Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

frost fair

Frost Fair: Collin’s Memoirs Part ‘The Last’

Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, for what I fear must be the last of these little readings from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… the ice here on the river Lune has indeed begun to melt again, the barges will soon be free to move on and our beautiful rainbow sailed sky-ship must be thinking about doing the same… still, I’m sure have the time for one last tea together and for me to recount how that terrible frost fair ended a few years ago…

 

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, we hope you are feeling extremely eleven o clockish because the time is indeed eleven o clock and you find us desperately clinging to a printing press, screaming for help (and cake) in increasingly agitated tones. Here is what happened –
We decided that before the frost fair ended we ought to do one more round of the fuddling tents and then get our names printed on one of those souvenir flyers by one of the many presses which have sprung up across the frozen river.
I think we may have become a little too fuddled however, as by the time we reached the printers Max was no longer content on having our merely our names on the thing but had begun composing a lengthy treatise against tea rationing, sugar tax, dairy alternatives, the monarchy and poets in general… the poor printer was struggling to arrange her wooden blocks as this tirade of caffeine fuelled wrath drew curious punters from all over the river.
The crowd listened in awe for around five minutes until the part about the cats and then, as one, they turned and fled, screaming in terror. It took a few seconds for myself, Max, and the printer to realise that it was not the cats but the breaking ice which had sent them scurrying and, too late, we found ourselves adrift on one of many small ice islands which were rapidly breaking free and speeding off on the mischievous currents of the thawing river.
One, bearing a cargo of serving maids, ploughed into the side of a barge and shattered, sending the girls flailing into the icy water. Sadly I could do nothing to help as my tentacles are still out of action but Max did valiant things with a histrionic napkin – wafting it at them in a most heroic and undoubtedly helpful way – until they all managed to clamber up onto our island and choke themselves puce (don’t worry, we perched on the printing press to avoid any embarrassment involving vomit and shoes) .
And so we were stuck – we tried to punt our way to the other side using a parasol but once we got there, some thugs tried charging us to set foot on the bank. None of us had a bean and our offers of throwing them a sopping serving maid did not go down well at all.
Not with anyone.
The maids turned savage and pitched the printing press – with us upon it – into the water (who’d have credited them with such strength of character?) and so here we are, desperately in need of elevenses, and assistance. If you happen to have either, please do not hesitate to hurl them in our direction.
In the meantime we will wish all a very uneventful morning and attempt to endear ourselves to passersby by busking along to this…

 

 

Good old Smith and Burrows, they have seen us through many a tough scrape over the years. Well you will over the moon entirely to learn that our good friends Jack and Marjory happened to be passing that day and did manage to see off the ruffians and haul us out – although they had the nerve to charge us for their dry cleaning bill afterwards! – Kitty’s Hex Slingers are all a bunch of bloody toffs.

Oh well, time to weight anchor here and set sail for our next adventure, we wish you all the best with yours and until we meet again please remain always

Utterly Yourself.


Frost Fair: Collin’s Memoirs part 5…

Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, do pull up a cat.. er, sorry, I mean a cushion… and make yourselves comfortable as I, Collin The Octopus, read to you all from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… a-hem…

February 1824…

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin’s delicately dazzling and glamorously glitzy parlour located within the fantabulously frost spangled city of Lancaster!
True there are those who will say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
You find us this morning enjoying what may well be the last week of the frost fair as our Oracular Pet has assured us that the ice will begin to melt over the weekend and the Barge Folk will be able to get their craft dislodged soon afterward.
People are beginning to carve things into the ice now – at first it was just the odd name or profane comment – “Victoria was ‘ere” and the like –  but now the whole river resembles the Cameo Libris in the Burlington Arcade and it seems every drunk and lunatic is determined to leave his mark…

“Whereas you J .  FROST have by force and violence
Taken possession of the RIVER
I hereby give you notice to quit Immediately
A . THAW”

“Behold the Power of WIZ! Which locks,
In close Confinement, under pond’rous Rocks
Of dreadful Ice and Snow, our famous RIVER;
Whose matchless Glory doth the world make shiver!”

Even the stall vendors have taken to the sport, ‘pitting their limited wits against the noble tongue’ as Max put it …. here are some of the worst we have read….

To the Print-house go,
Where men the art of Printing soon do know,
Where for a Teaster, you may have your name
Printed, hereafter for to show the same:
And sure, in former Ages, ne’er ‘was found
A Press to print where men so oft were droun’d!

Behold the liquid RIVER now frozen o’er
That lately SHIPS of mighty burden bore.
Here you PRINT your name tho’ cannot write
‘Cause numbe’d with cold: ‘Tis done with great delight.
And lay it by: That AGES yet to come
May see what THINGS upon the ICE were done.

Kind master, drink you beer, or ale or brandy?
Walk in, kind sir, this booth is the chief,
We’ll entertain you with a slice of beef,
And what you please to eat or drink, ‘tis here,
No booth, like mine, affords such dainty cheer;
Another crys, Here master, they but scoff ye,
Here is a dish of famous new made coffee.
And some do say a giddy senseless ass
May on the LUNE be furnished with a lass.

I was sincerely hoping that Max would join me in setting our sights a little higher and agree to stop and watch the Parlour Poets in their ‘Sparring Salon’ but he suddenly became uncharacteristically Quiet, mumbled something about dogs, and has now skulked back to the parlour claiming a sudden urge for a cup of tea.

As I am still wheelchair-bound I had absolutely no say in the matter and so here we are, feeling a little perplexed and out of breath (it is no fun being rattled along the cobbled streets at speed in a bone shaker like that I can tell you), but with an excellent tea on the brew.

