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light in the lantern

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 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 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!


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


Light In The Lantern: With Jan Stone

Gracious! You startled me!

Apologies, dear friends. I was expecting this old city watchtower in Steampunk’d Lancaster to be empty when we entered. Ah, but given the conditions outside – all those flesh eating Liver Birds plaguing the skies and the Sugar-Zombies roaming the streets and spreading their curse like a plague – I can’t blame you at all for taking refuge here.

Permit me to introduce myself. Jan Stone, story-maker and general assistant and dogsbody to a group of diminutive steampunk ladies and gentlemen who know me as Mrs Euphoria Steampunkle. I have brought a few of them with me tonight to provide some much needed help and protection. You’ll see them more clearly once I get the lantern burning.

As I’m sure you know by now, some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in this 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.

Luigi, would you be good enough to pass me a lucifer? No, best I strike it, I think, given your long, flowing sleeves. There, that’s better. We can see one another more clearly now. Feel free to shuffle closer and warm yourselves slightly. Let the little ones come close to the flame; they look half-frozen.

But why are you huddling in that corner, whimpering and clinging to one another in that desperate way?

Oh, bless you, no! These are not flesh eating Liver Birds! I admit at first glance they have a slightly corvid-like appearance, but they are good plague doctors who have travelled all the way from the disease-ridden city of Roma to lend us support and assistance, having heard that we too are in dire circumstances at present.

No Giulio, I don’t think kissing the urchins on each cheek would reassure them of your friendly intentions at all, although it was a kind thought.

So you see, my friends, we are in safe hands for this night at least and since we will be here in the watchtower together for a while, let me tell you a little about my work, to pass the time.

‘Mwumph mwah gruphg.’

Luigi, I think it would be best if you left the talking to me. I agree that your English is coming along splendidly, but those masks, stuffed as they are with wormwood, make it quite hard for others to understand what you’re saying.

‘Gaph gogh eegha eegg!’

Exactly, Paolo, that’s why you carry your sticks. They allow you to show people what they need to do to keep safe. And obviously they are also fearsome weapons, are they not? No? Ah. Well I’m sure you will protect us perfectly, should the need arise, and if all else fails, we have a good supply of books we can hurl at any assailants.

So yes, I divide my time between curating these gentlemen and their fellow steampunk characters and accessories at The Steampunk Dolls House – a virtual shop located in the aether which exports worldwide – and writing blogs, books and so forth.

In fact, I have recently published a novel aimed at 8 to 12 year olds called The Glassmaker’s Children. Perhaps the urchins would enjoy listening to an extract from it? Here is a section from near the beginning, in which we are introduced to the Glassmaker and his craft:

He had a workshop right down by the coast and each day he would fire up the great, enormous furnace to a temperature you can’t even imagine. He had to wear special leather gloves and a heavy helmet and apron to protect himself. Imagine having all those thick clothes in such heat!

Once the furnace was roaring away, he would take his cart down to the beach and collect masses of soft, white sand. These days, all kinds of strange substances are added to sand when it is heated to make glass, but back in their times, it was usually just sand plus heat. He would tip the sand into the furnace and it would melt into a bright, glowing sticky liquid, like pale treacle.

Carefully, carefully, the glassmaker would take great globs of the glass out of the furnace with a long hollow pole and blow it and turn it. It was like a big, wobbly balloon. He would shape it and move it and stretch it, quite wonderfully, into whatever the villagers wanted – windows or drinking glasses, jugs or mirrors, bottles or ornaments.

Sometimes he would bring home gifts he had made for the children. For Ruby, he made a pair of glass slippers, so she could pretend to be Cinderella. (Her mother thought this was the stupidest gift she could imagine and worried that the child would fall and cut herself horribly each time she wore them.) For Stellan he created a magnifying glass with a silver frame and a brass handle, so that he could explore all the tiny wonders he found in the garden, and the mother was happy with that.

The children thought their father was a very clever man, and so he was.

Ah, but the Glassmaker had secrets. There were secrets about glass that were passed down from one glassmaker to another through the ages. Glass is a magical substance. You can see it, yet you can see straight through it. Sometimes you can even see your own reflection in it.

