reviews, interviews, fiction and more

Latest

Light in the Lantern: with Nimue Brown

Greetings and salutations!

Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster. My name is Nimue Brown. I herd eldritch, tentacular creatures and soothe dustcats professionally. I’m here having learned about the flesh eating birds and the Sugar-Zombies. I know the general intention is to keep the flame burning, bring comfort in the darkness, and resist the terrifying monsters.

But, terrifying monsters? Excuse me while I rub my hands together in wild and abandoned glee. Would I lick a Sugar-Zombie? Yes. Yes I would.

While others are armed for the fight, I’m primarily going to protect you through the medium of distraction. It’s surprising how many unspeakable entities like to pose for a camera and a quick bit of portraiture. I’m hoping for interviews as well. Everyone gets bored with tearing the living limb from limb sooner or later, and hopefully I’m late enough to the party for that moment to have arrived! Failing that I’m just going to throw myself enthusiastically at them, but that tends to work out well for me.

Monsters are friends. Like Simon – who is a sea monster inhabiting the waters off Hopeless Maine. Pointy, always hungry, terribly misunderstood, Simon is very much my sort of people. I’m currently working on comics pages for the last book in the Hopeless Maine comics arc – having recently handed in the penultimate one. The haunted goth boi I live with (Tom Brown) does the drawing and then I get in for the colour, because he’s enough of a goth boi to find colour a bit threatening. I’m also working at the writing end on what happens on the island of Hopeless, Maine after the comics arc – for this I am aided by Japanese wizard Dr Abbey, who gave me an octopus knife and taught me how mermaids make blood candles.

My other recent exploits have included investigating the paranormal activity in Stroud – including wizard conspiracies, outbreaks of were-rhubarb and fairy kidnappings. I’ve shared my findings on Youtube (start here, Wherefore runs to 3 series – https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLd-6bmI3UuPDjEp1YqIYY6GkVTmG-1qux )

You can pick up pdf versions for free from my ko-fi store – https://ko-fi.com/O4O3AI4T/shop

Otherwise, if you’d like to purchase any of my Hopeless wares you can find them pretty much anywhere that sells books. If you’re in America, Outland editions starting with Personal Demons are your best bet. For UK readers, The Gathering published by Sloth Comics is the place to start. You can find out more about what we do over at https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/

If you’d like to connect you can find me here….

https://www.facebook.com/nimue.brown

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/nimuebrown/

https://www.youtube.com/user/NimueBrown

And for Hopeless Maine there’s these…

https://www.facebook.com/hopelessmaine

Thank you for joining me to keep the light in the lantern burning. I’ve heard some authors have had their spines ripped to pieces up here by those Liver Birds, and I’m fairly sure I’ve just seen one so I’m going to go and see how it feels about having its head scritched. I still haven’t managed to lick a Sugar-Zombie, but the night is yet young and I’ve not entirely given up hope.

Stay safe friends, and when things look ominous in the dark remember to seek out the friends who squeal with joy rather than terror. We are amongst you, and if nothing else, we’ll run happily towards the approaching zombies giving you time to make your escape.

Light in the Lantern: With Ichabod Temperance

 “Woah! The wind is really strong, up here at the top of this 
ancient and crumbling tower, Miss Plumtartt, I don’t know if I can 
keep the lantern lit or not!”


     “As we have accepted this Midnight watch, Mr. Temperance, we 
shall see our duty through sir, eh hem? I am attempting to keep these 
blood-thirsty crows at bay that you may maintain our source of 
illumination and protection for faire Lancaster.”


      “I didn’t reckon on no demon crows!”


      “Be that as it may, it behooves us to take a care in handling 
these marvelous creatures. I forbid you to hurt one razor sharp 
feather.”


      “Yes Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am. Maybe we would do better with 
them there sugar zombies down in the street?”


      “Mr. Temperance! You are double forbidden from interaction with 
those mindless fiends.”


      “But they’ve got sugary sweets!”


      “Your tummy torments should be sheltered by shunning said 
confectionary concoctions.”


      “Uh oh, here comes another murder of crows with killing in their 
deranged and vicious beady eyes!”


      “Mr. Temperance, please use the bristled end of the broom to 
drive away our ornithological demon friends, eh hem? I am afraid the 
blunt end might hurt the dears.”


      ”Watch out, Miss Plumtartt, I think a couple of them are trying 
to nest in your hair!”


      “Nest in my hair!?! Eee-Aye-rRoark!!! You filthy, black pigeons! 
I’ll rip you to pieces! I’ll stuff my pillows with your nasty feathers 
you foul fowl fiends! Oh, ‘caw-caw’ yourself! At you!”


      “Eep! Um, howdy folks. Miss Plumtartt’s language has grown 
salty, so uh, maybe I’ll take this opportunity to mention our literary 
adventures. They are ten books in the series. Each is a stand-alone, 
themed adventure tale, such as the time a fleet of Martian spacecraft 
invaded Planet Earth, or, the time we drove our tunnel machine to the 
center of the Earth and discovered that our hollow planet was filled 
with magical fantasy creatures, or the time we met Sherlock Holmes, or 
the time we met King Arthur, or the time we visited London while it 
was being terrorized by a terrible monster in a top hat and cape. But 
a warning to any would be readers: though I encourage you to select 
the genre that appeals to you, I must say the books get better, or, at 
least, I develop my own style of writing as the books go on. As they 
are stand-alone adventures, selecting one of the later books is a safe 
way to start.”