 

Yes indeed those amateur ice graffiti ‘artists’ left a lot to be desired – and along with the roasted Ox and the rampaging elephant I feel they were at least partly responsible for what happened next… but I will leave that until the next time you visit and instead leave you with this marvellous video of someone doing something FAR more worthy and impressive with the medium of ice…


Frost Fair: Collin’s Memoirs part 4…

Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, do pull up a cat.. er, sorry, I mean a cushion… and make yourselves comfortable as I, Collin The Octopus, read to you all from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… a-hem…
February 1824…
Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome once again to Max and Collin’s splendidly Siberian – themed parlour located within the spectacularly frosted-over city of Lancaster.
True, some have called it a frigid flophouse belonging to chilling individuals whom you would not wish to meet down a dark alley, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
You find me this afternoon feeling a little foolish, a little sorry for myself and a little disappointed that ice skating isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Certainly ice skating with tentacles is not a thing I shall ever be attempting again. I’m afraid I got a little over excited at the Street Pageant … the Masala Chai punch…you know…
So here I lie, my tentacles in splints, attempting to suck chips of frozen tea through a straw while Max reads to me and the cats do their best to irritate me to distraction. Mrs B has kindly made up some foul smelling brown goo to rub into my wounds but it does nothing for my pride, I’m afraid; I am a fallen creature indeed….oh do shut up Max I am in no fit state to suffer your dubious wit.
Fortunately our soothing tea this morning is a beautiful and gentle blend of Sencha with sea buckthorn, spearmint and lemon verbena which reminds me of my ocean home and a lesson learned that not all forms of water provide an octopus with his element!
Still we did manage to take something of a stroll around the fair this morning.
I say stroll, which implies a leisurely pace, but my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend was doing an embarrassing amount of huffing and puffing and gasping for breath which was quite off putting I can tell you and leads me, once again, to question exactly what constitutes ‘Very Quiet’ in the realm above the waves.
I say stroll, but perhaps that is a misnomer for the exercise as in fact my tentacles were, as I said, all in splints from the ice skating affair and so Mrs B kindly rustled up an old wheelchair from somewhere and we strapped a couple of floor board planks to the wheels so that Max could push me through the snowy cobbled streets and over the icy river with ease.
Oh the joy! I cannot tell you how immeasurably more enjoyable it is to experience a winter’s walk from the cozy comfort of an armchair…there were fire eaters and jugglers, oh my goodness they even had an elephant! I’m amazed the ice does not crack! Mind you, they were roasting spit an ox with impunity over near the centre and I am certain it is going to lead to disaster.
There were so many things for sale, most of which are double the price one would expect to pay for them because they have the word ‘souvenir’ and a date scratched onto them. Luckily Max is a bit of a Finger Smith and we managed to procure some excellent spiced buns and treacle toffee before slipping away into one of the ‘fuddling tents’. These are made of the barge sails propped up haphazardly with poles and inside you will find some of the most lethal chai-cocktails to be mixed this side of a Tiffin Den.
We sampled ‘Purl’ (a steaming black brew made with lapsang and wormwood) which the vendor told us would have a man gibbering for days, and ‘The Spiky Mother’ (A pungent Assam with chilli and dark chocolate) which had apparently already hospitalised a crowd of eight, but we must be candid and say that, even after four or five cups of each, Max still had the wherewithal to hot foot it out of the tent and away before the angry vendor could catch up with us an extract his payment.  (no mean feat pushing an octopus in a make-shift sled)
He almost cornered us but luckily Max employed a pocket full of escapological marbles (if you are naive to the uses of escapological marbles to thwart a pursuer just ask the nearest five year old) and we left him cursing in the gutter.
So here we are again, back in the parlour, and eager to tuck in to our sticky treats – once Max has got his breath back.

Ah yes, I still suffer a little with rheumatism in my tentacles after that terrible episode – nevermore! Is now my mantra when it comes to the ice skating, but I do so love watching you humans go about the business, all the same. So I’ll leave you with this lovely lady doing a far better job of it than I did and until we meet again, tread with care and remain always,
Utterly Yourself


Frost Fair: With Nimue Brown

thoughtbubble us

 

Goblin market, come buy, come buy!

Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune! I’m Nimue Brown and I have shivered my way through many a real world stall and event, usually for the purposes of promoting Hopeless, Maine. For this Fair I find myself wearing all of my bloomers and knickerbockers under all of the woolly things I could tie round myself, so you may be forgiven for mistaking me for some kind of sofa.

The Goblin Market goes out to events around Stroud (where I live) and tempts people with illicit and dangerous fruit – namely art and poetry, and other books. Sometimes you’ll find me at Steampunk events, huddled under a Hopeless Maine banner with other reprobates – Tom Brown who is responsible for the art side of things, sometimes Keith Healing who wrote the Hopeless Maine Role Play Game and on occasion, Keith Errington who wrote Hopeless Maine novella, The Oddatsea.

As Hopeless Maine is a cold, foggy and imaginary island off the coast of Maine, dressing for a wintery apocalypse is always authentic. Sometimes, in chilly desperation, I have gone so far as to wear an octopus on my head. A woolly one, I hasten to add. I would not expose a live octopus in so dreadful a way!

If you’d like to buy our lovely things, develop an addiction and never quite get over it (we are a Goblin market after all) you can do so without getting frostbite in your fingers, either via Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MothFestival

Or by starting over here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/buy-the-books-and-things/

sis3


Frost Fair: With Stephen Palmer

S Palmer Factory Girl Penny

Good morrow, and well met! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune.

My name is Stephen Palmer and I write alternate history novels with a heady steampunk flavour. Sit down if you will… You can see my novels displayed here for your perusal, please feel free to browse at your leisure.

My work ranges from Tommy Catkins in the Great War, back through the Edwardian era in the clockwork, steampunk Factory Girl trilogy and The Conscientious Objector, to the surreal Dodgson-esque Hairy London, which ranges from Victorian times to WW1…

Enjoy! Be mystified! Then enjoy once more! 

S Palmer, Tommy Catkins

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tommy-Catkins-Stephen-Palmer/dp/0995752265/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=tommy+catkins&qid=1572459244&s=books&sr=1-1

S Palmer Factory Girl Penny

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Two-Souls-Factory-Trilogy/dp/1539980529/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-One-Friend-Factory-Trilogy/dp/1539980553/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-No-Soul-Factory-Trilogy/dp/1539980588/ref=bseries_lb_1539980588

S Palmer, TCO

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conscientious-Objector-Stephen-Palmer-ebook/dp/B082T1QZNY/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+conscientious+objector&qid=1580203719&s=books&sr=1-1

S Palmer, Hairy London

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hairy-London-Stephen-Palmer/dp/1495995224/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

But wait just one heartbeat before you skate away. In these days of social media there are links to be had – fine links! And here they are for you…

 

https://stephenpalmersf.wordpress.com/

 

https://www.sffchronicles.com/forum/stephen-palmer/

 

https://vimeo.com/stephenpalmer

 


Frost Fair: Collin’s Memoirs part 3…

Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, do pull up a cat.. er, sorry, I mean a cushion… and make yourselves comfortable as I, Collin The Octopus, read to you all from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… a-hem…

February 1824

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen! You find us some what in haste this tea time as we are getting ourselves all dressed to impress and not just for larks or some nefarious landord’s scheme to make money, no, this time we actually do have somewhere swish to go!
Courtly Masques have been a traditional part of New Year celebrations here in The New World for centuries and the public version The Street Pageant is something that accompanies the Frost Fair here in Lancaster every year.

