Doctor Who: Agents of UNIT?


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I had meant to post about this not long after the final episode of the last series of Doctor Who aired. However, real life intervened and made my life a hell of busy days and frantic brain goblins. I’ve finally got some time now to get back into blogging and today saw me spot two articles online which triggered me to revisit some thoughts I had following the last episode.

Osgood: Phil Coulson for the Whoniverse?

First there was this one:

The Doctor could be female

Yeah, I feel it was fairly obvious that Moffat was using the gender switch with Missy as a way of basically setting a precedent to be used to allow the Doctor to one day have a similar switch. He also did the same with River Song – showing a regeneration from a young woman of colour to a middle aged, white woman. You can dredge up even earlier references to Time Lords even changing species, though Romana’s regeneration into several alien forms in Destiny of the Daleks is largely considered controversial for a number of reasons, it still shows the possibility exists. Not that this has triggered a similar change in the Doctor yet (unless you count Scottish as a change of race?) but the indication that Gallifreyians are basically blind to gender (and also likely race and species) is an encouraging thought and I hope that it is acted on sometime soon. Could this be an indication that Lenora Critchlow now has a good chance of being picked next?

c7de3-lenora_crichlow_2345432If it should happen that the Doctor becomes female I do hope that it is handled with sensitivity rather than being merely a gimmick. It needs to be done in such a way that the viewers can believe it is the same character and this is not always possible even with a male actor. As for any casting, it needs to be based on who can do the job well rather than focussing on any criteria like ‘has to be female’.

Next there was this little gem:

Bad news for Osgood fans

Now, when I first saw Osgood’s death (and man that hurt…) I did have a little suspicion. You see, the whole set up seemed remarkably familiar. Ancient, evil nemesis of one of the heroes is captured by secretive, government sponsored agency keyed to battling alien threats. Said nemesis escapes and in the course of their fiendishly clever plan to get out, manages to kill a high ranking, popular and geeky member of that agency. Was I the only one who was thinking ‘Avengers’? Whether it was deliberate tribute or unconscious copying, you cannot deny there is a link there between Osgood and good old Agent Coulson.

The British version has a better scarf

Which did make me wonder if the plan wasn’t to kick off a spin off series in which a mysteriously resurrected Osgood is put in charge of a rag tag group of UNIT agents and set to fly around the world in a converted jet solving problems and fighting HYDRA… erm, I mean, Daleks… who have infiltrated their organisation. Just picture it, the complicated spy games as they try to figure out which UNIT agents are actually Daleks in disguise (hint: if they can answer a question without using the word ‘Exterminate’ they are probably safe) and the big twist when they realise that one of their own is actually a traitor (they probably should have realised that Dr. Darian Alek was dodgy from his computerised voice and the sink plunger attached to his chest) and the emotional fallout that emerges from that. Has to be compelling viewing.

Though, wait a minute… Doctor Who has already had a popular character killed by a nemesis who mysteriously came back to life to lead a rag tag group of agents of a secretive organisation… Could Torchwood’s Captain Jack have actually been the inspiration Joss Whedon used for Phil Coulson in Agents of SHIELD?

I guess we could trace tropes ad infinitum and claim that all modern SF is actually derived from a stone tablet found in Babylon (probably written by Asimov or Jules Verne) because there isn’t really anything new anymore, just different ways of presenting the same ideas. But I suppose it is not too much of a stretch to wonder if Joss Whedon was familiar with the concept of Torchwood before he developed Agents of SHIELD.

So, in all, I think it is a shame that Osgood has been declared as ‘officially dead’ by Moffat. She was a wonderful character with a lot of potential. Certainly far better companion material than some that have been in that position in recent years. While as a writer I can see the benefit in killing off a popular but not critical character, I feel Osgood’s death was maybe a step too far.

Though, despite all this, I think Moffat is still being beaten by Whedon in the bastard of the century competition. After all, he did kill Wash. You have to be far more brutal in killing off your beloved characters to beat that.


D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.


Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

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[Cover Reveal] Popstars: Friends and Lovers by Karen Gordon


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“The poorest man is not the one with no penny in his pocket, but the one who has no dream.” 
– The Burnouts, Class of ‘99

Popstars, Friends, & Lovers (Burnouts #2)

Karen Gordon


Genre: NA Romance


For two weeks Steve Shrader lived a dream. A dream that he didn’t even know existed until he felt it. For two weeks the kid with no mom had good food, clean clothes and sheets and Christmas. For two weeks he had love – in the form of Hello Kitty bandaids and hot soup and his best friend, MG. Then he screwed up, like he always did, and the dream he was living went away. 

Now school is over, MG is gone and he’s headed down the same path as all the adults in his life; drifting along, dodging or dealing with one sh*t-storm after another, numbing themselves with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. But he’s seen a better life. He’s seen what he wants. He wants MG. The question is how to get to her from where he is now.

MG dreams of living large in New York City. (OK, to tell the truth, it’s her mom’s dream, and she is just along for the ride.) But she’s gonna make it work – in a kick-ass, cool apartment, with a glam fashion job and photo shoots with rich friends in magazines – or not. She left everything she was sure of back home in St. Louis and almost everything she thought she knew about Manhattan and life isn’t turning out to be true. 

When her false dreams crumble and fall though her hands she’s left with what’s real. A real life with a real job and real love; and it can all be hers if she’s brave enough to believe in herself and go after what she truly wants. 

Their love story started in Burnouts, Geeks & Jesus Freaks: a love story, now it continues in Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale. MG, the best friend with a talent for trouble, and Steve, the most laid back hero in romance novel history, are back. With old friends from high school and a crazed array of new ones they go for a win in the game called life.

Expected Publication Date: November 2, 2014



Junior Prom, 1998

They all piled into the limo, ready for food and a reprieve from the stares and drama that had been prom. Steve scooted across the bench seat to make room for his dates: Carrie, Casey, Gina, and MG. Casey wanted the window seat so she crawled over his lap, almost kneeing him in the balls on her way.

 “Case, jezus!” He doubled over, protecting himself.

Her look of surprise said she hadn’t really noticed who she had just climbed over.

Gina and Carrie arranged themselves on either side of him, popped off their high-heeled shoes and draped their legs across his to rest their feet. He unconsciously grabbed their toes and started rubbing, causing both of them to moan in ecstasy. But his mind was on MG, kneeling on the rear facing seat with her butt squarely in his field of vision while she gave the driver directions to the all-night pancake restaurant.

At least fifteen different guys must have come up to him tonight and high-fived or fist bumped him for having four dates to prom. Fifteen guys who normally never talked to him but probably talked about him as a burnout, drug addict, loser. He’d never considered himself the smartest guy, but he was sure as shit smarter than them when it came to girls.

It started when he was fourteen. Girls started coming on to him, usually older ones. That was the summer he grew five inches and towered over all his friends at a gangly six feet tall. That was also the summer that his dad stopped making him get his hair cut. Women of all ages couldn’t seem to keep their hands out of the dark brown waves.

Desiree was sixteen and lived in his apartment complex. She gave him his first joint and first kiss and he was hooked. He loved everything about both, especially the way they made him feel. Having grown up with only his dad and brother, girls were exotic to him and he couldn’t get enough time hanging out with them. He wanted to hear what they had to say, study their bodies, taste them, smell them, make them smile. Desiree and her friends taught him how to do just that in a way that guaranteed they couldn’t get pregnant. He had hours and hours of oral lessons from his first girlfriends. When he met MG he volunteered to teach her, then Casey, then Gina (though they never got that far). He’d be happy to go over the finer points with Carrie too if she ever asked.

“Don’t stop!” Carrie moaned and he went back to rubbing her feet. Casey took off her shoes and stuck her feet on his lap too. He rotated rubbing Carrie’s, then Gina’s, then Casey’s. MG’s were notably missing.

♪   ☺   ♥

The tough-looking night shift waitress at Paul’s Pancakes flirted with him. She teased him about what he had to keep four dates happy then passed him her number on the back of the check.

Gina saw it first when she grabbed the check to divide the total by five. “So, who do you think this is for?” She joked as she held it up to show the others. They all smirked at Steve.

He shrugged off his innocence. “What?” There was no jealousy in the group. If he wanted to call the waitress he could. But that was the problem too, there was no jealousy, especially not from the one he wanted it from.