      “Blast you, Temperance. Stop crassly pushing your wares and help 
me to fend off this raucous, cawkus murder caucus!”


      Eep! Here’s a link, y’all. Happy Trails!”

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Ichabod-Temperance-10-Book/dp/B01M8KZIFJ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ichabod+Temperance&qid=1635090733&qsid=258-8195823-5521968&sr=8-1&sres=B01M8KZIFJ%2C1497453739%2C149744750X%2C1497455308%2C1530769914%2C1503183688%2C1500825557%2C1500575631%2C1539554791%2C1519297564%2C1518654681%2CB07B6BPLNY%2CB01IR7VWK4%2CB00IRA96V4%2CB07YR3W5MK%2CB004GKQGDK

Light in the Lantern: With K. S. Trenten

Over a blasted landscape, a mouse scampers. He lifts a defiant paw to the heavens, oh, wait, he’s just saying hello…

Mousetrick: Greetings! Welcome to Steampunk Lancaster! My name is Mousetrick, prince of the warren, owner of whiskers extraordinaire…

Theodora: Grrrowrr…

Theodora is the large, stuffed bear carried in the arms of the little girl wearing a red cape. 

Grace: (the girl in the cape) Theodora says you’re supposed to introduce our scribbler. Not yourself.

Mousetrick: Says who? (chitters) I am a lot more interesting than she is! Just look at my whiskers. (twirls his whiskers)

Theodora: (unimpressed) Growrrr…

Mousetrick: Oh, fine. We were created by K.S. Trenten. She scribbles. Back to what I was saying. Strange time have struck the Islands of Ire…Flesh eating Liver birds plague the sky…

A sinister cackle erupts as said birds dive-bomb Mousetrick…

Mousetrick: Squeak!

An army of tiny soliders march over the landscape, taking aim at the birds with their tiny toy guns. They’re lead by a nutcracker. They take aim at the sky.

Pop! The birds screech their indignition and depart.

Mousetrick: That’s my toothy beauty! (preens and smooths his fur) As if those weren’t bad enough Sugar-Zombies roam the streets, spreading their curse like a plague…

There’s moaning and shuffling sound from all directions. Mousetrick, Grace, Theodora, the soliders, and the nutcracker freeze in their tracks.

Theodora: Growwrr!

Grace: Quick! To the lighthouse!

Everyone runs in the direction of the lighthouse, glowing, emitting choral music which stops the zombies in their tracks. It gives mouse, girl, and toys a chance to pound on the door. 

It’s opened by a sleek, attractive individual of indeterminate gender, dressed in the somber black attire of a household servant. 

Claude: Good evening. You’d better hurry inside. 

They stand out of the way to let the refugees race up the stairs. 

At the top; a slender boy and four young women stand together, singing in perfect tune. 

In the old tower

We re-kindle the beacon

Keep watch on the hour

So hope may awaken

They stop singing when the little party stops and stares at them. 

Grace: Nat!

Nathalie: (for she’s one of the women singing, a coppery-skinned young woman dressed in loose russet) Grace! 

Mousetrick: Christopher!

Christopher: (for he’s the boy. Never mind how he knows Mousetrick, he knows all of my characters) Mousetrick! 

Theodora: Growwr! 

Cinders: (the dustiest of all the four women) Claude let you in? You found your way here? 

Ariella: (a dark-haired lady in dark blue with sharp ankles visible beneath her skirt) Of course they did. 

Maia: (the last woman wearing a top hat) Grace, what were you doing out there? Didn’t you hear what we were singing?

Grace: It’s all right. We got away from Liver Birds and Sugar-Zombies. 

Mousetrick: (smoothing his fur once more) As you can see, we are well-armed and able to protect ourselves.

Cracktooth: Except we ran. 

Mousetrick: Oh, don’t sweat the details! I’m well-armed with my toothy beauty and our army of tin soldiers. We shall keep the beasts at bay. 

Christopher: We shall? 

Grace: We’ll think of something. Won’t we, Theodora?

Theodora: Growwr. 

Nathalie: I could distract them with a story? Maybe they’d go bother someone else. 

Cinders: As guardians of hope, should we really encourage them to go bother someone else?

Maia: I could take them down a casserole. Or gingerbread. Are Sugar-Zombies fond of sugar? Maybe they’d prefer gingerbread to brains. 

Mousetrick: You’ll attract all sorts of riff-raff if you start carrying around gingerbread. (He sniffs in unease at the night. Yes, among the monster sounds there’s the chittering of other rats.) 

Christopher: (opening eyes filled with color and stolen memories) I wonder if what’s out there is worse than what I’ve found beyond the Door. 

Theodora: Growwr!!

Grace: Let’s not find out! 

Nathalie: I agree. 

Cinders: Let’s just keep the forces at bay. Keep hope alive. 

Grace: We can do that. 

Mousetrick: (striking a pose) Of course we can!

Cracktooth: Aren’t we supposed to be introducing our scribbler’s work? 

