Award-Winning Author & Literary Chair, O. M. Grey
April has been a great month for me. Not only did Avalon Revisited and “Dust on the Davenport” both win Readers’ Choice Awards from The Steampunk Chronicle for Best Fiction and Best Short Story, respectively, but my poem “New York Rain” won the Grand Prize at the Leander Public Library’s Poetry Contest!
With everything that’s been going on in my personal life, it’s so wonderfully validating to be honored in my professional life like this. Thanks to everyone at The Steampunk Chronicle and at the Leander Public Library, especially Doctor Q and Adrian H., again, respectively.
Additionally, I was the “Literary Chair” at Florida’s first ever Steampunk Exhibition,
and it, too, was a great honor. I finally got to meet Abney Park as well as catch up with my dear friends of Airship Isabella (even played on the beach together and buried Capt. Delacru in the sand. Great fun!). Mickey & Doug, the organizers of the event, were everso charming, and I look forward to working with both of them again very soon, perhaps later this year at another FL event.
One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting and chatting with S. J. Chambers, co-author of The Steampunk Bible. Ms. Chambers interviewed me on my relationship essays and other work. The results made it into her piece for Beyond Victoriana (below), but please do read the entire article over on Beyond Victoriana.
In addition to her readings and panel, literary chair O.M. Grey (Olivia) hosted two high teas, which were savory and fun and featured a rousing round of Charades. For those who haven’t come across Olivia yet, she is the author of the Steampunk Paranormal Romance novels, Avalon Revisited (which just recently won Best Fiction in the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award) and The Zombies of Mesmer, as well as Caught in the Cogs: An Eclectic Collection of short stories, love poetry, and her widely popular relationship essays which advocate the often much misunderstood polyamorous dynamics. Her short story “Dust on the Davenport,” won her another Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award for Best Short Story. I had a chance to catch up with Olivia, and was interested in why she chose to write for a Steampunk audience when her relationship articles could have such a wide appeal to more mainstream publications:
“I think the nature of Steampunk allows for more sexual exploration than perhaps other genres because Steampunk is more about being on the fringes of society, anyway. And with so many people in the geek culture, of course, polyamory is already prevalent … and so I think Steampunk is ripe for that because what Steampunk is about … is the past the way it should have been rather than the way it was.
“A lot of times in Steampunk literature, it really speaks to gender issues and racial issues that were ignored, and there was serious prejudice going on in the Victorian era, and serious prudishness as well. With the table legs covered, the chair legs covered, everything had to be skirted so no one was reminded of sex. That’s what I like to play with in my novels a lot, is this prudishness, this behavior in public, but then people being completely open if not debaucherous behind closed doors. That idea that when you are suppressing something so natural as sexuality that it is going to come out (and maybe in not so healthy ways sometimes) behind closed doors–but even so, … it comes out very passionately with the women who are strapped into corsets and bustles and keep their hands folded in their laps….but at the same time what they are doing is really getting in touch with their sexuality behind closed doors and I really do love that part of it.
O.M. Grey: Award-winning author O.M. Grey was one of the guests of honor, as well as the literary chair at the Florida Steampunk Society Exhibition.
“And so polyamory, along with my relationship essays, really speak to that a little bit with Steampunk because it is pushing those boundaries of sexuality. It’s saying ‘What we have learned as society is that there may be a better way, or at least a different way—better for some people not others–that love is not finite, that by loving another person the love for the first person does not minimize, it actually deepens and broadens, and I think that’s beautiful. And the same thing with sexuality. Desire breeds desire; love breeds love, having, I think, Steampunk is a great outlook to promote a sex positive culture…. It can be a place to explore not only societal boundaries, but exploring gender roles and different sexual preferences.”
I look forward to meeting with Ms. Chambers again at some point in the near future and sharing another margarita with her.
In the mean time, look for me at Aetherfest this coming weekend AND in the upcoming May Issue of Gearhearts, A Steampunk Glamour Revue, #3.
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~ by omgrey on April 30, 2012.
Posted in News & Reviews, Short Fiction & Poetry, Steampunk Spotlight
Tags: abney park, author, avalon revisited, ayleen the peacemaker, beyond victoriana, contest, daytona beach, dj doctor q, dust on the davenport, florida, florida steampunk exhibition east. s. j. chambers. the steampunk bible, ministry of peculiar occurrences, o.m. grey, olivia grey, poet, poetry, short story, steampunk, steampunk chronicle