Both The Other World and Paris By Gaslight will be published in 2017 some time about the middle of the year. They will definitely be on the shelves before this year’s CONtraflow. No final decisions have been made yet as to which stories and poems will be included but everyone selected will be informed when the time comes.
A new voice in the field of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy fiction, New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His most recent story, “The Night Mississippi Declared War on the Moon,” was published in Dark Oak Press’ Capes and Clockwork II, edited by Alan Lewis. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon lives with his guardian and protector, Battle-cat Princess Kaleidoscope, in his home town of New Orleans, Louisiana. Find out more about Brandon’s work at http://www.brandonblackonline.com.
All text copyright Brandon Black 2017.
With regards to Paris By Gaslight, two authors have asked me if stories may be set earlier than the 19th century, so as to set their stories within the French Revolution and I just want to let everyone know that while we usually restrict stories to the 19th century, in this case, an exception can be made and so, please feel free to set your story during the Revolution!
Liberté, égalité, fraternité!
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New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black is the editor of the By Gaslight steampunk anthology series. He has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon has just published a short anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fiction short stories entitled Mechanical Tales and is working on completing his first novel. His most recent story “The Night Mississippi Declared War on the Moon,” has been published in Capes and Clockwork 2.
Paris By Gaslight has one month left to it before reaching its deadline for submitting poetry and fiction. So those of you who have already been writing have a month to put your work in front of your beta readers and get some feedback and clean up your manuscripts. Those of you who are just getting started still have one month to get their poems and stories written! Don’t forget you can submit more than one piece. Let’s make this book the best one yet!
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New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black is the editor of the By Gaslight steampunk anthology series. He has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon has just published a short anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fiction short stories entitled Mechanical Tales and is working on completing his first novel.
All text copyright Brandon Black 2016.
We invite you to attend.
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New Orleans-based fantasy and science fiction author Brandon Black is the editor of the By Gaslight steampunk anthology series. He has a Bachelor’s in Military and Political Journalism and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Oak Press’ Dreams of Steam III and Seventh Star Press’ A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court. Brandon has just published a short anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fiction short stories entitled Mechanical Tales and is working on completing his first novel, I Was A Teenage Air Pirate.
All text copyright Brandon Black 2016.
This post contains a scene of explicit sex. You have been warned.
This is a scene from the cutting room floor if you will from my story “Songs of the Divine Pulsation,” a steampunk erotica story I published in New Orleans By Gaslight. This scene wound up being cut from that story after David Ducorbier, local celebrity and man about town, physically lifted up the pages with this scene on it from my story and dropped them to the floor as being non-essential to the plot. I agreed with him then and when I returned to “Songs,” to add back in some of the material I had cut from it, this scene remained on the cutting room floor. That said, I still think it has some lovely writing.
Dave said I just want to get it on with Marie Laveau. He may be right about that.
The scene involves one of the main characters of “Songs of the Divine Pulsation,” a young black man named Evan who has a great deal of mystic potential and has elected to study under the New Orleans sorceress Sabine rather than with the voudouns of the city.
Evan and Marie
by Brandon Black
Evan gathered tools and supplies from his basement lair to take back to Sabine’s workshop. He placed the metal implements in a large bag for the trip. A knocking sounded on the door and Evan went to answer. The open door revealed none other than Marie Laveau.
Evan stood, silent, in surprise for a moment.
“Hello again,” Marie said.
“Hello,” Evan said with a nod, clearly wondering what this was about.
“I wanted to talk with you again about studying at our temple,” Marie said.
“Why are you so interested in me?” Evan asked. “Or is it that you just can’t stand to see me trained by Sabine because I’m black and she isn’t?”
“It is about Sabine. But it’s not entirely about race. It’s more about the fact that she does nothing with her power. I serve the lwa, I serve the community. People like you and I are rare. Everyone has the basic potential to serve the spirits but only a handful of people are strong enough to be adept at it. I just hate the thought of someone like you, someone who could be a houngan, a strong one, and a real asset to this community, going down her road and never doing any good for anyone.”
“I see,” Evan said.
“I just want you to see what we have to offer. Come to the peristyle and see what we do. It may interest you.”
“I’d like that. When?”
“Why not right now? We’re having a ritual tonight. Come to the salon. My peristyle, my temple, is out back. Come see how your ancestors served the spirits.”
“Let’s go,” Evan said with a nod.
Marie led Evan through the streets of New Orleans to one of the older neighbourhoods and a lovely, if modest, house with a building in back. The pair of them went up the stairs and into the house. Each and every room of the house held a small shrine, some just small tables with a cloth and statuettes and offerings but others the size of large dressers and covered in an array of exotic objects, incense holders, candles and candle holders, statuettes and figurines, carvings of snakes, skulls and sundry other mystic symbols all festooned with swirling pictographs and painting. Cigars, cigarettes, candies, flowers, coins, dollar bills and glasses and bottles of rum were left in offering on the various altars all over Marie’s home. Adjacent to the master bedroom, was the house’s temple room, painted entirely in black, with a main central altar and two sub-altars in the corners, more elaborate than anything he had seen in the house before.
