Category: dark fantasy

New friend Ralph Carr with a copy of one of my books, author and publisher David J Howe all about to be assimilated by the Borg

New friend Ralph Carr with a copy of one of my books, author and publisher David J Howe all about to be assimilated by the Borg

The nearest I will ever get to Jon Snow from Game of Thrones !

The nearest I will ever get to Jon Snow from Game of Thrones !

Wales Comic Con 2013, Wrexham

My second visit to Wales Comic Con  as a guest author  was even better than the year before, I didn’t think that was possible as 2012 was amazing enough. At the rate this event is growing, we could have a contender to rival the USA’s awesome Dragon Con ! In fact I keep accidently typing World Comic Con instead of Wales….perhaps a premonition?

Jaime Milner, organizer extraordinaire and his hard working, happy and friendly team created a near perfect Con for all fans of SF movies, TV, comics and books .  The team had urged people to buy tickets in advance but the huge number of people arriving without tickets and preparing to queue for as much as three hours seemed perfectly happy to do so and waited cheerfully for entrance to a one day event now grown into two large buildings at Wrexham University.

Jaime has the awesome ability to get great media guests, the biggest draw to the event. He had the entire Red Dwarf crew including both Hollys, cast members from Buffy, Star Trek, Twilight, Game of Thrones, Primeval, Dr Who and The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings among many other great shows and films. Biggest queues were for Robert Picardo from Star Trek, Billy Boyd from Lord of the Rings, Nicholas Brendon from Buffy and Warwick Davis with his delightful family, all helping out. I am always astounded by the stamina and friendliness of these media guests, even after many, long hours of non-stop meet and greet and signing autographs, they remained cheerful and welcoming to their fans. I was very impressed by them all.

An enduring highlight of this event is always the wonderful attendees, so many resplendent in wonderful attire showing great skill and imagination. Among my many personal favourites were a fabulous, perfect Borg who must have parked the Cube outside in the car park and the nearest I will ever get to Jon Snow from Game of Thrones !

 Among the crowds thronging the well laid out aisles looking at interesting things to buy like big knitted Dr Whos and film-inspired jewellery, I spotted some extraordinary cosplay outfits  and professional look alikes including a jaw-droppingly accurate Jean Luc Picard.  The atmosphere of the event was exhilarating all day. I lost count of the number of lovely people I spoke to during the full on but thoroughly enjoyable day which sped past on warp factor ten. I even sold loads of books which is extra icing on the cake!

Big thanks to Sam and David for their ever-generous hospitality , to Fraser Hines for being such great company and to my lovely publishers  Andrew and Michele from Endaxi Press for being there to support me and my books.  You guys all rock! 

             And of course to Jaime and his team….have a well-earned rest then roll on Wales Comic Con 2014 !

the steampunk panel

Awesome is an over used and devalued word. I need something else to describe this years Sci Fi Weekender….freaking fantastic?

  I am absolutely exhausted from the event, a happy, smiley fatigue from spending so much time with over 5000 fun people. The organising team must be congratulated and warmly thanked…it was non-stop, seamless entertainment from the moment it started. Their seemingly endless stamina, friendliness and enthusiasm should be harnessed  as an energy source to save Planet Earth!

My biggest problem was getting to Pwllheli, in North Wales, nine hours on the train from Bucks…eek!  Again I was able to take dreadful advantage of the boundless hospitality of David J Howe and Sam Stone who put me up, took all my books to the event and generally spoilt me rotten. I was also able to get to know the beautiful American actress and guest star of the event, Chase Masterton, a real lady who is as gorgeous on the inside as her outward beauty. I also met up with lovely Frasier Hines again, he has always been  my favourite Dr Who companion and is great company in real life.

The venue, a Haven park in stunning coastal setting was a revelation. The excellent accomodation was fresh, spotless and luxurious…a real treat. With bright, early spring sunshine every day of the event, there was a definite holiday atmosphere to the event. And there was a Starbucks…so I could continue to fuel my addiction to caramel lattes.


