Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “LGBT

Elevenses: The Language Of Flowers

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen I hope you are feeling extremely eleven o clockwise because the time is indeed eleven o clock so please, Hang up your top hat of imposing mental prowess, fold down your pugnacious parasol and pull up a chair (or lemonade crate)


This morning our lovely werewolf butler has been out picking flowers for us… hm? Oh no, no, no don’t worry, nothing like that… we need them for the revolution. Sorry? War of the roses? Oh I see, you are trying to be amusing! Oh well done, yes…hm… but seriously now, please, these flowers which Max is diligently dismantling over there are going to play a vital role in overthrowing the queen and taking our first tentative steps towards world domination…. Hm? Oh yes, sorry, you’re right of course I did mean world liberation. Liberation from the tea time tyranny of Wiz.


You may be aware that Max and his fellow revolutionaries communicate with each other using coded poetry books and an unnecessarily complicated language of stamps? Well now we are attempting to incorporate Floriography (the language of flowers) as well. If you are plotting a revolution, you may wish to consider using this marvellous coding method yourself and so here, for your convenience, are some commonly used flowers and their traditional Victorian meanings to get you started…

Yellow Marquerile – I come soon

Canterbury Bell  – Your letter was received

Iris – I sent a message

Red Fuchia – I like your taste

Pinks – Yes

Wild Rose – Pleasure and pain

Poppy – I am not free

White rose – I cannot

But goodness, all this flower arranging tires one’s tentacles to the extreme, let us break for a while and see if Klapka has not been too busy flower picking to to make us something delicious for our elevenses… mmm, lemon and lavender tea cookies! They are her own recipe, and here it is…

Lemon and Lavender Tea Cookies

150g plain flower

100g butter or margarine

50g caster sugar

1 lemon zest finely grated

1 tsp hot earl grey tea

1 tsp lavender flowers

Mix all ingredients together to form a soft dough, adding a little more flour or tea as needed. Roll into a sausage shape, wrap in cling film and chill for 1 – 24 hours. Slice into cookie rounds (each about the thickness of a pound coin) and bake on a greased tray on gas 4 for about 10mins until pale gold. Leave to cool down and firm up then serve with a cup of jasmine or lady grey tea.

Delicious! And now there is nothing left to do but find some soothing music to tap our tentacles to as we nom …


Marvellous, we hope you have a very lovely afternoon and we invite you back to join us for our morning cuppa on Monday, until then please be always

Utterly Yourself

Morning Cuppa: A Matter Of Temperance


Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Max and Collin,s marvellously moderate and audaciously ambient parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.

True, some have called it a gratuitously garish affair overflowing with an excruciating excess of extremities, but we consider that such faint hearted fops are not accustomed to folk with tentacles.

You find us this morning revelling in the joys of spring – one hardly minds a sack cloth roof or even pane-less windows when the clotted cream of early morning light is flooding into the parlour, making the dust bunnies dance with delight and warming the faded velvet cushions upon the lemonade crates..

Hm? No I am not trying to be poetic , Max, I am simply rebelling in the joys of spring.

Spring in the realm above waves is quite the event isn’t it? There are flowers and leaves peeking through the brown earth, the little street urchins are doing far more skipping than shivering, fewer of our neighbours are dropping dead of cold and starvation and the longer days and shorter nights mean less time battling the flesh eating Liver Birds.

Yes indeed, I feel this ‘coming of spring’ malarkey is certainly something to celebrate and what better to celebrate anything than with a cup of tea and a good book? And of course we have both..

Our tea this morning is Jasmine White Tea from Rosy Lea Teas and to accompany it we will be reading



This riotous Steampunk romp had us in stitches from start to finish. Ichabod Temperance  (an American Inventor who is really far too moral and forthright to ever find Victorian London a ‘welcoming place’ ) is plunged headlong into apocalyptic paranormal pandemonium as he attempts to rescue the alluring adventuress Miss Persephone Plumtartt from the demonic tentacles of both men and monsters (at times it is hard to tell which are which!)

This laugh-a-minute roller coaster is jam packed with action from haunted mansions to epic steamer chases, bare knuckle brawls  to daring hot air balloon escapes (not forgetting the champagne of course!) The fast paced plot had us pinned to our seats while the comedic interplay of the characters kept the tears of laughter flowing.

