Monday, July 11, 2011

Author Guest Post Philippa Ballantine and International Giveaway!

Steampunk in the Southern Hemisphere 
By Philippa Ballantine 

As part of the expansion of steampunk, it is lovely to see it evolving in all corners of the world—not merely London. Victorian society may leap to mind when you say steampunk, but as my co-writer Tee Morris and I have said on panels at conventions, the Victorian age happened everywhere, not just London.

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences NovelI, being born and bred in New Zealand, have a particular interest in New Zealand steampunk, and I like to think I’ve done a little bit to help bring that to light, with the book I co-wrote with Tee, Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel.

You see, Eliza D Braun of the Ministry of the Peculiar Occurrences is New Zealand’s first steampunk heroine in a major publishing house. She’s smart but rash, brave but impulsive, and she loves to blow things up. The class structures that her partner Wellington Thornhill Books, lives with, do not weigh as heavy on her—and this causes all sorts of chaos for her in London society. Basically she is the punk in our steampunk world.

I drew heavily from my own home and heritage to construct her, and had a lot of fun doing it. However there are others still in New Zealand enjoying steampunk and making it their own too.

In fact there is a whole town going steampunk. Oamaru is on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand, south of Christchurch. It is a town that was in its height during the 1880s as a port for the local farmers, and consequently has a lot of fabulous heritage buildings. The area around Oamaru is known for its beautiful white limestone, and many of the buildings in the town itself are created from it. In the last decade or so citizens of Oamaru decided to remarket their town based on its history and its heritage attractions.

Then steampunk came along. Or rather the League of Victorian Imagineers came along.

Now Oamaru is the most active steampunk town in New Zealand. They have swap meets, an annual fashion show, and an exhibition of steampunk art. It’s become a haven for those that love gears and steam, and sharing a good time.

Another active member of the steampunk community also makes his home in New Zealand. Dr Grordbort and his infallible aether oscillators have bought science and violence to New Zealand. Greg Broadmore, the creative genius behind the good (or bad) doctor, is a worker at Weta Workshop (the folks that made the Lord of the Rings such a visual feast). He was given the chance to develop these images of ray guns he’d been working on, and magic was born. Now Greg’s creations are touring the world on show, been made into ray gun replicas which folks spend thousands of dollars to own, and also published as a series of amusing books.

Feeling the rising interest in steampunk, the Museum of Transport and Technology decided to dip their toe into the Victorian stew. They recently contacted me about being involved in their steampunk day. Unfortunately I was in the States, but the day did go ahead without me and was a rousing success. Those in steampunk finery got free admission to the Museum, and the turnout was good enough to form a parade. A fine time was had by all, and it was a great excuse for the Museum to fire up its steam engines. Check out the photographs to give you some idea of the fun that was had.

Also, very recently New Zealanders are forming an airship, such as might be found in America (like the Airship Isabella). They are currently looking for crew- who knows you might very well want to join!

It seems that New Zealanders are enjoying steampunk as much as the rest of the world is, but like every branch of the former Empire, we are adding our own little twists to it. I can’t wait to see what the Land of the Long White Cloud does next in the genre—I am sure it will be both creative and inventive.

Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is a fantasy writer hailing from Wellington, New Zealand. She is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace Books, the second novel of which Spectyr has just been released.

She is also the co-author with Tee Morris of Phoenix Rising: a Ministry of Peculiar Occurrence novel out now with Harper Voyager.

Find out more at and

Philippa, I'm so happy to have you on the blog! *squee!*
I love the post and have been curious as to how others on the other end of the world have fun with steampunk! 

Phoenix Rising





The author has graciously offered up 3 books for this giveaway!! One winner will get Geist, Spectyr, (links to my reviews) and Phoenix Rising (which will be reviewed tomorrow). It is a great way to get into the genre if you have been wanting to find out what it is all about!! All you have to do is comment below and make sure you have an e-mail in the comment if you don't have one in your profile. I'll end the giveaway on the 17th. Yes! It's international!!
Good luck!
Giveaway is now closed.


  1. Hooray for international giveaways! And this is an awesome one. All of these books are high on my wishlist and I would love the chance to win them.
    And that steampunk community in New Zealand sounds so cool. I wish we had events like that in Israel but steampunk hasn't even reached here yet.