With such an action packed program, the weekend went in a blur. I was on a line of tables among great people, firstly Robert Rankin with the effervervescent Lady Raygun, the Telos table with many of their authors. My table was also next to the King of Steampunk Jonathan Green, as always a delightful gentleman and wonderful company during the long hours of book promotion.

Jonathan and I were also together on the steampunk panel. This was so well attended, the auditorium packed solid with an enthusiatic and responsive audience.  We shared the panel with the irrepresible Rob Rankin and lovely Sam Stone at the table. A great success and so much fun to do. 
Other enjoyable panels I was on included one on fantasy world building, skilfully moderated by renowned author Paul Cornell.

The event attendees were awesome, incredible costumes, so much enthusiasm. One of the stand out costumes for me was one of the monsters from Attack the Block. How he managed to get the authentic -looking glowing blue fangs and spiky long black fur ! He had worked out how to fit an internal water bottle but not how to go to the loo…well, sometimes you have to suffer for your art!

Chase, Sam and David had the uneviable task of judging the cosplay competition, with so many brilliant entries, people who had put in so much dedication, imagination, humour and many hours careful crafting their costumes and props. The final ten were on the main stage on Saturday night and were popular choices of finalists judging from the enthusiastic cheers of the packed crowd.

Sadly I was too poorly to be able to take full advantage of the night events or maybe just getting too long in the tooth! I am determined to get fitter for next years extravaganza so I can join in and party all night. I was also soo busy to be able to catch any of the interviews with Chase, Frazer and Peter Davidson, Virginia Hey and the now legendary Rob Rankin/Brian Blessed interview. I hope someone has filmed them.

A big Gothmother thank you to the event organisers and support teams…you did an amazing job. Much respect to you all.

Also huge thank you hugs to Sam and David for looking after me ,to the Telos authors for holding the fort when I did panels, to Jonathan for your support and friendship, to the Rankins for being so fun and splendid. To the people who bought my books. To Kat and Lawrence and also my friends from the comic shop in Chesham for a lovely suprise reunion and to all the attendees for infecting me with your good natured spirit. An event to remember for the smiles….

The wonderful. high quality and stylish publisher Telos is starting a new fiction imprint called Telos Moonrise and the first book they will bring out is my Absinthe and Arsenic!
A collection of dark, creepy Victorian and steampunk short stories of which I am very proud.  I am over the moon that Telos has so much faith in my writing to take it on.  Absinthe and Arsenic will be in both ebook and paperbook form…publication dates to be announced soon.

Delighted and deeply honoured to be part of the Telos team.

My existing published books will continue to be with Endaxi Press who produce beautiful books with total dedication and professionalism. With a short story in an exciting collection by Spectral Press, The 13 Ghosts of Christmas, this has been the start of a busy and rewarding year.

I will also be working on the third in the Cyrus Darian steampunk series and writing a novella starring the submariner Tia Dakkar who appeared in Cyrus Darian and the Ghastly Horde.

Below is the official announcement from the Telos website;


After much consideration and planning, we are
delighted to announce the launch of Telos Moonrise, a new
digital and POD imprint for Telos, which we hope will expand to cover a wider
variety of fiction than we are currently able to undertake in the more
traditional publishing lines. Titles are planned to be made available in ebook
formats for Kindle, Kobo and Nook, and for those who still love books, all the
titles will also be available as print on demand paperbacks via

Consultant and editor for the imprint is Sam Stone, herself an
acclaimed and award-winning author, and she will be commissioning and looking
for titles in all four of the initial lines which are planned:

‘Steampunk Visions’: Explore alternate worlds, past, present and future in our
exciting new Steampunk range. There will be action, adventure and, of course,
superb gadgets.

o ‘Criminal Pursuits’: Look into the darkest depths of
the criminal mind and explore the darker side of humanity with our Crime and
Thriller titles.

o ‘Dark Endeavours’: Delve into the supernatural, urban
and dark fantasy, or the darkest horror imaginable. Or simply explore fantasy
realms and alternate worlds where anything can happen from myth and magic to
sword-wielding warriors.

o ‘Sinful Pleasures’: Brings sexual fantasies,
love or simply unbridled lust, with good strong stories, believable characters
and a large helping of erotica in all its forms.

launches with a ‘Dark Endeavours’ title: Absinthe
and Arsenic
, a collection of dark, mysterious and comedic tales by
award winning dark fantasy and steampunk author Raven Dane.

