Local Charity Project Publishes Budding Authors in Illustrated Book

Each year in the small town of Gilesgate, an extraordinary event takes place. In 2019,  to raise money for a different local charity, an optometrist began to hold an annual competition.  Each year dozens, sometimes almost a hundred children take to the keyboard, pick up their pens and submit to the Gilesgate Story challenge.

In addition to raising money for a variety of local charities, the competition’s aim is to encourage children to read and write.

Like many other short story competitions, entries are all compiled into a book. Unlike others, though, every single entrant makes it in. The final book contains stories filled with childhood wonder, dozens of illustrations from a variety of talented artists, and pages stuffed to the brim with heart and whimsy.

Every penny of the proceeds made from the book, which had its launch party just this week, go to charity; this year’s proceeds go to the Durham Wildlife Trust.

The project is led by Simon Berry, an optometrist from the Gilesgate area. He was the one who began the competition, directs it, and takes charge of the marketing. Alongside Simon, we have Esther Robson, a proud grandmother who helps to keep the team organised. And finally, we have Miles Nelson, the typesetter and lead illustrator of this year’s book, which launched at the beginning of December.

Whilst Simon and Esther organise the competition and judge the entries, Miles works on piecing the book together, typing up each story, illustrating and formatting so that it can be released in time for Christmas.

Miles’ own book, Riftmaster, was released this year by Indie Publisher Elsewhen Press; a signed copy of his book, along with many others, will be appearing as one of the prizes.

One of the competition’s entrants, Dan, aged 11, had this to say about Riftmaster, in a review he wrote for school:

“The plot of Riftmaster is well thought, making every word interesting. The idea of two people being ripped through space to random planets makes for a great story. The idea of Riftmaster gives the author the opportunity to create new places and creatures, which really gives the book an alien feel.

All of the creatures and animals Bailey and Ari encounter are fascinating. Huge caterpillar-like creatures, animals that seem to be like mammals. Each and every thing even referenced in the book is described so well that it’s almost like they’re living on the pages.”

Dan’s story, the Dragon-Mouse, is about Ian, a mouse who thinks he is a dragon. It is one of many wonderful, whimsical and fantastical stories from very talented young writers.

Outside of mice, there are plenty of unique creatures featured in this year’s book. The winning entry of the competition was  about an ordinary slug who just wants to be useful. The runners-up included everything from snails to sinister deer to rainbow trout. It is truly a beautiful, hopeful and at times harrowing look at what the youth of today think of British wildlife.

Today, the competition is in its third year, and still going strong.

In order to keep the project going, Simon is currently looking for volunteers and donations to put together the next book.

He asks that if anyone is at all interested in helping out next year, that they contact him at

simon@simonberry.co.uk

pre-order the book through his website

here

or visit the Gilesgate Story Challenge’s social media and website listed below.

Facebook page    –   Website   –   Twitter

Thiever, David M Allan’s sequel to Quaestor is out today in eBook

We are excited to announce the publication today, in eBook format, of David M Allan’s new fantasy novel Thiever, the sequel to Quaestor.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

After the events in Jotuk at the end of Quaestor, Anarya is no longer a Sponger but is now a Thiever – when she takes someone’s magic talent they lose it until she can no longer hold on to it. Worryingly, the power also brings a desperate hunger to take others’ talents, just as the false god did. As Anarya struggles to control the compulsion, Yisul is fraught with worry and seeks help for her lover. But Jotuk is in upheaval; the Twenty-Three families are in disarray, divided over how the city should be governed.

In Carregis, the King seeks to establish himself as an effective ruler. First, though, he must work out whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, the priestesses of Quarenna and the priests of Huler are having disturbing dreams…

Thiever is available from today in eBook format on most popular platforms, and will be published in paperback in November.

CRAZY deals this weekend

From today (27 Nov 2020) until Monday (30 Nov 2020) inclusive, we are offering a 50% discount for paperbacks bought from our purchasing portal. That’s right, 50%. Are we crazy? We must be!