There’s something more, though – something chemical. Chemistry is hard to understand. What we really need is a chemist to explain it to us. Luckily, there is a chemist hidden in the pages of this book. He isn’t supposed to appear until later in the story, but I think I’ll bring him here for a while, to see if he can make things clear. He’s called an apothecary, which means he mixes medicines and potions and stuff to unblock drains and powders to make cabbages grow enormous and so on.

Here he is.

Good day, Apothecary.

What? Where am I? And, ugh! What’s that smell, for goodness’ sake? Salt? Seaweed? This is the seaside, isn’t it? I HATE seasides! Nasty windy places with sand getting between your toes and into your lunch… and all those noisy, greedy seagulls. You can’t just pick me up and dump me here! I was in the middle of mixing some cough syrup for little Lily Jenkins. I’m not supposed to come into this story until Chapter 11!”

I’m sorry I shocked you, dear Apothecary, but I’m afraid we need you here, just for a little while, and then you can go back to mixing the medicine and I promise I’ll leave you in peace until your part of the story. You see we are talking about glass, and the Glassmaker. I need you to explain what is special about glass – the chemistry of glass – to our readers. Would you mind?

Humph! It seems I don’t have much choice. Story-makers! How you mess about with people’s lives! Very well, then. Let’s get on with it, so that I can get back to my work. Glass is an amorphous solid.”

A WHAT? I think that’s a bit too complicated for us, Apothecary, dear. Could you make it a bit easier to understand?

Oh blah! Well, let me see. Remember when the children and their mother made biscuits? The squishy mess went into the oven to be heated and came out as crisp golden biscuits, didn’t it? A chemical change. The dough turned into solid, tasty little shapes. Is that simple enough?”

Yes, we understood that perfectly. So what about glass?

Glass is far stranger. Sand goes into the furnace and is heated up until it melts into a very hot goo. When it comes out of the furnace, it gradually cools down and becomes almost a solid thing.”

Almost?

Yes, almost. That’s the strange thing. No matter how much you cool it, it never turns completely solid. Certainly it feels solid, when you tap on it or drop it or drink out of it, but it isn’t. That’s what an amorphous solid is – something almost solid, but not quite. It’s like a frozen liquid.”

Beautifully explained! Thank you so much, Apothecary. Would you like me to move you back to your proper place in the story, now?

Well as I’m here, could I just take a peep at the Glassmaker at work? Such an interesting job.”

I suppose it wouldn’t do any harm, but don’t spoil the story, will you?

Oh don’t worry! I’ll just look through the window. Ah, there he is. I thought he might be blowing some glass. I love watching them do that, but – hang on! What is that in his hand? Is he doing what I think he’s doing?”

There, I knew this wasn’t a good idea! Please don’t give his secret away just yet. I was building up to that.

But he has – unless my eyes are deceiving me… No, it really is. I’m certain of it. He has a sly-glass! That’s outrageous!”

Oh! Enough! Right, I’m sending you back to Chapter 11. We’ll see you later. Thanks for all your help.

But…”

GO!

Oh dear, I hope that hasn’t ruined the story for you. I suppose, then, I’d better tell you the Glassmaker’s other secret.

As you have discovered, glassmakers are very talented people. They work with this not-quite-solid stuff in all sorts of ways. They know the many secrets of this magical substance and a few glassmakers – a very small few, luckily – work out how to make the most magical and dangerous thing of all. They discover how to make a sly-glass.

I can’t tell you exactly how it’s done. It’s something to do with smoke and mirrors, but it doesn’t usually end well.

And if you want to discover what happens to the Glassmaker and – far more importantly – to his children as a result of his unfortunate discovery, you can search for The Glassmaker’s Children by Jan Stone on Amazon, where it is available as a Kindle e-book or a regular paperback.

Here is a link to the UK site: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Glassmakers-Children-Jan-Stone/dp/B08HTM1LNK/ref=sr_1_1?crid=23CSEKIU0C17K&dchild=1&keywords=the+glassmaker%27s+children&qid=1600758506&s=books&sprefix=the+glassm%2Cstripbooks%2C351&sr=1-1

Should you be more interested in the 1:12 scale hand-crafted steampunk miniatures and other delights at the SteampunkDollsHouse, you will find them here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SteampunkDollsHouse .

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

https://opentheboxweb.wordpress.com/ (story-maker blog)

https://steampunk-shrunk.com/ (website and blog about the steampunk miniatures)

https://www.facebook.com/janstoneauthor

https://www.facebook.com/steampunkle

Well it has been a delight to meet you. Thank you 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. No doubt the ferocious appearance of my three companions here kept even the most audacious adversaries at bay.

