delivering outstanding new talents in speculative fiction
These posts are to highlight mentions of Elsewhen Press, our titles or our authors (or even our staff) elsewhere. We were going to call them ‘Elsewhen Elsewhere’ but the majority of the crew thought that sounded silly (so I was outvoted, mutter, mutter, mutter).
Riftmaster is an adventure by Miles Nelson, telling the story of college student Bailey Jones who is plucked from his life on Earth by the Rift, a mysterious and unpredictable force which appears to move people at random from one world to another. Stranded on an alien planet, he is relieved when he meets a fellow human, the self-styled Riftmaster, who is prepared to assist him. Bailey is curious about his new companion’s real identity, but hopes that, with years of experience of the Rift, this cosmic traveller can help him find a way to return to Earth. First though, as the two of them are ripped without warning from one hostile planet to another, Bailey must rely on the Riftmaster to show him how to survive.
For many of our books we commission an artist to design a cover based on one or more ideas from the author, ideas that may be expressed in words or illustrated with a basic scribble. In this case Miles, the author, provided an eye-catching concept design that was virtually ready to be used. After he had made a couple of small tweaks, the cover was complete. The intriguing star-filled silhouette of the eponymous Riftmaster sets the scene well for this story.
We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Miles would provide suitable cover art, as each chapter starts with a stylish fleuron, also designed by Miles. One of them, depicting the Riftmaster and Bailey, makes an additional appearance on the back cover of the book.
Riftmaster, an adventure, an exploration, is concerned with loss, and letting go, while still holding onto your humanity and identity, even when life seems hopeless. It will be published in eBook format in March and in print in May.
David Shannon’s absurdist satire, HOWUL, recounts an unlikely hero’s journey, in a ravaged yet familiar future
DARTFORD, KENT – 15 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of HOWUL, a life’s journey by David Shannon. Provocative yet savagely funny, this absurdist satire is ominously relevant today despite being set, in North Wales, in a future following an undisclosed catastrophe which has radically affected technology, culture, and even language. Shannon says, “Buried in it is a howl against austerity and oppression. My inspirations were Riddley Walker, Don Quixote and Mad Max.”
Lindsay Nicholson MBE described HOWUL as “Un-put-down-able! A classic hero’s journey, deftly handled. I was surprised by every twist and turn, the plotting was superb, and the engagement of all the senses – I could smell those flowers and herbs. A tour de force.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “HOWUL is a brilliantly unique book that sparkles with wit and tells a compelling story. It is an account by the eponymous ‘hero’ of events that befall him on his quest to seek answers and revenge. It is, therefore, written in the patois of the future that Howul inhabits – a clipped, almost pidgin, dialect of English which is nevertheless entirely comprehensible. It not only adds authenticity, humour, and at times pathos, to the story, but also illustrates the skill with which Shannon has constructed not just the world and the storyline but even a consistent grammar in which to tell it – comparisons with Anthony Burgess are inevitable.”
HOWUL is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 15th March.
Notes for Editors
About David Shannon
David Shannon grew up in Bristol, the youngest of 3 children. Yes, he was the spoilt one. After stints as a TEFL teacher in Italy and croupier in London, he had a first writing career as a journalist working for (among others) Cosmopolitan, the Sunday Times, the Radio Times, Good Housekeeping, Country Living and Best. He wrote a lot about showbiz, interviewing and profiling many celebrities. Even though any actors he met kept telling him what a difficult career theirs is, he then abandoned journalism for acting. Many years later he’s still doing it, using the name David France. How successful has he been at this? Judge for yourself. Have you ever heard of him? He’s done plenty of low-budget feature films (including Werewolves of the Third Reich) but makes most of his living by writing, running and acting in murder mystery events. Chronic shyness afflicted him for many years but he is now painfully opinionated about almost everything. And he loves pigs. Despite this, he remains happily married to a writer slightly more famous than him – the 2019 Booker Prize winner, Bernardine Evaristo. They live in London.
Books are dangerous. People in Blanow think that books are dangerous: they fill your head with drivel, make poor firewood and cannot be eaten (even in an emergency).
This book is about Howul. He sees things differently: fires are dangerous; people are dangerous; books are just books. Howul secretly writes down what goes on around him in Blanow. How its people treat foreigners, treat his daughter, treat him. None of it is pretty. Worse still, everything here keeps trying to kill him: rats, snakes, diseases, roof slates, the weather, the sea. That he survives must mean something. He wants to find out what. By trying to do this, he gets himself thrown out of Blanow… and so his journey begins.
Like all gripping stories, HOWUL is about the bad things people do to each other and what to do if they happen to you. Some people use sticks to stay safe. Some use guns. Words are the weapons that Howul uses most. He makes them sharp. He makes them hurt. Of course books are dangerous.
Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.
DARTFORD, KENT – 08 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Bloodsworn by Tej Turner, the first book in his new epic fantasy series The Avatars of Ruin, set on a mediaeval world with three moons, an extensive pantheon of deities, and gemstones with arcane powers.
Anna Smith Spark, author of the critically acclaimed grimdark epic fantasy trilogy Empires of Dust, said of Bloodsworn: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously.”
Turner’s new series starts in the village of Jalard. It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them. The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream. But this year, the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Tej has built an impressive world, plotting out the history, mythology, terrestrial and celestial landscapes, not forgetting multiple cultures. It is truly epic, but none of it is ever gratuitously ‘in your face’ – well, apart from a map which is right at the start of the book!”
Bloodsworn is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 8th March.
Notes for Editors
About Tej Turner
Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and he does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter.
After completing his studies, he moved to Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. He is also an intermittent traveller who, every now and then, straps on a backpack and flies off to another part of the world to go on an adventure. So far, he has clocked up two years in Asia and a year in South America. He hopes to go on more and has his sights set on Central America next. When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he hopes to return to someday.
Bloodsworn is his third published novel. His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015, followed by his sequel Dinnusos Rises in 2017. Both of them were described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has also had short stories published in various anthologies.
He keeps a travelblog on his website, where he also posts author-related news.
“Did we win the battle?” asked King Wyndham. “Well it depends how you define winning,” answered Longfield, one of the King’s royal commanders. So starts The Magic Fix, a satirical tale with a cast of mythical characters, by author Mark Montanaro.
DARTFORD, KENT – 25 September 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Magic Fix by Mark Montanaro. Epic fantasy in the grand tradition of Craig Shaw Gardner, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and others, Mark Montanaro shines a satirical spotlight on prejudice, authority, power, destiny and the futility of conflict. Set in a fictional continent (The Known World) peopled by Humans, Elves, Pixies, Trolls, Goblins and Ogres, where a pointless war is polarising the races, short-term ambition is blinding leaders to imminent danger, and narrow-minded thinking leaves them all open to the ravages of a natural disaster. Sound familiar?
In The Known World, the Humans are fighting a losing battle with the Trolls. Meanwhile the Ogres are up to something, which probably isn’t good. Could one flying unicorn bring about peace in the Known World? No, obviously not. But maybe a group of rebels have the answer. Or perhaps the answer lies with a young Pixie with one remarkable gift. Does the Elvish Oracle have the answer? Who knows? And, even if she did, would anyone understand her cryptic answers (we all know what Oracles are like!) The Known World is in danger of being rent in twain, and twain-rending is never good! Did we mention the dragon?
Editorial director of Elsewhen Press, Peter Buck, said: “At a time when our world is being ravaged by a natural disaster and leaders’ inability to lead, the need for escapist wit has never been greater. Mark’s ‘Known World’ is also undergoing a natural disaster (a dragon) as well as a failure of leadership. Too close to home? Well at least it will make you laugh.”
The Magic Fix is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 30th November 2020.
Notes for Editors
About Mark Montanaro
Mark Montanaro has always been a man of many talents. He can count with both hands, get five letter words on Countdown and once solved a Rubik’s cube in just 5 days, 13 hours and 59 minutes.
His creativity started at an early age, when he invented plenty of imaginary friends, and even more imaginary girlfriends. As he got older, he started to use his talents to change the world for the better. World peace, poverty reduction, climate change; Mark imagined he had solutions to all of them.
He now lives in London with his Xbox, television and non-imaginary girlfriend. He has recently embarked on his greatest and most creative project yet: a witty novel set in a fantasy world. The Magic Fix, Mark’s debut book, is set to be his best work so far.
Dealing with supernatural threats to Her Majesty’s realm is the purview of HM OWG. You would be surprised to know how many operatives they have throughout the UK. The Eye Collectors is the story of one perfidious case from the Cardiff office.
DARTFORD, KENT – 04 September 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Eye Collectors by Simon Kewin. Subtitled A story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645, it is genre-defying, being at once a contemporary urban fantasy, a chilling paranormal thriller, a gritty police-procedural mystery, and a witty satire on the barriers to diversity in modern society… set largely in Cardiff.