    Thanks for the great giveaway!


  2. Great post and giveaway! I really must investigate some steampunk for myself!
    My email: stuckinabook[at]hotmail[dot]com
    Thanks! :-)

  3. I really do enjoy a good steampunk!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. Definitely loving the steampunk genre and have been wanting to get my hands on these books for ages!!
    *Smiles prettily at Melissa and batters eyelids*

    I spent some time in New Zealand a while back and wish I'd known about Oamaru then - sounds like a great place to visit. :)


  5. All 3 sounds great. I love reading steampunk :)
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  6. Great post! I have no experience in this genre, but I am willing to give it a try :) Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. YAY for steampunk being set in New Zealand! I have only read one or two steampunk novels but have really enjoyed them.

  8. Melissa my dear I would so love to win one of these...or even all of them if possible...such strange things do happen, don't they? Think how many lovely men I can procure to OUR harem, bribing you with pleasure! *battering eyelids madly*


    Ms Ballantine I truly enjoyed your post - New Zealand is a very beautiful country ! Thank you!

  9. How fantastic that she set her steampunk in New Zealand, in a publishing house, and that her heroine likes to blow things up :) She sounds like my kind of leading lady!

  10. Probably about time I tried out some steampunk anyway


  11. All 3 look totally amazing!

  12. I would love to read these, they sound really good. I love steampunk.

  13. I haven't tried any steampunk yet but the trailer was great and I'd love to try them. Please enter me.
    romancebookjunkiesdanielle at yahoo dot com

  14. League of Victorian Imagineers is so cool! I bet those fashion shows are fun.

    Wow! How wonderful to see a growing interest in Steampunk.

    And I wish I knew how to fly an airship.

    Awesome guest post! Thanks for the giveaway.
    missie at

  15. Oh my gosh, SUPER giveaway! I'd love to try these out.


  16. Oh so much fun! An airship, how amazing, the detail must be incredible. Fabulous post, count me in :D

  17. Iv never ever read something like this...really wish we could have more such options here in India too :( Thanks for making this giveaway International !!! I would so love a chance to get a copy :)

    My email:

  18. International?! For reels? :D Yay, I so want to read these books after some awesome reviews, and after one blogger in particular sure got me curious about the new book.

    I would love to visit NZ, I blame it all on LOTR ;)

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  19. YAY! Thanks much for this giveaway!!

    bwitbite (at) gmail (dot) com!

    Love steampunk!!! Nice post!

  20. I'm really wanting to try steampunk so what a great way to start. Thanks for this giveaway!


  21. Love that everyone is starting to really get into steampunk! And how much fun would it be to be part of the crew on an airship? I would love to do that! And what an amazing giveaway, thank you so much:)


  22. I absolutely LOVE Steampunk! Love reading it, love writing it.

    I've been dying to read Geist and Spectyr for ages, and really enjoyed Phoenix Rising (so much so, I've read it twice!)

    If I win, I'll give my extra copy of PR away ;)

  23. Horray for kiwi steampunk! I passed through Oamaru last November and was blown away by all the steampunky goodness on the streets. I wish I'd had more time there so I could've properly explored the art gallery and the installations along the main road.

    xicanti at gmail dot com

  24. Thanks for the great giveaway! Great post.
    The truth is I have not read any steampunk books yet.

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  25. Thanks for having the giveaway....I have Geist in my "books to try" list

  26. Ooh thanks for the giveaway! I have been trying to get into steampunk, I've picked up one or two from around and about, so this at the very least gives me a new handful of books for the wishlist! Thanks!


  27. Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I am new to the genre and would love to win these books to try them!

    susanw28 (at) mindspring (dot) com

  28. Cool! Thanks for the giveaway!


  29. Awesome post!! Like you and zombies... I've never read a steampunk book! I know... *gasp in horror* but I think I'll win, and I know you loved these books, so what better way to start???? Yay! I need to add the button to my blog!! Grrr to me!

  30. I've heard of steampunk, but have yet to read this genre! It sounds interesting!

    Please enter me in the draw!

    I'm following you on GFC (Darlene), and my email address is darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. Ooh, I would so love to win these it is not even funny! I love steampunk! Thank you!


