Space opera with a paranormal twist, Terry Jackman’s novel explores prejudice, corruption, and the value of true friendship.
If you haven’t seen it already, go to the Fantasy Hive website to see the glorious cover reveal of the fourth and final book in Juliet’s Marek Series.
Author’s fantasy world has a lot to tell us about how conflict can be resolved in our world.
DARTFORD, KENT – 14 October 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing entertaining books. At a time when conflict is causing problems across the world, economies are collapsing, and winter is coming, escapism has never been more welcome. Fantasy, more than any other literary genre, can provide a means of escape, albeit it temporary; humour can not only entertain and distract but, when used as a satirical weapon, may even be able to help inspiration. The latest book from Mark Montanaro, offers more epic fantasy poking fun at warmongers, dictators and politicians.
The Enchanting Tricks is the sequel to Montanaro’s successful 2020 debut The Magic Fix. The Known World is back, with more magic, more comedy, more fantasy. Not to mention some new characters, unnecessary fighting and incompetent leaders making a mess. If you can imagine such a thing…
Mark Montanaro says, “In a fantasy world of Goblins, Pixies, Ogres, Humans, Elves and Trolls, it’s just about feasible that there could be an enchantment that would make everyone get along. If only there was one that would work in the real world.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, said, “In some rather worrying ways, the world around us is becoming more like Mark’s ‘Known World’ every day. Inept leaders and covert factions plotting, lying, fighting, for little more than self-aggrandisement or personal power, with almost casual indifference to their own populations whom they seem to regard as entirely disposable. Even Ogres and Goblins behave better than that! Mostly. Over the last few months, as we have been editing and otherwise preparing Mark’s book ready for production, our world has been getting uncomfortably closer and closer to some of the ridiculous situations in the story. At one point we seriously wondered whether it was too close to home. You might not think that the best way to escape from a world in conflict is to immerse yourself in a fictional one but, in fact, Mark’s story, while a cutting satire on politics, warfare and leadership, does actually give us hope for better times to come while also making us laugh out loud along the way.”
The Enchanting Tricks, is published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format today and will be available in paperback on the 7th November.
Notes for Editors
About Mark Montanaro
Mark 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 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. The Enchanting Tricks is the sequel.
About The Enchanting Tricks
The Known World is still not fixed… and things have got ugly
In the Goblin realm, Queen Afflech was doing remarkably well considering the circumstances. She had seen her husband die, and both her sons killed within the space of a couple of weeks. That kind of thing does tend to bring you down a bit.
Losing three kings in a few days looked rather careless. But of more concern to the Goblin warlords was whether it looked weak to their enemies. They suspected the Humans were behind one death and the Ogres behind another. The Pixies were no threat, the Trolls would probably soon be killing one another again, and the Elves were irrelevant (or, to be precise, just annoying).
Meanwhile, King Wyndham wanted to show the Goblins that Humans were not to blame (apart from the two who might be to blame). Petra, the most famous Pixie in the Known World, knew exactly who was to blame and wanted to rescue them. Lord Protector Higarth was determined to help the Goblins with their predicament, whether they wanted Ogre-help or not.
But on the plus side, the dragon’s gone; and there are still plenty of unicorns… maybe they can somehow solve everything?
ISBN: 9781915304193 eBook / 9781915304094 paperback 270pp
While working with Terry Jackman to publish her new science fiction novel, Harpan’s Worlds: Worlds Apart, we obviously discussed the cover with Terry. She had a very definite idea of the image: the two worlds that make up the setting of the book, namely Harpan’s World and (the misnamed) Harpan’s Moon. We set about creating two worlds as she had suggested (digitally you understand, we can’t afford terraforming let alone the services of Magrathea) and placed them in space. But Terry was worried that it was too dark, so (as if by magic) they moved across the universe to have a bright colourful nebula as a backdrop. Moon as we had envisioned it was dry and dusty, because it is suffering from drought, but it had terrain that was too flat; so we re-terraformed it (digitally) and got to the final version of the cover. Terry was happy, we are happy and I hope you like this cover which leaves no doubt that this is going to be a classic science fiction story. So without further ado… here is the cover of Harpan’s Worlds: Worlds Apart by Terry Jackman.
