Although set in a Post-Apocalyptic world in which Neo-Victoriana rules and earth's survivors lead a cobbled-together steampunk existence, the main focus of Beyond Redemption centers around its two main characters, Jack Hazard and Penny Fox. Two flawed people living with buried secrets almost as dark as the hellish creatures they hunt, the main characters in this series were created after years of reading everything Victorian from Rudyard Kipling to Bram Stoker. Blend this with a lifetime spent watching Hammer and other horror films, centering around vampires, werewolves and damsels in distress. Add a pinch of my experience working as a graphic designer, throw in a dash of creating and painting award winning military and fantasy figures. A pinch of my passion for late nineteenth century American and British history, coupled with my love of India in the Raj period and you have the brew that lead me down the path toward writing these tales. Discovering the fascinating world of the Victorian Steampunk culture has added the perfect smidge of necessary spice.
As the reader progresses through Beyond Redemption, I've attempted to portray Penny and Jack as basically ordinary people driven by the same needs, desires and emotions we can all associate with. Yet, from the beginning I've hinted that each is far more than meets the eye. After all, they're people forced to deal with a fractured world still trying to get it all together several hundred years after a series of worldwide cataclysmic events. Not surprisingly, clean water has become the most important resource on earth, and during the survivors' search for fresh sources, mankind has unleashed yet another harbinger of doom. A protective seal has been broken, and a small crack has been opened. Through this slash in the earth's crust slither a horde of savage monsters. In Beyond Redemption, Penny and Jack band together to find and destroy the evil Baroness Heidi Zurbrück and prevent her from opening a larger gateway to hell and letting all manner of diabolical creatures pour out. With each book of my Dragon Seeker series, I intend to follow Jack and Penny as they discover love and band together to seek out these creatures and save humanity from fresh horrors.
With each chapter I hope to reveal a little bit of Jack and Penny's "special talents" as well as provide glimpses into their well-guarded secrets. Of course there'll be a fair amount of romance and sex, plenty of personal conflicts to overcome as well as several clans of savage beasts, some of them human, some definitely not. As it is sadly true in life, there will be some issues of racism and prejudice. Penny is the daughter of an American army officer of Irish descent while her mother was a Hindu fleeing India in disgrace. There, I've revealed one of Penny's secrets. Now you might wonder why Mum fled her native India? Anyone familiar with the British control of India during the Raj period knows of the prejudicial way the local Brits viewed most Indians. Since the world has now adopted Neo-Victorian ideals, you might assume that prejudice has reared its ugly head again. But is that really why Penny's Mum deserted her homeland? By the way, the title Beyond Redemption has several meanings, just as city names are sometimes changed over time, such as Bombay becoming Mumbai. Many of the devastated world's cities have been renamed. Hope, Disappointment, Traveler's Rest and Shadowland to name a few. Redemption is the name of a survivors' settlement in the northeast where southerner Penny Fox is forced to live. For Beyond Redemption's second meaning, the reader will quickly discover some secrets when revealed are very much beyond redemption.
As for my personal writing process, I'm usually stimulated by something I read, see, or hear about. From there, I develop characters and plots like most other writers, always governed by two words: What If.
Struggling to survive in a devastated world powered by steam and governed by Neo-Victorian morals, fake spiritualist Penny Fox meets handsome Jack Hazard at haunted Grimsby Manor. During the stormy night of the séance, both realize they are sexually attracted to each other. Although each hides dark personal secrets, they dare explore a vile mansion where creatures far more deadly than restless ghosts prowl. Before their terrifying night ends, they'll share wild passion, know overwhelming fear, summon more than a dash of courage, and discover the beginning of an adventurous love affair destined to last all their lives. Trouble is, their lives might prove very brief. First, they must live through the night.
In her trance, there were two of them entering the abandoned android factory, an inferior shadow world of BioSim’s actual Artificial Intelligence Group. The place was not so much abandoned, as avoided. The pair of invaders looked like survivalist characters featured in one of her trashy novels set in the barren wastelands of Desolation. They were dressed head to toe in some sort of heavy animal skin coats with all sorts of metal gadgets clinking and clanging about their bodies, and plenty of plain cold iron. The sort of stuff to keep witches and demons at bay.