Some of the most outstanding lunatics, parlour-poets, tea fiends and self proclaimed ‘artists’, in the full intensity of their creative insanity, have devoted themselves to producing these Pageants (despite the earnest efforts of various New World Puritans to abolish them) and the infamous Garish Theatre producer Joyce Jameson recently proclaimed it to be “the highest art form in The Scattered Isles.”

To give the balance however we should  also quote journalist Pomona Squash of the Tiffindependent Newspaper whose scathing review of last years’ revels read:

“The entertainment went forward, and most of the presenters went backward, or fell down, wine did so occupy their upper chambers. The actress playing the Queen tripped over the steps of the throne, sending her gifts flying; Hope and Faith were too drunk to speak a word, while Peace, annoyed at finding her way to the throne blocked, made good use of her symbolic olive branches to slap anyone who was in her way” (click here to tut at our rampant quote theft)

So that is where we abscond to this evening, to paint the town of Lancaster (revolutionary) red and utterly get away with it because we shall be masked up and totally unrecognisable… we hope…
We wish you all an equally jubilant evening and we will let you know how we got on on Monday so, until then, please throw on a mask be whoever the Hull you wish (for one night at least!)

 

Hm, yes I remember those pageant nights getting somewhat out of hand… in fact (voices hushed please) perhaps this extract wasn’t such a good one to have been reading out loud at all – Max once spent some time in Lancaster Castle prison, rather beaten up and waiting to be hanged (whether or not they managed to hang him in the end I really couldn’t say, he has an annoying knack of defeating death which really makes me wonder if he isn’t some sort of demon afterall…)

Ah but I digress; the point is he had some sort of delirious vision while he was there about a Cheese Ball… or a Cheese Masque… or some such nonsense, (I believe some nefarious conspirator from the island of Hopeless, Mainementioning no names – slipped him a hairy coffee at visiting hour) and it would be well not to set him off on a blasted recital of the Mostly Awful Poem he wrote about the…

Sunken Hull Max! Are you trying to frighten the life out of us sneaking around like that? …. no nobody mentioned cheese, or Masques, or indeed anything of the kind and we certainly have not got time for… will you get down off the table… oh dear, it seems there is no dissuading the wretch, cover your ears or run good people – preserve your sanity!

 

HISTORY IS MADE AS MAX SPEAKS TO THE ROOM AT LARGE RATHER THAN JUST COLLIN FOR THE SECOND TIME IN PARLOUR HISTORY…

 

Friends, Tea Fiends, Revolutionaries, Poets, Painters, Hex Slingers, Technomancers, Goddess Worshippers, and Octopussies, I humbly (sort of  I mean, one can’t be too humble with a face like this -wink- ) present to you all …

“En Route To The Fromagian Ball”
(A Political Poem Of The Mor Irate Revolution By Eightcups Max)

As I waited for the Tyburn Tree
To spread its limbs and welcome me
To its embrace eternally
I dreamed I journeyed long, to thee
(To dance The Masque at Caerphilly)

I met Morbier on the way
He wore a masque of silver grey
Very smooth he looked, yet grim
And seven rats did follow him

Fat they were, and no surprise
For, despite his mournful sighs,
And as I feasted with my eyes
Yet they with sharp teeth took their prize.

Next came Roqufort and he had on,
All speckled with viridian,
A gown so tattered, holed and frayed
I wondered not he looked dismayed

“Can you sir, really, thus arrayed,
Be going to the masquerade
To dance at Caerphilly?”

And the little cats, who round his feet
Did lip and lap and even eat
The scroobius crumbs which from him fell
And each grew fat and fine and well

Clothed with Her Majesty’s revenues bright
Glittering gold through the grim twilight
Mild Camembert, smiling, sauntered by
And by her side, strode Manouri

And my heart sank to see the sly
Reflections in each gleaming eye
Of all the host that by me strayed
Towards the marvellous masquerade
To dance at Caerphilly.

A mighty troupe of cheeses round
And as they rolled they shook the ground
Waving each a blunt hooked knife
And in their wake came grief and strife

And yet with glorious triumph they
Rode through The Scattered Isles so gay
Drunk as with intoxication
Upon the wine of unfair taxation

Through Crumbia, past The Once Was Sea
Caroused the pageant, fat and free
Pounding flat and crushing down
Each village, hamlett, temple, town
Until they came to Caerphilly

And each guest of that monstrous ball
Did gasp and gape and stand in thrall
As tearing down their revelry
The fromagian host advanced with glee

And, to my horror, out there came
To meet the host and so to claim
Their glory, friends and family
All singing odes to Sbrinz and Brie

“Oh we have waited, hungering
For the mighty curd-coming”
And on their knees each one bent down
And for each cheese, proffered a crown

Then each took fork and knife and spoon
And there below the blood red moon
They rat-like, cat-like all did feast
And, eating so, became the beast

And wild, rapacious was the eye
Of every one who passed me by
Behind each masque that greeted me
As I came to Caerphilly
But as I felt myself besieged
By comrades now themselves in league
With lovers lost and rampant cheese
As gazing, lost, at all my foes
A vapour from my teacup rose

Faint and fragile as the dew
All silver grey the image grew
This Maiden, mailed, before me stood
With spork blade bright and shimmering hood

My Lady, Silverneedle, stands
Her teapot held in mighty hands
And above the roar of cheese
Her voice rings o’re the land and seas:

“Sions of Ire, scions of glory
Heroes of unwritten story
Suplings of one mighty pot
Rise and slice the Gordion knot”

“Rise like Silver Needle’s steam
Swift and to fulfil the dream
In the heart of every slave
The late of birth, the late in grave.
The dream of every treacle miner
No notion simpler or sublimer”

“Rise as one to take with might
The final bag of flour, white,
For you are many, they are few
And all they gorged was meant for you!”