‘Icky’ is a delightfully innocent and upstanding character, always ready to defend Miss Plumtartt or put his incredibly inventive brain to the task of helping her to save the world, while Persephone is everything a steampunk heroine ought to be – intelligent, capable, and (thanks to an occult experiment gone wrong) able to fire energy rays from the palms of her hands. Together they make an adorable team and we really can’t wait to get our tentacles into the rest of the series.

Now then, it seems that our tea is brewed and we just have time to put our oracular pet into his cup and see what he has plucked from the aether for us this morning…

Ha! Jolly good fun all round. We wish you a perfectly pleasant morning, full of sunlit strolls and gentle breezes and we invite you back to join us tomorrow for elevenses so, until then please be always

Utterly Yourself

Soup of the day: With Kara Jorgensen

Hello! Mrs Albert Baker here, otherwise known as The Last Witch Of Pendle. Obviously 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 this little soup kitchen for the street urchins. There certainly are a lot of them and I’m always looking for helping hands to cook up and serve something delicious!

Helping me this morning is Steampunk writer Kara Jorgensen, author if the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Good morning Kara, thankyou so much for coming to help me in my soup kitchen today! Tell me, have you brought along some soup to share with us?

Here is a recipe for Irish beer cheese soup. I love cheese, and while I’m not a fan of beer, this soup is one of my favourites, especially in a bread bowl.

Mmm, it smells delicious, I’m sure the little urchins will enjoy it immensely. Now while that is simmering away nicely, why don’t you tell us all a little more about your writing? Did you always want to be a writer?

For as long as I can remember, I have loved writing. When I was little, I would visit my grandma at work and peck out stories on her electric typewriter. For a while, it was melodramas with my dolls, but in middle school, I really started to write more seriously and try to write an entire novel. It didn’t work. It wasn’t until I was in university that I realized writing had been my passion all along.

And what inspired you to write in the Steampunk genre in particular?

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Victorian Era. I loved Sherlock Holmes and period dramas, so when I realized that steampunk afforded me the ability to manipulate and rewrite the past while still dabbling in medicine, science, and magic, I couldn’t help but join in. There’s also a lot of dualities in the Victorian Era that make it interesting: science v. pseudo-science, morals v. sensuality, utilitarian v. luxurious brocades and corsets, massive wealth v. sinfully poor. Steampunk is an incredibly diverse genre, and that diversity allows me to write things that may not work in straight-up scifi or historical fiction.

Are there any particular writers who you feel have influenced or inspired your writing?

Probably every writer I’ve ever read influences me in one way or another, but my main influences are probably Oscar Wilde, Anne Rice, and historical-fantasy writers like K.J. Charles and Jordan L. Hawk. Charles and Hawk write fantastic historical-fantasy stories featuring LGBT characters, and in Rice is in the same vein, though I probably pull more from her use of atmosphere and description. With Wilde, I think it’s more of what he stood for. He was in his heyday in the 1890s when my stories take place, so he is that typical Victorian genius, full of wit, excess, and all the dualities of the period.

Your books are wonderfully detailed, which gives the impression that either you are an expert on archaeology, history, mechanics, prosthetics and a dozen other subjects at least, or you do a fair amount of research before you begin to write… which is it?

Research is the best and worst part of writing historical-fantasy. I love learning about new cultures, history, whatever I can get my hands on, but it eats up a lot of time. Sometimes I find myself winging it because I just want to write. This leads to having to fact-check everything during the revision process. The great thing about writing steampunk and historical-fantasy is that it lets me dabble in all of the subjects I love, including history, mechanics, medicine, and of course, archaeology.

In the first book, The Earl Of Brass, we meet Eilian and Hadley; two engaging, headstrong characters whose developing friendship runs as a background theme throughout the book. Together they show the reader the prejudices of the world in which they live and this adds a welcome layer of depth to this romantic adventure. Tell me Kara, do you think it is important for science fiction to comment on and challenge the notions of the past, present and possible future in this way?


I definitely do. When I think back at the books I’ve read, I’m often drawn most to those that made me see the world differently. Anne Rice’s books made me aware at a young age that not everyone was straight, white, or free to do as they pleased, and that altered my thinking and made me more aware of the struggles of “the other.” Books are a society’s written history, veiled through motifs that less threatening than flat-out saying we are doing x, y, and z wrong as a society. People are more likely to listen and enact change if they can sympathize or empathize with the person struggling, and what better way to do that than through compelling characters.

