Ripper Street cut

I was saddened to learn that Ripper Street has been cancelled.

Period crime drama Ripper Street has been axed by the BBC after it failed to pull in a big enough audience.

The occasionally grisly Victorian-era show will end when the second series winds up in just under a fortnight on BBC One.

I can’t help but think that the show could have made it given more time.


Cover art: Fiendish Schemes

Fiendish Schemes

On October 15th, Tor will release the Jeter’s sequel to Infernal Devices (my review of Infernal Devices) titled Fiendish Schemes. The beautiful cover art LOOKS like John Coulthart’s work. Angry Robot has re-released Infernal Devices and Morlock Night with some beautiful cover art by John Coulthart. October looks like a good month for steampunk.

Fiendish Schemes

Writer K. W. Jeter, October, 1989, at the Worl...

In 1986 K. W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk,” applying it to his first Victorian-era science fiction alternate-history adventure. At last he has returned with Fiendish Schemes, a tale of George Dower, son of the inventor of Infernal Devices, who has been in new self-imposed exile…accumulating debts.

The world Dower left when he went into hiding was significantly simpler than the new, steam-powered Victorian London, a mad whirl of civilization filled with gadgets and gears in the least expected places. After accepting congratulations for his late father’s grandest invention—a walking, steam-powered lighthouse—Dower is enticed by the prospect of financial gain into a web of intrigue with ominously mysterious players who have nefarious plans of which he can only guess.

If he can locate and make his father’s Vox Universalis work as it was intended, his future, he is promised, is assured. But his efforts are confounded by the strange Vicar Stonebrake, who promises him aid, but is more interested in converting sentient whales to Christianity—and making money—than in helping George. Drugged, arrested, and interrogated by men, women, and the steam-powered Prime Minister, Dower is trapped in a maelstrom of secrets, corruption, and schemes that threaten to drown him in the chaos of this mad new world.

Free Steampunk ebooks

I just finished watching Bogart and Hepburn steampower their way through Africa in The African Queen. Peppy is snoring a few inches away from my feet and the house is quiet. I suppose that it is time to download a few more steampunk ebooks from Amazon.

Remember that the price $0.00 can change without notice so take a moment to make sure that the ebook is still free before purchasing.

Pandemonium: 1853

Three short, slightly alternate histories, all exploring the world of Pandemonium and all set in the same fateful year.

Marc Aplin sends a gunslinger to China and poses him an impossible question, Jonathan Green raises an ancient and hungry evil in Mexico City and Laura Graham writes of an Edinburgh overshadowed by more than factory smoke.

The globe-trotting companion to A TOWN CALLED PANDEMONIUM, this short volume can be read on its own or as part of the same shared world.

The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum

Apocryphal Memoirs Of An Eccentric GeniusNineteenth Century inventor Phineas Magnetron is a man on a mission in this first volume of The Magnetron Chronicles series, a faithfully executed parody of Victorian Era science fiction adventure tales, blending historical fact with improbable fiction.

Misunderstood, ostracized by his closest associates, Phineas embarks on a daring and unlikely caper to resurrect his dead mentor, the bombastic Dr. Hogalum, mustering all the Steam Age weird science at his disposal. He’ll bend the laws of man, nature, and physics, unearthing a haunting mystery and going boldly where no gentleman has gone before.

A Wattpad Featured Story with over 120,000 Reads!

“brilliant… fantastic… grand… incredible… intriguing… lovely… magnificent… unusual”

These are just some of the comments by Wattpad readers, who have called The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum “pure genius” and “an intriguing premise… heavily influenced by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.” Tens of thousands of readers have already enjoyed this “really compelling… parody of Victorian era pulp-fiction” with “a great sense of style,” and praised author D.L. Mackenzie’s “bloody superb use of the language.” The “language is entirely redolent of the era,” and “the writing style is a joy!”