Details of
publication dates and other details will be available as soon as they are
confirmed. We will make submission guidelines available on the Telos site as
soon as they have been finalised, and when the range is opened for unsolicited
submissions. Please keep an eye on the Telos news page, and the Telos Facebook
page for details.

Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

At age twenty three, young orphaned and rather dashing Cyrus Darian flees his homeland of Persia heading for the delights of London where supernatural is second nature. Darian is an exotic blend of Irish from his Mom and Persian from his Dad.

Described as “alchemist, amateur dabbler in the occult, collector of antiquities, necromancer and murderer”, Darian is a fully fledged living breathing reason to read this book. We don’t know much about him to begin with, other than his supernatural skills and handsome looks, but we do know he is seeking out the Sumerian lifestone, an artefact which will help him in his unspecified quest.

Two years later, things go a little awry when a false trail finds him in the claws of a succubus, who gives him a ‘love bite’ to remember, almost killing him and bestowing him with everlasting long life and strange good looks complete with swirling silver, violet eyes into the bargain.

Ten years later and Darian, an inhabitant of London, still looks twenty-five and is still seeking hidden artefacts in the realms of a London drowning in a stinking, poisonous fog. There are riots over the poisoned air, overhead steam trams, dirigibles and demons. Reading somewhat like a Steampunk ‘urban’ fantasy, Cyrus Darian blends high adventure, visual feasts and sensuality to create a fun and fast paced romp.

Cyrus finds himself talked into the inevitable search for the Technomincron, a device of infinite power and danger. With his trusty sidekicks and a kick arse female lead, Darian tackles the denizens of Hell.

His demon friend Belial in particular, is one of the really enjoyable characters in the novel. He is great fun as he taunts and teases his human counterparts, also teasing himself with his flirtations with Darian, which can never be consummated.

This book has no pretensions. It is an adventure and a fun experience, though Dane does make reference to the poisonous air of London which is reminiscent of the historical ‘Great Stink’. You will surely be missing a Steampunk gem if you ignore this book . . . at your peril.

I’m in full withdrawal mode, still captivated and bewitched by the magic of a weekend in the company of steampunks at the Weekend at the Asylum, Lincoln, UK.  The event was named as a Convivial…a perfect description and organised by two extraordinary people. ..Lady Elsie and Thadeus Tinker and their hardworking team of stalwart volunteers.

As you enter the doors to the main hall, a big sign says ‘Steampunks , Be Splendid!’ And they are truly splendid in every meaning of the word. Never have I enjoyed the company of such a generous-spirited, warm, friendly group of people…utterly bonkers in the best possible way.  Their all inclusive ethos meant a hospitable welcome to people of all ages, ethnicity and gender choices. It was a full-on celebration of the individuality, creativity  and basic decency of human beings.  The underlying theme was fun…warm-hearted, jolly good fun with the echoes of fair play and chivalry of an earlier age. Where else would you get hard fought, though gentlemanly duels of biscuit dunking!

A packed but not ungainly program of diverse events was spread across the attractive Lincoln Castle site, the Lawns main building, the castle dungeons and grounds.  The Bazaar Eclectica in the dungeons held a glittering, seductive treasure trove of must have steampunk and gothic items such as beautiful jewellery,  fascinating devices and  glamorous clothes…I avoided it like the plague, being  so broke!

But it didn’t matter if you didn’t wear Victorian garb or come festooned with wondrous mechanisms that flashed and whirred in their clockwork and steampowered magnificence.  Everyone was treated with such friendliness. But I bet those  in civvies left planning their look for the next event.