The second book is perhaps a little darker than the first and we meet some new characters, and a new Ingenious Device, would you like to tell us a bit about that?


The Gentleman Devil is the second book in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, and it moves away from the adventuring aspect of steampunk and into the mad scientist side of things. The story begins with a teenage medium nearly drowning in the Thames and being rescued by an Oxford student with a family heirloom that can resurrect the dead and inadvertently ties their souls together. Of course, a potion that can revive the dead or grant immortality would be very useful for some less than moral characters, and Emmeline and Immanuel end up in deep trouble. Luckily, the latter also finds love, and Emmeline learns more about herself and her future in the process.

How many books are there in the series so far (and will there be any more) ?

As of right now, there are four books out, and I’m writing the fifth, which should be out by summer time. I also have ideas for at least two more stories in the series, which would bring the series to seven stories. Besides the books, there are two companion short stories. One is a romantic romp between Adam and Immanuel that occurs between books two and three, and the other is a prequel that shows how and why Eilian decided to ditch nobility in favor of adventure.

And besides the books, where else can we read your work?

Before my books are published, I always post chapters on my website along with lots of teasers. When you join my newsletter, you get a free short story entitled, “The Errant Earl,” which is the prequel I previously mentioned.

Do you have any new projects or releases planned that we can get excited about?

Yes, I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series, I’m really looking forward to sharing it with everyone once it’s complete. It features Adam and Immanuel as they venture to an island in search of some strange, humanoid sea creatures. After that, I’m hoping to tackle another story featuring Eilian and Hadley off on an adventure and Emmeline, my bratty, sassy heroine will get a story of her own.

And now the all important question which do you sup to inspire you when you write, coffee or tea? (and how do you take it?)

Coffee is my go-to drink. I love a dark roast with some half-and-half and a bit of milk. At that point I’m probably drink three-quarters rather than half-and-half, but I love the mellowing effect it has on a dark roast… and that it makes it cool enough to drink in a timely manner.

Well thankyou so much for coming to help out in the soup kitchen today, Kara, it’s been wonderful to chat with you and learn more about your writing. I must say that soup smells delicious. I think it must be about ready and the little urchins have their rosy noses pushed up against the glass in anticipation so shall we start dishing it up?

Sounds great to me. Thank you so much for having me and for cooking up some soup for us. If anyone would like to receive a free short story along with information regarding future books and projects, I hope they will join my newsletter:

Wonderful, I hope you will all join me in the soup kitchen next week when I will have another very special guest helping me so until then,

Blessings on your brew my dears!




Morning Cuppa: Grigory’s Gadget

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Max and Collin’s delightfully diluvian parlour located within the splendidly slippery-when-wet city of Lancaster!

True some have called it a soggy slop house full of wet blankets but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find me this morning balancing precariously on lemonade crates and sheltering under parasols whilst Max attempts to plug the holes in the roof, walls, widows and doors with histrionic napkins. Yes that’s right, the frost is thawing all over the parlour, the biscuits are soggy and the tea set is afloat… on the plus side Montmorency is unable to get in and terrorise us into paying rent because scarecrows and water don’t get on apparently.

You may be wondering why an octopus like me is desperately trying to keep his tentacles dry during this deluge  but please take a moment to consider that this is not beautiful briny sea water we are talking about here but the foul rooftop runoffs of a hundred or so ramshackle tenement buildings fashioned from old fish factories… I rest my case.

So, while Max screams and curses and tries to keep the parlour from falling apart at the seams, let us try and drown out his torrent of expletives (not at all appropriate for someone who insists on using the epithet of Very Quiet Gentleman.) by read at volume from a very good book. And fortunately I have one right here…



This is a fast paced steampunk adventure aimed at the teen / YA age range. Zoya and her friends set sail for university, hoping to leave their troubled lives in the harsh city behind. But their journey has hardly begun when they are kidnapped and forced to join the crew of a pirate ship. The pirates hope to get their hands on Zoya’s apparently useless heirloom  and the friends soon find themselves fighting for their lives as they try to escape and fathom the truth behind the mysterious mechanical gadget.

This is a wonderful, action packed tale for younger readers which we are sure fans of The Jupiter Chronicles or the Everland series are bound to enjoy. It features an excellent mix of strong, intelligent, thoughtful, crafty, sword wielding, academic female and male characters and some of the little street urchins we shared it with are very keen to get their grubby hands on the sequel.