Mousetrick: (striking a pose) Of course! Her’s is the tale of our torrid passion, Cracktooth’s and mine, misunderstood in many a story or ballet; Seven Tricks…

Some say a mouse king has seven heads. Hah, trust a human to get our legends wrong. A mouse prince must perform seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up. It’s how he wins his crown, but I’ve got my whiskers set on something else. A stiff beauty with a magnificent jaw, waiting for me under the holiday shrub. I caught his scent in a dream, which I’ve been sniffing after ever since. Scamper with me through my adventures and misadventures, dodging traps, cats, and giants, while I win a steadfast nutcracker’s heart.  

And if you wish to read about our adventures-

Cracktooth: Or misadventures.

Mousetrick: (unphased) -go to…

Nine Star Press:  https://ninestarpress.com/product/seven-tricks/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seven-tricks-ks-trenten/1127424849?ean=2940158598838

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Seven+Tricks%2C+by+K.S.+Trenten

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/seven-tricks

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/758279

Maia: And here’s where you read about my torrid affair with Nathalie…

Nathalie: Not to mention Grace’s adventures. Or misadventures. 

Maia: No matter how much of it is inside her head.

Theodora: Growwr.

Grace: You tell them, Theodora! This is our story. As long as Princess Grace’s story. And Iama the Terrible’s story.

Maia: I’m *not* that terrible. 

Nathalie: Depends on which Iama you’re talking about…

When their home becomes too dangerous for them, Nathalie and Grace’s mothers decide that Mama Morisot will move with the girls to the city of Verity while Mama Bibi stays behind. There, they find safety and friends—Nathalie in the dashing Maia and Grace in Theodora Bear—but all is not right in Verity.

The gears of industry grind on relentlessly in the city, threatening to stifle creativity and magic, seeking to end childhood. One tragic blow at a time, Grace watches as the magic and love around her dies until she also begins to give into despair. It will be up to a stuffed bear and the magic of the holidays to remind Grace how vital imagination is in keeping her family whole.

Maia: Nat, the buy links! We need to tell them where to buy our story at!

Nathalie: Oops. (abashed grin) Here’s where you can find Wind Me Up, One More Time…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

Cinders: Ariella and I-

Ariella: And Claude.

Cinders: And Claude. We have our own story, At Her Service which is searching for a home.

Ariella: Which means it needs to be republished. 

Cinders: Our scribbler does have another story, A Symposium in Space. I feel a lot of empathy for Phaedra. She’s on a journey, too, only it’s through the stars. And her heart is being tested. 

Ariella: You go to a ball. She goes to a symposium. 

Cinders: Yes, there is that, isn’t there in A Symposium in Space?

Phaedra and her lover, Pausania are invited to a dinner party. Only this won’t be like any party Phaedra has ever been to. Nor does Pausania want her to go. Phaedra is determined, even if she has to find her own way to this symposium in space. A fateful encounter with the spaceship of her dreams and the wandering philosopher, Sokrat, lead Phaedra to a unique gathering of individuals where thoughts of love are offered up…and consumed.  

Tagline: The party continues in a decadent matriarchal future where the guests may find themselves eating their words…literally. 

Ariella: You can find A Symposium in Space at…

Nine Star Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/a-symposium-in-space/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Symposium-Space-Feast-Words-ebook/dp/B07PGB15FY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3BPACY58MCCMV&keywords=a+symposium+in+space&qid=1552937461&s=digital-text&sprefix=A+Sympo%2Caps%2C239&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130883509?ean=2940161507872

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-symposium-in-space

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/928136

Christopher: I’m involved in a series of stories our scribbler has been working on for some time, Tales of the Navel. You can find some of those stories at her blog, the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration. I’m there most Mondays, having conversations with other characters. When I don’t have to share the space with a particularly obstinate dwarf. 

Quartz: (his voice comes from the air) Who’s obstinate?!

Christopher: Ahem, we’re at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com 

Quartz: Ruddy shadows. Don’t eat, just devour memories and feelings. Like vampires or ghosts they are.

Everyone looks at Christopher.

Christopher: (lowering his eyelashes) I’ve never denied it. Our scribbler sometimes writes as herself at…

cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com

Christopher: Or she indulges in flights of fanciful fandom at…

rhodrymavelyne.dreamwidth.org

Quartz: Ruddy Hannibal. As if she wasn’t distracted enough.

Christopher: You’re not here! Fairest needs to find a new home, too! And Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystals Coffins, your story, hasn’t been published yet! 

Ariella: He’s right, though. She is distracted. 

Cinders: This may be why many of us are distracted, too. Grace?

Grace gazes off into space, not answering. 

Nathalie: I guess that proves your point. 

Christopher: Anyway if you’d like to find our scribbler, K.S. Trenten on social media, look at these places…

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhodrymavelyne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14876500.K_S_Trenten?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten

Nine Star Press Author Page: https://ninestarpress.com/authors/k-s-trenten/

Grace: Is that all?

Mousetrick: (twirling his whiskers) Our shift is over.

There’s a pounding at the door below.

Mousetrick: (scampering behind Cracktooth) Liver-Birds?

Grace: (hugging Theodora) Or Sugar-Zombies?

Christopher: They have a taste for artists. Ever since one fell afoul of them. 

Nathalie: (raising an eyebrow at Maia) We’d better be careful. 

Maia: (walks to the stairs leading up) As if Iama the Terrible has anything to fear. 

Christopher: (follows) I thought she was just a character in your mother’s novels. 