“This was our main temple before we built the peristyle in back. We still hold certain special rituals here.” Marie led him back into the master bedroom and they sat down. “So, what do you think?”
“I am impressed. And curious. I want to learn more about what it is you do.” Evan said.
Marie smiled, triumphant.
“But,” Evan continued. “I’m happy learning from Sabine and Vespers. I’ve learned a lot and I know there’s more, much more, to learn. I’m not ready to give it up.”
“What has she taught you?” Marie asked.
“How to marshal and gather the forces of my body and spirit, how to commune with the Divine Presence,” Evan said. “She’s shown me things I never thought were even possible. I won’t turn my back on her or her teachings.”
“So, show me.”
“What?” He asked.
“Show me what you’ve learned,” she said.
“Are you sure?” Evan asked.
“Yes. Show me what you’ve learned,” Marie said.
“All right,” Evan smiled and began to unbutton his shirt.
“What are you, ” began Marie but Evan simply lifted his index finger gesturing for her to wait a moment and finished opening his shirt. He lifted a hand towards her and waited. She offered him her hand in return and he placed it flat over his heart, enfolded his hands over hers and closed his eyes.
In his mind’s eye, he gathered himself and his flows in his heart chakra, felt the probing, questing essence of Marie’s life force from her hand, felt it interweaving with his own flow. His eyes were closed but he knew when she felt the connection too when he felt the gentle shudder of surprise trickle down her fingertips.
Evan opened his eyes and smiled and drew Marie close; she spoke no word of restraint, made no move of resistance. She pulled the shirt from him and cast it to the floor. Evan brushed his lips gently against hers, his mouth open, exhaling gently across her lips before drawing her into a warm kiss. As their lips met and Marie’s hands began to rove across the warm flesh of his naked, muscled chest, she reached down to unbuckle his belt. Evan kicked off his shoes and let his pants and underwear fall to the floor. He began to disrobe her, helping her out of her dress. Evan knelt before her and removed the dress and allowed her to slip out of her shoes, one at a time, placing them together besides the dress. He then stood as she turned around and he began to unlace her corset, his fingers working quickly and nimbly as it too then fell to the floor. Marie lifted her hair with both hands as he undid the drawstring on her chemise and lifted it over her head. The garment removed, she shook her head, letting her long, luxurious hair fall gracefully about her neck and shoulders. Finally, he turned her around and reaching for the drawstring on her waist, undid and slid down her bloomers, his fingers sliding gracefully down the curving flesh of her backside, and pulled her bloomers to the floor as she stepped out of them.
The resplendent form of her nude body before him, her pert, shapely breasts and erect nipples, her generous and supple curves revealed before him clad only in her soft, immaculate mocha skin, Evan felt his manhood stirring and taking her hand in his, he led her to the bed and wordlessly bid her to lay down, which she did.
He placed his palm flat over her sex not in contact with her skin but an inch or so away from her.
“Close your eyes. Move your pelvis forward slightly in time with your breath. Breathe in, breathe out, draw full and complete breaths from your diaphragm, ” he drew a fingertip across the curve of her stomach. “Let your belly and your pelvis rise and fall as you breathe, that’s it, now imagine as you do so, that your drawing your breath through your flower, inhaling and exhaling prana, or life force. In, out, in, out.”
Evan straddled the edge of the bed and leaned down and kissed her gently across the lips, keeping a hand on her rising and falling belly.
He kissed her on her throat and opened his mouth slightly to exhale across her skin as he drew his lips gracefully down the curve of her slender neck. Marie trembled.
Evan kissed and suckled at Marie’s breasts, cupping her breast delicately with his right hand and drawing his thumb across her erect nipple. He drew two deep breaths in time with hers, exhaling across the nipple of one breast while fondling the other with his right hand.
“In and out. In and out.”
He began to plant gentle kisses down the warm curve of her belly and then drew his thumb across the soft sable fur of her womanhood once, twice.
“In, and out.” Evan exhaled across her pearl in time with her inhalation before placing his mouth to her flower. He licked, delicately, up and down the curve of her petals before kissing her on her feminine bud. He flicked his tongue in sensuous curving patterns across her bud while pushing two fingers into her warm, wet and inviting womanhood.
Evan moved his tongue in swirling patterns across her delicate, delectable flesh, drawing across the petals of her feminine flower, kissing her on the inner thigh, before returning to tease and entice her pearl. Marie rolled her hips gently from side to side in a rocking motion and moaned with pleasure.
He turned her over and worked two fingers of his left hand slowly into her sex, which was wet and pliant. Marie moaned louder as he pushed deeper into her and deeper. With his right hand, he drew his fingertips up along her backbone from the base of her spine towards her head, lifting his fingers from her to start again at the base of the spine tracing upwards.
“The kundalini, the primary motive force of the body, resides in the base of the spine. All these techniques are eventually aimed at liberating that force, freeing it to flow unchecked upwards through the chakras of the body towards the top of the head, the crown. The goal is expansion of consciousness through the union of the body’s vital flows. One with body and mind, one with the universe.”