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 Karen J Carlisle

Greetings!

Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster. My name is Karen J Carlisle, and I’m a writer and illustrator of Victorian mysteries, steampunk and fantasy.

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 my re-enforced steel-armoured corset, night-stalker goggles, and sharpened nib pen (for the pen is mightier than the sword, they say), 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…

2020 began as usual, researching for my current work-in-progress, the second book in The Aunt Enid Mysteries (set in 1920) for a throw-away comment about the ‘Great Picnic’, a euphemism used for the quarantine tent city at the Jubilee Oval, Adelaide, South Australia in 1919. After reading accounts of mental health issues related to the epidemic and its aftereffects, I was moved to write ‘Spanish Flu’. The lyrics were originally written in February, 2020.

Little did I know we were destined to experience such times ourselves.

You’d think writers would love enforced lockdown? More time to write. Quite the contrary. Many of us have been overwhelmed, just when the world needs words of hope.

So I lit my watchtower beacon:

When times are dark, fiction can whisk us away to other worlds to find new friends and have fantastical adventures. Quarantine Reads: Escape to Adventure was released in April, and is a collection of short stories of a lighter note, to inspire and transport you beyond four walls. The fantasy, steampunk and fairy tale fiction was created to entertain those in isolation or quarantine, or anyone needing to escape the worries of the world for a while.

But I can only keep those flesh eating Liver Birds and Sugar-Zombies at bay for so long, for they know their time is at hand. Join me to hunt them down in my Halloween-read offering: Another Twist of the Nib: short tales with a darker twist. Here be ghosts, vampires, apocalypse, and humans with nefarious intent. Help me bring their stories into the light, so we can diminish their power.

If you’d like to purchase any of my wares you can find them here:

Spanish Flu – original (steampunk) music – https://karenjcarlisle.com/product/song-spanish-flu/ )

Quarantine Reads: Escape to Adventure – https://karenjcarlisle.com/product/quarantine-reads/

Another Twist of the Nib: short tales with a darker twisthttps://karenjcarlisle.com/product/another-twist-of-the-nib/

For more info on A Fey Tale: https://karenjcarlisle.com/books/aunt-enid-mysteries/ and paperback pre-orders (Australia): https://karenjcarlisle.com/product/a-fey-tale-pre-order/

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

Website: https://karenjcarlisle.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenjcarlisle/

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

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4LiXU6uVL_g4MT5ykMIUzw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kjcarlisle

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! 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–

Shh, did you hear that? I’ll just take a quick peek…

There it is again. Did you hear a scraping sound? What was that in the shadows?

What the–?

Quick, light the torch!

Phew, that was close.

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 to Steampunk’d Lancaster! My name is Elen Sentier and I teach and write books about British native shamanism.

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 my Top Hat and witchy black cat is my familiar spirit who is really a sabre-toothed panther but shrinks herself down to mini-cat size so as not to frighten the neighbours. She eats Liver Birds for breakfast so I think I’ll 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…

Like I said, I write books about the old ways of Britain. We never did lose them you know, despite what iggerant Liver Bird Lovers may tell you. we just learned to keep our heads well down below the parapet for the past 2000 years so we’re seriously good shapeshifters, and that’s part of what I teach. My Mum and Dad, most of our relations and quite a few folks in the villages where I grew up all followed the old ways, we even got our local vicar into it so he let us use the church for some of our ceremonies like the Night of the Mothers. Our ancient patroness, a well maiden from thousands of years back, had her shrine under where the Normans built their church, it was great to be able to use it again. He was a good bloke, that vicar.
I teach through a website – the Deer Trods Tribe – you can find it at http://www.deerttrods.com and on Facebook. The courses start really easily, from the beginning, and you can do them all online once you become a member. And there’s out old teaching tales there, and the weekly bog my colleague, Fiona Dove, and I do, sometimes with one of our shaman friends from around the world. We have a book of the month, videos we enjoy including our own, and the seasonal Newsletter. And then there’s all the Members’ courses, some are quite short and others can last the whole year – you choose.

If you’d like to purchase any of my wares you can find them here: http://www.deertods.com and you can find my books on Amazon.