Maia: (smiling with a glint in her eye) Oh, Christopher. Is anything “just” anything in a place like this? 

The two of them watch the stairs. Happily the rest of the watch passes peacefully…we hope!  

Light in the Lantern: With Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Greetings!

Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster. My name is Madeleine Holly-Rosing and I’m the writer/creator/producer of the steampunk supernatural graphic novel, prose and now audio drama series, Boston Metaphysical Society.

Strange times have struck the Isles of Ire – Flesh eating Liver Birds plague the skies and Sugar-Zombies roam the streets spreading their curse like a plague. It’s a harrowing situation that demands we make tea and contemplate a solution to this problem.

So, some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in the city watchtower and keep its flame burning each night as a way of giving hope to those being hunted down by terrifying monsters, or evil scarecrow landlords. I, for one, will be stoking those fires until the sun rises.

Tonight is my shift and never fear, I am well armed to protect myself with my magic teapot which when miffed turns into a mechanical beast of epic proportions. So, I think I will manage to keep the beasts at bay.

Now then, since I’m here I thought I would share some of my work with you all…

To the delight of everyone this scary season, Boston Metaphysical Society now has an audio drama called, The Ghost Ship, on Kickstarter. Based on my graphic novel series about an ex-Pinkerton detective, a spirit photographer, and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800s Boston. The Ghost Ship takes place during our original six issue mini-series. It follows the story of our three main characters, Samuel, Caitlin, and Granville as they investigate a mysterious ghost ship that has sailed into Boston Harbor and is not only killing those who board her, but luring children to their death. 

To help make The Ghost Ship happen, I brought on the amazing team of Eddie Louise and Chip Michael of the steampunk scifi audio drama Sage and Savant to handle script editing, audio engineering and direction, as well the music.  

It is an eight-episode standalone series with a full cast, special effects, and original music. The voice tracks have already been out, and we are currently working on the special effects and music.

There are many delightful reward tiers such as a wood flash drive with a ship engraved on it and a CD.

If you’d like to pledge to the audio drama you can find it here:

Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/3m0MIVo

The campaign ends on Nov. 19, so pledge today!

If you’d like to connect you can find me here:

Website: http://www.bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BostonMetaphysicalSocietyComic/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mhollyrosing

Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/mcholly1

Thank you for joining me to keep the light in the lantern burning. I’m afraid that’s my shift over for the night. Thank goodness it was a quiet one! I’ve heard some authors have had their spines ripped to pieces up here by those Liver Birds and there was tell last week of an artist who fell foul to a horde of sugar zombies and is now best avoided… although his artwork apparently is better than ever and tastes rather like a lemon tart.

Stay safe friends, whatever assails you, and when times are dark, look for the light in the lanterns of others and treasure the light in your own, and be sure to stay off those ghost ships!

Light in the Lantern: With Felicity Banks (and KITTENS!!!)

Greetings! Welcome to to Steampunk’d Lancaster!

My name is Felicity Banks and I write books, adore my kids & cats, and run the Castle of Kindness Refugee Sponsorship Group. Currently I’m raising funds for a thirteen-year-old boy, little brother of a friend of mine, who was shot in the leg while the family was trying to get out of Afghanistan after the Taliban destroyed their house.

The days are dark, is what I’m saying.

Strange times have struck the Isles of Ire – Flesh eating Liver Birds plague the skies and Sugar-Zombies roam the streets spreading their curse like a plague…

So some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in the city watchtower and keep its flame burning each night as a way of giving hope to those being hunted down by terrifying monsters, or evil scarecrow landlords…

Tonight is my shift and never fear, I am well armed to protect myself with the Mightier-Than-Thou Sword-Pen (patent pending, pun intended) so I think I will manage to keep the beasts at bay.

Now then, since I’m here I thought I would share some of my work with you all…

Lately I have written an interactive cat breeding tale. It is bright and happy and sweet and no one dies. Not even a background character. Unusual for me. Also, people have told me that the heavy grief of the backstory combined with the main character finding out they have a chronic and disabling illness… is not so happy.

But see, I know illness. I wrote what I knew: poverty; pain; and cats. Every silver-lined cloud carries rain. And the thing is, disability isn’t death. Sometimes it can be a new life. And if you’re very VERY lucky, it can be a cat-filled life. So it’s a fun story, a happy story, a happy place for me to visit, and to invite others to join me.

So that’s my story about my latest story, FINE FELINES, which is currently free to read/play online. And it is so full of gorgeous cat pictures that one could argue it’s mostly cat pictures with a story loosely wound around them… like string around a playful cat.

You can read it right here: https://dashingdon.com/play/Felicity_Banks/fine-felines/mygame/

If you’d like to purchase any of my wares, which usually tend strongly to the steampunk & fantasy, you can find them here:

FelicityBanks.wordpress.com/store

If you’d like to connect you can find me here:

@FBanksBooks

https://www.facebook.com/FelicityBanksBooks/

FBanksBooks@gmail.com

CastleOfKindness.com

CastleOfKindness@gmail.com (including GoFundMe link)

Well thankyou so much for joining me this evening as we keep the light in the lantern burning. I’m afraid that’s my shift over for the night, thank goodness it was a quiet one! I’ve heard some authors have had their spines ripped to pieces up here by those Liver Birds and there was tell last week of an artist who fell foul to a hoard of sugar zombies and is now best avoided… although his artwork apparently is better than ever…

Stay safe friends, whatever assails you, and when times are dark, look for the light in the lanterns of others and treasure the light in your own….

