Tuesday, 23 July 2013

New Blog

I have migrated my blog to  Wordpress.
so from no on you will find me

Many thanks people. See you on the other side!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair by Cate Gardner - an Alchemy Press novella

Now out from The Alchemy Press!

In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair

By Cate Gardner

When the mirror released Kathleen into the unknown, for the briefest of moments she giggled and realised that she’d never laughed before. She had been a blank canvas, sitting and waiting in a room and occasionally bouncing from wall to wall desperate for freedom - and now she was out. White walls no longer surrounded her. In this new place, a thousand mirrors spun reflecting worlds.

The first in The Alchemy Novella Series

For the ePub version contact The Alchemy Press

alchemypress [at] gmail.com

Kneeling in the Silver Light: cover artwork

The cover art for Kneeling in the Silver Light: Stories from the Great War, edited by Dean M Drinkel, The Alchemy Press, has just been revealed! Expected publication date 2014

The artwork and cover design are (c) Chris Rawlins (click here for his DeviantART page).

Sub mission window for this anthology opens next month. 

For details go to the Alchemy Press page HERE

Friday, 12 July 2013

ANDROMEDA ONE - One Day SF Event - Guest List

I shall be at the Andromeda One event in Birmingham in September! 

Andromeda One is a one-day SF, fantasy and horror convention taking place on Saturday 21st September 2013.

GUESTS OF HONOUR include Paul Cornell and Jaine Fenn.
Plus sessions with an impressive range of speakers: Chris Amies, Jacey Bedford, Misa Buckley (SFR) Mike Chinn, Theresa Derwin, Jan Edwards (Alchemy Press & Editor/Writer) Janet Edwards SF Writer, Simon Marshall-Jones of Spectral Press, Adrian Middleton, Mark West and Ian Whates.

The day kicks off at 11am but there will be early bird kaffe klatches from 08:30am and a dealer’s room from 09:00am

Taking place at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, it brings together a host of science-fiction, fantasy and horror writers and publishers for a day loaded with book launches, kaffeeklatches, panels, signings, workshops and much more.

Single Tickets are £25 each; Group Tickets (for up to five people) are £100.

Book your tickets HERE

Monday, 8 July 2013

Alchemy Press titles for Autumn 2013

A quick update on the exciting new titles you can look forward to from The Alchemy Press this autumn!  

To be launched at World Fantasy Convention 2013 in Brighton.

The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic:

Editors Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber
Cover art - Ben Baldwin
James Brogden – The Smith of Hockley
Joyce Chng – Dragonform Witch
Graham Edwards – A Night to Forget
Jaine Fenn – Not the Territory
Christopher Golden – Under Cover of Night
Kate Griffin – An Inspector Calls
Alison Littlewood – The Song of the City
Anne Nicholls – The Seeds of a Pomegranate
Jonathan Oliver – White Horse
Mike Resnick – The Wizard of West 34th street
Gaie Sebold – Underground
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Family Business
Ian Whates – Default Reactions
(alphabetical order)

The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes 2: Editor Mike Chinn
Cover art – Les Edwards
Pandora’s Box – Chico Kidd
The Flier – Bryn Fortey
Griffon’s Gamble – Arch Whitehouse
Night Hunter – Pauline E Dungate
Meeting at the Silver Dollar – Marion Pitman
The Monster of Gorgon – Ian Hunter
Dragon’s Breath – Anne Nicholls
The Law of Mars – Robert William Iveniuk
The Penge Terror – William Meikle
Ula and the Black Book of Leng – Andrew Coulthard
The Sons of Crystal City – Martin Gately
Kiss the Day Goodbye – Adrian Cole
Do Not Go Gently – Stuart Young
The Incarceration of Captain Nebula – Mike Resnik