With step as soft as wind she passed
O’re my head so swift and fast
And though I sought to find her there
Still all I saw was empty air.

But lingering in the morning grey
Some muse stirred in my memory
The scent of bergamots’ faint leaves
Which soothed my soul to thoughts of thee

As I waited for the Tyburn Tree
To spread its limbs and welcome me
To its embrace eternally
Still in my dream I danced with thee
(We danced The Masque at Caerphilly)


Frost Fair: With Zakarrie Clarke

Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

 My name is Zakarrie and my stories are a rollercoaster ride of lust, laughter and all-consuming love. Even at their most contemporary, i should p’raps tag them #quirky #mmromance and (more often than not) #ownvoices. 

You can see my wares displayed here for your perusal, please feel free to browse at your leisure…

Amazon Author Page: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zakarrie-Clarke/e/B07D7JQ32N/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Novels:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07RKPLGJ6/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07BBNJHZB/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i6

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07HW2Q2LD/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NJCXX8Q/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i1

I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, thank you so much for stopping by. 

*

If you’d like to read a free, full length shapeshifter novel, I’ve been serialising my latest story on my blog:

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

Two years ago, Jake McCain met an irresistible stranger at the Glastonbury festival. A few days later his life, as he knew it, was over.  Enter Jack. The ‘two’ of them have…cohabited ever since. Much to Jack’s dismay, Jake is relentless in his bid to be the most bloody minded human a jackal ever had the misfortune to manage.

Phin Finley has set off on a magical mystery campervan tour of south-west England. Having flown the family nest for the first time, he is determined to prove to his parents that he can manage just fine, despite being a bit too…Phinnish for most folk’s comfort, his mum’s peace of mind and dad’s constitution.

This is the story of his misadventures. Of finding your (happy) place in the world, making (foxy) friends and the fabled Beast of Bodmin Moor. 

Full storyhttps://zakarrie.com/tag/beast/  

Ch 1: https://zakarrie.com/2019/10/29/happy-halloween-week/

 


Frost Fair: Collin’s memoirs part 2…

Thankyou, friends, for joining me this morning on board the Harlequin Ladybird, do pull up a cat.. er, sorry, I mean a cushion… and make yourselves comfortable as I, Collin The Octopus, read to you all from my marvellous journal of extremely exciting adventures… a-hem…

February, 1823…

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Max and Collin’s splendiferously sparkling and frostabulously frozen parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster!

True, some have called it a frigid place of cold hearts and frosty welcomes but we consider that uch people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us this morning, warming our tentacles beside an imaginary fire after an enterprising and entertaining morning at the fabulous frost fair which is being held on our beloved river Lune.

Our psychotic scarecrow landlord, Montmorency, woke us before dawn with the business end of his walking cane and demanded that we head out into the frozen darkness and not return until we had enough money to pay for this month’s rent. The fact that we only just paid for the last month seems to have escaped the rogue and so I perched upon Max’s shoulder and we set off towards the river.

There were already traders setting up stalls on the ice but none of them took favourably to our offers  of  assistance (it seems that Queen Vic’s recent  amendments to equality in employment law do not extend to an Octopus and a Tea Fiend) So we settled ourselves on the bank instead and watched the sun rise over the frosted spires of the sail barges which had collapsed crazily into the ice sheets and lay mired liked the skeletons of stranded beasts from some fantastical caffeine-fuelled nightmare.

Things picked up once the punters arrived. After some initial competition from a woman hawking root beer (For a Very Quite Gentleman, Max can be terribly clumsy when glass bottles are around) we managed to sell twenty bottles of lemonade (and drink many more) without being lynched by the barge folk for selling without paying the trading fees.

We decided that that was quite enough hard shirking for one morning and spent the rest of the time mooching around the stalls, watching the jugglers and fire eaters and, most impressively to me, the ice skaters. Having lived under the sea all my life, I never imagined this curious form entertainment and I am determined, soon, to beg, borrow or steal enough pairs of ice skates to attempt the thing myself.

Now here we are back in the parlour, our landlord briefly appeased, our cats greedily devouring the last of the skimmed milk ration, and all desperately in need of a reviving spot of elevenses and some soothing music to tap our tentacles to. Unfortunately our absconding butler has not seen fit to deliver the goods this morning (perhaps she thinks it’s a holiday? ‘Though what a werewolf would find to do at a frost fair we have no idea…) but not to worry because we managed to run into our lovely Mrs Baker on the way back and she has set us up with a packet of genuine Frost Fair Souvenir Gingerbread which, knowing Mrs B, will be crammed full of illegal sugar…mmm…

And, by happy chance, Max’s constant pocket companion ‘The Whole Duty Of A Woman (or an infalliable guide to the fair sex) – 1737’ (A birthday gift from a devoted family member I think) has an excellent recipe for … OWCH! …Well, really! You know, for a Very Quiet Gentleman, Max, you  can be excessively violent devoid of a sense of humour… do learn to take a joke, please!

I was going to say, before I was so rudely interrupted by a flying teapot, that this is a recipe for ginger bread biscuits, rather than the cake which we are enjoying now but it is nonetheless share-worthy, I think…

“To Make Gingerbread…

Take a pound and a half of London Treacle, two eggs beaten, half a pound of sugar, one ounce of ginger, beaten and sifted, of cloves, mace and nutmeg, all together, half an ounce beaten very fine, coriander seeds and caraway seeds of each half an ounce, Two punds of butter melted; mix all these together, with as much flour a will knead it into a pretty stiff paste, then roll it out and cut it into what Form you please; bake it in a Quick Oven on Tin-plates; A little time will bake it.”

 

 

Oh I do miss our dear Mrs Baker very much indeed! And yes, I’m sorry to say that Max is no less violent and humourless when it comes to ‘taking a joke’ these days as he was then… fortunately he has decided not to join us for these little readings, although I can’t think why he would deny himself such a pleasure, hedonism notoriously being his chief virtue…

If you are out on the ice today, do tread with care won’t you? Unless you have ice skates in which case throw yourself gracelessly with wild abandon! And until we meet again please, remain always

Utterly Yourself


Frost Fair: With Boston Metaphysical Society

Good Morning Everyone! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

My name is Madeleine Holly-Rosing and I write the steampunk supernatural series, Boston Metaphysical Society.  It started off as a six issue graphic novel series then moved into short stories, novellas, a novel, and we are now producing standalone short graphic novels that are a continuation of the original series AND a coloring book.  