When we were working with Mark Montanaro to publish his debut novel, The Magic Fix, we (obviously) discussed what the cover should be like. After much consideration, we all settled on the idea that, given that the concern in the book was that the Known World was being ‘rent in twain’ (generally frowned upon!), the cover should represent that and so was born the idea of the map of the Known World (which Mark had already sketched out) ripped into two halves, representing the two main factions (i.e. Human, Elves & Pixies, versus Trolls, Goblins & Ogres).
Now Mark has written a sequel to The Magic Fix in which further action is being taken to try to fix the problems caused in the first book – we won’t say any more for fear of revealing spoilers – so it seemed only reasonable that the cover should once again attempt to represent this. When we suggested that the two halves of the map could be (badly) mended with some sticky tape, Mark was very pleased. It fits the tone of the book perfectly. So we proudly present (drum roll please…) The Enchanting Tricks, Book 2 of the Magic Fix series:
An adventure to solve a mystery wrapped in an enigma bound by a conundrum and secured by a puzzle, their novel is set in a world they originally designed for role-playing campaigns.
DARTFORD, KENT – 23 September 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by talented authors. Although most of our books are written by a single author, sometimes two writers collaborate on a book that could perhaps never have existed had either attempted to write it alone. The Vanished Mage by Penelope Hill and J.A. Mortimore is a perfect example.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, said, “We were at a science fiction convention in London in 2019, when Penny and Judith came to talk to us. In the course of that conversation, they told us how they had first met. ‘Well, I wasn’t expecting that!’ I said. That, they replied, was typical of the responses they get when they explain they owed their friendship to Star Trek.”
Fans of the show since its first UK airing in 1969, they met at a fan gathering in Kew Gardens in the late 1970s (there are photos!) and have remained firm friends ever since. Living at opposite ends of the country didn’t prove a barrier when they decided to start writing together – although, in the days before the internet came along, this led to weekly three hour phone calls!
“I often spent my holidays at Penny’s house,” Judith said. “We would spend happy hours plotting our novels together – and we still do that to this day!” Those hours led to the completion of one collaborative novel, and the pair spent a good many more developing the next one.
“We had fun back then,” Penny said. “Exploring the emerging web, discovering the intrigue of pre-Facebook bulletin boards, and sharing the joy of playing early computer games – in between writing chapters and whizzing them back and forth between us via email.”
The origins of The Vanished Mage lie in the campaign world Penny created in her days at University – developing from some rough ideas around how to create a variety of cultures and backgrounds for player characters into a richly detailed and unique world of its own. The backdrop offered by that world, the Known Kingdoms, gave them the chance to tackle a self-contained mystery. Their heroine, familiar with her world and her city in particular, provided them with a perspective to work with. Stepping in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes and his later counterparts, they focused on the mystery and let the world unfold around the reader as their protagonists carried out their investigation. The first draft was finished by the late 1980s, but never published. Penny and Judith put it aside and moved on to other things. But they never entirely abandoned it and, after meeting Elsewhen Press, dusted it off and submitted it.
Peter Buck, added, “Fantasy stories are often set in an invented world with unfamiliar cultures and peoples. The world-building skills that authors need to make their settings believable are much the same as those needed to make a compelling immersive adventure game. So it’s no surprise that a world originally designed for role-playing games should be a perfect setting for a fictional quest. What is perhaps more surprising, though, is how well the setting lends itself to a mystery which challenges an investigative duo with Holmesian characteristics while retaining the essence of a fantasy – would Sherlock ever have used an enchanted sword?”
Despite the many years that have passed since their first meeting, Penny and Judith are still firm friends and indeed co-own a house with a third friend whom they met – yes, through Star Trek! “Penny’s late mother used to introduce us to people as her daughters,” Judith said, smiling. “Isn’t it amazing how an originally short-lived TV show created life-long friendships?!”
The Vanished Mage, is published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format today and will be available in paperback on the 17th October.
