Oamaru-New ZealandFrom Rotorua, our intrepid journalists, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, traveled to the South Island of New Zealand. It is here just a few hours south of Christchurch, that steampunk has taken a hold of a town; and in turn, a town has embraced steampunk back.

Oamaru is right on the coast, and has a history that dates back to the goldrush years. Many beautiful buildings were built out of the local white stone in this period, and when the gold boom passed they were left behind.

It is this legacy from the Victorian age that has made Oamaru the perfect location for all things steampunk. They were given an indication of exactly how steampunk-friendly this small town was as the keeper of the Ambassador Motor Lodge, on hearing our journalists introducing themselves as science fiction authors, gave them “must see” places in Oamaru.

While en route, their social ætherupdates caught the eye of Iain Clark a.k.a. Agent Darling of The League of  Victorian Imagineers. He asked if they would like to meet up for a quick breakfast, a light repast to kick off their morning. “Oh yes, he added, would it be alright if a few local steampunks joined us?” [click to continue…]

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Tales from the Archives, Volume IV — Three

by Eliza D Braun on May 13, 2015

Tales from the Archives - Volume Four

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds.

In this episode:

The Black Empress — written by Katharina Bordet

When two agents from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences are called to Vienna to investigate disturbances at the palace, what they discover could threaten the Austro-Hungarian Empire and shatter the fragile peace in Europe. Who is the mysterious man who has pulled diplomatic strings to enlist the help of a foreign agency and how is the Empress Elisabeth herself involved?

Music by Mick Border
Narration by Katharina and Mick Bordet

About the Author: 

Katharina Bordet lives in Vienna (Wien), Austria with her husband. She works as a lawyer and is currently working towards her doctorate, yet still manages to find time for writing fiction, taking photographs and recording podcasts. These interests all come together in the regular podcast Every Photo Tells… where her photographs inspire short stories by herself and many other writers, with well over 100 episodes produced to date. When it came time to record a podcast version of The Coffee Legacy (Wiener Blut 1), her standing within the podcast community resulted in a who’s who of audio fiction appearing in roles within the full cast audio production. The sequel, Danube Waves (Wiener Blut 2) is currently in production and will be published in summer 2015.

Besides writing fiction, Katharina also published some non-fiction with her husband Mick. They wrote a Christmas market guide book full of photos, reviews and tips in English and German, titled Christmas Markets in ViennaWeihnachtsmärkte in Wien. It is available at Amazon, the iBooks Store and other eBook sellers.

Theme music for the Ministry composed and created by Alex White.

Order your copy of The Diamond Conspiracy: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, now available from online and bricks and mortar stores everywhere.

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Æther Feature – Smog Riders

by Eliza D Braun on May 7, 2015

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.
 In this week’s Æther Feature we take a look at Scale75 who are producing a range of steampunk miniatures.

Amelia SteamScale75 is a company based in Spain that designs and produces metal and resin miniatures to be assembled and painted by people all around the world. We have a big catalog of figures, paints an complements that can be seen at www.scale75.com, both historical and fantasy subjects. Our range Steam Wars of figures and dioramas in a 75mm scale has been a great success between painters, although some of them were a bit worried about the complexity, the size or asking us how to paint those little eyes or how to get some painting effects… and that’s why we decided to create a new range to allow people to learn to paint or to develop their skills to another level. We decided to create a new line of steampunk miniatures in a chibi style so the geometric volumes and bigger details are easier to paint, and the scale is 35mm, much easier to paint and handle. So to speak, the Smog Riders are simple figures with a “friendly” geometry that removes barriers for miniature lovers that are a bit “scared” of brushes. All this with an attractive aesthetics  so that later you can put them proudly in your display cabinet or show them to your friends. Check out our gallery here.

Dr. MorsiartyFor every miniature we include a prospect with a step-by-step painting guide, showing the painters how to paint the different parts of the miniature (leather, metallic parts, skin…), including which paints and techniques we use. Also, for those who want to level up their skills, we set up a blog at www.smogriders.com where we upload new painting guides to develop new techniques and to achieve some greater painting effects. People can join the blog and those lessons for free and ask whatever they want and we try to help them.

This new range has been well received by the painters community as they can achieve great results more easily than having to spend months with a bigger and more complex miniature. As said, they are specifically designed to practice painting skills but more experienced painters find them really attractive as they can get awesome results due to the great quality and level of details.

If you ever wanted to paint a miniature but you were afraid, we believe this new line is the best option to get you started so we invite you to join our blog or our Facebook community

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Dawn’s Early Light Winners

by Eliza D Braun on May 5, 2015

Diamond ConspiracyThanks to all those that entered the competition to celebrate the release of Dawn’s Early Light. We had over a thousand entries, and luckily the rafflecopter gadget chooses winners rather than our previous method involving guinea pigs, cheese and a roulette wheel.