MG wiped the last of the syrup from her plate with her finger and licked it off. Steve watched her with rapt attention. Try as he might he couldn’t give up the hope that she might really care, that he hadn’t majorly fucked up when he told her that he loved her. He breathed out his frustration and looked away. Carrie caught him and gave him a small smile of understanding. She had it just as bad for her neighbor Ben as he did for MG.

He thought back to the two weeks when he had lived at MG’s house. His older brother Tony (better known as Stony) had come home wasted and beat the crap out of him. When he got to a pay phone the only person he wanted to call was MG and she didn’t hesitate to drive in a snow-storm and come get him. Then she took care of him, well, her and her mom. She put Hello Kitty band-aids all over him and made him laugh through his pain. She made stupid airplane noises and fed him soup because he could hardly move his shoulder and his lip was too swollen to eat solids his first day there. She fell asleep, spooned against him, watching movies on the couch in her upstairs TV room. He even stayed through Christmas. She bought him fingerless gloves and a hat, and her mom spent way too much on a new leather jacket for him. Best damn Christmas he could ever remember. Best two weeks he could ever remember. He wanted more of it.

But he fuckin blew it. Somewhere in the middle of telling her about his memories of his step-mom, he told MG that he loved her. He meant it, but he should have kept his mouth shut. Ever since then, they were still friends, but … it just wasn’t the same. She barely touched him anymore.

♪   ☺   ♥

After pancakes they were all back at MG’s house where Steve was sprawled on the couch in the upstairs TV room. He had changed out of his tuxedo and was waiting for the girls to finish changing. It was past two a.m. and he had really had enough for the night, but MG insisted they needed to stay out all night. He slumped over the plump arm of the soft chenille sofa. Gina came in and flopped across the giant bean bag chair, looking like she had had enough too. Carrie and Casey both stretched out on the carpeted floor, sharing one of the big floor pillows for their heads.

“Don’t go to sleep,” he warned. “She’ll drag your ass down the stairs and out the door.” When it came to fun, MG was determined. If she wanted to stay out all night, they would all stay out all night, even if she had to drag them kicking and screaming.

But MG took too long to get ready (nothing new there) and they were all breathing deeply, sound asleep, when she came in the room.

“Come on you guys,” she pleaded to the silent room, then gave up when no one stirred and pulled a pile of blankets from the hall linen closet. Through half-open eyes Steve watched her drape a blanket over Carrie and Casey, then Gina. He closed his eyes when she sat on the coffee table in front of him, wondering what she would say or do if she thought he was asleep. She reached forward and twirled some of his wavy hair around her finger. She had been doing that ever since they met sophomore year. It made his hair stand up and her laugh.

He was half on the couch, one leg still on the floor. She laid the blanket over him and leaned in and sniffed his shirt when she tucked it around his neck. Hopefully smelling his cologne (not that he owned any). He had stopped by Walgreens to use a sample on his way to her house.

His heart lurched when he felt her climb over him and under the blanket and snuggle into his back. Her arm wrapped around him and burrowed into a warm spot against his chest. He opened his eyes and swallowed, willing his traitor heart to slow down before she could feel his reaction to her, that stupid hope he worked hard to keep buried. In his mind “Love Sucks” by the Addicts played in a loop ‘til he fell asleep.


Burnouts, Geeks, & Jesus Freaks (Burnouts #1)


Publication Date: February 24, 2014

They’re burnouts – a little short on parents, money and plans for the future, but they’ve got each other and a whole lot of fun. With a world of crazy at home, Carrie Gould needs them to keep her sanity. To stay in their world she needs to keep dating the guy with the party house, which would be fine, if she hadn’t fallen in love with someone else. 

He’s such a geek. Ben Gorman is obsessive, smart, strong-willed and on the fast track to his dream of becoming an Army Ranger. He’s also the only geek with a girl. Joelle Welker is perfect for him; a self-proclaimed Jesus freak, who is dedicated to her beliefs and to building a future with Ben. But those plans don’t include his neighbor, Carrie, or Ben’s dedication to her. 

Their friendship started by chance. Their love started with trust. 

***This book is recommended for readers age 17 and older due to sexual content. 

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK  



About the Author

Karen Gordon was born and raised in the suburban paradise of St. Charles, MO, on the outskirts of St. Louis. She earned a B.S. in English from the University of Central Missouri (BS being the operative term) and a M.A. in Media Communications from Webster University, where, always a rebel, she graduated in a hot pink mortarboard because she didn’t like the school colors.