The original graphic novel is about an ex-Pinkerton detective, a spirit photographer, and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800s Boston.

We are currently running a Kickstarter Campaign to print our third standalone sequel,  Boston Metaphysical Society: Ghosts and Demons and the first ever Boston Metaphysical coloring book.  The campaign ends on Feb. 21.

Kickstarter Link: http://kck.st/38pVBxU

The other books in the Boston Metaphysical Society universe are:

Boston Metaphysical Society: The Complete Original Series (Graphic Novel) It hits Diamond Distribution in March 2020, so please order it from your local comic book store or from Source Point Press.

Boston Metaphysical Society:  The Scourge of the Mechanical Men (Graphic Novel) –https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0996429247/

Boston Metaphysical Society: The Spirit of Rebellion: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0996429271/

Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude (Anthology)- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XB5U82Q/

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets (Novel) – https://www.amazon.com/Boston-Metaphysical-Society-Storm-Secrets-ebook/dp/B07HCP9SW5/

All of these books are available in various reward tiers as part of the Kickstarter.

Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoy your day!

Please visit our website at http://www.bostonmetaphysicalsociety.com and like/follow us on:

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

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

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


Frost Fair: With Characters from ‘Wind Me Up, One More Time’ by K.S. Trenten

 

A golden shimmer hangs in the air over the billowing tent folds of the stall where Theodora Bear sits on display. She cannot move, not with all the crowds of strangers moving around, watching her still, stuffed form. None of these people are her child, after all. She can speak, however, in the silent, non-voice of stuffed animals which other toys and her child can hear. 

 

*It’s a good thing Iama put a spell on this tent. I think we’re warmer here than a lot of the vendors are in their booths.*

 

A little girl wearing a red hood pulled over her head nods.

 

*It’s also a good thing we came and not the other Grace and Theodora. They have Maia, who’s a good seamstress, but we have Iama, who’s an actual enchantress. We’re more prepared for the cold than any of the characters in Verity, for all the perpetual fog in that town.*

 

*You think this is cold?* The scornful not-voice of a little man with a long, gray beard, a cap pulled down over his eyes, and dangling legs covered with red and white striped stockings was inaudible to Grace, but not to Theodora. *It’s far colder in the land my brother nisse and I come from.*

 

*Where are your brothers?* Theodora let her furry head list a little to the side in a movement too small to be noticed. *I’d think they’d love this frost fair.*

 

*They don’t want to go out until their new caps are ready.* Leif tugs his own cap in a self-conscious fashion, or tries to, but his own child isn’t even present. He can do a lot less than Theodora. *Can’t say I blame them.*

 

*Well, look sharp, Grace, it appears we have visitors.* Theodora regards the approaching readers with shiny button eyes. 

 

“Hello!” Grace smiles, speaking out loud for the first time. “Welcome to the Wind Me Up, One More Time booth! We’re all characters from that story, or from Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, the story within that story. It’s all fairy tales, toys, girls falling in love, learning to grow up without growing away, not allowing ourselves to be turned into gold by misguided enchantresses, or ground up by the gears of industry.” She stops a moment, looking unsure of herself, only to turn the crank in the back of the stuffed bear. 

 

“Growwr,” Theodora says, opening the seams in her chest to reveal what should be stuffing within. 

 

Grace lets out a frightened gasp, but there’s something glowing with Theodora’s chest. A golden apple, with the following information inscribed upon it…

 

Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

 My name is K.S. Trenten and I write ambient fantasy. The characters you are meeting are from Wind Me Up, One More Time, my first published novel. Here are some links to that particular holiday fairy tale…

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

 

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

 

If you’d like to discover more about me, you can find at…

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rhodrymavelyne/?ref=bookmarks#

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rhodrymavelyne

 

tumblr: https://rhodrymavelyne.tumblr.com/

 

Archive of Our Own: http://archiveofourown.org/users/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/

 

I’ve got other published stories available; such as Seven Tricks, A Symposium in Space, Fairest (Once Upon a Rainbow), At Her Service (Once Upon a Rainbow 2), and The Closet (Impact). I write a monthly column, Sources of Inspiration for Queer Sci Fi and also update monthly at cauldronkeeper.livejournal.com and rhodrymavelyne.dreamwidth.org

Free samples of my work are available weekly at the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration (inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com) and the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron (inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com), so feel free to stop by! I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, thank you for stopping by!


Welcome To The Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair!

rainbow keeper, put the fairy rainbow on the sky, magic ship in the dreamland, scene from wonderland,

image copyright Nadiaforkosh courtesy of http://www.freeimages.com

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Max and Collin’s splendiferously space-tastic parlour located high above it all on board our beautiful rainbow-sailed skyship The Harlequin Ladybird!

Those of you who’ve been with us for the long haul will know how hard we have fought against exploitative scarecrow landlords, vicious flesh eating Liver Birds, machinating girlfriends and obsessive beat-nik poets to reach this point of well-deserved bliss, living the life of sky-pirate luxury and finally able to be Utterly Ourselves without someone trying to kill us or steal all our tea.

But upon this cloudless, blue sky morning as we drift lazily through the last departing tendrils of dawnish haze and Lancaster’s frozen River Lune lies below us like a glittering white ribbon and I see the stall holders of the annual Frost Fair setting up their gaily coloured tents and carts I must confess to being overcome with nostalgia… well, perhaps not overcome, I wouldn’t go back to that miserable life for all the tea in Ire…

But nostalgic enough that I thought I might hunt out my journals and perhaps spend the next few weeks reading over some of our memories from Frost Fairs past… (Max don’t be rude, of course our guests are eager to hear me read at length from my memoirs, look at them, they are on the edge of their seats already! … No it is not because the cats are taking up every other available space, it is because they are excited to hear me pontificate about my all-over-interesting life… no they do not want to hear any more about YOUR life Max, you’ve already had more than your fair share of lives, no wonder you like cats so much, perhaps you in fact part cat after all.

