Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen!
Welcome back (goodness, hasn’t it ben too long?) to Max and Collin’s drop dead delectable parlour located within the splendidly scenic city of Steampunk’d Lancaster!
True, some have called it a ghastly garret haunted by fiendish ghouls and black hearted demons, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation 😉
You find us this morning, quaking to the core because we are certain we heard the mournful cry of the first flesh eating Liver Birds rising from their long summer sleep and we are now trying to pluck up the courage to ask our terrifying landlord if he might not possibly, very sweetly, consider replacing our sack cloth roof for something more substantial…
I did actually mention to my Very Quiet Gentleman Friend earlier that Mrs Baker -our stoic kitchen witch – is re-kindling the light in the old watchtower again this year and, in fact, she has drafted in a marvellous array of friends from various other dimensions to help her… and they are all bringing a magnificent array of weapons with them… and wouldn’t it perhaps be prudent to offer to assist in the venture ourselves – surely the old watchtower will be a much safer place to haul-up in than this miserable rotting old fish factory?
I mentioned all this to Max, and yet Max remains unmoved. In fact he has remained unmoved for the better part of the last three hours and I suspect that he has actually fallen asleep.
So let us leave him snoring there for a while and contemplate the matter over a nice cup of tea and a good book…
Our tea this melodramatic morning is Re-animator by Tenatious Tea
And our book is ‘I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse’ by C H Clepitt – and I must be perfectly Frank (one of the many people I am when I am not Collin The Octopus) and say that we have been meaning to review this book for so long it has become something of a scandal (blushes as only an octopus in a top hat can)
We read it a couple of years ago and it was such a delight that we got quite over-excited and weepy and read the sequel and then got all over-excited and weepy again and then the world exploded and our puppet mistress sailed away in a pea green boat with a Spoonwalker and got lost on an island with some Necromancers and Max died and was resurrected as a skeleton princess…. and, well, long story short, we have quite a long list of books which we have been meaning to review and haven’t yet and this is one of them…
So without further ado…
Heels is a heart-warming, hilarious, wondrously witty and splendiferously satirical romp through a marvellously imagined apocalyptic nightmare.
We follow Kerry (who, for all the fact that she is, indeed, in heels and feels utterly unprepared and ill equipped to cope with the end of the world, is actually an utterly awesome action hero in her own very engaging and adorable way) and her band of misfit-heroes who each have their own esoteric, bizarre and completely fabulous skill-banks for navigating the apocalypse.
Best of all – it has a talking badger. We will say no more. That alone should be enough.
( FMI : @BadgersTweetToo )
We laughed out loud from start to end. There is enormous heart and insurmountable wit within this treasure trove and a wicked golden-glint of mischief running like a magic thread throughout its pages – a perfect antidote to the gloom and doom that seems to have seized the world in its iron grip of late!
So, the question is, friends, what would you wear to the apocalypse? Because if those screeches really are Liver Birds out there – and if the rumours of a new wave of Mancunian sugar zombies are true, that could be a very important question! I hope that by the time it is all over I can merrily type #IWoreHeels with a flourish, but I have yet to find eight matching pairs to fit my tentacles, you see? Ah well.
Perhaps we will pluck up the courage to join the intrepid band of authors, artists and other creatives who are fending off the monsters over at the watch tower this month… then again perhaps we won’t… but if you are feeling brave (or stupid) and would like to throw in your oar with that crazy lot, do give Penny a shout at email@example.com we’re certain they can use all the able bodies they can get (always good to have extra bodies to throw at zombies; helps to distract them, you know?)
We wish you a divinely dark and marvellously magical afternoon, and until we meet again, please be always
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.”
“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.”
The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance
“It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air – there’s the rub, the task.”
Happy Saturday! Lil’ Virgil there for your weekend inspiration and here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here 🙂
So, here is the next snippet from Jack and Marjory – my novella-in-progress which gives two of my Bi-Gendered characters a chance to tell something of their own little side-adventure, which actually had a massive impact on the history of Ire in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ kind of way.
If you missed last week’s snippet you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Jack and Marjory
If you want to start from the beginning you can do so here: https://blakeandwight.com/2018/09/29/rainbowsnippets-jack-and-marjory/
Who’d have thought a career path in the criminal underworld would involve so much fresh air and exercise? Jack and Marjory are cursing their way along the picturesque Way Of The Roses en route to pick up the smuggled teaset for the leader of the revolution…
We stopped for a swig of tea and a breather up at Crook O’ Lune Point. We was all ready to be seduced and fall into the arms of our good friend Mr. Thomas Gray, but in the end Madame Nature proved The Tart ; throwin’ late campion at our feet and baring her silver birch legs coquettishly until we threw down our poetry book and screamed ‘take me now’ to the heather.