To get the discount, just put the discount code CRAZY into the box at the checkout. Easy!

Eastercon 2020 Launch Party that wasn’t

Due to COVID-19 our book launch party at Eastercon couldn’t take place. Instead we’ve arranged a virtual book launch.

Cover by Alison and Sofia Buck
Artwork: Tony Allcock
Cover artwork: Alison Buck
Cover: PR Pope


See this page for details.

We won’t be at Novacon after all – lurgy alert!

Due to unexpected illness, neither of us is able to go to Novacon this weekend (and even if we tried, I’m sure that our readers there would not be impressed at getting a free gift of the lurgy with their books!)

We’d like to say Sorry to anyone who was hoping to buy some of our fantastic titles there.

Nine Worlds 2018 – a fantastic weekend!

We’re now home from a tiring but very enjoyable long weekend at Nine Worlds in Hammersmith. Once again we were gold sponsor because we support the ideals behind Nine Worlds (inclusivity, tolerance and diversity). We met plenty of very interesting people, some of whom were in amazing costumes, and we had fascinating discussions on a whole range of subjects with many of them. We even sold a few books!

The Vendor’s Room was equally diverse and vibrant, and even in the quiet times (generally when the popular panels were on) it was a fun place to be. The only disappointment was how few options for vegans there were in the hotel restaurants 🙁

So we would like to say thank you to the organisers and volunteers who make Nine Worlds such a great experience; thank you to the attendees who came and talked to us in the Vendor’s Room (and in the bar!); and a special thank you to those who bought our books! To our authors who were there, it was great to catch up with you again.

Back to normal now (whatever that means!)

Cold Fire – Peter R. Ellis at Leominster Library

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

On Thursday 19th October 2017, Peter R. Ellis will be spending the afternoon in Leominster library to promote his latest book Cold Fire, a September Weekes novel that follows on from the Evil Above the Stars series. If you’re near Leominster, come along and say hello, check out the book and find out more about September Weekes and the cold fire of the title.

Peter R. Ellis

Leominster Library, Thursday 19 October 2017, 2pm-6:30pm, 8 Buttercross, Leominster HR6 8BN

Nine Worlds 2017 – we had a blast!

We had a great time at this year’s Nine Worlds Geekfest. We had only just returned from a wedding in the South of France (where we first had to acclimatise to the heat), when we were rushing around preparing for our biggest convention of the year, in the damp and dull London weather. But as soon as we arrived at the Novotel everything brightened up (apart from the weather!)

The first sight to welcome attendees was the sign inviting us into the convention centre and leading to the registration desks.

On arrival at Nine Worlds

We had the honour and privilege to be gold sponsor for this year’s Nine Worlds and had a very visible presence which was very humbling (every room had a display outside with our planet-clock logo next to the Nine Worlds logo as above). We were very proud to be supporting such a fantastically inclusive event.

One of the benefits of being sponsor was to be able to provide a booklet for the attendees’ goody bags. As we were having a launch party for two books on Saturday afternoon, it seemed like the best use of that opportunity would be to provide a sampler of both books, as well as the chance to show off our lovely authors, artists (and now, first voice artist) as well as all our book covers. (I have already blogged about this booklet when we delivered it on the Wednesday beforehand, but in case you missed that, here’s a look at it anyway:)

Elsewhen Press goody bag booklet for Nine Worlds 2017

Friday morning started off rather busy as we had exciting news to pass on: a Press Release about Rebecca Hall’s Symphony of the Cursed trilogy being released as unabridged audiobooks by Tantor Audio; and Peter R. Ellis’ new September Weekes novel Cold Fire (following on from his Evil Above the Stars series) being available in eBook format.