Notes for Editors
About Penelope Hill
Penelope Hill has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember, and her fascination with both futuristic and fantastic worlds has fuelled that ambition ever since. She is an avid reader, a long time role-player and games-master, and loves world-building: designing exotic places, writing mythic histories, and crafting cultures. She’s been a costumer and is busy developing her skills as a textile artist, so when she’s not writing she can usually be found stitching, knitting, knotting, or exercising other creative skills. During her working life, she spent many years supporting services in local government, and eventually found herself contributing to the development of both local and national policy, particularly around privacy and confidentiality. The research for her PhD helped influence some of that work, but has also brought new perspectives to both her writing and her world building. While she has published academically, she prefers creative writing, and retirement has given her the opportunity to pursue her long-standing ambition to become a professional author. She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her cats, a huge library of books, a treasure hoard of fabric and thread, and far too many dice.
About J.A. Mortimore
J A Mortimore (Judith) was born in London in 1953. She started writing stories at a young age and has never stopped. She wrote fanfiction for many years in a number of fandoms, all pre-internet. She has been active in science fiction and fantasy circles for longer than she cares to think about. She has a doctorate in policing young people. She has a short story in an anthology published in 2022 and has written space operas with romance which she plans to self-publish. Now retired, she lives in Gloucestershire with two friends, a number of cats, and far too many books and half-finished manuscripts.
About The Vanished Mage
A vanished mage… A missing diamond… The game is afoot.
“From Broderick, Prince of Asconar, Earl of Carlshore and Thorn, Duke of Wicksborough, Baron of Highbury and Warden of Dershanmoor, to My Lady Parisan, King’s Investigator, greetings. It has been brought to my attention that a certain Reinwald, Master Historian, noted Archmagus and tutor to our court in this city of Nemithia, has this day failed to report to the duties awaiting him. I do ask you, as my father’s most loyal servant, to seek the cause of this laxity and bring word of the mage to me, so that my concerns as to his safety be allayed.”
The herald delivered the message word-perfect to The Lady Parisan, Baroness of Orandy, Knight of the Diamond Circle and Sworn Paladin to Our Lady of the Sighs. Parisan’s companion, Foorourow Miar Raar Ramoura, Prince of Ilsfacar, (Foo to his friends) thought it a rather mundane assignment, but nevertheless together they ventured to the Archmagus’ imposing home to seek him. It turned out to be the start of an adventure to solve a mystery wrapped in an enigma bound by a conundrum and secured by a puzzle. All because of a missing diamond with a solar system at its core.
Authors Penelope Hill and J. A. Mortimore have effortlessly melded a Holmesian investigative duo, a richly detailed city where they encounter both nobility and seedier denizens, swashbuckling action, and magic that is palpable and, at times, awesome.
Cover art and maps by Penelope Hill
ISBN: 9781915304186 eBook / 9781915304087 paperback 212pp
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New novel, by retired teacher, explores biological adaptation, quantum physics and relativity, as well as friendship, family and fame, in a fun wild adventure set on both Earth and Mars and in some additional dimensions.
DARTFORD, KENT – 12 August 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by new authors. Science fiction provides authors and readers with an opportunity to explore possibilities for other worlds while staying within the realms of what’s feasible. Recently retired physics teacher, Hugh Duncan, has used humour throughout his career to successfully encourage his pupils’ interest in science. Now he is taking the same approach to reach a wider audience with his novel, Life on Mars: The Vikings are coming.
Why did the NASA Viking missions discover no evidence of life on Mars? Was it a concerted effort to hide the truth? Who was doing the hiding? – What if it was the life on Mars itself that was determined to remain unnoticed by Earthlings?
Peter Buck, editorial director of Elsewhen Press says, “We’ve known Hugh for a long time and have always been impressed with his ability to enthuse his students. When he brought his novel to us, we were delighted to be able to publish it. Hugh has an innate ability to, literally, make fun of even the hardest concepts in science. If we described his book as an exploration of exobiology, phenotypic plasticity, quantum mechanical wave-functions, and electrostatics, it might only appeal to fans of hard science fiction. However, if we point out that the main protagonist is a teenage tortle (a Martian rock turtle) who has adapted for longevity in the harsh conditions of Mars, and that in this context ‘teenage’ means sixteen-million years of age, the tone of the story becomes a little clearer. A quantum-tunnelling worm participates in the adventure (a handy friend to have, it turns out, when you’re locked in a filing cabinet). Zombie vegetables are another hazard to be overcome (as is so often true in life). And so is a publicity-obsessed Martian artist, determined to expand his audience to Earth. The occasional intervention by the Physics Police (responsible for enforcing the Laws of Physics) just adds to the near-anarchy. The Vikings of the subtitle are the NASA probes sent to Mars in the 1970s. Finally, the truth can be told about why they failed to find evidence of life on Mars – in short, a concerted effort by much of the Martian fauna (and, indeed, some of the flora) to remain unobserved, with the help of two house martins from the South of France. Hugh’s story will appeal to those of us who were disappointed by the Viking missions’ results, along with conspiracy fans who were sure that the ‘face on Mars’ wasn’t just shadows, science fiction fans who like to extrapolate current knowledge, anyone fascinated by the scientific possibilities of life on other worlds, science students suffering with teachers who have no sense of fun, and especially young-at-heart readers (from 10 to 100+ years young) who enjoy a madcap adventure.”