Editor Allen Ashley

Cover art – Dani Serra
Aspects of Aries – David Turnbull
Taurus – The White Bull Ranch by Christine Morgan
Gemini – The Sun and the Moon by Bob Lock
Gemini – Star-crossed by Stuart Young
Cancer – Ragged Claws by Joel Lane
Leo – The Yellow Fruit by Ralph Robert Moore
Virgo – The Third Face of Virgo by Adam Craig
Libra – The Order of the Scales by Storm Constantine
Scorpio – Cookie by Jet McDonald
Capricorn – Broken Horn by Doug Blakeslee
Sagittarius – Dark Matters by Megan Kerr
Aquarius – Deep Draw by Neil Williamson
Pisces – The Prize by David McGroarty
Pisces – The Fishman by Mark David Campbell

Doors To Elsewhere Mike Barrett

Collected essays on 20th century horror 
and fantasy writers by Mike Barrett. 
Cover art Bob Covington.

Includes essays on:
Arkham House
Clifford Ball
Marjorie Bowen
Ernest Bramah
Mary Elizabeth Counselman
F Marion Crawford
Lord Dunsany
Fritz Leiber
Greye La Spina
C L Moore
G G Pendarves
Theodore Sturgeon
C Hall Thompson
Edward Lucas White
Henry S Whitehead

(Updates on forthcoming novellas to follow!)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Kneeling in the Silver Light: new Alchemy Press anthology announced

Alchemy Press has just listed a new anthology for 2014.

Kneeling In The Silver Light: Stories From The Great War - a horror / dark fantasy anthology commemorating the 100 year centenary of the outbreak of the Great War (World War One)   

Editor Dean M Drinkel is looking for the very best stories set in / during / around the Great War. Originality is key and he is not particularly looking for run-of-the-mill war stories, though tales can be set on European battlefields, trenches, war-rooms, etc, 

He is also keen  to read anything non-English  speaking writers (i.e.  French, German, Italian etc) but stories must be written in English. Fully realised characters are a must and solid plots extremely desirable.

Submission period runs from 1 August to 1 December 2013. Do not submit outside of those dates.

For full guidelines go to http://alchemypress.blogspot.co.uk/

Kneeling in the Silver Light: Stories From The Great War will be a paperback edition published in 2014, to be followed by an ebook edition. 

Send all submissions and correspondence to Dean M Drinkel at dean  at ellupofilms.com

Friday, 14 June 2013

Guest Books - Jessica Rydill’ s Malarat

Jessica Rydill’ s Malarat
Pb 2013 by Shamansland.com  - Kindle Edition 
Annat Vasilyevich is a shaman and an outcast Wanderer. No longer
her father's apprentice, she watches enviously as he sets out into enemy
territory with his new pupil, Huldis of Ademar, and their companions.

War has come to Lefranu, and while Annat defends the besieged city of Yonar, her father has to face his destiny and confront a demon known only to the Wanderers. Their world is about to be shattered by an attack from the most deadly of enemies - the mediaeval Duc de Malarat and his ally, the twisted but beautiful Inquisitor, Valdes de Siccaria.

Malarat is Jessica Rydill's third book. Set in the same world as her earlier stories, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Malarat is a much darker work than its predecessors, dealing with themes of loss, guilt and betrayal.

Q&A with Jessica Rydill  for Malarat

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the younger daughter of a naval architect and a social worker. My elder sister is the Fantasy writer Sarah Ash, who has had a huge influence on me, though our books are very different. I’ve spent most of my life living in Bath or London, but I think Bath has won out now. I studied English at University and would have liked to become an academic, but I didn’t get a good enough degree. So I trained as a solicitor and had a somewhat chequered career in local government. The best bit by far was working as a locum for the London Borough of Lambeth; as a housing lawyer as I got to stand up in court (though solicitors have horrible gowns, unlike barristers). I gave it all up in 1998 in order to write. A writing course at Fen Farm taught by David Gemmell was a breakthrough for me. It made a huge difference to my writing though it was still some time before I produced a book that was publishable!