Light in the Lantern: With Elen Sentier

Greetings!

Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster. My name is Elen Sentier and I write crafty novels about the adventures of witches in our everyday world. I also teach up-n-coming witches and wizards and help them get their own handles on their crafts.

Strange times have struck the Isles of Ire – Flesh eating Liver Birds plague the skies, terrorising the poor lone metal one atop the Liver Building, and Sugar-Zombies roam the streets spreading their curse like a plague… I’m always amazed at how they turn up every dratted Samhain and stick chocolate spanners in the works. Nothing seems to stop them, not even contaminating the sugar with tincture of fly agaric.

The first I knew of this year’s attack was when I woke suddenly in the pre-dawn, absolutely certain I’d been run over by an omnibus. I could feel the leaden weight of the engine crushing my chest. I opened my eyes to find myself staring into two huge luminous green headlights.

Hang on a minute … green? Headlamps are usually yellow or orange. Had I scoffed too much camembert last night? I tried breathing again. My chest muscles still worked despite the weight on them. And then I noticed the whiskers. Two matching sets of shimmering black whiskers stood out just below the green headlamps. I blinked. Several times. Regained focus. My Familiar Smilodon, Kellan, lay up my chest, purring like a traction engine.

‘Gerrrofff!’ I managed.

She yawned, showing off her awesome fangs. ‘You’re wanted,’ she told me. ‘And you’re already seven minutes late!’

‘Gerrrofff!’ I growled more strongly, managing to raise myself a little on my elbows. ‘How can I get up with you lying on me like a ton of bricks?’

She stood, arched, stretched, pedaling my stomach so I nearly pee’d myself. I rolled out of bed and ran for the loo. 5 minutes later I galloped down the outside staircase in her wake and we leapt on the broomstick. I pulled the starting lever, it gurgled, spat and stalled. I tried again – same thing. And again.

‘Carpet!’ yowled Kellan, leaping through the garage window. I kicked the lock on the doors til it fell off, hauled the groaning metal aside. A waft of dank, stagnant air threatened to bring up my stomach contents. Fortunately I’d abjured breakfast.

Kellan hauled at the rolled up carpet. I helped. It was damp. Three large rats ran out, complaining bitterly that I’d disturbed their rest. Kellan showed them her fangs, they absconded precipitately. We got the mouldy thing out into the street and Kellan pounded its tail-end while I waggled the controls. The carpet spat foam and three inches of fringe onto the pavement then took off with the jolt. Kellan dug in her claws while I jerked back and thudded into her nose. She yowled and bit me crossly.

I managed to get the benighted thing aloft and under some sort of control. Its near-front stabiliser is wonky so its like driving the average supermarket trolly, you have to lean hard to starboard or the thing continually heads off larboard. I swore. A lot.

‘Z-zombies at angels f-five thousand,’ the coms stuttered into life.

I yanked the stick back and we climbed. ‘There!’ yowled Kellan over my shoulder. I saw them, trained the gatling gun on them and pulled the trigger. A blast of flame seared the sugar zombies into crème brulée as the trigger fell off in my hand. Flaming fiddlesticks I swore violently. Instantly my curse materialised and the carpet whooshed up into a flying bonfire to the accompaniment of number 15 of the 24 Caprices by Paganini.

‘You are the dumbest witch on the block!’ Kellan caught me in a huge paw and planted me on her back, spread her wings and we sailed off into the sunset towards the Liver Building.

The Liver Bird Himself was battling furiously, smacking zombies with the branch of laver seaweed and squawking miserably, Obviously on his last legs. Kellan dived. I clung to her mane for dear life. She snapped and bit, chopping zombies into sugar cubes, pink-coloured from the blood. The Liver Bird sagged into a sweaty heap of scales and feathers on the top of the dome. ‘Thank you,’ it croaked. ‘A pleasure,’ Kellan replied.

We landed on the roof. The Others ran out to greet us, shoved a cauldron of mead under Kellan’s nose, she slurped and purred happily. Somebody remembered to give me a glass too.

That night, we all went up to the watchtower, re-kindled the old beacon above the city. We’ll keep its flame burning each night through the Dark Times as a way of giving hope to those being hunted down by terrifying monsters, or evil scarecrow landlords…

Tonight is my shift. Never fear, I’m well armed to protect myself with my newly blunted runcible spoon. And Kellan’s here to keep an eye on me so I think I’ll manage to keep the beasts at bay.

There’s a nasty-smelling brownish-grey splodge down in the street below. I just hope the rains will come in spring and wash away the remains of the carpet. Until then, and since I’m here, I thought I’d while away the small hours and share some of my work with you all…

As well as the Awenydd Apprenticeship and Rainbow Warriors, I’m doing a whole set of masterclasses on ReWilding Your Heart in 2022. We did the introduction in November but don’t let that stop you coming to them. – See here https://www.elensentier.com/about-1-3 to book

You can apply for the next Awenydd Apprenticeship intake from Imbolc (1 Feb) 2022.

