Tag Archives: books

New Products! New Art! New!

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I love phone cases and skins. For as long as it’s been possible to decorate a mobile phone or a laptop I have done. I have a variety of hard cases available on RedBubble but I was hugely excited when GelaSkins rebranded as Nuvango and announced that their amazing range of skins were available for print-on-demand artists. There are literally skins for every bit of electronics you can think of, not just iPhones and Blackberrys, there are Playstation skins! DS skins! Nook and Kindle skins! Wii skins! They do hard cases for the major phones too, but these skins are ideal for anything you want to protect, without adding extra weight or bulk. I’ve used this brand of skin for years (I have a 7 year old iPod classic in one of these skins and its still perfect) so I’m very excited to finally be able to offer them with my art on them!

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It’s currently 15% off all hoodies and sweatshirts over at RedBubble! Use code HOODIE15

There are also new products available on RedBubble- tote bags, throw pillows and bedding!

GallifreyanPillow

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Last bit of news for today- the latest novella in Nico Murray’s excellent vampire series “Winterblood” is out now, and the next full length novel “Stealing Sunlight” will be available in November!

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Filed under Art, Books, fan art, Prints, Steampunk

2013 Calendars!

September is drawing to a close, the weather is getting a bit more wintery (England didn’t have a summer this year) and I’m sorry to say it’s time to think about Christmas/Yule/New Years. Well it is for artists and other creative types at least.

I’ve a few different calendar offerings for you this year.

First of all there are two different collected art calendars available in the DeviantArt store –

Zodiac Calendar by =phantoms-siren on deviantART

Art of Phantoms Siren Calendar by =phantoms-siren on deviantART

And now we also have two single sheet calendars. The first is an update of last years nouveau piece.

Available as a photo print here – 2013 Nouveau One Sheet Calendar
by =phantoms-siren on deviantART
This design is also available as a tea towel, or as a movable wall decal.

The second is new for 2013 and features the “Books” design.

Available as a photo print here – 2013 One Page Calendar
by =phantoms-siren on deviantART
This design is also available as a tea towel, or as a movable wall decal.

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Nico Murray: Interview With The Author

Nico Murray has just published her first novel and novella, and I was lucky enough to design the cover for the latter. You can meet her at the BinarySoul chainmail booth in the Dealer Hall at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA USA over the Labor Day weekend (August 31 – September 3, 2012). In the meantime here’s a short interview with details of the books.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Toronto, Canada, with my husband, and my strange little dog. When I’m not crafting strange tales, I work as a goldsmith by trade, while finding many ways to indulge in vodka, coffee and cupcakes.

So, what’s the deal with this series?

That’s a tricky question. I love vampires, and it’s an idea that percolated in my head for a long time.

What I wanted, and found wanting in the great heap of vampires in media was a character who was relatively angst free, and perhaps average, not powerful, rich, or angry. Someone who was going to live life on his own terms. Or his unlife, as it might be. I also wanted vampires who accepted blood drinking, and that the mortals in their life were not just food, but a connection to their own humanity. The Council that Sascha answers to is largely hands off save for big matters.

The series will go from Sascha getting his freedom, but getting saddled with a huge responsibility, but also his own research lab, to have a chance to make things right for the people who need it, while protecting his own people and dealing with the risks of modern society when it comes in the front door.I have vague ideas for books beyond 2, and largely it tends to depend on what unfolds in book 2. Turning Night revealed twists to me that I could not have ever planned. Trying to avoid being spoilery here!

Is the novella Bound Lilies different to the main novel Turning Night?
The novellas are planned as a sort of side-story to the novels, a chance to get behind the scenes, or behind closed doors, or into secondary characters stories where they might not fill a novel entirely. The first novella was created out of a bit of joking between Asher and James, and suddenly I felt I was watching these two getting up to a bit of fun. I liked the play between them, and what was a one off short story just rolled out into this interesting little tale.