As a guest author, I actually had an entourage …the hard working and lovely team of Michele and Andrew Brenton from my publishers Endaxi Press. We also  invited two of my friends Darren Demondaz and Hayley Exhayle  to play my characters Cyrus Darian and his exquisite Lady during the book’s official launch.   As beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside, professional goth models, Hayley and Darren were wonderful, helping us all through the weekend. A pair of gothically black diamonds!

Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron was duly launched in a happy celebration of bubbly, sausage rolls and an invasion of wonderfully attired sky pirates! Led by Emilia Etherheart aka Eve Weaver of Addiction Designs, their wicked kidnap of the Lady was foiled by a ransom of a bottle of champagne.

It felt daunting when I saw our Endaxi table placed inbetween established steampunk stalwarts, the marvelous Robert Rankin and Pax Britannia author Jonathan Green.  Also nearby was another  well known steampunk author , Toby Frost.Though best known as a dark fantasy author, I am a newbie to the world of steampunk fiction…I hope Cyrus Darian will be as warmly welcomed by this wonderful community as I was at this stupendous event.

Also enjoying the celebration were my good friends , talented author and ever glam Sam Stone , another enthusiastic convert to all things steampunk along with  her daughter Linzi.  Sam’s partner, David J Howe of Telos Publishing , was in good spirits , presenting his first works of fiction for many years, a collection of his  own short stories and scripts called ‘Talespinning.’

Those of us of a certain age were awestruck at the presence of one of their childhood heroes as guest of honour….no less than Wilf Lunn himself, the man who entertained us on telly with his wierd , wonderful and working contraptions long  before the term ‘steampunk’ was dreamt up.  He was delightful, I am cherishing his signed prints of  eccentric mechanisms.

Other guests of honour were  the excellent Robert Rankin and Frazier Hines, actor, author and thoroughly entertaining speaker.

On Saturday night, we danced the night away at the Empire Ball, though more energetic Convivial members went to pogo away to live bands at the other evening event.  Among the performers at the Ball was Robert Rankin’s delightful and talented wife, Rachel who is a world champion steel drums player. Who knew Lady Gaga’s music could sound so good played on a steel drum?

One enduring memory of the evening was of four fine gentlemen dancing, the floor to themselves, resplendant in their Victorian finery, top hats and canes, lost in the energy of Teenage Kicks. It summed up the whole eccentric, joyous , creative ethos behind steampunk. Well done, sirs, you were indeed splendid!

Sunday passed by in a happy blur, with more wine and sausage rolls at the launch of Hateful Heart, the latest in Sam Stone’s superb Vampire Gene series. Sam enthralled us with a reading from her new book. David proved he was no slouch in the writing department  by reading  extracts from his rivetting new collection.

Then with  a bitter-sweet atmosphere of  celebration of the fun we all had and mourning it was all over, the event reluctantly finished with prize givings and a speech by Thadeus Tinker. He said there were many symptoms of Asylum-itis..including an aching of the face muscles from so much smiling and laughter.  An overwhelming need to plan the next Asylum even before this was one was over.

I have definitely caught a bad case of Asylum-itis… I am already counting the days until the next one! And my face did ache from an overdose of smiling.

Steampunks… are all truly splendid and in the crass modern vernacular…you rock !!!

I am over the moon today….and over Jupiter and Saturn too.  I’ll avoid Uranus!

My publisher Endaxi Press have sent me the official cover for Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron….Love it !

It combines the elegance of the Victorian period in which this steampunk/alternative history/supernatural adventure is set with the sense of mysterious occult forces at work….just like the book !

The novel is in the final edit stage so publication date not far off.

Also more good news for my lovely readers, I have finally got my Muse back on board and my Dark Kind vampire mojo back.  Blood Legend is back on track , Jaz and Prince Azrar will be back !

Official cover for my new steampunk novel

My funny fantasy , The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire is now available to buy!

It can be ordered online, from all good bookshops, on Kindle and directly from Endaxi Press.

All the odds seemed stacked against me attending my first Alt Fiction in Derby, a one day convention to celebrate alternative fiction, horror, fantasy and sci fi.

