Tag Archive: Raven Dane


In 2013, I was deeply honoured to be the first author signed up by Telos Moonrise, a new fiction imprint of Telos Publishing, a much respected and award winning publisher. In autumn, they launched my collection of Victorian and steampunk spooky short stories, Absinthe and Arsenic.

To the inevitable sneery cynics, this had nothing to do with my friendship with two of the people involved with Telos….they are a long established and highly professional company that will only publish work of the highest quality, friendship alone would not guarantee me a place on their team of authors.

I have always thought of myself as a novelist and not having the special skills to write short stories but I found myself writing nothing but short horror and steampunk stories throughout the year for commissions and discovered I love writing them. Oddly, the title, Absinthe and Arsenic came first before I had written a word of the collection.
I know this sounds a bit up myself and apologies for that, but I am truly proud of this collection and hope readers will enjoy the book as much as I did writing it.

Here is a review by author Neil Baker on the splendid website, Hellnotes

absinthe and arsenic cover

UK-based Raven Dane has had many short stories and poems published in horror and fantasy anthologies and is the author of several novels, including the critically acclaimed Legacy of the Dark Kind series and her award-winning series of steampunk/occult novels featuring Cyrus Darian, the third of which she is currently writing.

Absinthe & Arsenic is a collection of (mostly) ghost stories chosen or specially written for the anthology by Raven Dane. She has selected works ranging from one of the earliest in her writing career (The Attic Nursery) through to very recent short stories, including an excerpt from her award-winning novel Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron.

All of the stories in Dane’s outstanding collection are rooted in the late 19th century, and it is evident that she is an enthusiastic student of the era. The terminology and speech patterns she utilizes, along with descriptive passages that swirl like fog from the pages, create wholly believable settings dripping with atmosphere into which she threads effectively chilling ghost stories.

The collection begins with a terrifically bleak pseudo-zombie uprising in The 10.15 to Lealholm and then settles down into traditional Victorian ghost stories that could have been ripped from the spines of the penny dreadfuls of the time, such is their authenticity and Dane’s skillful prose. There are no weak entries in this collection, but my personal favorites were In Insomnium Veritas, Worse Things Happen at Sea, A Taste of Almonds, Ghostlight and Heart of Brass – each of the tales being unique despite their shared timeframe.

Although ghost stories are usually things of an intimate, whispered nature, I found the two tales that book-ended the collection, The 10.15 to Lealholm and Heart of Brass, to read like film synopses, the former feeling like a 60’s Hammer period piece and the latter like an early Del Toro film by way of Poe, which made the reading of them even more enjoyable.

This accomplished collection of short stories from Raven Dane would be an excellent introduction to readers who have yet to discover her work.

David reading Absinthe

me and sis

dragonhat

Leeds Steampunk eventI am so behind in reporting events this year….so much as happened in a blur.

There was a fun signing session at Forbidden Planet, London with fellow Telos Publishing authors, Sam Stone and Stephen James Walker…and a delightful gathering of friends and new readers who turned up to support us.

I had a wonderful time at the new must attend event The Nine Worlds Geekfest as a guest author with Jonathan Green, Stephen Hunt and Toby Frost at the Steampunk Central section of this excellent new Con. Held at two Heathrow adjacent big international hotels, it was packed with enthusiastic attendees, author and media guests and was so well organised, it was hard to believe it was the first ever event.

And of course,there was the ever awesome Weekend at the Asylum in Lincoln, Europe’s award winning, biggest steampunk convivial. There were two launches for Telos authors, my collection of Victorian spooky stories Absinthe and Arsenic and the every dashing Kit Cox’s Dr Tripps Kaiju Cocktail…an a strange and truly awesome novella I thoroughly recommend. I know there were over 2000 magnificently
attired steampunks in Lincoln, I know the wonderful organisers and volunteers put on another truly memorable event. Sadly , a personal tragedy unfolding back home that I could do nothing about, meant it was all a teary-eyed blur to me. Thank goodness for all the photographs taken at the long weekend, otherwise I might of thought it was all a vivid, multihued and fantastical dream.

Somehow I even managed to get to Leeds for the day (thank you British Rail) for a charming steampunk event in their fabulous central library and art gallery. What a building…Victorian civic pride immortalised in stone and glass plus beautiful rebuilt Victorian tea room full of deliciousness.

I am busy going with the inspirational flow of a new novel at the moment, the first time in over a year, so apologies for these brief reports…. take my word…they were all really good, impeccably organised and fun events and can thoroughly recommend them!