The novella also presents a kink/bdsm relationship in a different light. I’m not fond of the standard “Dominant Man/Naive Girl” thing, I wanted characters who knew what they were getting into, and delving into what I think is the pull of kink to some degree, the psychological stuff, catharsis, confronting one’s boundaries, but done in a respectful, balanced and equitable way between the dominant and submissive. I mean, you can’t have one without the other.

I have some ideas for novella 2, but it likely won’t be quite so…graphic. I have no shame writing sex scenes, I think the aversion to that, but a general acceptance of all manner of full on violence seems odd to me. I also presented most of the immortals as somewhat fluid in sexual orientation, the joke being “you’re warm, you’re squishy, you’re consenting? good enough.” I sort of pictured that after 200 years you’d be pretty much down with whatever happened to stumble in to your arms.

So that’s where its at.

Where can we buy the books?

Paper books at Createspace –
Bound Lilies ($10)
Turning Night ($15)

Paper books at Amazon –
Bound Lilies ($10)
Turning Night ($15)

One of the differences between Createspace (an Amazon company) and Amazon is that shipping from Createspace is not a very friendly option for those overseas. The localized Amazon flavour is likely your best bet if you’re quoted high prices for delivery.

eBook exclusively at Amazon’s Kindle shop
Bound Lilies ($3.99)
Turning Night ($5.99)

Where else can we find you online?

I have a tumblr where I post my own pics I take for novel ideas, and random flotsam and jetsam related to the writing at nicovamp.tumblr.com (occasionally NSFW) and my author page at nicomurray.ca.

You can also find the artists who created the Turning Night artwork here- MANDEM Mythpunk Art Noir.

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Wordless Reading Wednesday

Books by =phantoms-siren on deviantART

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A Better 30 Day Blog Challenge?

Picture is unrelated :pAs you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been posting much content here recently. Mostly* that’s because I’ve been working hard on a number of projects that I can’t share publicly yet. I’ll hopefully have a few previews of my work from the Abney Park “Airship Pirates” project to share with you over the next few days, but my current project isn’t going live to the world until Christmas. So I’ve been looking for other content to keep this site going until my next project. Somehow I don’t think it can survive on Wordless Wednesdays alone!

After the relative success of the Thirty Days of Books I’ve been looking for something else to inspire me… and so far I’m not find anything especially inspirational. The majority of the lists I’ve seen have gotten a bit twee- “Describe your perfect first date”; or a bit repetitive “post a photo of you a year ago/5 years ago/10 years ago”; or a bit too girly “describe what’s in your handbag/your skin care routine”; or a bit too personal for a public blog “worst personal habit/time you tried to kill yourself”.

I think the types of questions that appear over and over would be an interesting subject for a thesis into the personality profile of the majority of internet users but not something that’s likely to make me hugely excited about blogging. Then I remembered The Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge, the prompts for which seem to have been deleted from Facebook 😦 I really enjoyed completing that challenge because the strangeness of the prompts actually made you think about your choices, it wasn’t just a case of giving a lame answer on autopilot. You can usually name your favorite song with ease, but can you name your favorite song for defenestrating a TV with as much ease?

Sadly I haven’t been able to find a general blogging list of that type… I guess I’m going to have to write my own instead 😀

*Partly because I’ve cracked a rib. Whilst cleaning. Whoops.

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Abney Park’s Airship Pirates RPG Pre-Sales!

It’s 2150. The Earth’s recovering from the Great Apocalypse of 1906.

From the steampunk sky-cities of Isla Aether and High Tortuga come the airship pirates.You hoist the Jolly Roger, spin your propellers and take to the skies. Yours is a life of adventure, plunder and infamy.

The American wilderness lies below. Beast-haunted wastelands are criss-crossed by the tracks of the freedom-loving Neobedouins. Armoured railroads connect the Emperor’s widely scattered domains.