I was invited to do a podcast…another first…a discussion about horror and dark fantasy with  author Kim Lakin Smith.

Of course two days before, a sore throat and the voice started going… a  nightmare…a mimed podcast has limited appeal…Then came the spectre of  Esme the ancient mini breaking down on the way as she was clearly not herself.

A couple of days frantically gargling medicine, looking up train time and the man of the house working hard on the car and everything finally fell into place. I was off the Alt Fiction.

A pre-conference night of insomnia, an early start and still fretting whether Esme could make it didn’t diminish my high spirits though I risked my throat singing show tunes all the way up the MI to keep alert and  awake. Shocked faces in passing cars confirmed my family’s insistance I should never, ever be allowed to sing Bali Hi…anywhere in the Universe.

I found the venue…The Quad in central Derby city easily and walked into the conference with a sigh of relief..made it !  The organising team of volunteers were marvels, good humoured, hard working and enthusiatic with smiles as bright as their red t shirts…you guys did an amazing job…thank you !

There were discussion panels running in two rooms all day, plus a busy program of podcasts with imput from the audiences, a dealers room and signings. I confess to being too busy nattering to other writers and readers to attend anything but two events. A lively discussion on horror and dark fantasy , chaired by Kim Lakin Smith with Marie O’Regan, Tim Lebbon and Paul Kane.  I also went to hear Rob Shearman give a reading of one of his strange and wonderful short stories brought to vibrant life by his excellent delivery. Also Graham Joyce  read from his latest book , he told us Hollywood has bought a film option on it prior to publication. Exciting ! You could hear a pin drop as we listened to such beautiful, moving writing.

Then it was time for the podcast. This turned out not to as daunting as I dreaded, Kim is a delightful, articulate lady and passionate about both her writing and the  dystopian city scapes, folklore and history that inspire  her. Kim’s work includes science fiction , gas and steam punk and dark fantasy short stories and novellas.  Her debut novel Tourniquet is published by Immanion Press.  We had a fascinating discussion with each other and with the enthusiastic audience and the hour seemed to pass  in an eyeblink!

By now exhausted, I left the conference still busy and buzzing. to return home but met disaster after a few miles along the A52. Esme began to spew smoke, filling up the car within seconds. I pulled over at a petrol station, terrifying the lone attendent convinced the car was about to explode and take us all out in a huge explosion. Another driver pointed out the water pouring out of the engine…it was smelly steam not smoke. Phew! None of us including Esme were destined to meet a fiery demise.

Luckily a knight in shining RAC uniform came swiflty to my rescue, fixed Esme and sent me on my way…singing more show tunes including another rendition of Bali Hi and inexplicably a medley of cockney knees up songs…anything to keep me awake!

A long, long and eventful day but well worth it, Alt Fiction is a gem of an event and highly recommended to all readers, new writers and published authors of speculative fiction.  It is busy therefore packed with events, yet fun and in an intimate setting that encourages strangers to chat to each other, a networking dream !

Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron

London, 1874, where brash new technology exists alongside occult forces. Cyrus Darian is torn between gaining power or doing the right thing. Never an easy choice.


Cyrus Darian; hedonist, philanderer, alchemist and necromancer is approached by a wealthy American to find a mysterious occult book called the Technomicron. He soon finds out most of London’s criminal and spiritual underworld wants it too.

After a vicious attack on his home, Darian gathers up his team of trusted adventurers, including an inventor, a demon and a half human shapeshifter.
Nothing in Heaven, Earth or Hell will stop him getting hold of the book for himself despite not knowing what it is or what it can do.

Can he also trust his shapeshifter lover, the beautiful and bewitching Lady Teknoligi, owner of the insanely itinerant Emporium of Magickal Curios? Her knowledge could give Darian the edge he needs over his enemies but she could also kill him on her own pursuit of the Technomicron.

After all, she had tried to kill him before….

