then when you arrive you can either take a steam locomotive or an electric powered engine or even a steam powered carriage to the street or farm maybe even an estate that is your final destination.

Say you are going to an estate for a weekend grouse hunting. You back your Winchester gas powered, bird long barrel, weapon with spare chemical mixing tubes so that you will not run out of ammunition. Or maybe a Ruger X17R handgun with grenade launching abilities. There can be a variety of combinations or names for your weapons and their uses. Make up whatever name you like for the weapon. After all it only exists for the character in your story. I know of one individual that put a request on Facebook for people to submit names for his weapons. He received a lot of ideas.

Speaking of weapons, even clothing can be used to hold weapons, or might even become one. A man might have a small gun or knife in his hatband, or even a Derringer size pistol attached to the underside of the crown in is hat. Also knife blades that appear from the toe of his shoe while another curved slicing blade ejects from the heel, hitting a target several feet behind him. A woman can have well balanced throwing knives used as hatpins and she is protected by her bulletproof corset. A decoration in her hat might be a mechanical bird that zeros in on whoever she wishes it to attack.

Most of the Steampunk novels I have read take place during Queen Victoria’s reign. Some even offer a different reality as the British Empire won the American Revolution and all other wars that it ever fought, going back to when Boudica defeated the Romans in 60 A.D. maybe the San Francisco earthquake never happened and the city became so large the it rivals New York or London. I read one book where the city kept building higher and higher so that it had sidewalks for every additional layer with elevators to lift people to the higher walkways. Needless to say, the ones on the bottom level had sewage running down the streets, but steam powered pumps kept it flowing.

Steampunk will quite often use supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, and demons in the telling of the stories. You may find these very lax guidelines make it easy to get your protagonist or antagonist into a world of difficulties. But then again they might happen to have a strange new weapon with an unpronounceable name that can efficiently deal with the situation. As everything else in this world you do not have to comply with known facts but can alter history or items to your own specifications, or interests, to move the story along.

So, I think Steampunk can be a useful format to let my imagination really run wild.


Books by Ralph Hieb

Ralph Hieb

Ralph Hieb grew up in New Jersey. After spending time overseas serving in the military, he returned home to New Jersey. While attending college he met his wife Nancy.

During the time he spent stationed Europe he didn’t miss an opportunity to travel around. Sightseeing and enjoying the culture are things that he still loves to this day.
Both Ralph and Nancy enjoy traveling to places that they have never been to, though sometimes they like to revisit former destinations. They want to visit Australia and New Zealand someday.

Ralph enjoys reading paranormal novels. He decided that he should try to write one. He is currently writing short stories, but a novel is in his future.

A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

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A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER

A READABLE FEAST

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A READABLE FEAST
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

LET IT SNOW

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LET IT SNOW

ONCE AROUND THE SUN

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ONCE AROUND THE SUN

ONCE UPON A TIME

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ONCE UPON A TIME
UNTETHERED: SWEET, FUNNY, AND STRANGE TALES OF THE PARANORMAL
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5 Job Tips for a great romance novel hero interview

April 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

by Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large


How well do you know your hero? Is he tall, dark and handsome? Okay, so you don’t want a cookie-cutter hero, but have you really thought about what questions to ask him?

(When you can take your eyes away from his sexy grin among other parts of his anatomy.)

This reporter recently interviewed heroines for a romance gig and got some very interesting answers.

Now, it’s your hero’s turn. Ready, ladies? Start your engines…

Here are my 5 Job Tips for a great romance novel hero interview:


1. Don’t ask him to take off his shirt. Tempting, yes, as you check out his muscular arms, but this is a sexist attitude that will get you nowhere. (But oh the fun you’ll have trying!)

2. Schedule the interview in a locale where you’ll both feel comfortable. Not in a sports bar where he can eyeball the basketball scores and the waitresses with the deep cleavage. Forget tea shops that serve lemon dainties, unless you’re writing a regency and you want to see if he exudes the proper Mr. Darcy-isms.