My latest book about Practically Pagan – an alternative Guide to Gardening is just out …

And while you wait for my latest novel, Spirit Keeper, to be published you could do worse than read Owl Woman 😊

If you’d like to purchase any of my wares you can find them here… www.elensentier.com

If you’d like to connect you can find me here…. https://www.facebook.com/elensentier/

https://www.instagram.com/elensentier009/

Thankyou for joining me to keep the light in the lantern burning. I’m afraid that’s my shift over for the night. Thank goodness it was a quiet one – especially after my overly dramatic entry, I shan’t live that one down for a few years!! I’ve heard some authors have had their spines ripped to pieces up here by those Liver Birds – they just never know which side their bread is buttered! And last week a fellow artist fell foul of a horde of sugar zombies and is now best avoided unless you’re really into crème brulée. But her paintings are now apparently better than ever–

Kellan has decided she’ll still stay with me despite the incompetence I displayed at the beginning of this year’s campaign. Oh and the Liver Bird was sick for three whole days and nights from eating the sugar-zomie-cubes! Stupid bird!

Stay safe friends, whatever assails you, and when times are dark, look for the light in the lanterns of others and treasure the light in your own….

Morning Cuppa Review: I Wore Heels To The Apocalypse! by C H Clepitt

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen!

Welcome back (goodness, hasn’t it ben too long?) to Max and Collin’s drop dead delectable parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Steampunk’d Lancaster!

True, some have called it a ghastly garret haunted by fiendish ghouls and black hearted demons, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation 😉

You find us this morning, quaking to the core because we are certain we heard the mournful cry of the first flesh eating Liver Birds rising from their long summer sleep and we are now trying to pluck up the courage to ask our terrifying landlord if he might not possibly, very sweetly, consider replacing our sack cloth roof for something more substantial…

I did actually mention to my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend earlier that Mrs Baker -our stoic kitchen witch – is re-kindling the light in the old watchtower again this year and, in fact, she has drafted in a marvellous array of friends from various other dimensions to help her… and they are all bringing a magnificent array of weapons with them… and wouldn’t it perhaps be prudent to offer to assist in the venture ourselves – surely the old watchtower will be a much safer place to haul-up in than this miserable rotting old fish factory?

I mentioned all this to Max, and yet Max remains unmoved. In fact he has remained unmoved for the better part of the last three hours and I suspect that he has actually fallen asleep.

So let us leave him snoring there for a while and contemplate the matter over a nice cup of tea and a good book…

Our tea this melodramatic morning is Re-animator by Tenatious Tea

And our book is ‘I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse’ by C H Clepitt – and I must be perfectly Frank (one of the many people I am when I am not Collin The Octopus) and say that we have been meaning to review this book for so long it has become something of a scandal (blushes as only an octopus in a top hat can)

We read it a couple of years ago and it was such a delight that we got quite over-excited and weepy and read the sequel and then got all over-excited and weepy again and then the world exploded and our puppet mistress sailed away in a pea green boat with a Spoonwalker and got lost on an island with some Necromancers and Max died and was resurrected as a skeleton princess…. and, well, long story short, we have quite a long list of books which we have been meaning to review and haven’t yet and this is one of them…

So without further ado…

Heels is a heart-warming, hilarious, wondrously witty and splendiferously satirical romp through a marvellously imagined apocalyptic nightmare.

We follow Kerry (who, for all the fact that she is, indeed, in heels and feels utterly unprepared and ill equipped to cope with the end of the world, is actually an utterly awesome action hero in her own very engaging and adorable way) and her band of misfit-heroes who each have their own esoteric, bizarre and completely fabulous skill-banks for navigating the apocalypse.

Best of all – it has a talking badger. We will say no more. That alone should be enough.

( FMI : @BadgersTweetToo )

We laughed out loud from start to end. There is enormous heart and insurmountable wit within this treasure trove and a wicked golden-glint of mischief running like a magic thread throughout its pages – a perfect antidote to the gloom and doom that seems to have seized the world in its iron grip of late!

So, the question is, friends, what would you wear to the apocalypse? Because if those screeches really are Liver Birds out there – and if the rumours of a new wave of Mancunian sugar zombies are true, that could be a very important question! I hope that by the time it is all over I can merrily type #IWoreHeels with a flourish, but I have yet to find eight matching pairs to fit my tentacles, you see? Ah well.

Perhaps we will pluck up the courage to join the intrepid band of authors, artists and other creatives who are fending off the monsters over at the watch tower this month… then again perhaps we won’t… but if you are feeling brave (or stupid) and would like to throw in your oar with that crazy lot, do give Penny a shout at ladywiththewyvern@gmail.com we’re certain they can use all the able bodies they can get (always good to have extra bodies to throw at zombies; helps to distract them, you know?)

We wish you a divinely dark and marvellously magical afternoon, and until we meet again, please be always

Utterly Yourself

Light in the Lantern: With our kitchen witch, Mrs Baker

Mrs Baker – By Catherine E Mclean – https://blakeandwight.com/2017/01/11/1924/

Greetings! Welcome to to Steampunk’d Lancaster! My name is Mrs Albert Baker and… well yes, that’s right I am a witch, how very kind of you to notice! Perhaps it’s my magical aura… or the smell of freshly baked gingerbread that tipped you off?