The first of a series of Cyrus Darian steampunk misadventures




Preview critique… 

‘This is an extremely good example of steampunk. An impressively imagined pseudo Victorian world of airships, clockwork men, brass goggles, steam hansoms, and deadly polluting gasworks. This is the type of steampunk that embraces the dark magical world of powerful ancient artefacts, ethereal creatures, and demonic conjuring. There are wonderful contrasts of location, from dreamlike emporiums to the bustling streets of London. Darian is perfect as the main character, with a mixed heritage, shifting ethics, and a wealth of skill and experience. The writing must be praised here, for it is luxuriously elegant, the rich descriptions conveying even the sense of smell (a favourite of mine). I really enjoyed reading ‘Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron’.

© Raven Dane 2010

A belated blog about  Odyssey 2010 , one of sci fi and fantasy fandom’s greatest conventions. I got such a charge to my creative batteries from this wonderful event, I have been too busy writing a new book.

This year the  event graced the Radisson Edwardian Hotel near Heathrow Airport, a luxurious, comfortable but Euclidian building.  The layout appeared to change at random, I swear I could see the shadow of  the minotaur down one of the many corridor labyrinths.

It didn’t eat me, too old and chewy I suspect which left me free to enjoy a packed and varied programme of events…some not really sci fi related but certainly no less fun. Sadly,  I was too cackhanded to attempt to knit my own Clanger or build an interdimentional robot. There were panels and quizes covering a wide range of sci fi and fantasy interests from the deeply scientfic to the borderline insane. I love that !

Inevitably there was such a surfeit of riches, that some clashed, something impossible to avoid with so many wonderful things happening at once. Thanks to the wonders of 21st century, many panels were recorded as podcasts.

Nor did I have  mega cool clothes to go the Steam Punk Ball either but I have a year to get some before the next EasterCon….

I need these fun events to give the batteries of  my creative inner workings  a much needed boost. Meeting so many talented, creative people gives me the kick up the backside I deserve.   Odyssey worked so well I haven’t stopped writing my first steampunk novel Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron since I returned home… Thank you Odyssey people …much huggage !

I was supposed to be launching my first funny fantasy ; The Unwise Woman of Fuggis Mire at Odyssey. Delays at the publishers meant I went to the Con empty handed but I was delighted to be invited on the panels of several discussions, all well attended with enthusiastic and lively audiences that joined in the discussions with insight and good humour…the best kind!

Friday night I was on a panel discussing the  modern interpretation of Arthur and Merlin legends. With three eminent historians and authors, Kari Sperring and Edward James and  Liz Williams.  I felt out of my depth but there was no need to worry. They were lovely. The debate between me and fellow panelist Nickey Barnard championing the BBC Merlin became  a tad  lively at times but we both thoroughly enjoyed the good-natured verbal jousting.

On Saturday, after doing a book signing session, I was able to relax for the whole day. It was a joy to attend as many panels as possible as a member of the audience including a fascinating and informative one on swordplay by Steve Kilbane who helped us learn the correct way to use rapiers, longswords and other weapons

Sis in law picked my up from the hotel and we went home on Sunday to join in the Great Family Easter Egg Hunt and then brought me back during the evening.

Monday was a busy one for me. I had a thoroughly entertaining time on the panel discussing funny fantasy where I was a good girl and didn’t plug The Unwise Woman….yeah right!  As if….OK. I confess to a small degree of shameless plugging. Also on the panel were John Coxon,author Johnny Nexus, comedian Donna Scott and the delightful American author Esther Friesner with her hamster ears. ( She raises money for charity by doing cheeblemancy…divination by hamster! )Later in the day with the help of a massive dose of  caffeine , I managed to summon enough energy to be on the panel discussing researching fantasy with the event’s Guest of Honour Liz Williams,Jane Killick and MD Lachlan.

A perfect end to a fabulous weekend.   I found out  what filking was and that it wasn’t something rude, missed the bondage demonstrations which would have been, didn’t knit a Clanger and made lovely new friends.

In convention terms, as near as perfect as you can get.

Thank you all the organising team, you are diamonds !

Raven and Enta the Dragon