Anyway, now that my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend has finally shut up, I can invite you all to join us over the next four weeks as we weigh anchor in Lancaster, stroll the current Frost Fair and look at all the delights on offer from some wonderful Steampunk and LGBTQIA+ authours and look back at some fun and frolics from Frost Fairs of the past.

In the meantime I shall kick my tentacles up on the table here and ring the bell for tea. Hopefully you will join us again soon and until then, please remain always,

Utterly Yourself.

(Gorgeous picture of me, Collin The Octopus, by Nimue Brown of Hopeless, Maine )

Colin (1)

 

 

 


Frost Fair : With Karen.J.Carlisle

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Roll up, roll up to the Great Frost Fair,

Mind your step, come see my wares.

Don’t be shy, browse my books.

Go on, pick one up. Take a look.

 

Welcome to the annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen river Lune! What a relief. It’s hot back home in South Oz.

My name is Karen J Carlisle. I write steampunk, Victorian mysteries and fantasy. What’s your poison… I mean, preference? (Don’t worry I’ve got an antidote.)

 

Do you like something with a darker edge? Murder, mummies and mysteries, perhaps? Why not try The Adventures of Viola Stewart – steampunk Victorian mysteries, with a Gaslamp flavour?

 

The Adventures of Viola Stewart

Introducing Viola Stewart, a widowed optician with a penchant for detectiving, who stumbles upon a secret Society of Men in Grey. Viola finds herself entangled in murders and mysteries, helped by her friend, Doctor Henry Collins.

Each adventure features different Victorian gothic themes – Jack the Ripper, the threat of Bedlam, a mummy’s curse, illusions and conspiracies.

 

This series chronicles Viola Stewart’s adventures in the classic forms of short stories and novellas, made popular with the Victorian era Penny Dreadfuls, and is sold separately as ebooks, or in compilation form as three separate journals.

  • Doctor Jack & Other Tales – Someone’s stalking the women of London… Again. What if Jack the Ripper was being controlled by a secret society, as part of their nefarious plans to take over The Empire?
  • Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales – Murder… Mummies… Mystery. With the threat of Bedlam looming over her, Viola must solve the mystery before it is too late.
  • The Illusioneer & Other TalesViola needs a holiday. But, even at the beach or while on The Grand Tour of Europe, there are things afoot.

book triology_SMALL-copyright2018KarenCarlisle

Want to know more? Watch the book trailers at: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/book-trailers-viola-stewart-adventures/

Read reviews here: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/book-reviews/

 

The Aunt Enid Mysteries

If you prefer paranormal and fantasy with your cosy mystery, then try The Aunt Enid Mysteries. The first book, Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire is set in present-day Adelaide.

 

Daemons, fairies, magic: it’s all real!

The Otherworld is bleeding through cracks into our world. And Adelaide is ground zero.

Something is coming. Something dark – trading souls for passage. And only one person now stands between the Dark and the fate of the world.

 

Aunt Enid is just your average seventy-something year old. She loves to cook, is a regular at bingo and spends hours in her garden, talking to her army of garden gnomes and fussing over the colour of her hydrangeas…

When people start disappearing, her great niece, Sally, is drawn into a secret world and soon discovers her great aunt is a Protector Extraordinaire.

auntenid_cream_1000_copyright2018KarenCarlisle

You may have met Aunt Enid when she hosted Elevenses (link: https://blakeandwight.com/2018/07/10/elevenses-with-aunt-enid-protector-extraordinaire/) for Max and Collin.

Watch the book trailers and meet Aunt Enid’s gnome army at: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/aunt-enid-mysteries/book-trailers-aunt-enid/ and read Reviews here: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/aunt-enid-mysteries/reviews-the-aunt-enid-mysteries/

 

Don’t mind those strangers lurking in the back. They’re waiting their turn for a chat. Come here, you two. Meet Miss Mathilda Meriwether and Sir Avery Allington.

What’s that glinting around your neck, Tillie?

Oh, sorry. Ahem…

 

Not keen on mysteries? You prefer a rollicking adventure, with a dollop of intrigue? (It is steampunk, after all.) Then my new series is for you!

 

The Department of Curiosities

The Department of Curiosities series is set in the same alternate steampunk world as The Adventures of Viola Stewart, with events starting five years before Doctor Jack (1883). And all new characters. It’s a steampunk tale of adventure, a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets. All for the good of the Empire.

 

Book one, The Department of Curiosities: For the Good of the Empire, is currently scheduled for release in May.

 

Miss Mathilda Meriwether has a secret. Actually, she has several. One of them has shaped her adult life. Another now controls it.

Her Majesty Queen Victoria has control of the Empire. She is the Empire – and creator of secrets.

Sir Avery works for The Department of Curiosities – the keepers of secrets, especially if they are useful to the Empire.

When Tillie finds herself in the employment of The Department of Curiosities, she realises this is the perfect opportunity to uncover the truth she’s been searching for.

But the Queen has other plans for her.

DOC BK1 FINAL_2018_SMALL

 

Want to know more? You can watch the book trailer here: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/the-department-of-curiosities/book-trailers-the-department-of-curiosities/

 

Pre-order Information and Freebie!

Sign up here: (link: https://karenjcarlisle.com/sign-up-email-list/ ) for to my monthly newsletter, Tea & Tidings, for information on how to pre-order your copy of The Department of Curiosities, final release dates and more.

And when you sign up, you get your free ebook copy of ‘With a Twist of the Nib’, filled with steampunk, fantasy and science fiction short stories.

WithaTwistoftheNib_1_Karen_J_Carlisle_CoverSMALL.jpg

 

Where to buy my books:

You can find information on where to buy my books (paperbacks and ebooks) either from online bookshops or buy direct from me, on my webpage shop: https://karenjcarlisle.com/shop/

 

Other links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/KarenJCarlisle

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/karenjcarlisle

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kjcarl

 

But, wait. There’s more!

 

Come closer… don’t let the others know. I have something special for you – another stall, out there in the aether…

 

While you’re waiting for The Department of Curiosities, why not acquaint yourself with my alternate steampunk world and Viola’s first set of adventures. Visit my Smashwords stall, hit the BUY button and use the voucher codes and get your copy of:

Vouchers valid until 1st March, 2019.