So without further ado, the winners are

$150 Amazon voucher, Michael Spence.

$50 Amazon voucher, Jon Tollerton

$25 Amazon voucher, David Walker

We hope everyone is enjoying the Diamond Conspiracy, and continue on with us and our Ministry adventures.

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Our journalists spent two weeks last month back in New Zealand, and the steampunk they found there was wonderful. So the next few Æther Features will be spotlighting the steampunk scene in New Zealand.

Our journalists were, along with Gail Carriger, Guests of Honour at Reconnaissance: The 36th New Zealand National SFF&H Convention.

Lake RotoruaThis was held in Rotorua, the town in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand, known for its thermal activity. There, much as they do in Bath, England, people come to soak in the hot mineral pools. However, unlike Bath, Rotorua has also plenty of therapeutic mud, and geysers to add to the spectacle.

Tee, Pip, and Gail had a lovely signing at Atlantis Books, with reading, signings, and a lovely turn out. Pip seemed to enjoy the smell of the older books. Perhaps a little too much.

 

 

More panels, and Guest of Honour speeches followed. They may have also ventured to Hell…Pizza that is.

Around the convention there were some fine examples of steampunk, which were delightful.

Finally the event was rounded off with a steampunk gathering at the Tearooms in the Government Gardens. This historic area was the perfect location for a steampunk gathering.

If you are interested in finding out more about New Zealand’s steampunk scene in the North Island then there are quite a few.

Next, our intrepid journalists head to the South Island, and the steampunk capital of the world.

 

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Tales from the Archives, Volume IV — Two

by Eliza D Braun April 29, 2015

  The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: The Mummy […]

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Spirit Sanctus – ebook

by Eliza D Braun April 24, 2015

The new season of Tales from the Archives is now on a roll, and fortnightly there will be new stories available for your ears. However, if you would like to read the stories, then we also have ebooks available for your eyeballs as well. Today we are pleased to release Alyson Grauer’s story Spiritus Sanctus. […]

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Æther Feature – V’s Eliza cosplay

by Eliza D Braun April 23, 2015

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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Tales from the Archives, Volume IV — One

by Eliza D Braun April 15, 2015

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Spiritus Sanctus — […]

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Dawn’s Early Light Wins

by Eliza D Braun April 14, 2015

Yesterday it the winners of the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards were announced, and we here at the Ministry are delighted that the winner of the steampunk category is the third book in the Ministry series, Dawn’s Early Light. You remember Dawn’s Early Light, don’t you?   We were such august company as fellow nominees Delilah […]

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The Diamond Conspiracy is HERE!

by Eliza D Braun March 31, 2015

The fourth book (fourth, can you believe it!) is now available, in print, digital and audio. Your can now order from your local bookstore or Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Kobo or get the audiobook from Tantor Audio For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. […]

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Celebrate with the Ministry!

by Eliza D Braun March 24, 2015

We wanted to run a giveaway to celebrate the Diamond Conspiracy. We wanted it to be something useful. If the winner didn’t have enough pence for an ereader they could have it. If they wanted to buy books, they could have that. If they wanted to order an inordinate amount of tea, they could have […]

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Steampunk Book Trailer — The Diamond Conspiracy: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

by Eliza D Braun March 24, 2015

After an extremely cold night in Virginia’s capital city and weeks of production, Imagine That! Studios and Ace Books present the official book trailer for The Diamond Conspiracy, the fourth volume in The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series from Ace Books, written by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris.

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Æther Feature – Gaslight Fantasy?

by Eliza D Braun March 19, 2015

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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The month of the Diamond Conspiracy

by Eliza D Braun March 10, 2015

Yes, it is finally here…or it will be at the end of the month. The Diamond Conspiracy is becoming available on the 31st of March. For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment… Having narrowly escaped the […]

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Aether Feature: Karen Memory

by Eliza D Braun February 5, 2015

 These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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Christmas with Sophia

by Eliza D Braun January 8, 2015

Our authors had a lot of fun writing this story for Christmas…perhaps too much fun… But it is now available on all ebook platforms or you can buy directly from us. After all…who wouldn’t want to go home for a very del Morte Christmas? Just remember Nona does not like knives at the table—for good […]

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A New Year’s Gift for our readers

by Eliza D Braun January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! One of our fine readers asked, and we thought it was a fine idea—so here is our very own reading guide for all the fiction currently in the Ministry files. You will find all the Tales from the Archives, Ministry Protocol stories, the novels, and the occasional short that is other anthologies […]

