Spotlight New Release ~ Watchmaker’s Heart by Juli D. Revezzo

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Please welcome back my friend, Juli D. Revezzo! She’s sharing her new release, a Victorian Steampunk romance and sharing some insight on why she chose this genre.

I’ve already started this story and it’s a page-turner!

 

Why Write Victorian Steampunk? By Juli D. Revezzo

Anyone who has read my work before knows I like to write a little bit of history now and then. My romances Celtic Stewards Chronicles takes the reader into the 16th century and beyond. My fantasy series, Antique Magic, however, blends in all sorts of eras. For the last few years, there has been a resurgence of interest, at least in the artistic communities, in the creations of the Victorian age. Or at least a version of them. Called steampunk, it combines the fashion and inventiveness of the 19th century with the possibilities of science fiction and fantasy. Jules Verne with Arthur C. Clarke or Merlin.

So, when I first began my new book, a steampunk/historical romance called WATCHMAKER’S HEART, and the main character began talking the Queen’s English, flouncing her heavy skirts and parasol along, and I knew she came from the Victorian Age. But her gumption seemed to qualify her as punk—how many young women in the 19th century paid much attention to the inventions of their day, let alone created them? Phoebe’s little invention spewed and belched along, and just reminded me of everything steampunk.

The 19th century was a time when women were finally beginning to assert themselves. This is the era of women working in, what we come to know later as sweatshops, but it was the first time women were allowed outside the home without (for the most part) being looked down upon. (Though the working conditions weren’t the best, the factories did employ women rather freely) This was also the era of women’s suffrage, when women began to really look at the political landscape around them and realize they too should have a voice in it and, more importantly, the right to insist on changes.

Many women even went a step further and decided to make the things they couldn’t otherwise get their hands on. Many of the inventions we now take for granted began here, and many made by women.

Here, then, was the thing that interested me when I wrote WATCHMAKER’S HEART. My heroine not only flounced in chattering in a thick British accent, but she brought along an interesting creation. More than just a pretty little statuette, her creation had a purpose, and a (possibly) magical one. What better purpose than to create a thing that can bring peace, and love, between two people—or more?

Here’s the blurb: 

London, 1898: For Miss Phoebe Lockswell, fashionable London tea parties and balls aren’t her style. Instead, she prefers to tinker tirelessly with a clockwork diffuser she’s built from scratch. If only she can get the invention to work on command, she might earn her way out of an arranged marriage to a repugnant member of the House of Commons.

London watchmaker Mortimer Kidd was brought up hard in the arms of an infamous London gang. Despite the respectability he strives for now, the gang leader is blackmailing him. When Mortimer sees Phoebe’s diffuser, he thinks he’s found a way to buy himself out of trouble. The brash Phoebe manages to steal his heart, however, before he can purloin her invention.

Will Mortimer’s unsavory past catch up to him before he convinces Phoebe of his devotion? Worse, once Phoebe learns the truth, will she ever trust him again?

Excerpt:

You shouldn’t have said that, Phoebe scolded herself. Shouldn’t have said a lot of things.

“Did you say aphrodisiacs?” Mr. Kidd asked.

She didn’t care whether men thought she should blush at such things. They would learn.

“London. All out for London!” the conductor called in a tremulous tenor.

Train wheels screeched; steam chuffed and screamed. The car lurched as it slowed. Phoebe plucked up her tapestry-sided bag, tossing her dark hair out of her face.

She slid from her seat. “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Kidd. Enjoy the rest of your trip.”

“It so happens, this is my stop as well,” he said. “May I see you home?”

Phoebe gulped. What had she gotten herself into?

“That won’t be necessary,” she said and added a lie. For how could she trust a stranger? “My parents are waiting for me.”

Heart pounding with worry, she swept off the train and into the station. Coal smoke filled her lungs and she choked. When the smoke cleared, Phoebe scanned the crowd. Her family wasn’t here, nor any of their people. She let out a sigh of relief. She had imagined Father hovering, waiting to drag her home by her ear.

Mr. Kidd stepped past her and tipped his hat. “Good day, miss.”

She checked the small silver watch her grandmother had given her. Dainty, with delicate roses etched into the silver cover, and the size of a pence piece, she’d had it since childhood. Another minute passed and she still couldn’t see her father or mother anywhere. In a way, their absence was a relief, but then, here she was, without a ride home.

She spied Mr. Kidd speaking to a porter who handed down his bags. He gave the porter a tip and headed towards the doors.

Phoebe studied the crowded depot seeking a way home, but every cab she approached was already occupied, and she didn’t relish the idea of riding with complete strangers. At least, she reasoned, she knew something of Mr. Kidd.

Ever since she had opened her mouth and said the word “aphrodisiacs” she’d wanted nothing more than for the floor to crack open wide and swallow her. How she let the word pass her lips in the presence of this man, she vowed she would never know. Wasn’t it enough that she was sure she openly stared at him? Wasn’t it enough that she’d flustered herself into embarrassment ever since he had said, “Excuse me?” If any other stranger had offered to tinker with her little goddess, she would have given him the coldest stare imaginable and stalked away. But no. She had let this man do as he pleased. What was so different about him? Waiting be damned, she wanted to speak with him a little more.

She cleared her throat and smiled as she approached him. “Mr. Kidd, I accept your offer, if you still have room in your carriage.”

Now it was his turn to stare at her in surprise. A moment later, he nodded. “All right,” he said. “Let me take your bag for you.”

She bit her lip.

“I won’t damage your creation. I promise,” he said.

She reluctantly handed her carpetbag over and Mr. Kidd relinquished it to his carriage driver. He then pulled the door open for her.

“Thank you, sir,” she said, and climbed inside, praying. God, don’t let this be a mistake!

“Where to, Guv’ner?” the driver asked.

Mr. Kidd met her gaze. “Where are we headed?”

“Eaton Square,” she said.

Kidd called out the destination and climbed into the carriage. The horse lurched the carriage into the flow of traffic. Kidd settled into his seat and situated his hat in his lap. “So, Miss Locksley of Eaton Square,” he said. “You were explaining your little gadget. Do you have a buyer in mind?”

She wasn’t sure whether to use his first name or not so continued on, without it. “I attended the Royal Mechanics’ Society Expo for that very reason. I hoped someone might see value in my goddess, given its various uses,” she said, sarcasm dripping from her tongue.

“She’s a goddess?”

Phoebe nodded. “Isn’t love a gift from the gods?” She pinged a nail against the window. “I see it so.”

“Yes.”

His non-committal tone proved he didn’t share her belief. Maybe he didn’t follow the Pre-Raphaelite vision as she did.

“Did you have any luck at the Expo?” he asked.

Her smile drooped.

He shook his head. “No, I gather not. That’s their loss.”

Phoebe grumbled to herself.

“What’s that, Miss Locksley?”

She took a deep breath, hoping the shadows might hide her embarrassment. “I said you’d think at least someone might find it useful in an opium den.”

“Were there any around,” he pointed out.

“London teems with such establishments.”

“How do you know about opium dens?” he asked.

His question made her stop and think. Maybe I have said too much, she thought, inspecting her tiny watch.

***

If you’re interested to see how this all came out, WATCHMAKER’S HEART is available at Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01CF0HOZG in ebook and paperback.

Thank you, Mary, for inviting me here. I hope you and your readers have a lovely week!

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2 comments


  1. Thanks so much for visiting, Juli! Wishing you all the best with “Watchmaker’s Heart.” 🙂

  2. Thank you for having me, Mary! As always, I enjoyed chatting with you about my latest work. I hope your readers will enjoy Watchmaker’s Heart! 🙂

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