The Persephone Star by Jamie Sullivan

Welcome to our tour stop for The Persephone Star by Jamie Sullivan! Today you’ll learn about some seriously *out there* Victorian inventions Jamie Sullivan researched before writing this story! Some of them are wicked ridiculous and should bring a lot of laughter to your day! Enjoy!


Mad Victorian Inventions

The Nineteenth century was a booming time for technology: Victorians invented ways of travelling great distances (the first steamship crossed the Atlantic in 1838); sending messages around the globe (Samuel Morse patented the electric telegraph in 1837); and illuminating a dark world (in 1881 Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy Theatre became the first building to be lit entirely by electric lights).

Telephones, cameras, elevators, typewriters, calculators: we have the Victorians to thank for all of these inventions.

But beyond the inventions that worked and have become a fundamental part of modern life, Victorians also patented a huge number of inventions that never quite got off the ground—sometimes literally.

In order to create the steampunk world of the Persephone Star, I used some real inventions of the period (like the telegraph), and some technologies that Victorians dreamed of, but never quite made work (like Penelope’s bigraph).

In a period of mass-industrialization and mechanization, the Victorians tried to improve nearly everything with gears, cogs, and steam.

Here are just a few ridiculous inventions:

Too hot in your top hat, but unable to remove it due to social convention? Never fear! Invented by John Fuller in 1849, the ‘Bonafide Ventilating Hat’ was design to keep gentleman cool but fashionable.

We all know how tiring it can be to brush your own hair – so in 1864 James Beckett invented the portable rotary hair brushing machine!  Intriguingly, it wasn’t recommended for use by women (you know, the ones who might actually have enough hair to find brushing it tiring) because of the risk of getting long hair caught in the moving parts of the machinery.

What could be worse than going for a nice bicycle ride in the countryside, only to have your path blocked by a body of water? The amphibious bicycle to the rescue! A vehicle designed for both the road and the water—and not at all cumbersome, as you can see in the image below!


But maybe you’re not a cyclist? Well, then consider the Coat Boat! That’s right, a coat that transforms into an inflatable boat. You paddled with your walking stick, and used your umbrella as a sail. Amazingly enough, this invention made it past the patent stage and actually went into production.

Now, none of these inventions made it into The Persephone Star, but steam powered coaches (i.e. early cars), bigraph machines, and of course dirigibles fill out the steampunk landscape of the novel, hopefully giving the sense of a population that always had their eyes on the future.


The Persephone Star

by Jamie Sullivan

Publisher: Riptide Publishing; 2 edition

Publication Date: February 10, 2020



Love looks different from a thousand feet up.

Postmistress Penelope Moser has recently settled with her father in the Wild West town of Fortuna. Shocked by the violence around her and the depressing lives of the town’s women, she throws herself into her job. She’s determined to make the best of it before she has to marry the odious town sheriff.

But when the Persephone Star is spotted in the territory, danger literally hits close to home. Its captain—the famed outlaw Mirage Currier—is fresh out of prison and gunning for revenge on Penelope’s fiancé for locking her up and sentencing her sister to death. Penelope’s pleas to avoid violence are ignored, and a bloody showdown seems inevitable. That is, until Penelope is kidnapped and held hostage on the Star.

Shockingly, Penelope finds intrigue rather than danger in the air. Mirage’s reputation as a hardened criminal doesn’t fit with the Star’s vibrant young captain whose only goal is to save her sister from the gallows. With her sympathies shifting, Penelope must decide whether to remain loyal to her father and the man she promised to marry, or face an uncertain future with an enthralling outlaw.

(Note: This is a revised second edition, originally published elsewhere.)

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

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Meet The Author

Jamie Sullivan has been writing for what feels like her entire life – her parents’ attic is full of notebooks brimming with early attempts at fiction. She’s found her stride, however, in romance. She’s happy experimenting with genre, and has written supernatural, science fiction, and realist stories.

She can be found on Twitter @jsullivanwrites and blogging at

Come talk!


To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide!

Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest.

Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 15, 2020. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

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