Malarat is standalone book and somewhat darker than previous books in this world. Can you tell us a little about that?
I suppose Malarat is on a more epic scale than the others. I like to imagine my books as movies, and Malarat is a bit like War and Peace in scope. The beginning is quite light, and one of the main characters is preoccupied with what she’s wearing. But in that first chapter there is a hint of what’s to come. There will be a war, and all the characters will be affected. In some ways it’s a story about obsessions of various kinds. The Duc de Malarat wants to rule the country through a puppet king. The Inquisitor wants to eradicate magic. And behind that is a man with the weirdest obsession of all – Colonel Carnwallis. He sets out to change history and the afterlife in line with his view that the Anglit – the English, in effect – are true descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel. The way in which these characters set out to achieve their ends is disastrous for everyone else. So there are some dark episodes. The standalone bit relates to the fact that you don’t need to have read my first two novels to understand this one. If anything, I have enlarged the amount of contextual detail relating to the world and country where the story is set. Some of the characters are the same, but the entire episode is separate.

You had two previous novels set in this world: Children of the Shaman  - short  listed for a Locus Best first Novel - and  The Glass Mountain.  Fill us in on the details.
Children of the Shaman introduced the Vasilyevich family. They are Wanderers, an ethnic group similar to the Jews. They also have magical powers to varying degrees, which is why they are known as shamans. The children, Annat and Malchik, have been brought up by their aunt and grandparents. Their father abandoned them and their mother died young. Malchik is rather nerdy and weedy and Annat, the young girl, is bolder and more adventurous. When their aunt has to go into hospital, their father, Yuda, takes custody of them. He’s on a secret mission to a frontier town called Gard Ademar (which does exist – it’s called La Garde Adhemar). Since the Great Cold ended, the Railway People have been constructing a railway north into the unknown wastes of what is (more or less) northern France. And when they reach Gard Ademar, they accidentally disturb a hornet’s nest. Yuda is there to investigate a series of murders, and he and his children get caught up in the magic of the place. He’s a very mercurial and charismatic person and not at all an ideal father; he can’t accept that his son, Malchik, is not only not a shaman but also completely bookish and wimpy.
The Glass Mountain deals with some of the fallout from Children of the Shaman. It talks a lot more about what it means to be a shaman and focusses on Yuda’s twin sister, Yuste. In this story most of the trouble is caused by a Magus who carries two suitcases with …unusual…contents. He practises necromancy and fancies himself as a rival to the powerful Sklavan Magus Kaschai the Deathless. The mountain of the title is his hideout, and he kidnaps Annat and Malchik to further his purposes. The setting is 19th century again but there are mediaeval elements because of the fact that parts of the world have been set back by the Great Cold.

Magic and shamanism.
There are (at least) two kinds of magic in this universe. Shamans are an evolutionary phenomenon. Before the Great Cold, they were rare and were found mostly in Cine (which is China). After the Thaw, the centre for the study of shamanism was established in Inde (India). They had a long tradition of academic study, and they were excited when news came through that shamans were starting to be born in Europe. So they sent out a number of emissaries, one of whom was Prakhash Sival, who planned to establish a school or college for shamans in Masalyar. Sival ‘discovered’ Yuda and Yuste Vasilyevich when they were children, and recognised that they were both unusually powerful. So he set out to study and train them.

The characteristics of a shaman are that they can use telepathy, heal, and travel into other dimensions, particularly the spirit world. A small number of them have much more flamboyant powers and can also fight. They are often but not always bisexual, and they tend to be on the short side. But there are exceptions to every rule!
The Magus is a shaman who uses other forms of magic. He casts spells and uses mirrors. The shamans frown on this type of magic because it’s superstitious and tends to involve abuse of power.
There is another species of magic which only gets hinted at: gifts, which are a specific magical ability. In Children of the Shaman, there is a painter called Cluny who can use his paintings to escape from his confinement. He is not a shaman and has no other magical powers.

