If you’ve read Tanya Reimer’sSacred Land StoriesLegends on the Prairies and Ghosts on the Prairies you’ll be delighted to hear that the concluding story Cursed on the Prairies will be published next month. An emotional journey that proves we can’t escape our destinies, Cursed on the Prairies is the culmination of a trans-generational timeline that started in Legends… and continued in Ghosts… If you haven’t read the Sacred Land Stories, now is your chance to read the first two before Cursed on the Prairies comes out.
This is alternate history suspense, incorporating the paranormal and magical realism, and infused with romance. They are stories that concern the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes in the prairies of Saskatchewan. But they also touch on the interwoven loves, hopes, dreams and tragedies of lives lived on those prairies by both the tribes and the settlers. Although each book in the series is a standalone story which can be read without any knowledge of the other two books, the greatest enjoyment is likely to gained by reading them in sequence.
With lingering spirits, a troubled girl, dark rituals, a love potion, cursed men plaguing their lands, a prison break, and the earth itself trying to suck them in, Cursed on the Prairies is a Sacred Land Story that shows that the prairies are a place full of secrets that even a ghost can’t bury.
In the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis, we were introduced to heroine September Weekes. In that trilogy, September discovered who she is and was called upon to save the land of Gwlad from the evil Malevolence (in case you haven’t yet read them yet – why not? – I won’t introduce spoilers by saying any more!) Now Peter has delivered the first September Weekes novel, Cold Fire. September is still at school and is still the Cludydd o Maengolauseren, but this time she finds herself closer to home, at least in space if not time. As far as she can tell, her appearance hasn’t changed, she’s even wearing her school uniform. But in a London of 1680, others see her as a lady of considerable social standing. She has been brought here to stop something happening that would give the Malevolence an opportunity to enter the universe. But she doesn’t know what. Her first stop is a tavern, to meet Robert Hooke, and then off to see Sir Robert Boyle demonstrate to the Royal Society the results of his investigations of the phosphorus and its cold fire. Far away at the edge of Wales an alchemist has learnt of Boyle’s discovery and, helped by his young assistant, is attempting in his own way to form the mysterious material, little suspecting that his work threatens to open the universe to the evil power of the Malevolence. September starts to understand what is happening but feels powerless to stop it. Then she encounters some fantastic beasts who may be able to help her, if she can work out how to save them from the Cold Fire.
The cover design by Alison Buck shows us September meeting one of those fantastic beasts, the dragon Obsidian.
Cold Fire will be available as an eBook at the beginning of August and in paperback in October.
Third book announced in dystopian YA trilogy comparable to The Hunger Games and Divergent
DARTFORD, KENT – 23 June 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of the explosive conclusion to Katrina Mountfort’s widely acclaimed Blueprint Trilogy and reveal the cover. The dystopian YA trilogy, which was launched in 2014 with Future Perfect, and continued in 2015 with Forbidden Alliance, takes us to a future Britain (now called State Eleven) in which men and women are almost identical and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population live within comfortable Citidomes, believing that life outside is no longer possible. But along with the utopian security and safety that appears to come from such controlled isolation and segregation, freedom of choice and individuality have been sacrificed in favour of conformity and unreserved acceptance of the authorities. MindValues advocate non-attachment, while the BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance and looks are everything. In a society where every thought and action is controlled, informers are everywhere. Anyone who dares question the status quo is labelled a subversive thinker and quietly disappeared. But, in fact, there are communities living outside the Citidomes and some of them are actively trying to set free those still inside, most of whom don’t even realise they are effectively imprisoned. As the efforts of the rebels become more daring, the Citidome authorities are forced to go beyond their usual pernicious techniques to use more destructive and shocking tactics – and what started as a campaign to maintain control becomes a vendetta targeted at the rebel leaders.
A dark undercurrent runs through these books: the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty. But life outside the Citidomes is not without problems and the books explore the burden of leadership, family loyalties and whether it is possible to justify the sacrifice of human lives for the greater good. Freedom’s Prisoners examines betrayal, guilt, hope and endurance as the rebels undertake their most ambitious mission yet – to see if there is anyone in the world beyond the shores of State Eleven who cares enough to help.