– “I simply adore this story.”
– “Love everything about it!”
– “love the classics references…”
– “I enjoyed the victorian-era style, and the wonderfully woven words”
– “It’s grand to see something that has obviously had some love lavished on it.”
– “I am so glad I found this book!”
– “…really well written and I cannot wait to read the rest of [the series]”

Review by Kira Lerner, Author and Editor-in-Chief of

The Magnetron Chronicles relates the apocryphal tales of The Hogalum Society, a Victorian era club of “great men and great deeds” (of which Phineas Magnetron himself is a member, naturally). Think of a group comprised of Harry Houdini, Thomas Edison, Sherlock Holmes, Nikola Tesla, and other such fictional and real-life Steam Age luminaries with unconventional talents and ideas—all of whom were looked upon as a bit batty—and you’ll have a good idea of the Hogalum Society.

Anyway, the conceit of the series is that we are reading Magnetron’s journals, and in The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum we thereby learn of the strange events that occur when Phineas takes it upon himself to resurrect the spirit of Dr. Hogalum (the author tells me it’s pronounced “HO-ga-lum”), the Society’s beloved founder and mentor who has recently died. Phineas’ plan (think: zombies) isn’t warmly received by his compatriots in the group, who worry that he’s lost his marbles. The fact that he tries to perform the necessary tasks himself is admirable but his plans go awry, and after digging up Hogalum’s body, he retrieves only the head, which he intends to reanimate with voodoo. Slight problem, because (as his Haitian friend Petión observes) zombies are mindless bodies, and how useful is a mindless head?

As you can probably tell, the series is heavily inspired by the works of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, and—to a lesser extent—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And hey, let’s throw in Mark Twain as well, because—despite the fact that the journals are written with utter sincerity and seriousness, this is definitely (and intentionally) funny satire. For example, here’s one of Dr. Hogalum’s first comments upon his revival:

“I do not wish to appear ungrateful after having been raised from the dead,” he said in a beleaguered tone, “but I must ask why you did not see fit to include my body in this enterprise!”

Indeed. D. L. Mackenzie’s well-written Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum harks back to the earliest days of the science fiction serial, and does a great job evoking the style of those genteel but breathless tales of remarkable discoveries, bizarre inventions and dangerous (mis)adventure

Faraday & Frankenstein

SHORT FICTION — Warnings to the Curious #1

A new dark age begins…

In 1867, Michael Faraday, well beyond his years of meaningful contribution to the electrical sciences, travels to the America for one final, secret experiment…an experiment inspired by the novel Frankenstein…an experiment that goes terribly wrong.

Faraday & Frankenstein – the first episode in the historical fantasy adventure series Warnings to the Curious.

The Emperor’s Edge

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.

Roses and Vellum: Steampunk 1.02

cyber catBrilliant essay on Steampunk by at Roses and Vellum.  Read the full essay here (link).

Perhaps the biggest danger we actually face is making TOO MANY rules, we must take inspiration from everywhere, stylistically we are not just Victorian we are Punk and New Romantic and Goth, Steampunk literature is there, but we mustn’t fall into the trap of only worshipping things with cogs. There are books now that just throw a few cogs in there just to relate to a Steampunk audience and that is not a good sign. we have to be more open. embrace Steamgoth with its depictions of darkness and monsters, but not ask for it to be too filled with machinery, embrace urban fantasy, depictions of other glittering worlds. be inspired by rockstars and dandies.

I suppose the best aspect of her essay is the pathos and her call for tolerance. Perhaps one of my favorite movements within steampunk is the multiculturalism. Much of steampunk is London-centric, but I can’t help but delight in new films like Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero.

Take a moment to check out Laura’s blog.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

Ripper Street

ripper doctorIf you love Victorian-era drama that is on the darker side, I think that you will appreciate a show titled “Ripper Street.” The series is set in 1889 shortly after the last Jack the Ripper murder.

Each episode is a stand-alone crime drama starring Matthew Macfadyen (Detective Inspector Edmund Reid), Jerome Flynn (Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake) and Adam Rothenberg (American surgeon and former Pinkerton agent Captain Homer Jackson). The series is a bit dark and includes scenes of violence and nudity as opposed to something along the lines of a Murdoch Mysteries. Ripper Street is more like Copper. The series has eight episodes with a second season of eight episodes due in 2014.

Review: The Dark Victorian: Bones

Gnostalgia-Giveaway2013The Dark Victorian: Bones
by Elizabeth Watasin

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
ISBN-10: 1936622033
ISBN-13: 978-1936622030

(Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars)
Buy a copy at Amazon:
The Dark Victorian: Bones (Volume 2)
Kindle Ebook

Product description:

“I am made of this.” In a Victorian mechanical and eldritch London, a black arts surgeon is ripping out the bones and organs of healthy poor folk to transplant into the afflicted bodies of the wealthy. Anti-vivisectionists battle with medical doctors, medical doctors condemn supernatural practitioners, and amidst it all the Bone Stealer hunts for his most elusive prize yet: the skeleton of a woman over six feet tall. Secret Commission agents Art, the artificial ghost, and Jim Dastard, the animated skull, rush to stop him before another woman dies. And Art, only six days living after being resurrected to serve the Secret Commission, might be that woman.

My thoughts:

Another enjoyable read from Elizabeth Watasin. As you may have taken away from my earlier reviews, I love dark Victorian stories and Watasin knows how to tell a dark tale.

Smoke grew thick in the afternoon air of London. Airships sailed, one after the other, in the skies above the fog and ash while the streets below congested noisily with omnibuses, cabs, and wagons.

Once again, we follow the exploits of  Art (an artificial ghost) and Jim Dastard (an animated skull) as they battle evil in Victorian England. While this book is the second in a series,  The Dark Victorian: Bones really stands on it’s own. Having said that, I do suggest reading The Dark Victorian: Risen and I think reading the “Author’s Notes” in the back of the book will help with the setting and the characters.

In addition to the wealth of information about the world of the “Dark Victorian” series, the author tackles the subject of unconventional sexual relationships head-on. I think we can learn a lot from the character “Art.”

All in all, I give The Dark Victorian: Bones 5 animated skulls out of 5. I think that it is a must-have for your steampunk home library and for those of you who are still on the fence I have only two words for you — squid battle!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author Elizabeth Watasin. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Vintage Tomorrows

VINTAGE-TOMORROWSVintage Tomorrows: A Historian And A Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into The Future of Technology
by James H. Carrott and Brian David Johnson

Paperback: 412 pages
Publisher: Make
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1449337996
ISBN-13: 978-1449337995

(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)

Buy Vintage Tomorrows through Amazon
Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian And A Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into The Future of Technology

Product description:

What would today’s technology look like with Victorian-era design and materials? That’s the world steampunk envisions: a mad-inventor collection of 21st century-inspired contraptions powered by steam and driven by gears. In this book, futurist Brian David Johnson and cultural historian James Carrott explore steampunk, a cultural movement that’s captivated thousands of artists, designers, makers, hackers, and writers throughout the world.

Just like today, the late 19th century was an age of rapid technological change, and writers such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells commented on their time with fantastic stories that jumpstarted science fiction. Through interviews with experts such as William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, James Gleick, and Margaret Atwood, this book looks into steampunk’s vision of old-world craftsmen making beautiful hand-tooled gadgets, and what it says about our age of disposable technology.

Steampunk is everywhere—as gadget prototypes at Maker Faire, novels and comic books, paintings and photography, sculptures, fashion design, and music. Discover how this elaborate view of a history that never existed can help us reimagine our future.

My thoughts:

As is my habit, I like to flip to the back of a non-fiction book to look at the sources. I couldn’t help but get a chuckle over the the header Appendix A when image credits was the only item in the Appendix. Why have an Appendix A when there is no Appendix B? Having said that, there is a beefy eleven page Index that is extremely useful and I wish more non-fiction books had them.

The nineteen chapters of Vintage Tomorrows were a well-written exploration of Steampunk. While I am not sure that I agree with James H. Carrott that steampunk is a counterculture similar to hippies or beatniks, I can understand his argument.

Chapter 12’s “Pop Goes the Steampunk” began with Justin Bieber’s holiday music video “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” The book begs the questions, “Is steampunk making its way into the mainstream? What is the relationship between music and technology? How is Justin Bieber like the Beatles?” Maybe it’s just me, but I am surprised that steampunk survived Justin Bieber.

The high point of the book had to be the interviews. I really enjoyed reading the various opinions from well-known authors. Vintage Tomorrows was a solid read and though I disagree with some of the opinions I enjoyed the book. I give it a solid 4 stars out of 5.

Interview and giveaway: Elizabeth Watasin


Elizabeth Watasin, author of titles like “Risen” and “bones,” has graciously agreed to an interview and a giveaway. One lucky person will win a copy of “Bones” and a grand-prize winner will get a copy of “Risen” and “Bones”(Giveaway policy). The books have a minor misprint on the cover.

Check out this interview with an author of two of the most fascinating characters in steampunk.

1. What inspired you to write these steampunkish Victorian stories?

—Strangely enough, the Dark Victorian series was an offshoot of a young adult contemporary fantasy novel I was working on. The story was so big and complex I had wanted a break. The Dark Victorian was mentioned in the YA novel and it seemed a good way to do something entirely different, which would be Gothic Victorian pulp fiction, some good gaslamp mystery stuff. I’d always loved Victorian London and turn of the century innovations, like airships and such. Just as I started the first novel RISEN, I became more aware of steampunk–late to the party, I know, but that made writing The Dark Victorian even more fun.

2. Which is more challenging, your work with Disney films or your work as an author?

—Working on films is easy. You’re learning a trade in a team environment, one with a set structure and another set of people specialized in managing the whole show. You’re basically a cog in the bigger works. You can always run to someone more senior with lots more experience who can guide you with a problem. You get a paycheck and benefits (if you’re union), and the work is assigned to you and you do it.

Being an author is entirely different, but it’s the best thing ever. It’s my stuff, my stories, and because I’m self-publishing, I control how the books look, the content, and how fast the books become available. I have an editor, she gets the biggest chunk of my budget because I know how important she is towards making the books a quality read. Self-publishing and writing on one’s own are not easy things to do. I have to manage myself. I have to make end products, and consistently. It’s scary, hard, and frustrating. The new publishing environment is constantly changing. Having to be publisher, publicist, designer, and creator is all way too much work, and there’s no one else to help pay the bills or take the blame when things get crappy, like bad printing, or figure out what to do when the money runs out. There are no paychecks, benefits, paid vacations, or sick leave.

If you ever wonder why, or are very irritated by, authors who aggressively self-promote, it might be desperation but I think after a while it’s passion. Or obsession. It becomes your whole life. Now that I’ve my second novel out I’m passionately immersed–not too annoyingly, I hope, and I’m still learning. It is a great challenge, but in doing my own work and becoming my own work, I am growing.

So money and bills and ‘god, I hope I don’t get sick’ aside, I think you shouldn’t take the more challenging path unless you still have that day job or a spouse who’ll carry you. At my weakest moments, I sometimes wish I had a steady paycheck somewhere, but it gets less so as the books grow.

elizabeth watasin3. What films have influenced you?

—Oh, I barely watch anything now, but there are things I always go back to in my head, even if I don’t bother to view them again. Yojimbo, Babette’s Feast, Dreamchild, Le Double Vie de Veronique, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Casablanca, and Coconuts (the Marx Brothers). I guess I should put Seven Samurai in there. Scenes in that movie return to me at times.

4. Favorite author?

—Again, I have to go back to what I think about, and in the end I just think of Frank L. Baum and P. L. Travers (Mary Poppins series). I’m not sure in terms of my own work, perhaps more in terms of what I simply love.

5. What books are you reading now?

—Nothing but non-fiction, I’m still musing on the revelations in Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England, by Sharon Marcus. I just finished a wee essay, The Voice of Victorian Sex: Arthur H. Clough 1819-1861, by Rupert Christiansen, I’m in the middle of The Victorian Visitors: Cultural Shock in 19th Century Britain, another by Rupert Christiansen. So naturally after that one I’ll be reading King Khama, Emperor Joe, and the Great White Queen: Victorian Britain through African Eyes, by Neil Parsons. You can kind of see where this is going, it’s in prep for the next Dark Victorian book. I have found researching the Victorian era really fascinating because it reflects how we are now, in our rapid development, struggle with religions, gender issues, social-economic issues, the gap in poverty and wealth. Amazing stuff.

6. Your artwork is fantastic, at what point did you decide to go with a novel instead of a graphic novel?

—Thank you, I decided to simply write because I’ve hit mid-age and I need the stories to get done and out there. I wasn’t going to spend the next ten years working on one graphic novel. I had thought, well how about those turn of the century novels that had illustration plates, why not just do that? Some people who read long fiction dislike pictures, from what I understand, so I put the illustrations in a gallery in the back rather than have them appear throughout the book. With the stories done within a year rather than ten years and turned out into a beautiful print book, I am very happy with the long fiction process.

7. I know that you just got back from a convention. Do you have more appearances scheduled in the near future?

—Yes! I’ve just finished Wondercon Anaheim 2013, which was a very good show, I came home with far less books to carry back, and that’s very cool. This is the part of self-publishing that gets to be lots of work. Having to be out there and make sure people know you’ve a book series. I’ll be at L.A. Times Festival of Books, April 20 and 21, Booth 953 with GLAWS (the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society), Long Beach Comic Expo on May 11th, in San Jose at Clockwork Alchemy 2013, May 24-27th. Summertime, I hope to have another novel published, SUNDARK (an Elle Black Penny Dread). By the time I’m officially doing events again–in November, both Comikaze Expo 2013 in Los Angeles and Long Beach Comic Con–I hope to have my indy comic book series, Charm School, finally gathered into a complete collection. So that’s my graphic novel, this time as published by me.

elizabeth watasin28. Your stories are based in London. What are your thoughts on multicultural steampunk?

—Multicultural steampunk! When I look at photos or accounts from Victorian London, or late 1800’s San Francisco, parts of southern California, and the upper East coast of the US, I already see a great mix of ethnic types. You see them in the school yearbooks, or street photography, or in the cabinet photos. All kinds of people making a life in the Western world, and of course dressing and acting so. I like this because I’m familiar with it. I’m a person of colour, my parents were Thai immigrants and it wasn’t easy for them in 1960’s San Francisco to start anew in the US. I’m a product of that kind of multiculturalism, though in the 70’s that was called ‘melting pot’.

Perhaps I’m interpreting your mention of ‘multicultural steampunk’ incorrectly, because I haven’t read up on what that means currently in the community, and I’m not about to read up on that right now and confuse myself further. I’m still recovering personally from being part of the 70’s melting pot.

So with ‘multiculturalism’ itself, I think in the neo-Victorian and steampunk genre I can take it further. I’ve been pondering issues concerning the African continent and the indigenous peoples and former slaves of the Americas–even though I’m primarily based in Victorian London. I feel that to make a multicultural society believable, I have to consider the imperialist actions of the empires of that time. I’ve major characters who are British but were born in Nepal, an independent kingdom. Siam was also independent at that time. These are the sort of locations and cultures I would strengthen in the mechanical and supernatural world of the Dark Victorian.

But stepping back from that world aspect and returning to the city I’m writing in, I’m happy to introduce ethnic characters and cultures into the Dark Victorian just as much as I do gender issues. This is part of the richness and fun. As my beta-reader has pointed out to me, I may have created an ideal world with the Dark Victorian, but it’s not utopian. There’s definitely bigotry, gender inequality, and racism. I believe struggle against ignorance reflects real life. And I think it serves the reader more to be honest about that. It’s a complex issue, but one that will continue to be an aspect in the third Dark Victorian book, EVERLIFE, which is in progress.

9. Do you have a mentor?

—I don’t have one to actually go to, but I keep the works of certain people in mind when I work. Or I keep their voices in my head. Believe it or not, those would be the writers and creators of the TV show, Xena: Warrior Princess. I keep screenwriter Kathryn Fugate constantly in mind, if not her actual words. I try, at least as much as I can understand, to think always on what she would find is the heart of a story.

10. The books have a nice historical feel. What sort of research do you do?

—Lots. Besides the piles of books, I like life accounts–diary entries, letters, and such–and newspaper or other contemporary accounts for the Victorian period. It’s exhausting trying to digest that florid writing style where there are three-paragraph long sentences describing how The Times births the morning edition and then gets it into the hands of newsboys or how Billingsgate Market receives its fish and then distributes it out to all of London. But that’s how I get the absolute flavour (pardon the term), for what it really was like on the street, talking to people, what they ate, how it smelled, that sort of thing. Like movies, you want that richness in detail and experience. I can’t say that I’m an elegant wordsmith at it but I try.

elizabeth watasin311. Have you ever had writer’s block and what did you do to work through it?

—I don’t think I ever have. I get lots of ideas and my frustrations are in not being able to get to them all. If writer’s block is being stymied because a story is not working, well, I think then the story can’t be worked on at that time and I should go on to something else. The YA novel I mentioned before, that’s all worked out, it’ll just be an utter chore to wrestle the last fifteen chapters back to what I had intended the book to be (my editor on that book wrote like 1000 notes, 500 of which I managed to take care of. But now the book’s focus seems to be lost). So the YA novel is a case of burnout rather than not knowing what to do.

When you’re on a production, you haven’t time to be blocked, you have to go to somebody to help you out, turn stuff upside down, backwards, go outside and do something entirely different, like play an instrument—anything to stimulate a way to get to an answer. Or, the thing that’s blocked, perhaps it’s something that shouldn’t be pursued. At least at that time. I’ve another novel, a science fiction one, I’ve set aside for now because I think the ideas for it have grown old before I’ve even started writing scenes for them. I’ve stories more worth my efforts until I can figure out if the science fiction one still has possibilities.

12. What can “Art” (Artifice) teach us about love and humanity?

—Oh gosh, what can she? She’s near and dear to me, I leave it to reviewers or commentators to say it more clearly. At this time, she’s a pure being with a simple, near-clear lenses of what love is. If I’m going to resurrect people, I thought it best to make them a clean slate, so as to try and portray them as characters without instilled prejudices. Just like children, if they become prejudiced it’s because they’ve learned it and taken it on. This way beings like Art exist pretty much outside of society’s conventions. She loves simply and honestly and therefore should make lots of mistakes as she pursues the women she’s enamoured with, but perhaps those ‘mistakes’ show us what’s probably judgmental, limiting, and ignorant about ourselves and society now.

(lucky)13. Is there anything that you would like to add?

—Sure. Thank you very much for having my work showcased at Gnostalgia and I hope that everyone who picks up The Dark Victorian series will enjoy it. This discussion sounded pretty scholarly but at heart the books are Gothic mysteries with a pulp fiction attitude and good-looking women who kick ass too. So thanks again for reading and have fun!

Thanks Elizabeth for a look at the person behind the books!

If you would like to learn more about Elizabeth Watasin check out these links!

Okay, now for the fun part, the giveaway is open for U.S. residents (no PO boxes) starting April 13th and ending midnight April 27th (ET). I will draw the winners names Sunday and send them to the author Elizabeth Watasin. The book covers have a minor misprint, which should be a fun collectable. One winner wins a copy of “Bones” and another wins the grand-prize of both “Risen” and “Bones.” Use the form, and email me ( if you have any questions or problems.