The echoing sound of mighty drums rolled outwards from the peristyle as the evening’s ritual began. As the servants of the lwa, clad in white, danced their way around the circle in celebration of spirits ancient, African and powerful, Marie and Evan made love in time with the pulsating, pounding beat roiling from the temple.
Evan removed his fingers from her flower and anointed his shaft with her juices. Evan lifted her buttocks until she was up on her knees and he moved in behind her. Rubbing himself from the tip of his shaft to its base, he placed his other hand on her beautiful, curvy behind. Then, wordlessly, he spread her buttocks apart with his hands and gripping her tightly, pulled her into him, thrusting forward into her. Marie let out a sudden cry of surprise and then whimpered, shuddering, as he thrust deeper inside.
Evan pulled her hips into his in time with the drumming, the deep chocolate tones of his own skin against the lighter mocha of her soft, curvaceous derrière. He thrust into her over and over plumbing the deep recesses of her full, supple buttocks, again and again and again.
When Marie came, it was with the force of a thunderbolt and every muscle in Evan’s body went rigid as he climaxed and he felt the two of them speared through, transfixed, by the black current of the void flowing through them both.
That indescribably long moment passed, both their bodies went limp and the two of them collapsed together in a heap of spent, sweating flesh.
Evan rolled off of Marie and still panting for breath, looked her deep in the eyes and smiled.
Marie smiled back at him. “Well, that was something.”
Hearing the ongoing ritual in the peristyle behind Marie’s salon, the two dressed quickly, Marie handing Evan a shirt and trousers both made of white cotton as was the custom for worshippers to wear within the confines of the peristyle. Clad for ritual, the two joined the other celebrants, taking their place in the circle and dancing to celebrate the ancestral spirits of their common homeland.
Sweat pouring down their faces, drummers strummed their hands across their doumbeks attaining trance weaving a staccato lattice of sound as men and women partook of the long-standing communion of the Cosmic Dance, each one unique dancing as their hearts and spirits directed yet at one with the circle of rhythm and life all around them.
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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Thursday at 6 pm CST on FOX Sports 1280 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.
All content copyright © Brandon Black
Perhaps you’ve seen them at a local science fiction convention such as Comic Con: people dressed in Victorian-era garb but with strange implements of wondrous science that would have never worked in the real world. These are steampunks.
The single most common question I get asked as a steampunk author is: just what is steampunk, anyway?
Steampunk put simply is Victorian-style science fiction, fiction in the style of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. It is a Victorian world plus, one with strange mad science and wondrous steam-driven technologies from heavier-than-air flying ships to steam-driven mechanical computers to giant, track-driven land battleships to brass-covered automatons. It’s science fiction blended with alternate history — a Victorian era of “What If?”
While steampunk may have found its origins in the science fiction writings of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and others, writers such as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, authors of The Difference Engine, have brought forward this style into the twenty-first century. And while much of steampunk focuses on science fiction, fantasy elements are not out of the picture either. Much of modern young adult steampunk fiction involves both vampires and magic. Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, even includes zombies! It’s very much an ‘anything goes’ fictional genre.
The freedom and openness of the steampunk genre is built on the immense enthusiasm its fans have for dressing up and do-it-yourself costuming. While people can and do buy props and costume pieces off the internet, steampunk is much more about making your own gear and showing it off for friends and family. I believe the immense popularity of steampunk is one of the offshoots of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Harry Potter made it cool for people, young and old, to be readers and cool even to dress up publicly as their favorite characters. People in the steampunk community group together, often in costume, in local clubs called airships. Many airships have build nights in which the steampunks gather to work on their prop projects while socializing.
The openness of the genre is seen clearly visible in the wide variety of the ages of the participants. You are just as likely to see a retired couple costuming as steampunks at a local convention as you are to see high schoolers involved in it. And while rigorous debate often occurs between steampunks as to what is or is not steampunk, the community is unified in its desire that everyone should have a good time and that every effort at costuming and prop building be appreciated from the most expert and professional to the first effort of a newly steampunking child.
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Fantasy, science fiction and steampunk author Brandon Black is the editor of New Orleans By Gaslight, a first of its kind anthology of steampunk and gaslamp fantasy poetry and fiction set in Victorian-era New Orleans. Brandon is also the web content manager for the Week in Geek, New Orleans’ favourite fantasy and science fiction themed radio talk show, every Saturday at 1 pm CST on WGSO 990 AM. Click here to check out Brandon’s ever-expanding list of published works.
Gary Bourgeois, David Ducorbier and Brandon Black — three of the contributing writers for the New Orleans By Gaslight anthology — will be conducting two steampunk panels at CONtraflow science fiction convention in Kenner, Louisiana on October 3rd through 5th. Details at: http://contraflowscifi.org/.
Also at CONtraflow — the New Orleans Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Circle will be conducting a Meet and Greet on Saturday, October 4th at the convention. Members of the general public will be treated to readings from the authors’ current works and will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the latest rising stars in New Orleans science fiction and fantasy!