She currently resides in Olive Branch, MS (formerly Cow Pen) on the outskirts of Memphis, TN with her 2.5 super-smart kids, and an amazingly-funny, cute, geeky husband.
When not writing, she is a stay-at-home mom (chick in charge) and part-time teacher. Any down time is spent reading, catching up with friends and obsessively worrying about every little thing.

Her first novel, “Burnouts, Geeks and Jesus Freaks: a love story” was published in March of 2014 with the second novel in the Burnouts series, “Popstars, Friends & Lovers: a dreamer’s tale” being released in November, 2014. She is currently working on the third, and final, novel in the series, tentatively title “Boi H.E.A.”

Contact the Author

Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Twitter: @joiedemidvivre | Email | Pinterest | Google +


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‘Final Empire’, the Conclusion of the Amazon Bestselling series, Includes Art from Marvel, DC, Image, and IDW Talent


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The Arena Mode Saga is drawing to a conclusion with ‘Final Empire’, the third and final book of the bestselling sci-fi/superhero series by Canadian author Blake Northcott.

The 300+ page novel will be available on Kickstarter beginning October 18th, and will include illustrations throughout by a number of notable artists:

  • Natasha Allegri (Adventure Time, Fionna and Cake)
  • John Broglia (God Complex, Unmasked)
  • Joe Corroney (Star Wars, Star Trek)
  • Derek Laufman (Batman Black & White, Marvel vs. Capcom)
  • Mark McKenna (Star Wars: Old Republic, Justice League)
  • Steve McNiven (Death of Wolverine, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • David Nakayama (Deadpool cover artist)
  • Roc Upchurch (Rat Queens)

As well as illustrations from Thor Mangila of Iron Age Comics, and YouTube personality Comic Book Girl 19.

“I know it sounds cliché, but the Arena Mode series has truly changed my life,” says Northcott. “Without these books, I don’t know where I’d be today. I owe everything to the amazing artists who have contributed to the series, and the fans who believed in this crazy idea.”

Combining a novel with comic book art has paid off for the author: the first two books in the trilogy – ‘Arena Mode’, and the sequel, ‘Assault or Attrition’ – made waves in 2013 by generating more than $65,000 USD in Kickstarter pledges. They featured art by an all-star line-up of comic book heavyweights, including Dave Johnson, Barry Kitson, and Dan Panosian.

‘Arena Mode’ went on to become the #1 selling novel on Amazon Kindle UK throughout February and March of 2014 (both in the ‘science-fiction’ and ‘superhero’ graphic novel categories), outselling titles like The Walking Dead and Dr. Who - and the Arena Mode books are now part of a high school curriculum in the state of Florida.

Blake also has personal endorsements from some of the most iconic names in the comic industry; including writers Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) and Mark Waid (Kingdom Come).

“It’s bittersweet to see the series end,” Northcott adds. “I’ve had so many people ask if I’d consider a fourth book, which is so flattering, but at this point I’d rather leave things as they are. I have what I believe is a very satisfying conclusion planned, and I don’t want to ruin the final send-off by overstaying my welcome.”

Blake is not a fan of some of the rumors regarding bestselling series adding more volumes to appease their rabid fan-bases. “Who wants to see a fourth ‘Hunger Games’ or another ‘Harry Potter’? I loved those books too, but they’re done. There’s nothing left to say. Every story organically comes to a close, and forcing it further will just tarnish everything that came before. I don’t want to end up in that category.”

You can find out more about ‘Final Empire’ at, and you can follow Blake on Twitter @ComicBookGrrl or Facebook.


D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.


Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

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Review: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge


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You may recall way back in April that I went to the Fashionably Late World Book Night party with author Frances Hardinge in tow? Well, there was talk of there being copies of her latest book, Cuckoo Song, available for buying and signing but due to a post office snafu those books never appeared.

Of course every author wants Eddie to pose with their book now...

Of course every author wants Eddie to pose with their book now…

Well, not long after this I was contacted by her publisher and asked if I wanted a copy for review. Of course I said yes…

Unfortunately, being a very busy person, I have lately been very slow to get reviews out so here we are in September and I am only just getting round to putting my thoughts on this book down in a readable form.