As with Forbidden Alliance, the cover artwork for Freedom’s Prisoners was produced by talented Sheffield-based artist Alex Storer. When she saw Alex’s cover design for the first time Katrina said “I love it… I had no clear idea of exactly what the RotorFighters looked like, but your vision seems perfect.”
In reviews the trilogy has been favourably compared to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogies, while others have been reminded of Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World and Nolan and Johnson’s Logan’s Run. Future Perfect was described as “one of the best modern YA sci-fi novels ever written” by RisingShadow. Katrina Mountfort’s Freedom’s Prisoners, the final book of the Blueprint Trilogy will be published in digital formats on the 9th September and launched in paperback at Novacon in November in Nottingham.
Notes for Editors
About Katrina Mountfort
Katrina Mountfort was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect was her debut novel and the first book in the Blueprint Trilogy. Freedom’s Prisoners is the third and concluding book of the trilogy.
About Alex Storer
Alex Storer is a graphic designer, artist/illustrator and musician from Sheffield, UK. The advent of pixel art and the vibrant graphics of the Commodore Amiga in the early 1990s was a turning point for Alex, giving him his first taste of digital artwork, leading to a career in graphic design. However, a lifelong interest in science fiction came full circle in 2010 when Alex began producing his own brand of science fiction artwork. Taking influence from classic science fiction and the space art greats of the 1970s and 80s, his work pays homage to yesterday’s visions of tomorrow yet remains contemporary and distinctive in style. In 2012, Alex was invited to join the Initiative for Interstellar Studies as an honorary musician and artist.
In 2015 Elsewhen Press commissioned Alex to produce the cover art for Forbidden Alliance, the second book in Katrina’s Blueprint Trilogy. Now in 2016 he has produced the cover art for Freedom’s Prisoners.
In July we will publish the long-awaited next book in Ira Nayman’s increasingly improperly named Transdimensional Authority series (really, would it have killed him to plan the series more in advance? George R. R. Martin planned the first 137 books in his series – it will take more generations in his family to write than the books themselves actually chronicle – before he wrote a single word, and everybody knows where they stand with him), It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should featuring Time Agency agent Radames Trafshanian, but we can unveil its cover now.
Fans of the series will remember Radames from the story of Random Dingoes (and peering out of a Time Suck Tube on the cover). She was such a popular character that she got her very own book**. When she is not trying to impress her good friend in the Transdimensional Authority, her very special friend, if you know what we mean (and, if you do, could you please tell us, because we’re not entirely certain…), she is busy trying to solve crimes against time (that is, crimes that are themselves against time, not trying to solve them against time – she’s not on the clock… well, she sort of is, but you know what we mean, don’t you. You don’t? Well then, you’ll have to read It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should to find out).
Anyway, in this novel, which is not nearly as parenthetical as the previous paragraph may have led you to believe, we accompany Radames on her latest case, followed by her previous case (time travel’s like that) and on the way we find out much more about the origin of the Time Agency itself and why it’s organised like a Library, which is very timely (see what we did there?). Featuring guest appearances by Noomi Rapier, Elvis Presley and Margaret Atwo–.
Once again the cover features the appropriately unique artwork of American artist Hannah B. Farrell, on a photograph of a small town called Dingle Dell. We can see the town founder’s statue being inspected by the town’s founder himself – who was rather surprised to find himself displaced in time – as well as the purposefully striding Radames with TAMI. What does it all mean? You’ll have to wait until next month to find out.
It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should will be published as an eBook on the 8th July and in print on the 10th October.
* [Editor – I thought this was a Transdimensional Authority series novel, so why is it called a Time Agency novel? I mean, I know they’re both abbreviated to TA but… [Proofreader – actually TA is an acronym not an abbreviation. Just sayin’] …okay, I know they’re both ‘acronymised’ [Ed – better? [Pr – yes thanks.]] to TA but that doesn’t make them the same does it? If Ira wrote a book about a Teaching Assistant in the Territorial Army living in Taunton that wouldn’t be the same, would it?