If you could visit a fantasy world from another book where would it be?
That’s a tricky one! I would once have loved to go to Narnia, but discovering that it was a Christian allegory rather knocked that on the head for me. More recently, I have wanted to go to Lyra’s Oxford. The trouble with fantasy worlds is that they’re dangerous. It’s not unlike going travelling, backpacking, and I these days I prefer my home comforts such as sanitation, hot and cold running water and sofas. I’m emotionally close to Bilbo Baggins before he set out for Erebor. So I think I’d choose Middle-Earth, specifically the Shire, because you can smoke and drink beer (and eat well) but there is also the possibility of Elves.

How do you see the rise of eBooks affecting writers and writing?
I believe it’s too soon to call, really. The effect could be quite deleterious in one scenario. At the moment, many people are rushing into print before they have had a chance to learn their craft, and there is no editorial control. There are thousands of eBooks out there and it is hard to discover which are any good. It’s also very hard to get reviews for self-published eBooks due to the sheer volume of books being produced. So on the one hand there is the opportunity for people to publish work that might not otherwise have been published – but on the other hand there’s no gateway, no vetting process and so it’s almost as if there is an eBook for everyone in the world.

I love ‘traditional’ reading but I fear that in the future it may not survive. I may be completely wrong, but I get the impression that young people enjoy so many different formats – games, films, tablets, music and more. Sitting down to read a book is a much more concentrated and reflective experience. On the other hand, eBooks have a lot of unexplored potential. One could incorporate music, images – who knows what! – into a book.

So I feel the rise of eBooks is a challenge; they rely on technology and a hi-tech society to exist. I’m a bit of a Luddite – I love low tech things like steam trains and wind-up gramophones – but I have to confess I also love iPads and computers and suchlike.

Who is hot on your reading list?
I want to read ‘Wind Follower’ by Carole McDonnell, which has been waiting on my Kindle. Lots more Sherlock Holmes, and some of my Terry Pratchett pile. The Kindle is quite bad for a book hoarder like me (in one way) in that I can download stuff and there it is, waiting for me! I am keen to read more of the Graceling books by Kristin Cashore.

What next?
I’ve started something called Winterbloom. That’s only its working title. I’ve got to scan my first two books to bring them out as eBooks, but Winterbloom is pre-occupying me. It’s my work-in-progress and it looks as though parts of it may take part in England – a fictional 19th century England – and also in the Anglond of the shaman world. At the moment there appear to be characters from three parallel worlds interacting. It may also have Sherlock Holmes in it, but I’m not sure because Conan Doyle was such an outstanding writer. But I used to love the old Sherlock Holmes TV series with Jeremy Brett playing the Great Detective, and now I am a huge fan of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman and Mark Gatiss. I’m terribly fan-girly about the whole thing! So Winterbloom might have a Sherlock Holmes strand. After Malarat, I wanted to do something a bit more playful, and I have always wanted to mingle my characters with someone else’s. The main problem at the moment is structural – I know what I want to do but not how to get there!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review for Alchemy Press Book Of Ancient Wonders"

Review  for Alchemy Press book Of Ancient Wonders from Jim Mcleod over at ‘Ginger Nuts of Horror’

This is another one of those reviews that has taken a lot longer to get round to than I had first imagined.  The reason for this is I think that ancient wonders contained within it's pages were conspiring to make my life difficult.  During my time reading this anthology the book decided to disappear.  I hunted high and low looking for this book, and both times it mysteriously appeared on a book shelf that I checked at least twice. Trust me  here are strange and wondrous powers working within this book.  

With a title like this,  you would hope that the stories contained within are ones that will illicit a feeling of joy and wonder, and perhaps a few that are tinged with a slight darkness.  Thankfully, the anthology does this with great aplomb.  The stories on offer are  an extremely high standard in terms of the quality of writing but more importantly they have that magic edge that makes them special.  That ability that brings a wide eyed smile to your face. A lot of the stories have similar themes, of time travel travel, the ancient world impinging on ours, and the legends of old, but each story lives out it's own fabulous world in the anthology.