Officially I’m actually The Last Witch Of Pendle but, sadly, there is no Pendle any more, since The Chronic Agronauts utterly destroyed it with treacle and sprats. But I’ve set myself up quite nicely here in Lancaster, running my little underground soup kitchen for the street urchins.

This beautiful outfit helps me to disguise my true nature and was made for me by my wonderful friend Catherine E Mclean who also created my gorgeous bakery here in Steampunk’d Lancaster and makes all the outfits and accessories for my dear friend Darq -‘the doll with a blog’. (you can read all about the time she came to visit me here)

Strange times have struck here in the Scattered Isles of Ire – Lord Ashton’s Flesh Eating Liver Birds plague the skies above us and hoards of Mancunian Sugar-Zombies roam the cobbled streets spreading their curse like a plague…

So some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in the city watchtower and keep its flame burning each night as a way of giving hope to those running for their lives and being hunted down by terrifying monsters, or evil scarecrow landlords…

Tonight is my shift and never fear, I am well armed to protect myself with a hot cauldron of soup, a fistful of hexes and of course my trusty rolling pin, which has seen off many an Annoying Wizard, Giant Crab or Night Potato, I can tell you!

Over the coming weeks, a marvellous host of writers, artists and creators will each be taking a turn to keep the light in this old lantern burning through the dark and share with you some of their wonderful books, stories, artwork and other fabulous creations.

If you’d like to lend a hand as well, do drop us a line at ladywiththewyvern@gmail.com and I will book you a shift on the rosta – we can always use more able hands to fight off these zombies and we love to see and share the works of writers, artists and every kind of creator to brighten these dark times!

Now then, since I’m here I thought I would share a little excerpt from some of my own adventures with you to try and take our minds off the danger that encroaches from every angle.

This is taken from The Dangerous Exploits of Smith and Skarry – which is the second book detailing how myself and my miscreant protégés failed to save the world. In this scene we are attempting to have breakfast before embarking on our ill-fated mission to discover the lost tribe of Siberian Soup-Seers who, we hoped, would be able to save both the daughter of The Pirate King, and the world, but of course things like saving the world and having breakfast are always more complicated with Max and Collin in tow…

Excerpt from The Dangerous Exploits Of Smith And Skarry…

“So, your chum with the hair…” Eightcups Max, Therezine-goggles firmly in place and lurid purple mop sticking crazily from beneath the brim of his esoterically customised bowler hat, violently assaulted the chair beside Skarry in an attempt to get into it and eventually let it fall to the flagstone floor with a clatter.

Skarry raised his eyebrows and glanced across the table at Mercurio, who had his head of tight golden curls buried in a book of dubious academic merit.

“Think he’ll lend me his cat?”

“His cat?”

“Mm. His cat.”

“I… sorry, his cat?”

“Mm. Scarrrlette told me he might lend me his  Cat O’ Nine Lives, that’s an incredibly fancy little toy, by the way,”

Skarry frowned, there was something about the way his sister’s name purred in Max’s throat that made his shoulder twitch. Just ever so slightly. 

Max  turned up his collar and leant, in a  conspiratorial fashion, too close for comfort or propriety “Look here,” he said seriously, “you really ought to stop worrying about her, she’s not about what you think she is, you know?” 

What?”

Weeeell…” Max spread his arms in a wide sweeping gesture, “…if all the spoons were one spoon, as they say…” his grin widened with the furrows in Skarry’s brow “..what a great spoon that would be

And if all the teacups were one cup what a great cup that would be

And if all the teapots were one pot, what a great pot that would be

And If all the tealeaves were one leaf, what a great leaf that would be

And if all the women were one woman what a great woman she would be

And if the great woman 

took the great leaf 

and brewed it in the great pot

and poured it into the great cup

and stirred it with the great spoon

what a helluva stir that would make eh?”  he carefully adjusted the brim of his bowler hat, “…Not that it’s any of my business, of course, but, I do have a sister, as it turns out – who knew eh? Well, Mother, presumably – I discovered her in Hull…” his eyes seemed to glaze over for a moment and Skarry cleared his throat loudly “… sorry, yes, she wanted to do unspeakable things to me as well…”

What?

“Hm? Oh yes, she was Hull bent on power too, and toys… but anyway I digress, so, your chum – Smith is it? Think he’ll lend me his toy for a bit?”

Skarry shifted his weight moodily and looked again at his friend. “I doubt it,” he said stiffly.

Max looked crest fallen, “Really? Damn. I want a message taking to Lichfield, to the arcade in fact,” the coat collar came up with a flick of those elegant fingers “need to ask them to update my cameo, you know?”

Skarry did know. The Burlington Arcade in Lichfield was notorious for many things, one of which was a very particular type of street artist who, for a very particular type of payment – illicit tiffin, Skarry supposed and shuddered inwardly at the memory of his own recent baptism of fire – would carefully create and maintain a pristine cameo print of their customer upon the wall of the arcade, inscribing below it whatever social and political achievements, thoughts, fancies, whims and witticisms their patron decreed. Skarry had spent many painful hours – Mercurio had repeatedly assured him it would be minutes – loitering uncomfortably at the entrance, trying not to stare at the scribes with their leather gauntlets and wild crimson attire, while his new acquaintance attended to his various pressing business arrangements in the peculiar little studios that heaped themselves higgledy piggledy above the tiny shops and tiled walkways of the arcade below. 