[Marketing Executive (while scribbling a quick memo to Ira) – hmmm, interesting… that is, no, obviously not. We should explain it a bit better. Okay, I’ve got it, I’ll add in a clarification… [Editor – good, and don’t forget to change it in the opening sentence too] …aargh! Too late, I’ve already pressed ‘Save’]
** [Editor – I don’t think we should say this, it makes it sound like Ira hasn’t thought these plotlines through in advance but is entirely driven by audience response. Where would we be if authors just wrote what their readers wanted?]
Although the mediaeval setting and characters have a Scandinavian feel, Anders’ story itself is timeless, transcending national borders and cultures, and appealing to everyone. Young readers in any country will empathise with Mandigo as his life takes sudden and unexpected turns, he discovers the truth about his own past, and starts to fear for his future and that of everyone he loves.
As soon as we read it, we knew that we wanted to publish Anders’ book for an English-speaking audience. The next major decision, of course, was the design of the cover. Early on in the story Mandigo has an encounter with a demon that leaves his face badly scarred. Anders was very keen that the cover should show Mandigo, including his face – but would it scare off younger readers or intrigue them? We decided to portray Mandigo as he looks out from the top of a tower of the Bloodstone fortress, the setting for much of the action. Once again artist Alison Buck has produced an image that captures the character of Mandigo, while being sympathetic to the nature of his disfigurement.
When we showed it to Anders his response was “That cover is absolutely awesome. Alison has done a great job. The way Mandigo’s scarred face is shown, it makes the reader ponder, ‘What on Earth happened to this guy, and what is he doing on that book cover?’ Also, the way the image is composed, you get a sense of the loneliness that Mandigo is experiencing. At first sight, he scares you, and then you start feeling curious and a little sorry for him. And then there is the setting sun in the background. Something is coming. Something powerful. Spooky, and awesome! I also like the font. They look like Scandinavian runes. A nice touch that.”
Mandigo and the Hellhounds will be published as an eBook on the 5th August and the print edition will be launched in September at the FantasyCon convention in Scarborough.
Reimar is one country in the continent of Iber, on the world of Brisia. Brisia is linked to other worlds by the Helion, a portal through which the Reimarans trade. But Reimar is not alone on Iber, they are bordered by other nations many of whom covet the Helion and the prosperity it brings. There is Iln to the North and both Arn and Shar to the East, not to mention the untrustworthy Archipelagans to the south. Trouble is brewing and someone is fomenting rebellion. Welcome to the court of King Abarron du Tealdan.
You’ll need to wait until August to meet the King, his daughter Siera who is proving to be a great military commander in the making, and her older brother Ramiros who rather enjoys life at court. But to make the wait a bit more bearable – or maybe to tease you and make the wait less bearable – we can give you a first look at the book’s cover. Jonathan’s world-building included a map, of course, identifying the various countries, cities and significant topographical features. As Jonathan himself says: “Fantasy titles with lots of locations but no map somewhat irk me – I want to know!” So it was clear that his map should be included in the book, and Jonathan’s draft map has been fully realised by our multi-talented artist Alison Buck. It can be seen in all its glory here on our series page and on Jonathan’s own website The Fourth World where much riveting background material can also be found.
Once the map was completed we set about discussing the best cover for the book – one suggestion was a shield to suggest the military aspects (although the word ‘War’ in the subtitle is probably an even bigger clue!) – but having seen the map, Jonathan commented “if I see a book with a huge map cover I’m thinking there’ll be depth to this one.” We agreed that the map would be the perfect background for the cover of the book. I hope you think so too.
Jonathan’s immediate reaction was “This cover looks fantastic”. Phew!