Photos…. David J Howe of Telos Publishing reads from Absinthe and Arsenic, also with Sam Stone and Kit Cox.
Me in my Dragon Hat at the Weekend at the Asylum
My sister Claira and me at a terrible café while waiting for the Forbidden Planet signing..they took so long serving us, we legged it !
The stylish poster for the Leeds Steampunk event

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;

TELOS MOONRISE

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
Amazon.

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:

o
‘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.

Telos
Moonrise
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.

 

 

The reaction to the second Cyrus Darian book has been amazing…my bad lad is still weaving his spell over readers!  I found this one on Amazon today, from the lovely Eve Weaver, maker of beautiful jewellery and fellow steampunk. She is also the dashing Emilia Etherheart, my captain on sky pirate adventures at the Asylum…

 

First: a confession. Yes, I am a friend of Raven’s – occasionally I babysit for
her table when we’re at events together. All that means is that I write reviews
for people I like, whose writing I like. If I don’t like something, I’m not
going to review it.

CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOTH CYRUS DARIAN AND THE
TECHNOMICRON AND CYRUS DARIAN AND THE GHASTLY HORDE

This book picks up
immediately after Cyrus Darian and the Technomicron, showing the events that
occur in London after Cyrus goes off for his holiday with the Lady. It explores
the political ramifications of the first book – Cyrus, never popular with the
Establishment as both a sorcerer and a foreigner – returns to find he’s fallen
completely out of favour and is now a target for assassination. And his house is
besieged by ghosts raised by his use of the Technomicron – hostile ghosts he
cannot control, even though they proclaim him to be their master.

Events
at the start of the book have rendered Cyrus largely powerless, a situation he
rages against in vain. The Lady, for reasons of her own, has relieved him of a
couple of important talismans whilst they were together. Even the protection of
Belial, a prince of Hell, may not be enough to save him. Fortunately one of his
rare shows of altruism returns to help him out – if Cyrus can obtain an object
called the Bane of Souls, he can build a device to rid him of the ghosts.
However, no good deed goes unpunished and his ex-ally Cambrian, revealed to be a
traitor at the end of the previous book, is once again after his life.

On
the run again, can Cyrus escape his past long enough to save his
future?

I enjoyed this so much I also have the Kindle version, though I
haven’t read that version yet.

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.

Sneak preview of the cover of the latest Cyrus novel…

Cyrus Darian and the Ghastly Horde.

Due to be launched at the Asylum Steampunk Convivial, September 2012. 

Cover model is Darren Demondaz

Image

I have come to the conclusion that the splendid steampunk aesthetic is very good for Britain. Ever since falling head over heels in love/obsession with what some deem the retro Victorian/Edwardian SF movement, I have been astonished by the outburst of creativity it engenders. Up and down the country and internationally, steampunks are expressing themselves and with that comes a renaissance of exquisite craft. Steampunk means small companies and individual milliners, artists, jewellers, corset makers, gadget inventors, dress makers, tailors and crafters of all sorts of lovely . quirky things are flat out making beautiful objects of desire to sell. Charity shops also are benefiting from eager steampunks looking for things and clothes to adapt. I spend time now, hand making bustles from fabric sourced from charity shops!

Nothing brought this thought home to me more than a day spent at the first London Steampunk Market held in Islington, East London, on the 21st April. The venue was packed with stalls selling everything from cogalicious jewellery, exquisite hand crated brass goggles and steampunk fabric rabbits…these alone sold out within minutes! It was crowded yet relaxed, enormous fun and my cogling (son) and I cannot wait for the next one.

The old fashioned ethos of steampunk society is good for Britain too. Not just does it celebrate hand crafted things and individuality. Steampunk mottos include,  ‘Be Splendid’ and ‘Be Nice.’  An ideal, treating everyone with decency and good manners. To not taking yourself too seriously, to accepting people for who they are, regardless of creed, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation. Not particulary Victorian maybe, but this is a movement based on fantasy after all, an age that never existed beyond the minds of Jules Verne, HG Wells and other pioneers of SF.

Image

Beautiful hat made for me by April Oakley-Bartram

Steampunk is a vibrant movement, also inspiring novels, music and art. I love it with all my heart, my Cyrus Darian books are my humble contribution, as those who craft wonderful works of jewellery , fabulous hats etc are making theirs for the good of the community….and the economy. Britain used to make stuff. It still can!

New Cover for Blood Tears

Blood Tears on Kindle has a beautiful new cover. It is still only 70p…great value for a big, bold slice of classic gothic fiction. And no sparkly, angst-ridden teenage vamps, coffins or heaving virginal bosoms.

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.