3. Ask him to show you his…wheels. Yes, I said, wheels. Is he a Harley guy? Jaguar? Or does he drive an old pickup? Does he keep half his “stuff” in his car? Or is he a neatnik? You can tell a lot about a man by his…wheels.

4. What’s his day job? Or if he’s into night work (and what hard-working vampire isn’t?), you’ll want to make sure he’s a good match for your heroine. If she’s a lawyer, a police detective can make her life hectic; if she runs a cake and bake shop, how about interviewing a land developer who wants to tear down her vintage cottage shop? And let’s not forget the city gal who’s just aching to meet up with a real cowboy. Just make sure he can ride…a horse.

5. And finally, don’t ask him if he’s a good kisser. Tell him to show you.

Evelyn Q. Darling is the alter ego of Jina Bacarr.

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Job Interview Questions for Your Romance Novel Heroine

March 11, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

by Evelyn Q. Darling

Romance Reporter At Large

Is your romance novel heroine qualified for the job?

Did you interview her before you started writing? I don’t mean where she went to school, what her favorite color is, etc. but whether or not she’s qualified for the job as a romance novel heroine.

For example, does she have the skills needed to perform her job: Can she shoot a Glock if you’re writing an FBI agent? Lace up a corset if she’s interviewing for the job as a Victorian lady’s maid?

Or she may be overqualified for the job. For example, she can type faster than you or she has aspirations to leave the romance novel field and get a literary gig.

How long has she been out of work?

Romance novel jobs are hard to get and if it’s been decades since she slipped between the pages of a novel, you might want to reconsider. On the other hand, experience between the sheets is important for every romance heroine.

A typical interview could go like this:

Miss Jones, I’m writing a novel that takes place during the Regency Period. Are you a fan of Jane Austen?

Miss Jones: Jane who? I’m so into Lady Gaga. Love her sunglasses.

Next…

Miss Smith, my next novel is about an FBI agent who’s very physically active to catch the bad guys. Can you drop and do twenty?

Miss Smith: the only thing I dropped was twenty pounds to get this interview.

Let’s try again.

Miss von Rittenhaus, I need a romance novel heroine who sleeps all day and bites all night. Can you list your qualifications to be the vamp queen in my new urban fantasy novel?

Miss von Rittenhaus: Honey, I can snooze and cruise with the best of them. I’ve hit every vamp bar from here to Tampa and let me tell you, no one gets her fangs on better than Lulu.

When can you start?

Miss von Rittenhaus: Tonight. As soon as the sun goes down. (Pause). You haven’t mentioned a benefits package.

What do you mean?

Miss von Rittenhaus: Do I get overtime pay for all this night work? And how about a 401K? I’m not getting any younger and in this economy a girl, I mean vamp, has to look out for herself. What about my e-rights? And health benefits? What if I chip a fang and I have to see a dentist between chapters?

Jeez…Romance heroines…you can’t write with them and you can’t write without them.

This is Evelyn Q. Darling. Till next time when we’ll interview the romance novel hero and see if he’s up for the job.

The Blonde Samurai: “She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

Jina Bacarr is also the author of The Blonde Geisha ,Cleopatra’s Perfume, Naughty Paris, Tokyo Rendezvous, a Spice Brief, and Spies, Lies & Naked Thighs

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A Naughty Victorian Lady travels to Italy as “Bionda Samurai” by Jina Bacarr

May 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , , ,

by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”

I take up my pen today not to write my romance, but to impart to you news, important news that has reached me in my place of solitude where I deign to call myself a novelist.

Morning sunlight, wiggling through the petit-point pattern on the lacy curtain, hovers over my shoulder to see what I’m writing. A red-breasted robin fluttering about on the window sill holds its breath, pen scratchings fill my ears.

I am beside myself with excitement, spilling blue ink on my gown and smudging the fine rice paper upon which I write with dirty fingerprints, but I know you shall forgive me for word has reached me that my memoir, The Blonde Samurai, has found its way to faraway shores.

To Italy.

A place where–

The romance of carnival and exquisite masks enchants the eye.