Now then, joy of joys, the tea has at last defrosted and we can enjoy a warming cup of chai after so many weeks of ice chips… so what better brew to kick off this season of new possibilities than this Chocolate Voodoo Chile tea from Mortar and Petal.

And now there is little left to do except see what our oracular pet cephaloterois has plucked from the aether for us this morning…



Hm, you know I have the disturbing notion that the spiny little beast is trying to develop a sense of humour…

We wish you a very dry afternoon, filled with pleasant things and invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow so, until then, please be always

Utterly Yourself


Pipe and Slippers: Perilous Journeys


Good evening and welcome to my awe-inspiring aethenaeum of praiseworthy pamphlets…or as some ridiculous personages have dubbed it – my lovely library.

I am Perilous Wight and here in the bowels of the city of Lancaster, in the disused tunnels of an underground train system that never was, I have made it my mission to collect every book that our self-proclaimed ‘supreme ruler f the universe’ and his mincing minions have banned from the bookshelves of the new world.
But I do not have time for entertaining tonight, can you not see that I have just returned from a most important business trip? I have papers everywhere and notes to set in print and… what’s that? What are you wittering about? Help? You’d like to help me transcribe the notes from my journals into volumes so that they can be preserved for generations to come? You’ve brought along some cherry brandy to keep out the chills as we work?
Well, I suppose that puts a very different slant on things doesn’t it? Very well then, I will dictate and you can pour…I mean type… a-hem…
Many may not know this but I have not always been a bad tempered ghost in charge of an underground library. Once upon a time I was a bad tempered gentleman who had devoted his life to the collection of evidence which indicated that the power of The All Mother was not entirely gone from The New World. I travelled the scattered isles in search of such evidence – witches, fairies, folk lore, wild magic that was not controlled or perhaps even known about by Wiz and his ridiculous Wizards.
Not to be put off by death, I have struggled to find a way to continue my studies and I have indeed found a method by which I can sporadically leave this library, to which I am otherwise bound, and travel abroad.
This method is known as The Opprobrious Pith Helmet.
By securing the services of a less than reputable Wizard I have had my soul partially bound to an ancient piece of explorational headwear and am therefore able to possess the wearer for short periods of time, with their consent.
For my part, I am bound to being summoned by the wearer at their whim to provide protection, guidance, words of wisdom and advice, that sort of thing. It is a tiresome trade off but it could, I suppose, be worse.
Here, then, is the account of my first expedition.
I had decided to begin my studies with a journey down the Thames, past the Pirate City of Londinium, stopping at various Inns along the route and gathering from the locals any tales of interest which might hint at the existence of magic. But as I sat at my dressing table, pith helmet in place, waiting for the arrival of the Hippo’ton drawn coach which would take me to Barley Bow I began to have my doubts.
I pulled the magical contract I had signed with that wretched gutter-magician from my purse for the hundredth time and examined it again. No. Nowhere in the small print could I find mention of the fact the body I would be possessing might be a woman.
I stared into the mirror with grave concern at the ringlets and the lashes and the tinted cheeks. Could this work? As a strict adherent to the old religion I have the greatest respect for women, of course, but I have never actually been inside one.
The clatter of metal hooves upon the cobbles outside brought my dilemma to a close. This was my one chance to continue my work and I must put away any infantile embarrassment and get on with it.
With this new found resolve I leapt from my chair, tripped over my crinolines, flew out of the chamber door and tumbled head over bustle down the short narrow staircase, landing in a heap of fabric and whale carcass in the tap room.
I will not sport with your intelligence by repeating the comments this little accident incited from the patrons of the little tavern but will move swiftly on to my arrival in Bow.