If you’d like to connect you can find me here: Deer Trods Tribe website

I’m on Facebook at Wye’s Woman Shamans and Deer Trods Tribe

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, (hope to goodness my cat can protect me!) 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…

Oh and I went out for a walk last full moon up here in the Wild Hills of Shropshire and got scooped up by Wild Edric and the wild Hunt, they’re always out around then. Ye gods it was a wild ride! But we did spend the end of the night together in his lovely lodge up in the Long Forest … say no more! Say no more! But I did come home with a smile on my face LOL. I tell you following the deer trods is quite some fun 😊

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 Imelda Almqvist

The Imagination is more important than knowledge
-Albert Einstein

I dwell in possibility
―Emily Dickinson

A Big Hello to you all and also a big thank you to Steampunk’d Lancaster for inviting me to write a guest blog!

My name is Imelda Almqvist. The word ‘creator’ sums up nicely what I am all about but I will give you the long and more tedious version as well: I am an international teacher of Sacred Art and Seidr/Old Norse Traditions, an Author of three published books (and two more in the pipeline), a painter and a Forest Witch. I am also a mother of three gorgeous young men (the most important creation in my life!)

This blog series is dedicated to re-kindling old beacons and keep the flames burning. To my mind that begs the question: which flames? In this piece I will try to answer that!

The twin flames I actively keep burning, and which I think all of us need to keep burning, are those of Creativity and Imagination.

When our creativity is in flow – other areas in our life flow too. There is a divine spark in this process, we step closer to our own Creator (however we perceive or name this cosmic force, this Power Greater Than Ourselves) and we understand how creativity is deeply embedded in all that surrounds us.

On October 30th my third book will be published by Moon Books and the title is: Medicine of the Imagination: An Impassioned Plea for Fearless Imagination.

Essentially this book explains how the human imagination married to innate creativity is a most powerful force, which shapes the world as we perceive it. However, we often perceive those things as nebulous: we don’t reflect too closely on how/what we create and how we use our imagination. This really means that a lot of mis-creation occurs (yes truly, we create unwanted things that we don’t even like or want!) Not only that, but by not healing settings or imprints from childhood (and that is before we even look at karmic imprints and settings!) the astonishing thing is that we keep dysfunctional reality going, even contribute to it, and we don’t even realise it!!

Take a moment to absorb that, it is not a comfortable thought!

The basic premise of my third book is that we are all born with the gift of the human imagination, but most of us do not harness this gift. The default setting for many people is to use ‘the muscle that is their imagination’ in a rather mindless way.

Jack D. Forbes, author of Columbus and Other Cannibals, wrote: “It is always very difficult to live in this life so as not to be a damaged person or one who damages others”. This is one of Life’s greatest ontological dilemmas (the other one is that “other life forms must die, if I am to eat”). Without harnessing and honing our imagination, we stand little chance of not living as a damaged person who damages others.

The human imagination gives rise to the most beautiful man-made structures and creations on Earth: architecture, literature, theatre, music, art, humanitarian initiatives, moon landings and space exploration, mythology, science – they all require a large dose of imagination. We are all surrounded by the results of the imagination of our peers and ancestors.

Without imagination there is no compassion, no moral compass and no progress. Without imagination there are no fear of Death and no magic (either “black” or “white”) but no premeditated murders or terrorist attacks either; all rely on the human ability to imagine, to call up images and test-drive possible scenarios in the human mind. Once we get out the magnifying glass, we discover that the imagination is a double-edged sword indeed.

The human imagination can both ignite and misfire! The Holocaust started as a concept in people’s imagination before it became an irreversible reality.

All of us together, humanity as a collective, are creating very confused and mixed outcomes right now: world peace remains elusive, wars rage and children starve. Division (Us and Them thinking) and projection (making others carry our disowned shadow material for us) remain the norm. Addictions and pollution proliferate.

Wetiko (Windigo in Objibway) is a Cree term for a mindset that cannibalises other people and earth’s resources for ever greater gain and ego-inflation. The human desire for excess drives military expansion, imperialism, colonialism and any kind of advancement or again at the expense of other people and beings: more-more-more, me-me-me. Whales choking on plastic show us where this mindset leads. We can choose to heal our addictions and the larger human field becomes healthier for every person who commits to recovery. The whole cosmos exists within ourselves – any healing we do for ourselves benefits the whole Web of Life.