The sacred mount of the holy saints restores one’s faith.

The musical language of the arts and literature delights the ear and enriches the soul.

I must recount to you how pleased I am that the story of this Irish-American lass and her samurai has made its way to such a grand place.

Here then is the visual and audio presentation in Italian of the publisher’s synopsis of “Bionda Samurai” (available May 13th). Grazie!


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Postscript: I have also included the English translation for you:

“During the latter part of the nineteenth century, a beautiful and fascinating American woman named Katie is about to release her memoir with more than a hint to scandal, a scandal that will unleash an uproar in Society.

“She is determined to recount her adventures in every detail, from the electrifying moments to the salacious, her life ruled by her insatiable appetite for all things sensual. Her story takes us from London to Japan, where the journey takes you through a maze of raw and vivid eroticism.

“Tantalizing and provocative scenes of sensuality await you in Japan. This is the return of class because Jina Bacarr (author of “The Blonde Geisha” and “Cleopatra’s Perfume“) puts forward with her usual skill a story that is unique and has earned her millions of readers around the world, her themes more endearing and bold with provocative situations raw and sexy but always romantic.”

The Blonde Samurai

“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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The Blonde Samurai is a “Fresh Pick” at FreshFiction.com by Jina Bacarr

March 11, 2010 by in category Archives tagged as , , , , , , , ,

My Harlequin Spice, The BLONDE SAMURAI, was recently chosen as the Fresh Pick for Friday, February 19th at FreshFiction.com
The Blonde Samurai appeared on every page of the FreshFiction.com website for that day and also in the Fresh Pick Newsletter. I can’t tell you how much fun I had clicking on the Fresh Ficiton website and seeing The Blonde Samurai pop up in the corner on every page!

I’m very honored to be a Fresh Pick. According to the email I received–“The Fresh Pick is chosen by a group of readers…”

Writing is a solitary profession, but I can tell you that as a writer, my characters make me laugh, angry at times (when they don’t do what you tell them) and cry.

I remember feeling the anguish of my heroine, Katie, when she feared she would never have a child.

“Yet I was aware that by keeping separate quarters from my husband, I had doomed myself to a life left unfulfilled. The reality of what they meant raked across my heart, grabbing me, my faith shaken, my mood saddened. Would I ever know the joy, the soft smells, the magic of motherhood? A dull ache settled in my empty womb, disheartened as I was by the thought of a life of barrenness.”

Or how much she missed her Irish-American family when she first arrived in Japan.

“A maudlin homesickness seeped through the layers of my silken kimono and made me yearn for the times when I was a girl back home in our white frame house surrounded by woods, Da and Mother and my little sister, Elva, gathered around the wood fire on cold nights, eating cream cakes and listening to my father tell tall stories about what it was like back in Ireland when he was a young man during the potato famine some thirty years ago.”

How the inimitable Mr. Fawkes (an Englishman who was her go-between) made her laugh.

“Too stubborn to ask for help, my Irish pride and my bustle got the better of me when I sat down and slid off the cushion and onto the matting, my legs flying up into the air, my layers of petticoats and skirts covering my face. I was a sight to behold sprawled out on the floor, laughing, with poor Mr. Fawkes trying to pull me up without grabbing the wrong part of my anatomy.”

And how amazed she was to discover that the Empress of Japan was a charming young woman who shared her interest in fashion.

“…the Empress was openly curious about the rows and rows of lace trimming my flounces and petticoats. I was delighted when she suggested sponsoring a school to make the beautiful fabric. I knew she longed to have a red satin petticoat and white velvet gown set with off-the-shoulder cap sleeves and dotted with pearls like the one I’d brought with me from Paris.”

Then there was Shintaro.

“Yet the first man I took to my bed after my wedding night was not my husband—or yours—but one of the most mysterious, elusive and enigmatic men in all Japan. A samurai.“His name was Shintaro.”

I’m thrilled that the readers at FreshFiction.com also enjoyed the adventures of Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke. Thank you!!

The Blonde Samurai“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

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