Cuckoo Song is set in the fictitious English town of Ellchester, somewhere in Oxfordshire during the early 1920s. The post Great war vibe portrayed here is perfect for release in a year that sees the centenary of that war and the setting is vividly portrayed. Triss is a young girl who lives with her father (a famous architect credited with designing much of the town they live in), mother and younger sister (Penny). Her brother, Sebastian, died in the Great War leaving a fiancée and a grieving family behind.

The story begins with Triss having been rescued from almost drowning in a lake while the family are away on holiday. Following this incident, strange things begin to happen to her. She has gaps in her memory and a bizarre hunger that can only be satisfied by devouring her own toys and clothes. As time goes on, this strangeness tests her relationship with her parents and sister and her investigations into what has happened to her lead her to discover that there is more to her brother’s death than she had been told. She also delves into a hidden underbelly of the town ruled by a sinister being known as ‘The Architect’ and encounters the strangeness of that world, learning its secrets and dangers.

Hardinge deftly presents both the setting and the plot in a skilful manner, peeling back layers of world building and mystery in a way which has the reader slowly become aware of what is going on. This approach maintains the mystery as subtle clues you did not consider relevant slot into place and trigger small ‘ah ha’ moments at intervals. The setting starts out with a Downton Abby feel, all stiff gentlemen and upper middle class pomposity overlaid with a quaint olde worlde children’s book vibe, but soon develops hints of a world beneath that which is related more to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline – a dark, fey world of hidden evil and whimsy. The characters are also mostly well drawn and some, particularly Sebastian’s fiancée Violet and the Tailor Mr. Grace, are striking in their presence – the bold and adventurous, jazz loving  Flapper with the hidden sorrow and the quirky, friendly tailor with a sinister undertone. You come to care for Triss and the other characters, though Triss in her early appearances seems selfish and whiny she soon gains a backbone that turns her in to a true hero.

In all this was a very enjoyable read and one which I am sure children of all ages will enjoy.

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.

He would like to point out that having Eddie pose with a copy of your book is a special privilege reserved for those who have met Eddie and given him a stroke.


Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

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What to wear…


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As regular readers will already know, I have been to a few public events over the last year or so. I am now a regular at the Leeds Steampunk market (in a vague, loose coalition operating under the title of the Tea Society with Ninfa Hayes and R.A Smith and others) and at World book night I did a reading in the Fab café in Manchester. Now, this coming weekend I am going to be at the Stockton Literary festival…

Me with Starburst columnist Ed Fortune in front of a TARDIS.

Me with Starburst columnist Ed Fortune in front of a TARDIS.

The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what to wear.

You see, for Steampunk it is easy. I actually have quite a selection of waistcoats and cravats and could even go so far as to get a top hat should I feel it necessary (I haven’t so far, mainly stuck with the waistcoat and cravat look and a gentleman would never wear a hat indoors…). Ok, I am not up there with the dedicated goggles and nerf guns with cogs on brigade but I can dress well enough to look like I belong. Most of the traders there are steampunked up to a greater or lesser extent and while there are usually many ‘non steampunks’ in the crowd, you don’t look like an idiot – the only person wearing costume.

For World book night I might have had the ‘what to wear’ dilemma. However, the necessity of having to go straight from work to the venue (via the train station to pick up Frances Hardinge) meant that I was more or less limited to wearing what I wore at work. Since that day also coincidentally happened to be the day a member of the Royal Family was visiting work, this meant I was in a rather more formal shirt and tie than normal. In the photos you can even see the cufflinks. Though I had taken off the jacket and tie by that point.

me2But Stockton is not Steampunk nor is it right after a royal visit. I therefore have more or less free choice in what to wear. This means I am being indecisive. I could do the casual jeans and nerdy t-shirt that I usually wear when not at work. I could also do a more smart casual look – a shirt with jeans. So long as I avoid looking like David Cameron on holiday (which is a fate worse than death in many areas) I will probably be ok… But then I am wondering if I shouldn’t dress up more – bring out the waistcoat and cravat look or go in an even more bizarre costume? There are rumours of cosplay possibly happening there, after all and Blake Northcott recently did a con in Canada dressed as a sexy female Spiderman…

So, while I ponder these issues, I’d love to know your opinions. How do you expect a writer to be dressed when you meet them? What have authors you have met worn for cons and events? How much does a writer’s clothing matter?