The view down over the weir is incredible from there, speakin’ as they who used to work Pit down the Chobam Treacle Mines, deekin’ the enormity of all that land an’ sky fair takes the breath out of the old coppers.
A couple of buzzards rose up over Lawson’s Meadow and disappeared against the yellow- gold beeches of Aughton Woods and, further down, the early morning mist began to fade, showing the white steel of the aqueduct and its pretty red-painted roses, carrying water from Thirlmere to Manchester. We shuddered at the thought of the problems they were having over there right now; Sugar Zombies was the whisper on the street, none of our business though we s’posed.
What was our business was the watchtower on the north bank, beside the weir towards Ingleton – dressed as we were in exquisitely tailored tweeds, carefully cultivated to look ambiguous and deflect attention, we was unlikely to attract a second glance from The Good Folk stationed there, but, all the same, better not to give them the first glance to begin with.
being an entertaining and informative piece of travel writing by a couple of rogues on the run as they attempt to avoid the machinations of wizards, monarchs and a ruthless band of beatnik poets, deflect a civil war and deliver a priceless, historical tea set before the owner finds himself at the gallows.
Wishing you all a most splendiferous week and don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction 🙂
rainbow flower image courtesy of mariah22 at http://www.freeimages.com
book cover image by Renphoto
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome back to Max and Collin’s deliciously dark and relentlessly romantic parlour located somewhere in lower intestine of that splendidly scenic city of Lancaster.
True our psychotic landlord may have banished us to this dank and miserable oubliette, but anyone who would be crest fallen by such a turn of events has obviously never stood in their pyjamas fighting off flesh eating Liver Birds with nothing but a frying pan and a will of steel.
You find us this morning bleary eyed after being kept awake all night by the screams of the dying (and very possibly the already dead for sometime) as Lord Ashton’s Liver Birds rampaged the streets devouring all those too poor or too witless to abide by the curfew. Thank mercy we were snug and cozy down here in our damp and cat infested little cellar 🙂
But what a dreadful night, some neighbours have no consideration for the nerves of others, we are now in desperate need of a good book and some splendid tea to accompany it and if you are too, then you have come to the right place!
This is the third book in the Ichabod Temperance series and, honestly, this is a series that just gets better and better and, to our mind, certainly deserves cult status.
An absolutely biscuit-taking combination of adorable characters, tongue-in-cheek humour, subtle and witty social commentary, historical and literary parody, geeky inventions and intergalactic mayhem with enough twists and turns to keep the reader constantly on their toes right up to the last page.
This time the talented Miss Persephone Plumtartt and her devoted side-kick Mr Ichabod Temperance are faced with an alien invasion from Mars! In this fast paced, hilarious and utterly gripping adventure their team of chums, both old and new, will be taxed to the limit of their creative genius to save the planet from the usurping Martian empire.
If you are new to the series you can still enjoy this adventure as a stand alone but we very much recommend you begin at book one because it is ineffably marvellous. On the other hand if you have been with us for a while and have read the two books previous to this one then you will not be disappointed by this episode in the manic adventures of Ichabod and Persephone! An absolute must for steampunk fans who prefer the more humorous side of the genre.
And now that is the kettle boiling… or is it our landlord taking out his angst on another helpless tenant? … no, no it’s alright, it is the kettle! Won’t you join us in a festively frightful cup of ZOMBIE HUNTER TEA from fandom teas?
We wish you a devilishly delightful afternoon with far more treats than tricks, and hope you will join us tomorrow for elevenses so until then, please be always
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 rancid, mouldering pumpkin shell , hollowed out and fooling nobody as to its suitability to house an Octopus and his Very Quiet Gentleman Friend, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
So It’s HALLOWEEN / SAMHAIN / ALL HALLOWS whatever you wish to dub it 😀 and we are obviously going potty for Gena Rumple’s Steampunk Pumpkins (again!) …
And to add to the festive feeling here in the parlour we are enjoying some spooktacular tea of our own evil Tea-Punk devising. We call it ‘Fire and Spice’ and you can make it in your own parlour like this:
2 tbsp of pureed pumpkin (you can by this in a can or make your own)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 pinch of cloves
1 tbsp grated root ginger
Seeds from 1 pod of vanilla
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or dried chillies if your aunt is visiting)
Soft light brown sugar to taste
Creamer of your choice (we’re using condensed milk because we have no sense of propriety)
4 – 6 tsp of your favourite black tea (we are using Lapsang but Darjeeling or Oolong would work as well. We cannot bring ourselves to recommend Assam, but perhaps you are made of stronger mettle than we..)