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Into the Future!

by Eliza D Braun December 31, 2014

The end of the year is nigh, and we here at the Ministry have had a grand year. It was full of fun and achievement. Dawn’s Early Light was released into the wild in paperback, ebook and audiobook. Ministry Protocol, the Fate Core based roleplaying game was shipped to the supporters of our Kickstarter, and […]

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Tales from the Archives: A 2014 Christmas Special

by Eliza D Braun December 25, 2014

A Very Happy Christmas from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would […]

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New ebook short stories

by Eliza D Braun December 18, 2014

Some people don’t like audio…strange but true. For the last few years we have been offering 99c Penny Dreadfuls on all the various e-platforms. As Season Three of Tales from the Archives draws to a close, we are happy to offer, Foothold by Paul Ellis, and the Clockwork Portal by Stacia D Kelly. They are […]

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A Victorian getaway

by Eliza D Braun December 11, 2014

Our journalists travel all over the world for conventions and book signings, but during this year they didn’t get much time for a holiday. So when they had a free weekend they escaped to scenic Delaware. Yes, Delaware. Mostly that was to do with Tee Morris’ interest obsession with Dogfish Head Brewery, which Pip decided […]

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Tales from the Archives III: Ten

by Eliza D Braun December 5, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Foothold […]

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Æther Feature: Ticker

by Eliza D Braun November 20, 2014

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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The 2014 RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards

by Eliza D Braun November 12, 2014

The Ministry is pleased as punch to be nominated in the 2014 RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards nominees. We’re nominated in the best steampunk category along with some other wonderful books and authors. Congratulations to Delilah D Dawson, Karina Cooper, Lynn Viehl and Meljean Brook as well. We are pleased to be in such fine company, […]

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Tales from the Archives III: Nine

by Eliza D Braun November 11, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Clockwork […]

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Remembering the Fallen, Welcoming Others Home

by Eliza D Braun November 11, 2014

Our brothers and sisters of investigating the strange and unusual, the Office of the Supernatural and Metaphysical, are celebrating Veteran’s Day today in the Americas, and we tip our bowlers and bonnets to them all. Today, across the Empire, we pay different honours. We remember those that we have lost. Today is Armistice Day. In […]

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Report on S4: Steampunk Saturday at Shaharazade’s in Shepherdstown

by Eliza D Braun October 28, 2014

Back on September 13th, the Ministry had the joy of hosting a steampunk tea at Shaharazade’s Restaurant & Tea Room in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Our journalists Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris were joined by Tiffany Trent, author of the Unnaturalists, and one of the authors in Ministry Protocol. They drank tea, ate some of Shaharazade’s […]

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Tales from the Archives III: Eight

by Eliza D Braun October 7, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: What […]

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COVER REVEAL- The Diamond Conspiracy

by Eliza D Braun September 29, 2014

Apparently it has been leaked onto the Aetherwebs, and we here at the Ministry have admitted defeat…but in a good way. The cover for the Diamond Conspiracy is here for all to see! Miss Braun is once again wearing trouser and Mr Books is…what is he doing? Ah well…all will be revealed on the 31st […]

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Tales from the Archives III: Seven

by Eliza D Braun September 23, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Bitter […]

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Æther Feature: Writing Young Adult Steampunk

by Eliza D Braun September 18, 2014

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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Sixty-nine Shades of Darjeeling – The First

by Eliza D Braun September 16, 2014

It’s been a week of tea drinking…lots of darjeeling, but with some sidetrips to assam and points north. Look for a post on Thursday about our little adventure to Shaharazade’s Exotic Tea Room, where I took a break from darjeelings. During the week however, I managed to get in plenty of samples from my All the […]

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Sixty-nine Shades of Darjeeling – Intro

by Eliza D Braun September 8, 2014

Our journalist Pip Ballantine has ventured out into the world of tea exploration, and has sent back this report as she tries to learn more about  wonderful darjeelings. These posts will be appear on Mondays, and we hope they inform and entertain… Welcome! This all began when I decided to pick up the Teabox’s ‘All […]

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Ministry Protocol…now in your ears!

by Eliza D Braun September 3, 2014

After weeks of slaving over the audio equipment, our journalists have finally been able to release the audio version of Ministry Protocol. Dividing up the work between themselves, Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine have read all of the wonderful stories in the anthology, and it is now available at both Amazon and direct through Audible. […]

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Æther Feature: How Amelia Chain Brings the Punk

by Eliza D Braun August 21, 2014

These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community […]