  32. I've yet to read Steampunk, count me in!

  33. Fabulous giveaway! I love Steampunk and Fantasy as well, so I'd love to get my hands on these books.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  34. Awesome giveaway! I would love to read these books, thanks.

    myra0502 at yahoo dot com

  35. I LOVE when steampunk is set places besides London. It's so refreshing and exciting to read! Thank you so, so much for the giveaway!


  36. WOnderful post! :) I have to say I want to visit those towns there in NZ they sound amazing. :)

    (no need to enter me, I have two of the three books and will be going to get the third soon.) :)

    Thank you!

  37. Wicked Awesome! All these book are on my want list. Thanks for the opportunity! (Hugs)Indigo

  38. Thanks for the giveaway. I am reall enjoying reading steampunk lately.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  39. Steampunk is soooo much fun! Glad it's getting so popular! Looking forward to the week!

    Teens Read and Write

  40. Love the steampunk genre, haven't read many though :)
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    emi3mle at yahoo dot com dot au

  41. Sounds good. Thanks for sharing!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  42. Yay! Thanks so much for the giveaway and making it international. :)

    ceeenndee at gmail dot com

  43. And since I'm over in Oz it's great to have an international competition for once...

    lordshaper At lordshaper Dot com

  44. I saw this book in our local bookshop the other day and thought, " that should be my next read". Maybe, I'll be lucky!
    Great blog post!

  45. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read these books. Please enter me in contest.

  46. Deranged PegasusJuly 12, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I would love to have a chance to read these books. THank you for giving me this chance.

  47. I can't wait to read Phoenix Rising. Thanks for the giveaway!

    whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

  48. As I have mentioned before I've yet to read anything in this genre so this would be an ideal starting point for me.

    Good luck everyone.

  49. Thanks for the giveaway! They look like fascinating stories.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  50. I never heard of steampunk, but I would like to read it.

  51. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

  52. I haven't had a chance to read steampunk, but sure count me in, i'd like to try it Thanks a lot!

  53. I'm new to this genre, but very interested. Looking forward to this feature to help me find some good reads! :)

  54. Steampunk is my new fave genre! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  55. thanks for the giveaway ! I'm very curious to read these books !

  56. Great giveaway. I've only read one steampunk book, the Iron Duke, but I loved it.


  57. I do enjoy a good steampunk. The last I read (with steampunk elements) was "Wilder's Mate" by Moira Rogers, which I enjoyed. There's just something about steampunk that whets my whistle, haha.

    These books look good! Especially "Phoenix Rising" (love that cover!) most of all. Thanks for the chance!

    postedcontests (at) g m a i l (dot) com

  58. Been loving the steampunk! Just download Phoenix rising for my kindle! Want to go home right now from work so I can start it! :) I have Geist and Spectyr on my wish list! Thanks for a great post and giveaway!

  59. Steampunk... the way the world should be ;)

    indieshadows at hotmail dot com

  60. This was a really interesting post, especially about Oamaru :) I've been reading paranormal and urban fantasy novels for a long time, but there's been a bit of cross over into steampunk and I'd love to read more steampunk fiction in the future!

    kate1485 at

  61. I fucking love steampunk music, clothing and writing. Let me win this amazingness, please!

  62. I love finding out about more of steampunk. I just wish I knew about Oamaru earlier so that I could have suggested that my brother could visit when he was touring the country a year ago.

  63. I love the covers for Geist and Spectyr and I've read a bit about Phoenix Rising, definitely want to read those three.

    eveningreen AT gmail DOT com

  64. Sign me up - these sound good! best of luck to everyone - but of course some major luck to me! my email is on my profile!

  65. I've only read a few steampunk books but I really enjoyed them. I'd love a chance to try some more!


  66. Steampunk is still a new genre fr me, but I already have at least 5 books on my shelves waiting for me to immerse myself in the genre. Furthermore one of my best blogger friends is a huge fan of Philippa's series and she kept raving about how wonderful the world she has craeted is, so I am definitely intrigued! :-D

    Thank so much for making this international, thank you Philippa!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  67. I LOVE steampunk! My library is sorely lacking in it though, so I would love to be entered into this giveaway:)

    jwitt33 at live dot com


Thanks for commenting! I ❤ comments!