Put all your ingredients into a jug (except the creamer of course) and give it all a good mix before pouring the lot into your fabulous teapot and filling said pot with boiling water. Leave it alone for about 5 mins while you settle down with a good book. Strain through your usual straining equipment into your gold gilt edged teacup (and now you can cream-up to your heart’s content) and enjoy!
Now you may have noticed we are a little late rising in the parlour this morning, that is because last night we visited something called a ‘motion picture show’ at The Garish. Of course the thing is bound to be outlawed soon and so we wanted to at least have seen one before they are forced underground like everything else that is jolly around here (except Peril of course, he is by no means jolly and yet very underground..)
So we do not have a book to recommend to you this morning but rather a ‘motion picture’ and it is this…
We cannot express adequately the rapture this film induced – Mr Darcy’s coat alone was worth the entrance fee. Admitedly the acting from the younger ‘stars’ was somewhat vacant, to the extent that at one point Max was forced to stand on a chair and cry “Act More Pant Less!” at the lead…which ended in us both being ejected from the theatre and forced to re-enter by a side door wearing fake moustaches and capes so as to avoid attention. (We were later told that the actress couldn’t have heard us anyway so the whole escapade was futile.) But, panting aside, the brighter stars in the supporting roles carried the whole thing admirably, the concept was so adorable and the strength of the feminine characters who effortlessly sat beside the male – not competing, just comfortably equal to – combined with the fabulous saqueal-worthy costuming (did we mention the coat?) and Lady Catherine’s re-imagining as an eye-patch sporting Misstress of the Blade… all made for an excellent evening all round.
So excellent a evening in fact that we completely forgot the Lacaster Curfew and had to run for our lives (not an easy thing when one is an octopus full of absinth) from the flesh eating Liver Birds which Lord Ashton employs to keep the streets free of vagrants. We made it back by the skin of our tail coats but now we are utterly exhausted so we will just sling our tentacles up here on the table and see what our Oracular Cephalopterois has to show us this morning…
Hm, listening to ghosts eh? Well if it’s ghosts they want to listen to they should go and visit our own Perilous Wight in his lovely library on Friday, now there’s a ghost that won’t stop talking even when we ask him politely…
As for Max and myself we are going to prepare some trick…I mean treats, of course… for any urchins silly enough to knock on the parlour door in the next 24 hours but we will be back tomorrow with something completely different so, until then
Be always, Utterly Yourself.
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, and welcome, once again, to Max and Collin’s, phantasmagorically fabulous and wonderfully whimsical parlour located in the splendidly scenic city of Lancaster, Mor Ire.
True, perhaps, some have called it a roach-infested hovel fit only for harbouring the detritus of society, but we consider that such people are merely embittered that they have not yet received an invitation.
You find us, on this enchanting afternoon, trying our hands at a spot of fairy catching… if the rumours are true and Lord Ashton really is going to open a portal in the aether and let fairies and Wiz-knows-what else through into our world then we really ought to be prepared!
Luckily we have found this splendid tutorial for creating a cunning fairy-trapping device, not that we are condoning cruelty to fairies of course but, you know, we need to think of the cake, there is so very precious little of it…
Splendid, so with a few of those around the place we are feeling much safer from the little winged tiffin-thieves, and we can settle ourselves back amongst the silk cushions and lemonade crates with a steaming brew of ‘Glashtyn’ rose and cinnamon tea.
Of course we could always try and blend in with the wee folk if they do decide to invade…
Well of course I have not forgotten that it is Thursday and, with our top hats dusted with glitter and our sparkly steampunk wings at the ready, we are ‘all punked up with no place to go’ so, let us peruse the society papers and see where we should be heading to this weekend….
On the 30th of October we have the Steampunk Time Fall Back Show by the British Horological Society.
St Annes are holding their annual Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball on saturday
Or if zombies are more your thing you could head for The Secret Zombie Ball
Or you could cram in an entire weekned of Victorian-themed fear at Lincoln Castle
Ah, but now I think our tea is brewed so we will wish you all a frightfully splendid Halloween weekend and see you back in one piece in the parlour on Monday. In the meantime, we hope you will join Perilous Wight for Pipe and Slippers in his lovely library tomorrow evening when he will be sharing something of ‘imaginative awesomeness’…or so he informs us…hopefully it isn’t his eulogy again…
So until then! Be always,