And those of you in the UK, feel free to pop up to Stockton on Tees on the 6th of September for a lot of fun…

literary festival

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.


Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

Buy Lurking Miscellany (Kindle)

Labyrinth Literary Festival


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On September 6th I will be in Stockton on Tees attending a book festival. Click the image below for more details. There will be readings both from Transitions and Lurking Miscellany and the chance to get signed books from a range of UK based authors.

If you are a UK based author and you want in on this festival, there are still spaces. Bring some books, some swag and prepare to do a reading to an appreciative audience.

literary festival

Morganville – SDCC trailer


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As you should all know by now, I am a big fan of the Morganville series of novels by Rachel Caine. So much so that I became a backer for the Kickstarter campaign that aimed to produce a Webcast show of the series. I guess that makes me a producer (I am opting for the title of Chief Executive Producer in charge of giving over a small amount of cash to help make this happen). Anyway, the trailer for this series was released at San Diego Comic Con and while I was not there to see it myself, I did get sent an exclusive link to see it because of my backer involvement… so here it is:

Of course they did not follow my casting picks. I guess David Tennant was not available to play Myrnin and Anthony Stewart Head was not able to play Oliver. However, looking at the trailer you can see some stellar choices made. In particular you may recognise Amber Benson of Buffy fame as Amelia and Robert Picardo (yes, THAT Robert Picardo of Voyager fame in a grey wig) as Oliver.

So it is all looking promising and reasonably close to the source material. About the only thing I have spotted so far that is possibly different is that if this series is following book 1 they are introducing Myrnin too soon but since he is awesome I cannot see an issue with that…

So, yes, in my opinion (as Chief Executive Producer in charge of giving over a small amount of cash to help make this happen) you should totally check this out when it airs… especially if you like Buffy, Vampires or Voyager.

D.A Lascelles is the author of Lurking Miscellany, Transitions (Mundania Press) and Gods of the Sea (Pulp Empires). He lives in Manchester UK. You can sometimes see him writing about Zombie porn on but he mostly blogs about books, vampires, science fiction and Terry Pratchett. He is inordinately proud of the fact that one of his Pratchett articles was referenced on the French version of the author’s Wikipedia page.


Twitter: @areteus

Buy Lurking Miscellany (paperback)

Buy Lurking Miscellany (Kindle)



Slayers LRP Photoshoot


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Two Slayers…

Those who follow this blog will be aware that I occasionally collaborate with Quattrofoto on photoshoots in roles varying from creative genius* to lightstand/dogsbody/maker of tea. In fact, some of my previous blog posts on these shoots have been among the most popular on this blog along with the UK Avengers concept I posted once as a joke. I can only assume that lots of genuine photographers have been searching for useful tips on how to do complicated lighting set ups or edit fantasy scenes into the backdrops using photoshop and are instead finding my rather less then technical witterings.

Those who are looking at these posts in the hope of such technical stuff, I can only apologise and suggest you ask any questions in a comment (I will pass on such questions to Ste the photographer) or visit his Flickr site where he occasionally posts technical details on shots.

Note that yet again, like previous posts on this, the photos shown here are my efforts not those of the professional photographer. You can see his on his Flickr account. In addition, most of these were taken using my mobile phone rather than my DSLR Mainly because the light conditions were not right for my DSLR to play ball.

This shoot was one that deviated from our previous theme, which had been variations on a theme of fantasy – trying to show standard stereotypes in a new light. For this shoot the aim was more modern. There is a new LRP game being planned called Slayers LRP which riffs off Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So our aim for this shoot was to get lots of photos of female vampire hunters, vicious looking vampires, demons and stuffy old Watchers.

We convened at the photographer’s house where he had managed to set up a makeshift studio in one of the larger rooms. The space here was noticeably less than we were used to in the studio, which meant we were limited in scope – mostly shots of single figures and we were told most likely only upper body. This was why we actually failed to consider appropriate shoes or boots for many of the characters we were taking shots of, we genuinely did not think they would be seen on camera! This is why you may see some shots of a tweed clad Watcher wearing a pair of sandals (though personally I am claiming eccentricity for why I was wearing those as that character).