World-renowned scientist John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, widely regarded as one of the best science writers of our time, said, “Life on Mars is fantasy on steroids. Instead of swords and magic potions, we have the ‘magic’ science of quantum physics and relativity theory, channelled through what feels like a hallucinogenic dream. My favourite character is a quantum-tunnelling worm, but the author’s fevered imagination provides us with a menagerie of almost equally bizarre creatures, on a mission to save the world – their world, that is, not ours. Suspend disbelief, strap in for the ride, and enjoy.”
The cover of the book features an image of the heroine of the story, Jade, a 16-million year old tortle. The image was created by Natascha Booth, one of Hugh’s former students now studying art at university in Dublin. The book also contains illustrations by Natascha of some of the main characters. Many of Hugh’s ex-students have already expressed their excitement at the forthcoming publication of the book, demonstrating the high regard he has engendered over his years as a teacher. Indeed some are very keen for him to come to launch the book at their current university.
Life on Mars: The Vikings are coming, is published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format today and will be available in paperback on the 12th September.
Notes for Editors
About Hugh Duncan
Hugh Duncan hatched in Leicester in 1957. He studied astronomy at University College London and, though very lazy, got his degree. His final thesis was on Martian craters and, after, he worked at the UCL observatory cataloguing the Viking Mission photos.
Having fallen in love with a French woman and wanting to live happily ever after, he ruined that plan by becoming a science teacher. The temporary job became a lifelong career, first in the UK, then for 32 years at the International School of Nice, from which he has recently retired. A few years ago, UCL launched the maths journal Chalkdust, in which Hugh has had a number of articles published. In 1997, Oxford Study Courses, asked him to write revision guidebooks for IB Physics, which continues to this day.
Hugh started in science fiction aged five, when he wrote ‘Dr Who goes to the balloon planet’ and some have said it’s his best work to date. Nearly sixty years later, Life on Mars is his first published novel. Inspired by the mighty Terry Pratchett, for school charity projects Hugh started writing his own ‘Deskworld’ stories, parodying his school as one for witches and wizards. Three dozen stories sold well using a captive audience scared of getting bad grades if they didn’t buy them, hmm…
Hugh has been married for 40 years and has four children – most don’t seem to want to leave home in spite of being adults and having to listen to his songs and stories all the time. He lives in the South of France, not very far from the village with two famous house martins who appear in Life on Mars. He owns a Hermann’s tortoise called Sophie Rose.
About Life on Mars
Racing against time, Jade and her friends must hide evidence of Life on Mars to stop the probes from Earth finding them
Jade is on her way to meet up with her dad, Elvis, for her sixteen-millionth birthday (tortles live a long time in spite of the harsh conditions on Mars), when she gets side-tracked by a strange object that appears to have fallen from the sky. Elvis’ travelling companion Starkwood, an electrostatic plant, is hearing voices, claiming that “The Vikings Are Coming”, while their football-pitch-sized flying friend Fionix confirms the rumour: the Earth has sent two craft to look for life on Mars.
It then becomes a race against time to hide any evidence of such life before Earth destroys it for good. Can Jade and her friends succeed, with help from a Lung Whale, a liquid horse, some flying cats, the Hellas Angels, the Pyrites and a couple of House Martins from the South of France? Oh, and a quantum-tunnelling worm – all while avoiding Zombie Vegetables and trouble with a Gravity Artist and the Physics Police?! A gentle and lightly humorous science fantasy adventure.
ISBN: 9781915304124 eBook / 9781915304025 paperback 400pp
Cover art and illustrations by: Natascha Booth