In the walled, fog-shrouded cities, people huddle in forced Victorian squalor, lorded over by the upper classes. The Emperor’s clockwork policemen patrol the streets and the ultimate threat of the Change Cage hangs over those who would rebel. Rising from the dockyards, the frigates of the Imperial Air Navy patrol the clouds, hunting pirates and threatening the sky-cities.

You’ve got an airship. You’ve got a crew. You’ve got one of Doctor Calgori’s fancy chronominautilus devices. All you need now is a good swig of rum (trust us, you’ll need it), and you’re ready to set sail on the winds of time and plunder history itself!

Who knows, maybe you’ll even screw up the timeline some more?


Abney Park’s eagerly anticipated Airship Pirates RPG is almost here!
Pre-orders started yesterday with the first 300 being numbered and signed by Captain Robert himself. The book is due to arrive in August, no details of the exact date yet, but I’ll let you know when I know. Previews of some of the art can be found at the Cakebread and Walton site

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Filed under Art, Books, fan art, Media, Music, Nouveau, Prints, Steampunk

Day 30 – What Book Are You Reading Right Now?

It’s finally over! Day 30 is here!!!

I’m currently dragging myself through Blameless by Gail Carriger. I was considering using Soulless for Day 11 before I remember that it was exactly as bad as I’d expected a bright pink steampunk book to be, and therefore couldn’t be classed as a disappointment. However the title character of Alexia Tarabotti was just compelling enough to make me buy Changeless (Soulless was given away free at a convention, I would NOT have paid money for it) in the hope that the series might improve as occasionally happens. And it did! Right up until the ending as which point the whole thing collapsed into exactly the kind of drama that stops me reading “romantic” fiction. It was exactly like being punched in the stomach.

Unfortunately Blameless continues in the same vein and its taken me almost two months to get 150 pages into the book and every page has been a battle. And yet, like eating stale popcorn – you don’t like it, it tastes bad and you know it won’t end well – I can’t stop reading it. Alexia Tarabotti remains just this side of likable, and a few of the supporting cast are admittedly awesome (Professor Lyall the dignified werewolf, and Lord Akeldama, a vampire so fruity he’d make Oscar Wilde look like a member of the EDL). I’ve just discovered, with a sinking heart that two more books are planned. I guess I’ll end up reading those too, whether I really want to or not.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 30 – Foist One Last Rarity On Us

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Filed under Books, Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge, Music, Steampunk, Thirty Days of Books

Day 29 – Saddest Character Death

Hmmmm I’ve already talk about Snape, and I can’t really go on about Erik again so soon after a previous PotO based post. I was considering making the title of this one “Most Satisfying Character – Death” and talking about Neil Gaiman’s Death of the Endless or Pratchett’s anthropromorphic personification Death, but again I’ve probably wittered on about both those authors a bit too much.

So I’m going to use “saddest” in it’s British slang meaning of “lamest” and talk about Duncan Idaho. Now I wasn’t that bothered about Duncan in the David Lynch version, but I liked him in the first Sci Fi Channel mini-series adaptation and then came to adore him in the second Children of Dune mini-series. Now this had nothing to do with the fact that he was played by my all time favorite actor Edward Atterton… ok I lie, it probably had a lot to do with that… but I was also deeply amused that the character of the ghola Hayt is supposed to be a clone of the original Idaho, but in the first film he was played by a Scot with long hair and then is cloned into a buttoned up posh English guy, and in the best traditions of bad sci-fi, no one notices.

However I’m not talking about either the death of the first Idaho a the hands of the Sardaukar or the death of the first ghola in Children of Dune. I’m referring to his death in God Emperor of Dune (one of many) when he get squished by the Emperor’s giant sandworm body. What a waste.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 29 – Track to Track to Get The Party Started

Who doesn’t love a creepy cabaret song?

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Filed under Books, Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge, Music, Thirty Days of Books

Day 28 – First Favorite Book

My first literary love was probably Pratchett, and I did once read all of Anne McCaffrey‘s books in a single summer, but there aren’t many books that I link with specific childhood events.

