Tag Archive: steampunk.


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 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;

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!

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