The development of morality in human beings owes a lot to the imagination. The same thing is true for key qualities such as empathy and compassion. To fully understand those, this book takes a close look at their opposites: narcissism, psychopathy (and in a very different category: autism).

We can all learn a lot from studying minds that are not wired the “neurotypical” way. At times we even need a homeopathic dose of “psychopathic medicine”!

C. G Jung wrote that “We do not become enlightened by “imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Humankind has a long way to go in making darkness conscious! Here is the bottom line: we cannot create what we cannot imagine – and we cannot eliminate things by pretending that they don’t exist. The shadow of human existence will not go away if we ignore it. It is deeply wired into the human psyche (and human condition) and it will unfailingly return through the backdoor, wearing a new outfit. Therefore, it is our moral duty to find safe and acceptable expressions for our shadow selves and shadow material.

I will go one step further and suggest that it is equally so our moral duty to engage our imagination in service to other people, especially vulnerable people – if we are to transcend religious wars, homophobia and medical “cures” worse than the diseases we face. This book also looks at dreams, personal and collective karma and the balancing of opposing forces in a balanced human psyche.

Every chapter in this book ends with an activity that allows people to engage personally and directly with the material presented.

I wrote this book in the months before Covid-19 washed over us and we all had to adjust to a new ‘pandemic lifestyle’. Only now do I realise how this book truly addresses some key issues of our time. Meaning that the delayed publication, (due to various editorial reasons), actually has given this book the perfect date of publication: October 30th, 2020.

I hope that you will check it out!

I also invite you to have a look at recent paintings:

Lockdown Paintings
http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=235589

Forest Studio Paintings
http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=236179

Fall 202 Paintings
http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=236185

I have a YouTube Channel where I present my treasure trove of art videos:
https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Youtube+imelda+almqvist&qpvt=Youtube+imelda+almqvist&FORM=VDRE

If you are in need of some healing, I especially recommend:

Menglöð and the Nine Maidens of Lyfjaberg 2017 Imelda Almqvist Art Film

So that is a small selection of the fires I keep burning – and doing so saves my life! Let’s keep the twin lanterns of Creativity and Imagination burning, all of us – and have FUN doing it!!

Every once in while I get attacked by shadows: my own repressed material, other people’s shadows, all the dis-owned shadow material of our collective… so I stay safe by harnessing my creativity and imagination and I hope you do too!

You can buy my paintings through my website and all information about courses I teach is there too!

If you “do social media” and would like to connect, you can find me here:

Website: http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/imelda.almqvist/
Twitter: @ImeldaAlmqvist

Wild Blessings – Imelda Almqvist


Light In The Lantern: With Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Greetings! Welcome to to Steampunk’d Lancaster! My name is Madeleine Holly-Rosing and I am the writer/creator of the steampunk supernatural prose and graphic novel series, Boston Metaphysical Society.

Strange times have struck the Isles of Ire – Flesh eating Liver Birds plague the skies and Sugar-Zombies roam he 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 my flaming magical sword 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…

If you’re not familiar with Boston Metaphysical Society, it’s about an ex-Pinkerton detective, a spirit photographer, and a genius scientist who battle supernatural forces in late 1800s Boston.

It took a while to find the right title for the series as I wanted to evoke the time period within the title. Obviously, Boston is where most of the stories take place. I use the definition of the word “metaphysical” as it was used back then, which was to describe supernatural or paranormal activities. It’s taken on a more philosophical and spiritual meaning today. “Society” was also a word commonly used back then to describe a team, club, or an organization.
If you are new to the series, the best place to start is the trade paperback which includes the original six issue mini-series and a bonus story from Source Point Press! You can order it directly from them, your local comic book store or from me!

To help stave the evil spirits, my award winning novel, Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets is 50% off over at Smashwords until OCTOBER 15 by using this coupon code – SN34N.

I love the cover and I hope you do too. I didn’t want your standard steampunk cover with the same stock images you see all the time. So while I was on Facebook, I saw Luisa’s painting for a steampunk novella and loved it. I contacted her, but my budget could only cover one character. I decided that I wanted to have the main female character on the cover with a specific kind of style/fashion that is discussed in the book. I also love the color hunter green, so that part was easy. Also, the triquetra (Celtic Knot) medallion she is holding is an element in the book as well.
Luisa then did a rough sketch which I approved. Afterwards, she painted it and I gave her a few minor notes for changes, but pretty much she knocked it out of the park. Kudos to Anke Koopman who came up with the title graphics.
It’s such a big world that I wrote three sequel graphic novels, a novel, an anthology, and our very first COLORING BOOK. You can find my books on all ebook platforms as well as Amazon and my own webstore.