The Hippo’ton dropped me at The Widow’s Son , a fascinating Inn with an equally fascinating history which I was keen to investigate. An old folk legend tells that the first owner was an old Widow whose son joined the navy. Upon his leaving day he told his mother to bake him a bun on Good Friday and he would be sure to be back in time to eat it. The bun was baked but the son never came home but the widow hung the baked bread from the ceiling in a net and added a new bun to the collection every year. After she died her friends and patrons kept up the tradition and it is now even written into the leasehold of the property that the custom must be kept by every owner.
Of course the story is hogwash. It is likely that there never was a widow at all but that the tradition is in fact born of a much older practise – that of leaving bread and milk out for household fairies, boggarts and helpful magical creatures as thanks for their kind assistance in bringing luck, health and happiness to the household through the year.
I had brought my case of instruments for detecting and catching fairies and other magical beings with me but as I eagerly began to lay them out upon the bar the Landlady approached and asked what I thought I was doing. When I asked to see her buns so that I could perform my arts upon them she screamed the most unrepeatable names at me and threw me out into the street.
It was a long walk down to the docks, where I had arranged a hired craft to take me up the river. Long but by no means lonely. I can only say that I now have a new found sympathy for the fairer sex and completely understand why they are reluctant to venture out alone at night without those splendid flame-throwing parasols. Skirts, bustles, high heeled boots…none of these make for expeditious retreats from darkened alley ways or indeed high speed chases over cobblestones away from amorous drunks.
I did manage to make it to the docks eventually and spent the night huddled under a tarpaulin that smelled of fish and cats, still I was optimistic that my next stop would prove more fruitful. My journey had, afterall only just begun and it was no good losing heart along with everything else at the first hurdle. So I sat in the dark, counting my losses and hoped that my young host would not think to do the same, or at the very least not be too miffed, when her body was returned to her…..



And I think we had better leave it there for this evening don’t you? The bottle is dry and… hm? Well yes of course it is dark you’re not afraid of the dark are you? Flesh eating Liver Birds you say? Well yes there are those to consider but you should have thought of that before you set off on this midnight mission shouldn’t you? I can’t be responsible for your safety! Now go on, off with you, just because I am dead does not mean I don’t have things to do…go on…out!

Morning Cuppa: The Gentleman Devil

Good Morning 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 morning 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 this beautiful Seaside Green Tea from Rosie Lea Tea – a 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!

And our book – we have been most eager to get Wizmas out of the way and begin this one! – is the second in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series by Kara Jorgensen


It is not often that an Octopus is moved to tears, but Kara Jorgensen has managed it! Young  Immanuel Winter and spiritualist Emmeline Jardine, two extremely different and often conflicting characters,  find their souls bound together by his Mother’s mysterious elixir, and suddenly they are thrown into a terrifying world of conspirators and mad-men.. everyone, it seems, wants the secret that will conquer death. Set comfortably in a Steampunk / Victorian setting this dark paranormal adventure gives us strong and believable characters, a beautiful gay romance side story , plenty of intrigue and a perfectly gripping ride from start to finish. We can’t wait to get our tentacles into the next book in this series.

Now then, let us de-frost our oracular pet and see what its far-seeing tentacles have plucked from the aether for us this morning…





Hm, I’m not quite sure how to take that? Is it trying to be amusing or helpful?

Either way it is time for us to say ‘chin chin’ and begin chiselling  out the frozen tea from the pot with our runcibles. We wish you a perfectly dignified morning, where pride and tentacles remain  un-dented, and we invite you back to join us for elevenses tomorrow so, until then please, be always,

utterly yourself.



Elevenses: Frosty Fayre

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…

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.”


And now we’d better tune in our Tesla radio and have some soothing sounds to placate my beastly savage companion… drink your tea Max and calm yourself down, it is not becoming for a Very Quiet Gentleman to sulk like that…


Ah, much better, that was Smith and Burrows if you were not aware of the before they are rather marvellous. We wish you a very pleasant afternoon, filled with with warmest and spiciest of delights, and we will see you back on Thursday for something rather special. So, until then, please be always,

Utterly Yourself






Morning Cuppa: Catastrophes with Christopher Lee

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to Max and Collin’s fearlessly feline friendly and glamorously gothic parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some have called it the decimated shell of a disused fish factory where the stench of its previous occupants lingers like a putrid clarion call to every feral cat within a five mile radius, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us on this strange and calamitous Monday morning utterly overrun with cats. When we rented this place from the dashing scarecrow downstairs we did think we heard him mumble something about cats but we weren’t quite sure what it was. Now we would rather like to question him further on this point, however we’re a little nervous of disturbing him in case he asks for the rent, which of course we do not yet have.

The unhappy truth is that we have been gaining a new feline friend each morning since we moved in and, well, much as we adore their softness and purriness they are stretching our milk ration to the limit. Not to mention the fact that we are running out of names…hm? What’s that? Oh, Max says I should stop naming them and feeding them our milk ration. You know, for a Very Quiet Gentleman you can be quite cold Max. Quite, Cold.