Rebecca Hall’s YA Fantasy series Symphony of the Cursed kicks off with Instrument of Peace which will be published in a digital edition in June. We can now reveal the cover, but first a little scene-setting:
Raised in the world-leading Academy of magic rather than by his absentee parents, Mitch has come to see it as his home. He’s spent more time with his friends than his family and the opinion of his maths teacher matters far more than that of his parents. The best maths student in the school, Mitch is unhappy to discover that Hayley, a girl who beat him in last year’s inter-school competition, has just transferred to the Academy. Nobody expects her to stay long and no-one befriends her. But when a devastating earthquake strikes the school, Mitch’s little brother Cullum is trapped and Hayley rescues him. Mitch is torn between his rivalry with her and being grateful that she saved Cullum’s life. He already knew that Hayley carries a golden feather around with her, but now he discovers that it is an Archangel feather, although he doesn’t yet know how significant it will turn out to be…
The Academy is overshadowed by Mount Ruapehu and the ongoing battle between Heaven and Hell is causing not just earthquakes but volcanic eruptions. Very quickly the school and its grounds are covered in grey ash. In the cover we can see the golden Archangel feather lying on a blanket of ash. As you can imagine it proved to be very difficult for us to get hold of an Archangel feather to photograph – they are rather rare!
The paperback edition of Instrument of Peace will be launched at FantasyCon by the Sea in Scarborough in September.
The covers of the first two volumes in the series showed us an orrery depicting the positions of the heavenly bodies in the universe of Gwlad where September first finds herself in Seventh Child. Significantly, volume 2, The Power of Seven, gave us a view of the conjunction of the planets that presaged a great battle.
Now, in Unity of Seven, we can see that the orrery is looking rather the worse for wear and somewhat tarnished. But there appears to be a bright new planet in the sky. The stage is set…
September is back home and it is still the night of her birthday, despite having spent over three months in Gwlad battling the Malevolence at the seventh conjunction of the planets. She no longer has the Maengolauseren nor the powers it gave her. It is back to facing the bullies at school and her struggles with her weight and studies, but she worries about how well the people of Gwlad have recovered from the terror of the Malevolence. She is also unsure what happened to Malice/Mairwen as the Cemegwr said that Toddfa penbaladr, the universal solvent, would join the twins together. Is Malice inside her? Could she turn to evil?
She must discover a way to return to the universe of Gwlad and the answer seems to lie in her family history. The five Cludydds before September and her mother were her ancestors. The clues take her on a journey in time and space which reveals that while in great danger she is also the key to the survival of all the universes. September must overcome her own fears, accept an extraordinary future and, once again, face the evil above the stars.
Legends say that, tens of thousands of years ago, Whisperers were banished from the heavens, torn in half, and dumped on a mortal realm they didn’t understand. Longing for their other half, they went from being powerful immortals to lonely leeches relying on humans to survive. Over the years, they earnt magic from demons, they left themselves Notebooks with hints, and, by pairing up with human souls, they eventually found their other halves. Humbled by their experiences, they discovered the true purpose of life and many were worthy of returning to the heavens. But not all of them. The Dark Chronicles are stories that share the heartache of select unworthy Whisperers on their journey to immortality after The War of 2019. Can’t Dream Without You is one of the stories from The Dark Chronicles, in which we meet Steve and Julia. Steve isn’t a normal boy. He plays with demons, his soul travels to a dream realm at night using mystical butterflies, and soon he’ll earn the power to raise the dead…
The style of Alison’s cover design for Tanya’s book was inspired by the amazing work of MC Escher. What better way to show the movement of immortals and demons between the different realms? And do some of those demons look like butterflies?
Tanya’s comment on the cover: “OMG, it’s awesome. It’s powerful and symbolic and mysterious and artistic and magical and perfectly weird.” I think she likes it!
Can’t Dream Without You will be published as an eBook in January 2016 and in the Spring in paperback.
For all the fans of Christopher Nuttall’s bestselling fantasy Bookworm series, the revelation at the end of Bookworm III: The Best Laid Plans, when it was released in February, that the series would conclude with Book IV was both happy and sad: on the one hand there was the pleasure of looking forward to the final dénouement and hopefully a show down between Elaine and the Witch-King, while on the other hand there was the disappointment that the end to such a fantastic series was in sight. Those fans won’t have to wait much longer to experience that exquisite mix of pain and pleasure because Bookworm IV: Full Circle will be published as an eBook in October and in paperback in November. Still can’t wait? Well at least we can now reveal the cover of the book, which raises all sorts of questions on its own…