There were other concerns. Would the backdrop placed over the window be enough to sufficiently block out all the light? Would there be enough room for models, photographer and light rig? Would there be enough food for all the models we had dragged from far distant parts of the country?

The answers to those questions were Yes, Yes and definitely Yes. Seriously, we had a proper Green room style hospitality area set up, far better than anything we ever had at the studio (or the woodland, where the refreshments were coffee and all the acorns we could eat :) )


Our werewolves are feistier and cuter than Oz ever was

Our werewolves are feistier and cuter than Oz ever was

We progressed through the day very quickly, getting through several very intense sessions with different models in different costumes. This was our fourth go at this sort of thing and using more or less the same team of models and support people that had been used on previous shoots – including the talented make up skills of Jessica Newey. This meant that we were much better organised and were able to prep one model while another was being shot, allowing for a much more efficient

The studio set up showing improvised wind effects

The studio set up showing improvised wind effects

turnaround. We were also more au fait with what was and was not likely to be possible meaning that the ideas people spent less time frothing about things that could not possibly ever work and more time considering practical solutions to problems and ideas that would work.

We got through a Van Helsing style Vampire Hunter, a goth Vampire, two different styles of Slayer (though there was some debate as which one was the ‘evil’ Faith style Slayer and which was the ‘nice’ Buffy style, the consensus was neither), two different varieties of Watcher (modern with a tablet computer and traditional in tweed with an old book), a sinister ‘Man in Black’, two styles of witch (a good and an evil one) and two very different styles of Demon (a serious, scary demon with horns and a more ‘slacker surf dude’ style who seemed to be doing a modelling shoot for Cheese flavoured corn snacks) and a werewolf. These shots are already appearing on the Flickr account and will continue to be updated for at least a few weeks ahead.

It was another tiring day but definitely a fun one with a lot achieved. The shots that have already been produced are awesome and there are many more to come…

*Ok, maybe not creative genius. More ‘person who comes up with wildly impossible ideas that sound cool in my head but are actually bloody hard to set up in a practical sense’. It is a complicated brief… I am usually better at holding lightstands (or on this shoot, reflective dishes that shine in the face of pretty girls to better highlight her features – something called the Clamshell technique) or making tea. I am really good at making tea…

Lurking Miscellany release


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The release of Lurking Miscellany was on Saturday in Leeds, so now it is time to open up the book to the rest of the world.

The blurb (written for me by the wonderful Ninfa Hayes):

“It’s you!” She stood up and backed away, pointing accusingly at Orchil. “You’re doing this to me! You’re using some form of… of… magic.” What else could explain it? A spell, a curse, an inexplicable phenomenon. Magic!

Orchil laughed. “You really that stupid? I thought you followed the great god, Science? Sit, girl, sit and let me tell you how the trick was done. And that’s a rare thing, a Shaman explaining their magic, so you better listen well!”LurkingMiscellany-lg

An environmental activist with the power to control the elements;

A xeno-anthropologist Gate Tech seeking to learn the secrets of an alien race;

A shape changing fey playing havoc in a nightclub.

These are just some of the characters that live in the shadows of the secret worlds that surround us. Discover their stories in this enthralling anthology. Embrace the lurking miscellany.

If you want to acquire a copy of this collection of short stories you can do so in one of two ways.

First (and quickest) method is to go via Lulu and order a copy from their online shop. The link for this is to be found on my webpage under publications. I have even made it easy for you with a quick and simple buy link that gets you straight there.

The second method is to contact me either through this page (comment below) or on facebook or via my email address ( and ask me for a copy. You can even ask me to sign it for you if you like.
It is hoped that there will be more places to buy from soon. Just negotiating the delicate issues of self publication (which is totally new to me at the moment so learning a lot) and working through all possible routes of delivery and format. Hoping for Amazon listing to be available soon, for example. I will keep you all informed as to when a new way to purchase a copy emerges. Will at some point also be considering ebook formats too, though I think that may take a while as I suspect there will have to be a lot of formatting changes to make it work.
Also worth knowing that this collection is intended as a taster and also a chance for readers to tell me which story they liked the best. The one that gets the most votes will be developed further as a longer piece of fiction – either as a series of short stories/novellas or a complete novel. Once you have acquired a copy you can cast your vote by contacting me using the methods outlined in the Afterword. You can also post in the comments to this blog post.



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