Here is a list of reading material to keep you occupied on those dark and stormy nights:

Boston Metaphysical Society: A Storm of Secrets- https://www.amazon.com/Boston-Metaphysical-Society-Storm-Secrets-ebook/dp/B07HCP9SW5/ OR at Smashwords (50%) off. (Coupon Code – SN34N)

Boston Metaphysical Society: Prelude – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00XB5U82Q/

Boston Metaphysical Society: The Scourge of the Mechanical Men-https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0996429247/

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

Boston Metaphysical Society: Ghosts and Demons-https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1734615605/

Boston Metaphysical Society: The Coloring Book- https://boston-metaphysical-society-comic.square.site/

If you’d like to purchase any of my wares you can find them here:

https://boston-metaphysical-society-comic.square.site/

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

Well thank you 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 K.S. Trenten

Greetings! Welcome to Steampunk’d Lancaster! My name is K.S. Trenten, keeper of the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration (inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com ) and a humble talespinner
whose stories can be found at https://www.amazon.com/author/kstrenten as well as Nine Star Press, Mischief Corner Books, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple.

I craft flights of fantasy of an ambient nature, focusing more on the emotional than the action driven elements of
many a magical world.

Strange times have struck the Isles of Ire…Flesh eating Liver Birds plague the skies and Sugar-zombies roam the streets spreading the curse like a plague…and I can see the shadows of nightmare and imagination pooling together at the edges between worlds, ready to birth even more monsters in response to many a shivering, fearful soul, locked down within their homes,
hoping their humble shelters will be protection enough, and trying to stave off the madness which threatens in their isolation.

So some of us have decided to re-kindle the old beacon in the city watchtower and keep its flame burning every night as a way of giving hope to those being hunted down by terrifying monsters or evil scarecrow landlords…I can see one shuffling outside the tower walls. It calls
mockingly, desiring money, votes, or souls in many voices. I’ve come up with a cry of my own to keep it at bay, although I’m not sure for how long my strange chant will confuse it.

Never fear, gentle readers. I am well-armed with a fierce House Tigress at my side. She may be tiny (along with wide of girth), but she is heavy, armed with sharp claws, and has a piercing yowl which sends the scarecrow landlords staggering away. If she is not enough, her brother is within
the tower, paws full and nose nudging a doomsday weapon he’s cobbling together which he swears will save us all (don’t pin too much hope on that promise, Sage tends to exaggerate).

Nevertheless, both of my furry companions should discourage the invaders from outside. While we keep watch, I thought I’d share some of my work with you.

I’m currently busy working on Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins, the story between the story of Fairest, straight from the seventh dwarf’s mouth. Yes, it’s Quartz, the character who takes over my blog once a month. He’s demanded his own story. He’s seriously distracted me from the series dearest to my heart, Tales of the Navel: The Shadow Forest which I hope to self-publish.

Christopher, narrator of Conversations with Christopher at the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration is from the Shadow Forest, although he found a home at the Navel, center of all things bizarre. The Shadow Forest and the Navel both at times appear in tales at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron, which is slowly cooling to a simmer, due to the updates at Blogger. All samples of story are slowly trickling their way to the Original Cauldron. I do still have stories for sale, two are ripe for the holidays.

About those two. Here’s a little from Seven Tricks, straight from the muzzle of its scampering anti-hero of a mouse prince…


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.

Buy Links:
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

And here’s a little about my other holiday tale; Wind Me Up, One More Time…


Grace Morisot gets Theodora, a toy bear for the holidays. A bear only she can hear. A bear she can go on special adventures with.
Once she and Theodora get together, life seems to be going quite well. She meet Heather and Heidi, whom become good friends and potential future wives. Heidi finds Carrot Monster, a rabbit companion of her own while Heather decides to save some nisse in a window from their depressing hats. 
Even though Grace’s mother is no longer around, she still has Nathalie, her adopted sister and surrogate mother, who tells wonderful stories. Nat has Maia, whom acts like a mother to Grace, even if she has a tendency to turn into Iama the Terrible when she’s been working too hard. 
Things come to an end when tragedy takes Nathalie away. The gears of industry, which
Grace has come to fear, threaten to take Maia away, too.
It’s up to Theodora Bear, Grace’s companion to somehow safe the day. Yet how can she do anything when her child is ceasing to believe in her? 