 

What to chat more? You can follow me on:

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed your time on the ice today. (Please, ignore those strange lights under the ice…)

And thank you for stopping by.

 

 

  • Karen J

 

KJCarlisleicon2S


Frost Fair: With Phoebe Darqueling

Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

My name is Phoebe Darqueling and I write Steampunk and Gaslamp fantasy, plus I love fractured fairy tales. I’ve got a few books for your perusal, including a freebie for all you fabulous fair-goers.

Get your FREE Copy!.jpg

The Steampunk Handbook is a collection of articles from my last six years of blogging. It covers topics such as the history of steam power, the philosophical roots of punk and punk literature as a whole, and the history and evolution of the Steampunk fandom. In addition, you will find information about the historical and cultural underpinnings behind twelve of the most popular tropes in Steampunk, and tons of book and movie recommendations.

 

Get your FREE COPY now!

riftmaker front_ebook cover (small)Riftmaker

Save his boy, uncover a conspiracy, and master opposable thumbs—a dog’s work is never done.

Buddy’s favorite thing is curling up for a nap at the foot of Ethan’s bed. Then he stumbles through a portal to a clockwork city plagued by chimeras, and everything changes… Well, not everything. Sure, his new human body comes with magic powers, but he’d still rather nap than face the people of Excelsior, who harbor both desire and fear when it comes to “the other side.”

He discovers Ethan followed him through the portal and underwent his own transformation, and it becomes Buddy’s doggone duty to save him. Buddy finds unlikely allies in an aristocrat with everything on the line, a mechanic with something to hide, and a musician willing to do anything to protect her. Using a ramshackle flying machine, the group follows the chimeras deep into the forest and uncovers a plot that could reshape the worlds on both sides of the rift.

Get it for the special pre-order price of $1.99 until release day, Feb 14!

No Rest for the Wicked front cover.jpgNo Rest for the Wicked

Other people just think they’re “haunted by the past.” In Vi’s case, it’s true.

 

Clairvoyant Viola Thorne wants to forget about her days of grifting and running errands for ghosts. The problem? Playing it safe is dull. So when a dead stranger begs for her help, Vi jumps at the chance to dust off her hustling skills. The unlikely companions are soon tangling with bandits, cheating at cards, and loving every minute.

 

Then she finds out who referred him, and Vi has to face both a past and ex-partner that refuse to stay buried. Though she betrayed Peter, his spirit warns her of the plot that cost him his life. Vi’s guilty conscience won’t let her rest until she solves his murder. Though she’s spent her whole life fighting the pull of the paranormal, it holds the key to atoning for the only deception she’s ever regretted—breaking Peter’s heart.

 

Coming Mar 28, but you can place your pre-order for a print copy through Black Rose Writing and use the promo code PREORDER2019 to get 15% off.

The Queen of Clocks and Other queen of clocksSteampunk Tales

You can find my horror re-telling of Pinocchio in this fractured fairy tale collection.

“Once upon a time” is a phrase that immediately conjures images of enchantment. Royal balls, magical creatures, love at first sight… We are taken to a fantasy world where anything is possible. The Queen of Clocks and Other Steampunk Tales brings together the magic of fairytale and the allure of cogs and gears. Within these pages, find dancing automatons, industrial age fairies, a mermaid with wind-up legs, heroes of the steam age, and more. Drawing from classic tales of the Brothers Grimm, Carlo Collodi, Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen, and Homer, these original interpretations are sure to delight fans of steampunk and fairytales alike.

army of brassArmy of Brass

In 2017, I coordinated and contributed to this collaborative Steampunk novel. Check out a review or read and excerpt.

When the mad conqueror haunting Elaina’s dreams invades her adopted homeland, the real nightmare becomes what she’s willing to do to stop him.

The dreaded Hunter Baron has landed on the shores of Mailderet, but Master Tinkerer Elaina Gable believes she has the solution. Giant automatons sit rusting in the valley, waiting for someone with the drive and ingenuity to bring them to life. But the king, swayed by the destruction his ancestors wrought centuries before, harbors a deep-seated fear of the machines. Though he will not allow the alliance of Tinkerers and Smiths to complete the work, Elaina resolves to bring the machines back to life in secret—with the help of a famous airship pilot. (Meet the character when he had a sit down with Max and Collin)

From the safety of the swamps, a woman with silver skin jealously guards the secrets of the automatons. Though the Silver Woman also wishes the past to remain buried, she must weigh the value of secrecy against the thousands of innocents her hesitation might send to the grave.

As they discover the link between the toxic valley and the inner workings of the automatons, Elaina and her allies are drawn into a web of deceit threatening the balance of power across two continents—and proving the truth behind the deadly legends surrounding the Army of Brass.

Check it out!

I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, and thank you so much for stopping by. If you want to follow my antics, here’s where to find me around the aetherweb:

On Facebook: My author page, fan page, or join my Steampunk group, United we Steampunk, Divided we Fall

On Twitter: @Gearturns

On Book Platforms: BookBub, Goodreads and Amazon


Frost Fair: With Mathew McCall

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Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

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My name is Mathew McCall and I write Dark Steampunked Science Fiction, which is gritty Science Fiction set the Steampunk genre. Probably because my first proper introduction to SciFi was Cyberpunk, I wanted to take Steampunk down the Cyberpunk route. I am also a big fan of Dick, Bradbury and Lovecraft so you won’t be surprised that my Steampunk is darker than most. Yes, it still has all the things you associate with Steampunk; corsets, nutty professors, top hats, airships, mad adventures, crazy machines and wonderful contraptions, but there’s something darker under the surface.

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My first book is The Dandelion Farmer, set on Mars, twenty-five years after revolution threw off the yoke of the rule of the old Earthbound Empires. I aimed to write a Steampunked Science Fiction novel that was more Science Fiction than Steampunk whimsy. I knew I wanted it to be set on Mars and I wanted it to draw on elements of Verne and Wells, but also Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, Burroughs’ John Carter adventures, and a little touch of Lovecraft. This would give me the opportunity to build, not only an alternative history, but an entire new Steampunked world.

I felt that modern most Steampunk literature, with only a few notable exceptions, has always been “fluffy,” playing to the audience with all the subtlety of a Carry On movie, nudge-nudge, wink-wink… and making virtually no contribution to Science Fiction as a genre. Nonetheless it is to the Godfathers (and Godmothers) of Science Fiction, the authors of the late 18th and 19th century that Steampunk owes its existence. I wanted to write something that I would be proud to see on a shelf next to those giants.