When Danesh Shahzan gets called to a crime scene, it’s usually because the police suspect not just foul play but unnatural forces at play. Danesh is an Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of the British government fighting supernatural threats to the realm. This time, he’s been called in by Detective Inspector Nikola Zubrasky to investigate a murder in Cardiff. The victim had been placed inside a runic circle and their eyes carefully removed from their head. Danesh soon confirms that magical forces are at work. Concerned that there may be more victims to come, he and DI Zubrasky establish a wary collaboration as they each pursue the investigation within the constraints of their respective organisations. Soon Danesh learns that there may be much wider implications to what is taking place and that somehow he has an unexpected connection. He also realises something about himself that he can never admit to the people with whom he works…
An early reader described The Eye Collectors as “Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!”
The Eye Collectors is available now in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 16th November 2020.
Notes for Editors
About Simon Kewin
Simon Kewin is a pseudonym used by an infinite number of monkeys who operate from a secret location deep in the English countryside. Every now and then they produce a manuscript that reads as a complete novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes even in that order.
The Simon Kewin persona devised by the monkeys was born on the misty Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea, at around the time The Beatles were twisting and shouting. He moved to the UK as a teenager, where he still resides. He is the author of over a hundred published short stories and poems, as well as a growing number of novels. In addition to fiction, he also writes computer software. The key thing, he finds, is not to get the two mixed up. He has a first class honours degree in English Literature, is married, and has two daughters.
Alternate history, As Ants to the Gods, challenges some orthodoxies and assumptions of Western culture. For adults only, certainly not the faint-hearted or easily shocked, it is a ribald and irreverent exploration of a world that could have been.
DARTFORD, KENT – 21 August 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of As Ants to the Gods, alternate history adventure by Alex Burcher.
Five years after the Great Fire of Lundun, ex-dragoon Laqua is lured by an ex-comrade-in-arms into helping the Keepers of the Light, a covert band fighting the equally clandestine Cult of the Death of Hope. The Cult intends to bring down the empire of the Moors and, indeed, all civilisation. An empire that has conquered most of Europe, where the language is Arabic and the flag of the falcate moon flies. Where alcohol is banned and hashish legal, prison is unknown and punishment is by whip, knife or hook. A world in which the Industrial Revolution is already well advanced and steam engines chug. Where the Norse have settled the New World first. In Lundun, capital of the Tin Isles, the largest mosque looms over St Paul’s Cathedral. And Samuel Peppin has given up his diaries to write bawdy poems.
Vital to defeating the Cult is an ancient secret Scroll, the final chapter of the sacred Script, its authenticity assured by its Seal. While the Cult would destroy it, the Keepers intend its dissemination to all. But, until they have the means to do so, Laqua is entrusted with its safekeeping. He falls in with a dour eunuch, a functionary of the Court of the Amir in Qurtuba, and a perfidious, possibly drug-addled, heretic. And what part might a libidinous Norsewoman play? Ahead of him lie spying, fighting, loving, torture and tragedy … and the discovery of a hideous truth.
As Ants to the Gods is now available in both eBook format and paperback, from good retailers or the publisher.
Notes for Editors
About Alex Burcher
Alex Burcher is a health-care professional with a predilection for skiing, cycling, swimming, rock music (think the Black Crowes and the Duhks), red wine and Calvados, and trying to learn the saxophone and piano. Alex has written technical articles for professional journals but is now venturing into fiction.
His deployment of anatomical knowledge in his writing has sometimes to be restrained. He loves words and believes that vocabulary should not be confined to the familiar, that nearly all are worth preserving and enjoying. Alex does not see why a book cannot be both exciting and well-written. Writers he admires include Phillip Roth, Robert Harris, Michael Chabon, Keith Roberts, Margaret Attwood, Harlan Ellison and many others too obscure to mention.
On the British Fantasy Society website, Elloise Hopkins has reviewed Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig. After an outline of the plot, Elloise introduces the two main characters, Tamira and Shukara, characters that are “easily likeable to the reader”. She adds that David Craig presents “well-rounded, believable heroines alongside worldbuilding richly woven with influences from North Africa and ancient history”. She compliments the pace of the story and says that at the end there is a satisfying completion while “tantalisingly” leaving scope for further adventures – which she says would be very welcome. In conclusion she says that Thorns of a Black Rose is a “modern young adult story with its roots very firmly in traditional fantasy”.
You can read the full review on the BFS website here.
On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Working Weekend by Penelope Hill, which she describes as “an original spin on common supernatural themes, offered with a generous dose of humor and a peek behind the curtain at authors, writing, fandom, and the magic that is themed conventions”. She adds that it’s “snarky and funny and just the right amount of dark”. She says that it built a “nice tension” that kept her turning pages, and the characters were a good blend of personalities that “intermingled tropes and originality in a way I thought perfect”. She says that the ending left her cautiously optimistic that we might get to join Marcus in further adventures (take note Penelope!).
You can read the full review on Jill-Elizabeth’s blog here (it’s on Goodreads too).