Last month, I reviewed Clockwork Mafia by Seleste deLaney - the 2nd book in the Badlands series. The book is due out on the 29th of April and Seleste has agreed to grant this wee blog with her beauteous presence as part of her blog tour for the book's release.
Once Upon a Time…
Alternate history is kind of a tricky thing. As the author, I know how many things played out that came before the books, but those snippets of history are hard to fit into the novels and novellas without screaming info dump. One part of the world of the Badlands that I’m often asked about is how, in a penal colony, did women come to rule. So, sit back and grab a mug of the libation of your choice, and let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, the United States decided to set aside their issues with the British and steal a page from their playbook. The cost to care for criminals began overwhelming the states and they looked to Britain and the Australian penal colony as inspiration. True, the states didn’t have access to a large island nation, but there were large tracts of wild lands west of the Mississippi…
It soon became commonplace to banish violent criminals and repeat offenders to the land across the river. As the move proved successful—few returned—more and more convicts were sent away. Eventually, their women and children started to follow—determined to keep their families intact.
But the area was rough and proved deadly in many ways, not least of all the abundance of violent men. Families determined to survive began training their children—especially the girls, who were most at risk of violence—in weapons and fighting. These warrior women bred more, and the Border Guard unofficially came into being before the monarchy.
Soon enough, the reformed criminals realized the guards weren’t enough. They needed real prisons where the men could be reformed. And for that they needed rulers.
Imagine, if you will, a council of men—all former convicts—sitting around trying to figure out who gets to be in charge. Within a very short period, arguing and fights erupted. At that point, the warrior women surrounded the group and drew their weapons. A single woman strode to the center of the assemblage and announced her ascension to the throne. The women had decided she was most fit to rule and if the men had a problem with it, they could take it up with her guards.
There were a few attempted rabble-rousers over the next few years, but they were dealt with via swift and permanent justice. The new nation had no room for softness at the time. But before he was put to death, one of the men was quoted as saying, “These were bad lands when we were sent here, and they’ll never be anything but so long as women rule.” With that, the Badlands were born.
Inventor Henrietta Mason is retiring from airships and adventuring to return home to Philadelphia. Determined to erase all trails leading to her late father's duplicity, she dismantles his lab and removes all records of the Badlands gold. While in the city, she can't resist the lure of a charity gala but winds up regretting the whole experience. Well, everything except a heart-racing dance with a certain U.S. Marshal.
His career and vengeance on the line, Carson Alexander must prove a connection between Senator Mason and the mafia. He lucked out happening across Mason's strikingly beautiful daughter, only to have her slip through his fingers. On a desperate hunt to track her down, he never expects his search to take him into the brutal Badlands.
With a mechanically enhanced enforcer after them, only Carson knows the extent of the danger they face. He'll have to win over Henrietta's trust, and her heart, before it's too late...
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If you aren’t going to be able to see her next week at the Romantic Times Booklovers’ Convention—or even if you are—you can also find Seleste around the internet: