22 SEPTEMBER 2022 - THE CHILTERN HERITAGE FESTIVAL
“Novels With A Twist – Researching For Historical Accuracy”
With fellow Caffeine Nights author Paul Eccentric (who penned The Periwinkle Perspective) at the Aston Clinton Baptist Church in Buckinghamshire, I chatted about the importance of trying to get your facts as straight as possible.
As you may know, in the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors series, Michael and Phoebe encounter all manner of famous-name people from Arthur Conan Doyle to Bram Stoker, and Lillie Langtry to Oscar Wilde. Their investigations take them to real locations such as The Bank of England, The Greenwich Royal Observatory and Westminster Abbey.
So I told the audience – who did seem genuinely interested – why I think it’s important that the pictures the Professor tries to paint with his florid narrations are as visually accurate as possible. That way, when you visit these places, what you see closely resembles what you read. That’s why it’s important I recce the locations in person, making notes and snapping photographs.
Likewise with real-life people, I avidly study their biographies to ensure they speak and act true to their character, and that in 1899, they were exactly where they were when Michael and Phoebe met them. If you see what I mean.
In fact, you can see some of what I mean if you tap upon the Locations tab above.
(Another photo – the same hand gesture…)
6 February 2022 - radio sheppey fm
Always keen to support Community Radio, I mooched down to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent on Sunday, 6 February 2022, to appear on the Darren Laws Arts Show on Sheppey FM, and chat with Darren at length about Steampunk in general and the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors series in particular. Sheppey has an incredible history. Visited by Wilbur and Orville Wright, it’s where the very first heavier-than-air powered flight took place in the UK. The Eastchurch Aviation Museum is a must see. As is the island’s Victorian Music Hall, The Criterion in Blue Town, built in 1855, and now perfectly restored.
28 DECEMBER 2021 – A NICE SURPRISE TO ROUND OFF 2021
Very honoured to be even mentioned in the same paragraph of such exulted Steampunk authors in The Steampunk Explorer’s roundup of ‘notable Steampunk fiction of 2021’.
Here’s the announcement on Twitter:
Many thanks to Editor Stephen Beale.
(And Boston Metaphysical Society for the Retweet)
The full round up can be found here:
26 December 2021 - My tv life
This column appeared in the Boxing Day 2021 edition
of the Sunday Express promoting
The Magister Curiosity.
With sincere thanks to Garry Bushell.
Stop Press News: "Weird Bald Bloke Poses With Book!"
The Magister Curiosity, our 40k. word 'origin story' novella and latest addition to the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors library, is now available for pre-order
With much love and many thanks to the SS&M team, to you our magnificent supporters and the splendid Steampunk community.
A SNEAK PEAK AT THE LATEST ADDITION TO
THE STEAM, SMOKE & MIRRORS LIBRARY!
Joining the line-up in the Cabinet of Curiosities will be - The Magister Curiosity.
Set in 1889's New York City, The Magister Curiosity is a 40,000 word origin story novella, charting the dramatic confluence of temporal events (!) which brought together Michael Magister, Professor Artemus More and Dr Manswick 'Wicko' Smawl.
The story first appeared in The Strand Magazine in 1900, then more recently, during the first British Lockdown in 2020, as a week-by-week six episode serial here on the SS&M website.
Now, the events, excitement and the Professor's recollections of what really happened have been expanded, embellished and probably further embroidered.
With our dear friend Nikola Tesla at the heart of the action, Michael, the Professor and Wicko encounter the world's greatest showman Phineas T. Barnum, America's most seductive vaudeville performer Lillian Russell, along with a furious Thomas A. Edison and, one of the wealthiest men in the U.S., a not best pleased, Diamond Jim Brady.
Exotic inventions, erotic boudoirs and a life or death escape - all in The Magister Curiosity
Details of how, when and where to get The Magister Curiosity will be coming soon.
The latest member of the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors team has arrived! Meet the magnificent Monsieur Orwell Lapin, my specially commissioned, beautifully detailed Steampunk hare, designed and hand-crafted by the splendid, multi-talented Jayne Tunnicliffe.
By the way, it's the first time I've been photographed with hare since 1899.
For more details and to see more wondrous, animal friendly textile wall sculptures by Jayne, please go to: www.craftedcreatures.com
If you’re interested, the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors series wasn’t my first venture into the world of writing adventure, mystery and thriller stories.
Back in 1979(!), working with David Angus (who went on to pen television scripts for Brookside, Tucker’s Luck, Grange Hill and Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock), I wrote two annuals featuring The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Joe and Frank Hardy along with Nancy Drew were American teens who investigated spooky and inexplicable mysteries and whose exploits are still chronicled in a best-selling, long-running U.S. book franchise.
The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries was also a high-rating TV series which aired worldwide starring Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy as Frank and Joe, and Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy. It was to support the television show that publisher Grandreams produced two annuals, and it was Editor John Barraclough who commissioned me and David to write the stories.
To celebrate everything related to The Hardy Boys a fantastic website was created, currently run by Jon Preddle and Ian Regan. It is a brilliant work of detail and scholarship.
See for yourself by clicking here:
To read the full, illustrated interview I gave Jon and Ian about putting together those stories back in 1979 and 1980 click here:
AudioBookReviewer.com Awards 2020
The February newsletter of the redoubtable AudioBookReviewer.com confirmed the winners of the AudioBookReviewer.com Awards 2020. This is a particularly significant event in the audio book awards calendar because it is a poll NOT based on the votes of publishing industry professions, but on the opinions of the people who matter: book-lovers who download, buy and listen to audio books for pleasure. Many thanks to Charla White and her indefatigable team of reviewers for voting SS&M2 The Lazarus Curiosity, narrated by Karl Jenkinson, as the Best Mystery in the Steampunk genre.
2020 Best Mystery Winners
(Book Title, Author, Genre)
The First Consulting Detective by W.S. Mulrooney, Traditional
Trial by Fire by Linsey Lanier, Detective
The Lazarus Curiosity by Colin Edmonds, Steampunk
Deadly Kin by Lucinda Brant, Historical
Catch Handle by Alison O’Mara, Cozy Animal Mystery
Once again, I really recommend anyone who is interested in audio books to head straight to their website: https://www.audiobookreviewer.com/
HERE’S THE LATEST REVIEW OF SS&M2 THE LAZARUS CURIOSITY
2021 gets underway with a great head of steam!
On 11 January 2021, it was announced that our good friend Karl Jenkinson’s brilliant narration of The Lazarus Curiosity had won the ‘Audio Book Reviewer.Com Award for Best Mystery 2020’. Congratulations, Karl! The steam always rises to the top.
**All modesty aside, here's the latest review of The Lazarus Curiosity to be found on Audible.**
A Thrilling Ride
The Lazarus Curiosity is a steampunk thriller in which Music Hall magicians are called in to solve the crimes that the famed Scotland Yard detectives cannot! Michael Magister and Phoebe Le Breton are intelligent, sleight of hand and misdirection experts who love puzzles. Although the crimes they are called in to solve are not only enigmatic but could be deadly to them! The storyline is smooth, progresses at a good pace and with the double-edged humor, it is intriguing and thrilling. The author, Colin Edmonds, has done an excellent job of building the storyline, plot twists and character building. Although I did not read the other books, I was able to discern what was going on and found myself enthralled in the world of magic, supernatural and mystery. The Black Bishop … I have to say he was terrifying! The narrator, Karl Jenkinson performed the book flawlessly with a rhythm and cadence that kept you on the seat of your chair. His voices were perfectly matched to the character – Michael’s was charismatic and persuasive while Phoebe’s was thoughtful and classy. Jenkinson slipped into each character as if it were a second skin and performed the book expertly. This is one of those rare books that transport the listener into the world of steampunk effortlessly. I highly recommend this book/series to anyone who enjoys magic, sci-fi steampunk and mystery!”
That review and many more can be found here.
Huge congratulations to actor and master of the voice over, SS&M’s Karl Jenkinson for his nomination at the 2020 Society of Vocal Arts and Sciences Awards event held in New York. Although this year we didn’t land the award for ‘Audiobook Narration – Mystery, Best Voiceover’, his brilliant telling of The Lazarus Curiosity received a very positive nod from the judges. Fingers crossed next time for Karl’s recording of The Nostradamus Curiosity, which goes into production very soon!
NEWS FROM New york
THE LAZARUS CURIOSITY - SOVAS AWARD 2020 NOMINATION
Our friend, actor Karl Jenkinson, has just been nominated for a 2020 SOVAS Award (The Society of Voice Arts & Sciences) in the category of ‘Audiobook Narration – Mystery, Best Voiceover’ for his splendid telling of The Lazarus Curiosity.
You may remember last year, Karl WON the very same award for his narration of Steam, Smoke & Mirrors.
The results will be announced via a live stream from New York on 6 December 2020!
Let’s hope he can make it two in row!
steam lords in space - an update
Sadly – but unsurprisingly – this year’s magnificent event “Steam Lords in Space” at The National Space Centre in Leicester, where we were going to be exhibiting, has been cancelled. It’s such a great shame for everyone who works so hard in putting together one of the great highlights in the Steampunk calendar.
So, I won’t be seeing you there – but my typing fingers are confidently crossed for next year.
GO BEHIND THE SCENES OF STEAM SMOKE & MIRRORS
The recent "Sanctuary" On Line Global Steampunk Festival
which ran 28-30 August was a roaring success,
proving that even Coronavirus can't stop determined
Steampunks from strutting their responsible, socially distanced stuff
and doing what they do best!
One of the many videos which aired on
'The Ministry of Steampunk' You Tube Channel
that weekend was a
Behind The Scenes look at Steam, Smoke & Mirrors.
If you didn't see the documentary the first time around, or you fancy viewing it again then please click upon - here!
THE LAZARUS CURIOSITY IS OUT NOW ON AUDIBLE!
This time last year, the audio version of Steam, Smoke & Mirrors recorded by the brilliant Karl Jenkinson, was shortlisted for the Vocal Arts and Sciences Award (SOVAS) in the category of Audiobook Narration - Mystery Best Voiceover. Which we went on to win!
And you can hear for yourself, because the audio version of Lazarus is available by clicking upon - here!
I hope you enjoy it!
"Steam lords in space"
date for your post-covid diary
21-22 november 2020
Coronavirus allowing and if everything goes to plan, we very much hope to bring the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors stand to ‘Steam Lords in Space’ at the National Space Centre, over the weekend of 21-22 November 2020.
Alongside The Asylum at Lincoln, a weekend at ‘Steampunks in Space’ at the National Space Centre in Leicester is always one of the great annual Steampunk events. Superbly organised and set among some of the world’s finest exhibits dedicated to the exploration of space, it’s a must-go-to experience. But note for 2020 – the name-change to ‘Steam Lords in Space’. I’ll need to reflect the time travel element in “The Nostradamus Curiosity” somehow on this year’s stand. As yet, the ideas aren’t exactly flowing…
Last year’s event was our first visit to ‘Steampunks in Space’ and one of our happiest experiences.
The long-suffering Lady Kathryn begins setting up the ‘Steam, Smoke & Mirrors’ study stand at the National Space Centre.
Work in progress. This angle favouring the finished ‘Steampunk Starviewer’
(yes, all right, telescope), the building of which you can follow on the ‘Props’ page.
The finished stand – with thanks also to Natalie and Darren Laws at Caffeine Nights
Being pursued by the Droid Master Chris Osborne’s magnificent “Robot Hunter”.
With my good friend and Steampunk's most famous ‘Wheeled Wonder’ Zoe.
With a magnificent Karl Ruprecht Kroenen from Guillermo del Toro’s movie “Hellboy”
Photobombing one of the hundreds of wonderful exhibits at the National Space Museum.
I prefer their costumes to mine. When you get a moment, a visit to the National Space Centre is a must! The address is: Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS
A 4-star review for the nostradamus curiosity
in the daily express, March 2020
the nostradamus curiosity launch event
Gerrards Cross library, october 2019
Held at the Gerrards Cross Community Library the venue where we held ‘The Lazarus Curiosity’ launch – with grateful thanks for all support, generous co-operation and help from library managers Joanna Ward and Jacqui Bennett – it was Jac who, pressing into service her shop designer skills, also put together the decorations and the Lady Steampunk mannequin.
Acting as Event Host and Master of Ceremonies was my dear friend, the entertainer Joe Pasquale. The Saturday morning crowd were largely there to see Joe.
During my chat, the Event Host and Master of Ceremonies contemplates whether or not the joke I’ve just cracked is funny. Judging from the reaction, probably not.
Here with three very special people who are prepared to be photographed with me. Lucy, Mark and Joe.
Here’s one of Steam, Smoke and Mirrors most avid readers, my dear friend Dena, who drove a long way to be at the launch, along with Lucy.
Here’s folk rock musicians Ric Sanders and Vo Fletcher who kindly provided live music for the event.
Ric seems to be the only professional who knows where the camera is.
Asylum steampunk festival - lincoln 2019
It’s the biggest annual Steampunk event in Europe and the highlight of the Steampunk calendar, with more than 60,000 Steampunks and visitors entirely occupying the beautiful city of Lincoln.
And the Steam, Smoke & Mirrors stand was set up in the marquee within the Castle...
…just beside the 1820 purpose built ‘Lincoln Lunatic Asylum’
– they said it like it was in those days. And the stage was set.
Unfortunately, the SS&M stall wasn’t.
Here's what we started with…
…which progressed to this…
…until our publishers, Natalie and Darren Laws arrived to add the final flourish.
With a bit of pointing...
…and a bit of scheming…
…and the author, Colin Edmonds, stopping to pose for the camera (no change there) while his publisher busily gets on with it…
The final result was this! Exactly the look we were going for.
A Steampunk Library/Study.
Here’s a candid behind-the-scenes snack-break snap, before the castle gates were thrown open.
Here’s the latest addition to the SS&M display: may I present Mr Hatty.
A present from our lovely friend SteampunKimPerman.
On the first day, we revealed the front cover of the latest SS&M
- The Nostradamus Curiosity -
which will be published on 31st October.
Meanwhile, here’s a splendid Anime interpretation by my good friend, the brilliant Japanese film producer Abbey Masahiro!
Against their better judgement, a surprising number of Steampunks came over to say hello.
If I could grow a beard, I’d have it like this. And a fully functioning telescope!
And with five of the most magnificently dressed ladies at the Festival. Here are two of them. Please excuse the flagrant photobomber over to right.
Among them SS&M readers Becky and Richard aka
The Ring-Mistress and her trusty Henchmen.
With my good friends Myk and his Missus! Plus their tiny friend!
And here are the other three. Please excuse, what appears to be, my weird lighting rig hat.
Shooting a scene with model maker extraordinaire Pete Walton for Gary Nicholls’ The Imaginarium Trilogy - Vol. 2 “Robbie Pertwee” which will be out soon.
Onlookers were heard to be whispering:
“Why is the tall one wearing the mask when it’s the bald bloke who needs to?”
My personal highlight! With one of my genius Steampunk heroes. The greatly gifted and truly dapper Ian Crichton – aka the very famous Herr Doktor!
Finally, my thanks to the real brains of the outfit, the long-suffering and highly-supportive Kathryn Edmonds…
…and my publishers at Caffeine Nights, Natalie and Darren Laws – who all find drinking heroic quantities of strong coffee is the only thing that sustains them throughout the Asylum weekend when working with me. The SS&M Lincoln DreamSteamTeam.
Also, to everyone who agreed to allow their photos to appear - thank you, my friends. You helped make this year’s Lincoln Asylum Steampunk Festival
a tremendous success. I look forward to seeing you again.
Roll on Lincoln 2020!
In pursuit of bram stoker, dublin - June 2019
In “The Lazarus Curiosity”, while following a line of enquiry into the black magic “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, Michael and Phoebe go backstage at London’s Lyceum Theatre to consult the great Bram Stoker.
Okay, I will concede Mr Stoker is possibly better known as the author of 13 novels, the most familiar being his 1903 curse of the mummy story, “The Jewel of the Seven Stars” which inspired the 1971 Hammer Film Production of “Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb”; along with his 1911 chiller “The Lair of the White Worm”, filmed 77 years later by Ken Russell; and his famous-the-world-over 1897 Gothic horror classic, “Dracula”.
The first edition of
on display in the Dublin Writers Museum.
Bram was a Dubliner, born in Clontarf on the northern outskirts of the city, so it was across the Irish Sea we traipsed to walk in the revered footsteps of an internationally renowned writer whose elegant vampire Count begat an entire creative industry.
Our first stop was the magnificent Dublin Writers Museum on the north side of Parnell Square.
Here Bram’s memory is celebrated alongside other great Irish literary heroes including Nobel laureates: Samuel Beckett and W. B. Yeats, along with Oscar Wilde, Dean Jonathan Swift and James Joyce.
The museum displays a first edition of “Dracula” (above), which is exhibited alongside a splendid bronze bust of Bram Stoker, seen here without a photobombing attention seeker...
...and which was sponsored by an incredible list of luminaries.
In 1876, after Bram published a favourable Dublin Evening Mail review of Henry Irving’s performance as Hamlet, Britain’s leading actor invited the writer to dinner at the magnificent Shelbourne Hotel.
The meeting began a lifelong friendship, with Bram agreeing to move to London and the Lyceum Theatre where, it’s generally believed, Henry Irving became the inspiration for Count Dracula.
“Ah. Welcome, Mr Stoker. Mr Irving is expecting you…”
One of the Dublin addresses at which Bram lived has become a place of pilgrimage for Stoker admirers – 30 Kildare Street.
With Dublin host, James Firm.
“Wait. I think we should lose the coat and the bag…”
Finally. A very happy Bram Stoker fan.