Steampunk inspiration and resources


For Whom the Gear Turns is Closing, but I’ve got a GIFT for you to say THANKS!

Hello fans and followers!

In case you aren’t aware, I moved full time over to in 2016. Many of the articles and reviews on this site have been updated and reposted to that website already. Plus, I’ve added tons more content both there and on my author website. In an effort to keep from “competing with myself,” I will soon begin the process of removing the material from this site and permanently closing it down.

I am also going to launch a monthly newsletter through my author website starting in November. Subscribers will receive a FREE e-copy of my 150-page reference collection, The Steampunk Handbook. This is the very best of my articles from both For Whom the Gear Turns, the Journal, and guest posts, all in one convenient place. Plus, about 1/3 of it is all new material that has never been posted online. The book includes the history of Steampunk as a genre, tips and tropes for “punking your steam,” and descriptions of various books, movies, and other media in the Steampunk genre to help you find even more to love!

Why give it away for free, you ask? First of all, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me over the past 5 years as a Steampunk blogger and author. So, this is the best way I could think of to say THANK YOU. So come on over to and put your email address into the bar at the bottom. When the book is finished, I will send you your FREE COPY in both epub and mobi formats!

I am still in the process of doing the final revisions, but check out this awesome cover made for me by P.R. Chase. You’re the first ones to see it 🙂 The goal is to have The Steampunk Handbook ready to send before my appearance at TeslaCon Nov 15-18. Later, it will also be available to purchase, but I’m starting out offering it exclusively as a free gift to my awesome fans. 

Steampunk Handbook Cover

My second reason for giving away this book is that I’m celebrating! Both of my novels were recently picked up by publishers and I am over the moon about it. I’ve already revealed the cover of Riftmaker, my YA portal fantasy adventure coming out Feb 14, 2019.

My official announcement for the second novel is coming up soon, but I’m keeping the details under my hat for the moment so Riftmaker gets a chance to shine for a little while before sharing the spotlight with No Rest for the Wicked, an adult paranormal thriller. People who subscribe to my newsletter are going to get all the details first, so head on over to my author site and put your email address in the bar at the bottom to sign up!

So THANK YOU once again for being fantastic followers, commenters, and sharers over the past 5 years. I look forward to hanging out with over at the Journal, through my author site, or on my Facebook group, United we Steampunk Divided we Fall.


Glub glub in a Steampunk Sub

I have started work on the sequel to Riftmaker, and I am planning to include a super cool Steampunk submarine. I have been collecting images for inspiration so I thought I’d share the fruits of my labors with you. When possible, I have credited the artist but most of these images came via Pinterest so if you see something miss-credited or you know who was the brains behind a certain sub please let me know.


The Steampunk Color Palette: Analine and the “Mauve Decade”

If you are a Steampunk fan, you have probably seen a meme that looks something like this:


Personally, this has nothing to do with how I fell in love with this awesome sci-fi genre, and in truth the steam era was a lot more colorful than people give it credit for. The discovery of new dyes and pigments, coupled with the rise of ready-made clothing through mechanization of the processes of garment-making, lead to an explosion of color in fashion for both sexes in the second half of the 19th century.

Until the mid-1800’s, the fashion industry was limited by the availability of natural dyes. Crushed plants and animals provided the only way to add color to clothing, and these resources were limited and often very costly. Purples were especially hard to come by, and until 1856 you could only make it by using a few types of mollusks. Then, amateur chemist William Perkin changed all that.

He didn’t have fashion on his mind when he started his experiments with quinine, but the accidental discovery of a synthetic pigment he called “mauvine” far outstripped his greatest hopes for his original work. Within a few years, this purple pigment (derived from a volatile compound “analine”) could be seen draped over Victorian England’s middle class after Queen Victoria popularized the hue. The 1890’s are sometimes referred to as “the mauve decade” because of how prevalent this color had become.

But, the story is so much bigger than dresses (which is saying a lot considering they were some really BIG dresses). When the synthetic dye craze exploded, Germany was one of the only countries that were really equipped to handle this new chemical industry. By the onset of the first World War, Germany was responsible for supplying as much as 90% of the American market’s synthetic dyes. At the turn of the 19th century, France was seen as the seat of fashion, so it is no surprise that these fashion houses issued the first color cards to act as guides for dying thread to match their goods and make production faster and more consistent.

When I read about all of this I got inspired to make some of my artwork reflect these innovations by exploring a single hue such as Analine purple. What do you think?


For a limited time this little beauty will be up on my Etsy shop, but I am currently talking to a gallery that is interested in displaying some of my small pieces. If you think you might like to have this as your very own, act fast!


“Time” Altered Canvas is my Favorite Steampunk Alchemy Illustration

As I suspected, right when I got firmly back into my art-making mindset I had to pack up all my tools, paper and adornments and ship them back the US. There isn’t a lot of downtime on an archeaogical project, so I have to put my creativity on the shelf again for a bit. This is the last of my pieces for the upcoming Steampunk Alchemy book. I actually finished this one back in May, but I wanted to space out posting the various illustrations.

"Time" Altered CanvasThe perfume recipe it will accompany is called “Time.” Of course, when thinking about Steampunk artwork and time I immediately thought of a clock, but I didn’t want to go so totally literal and cover the canvas with clock faces and hands. I had been toying with the idea of using the four corners to show the lifecycle of a flower, but then the Mister suggested a pendulum and I loved the idea. I have always been a fan of the early Impressionists who tried to capture motion, so this is a nod both to them and the idea of using a lifecycle to express “Time”. I also chose sepia-tones to give it an old-timey feel.

The image above is more or less the original piece with only the contrast upped, but the real illustration as it appears in the book will likely be enhanced further through various digital effects.

See my other Steampunk Alchemy illustrations: “Lighter than Air“, “Magic“, and “Brass”

Memepunk: The British

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For this installment I decided to go with a loose theme that mostly refers to the politeness of Brits. I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Mechanical Menagerie: Release the Hounds!

Check out my other Mechanical Menageries, featuring other four-legged friends, creepy crawly insects and fabulous fish!

Welcome to the First Installment of “MemePunk”

You can meme pretty much anything, and Steampunk is no exception. During this new series I scour the interwebs to find funny (and sometimes critical) pictures with captions about Steampunk and things Steampunk fans will enjoy. Here is a collection that simply try to explain Steampunk with a single image (and one about Dieselpunk for good measure).

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Because of the viral nature of memes, it is often difficult to give credit to the creators. If you know who I can attribute and image to please leave me a comment!

“Magic” 3D Top Hat Illustration for Steampunk Alchemy

Hello friends! I have just finished my second illustration for my upcoming project with Penny Blake. Steampunk Alchemy will be a how-to book about making your own perfumes and lotions, with an alchemical steampunk twist of course! This is my contribution for the perfume called “Magic.” If you missed the first illustration for “Light than Air”, you can see it here.

I decided to go with a magician theme rather than a witch, wizard or fairy because of the rise of magically inclined performers during the steam era. If you want to learn more you can check out my Steampunk Sourcebook for The Illusionist, which features a Steampunk magician gallery.

Magic edited

When you see it straight on in a photo, it may not be quite as obvious that the hat and the magic bits (which were salvaged laser cut wood scraps I bought at Weekend at the Asylum and painted) are coming out of the canvas and toward the viewer, so here a couple pics that are less polished and meant to show you a bit more about how it works.