Contest over —- thanks for playing

Review: The Dark Victorian: Risen


The Dark Victorian: Risen
by Elizabeth Watasin

Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: A-Girl Studio
ISBN-10: 1936622017
ISBN-13: 978-1936622016

(Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars)

The book may be purchased through Amazon:
The Dark Victorian: Risen (Volume 1)
Risen Kindle Edition

Product description:

“Way will open.” She is Artifice. A resurrected criminal and agent of HRH Prince Albert’s Secret Commission. An artificial ghost. A Quaker. He is Jim Dastard. The oldest surviving agent of the Secret Commission. An animated skull. A mentor to newly resurrected agents. It is 1880 in a mechanical and supernatural London. Agents of Prince Albert’s Secret Commission, their criminal pasts wiped from their memories, are resurrected to fight the eldritch evils that threaten England. Amidst this turmoil, Jim Dastard and his new partner Artifice must stop a re-animationist raising murderous dead children. As Art and Jim pursue their quarry, Art discovers clues about her past self, and through meeting various intriguing women–a journalist, a medium, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman in black–where her heart lies. Yet the question remains: What sort of criminal was she? A new beginning, a new identity, and new dangers await Art as she fights for the Secret Commission and for her second life.

The paperback edition contains the Extra of an illustrations gallery.

My thoughts:

First let me admit my bias for dark Victorian stories. From my misspent youth watching Hammer Films to my current love of goth and steampunk, I have enjoyed my fiction like I like my chocolate, dark.  So it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed  “The Dark Victorian: Risen.”

Set in a Victorian-era London, a “not-so” secret agency protects the citizens from supernatural evil. Watasin has created two of the most interesting characters that I have ever read, and between you and me that’s saying something. Artifice (Art) is an artificial ghost with abilities beyond her massive frame. Her senior partner is an animated skull, Jim Dastard (you have got to love that name). Art is the perfect foil to speed our supernatural story along.

While the pair attempt to solve their case, Art tackles the age old question of who am I. I liked the development of her character and the pace of the story.  I did find a minor typo. I have to say that the illustrations are eye-popping beautiful and I’d like to have seen more. Also I’d would like to have seen some multicultural London in the story.

If you like James Blaylock, O. M. Grey, or Guido Henkel, you should enjoy Elizabeth Watasin’s The Dark Victorian series. I highly recommend it and give it a “must read” score of 5 stars out of 5.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author Elizabeth Watasin. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Avalon Revisited

avalon-revisited-largeAvalon Revisited: A novel of Vampires, Murder, and Sex in Victorian England
by O. M. Grey

(Barry’s score 4 stars out of 5)
Buy the book @ Amazon
Avalon Revisited: A novel of Vampires, Murder, and Sex in Victorian England (Volume 1)

Product description:

Arthur Tudor has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur’s shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders on the dark streets of London. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this very steamy tale.

My thoughts:

I have to admit that I was a bit dubious about a steampunk erotic/romance book when Riverdale Avenue Books offered me a review copy.  Having said that, I have seen the book cover bouncing around the internet and I was just a tad curious. I gave it an open-minded try and to my great surprise, I liked it.

Grey has created a vampire that would stomp a Twilight vampire into a puddle of sparkly goo and only regret that it soiled his shoes. In chapter one we meet Arthur Tudor who ” …was to be the King of England.”

I had lost control in my passion and killed her. I had only intended to feed and then wipe her memory of it. Oh well.

Some people may not like Arthur, but I found him to be a breath of fresh air among whiny vampires who need therapy. He is a vampire who knows who and what he is. Of course, un-life can be a little dull without some adventure so Arthur can’t pass up an airship trip that will change his life, or un-life, forever.

An airship hung in the sky, suspended over the trees. Its propellers moved far too slowly, one would think, to hold up such a massive balloon. I didn’t understand this modern technology, and I didn’t care to. Dirigibles were the latest fascination in London. On pleasant Saturday afternoons such as today, a well-known airship captain would give commoners rides for a crown. Saturday evenings were reserved for London’s crème de la crème. Tonight, that would include me. I have never been on an airship before, but I’m certain it will be quite the experience.

The steampunk element worked nicely and it didn’t seem as if the author simply pasted gears on her story.  The atmosphere felt right and the book had a nice pace. The major characters were fleshed out well, although some secondary characters were very two-dimensional.  As you might expect, the story has plenty of adult content.

With Avalon in his life, Arthur grows throughout story. I enjoyed Avalon Revisited far more than I thought that I would and give it 4 stars out of 5. By the way, zombies — enough said.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free from Riverdale Avenue Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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