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-
one-more-time.html#/
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_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3p
cZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA


May my humble words help keep away the winter chill and my characters distract you from your gloom. Please come and visit me at the Cauldron as well…every week something is brewing in its waters. And watch out for those scarecrow landlords! They may give you an impression
weakness, flailing about, but there’s cunning in that stuffing, mark my words. And please don’t give Sage any more funding for his doomsday weapon! It’s not going to work, no matter how much he mews that he’s gotten all the glitches figured out…


Light In The Lantern: With Ichabod Temperance

A Visit of Temperance

“Halt! I say, who is it that goes, there? Ah, welcome friend, to Lancaster’s Night Beacon. You are a brave soul to climb the crumbling old steps of this ancient watchtower. My name is Persephone Plumtartt. My semi-comatose companion is what remains of Ichabod Temperance. He has succumbed, one fears, to the Sugar Zombie plague. I beg of you, no matter how he pleads, do not give him any sweets.”
“If you are to stay here, I must ask you to take up a pike, spear, or some sort of swatting device and maintain a constant vigilance for murderous crows. When Mr. Temperance and I accepted Miss Blake’s kind invitation, we were not under the impression that we might be pressed into Ornithological combat, eh hem?”
“Well then, be that as it may, one does try to make the best of things.”
“Ohhh…”
“Please suffer in silence, Mr. Temperance. One is sure that you suffer tremendous ache in your stomachs, but you did bring this upon yourself.”
“One might not think it by looking at this poor specimen, writhing in intestinal anguish from too many sweets ingested, but he has lived through and put to paper many extraordinary adventures. Ten in all, these are each stand alone stories that incorporate a central theme in their paranormal chases. For instance, in one such book, ‘In a Latitude of Temperance’, Ichabod and I travel on an unlikely journey to thwart an evil cabal of long-lived Nosferatu. A rogues’ gallery to be sure, with some of history’s most notorious fiends including Count Chocula, Count Sesame, and Hela Gigalosi. In another, adventure, ‘The Seventh Voyage of Temperance’, we find ourselves amongst titanic monsters upon remote Nipponese isles.
“Time and again, Mr. Temperance is able to use his uncanny tinkering ability to overcome incredible odds to arrive at joyful conclusions. If only he would rouse himself to defense from flesh-eating liver birds.”
“If one is interested in further investigation as to this chap’s exploits, please direct your attention to the appropriate ‘link’. You are invited to peruse the books synopses and to follow that theme which may appeal.”
“Toodle-loo!”

The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance

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

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Ichabod+Temperance&ref=nb_sb_noss

Twitters
https://twitter.com/IckyTemperance

The Facebooks
https://www.facebook.com/ichabod.temperance


Light In The Lantern: With The Last Witch Of Pendle

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.

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.

Now then, since I’m here I thought I would share a little excerpt from some of my own adventures with you. This is taken from The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry when those two miscreant wizards had the cheek to break into my house in Pendle and frighten the wits out of myself and my husband in the middle of the night!

lastwitch

The two wizards scrambled to their feet but, on cursory inspection, Skarry realised they were trapped. This was not magic that they, as mere initiates, would have any hope of disabling.

“Oh! Burglars? Thieves? Oh no!” The woman standing in the doorway, dressed in a long cotton nightdress and curlers, trembled, sending the glaring yellow light from her lantern quivering over the moon-slicked floor, serving no purpose other than to irritate the eyes of every conscious person in the room. “Oh, this can’t be happening! I…I must get Albert, yes, he will know what to do!” and she quickly spun on her heel and disappeared again. They heard her stumble back along some hidden corridor, muttering in frenzied tones as she went: “Oh blessed mother! Oh Green Goddess, why is this happening? Why? Oh this is the end, I know it is! The end of Pendle, the end of everything! Oh Goddess, if it is true, if you have really not abandoned us to the mercy of Wiz, please, please grant me the strength to deal with this! But I cannot, how can I? I am the last! The very last!”