The opening story Bones  by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is a brilliant story of an archeological dig for some monstrous bones that has a fabulous and subtle twist to the tale.  Adrian packs a lot into this story, to the point that you get a real feel for this futuristic society of ... well you'r going to have to read the book to find out what they are.

Following on from this is perhaps my favourite story of the anthology, If Street by James Brogden.  This story will strike a perfect chord with every male reader, don't lie, I know everyone of you dreamed of being a Roman Soldier as a kid, and probably still do.  If Street, is reads like one of those classic Sunday afternoon dramas, there is wonder, danger, sadness and the loss of childhood innocence.  It's also full of great ideas, such as what happens to the Romans when they make the journey across the veil into our world.  Excellent stuuff.

 William Meikle's The Cauldron of Camulos is a rip roaring take on Arthurian England, told with Meikle's spectacular gift to entertain the reader.

Peter Crowther's Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day, is one of those unusual stories, that in theory shouldn't work, but somehow manages to be one that is just pure genius.

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders,  is one of those anthologies that really does live up to the title.  This is fourteen stories of pure magic, that will whisk to lands full myth, magic, and adventure.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Pauline Dungate Q&A

PAULINE DUNGATE answers the questions this time around about her story in The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders:

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I spent all of my working life as a teacher but ended up as the resident teacher at Birmingham Nature Centre with a classroom full of exotic animals. I spend a lot of time reading, writing and reviewing when I am not in the garden. I take my camera on exotic holidays looking for wildlife. Last year it was Ecuador.

What inspired you to write “One Man's Folly”?
Every year there is a Middle Earth Weekend at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham. Because of the Tolkien connection, the local paper often runs articles about his influences around this time. On the photo of Perrot’s Tower, an octagonal building, I noticed that the corner stones of the topmost floor looked very different from the rest of the brick built building. That led to the question of what they were made of. What if it was a stone circle in the sky. The story grew from there.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?
It would probably have to be Hadrian’s Wall – either that or British Camp, the hill fort on the Malvern Hills.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?
The mystery. We know so little about them so there is much that can be imagined and no-one can tell us we are wrong.

What do you have coming out next?
I am working on a near future thriller set in Birmingham plus a number of stories. I write reviews and poetry as Pauline Morgan and there are plenty of my reviews around. The writers’ group I belong to has recently put out a pamphlet called Grapeshot which has three of my poems in it.

[Pauline E Dungate’s stories have appeared in anthologies such as Skin of the Soul, Narrow Houses, Swords Against the Millennium, Beneath the Ground, Merlin, Victorious Villains and Under the Rose. She has won prizes for poetry and has been a judge for the Arthur C Clarke Award. She reviews for SFCrowsnest and runs workshops covering all areas of creative writing. She lives in Birmingham with husband and fellow writer Chris Morgan.]

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac - an Alchemy Press anthology - the final line up!

Editor Allen Ashley has now fixed the final line up for the forthcoming Alchemy Press anthology Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac. 

Allen says: “That’s it! I have made my final three acceptances and the book is now full. 

So, without further ado, here is the full running order for Astrologica: 
Aries – Aspects of Aries by David Turnbull
Taurus – The White Bull Ranch by Christine Morgan
Gemini – The Sun and the Moon by Bob Lock
Gemini – Star-crossed by Stuart Young
Cancer – Ragged Claws by Joel Lane
Leo – The Yellow Fruit by Ralph Robert Moore
Virgo – The Third Face of Virgo by Adam Craig
Libra – The Order of the Scales by Storm Constantine
Scorpio – Cookie by Jet McDonald
Capricorn – Broken Horn by Doug Blakeslee
Sagittarius – Dark Matters by Megan Kerr
Aquarius – Deep Draw by Neil Williamson
Pisces – The Prize by David McGroarty
Pisces – The Fishman by Mark David Campbell

To be published October 2013 - launch party at World Fantasy in Brighton