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Begging Your Forgiveness

by Eliza D Braun August 5, 2014

Unfortunately, we here at the Ministry are once again short-staffed. (Terrible thing, cut-backs don’t you know). While our journalists have their noses pressed to the grindstone getting the first round of edits out for the Diamond Conspiracy (due in March next year), they have rather fallen behind with the Tales from the Archives. This means […]

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S4: Steampunk Saturday at Shaharazade’s in Shepherdstown

by Eliza D Braun July 30, 2014

Our journalists are hosting a steampunk tea in charming Shepherdstown, WV, and they’d love you to attend! Tiffany Trent, author of the Unnaturalists, and a Ministry Initiative contributer will be joining Tee and Pip at Shaharazade’s Restaurant & Tea Room, 141 W German St, Shepherdstown, WV. Here are the details… The Teahouse: With over 60 […]

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Happy Birthday, David Warner!

by Eliza D Braun July 29, 2014

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences wishes David Warner the happiest of birthdays! This fine British actor is multi-faceted, to say the least. From crime dramas such as Midsommer Murders and Wallander, to science fiction classics like Tron, Time Bandits, Doctor Who, and various Star Trek properties, to astounding voiceover work including Batman’s Ra’s Al Gohl and […]

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Dispatches from the Ministry

by Eliza D Braun July 26, 2014

We here at the Ministry are always looking for ways to maintain contact with our agents. However recently, it was pointed out to us that we are missing a beat. Though we have a Ministry Facebook, Twitter, Google+, tumblr and pinterest account…we were missing out on an email list! We’re not entirely sure how we […]

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Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

by Eliza D Braun July 10, 2014

Our favourite mad science consultant for the Ministry, Nikola Tesla, celebrates a birthday today. We came across this picture in the Archives, circa 1894-95, where we see Nikola on his travels across America, enjoying a relaxing afternoon on the beach.   Wait. Hold on a moment… Is that the Currituck Light in the Outer Banks […]

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The Secret of the Diamond Conspiracy is out: 31-3-2015

by Eliza D Braun July 8, 2014

We have managed to declassify information on the fourth Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences books. We have a publication date which is the 31st of March 2015…and we even have information on the contents of the book. Your support with pre-orders of said book makes a great deal of difference to the Ministry, so please help […]

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New Tale: Blessings of Baalsheim

by Eliza D Braun June 29, 2014

Something new from the Archives, a new story from Mr Reed. Once again available on all platforms, but buying direct gives the Ministry the best return (and keeps us in tea!) Blessings of Baalsheim by Nobilis Reed In the Spring of 1869 Mrs Isabel Burton begins a correspondence with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Director, […]

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Tales from the Archives III: Six

by Eliza D Braun June 17, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Blessings […]

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New Ministry tales for your aether reader

by Eliza D Braun June 5, 2014

This week sees the arrival of three new offerings from the vaults of the Tales of the Archives, a story from Lisa-Anne Samuels, Suna Dasi, as well as Collection 7 of the Tales from the Archives. All of these are also available on all ebook platforms, but the Ministry gets the best when you buy […]

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Æther Feature: Still Think Steampunk is Dead? You Must Not Be Watching Penny Dreadful.

by Eliza D Braun June 5, 2014

Showtime, back in May, offered up a free preview—the first episode—of a new series featuring Josh Harnett, Eva Green, and Timothy Dalton. The show was advertised as gothic horror; but amidst the breathtaking fashions, the epic sets, and its beautiful design, steampunk makes its presence known. This is the new horror series, Penny Dreadful. Exactly what […]

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PNR Radio appearance + giveaway

by Eliza D Braun June 4, 2014

In partnership with ILoveVampireNovels.com, author Arial Burnz is the host of the podcast PNRradio.com, where she features entertainment that goes bump in the night. If you love paranormal and fantasy books, TV shows and movies, you’ll love PNR Radio! Guests include bestselling authors (e.g., Nalini Singh, Kami Garcia, Julie Kagawa) and celebrities (from TV shows […]

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Tales from the Archives, Volume III: Five (Part Two)

by Eliza D Braun June 3, 2014

    The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Those […]

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Something new…

by Eliza D Braun May 29, 2014

We here at the Ministry are all about choices and options. Our podcasts, our audio books, and our digital books are available in as many platforms as possible, and now we bring you the ability to buy from us directly. We are often asked which method yields the best return for our journalists, and we […]

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Tales from the Archives, Volume III: Five (Part One)

by Eliza D Braun May 13, 2014

  The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has many forgotten stories in its Archives. Stories of madcap adventures in all corners of the Empire, dark doings in hidden places, and mysterious devices and artifacts that the everyday citizen should never become aware of for fear it would quite undo their minds. In this episode: Those Dark […]

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