Her ravings slowly faded, swallowed into the belly of the house, and Skarry fired a look of utter bewilderment at his friend and tapped his forehead in silent questioning appraisal of the woman’s sanity. But, to his surprise and further confusion, Mercurio’s own features revealed that he was lost in some deep private reflection which was obviously beginning to amuse him.

Before long, the woman returned, now sporting an ill-fitting black toupee, which she had hastily balanced on top of her net of tightly curled hair, a false moustache and a quilted claret dressing gown. She held the lantern high again, swinging its luminescence into their squinting eyes.

“Now, see here!” she said, failing dismally at affecting a manly baritone. “Just who, may I ask, do you think you are? Bursting into my abode and frightening the wits out of my wife like this? Hmm?”

Skarry blinked. Surely, surely, this strange woman must realise the flagrant flimsiness of her charade. He opened his mouth to speak, but the woman pre-empted him.

“Don’t move! D-d-don’t move or I’ll…I’ll…well, you can’t move, can you? Hmm? If you try to, you won’t be able to so…so just stay there while I… er… go and call the Watchers… and The Good Folk. Yes, that’s it… now just you stay there! And don’t move!”’

Mercurio held up his gloved hands and chuckled with amusement. “My dear… Sir, we have no intention of going anywhere and, as you have pointed out, even if we wished to, we would be unable to penetrate this.” He gestured to the thin blue field of magical energy which now surrounded them, regarding it with the eye of a connoisseur. “But this is quite astounding!” He gave the moustachioed woman a look of respect, mingled with curiosity, which was not lost upon its subject.

She lowered the lantern an inch.

“Surely,” Mercurio continued carefully, “surely a spell like this could only have been set in place by… and please do not take offense, my good man… by a wizard? And an extremely powerful one at that. Perhaps, even, a witch?”

To Skarry’s amazement, the woman sank down into the leather armchair and began to sob, wringing the lantern chain between her fingers.

“My apologies,” Skarry said quickly, “if my friend has upset you, please… er… here, oh damn I can’t do that,” he returned the useless handkerchief to his pocket and glared furiously at Mercurio, who gave him a withering look and then hitched up a mask of sincere compassion and sympathy and turned it towards their host.

“Oh, you’re right!” the woman sobbed. “It’s true, it’s all true!” She pulled off the moustache and toupee and flung them angrily onto the floor. “Oh, this silly charade has been wearing me to pieces! But I have had no choice! There have always been six witches at Pendle, and there always must be at least one witch at Pendle – even Wiz himself says it – otherwise the whole town will crumble to the ground; the manor, the park, the houses, everything!”

“Wiz?” Skarry looked sharply at his friend, but Mercurio hadn’t flinched.

“Yes. It is only by his will that I haven’t been forced into the caves to be hunted, like game, across the marsh, like my poor sisters. He allowed just six of us witches to stay on here at Pendle because of the curse. There have always been six and we’ve always managed to fool the townsfolk into thinking we were ordinary citizens, but I am the last! And what will happen if I am found out? Oh it has worn me so thin you cannot imagine. Of course I cannot marry – who would marry a witch in this day and age? And yet I had to marry Albert or else people would become suspicious; a woman living all alone… people have such suspicious minds… you wouldn’t believe the things they say when my back is turned…” She was beginning to rave, the pitch of her voice crescendoing with the speed of the words. If she went on like this, she would be hysterical within the next 60 seconds and if she hyperventilated and fainted, even worse asphyxiated herself, they would be trapped. Possibly permanently.

“Why don’t you have a glass of brandy?” Mercurio suggested.

The woman shook her head “I don’t drink,” she sniffed. “It’s Albert who’s the drinker.”

“Albert?” Skarry mouthed silently.

Mercurio raised his eyebrows at him. “Well, perhaps Albert would care for a snifter then? Settle his nerves?”

Skarry closed his eyes so that he would not have to witness the woman reassembling her disguise so that she could nod and stumble unsteadily out of the room in search of alcohol.

 

 

 

If you’d like to read more about my adventures with those two Terrible Wizards, Scarlet Skarry and her marvellous Land Pirate crew and of course Eightcups Max and his fabulous octopus Collin, you can find The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry here:

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! Who knows, perhaps the smell of gingerbread was enough to keep wary monsters at bay?
Stay safe good 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….