I am excited to welcome author Nikki Woolfolk, who is celebrating the release of her new steampunk novel, The Men of Summerly.
Tradition is as quaint tradition does.
So thinks British trade envoy Simon Leatherby as he settles into his temporary home in the mountains of Stubborn, West Virginia, to negotiate an equitable export trade agreement. As the guest of honor at the annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Costume Ball, Simon is charmed by the beauty of this rugged country and matchmaking townsfolk, but only business is on his mind.
Ashland “Ash” Gottschalk, a sweet tempered glassblower, is caught up in a horrible set of circumstances, no thanks to an evil manager and his two wicked assistants heaping abuse on all the downtrodden workers of the Pantoufle Glass Factory. With a clever plan, borrowed items, and a touch of magic, Ash’s friends transform the kind cinderfella into a proper gentleman for one stolen evening at the ball.
A chance meeting at the celebration turns into a magical evening to remember as Ash and Simon meet their match. When the clock strikes midnight and the mysterious Ash disappears as suddenly as he appeared, Simon moves heaven and earth to seek out the keeper of the glass trinket left behind on that starry night.
Will Simon find his ‘prince’ before time runs out or will the evil management’s last cruel trick destroy his happy ending with Ash?
Acts of Kindness: A Cinderfella story Reimagined
There are moments in our life when we are filled with doubts and we wonder if anything great will happen or any kindness will be shown our way. It is a treasure to find a friend that reminds you of the existence of such kindness.
When I wrote my newest Sweet & Steamy Steampunk romance, The Men of Summerly, I wanted to not only showcase my two heroes love story, but I wanted to show how kindness comes to us in many different forms. Ashland Gottschalk is utmost gentle and kindhearted cinderfella and in the beginning of his story he has quietly accepted that he is never destined to experience anything for himself to enjoy. When he gives of himself it is in regards to the happiness of another, but in the Appalachian town of Stubborn, it’s Ash’s turn to experience the kindness he gives to others.
Ash turned to see the tiny Suzette looking up at him holding two lemons with slightly bent chewy candy straws sticking out of their sides.
“For you and your friend, Monsieur Ash,” she said. “It is lemonade with framboise essence. You drink it with the straw. Very sweet.”
“Ma’am, you seem to come up with the dandiest things.” Marshall declared taking a proffered lemon.
Suzette gave him a look that implied ‘Of course’. “Come, I have more bonnes choses for you…”
Ash sipped from the hollowed lemon rind enjoying the contrast of sweet and tart. “Afraid not, ma’am. We have to get back for the night shift.”
“Will I see you at the Summerly Ball next week?”
Ash took another sip. “People like me don’t belong at fancy parties.”
Suzette took a step towards him. “You’ve never wanted to see that beautiful mansion?”
Marshall chuckled. “I think all of us wanna see it, but Ash here belongs at that ball. Weren’t for him, the old Pantoufle Factory wouldn’t be nothing special, just another glass factory.”
“What your friend says is the truth. It surprises me that Monsieur Pantoufle has not yet made Monsieur Ashland the director of the whole factory.” The petite woman waved her hand. “I have heard rumors that a certain tyrant has made things difficult for your craftsman.”
Marshall sighed, “You can say that again. We keep losing our journeymen to other factories. We only have a few left and apprentices like me can’t learn nothing when we are run ragged. Tell you what, Ma’am; all of us sure do miss the old man.”
“C’est dommage. He is a good man. Does he not understand what is happening? Cher Monsieur Ashland visits—”
Suzette was about to say more, but Ash politely cut her off. “Thank you again for this cool drink, but we must go.”
Ash turned to leave when he bumped into solid stone.
No, not stone.
He looked into eyes as brown as cinnamon. He stumbled over his words as he took in the gentleman’s dark brown skin, his broad cheeks and his full lips. “Pardon me, sir,” he finally said.
The dignified gentleman studied him. “The fault is all mine.”
Ash blinked at the non-West Virginian accent. He opened his mouth to say something more when the gentleman looked down at the young man’s hands upon his chest. Ash pulled away. “Sorry.”
Turning and grabbing the gawking Marshall by the sleeve, he hurried towards the waiting cart. He looked over his shoulder after clucking the horses forward and found that the gentleman watched him leave. Ash faced forward.
That beautiful man was out of his league.
Marshall chuckled, “Well, well. You don’t see too many like that around Stubborn.”
Ash looked over his shoulder again and watched the man with cinnamon eyes disappear into the crowd, “No,” he sighed, “No you don’t.”
As you can imagine, this reimagining of a Cinderella tale with a Steampunk twist is more than what Ash could bargain for when acts of kindness are set in motion for Ash and the “prince”. May we all have a short, cute and pushy French woman urging us towards the good things that lie ahead on our journey along with delicious treats to eat along the way.
Meet Nikki Woolfolk!
Nikki Woolfolk grew up with her southern father’s good cooking and tall-tales and her mother’s science fiction loving influence early Silicon Valley. In 2013, a friend challenged her to mix her two loves, science and writing, to create a romance novella. Considering herself more nerd than a romantic, Nikki wrote her version of a romance in which she gets to “have a parkour chase scene, blow sh*t up, and make sure the good guy and gal get the girl” with food on the side when the adventures work up an appetite.
Nikki lives in New England with her son and her partner and is working on the next book with more original recipes for the Steampunk Romance Sweet & Steamy series. For more details go to her blog: thedrunkenmousse.wordpress.com or find her on Twitter!
Want to purchase Nikki’s novels?
Sweet & Steamy