We used to holiday in the States a lot when I was younger and I always underestimated the number of books I needed to bring with me. I’d read a lot because I’m not a sun bathing person and American TV has far to many adverts to be watchable. Remember this was in the days when most UK homes got only 4 or 5 TV channels and two of them had no commercial breaks, so watching stuff with adverts ever 5 minutes was a brain melting experience, even now I prefer to watch most series on DVD or On Demand to avoid the stupid adverts. Anyway we usually ended up in the hopelessly touristy parts of Florida without a book store in sight, or in the suburbs with only an S-Mart (or whatever they are called in Florida) for general shopping purposes.

I found this when we were staying in a villa with its own po0l (OMG luxury!), during a period when I was trying not to be goth (I occasionally tried to be normal as a teen, it never stuck for long), on a rack by the check outs at the S-Mart. I’m not sure if you can see it in the photo but the cover isn’t even cut straight. It was the only book I found all holiday and I probably read it three times whilst listening to the insane Floridian storms.

Interview With The Vampire isn’t the best book ever written, and Anne Rice has gone more than a bit in the years since this was released (if you missed her punctuation free tantrum in response to the poor reviews of Blackwood Farm you missed a real treat, it was epic), but despite the mediocre series that follows IWTV remains a classic of vampire writing. It also produced one of the only films where I can stand to watch Tom Cruise or Antonio Banderas. And without an ounce of glitter in sight!

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 28 – Track to Chill Out/Unwind To


I’m not a summery person but I love this song. No it’s not the banned version :p

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Day 27 – If A Book Contains ______, You Will Always Read It!

Ok so I’m not proud of this one, but I’ve been a raging phan girl for well over a decade, long before Gerard Bulter destroyed the ALW version of The Phantom with that awful, awful movie version. But it says a lot about exactly how bad my addiction is that I still bought the soundtrack AND the DVD, even though I hated the movie.

I bought the shockingly horrible Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth the day it was released, read it in about two hours and then threw it across the room. The book claims to be a sequel to the plot of the ALW musical, not to the original book, but then has a central plot device (Christine’s son being Erik’s rather than Raoul’s) that isn’t possible within the plot of the original show without making poor Erik a rapist. The book destroys well loves characters and ruins even those characters hated by the majority of the phandom. Raoul might be unpopular amongst Erik loving phans everywhere but turning him into a vicious alcoholic makes no sense. The epic failure of tPoM amongst phans and critics alike should have made ALW look else where for inspiration for his new musical, but by all accounts Paint Never Dries sorry I mean Love Never Dies makes just as little sense as TPoM. I used to love ALW’s work, but this total disregard for the phans who kept PotO on Broadway and the West End all these years, and a complete contempt for the characters themselves is completely heartbreaking.

In comparison Susan Kay’s Phantom treats Leroux’s characters with the sense of love and respect they deserve. I think this is one major issue with everything ALW has done with PotO, there is always a sense that Leroux is just some incompetent buffoon and the characters are ALW’s personal domain, but as time has progressed its become more and more clear that ALW doesn’t understand the characters at all. Susan Kay gives Erik a real history, detailed, rich and tragic, she doesn’t half his age and turn his past into a cartoon. It’s not the greatest book ever written, and there have been plenty of amazing phan phictions written since (tip: avoid anything that starts with “my Erik is based on Gerard Butler” its usually a sign of bad things to come :p ) but if you really want to get to grips with the real Erik, I’d recommend starting there. I don’t know if this book has been rereleased recently, my copy (which is missing) cost me £40 back in the mid ’90s. Edited to add: new copies seem to be going for between £13 and £25 on bookdepository.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 27 – Track To Trip Out To

No comment :p

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Filed under Books, Even Better Thirty Day Song Challenge, Music, Thirty Days of Books