Edwin and Adam simply came fully formed out of my imagination, I am sometimes left feeling that I am merely exploring their world beside them.

The first book starts off almost Western Frontier adventure in flavour, but quickly evolves into something more akin to a Verne-like quest, especially as other darker forces come into play. 

The Dandelion Farmer is an adventure over three books, “The Dandelion Farmer” being the first, with “The Hourglass Sea,” almost completed, being the second in the series.

I self-published through Amazon UK and Kindle and I have had great reviews, see also Goodreads, but not much success in getting out to the wider SF and Adventure reading audience.

You can see my wares displayed here for your perusal, please feel free to browse at your leisure…

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My website, where you can read the first couple of chapters and reviews for free; https://doktormatas.weebly.com/the-dandelion-farmer.html

My book is available from Amazon.uk  and worldwide from Amazon.com in both paperback and kindle. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1549539140

Or come and have a chat with me on my FB pages Mathew McCall Author or Doktor Matas.

I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, thank you for stopping by.


Frost Fair: With E A Hennessy

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Good Morning! Welcome to the Annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune!

My name is E. A. Hennessy, and I write Russian and Slavic-themed steampunk adventures. You can see my wares displayed here for your perusal, please feel free to browse at your leisure…

gregorys

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AXD0UI0

I hope you enjoy your time on the ice today, thank you for stopping by. If you’d like to follow what happens next in the Gaslight Frontier, you can find me at eahennessy.com or on social media at www.facebook.com/eahennessy, www.twitter.com/ea_hennessy, and www.instagram.com/ea_hennessy.


Frost Fair: My Fair Temperance

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“Oh my Goodness, please be careful Miss Plumtartt! The ice on this here frozen Lancastrian river is as hard as marble and slicker than silk sheets. It’ll drop you on your bustle quicker than a steam whistle.”

“Quite so, Mr. Temperance, though if the river were not frozen over, we would not be  present at this delightful Frost Fair. I had no idea Lancaster produced such a wide variety of wonderful crafts and delicious treats. One notices that you have no inhibitions toward satiating your indulgences concerning sickly sweets, eh hem?”

“But I was assured that these treacle tooth-breakers are the last ones mined from these hills in thirty years!”

“I see. And did these treacle miners deplete your own allowance reserves?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“It is just as well, sir, for I now have our own kiosk, cum stall, a’la merchant’s stand in place.”

“But I wanted to walk around with the books displayed on a board resting on my tummy and hanging from a strap around my neck!”

“No, we are going to cooperate with Miss Blake and sell our wares from behind this small table surrounded by colourful bunting. Did you really all eat the treats that I had prepared to entice prospective customers?”

“Uhb.”

“Never mind, I want you to remain here in the hopes that someone may wish to inspect one of your written adventures. The novels might require some explanation.”

“These books are of high adventure Miss Plumtartt! I can’t help it if they sometimes come across as whimsical!”

“Of course not, Mr. Temperance, and I’m sure your sprinkling of mild innuendo through these tales is completely accidental.”

“I reckon it would have to be, ’cause I don’t even know what that is.”

“Perhaps you could inform any potential readers that you have saved this, our blessed planet, from a number of global, paranormal threats in these themed adventures?”

“Oh, yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am! There was the time that C’thuller tried to eat us all up, and then there was the time we had to beat back a Martian invasion. We’ve had run-ins with broods of Nosferaters, VooDoo zombies, and the mighty Zodgila. I’ve gotten to be pals with Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, and even some gigantic dragons.”

“One must admit that these are an intriguing, and colourful collection of novels. Here is the link to your international Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Ichabod-Temperance/e/B00J71862M/

“My word, the treacle appears to have solidified to solid mass within Mr. Temperance’s mouth, locking his jaws. Might One say, on Ichabod’s behalf, what a delight it has been to visit lovely Lancaster on the frozen river Lune. Our very best to Penny, Max, Colin, and everyone else in this charming shire. Toodle-loo!”


Welcome To The Frost Fair!

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Hello and welcome to our annual Lancastrian Frost Fair on the frozen River Lune! Throughout January and February a fabulous array of Steampunk, Sci Fi and LGBTQ+ authors will be taking to the ice with stalls and sideshows to display their fabulous books for your perusal and enjoyment!

Frost Fairs were once a traditional (if rare) feature of Londonian winter time and you can read more about their history here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Thames_frost_fairs

But before we begin the festivities, I’d like to let you know about a few changes that will be taking place here on Blake and Wight during 2019.

I’ve been struggling the past year to find a balance between work, family life and supporting the creators whose work I really love and 2019 is going to be a very demanding year.

Also, behind the scenes of Steampunk’d Lancaster, big changes are taking place for our characters  – Max and Collin  are moving onwards and upwards to bigger and better things (they hope!) and you can follow their latest adventures in our new #rainbowsnippets posts on Saturdays. 

This storyline will also have a big impact on the futures of Mrs Baker, our lovely kitchen witch, Peril, our grumpy ghost, and the loathsome landlord Montmorency so I really want this blog space to reflect those changes too.

Lastly, while I’ve really enjoyed writing and reviewing as an octopus for the past few years, Collin’s scope for accurately reviewing and expressing my own personal views of the books I’m sent to read is sometimes limited.

So, taking all these things into account, the plan for 2019 is as follows –

I will take over the review posts from Collin and there will be approximately one review post per month to make things more manageable. I’m hoping this will enable me to write more useful, detailed and personal reviews and also post them on a wider range of sites.

Interviews will also change to approximately one per month but creators will be able to choose to be interviewed either by Mrs Baker, or (if they’re feeling brave) by Max and Collin.

The seasonal author promos seemed to work out really well for everyone last year and so I will continue to run those again this year, starting with the Frost Fair, then Aether Eggs, Summer Postcards and ending with Lovely Library in the autumn.

So that’s the way 2019 will look here on Blake and Wight. Of course I’ve a whole stack of high hopes and pipe dreams that may flesh things out but we’ll see what time and resources allow for.

I wish you all an amazing 2019 where all your hard work pays off and life and work find a rewarding balance 🙂