“Update your cameo? To say what?”

“Oh, well, you know, just that I’m back, after a dashed fine spot of jail breaking, on the run from the good folk, available for parties … that sort of thing…”

“Well, you could ask him” 

“Hm. Yes. Yes I could couldn’t I?” Max nodded thoughtfully. “Right, here I go then…come on Collin, best foot forward, you’ve got enough to choose from…” He attempted to scoop his octopus up from the table, where it was wrapping its long tentacles around a teapot and a plate of hot crumpets, but Collin seemed reluctant to relinquish his prize and after a spectacular battle in which pot, crumpets, jam and cream all went flying across the hall, Max went crashing to the floor, tangled in his ridiculously long coat with Collin plastered to his face.

“Oops. Are my tenfacles showing affain?” he chuckled through a mouth full of octopus. 

What?” Skarry gaped in astonishment at the pandemonium caused by one individual attempting to sit down to breakfast. 

Max choked and wrestled Collin from his face, his bowler hat clattered to the floor and for the first time Skarry got a really good look at The Heir To The Throne Of Ire… Max’s skin was white as porcelain, not surprising really when the fiend had spent the last few years living in the underwater prison city of Hull. His purple hair was dishevelled, a long and clumsily stitched scar traced an ugly line across his high forehead and in all respects he looked like a human wreck…

Max grinned and slammed the bowler back into place, adjusted the brim and scooped Collin up onto his shoulder. He laid a set of long, delicate fingers on Skarry’s arm “It’s quite alright,” he whispered “I understand, you’re only human.” Then he straightened up, turned his back and cried “You can look, Mr Skarry, but no touchy touchy!” before swaggering off to try his luck with Mercurio.

“What? I…what?!” Skarry floundered in a red fog of rage, embarrassment and indignation but Max was out of earshot and severa members of the crew were now smirking at him from across the table.

He began to ardently protest all the things he had not been doing or thinking or looking at when the doors to the hall burst open and in danced the captain of the chronic agro, followed by the hulking figure of Billy Blythe, the pirate king. 

“All hands to the decks me loves, and wrap up warm! The wind is up and we’re bound for  Siberia!” Captain Jack Diamond clapped his hands together and grinned at his crew who were all helping themselves to buttered crumpets around the long trellis table.

“You bloody well wanna change yer own outfit.” Bill growled. “You’re not bleedin well goin to the frozen wastes dressed like that.”

Jack looked himself up and down. “I’ll put a coat on,” he said defensively.

Jack Diamond – by Robin Eisenberg

Well, what do you think? Will Captain Jack survive the Siberian sub-temperatures if he puts on a coat? Will Eightcups Max manage to get his cameo updated before we set sail? Will Jonathon Skarry ever be able to string a sentence together?

These are all philosophical questions my dears, but more pressingly we must ask ourselves – are we going to survive this night?

Hold tight to your rolling pins, recite your recipes like a rosary of hope for in desperate times there is no better thing to have committed to memory than a recipe for a good soup!

If you would like to read more about our adventures you can find the first book here:

Stay safe my friends, whatever assails you, and remember when times are dark, kindle the light in your own lantern, and look for the lights in the lanterns of others!

Free dnd 5e Halloween Adventure: Queen of Hordes – horror on the high seas! — Glitzy Demon’s Dungeon

FREE UNTIL HALLOWEEN! Our newest 5e adventure is available on DMs Guild now… The Zombie Queen, Kallisti, believes she’s The Fairest in the land – and with hordes of undead sailors and zombie chickens at her command, she’s after your heart… A fun, comedy-horror style adventure of zombie mayhem on the high seas. Scalable for […]

Free dnd 5e Halloween Adventure: Queen of Hordes – horror on the high seas! — Glitzy Demon’s Dungeon

Happy Halloween!

Hello my lovelies! I’m so so sorry I’ve been quiet of late – life has been so up and down (I think for all of us hey?) the last two years I feel like I’ve been doing rounds with our lovely Gypsy King and wondering where the next punch is coming from XD XD

I desperately want to write ‘we’re back on our feet now’ but every time I say that we get knocked for another pretty six! XD So i’m not going to say that – instead I’m going to say that from now until at least the end of November we’ll be hosting our Light In The Lantern festival – a chance for writers, artists and all types of creators to showcase their wares and spread some joy and hope through the long dark winter.

It’s our small way of offering some light in the darkness and I’m super-happy to have the energy to do it again this year – and super excited and grateful for all the fabulous folk who have signed up to take part already! If you’d like to jump in, you can shoot a message at me on fb or twitter or email me at ladywiththewyvern@gmail.com (or you can click on the submissions button above and scroll to the bottom of the page to find the template)

We’re kicking off on Friday with awesome Elen Sentier and her fabulous familiar on their flying carpet so I hope you’ll all join us for that. Our lovely kitchen witch Mrs Baker will be dropping in on Thursday and I may even be able to round up Max and Collin at some point and see what those miscreants have been up to (well, obviously no good, that goes without saying, but perhaps learning what form the ‘no good’ has taken will prove entertaining?)

Hugest love and blessings to you all, however you celebrate the season!

with tentacular monster hugs, Penny

Halloween gorgeous moon pic by Larisa K on pixabay 🙂 xx

%d bloggers like this: