Steampunk Carnival Tour & Giveaway

STEAMPUNK CARNIVAL By Cassandra Leuthold

Genre: Science Fiction/ Steampunk

Katya Romanova gave up everything to work at the one-of-a-kind Steampunk Carnival – her family, her home, her reputation. She wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.As a guide to the guests, Katya enjoys more freedom than most. She makes time to gossip with her best friend, Magdalene.

She basks in the elaborate costumes that bring her awed attention, hoping they might also win her a husband. And no man pays her more attention than her boss and carnival owner, William Warden.

But in the summer of 1887, death threats against Mr. Warden break the spell. Katya knows he might be as underhanded as he is charming, but who would
actually want him dead?

When Katya finds unexpected evidence about the carnival’s true origins, the stakes jump even higher.

Not sure whom they can trust, Katya and Magdalene work to unravel the carnival’s mysteries. Who really invented the innovative rides?

Is Mr. Warden protecting his employees or only himself from the looming violence? And will Katya cling to the better side of his nature or eventually turn her affections for him into a powerful rivalry?


BOOK LINKS

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Cassandra Leuthold

Cassandra grew up in the small town of La Porte, Indiana, exploring wooded parks and sparkling lakes. Making South Bend her home, the scenery hasn’t changed much – inspiring trees and a long, winding river. From the time she started writing in second grade up to the projects she works on now, the nature, history, and people around her inspire the stories she tells. You can find her work listed under many different genres, but the heart of each story remains the same. What keeps us together, and what pulls us apart? She lives with her writer husband and their moody cat, Gaia, in a house three sizes too big. She holds a Bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in English. When she’s not writing, you can find her sewing, enjoying nature, listening to music, researching family history, and watching TV.


TRAILER

PLAYLIST

“What I Wouldn’t Do,” She Swings, She Sways

The first chapter of Steampunk Carnival is different than the rest of the book. It’s narrated by someone whose name isn’t revealed for several chapters. The reason he’s obsessed with filling a journal with his ideas isn’t clear until we find out who he is, but the song gives insight into his situation. He’s a man driven by longing, loneliness, and desperation. It adds extra layers and emotions to what’s shared at that point in the book.

“Kill The Lights,” The Birthday Massacre

I’m a big fan of the movie “Moulin Rouge.” In the director’s commentary, Baz Luhrmann talks about the interesting difference between points of view in the climactic scene when Satine dies after the big, pulse-pounding performance. The audience applauds. They loved what they saw. But what they missed was a murder attempt, and what they can’t see after the curtain closes is Satine’s heartbreaking death. This song represents that for Steampunk Carnival. All the guests see are beautiful costumes, spectacular rides, fun games, and delicious treats. They don’t know about the death threats, the violence, and the arguments. They never find out the games are rigged.

“Common Reaction,” Uh Huh Her

As the story unwinds, Katya finds herself in deeper and deeper trouble. She acquires more to lose – friends, her safety, a boyfriend – and realizes there are fewer things she can be sure of. A lot she took for granted isn’t true. This song expresses Katya’s confusion and caution. She doesn’t know how much to trust her boss, William Warden. She hopes everything will work out all right, but she knows any ending is possible.

“Hold My Hand,” Mister Heavenly

This song reminds me of Maddox’s approach to Katya in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. If Maddox has one thing going for him, it’s persistence. He tries several different tricks to get Katya to go out with him, and she turns him down several times. She’s not easily persuaded to trade her love of money for appreciation of simple fun.

“Shake It Out,” Florence & the Machine

This song provides the perfect backdrop to the night Katya finally gives in to spending time with Maddox. She leaves her fear, her distrust, and her rigid ideas about dating behind. Katya and Maddox ride three attractions at the carnival, which thrills Katya more than she anticipated. But more importantly, they’re finally able to share more about themselves and build a solid foundation for their relationship.

“Baptized by Fire,” Spinnerette

The lyrics and driving guitar in this song mirror what Katya and her friends are feeling by the time they confront the forces conspiring against them. Katya has seen William Warden’s inner nature, and she doesn’t like it. His security guards, allegedly hired to keep the employees safe, have been watching Magdalene like a hawk for weeks. Katya’s tired of meeting in secret, worrying about how the carnival’s reputation will survive the truth about its origins. But true to the song, with going to battle against powerful rivals comes a new beginning for all of them.

INTERVIEW

1. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Doing hours and hours of research. Even though I wanted to create an alternate history for the book and the Steam World series, I wanted almost everything else to be historically accurate. This meant researching numerous layers of clothing, whether women wore makeup, which turns of phrase they used, what occupations women typically had, and the old street names of 1880’s Indianapolis. But all of this reading and map checking was an enormous labor of love. Delving deeper into my family history in the last few years gave me a solid sense of respect for immigrants and their children, who make up many of the characters. It made the story much more personal for me.

2. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

The most surprising thing I learned while researching the 1880’s was how similar the Victorians were to us living in the 21st century. A lot of the same social questions were being asked then as now. Some people condemned birth control, and others found ways to get it anyway. People scrutinized the personal lives of politicians and organized smear campaigns. People debated labor laws and the rights of children. The more I saw Victorians as relatable and personable, the more I wanted my book to come across that way to readers. Some people might not think life was very interesting 130 years ago, but I disagree. And I hope my book proves that.

3. Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice is to do the simplest, hardest thing a writer can do, which is write. An aspiring writer on Goodreads asked an author for advice on what he should do, and the author said Write. Don’t aspire – write. And I think the same holds true for authors at any stage, from aspiring to veteran. Editing’s hard work, and it means making a lot of choices, some of which will be seen by readers. I compare editing to using sandpaper, smoothing the edges of my rough drafts. But writing means creating something from the ideas in your head, and most authors know how intimidating a blank page can be. My advice in full would be write, read, observe life, and learn to edit well, but sometimes beautiful things spring out of just the one verb that describes what we’re known for: writing.

GIVEAWAY

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No Excuses

I no longer have an excuse to not blog. I now have a laptop.

Rejoice.

So, what has been happening since my last post? Not much, if I’m perfectly honest. I’ve just been working, lamenting, going to birthday dinners, being sick and slowly counting down the days until I go away for the weekend.

I’ve also spent much of my time watching Korean dramas. It’s kind of like I’ve reverted back to my sixteen year old self, again. Such is life.

Yesterday I got my hands on a Macbook Pro 13″ and I’ve never felt more happy in my whole life. Except for the time when I got my first Macbook, perhaps. Now that I have that out of the way I can start saving for an 160gb iPod classic that I’ve had my eye on for a while. That and a new bedside table because my pile of books really need somewhere to live.

Now that I have this laptop, I’m going to concentrate more on my writing and trying (I mean really trying, not just saying that I’m trying and actually really just watching TV) to get my novel into some sort of readable direction. I should really have a plot, but at the moment it’s all over the place.

Much like my life.

I have a few planned blog posts that were meant to go up over the last couple of weeks, but they should be up within the next couple of weeks instead. Something to do with the library and Orange Is The New Black. You know me – all my posts are random as.

Anyway, I’m off to check what I’ve missed in the blogosphere. In a bit, mis amigos.

HintHunt

Despite receiving bad news (not laptop related, this time), I have had a whale of a time this week.

From re-bonding with people I used to work with years ago and working with new people, birthday dinners and a lot of fun and games, let’s just say that I don’t think my summer has ended just yet.

This week, I was lucky enough to be one of the 25 bloggers who visited HintHunt this week with LV= Insurance and Joe Blogs. It honestly has to be one of the best Wednesday nights I’ve had in a while. You can read the blog post about fun family days out here.

HintHunt “is a new simple and fun live escape game, designed for small groups of 3-5 people. You get 60 minutes to climb a mountain of puzzles and mysteries in a tiny room. The goal is simple yet challenging: get out in time! Else … you could be trapped inside forever! During this engaging and challenging game team members truly live and breathe in union for an hour.”

I can’t divulge too much information about what exactly happened in that locked room, except that there were a lot of passcodes, clues and locked doors. Also a lot of scrambling! However, my team (shout out to Katy and Erin!) managed to escape with one second to go. No joke, no lie. #teamonesecondtogo

We wanted to take a picture as proof, but we weren’t allowed :( Nevertheless, I had a blast and I will definitely be visiting again with my friends. It’s totally something that would be fun to do for a birthday or similar occasion. And despite thinking one hour is quite a long time, time FLIES in there.

I’m stoked just thinking about the next time I get to go there! :D

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I no longer have a laptop and so posting will be sporadic to say the least. I’m currently writing this on the family’s laptop, which is the oldest laptop in the world it seems. It’ll do for now, but I can’t upload videos and pictures due to the fact that 1) it’s incredibly slow, and 2) the laptop might suffer a breakdown. It’s /that/ old.

Things have been incredibly busy since my last post, and now that we are in September I’m taking a step back and trying to figure out my options. You can’t stay in one place forever, and so…

I’ve decided I want to do a creative writing postgraduate.

It’s still all up in the air and I’m hoping to do it next year, but who knows? What I do know for sure is that I will get there. Somehow, someday, you’ll find me in a lecture hall again.

Anyway, a lot has happened since my birthday. Before my birthday I got to see Childish Gambino in concert, AGAIN. If you were here for my Blog Everyday In February, you’ll remember I saw him then too. Honestly, hands down, the best concert I’ve ever been too. When he took off his shirt, it was all over for my ovaries. All over.

After my birthday I YOLO’d and decided to go to Notting Hill Carnival… in the rain. I don’t mean drizzle either – I mean torrential downpour that some of the side streets were flooded. Thanks to alcohol and a variety of other factors (ahem), I had so much fun and the rain was no bother. So much dancing, so much music, so much booty popping. So much.

For Mutay’s birthday we went to Bird in Shoreditch, which specialises in chicken and waffles. I’m aware this is an American dish and I can’t compare it to chicken and waffles in America, but all I can say is that it was DELICIOUS. Like, the craving for fried chicken is really bad. Good for my belly, bad for my skin. Oh, fried goodness, why must you torment me so?

We then headed to the Four Quarters, which is an arcade bar. They have all the old arcade games like Tron and Pacman and upstairs you can play Super Mario Kart on SNES. I’m talking old school controllers, bean bags and a lot of shouting on my part to try and get first place. There were also a lot of street fighter games and Asteroids. Definitely need to head back soon.

So, there’s my mini life update. As I mentioned at the beginning of August, September is going to be a quiet month with just a few birthdays scattered here and there. I’ll keep you posted when I can.

Hope y’all have a good September :)