Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Steampunk novels describe an alternate history, and usually take place in the 19th century, often times during Britain's Victorian Period.
While steampunk novels describe the life and inventions of the time with historical fundamentals, they also explore technology, with an emphasis on steam technology. Steampunk incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. The novels often feature futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective of fashion, culture, architectural style, etc. An example of this would be the fictional machines found in the stories by of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.
Steampunk novels may include modern technologies like the computer, but developed earlier due to an alternate history.
Some romance authors of steampunk are Gail Dayton, Gail Carriger, Katie MacAllister (Steamed), Calista Taylor, and Paula Volsky.