Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Guest Spotlight: Cecilia Dominic

If love is the ivy, secrets are the poison. Aether Psychics, Book 1

Nothing is more fun than a new book release.

Well, okay, very few legal things are as much fun as a new book release. Which is why I'm proud to announce that fellow Samhain author and MidSouthCon alumni, Cecelia Dominic, has a new book out on the 25th of this month (but you can pre-order now with a single quick click, hint hint).

The book is called Eros Element, and the cover is above.

I've have the privilege of reading the book, courtesy of the author. So when I tell you this is a damned good book, I'm not engaging in guesswork or hyperbole.

Before I start blabbering, here's the blurb for Eros Element:

After enduring heartbreak at the hands of a dishonest woman, Edward Bailey lives according to scientific principles of structure and predictability. Just the thought of stepping outside his strict routine raises his anxiety.

Adding to his discomfort is Iris McTavish, who appears at his school's faculty meeting in place of her world-famous archeologist father. Worse, the two of them are to pose as Grand Tourists while they search for an element that will help harness the power of aether. 

Iris jumps at the opportunity to prove her worth as a scholar-and avoid an unwanted marriage proposal-while hiding the truth of her father's whereabouts. If her secret gets out, the house of McTavish will fall into ruin. 

Quite unexpectedly, Edward and Iris discover a growing attraction as their journey takes them to Paris and Rome, where betrayal, blackmail and outright theft threaten to destroy what could be a revolutionary discovery--and break their hearts.

Yes. Steampunk, baby. Set in an 1870 that never was but should have been.

I loved this book. I swear I could hear steam hissing and gears clacking the whole time I read it. The 'aether' of the title was my favorite of Dominic's inventions. She obviously knows her discredited Victorian physics, and she brought them to life brilliantly in a laboratory demonstration early in the book.

PROTIP: Show Frank a copper sphere and then cool it to draw down a vacuum, and you've won him over instantly. 

In fact, her handling of the more fantastic elements of the book is a great strength. Without giving too much away, there's the aether, which is being sought as a power source. There are also some subtle and well-handled psychic talents, which I won't name, that also add flavor to the tale. But nothing is overdone, and there is a refreshing lack of deux ex machinas throughout.

Her version of 1870 is perfectly executed. She did one thing I haven't seen a lot of lately, in that she showed the downside to steam-powered society. Early in the book, the party's train makes a stop on the outskirts of London, and though brief, the scene is particularly illuminating -- the sickly poor, the railroad workers passing mirrors on poles beneath the train to detect the presence of Victorian spy-bots that might be crawling on the undercarriage, waiting to creep inside and spy on businessmen. It's deft touches like that which really transport the reader into the world of the book.

But I've read plenty of books with stunning technical settings that fell flat because I just didn't care about any of the characters.

Not so here.  Edward Bailey and Iris McTavish step right out of the book from Page One, big as life and lots of fun.

This isn't a love-at-first-sight book. Oh no. Not at first sight or second or even well up into the twenties. I loved the way she handled the romantic aspects of the book, because -- well, you read it, I can't say too much, save to say I was well entertained.

There are a lot of characters to love here. Again, no spoilers, but Iris's female traveling companion is also thoroughly entertaining.

I think there's something for everyone here. You've got intrigue, suspense, and a globe-trotting party of adventurers. You've got aether and airships, romance and derring-do.

Best of all, Miss Dominic can turn a phrase.

If you enjoy steampunk, you'll love this. Even if you've never read a steampunk adventure in your life, you'll love this.

Here's a list of links to get you started. Eros Element, which is Book 1 of a planned series, goes on sale the day the 25th, but now's a good time to grab a pre-order!

EROS ELEMENT Amazon link

EROS ELEMENT Barnes & Noble link

EROS ELEMENT Samhain Publishing link

Cecilia has quite a few titles for sale. Check out her Amazon author page here, She also maintains a great blog, which is here: Cecelia's Blog.

That's all for this week! I'm still working on the new Markhat, while Meralda and Mug tap their feet and tendrils, respectively, in impatience.

Take care, folks!