They worked their way past the cobwebbed ghosts of lifeless service bots, stacks of articulated limbs and rows of gender-specific heads, looking for the plant manager’s office. Behind a double line of dormant fully-assembled androids, they found it. Once inside, they swept a stack of rolled AI schematics off a battered desk, and began hastily undressing each other. She watched as her companion began to peel away a thick pair of amber-colored goggles, and the various gauges and devices strung across his body, stacking them carefully beside the desk. When he stripped off his spiked helmet, and mutant panther seal skin coat, she tried not to stare. The athletic, well-muscled form he’d kept covered was beginning to drive her crazy. She wanted him in her so badly, this fellow adventurer of hers. As she began to strip out of her own restrictive clothing, right down to her icy blue silk panties, she realized he must feel the same about her. He’d watched her undress the whole time, his twinkling blue eyes full of mischief.
She came to him in front of a dusty brocaded couch, her eager smile that of an anxious innocent. Brazenly, she began kissing him. She’d wanted to kiss Jack Hazard from the moment she’d met him.
Free of the restrictive clothing worn by anyone hoping to survive in the endless wasteland, and the paraphernalia of their secretive trade, they went at it like lovers long separated. When Jack finished removing the last of his devices and his outer coat, he continued with the clothes Penny had observed in the séance parlor. When he removed his pants, revealing legs heavy with well-defined muscle used to running and other demanding “activities”, her desire grew more urgent.
As he removed his under clothes, her hand flew to her face while she tried to catch her breath. Perhaps she should turn away, close her eyes. She couldn’t tear her gaze away, yet she felt like such a wicked street slut. In spite of Jack’s less than sterling opinion of her, she’d led a wholesome, if sheltered life. She tried to think of herself as a southern gentlewoman fallen on hard times; maybe just a bit naive. She’d never seen a cock so huge. In point of fact, she’d hardly ever seen a man’s cock; Madame Blossom was pretty insistent that she remain in her room while the girls were working. Still, there had been two. Two vividly horrific memories buried deep in her soul and best forgotten. They still set her body shivering and gave her screeching nightmares. Yet, this near naked man smiling at her so invitingly was driving her crazy with desire. What should she do?
Would she return to the waking world totally scandalized by what she’d done in her trance? Would the others—would Mr. Hazard—know? Hopefully his hot kisses would be worth any future embarrassment.
Silly girl. He was so gorgeous, she felt like putty in his hands, willing to do almost anything just to see him smile at her. Yet, she knew he could be a heartless rogue, a complete scoundrel; how could this ever be anything more than a wishful fantasy? Maybe if they just kissed. . . .
The spirits infecting Penny’s trance grew bored with her indecisive dithering, and twisted her dream further to suit their whims.
Gone were the adventurers’ outer clothing and cluster of android parts piled around the dusty roll top desk. Penny still wore the remnants of her séance clothing, but now those clothes were undone. Since it was her trance they tromped through, the malignant spirits found it easy to skip between both dream and real world, bending Penny’s will to feed their dark desires.
In her dream, Penny writhed with pleasure in Jack’s arms, as his hands ripped open her blouse. Yet in the séance room, her trance lover’s fingers remained interlaced with his neighbor’s, far across the table. She still sat primly dressed next to Lady Grimsby, her dreamy thoughts anything but proper.
Across the séance table from the medium, Brother Shine’s sister-wife, Twinkle, began to moan and squirm in her stiff-backed chair, as if one of the wandering phantoms was starting to have its way with her.
Lost deep within her trance, she squealed as Jack grabbed her long silky hair, freed hairpins shooting everywhere. When he shoved her back towards the uncomfortable worn brocade couch, scattering several dog-eared copies of Android Companion magazine, she drew him down with her. Running her fingers through his thick hair, she drew his face closer to her own, and kissed him with enough fiery passion to fuse their hearts together forever. Yet, even in her dream, she knew it had to stay no more than kisses. It couldn’t ever become anything more.
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About the Author
Creator of several successful eBook series ,and now Beyond Redemption, the first book in a steampunk romantic adventure series, author Wayne Tripp lives in the New England area he often writes about. A former SCUBA enthusiast visiting many exotic reefs and award-winning graphic designer, he spends his time creating and painting military, fantasy and steampunk miniatures as well as with his family and adoring husky. Yet, he still makes time to write. Maintaining his childhood notion Love should eventually win, he believes there are still dark things hiding in his shadowy closet. Once in a while, in a book, he lets them out.