We are listening to another Audaciously Awesome Audio tale in celebration of Poevember,  this time read by Christopher Lee, and to accompany it , our nerve-settling brew this morning is Gin and tonic tea from Urban earth teas, This splendid green mate   is bursting with juniper berries and complimented with a dash of citrus and mint.



Hm, you know after listening to that tale I can’t help thinking that it might be better if we could rid ourselves of these cats, you’d think that having a werewolf butler would be something of a deterrent but apparently not. Well perhaps our Oracular Cephalopterois will have some ideas…



Well I’m not sure what it thinks we can do, build a robot guard dog? Really that creature is absurd.

Ah, but now I think our tea is brewed and so there is nothing left for us to say except ‘chin chin’, we cordially invite you join us in the parlour again tomorrow for elevenses and so, until then be always,

Utterly Yourself


Elevenses: Fairly Fragile

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope we are all feeling extremely  eleven o’clockish because the time is, indeed, 11’o clock. So, step inside, take off your cloak, hang up your fangs and make yourselves at home  in  Max and Collin’s veritably verve and queasily quixotic  parlour, located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some people have called it a mere figment of some lunatic tea-addict’s over-active imagination, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

Today you find us trembling in our boots after a night full of dreadful disturbances and utterly appalling apparitions, which we are certain has nohing to do with our over indulgence in fairies yesterday morning. Still we will be glad when this season of ghoulish ghostiness is at an end and we can settle back into the company of more everyday monsters such as psychotic scarecrow landlords and hybrid vampire squid.

Now then, we are both feeling a little delicate and thankfully our lovely werewolf butler has nosed out some dainty and delicate delightfulness to ease us into the afternoon, Betty Crocker Style…

witches broom cookies.jpg

Ah, witches, maybe they aren’t so bad after all? They’re broomsticks are certainly tasty and they seem to make good soup… which reminds me that Bellabeth will be joining our own Kitchen Witch for Soup Of The Day tomorrow, so don’t miss out on that will you? And we will be back in the parlour on Thursday with some tremendous Tea @ Three but for now let us tune in to something soul stirring while we nibble on these tasty treats,


Splendid! We wish you a most enchanting afternoon and until we see you again please,

be always, Utterly Yourself



Morning cuppa: Fairies at the bottom of the… teacup?

Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to Max and Collin’s delightfully delinquent and ruthlessly rebellious parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.

True, perhaps, some have called it a treasure trove for the Freudian Sleuth, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.

You find us on this, boisterously bright and cheerful, Monday morning absolutely apple-free and wondering about fairies. Are they real? There seems to be unnecessary amounts of hubbub in the town of Lancaster at present surrounding the subject and, against our better judgement, we have been ‘drawn in.’

Of course there are those who say that there used to be fairies in The New World, before Wiz arrived and stole all the tea, cake and magic, but those people are mostly witches and you should never trust a witch should you? (don’t tell Mrs Baker we said that).

Well at least there’s one fairy we know is real (she’s green and old Peril is very fond of her) and look at this little treasure we have unearthed…

Tea and Absinth? TEA AND ABSINTH? Oh I don’t think my tentacles can take it I’m all of a quiver..

Luckily we have a nerve settling Wuyi rock water fairy puerh tea from music city tea shop steeping as we speak… hm, fairies everywhere this morning, even in the teapot…well it must be because the book we are about to enjoy with our morning cuppa is none other than


If you were enchanted by volume one of steampunk fairy tales, well, be prepared to be enchanted again. The eagerly awaited second volume is filled with enough whimsy, magic and imagination to satisfy even our appetites for adventure…

The tales featured include an electric gingerbread house, a clockwork cabinet, a fairy samurai and many more but our favourite was Vasilisa and the Mechanical Matryoshka by Heather White which puts a fabulous steampunk twist on this awesome ancient tale! And Heather has kindly agreed to help our lovely Mrs Baker in her soup kitchen soon, so that is something to look forward to!

But  before we commence our tea , let’s just see  what our oracular cephalopterois has to show us this morning…


Good grief that has done absolutely nothing to settle my nerves, perhaps we should steer clear of fairies from now on, whatever their colour! Ah, thankfully, the tea is brewed and it is time for us to say  ‘chin chin pass the tin open the book and let’s begin…’ We wish you all a very green and luscious morning, filled with magic and wishes-granted, and we invite you back to join us in the parlour tomorrow for elevenses so until then

Be always, utterly yourself