Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Author Spotlight: VANESSA BARGER



Author Spotlight Presented by Sizzling PR

S
teaming by Vanessa Barger
Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 259 KB
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company (March 16, 2011)

Summary: At a time when most girls are worried about prom dresses, Lorelei Stamper is worried about losing her skin -- literally. Receiving a sealskin from her Aunt, her world is changed. Not only is she a selkie, but she holds the key to breaking a curse affecting all selkie. 

Now monsters are stalking her, forcing her to decide if she will end the curse before she even really understands what’s happening. When Declan, one of two bodyguards sent to protect her, wakes her sleeping heart, she must try to balance love, surviving her senior year, and deciding whether she wants to be human or not. No matter what she chooses, the fact remains that breaking the curse demands blood. Hers.

An excerpt from Steaming: 

Clockwork earrings highlighted the graceful curve of her neck. Red satin swirled around a tiny figure wrapped in a black suede corset. Dark eyes swept the room with only a hint of apprehension. Thick jet hair winked with stones as the angel turned toward me.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

“Cornelius Latimer! What the devil is wrong with you?” My best friend, Anthony DeSalvo, frowned and followed my gaze. “Bloody hell.”

“That didn’t come from Hell,” I whispered. Around the crowded, gas-lit ballroom, other men stopped mid-sentence and faced the angel gracing the entryway. I was not the only man enthralled. The world paused and the throbbing pulse of distant steam engines mimicked my heartbeat.

Anthony snorted and tossed back his punch. “A pretty face that will be forgotten in a week.” He studied me, one eyebrow cocked at my lack of attention. He hooted with laughter. “Finally, one of the sacrificial virgins has caught your eye!”

I elbowed him. “I don’t mock you about your conquests.”

He chortled, straightening his silk waistcoat. “That’s because I have so many. This, this, is a special occasion.”

He remained silent a few more moments. I assumed he watched as she moved through the crowd like Moses. I spared him a glance, noting the intense stare he sent in her direction. Unreasonable jealousy clouded my senses. Just when I opened my mouth to comment, he pulled a large coin from his waistcoat pocket.

“I’ll flip you for her.” His tone turned serious.

That got my full attention. A strange gleam lit Anthony’s eye, one I had never seen before. “What?”

“You heard me. Even if she is your first crush, every man out there will be after her. At least if we’re both pursuing her, we’ll double our collective chances. But when we catch her, who will keep her?”

Slack Tide by Vanessa Barger
Genre: YA Steampunk Fantasy
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 343 KB
Publisher: Decadent Publishing Company (July 19, 2011)

Summary: My name is Cornelius Latimer, and I have fallen in love.

The object of my affection isn’t tall and blonde with all the right curves. It isn’t even human. My love belches steam and breathes fire. My world runs on steam and hard metal, and I am a master of both. My Uncle, Rufus Harrison, has funded my expeditions. He’s gifted me with a lab containing all the parts and space I could possibly need. For weeks I have been toiling over my journals, crafting my biggest and best creation yet. It’s heady, this feeling of power. But I made a fatal error. I told a friend about my machine. And now someone who should not know, does. I should tear everything apart, but I can’t. Love does strange things to people.

An
 excerpt from Slack Tide:


Dear Lorelei,

This is a family heirloom. It’s sealskin from your great-great grandmother. Whatever you do, don’t lose it. Always keep it hidden, and above all else, never put it on.

Someday I’ll tell you the story behind it. Until then, keep it safe.

Love,
Aunt Celeste


I snorted and put the note aside. Sealskin? Why on earth would anyone wear it anyway? Wasn’t that illegal?

I peeled away the paper, revealing a soft, mottled brown pelt. As I brushed the short hair, a tingle moved up my hands, flowed over my body, as if I’d walked through a field of static electricity. The scent of the sea intensified, and I had the uncanny urge to pick up the skin and rub my face on it. It was like being handed a piece of a dream I couldn’t quite remember. But I knew I liked it.

“What did Celeste send this time? Something—” my mother, Miranda Stamper, stood, mouth hanging open, unable to finish her sentence. She stared at the skin like it was a snake, poised to strike.

“It’s sealskin. I don’t get it. Her gifts are usually weird, but this really tops all.” The nonchalance in my voice sounded strained, even to me. I offered the article to my mother, though I didn’t want to. My arms shook with the effort of ignoring the urge to cradle it to my chest.

“Put that back in the box, Lorelei. Never take it out again.”

My mother trembled, her eyes never leaving the fur in my arms. She looked fearful and backed up a step, brushing a hand over her eyes. Her voice shook. “I said, put it away.”

Shoving it back into the box, I couldn’t resist dragging my fingers over the skin one last time as I closed the flaps. As soon as it was out of sight, the compulsion to touch it lessened, but didn’t leave. I could still feel it, thudding like a strong bass beat in my chest.

About the author: I am a Young Adult author who teaches high schoolers all about technology education (and yearbook!) in rural Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay. I am the owner slave to one cat, Molly, who looks a little like a cow when she gets a haircut, and write in my free time. I am actively involved in the YA Fiction Fanatics critique group, which is dedicated to helping its members produce the best MG and YA novels they can write. I’m also a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).

I’ve currently finished six manuscripts, and I’m working on several more. I love writing, and my goal is to be able to do this full time someday – or at least as a published author enjoy it as a second job. I’m always open to talking with readers (because I’m one of those too!) about not just my books, but books in general. I also love long walks on the beach discussing Shakespeare while sipping large fruity drinks with little umbrellas.


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