We had a double table in the Vendors’ room and spent the rest of Friday morning setting it up. If you’ve seen us at any other events you’ll recognise our layout:

Our table at the start of Nine Worlds

When the doors to the Vendors’ room opened at 1 o’clock, there was a queue of people waiting outside. But, overall, Friday was fairly quiet (as at most conventions). Throughout the rest of the weekend it was always clear when the panels had ended (there was a 45 minute gap between sessions to allow for winding down, setting up and getting from one panel to the next – a model that should be followed by other conventions!) as the Vendors’ room quickly filled up for about half an hour and then thinned out for the next hour. After the first of these influxes of people it became clear that we had insufficient light above half of our table (and some other vendors’ tables too) as most of the ceiling lights were in the centre of the room putting our table in the shadow of anyone who was standing trying to look at our books. Meriel from Nine Worlds was looking after the vendors and she and Jess (who was the Nine Worlds interface with the hotel) set off on a mission to resolve the problem. The hotel had no standalone lamps to offer, but a while later Jess re-appeared with a whole load of very cool strings of lights, that she had bought at a nearby Primark, and distributed them to those vendors who needed more light.

Our table at Nine Worlds with added fancy lights

The lights proved to be an attraction in themselves and I’m sure Jess could have made a decent commission supplying them to all the people who came up to ask where we had got them!

As at last year’s Nine Worlds, we spent the weekend chatting to some lovely people: imaginative, amusing, entertaining, thoughtful, even profound at times. It didn’t matter whether they were in the guise of a squirrel, dalek, alien, evil witch, jedi, lemming, or even human. The Nine Worlds attendee badges included communication preference overlays and pronoun stickers to help ensure not just inclusivity but also prevent inadvertent offence (another model that could usefully be followed by other conventions).

We also endeavoured to sell some books, of course, and had spirited discussion on the relative merits of eBooks and print editions (and, indeed audiobooks) with more than one visitor to our table.

On Saturday evening, at 5pm, we held the aforementioned book launch party. Setting up was greatly eased by the unexpected help provided by Nine Worlds staff who were on hand to reconfigure the room for us. We had John Gribbin and Zoë Sumra reading from their new books (Don’t Look Back and The Wages of Sin, respectively), and talking a little about themselves and their writing in response to questions from the audience and from our interviewer Peter R. Ellis. The audience was not as large as we had hoped – but it’s quality not quantity that’s important and they were a splendid bunch of people! The other advantage of fewer attendees is that we had plenty of wine left over to bring home (which we will be quietly drinking over the next few months).

Launch with Zoë Sumra, Peter R. Ellis, John Gribbin

All too soon, Sunday afternoon arrived and the Vendors’ room closed its doors and everyone started disassembling their tables. Within an hour, we had our books, posters and other paraphernalia all packed into boxes ready to be taken home (courtesy of our youngest daughter) – and once again the ever-helpful Nine Worlds staff quickly moved our boxes down to the loading area for us while we waited for the car.

All packed and ready to go home

Sunday evening was spent in a nearby Italian restaurant with friends, enjoying delicious food and lively conversation. Monday morning we checked out and headed for the train home.

Although we have been attending conventions almost since the inception of Elsewhen Press, it is still both exciting and exhausting. So we are always very grateful for the help that we get from our authors, friends and the convention organisers and volunteers. This year’s Nine Worlds was no exception. We made it through, more or less retaining our sanity, thanks to the support and help of our authors Siobhan McVeigh, Peter R. Ellis, Christopher Nuttall (along with Aisha and, of course, Eric who gains more fans at every convention!), Zoë Sumra (with Misha and Sylvianne), John Gribbin, Rebecca Hall, Edwin Hayward, and Susan Oke, and the support of Nine Worlds staff and volunteers especially Meriel and Jess.

 

Almost ready for Nine Worlds!

Only a couple of days to go until Nine Worlds 2017 gets underway.

We’re Gold Sponsor, so we’re already pretty excited! Goodness only knows what state we’ll be in be by Friday morning!

We’ve been to Hammersmith already today to drop off our shiny booklets that will be in each attendee’s goody bag.

As well as pics of our authors and book covers, it also includes a whole chapter from Zoë Sumra’s new book The Wages of Sin, the second book in her Underside series, and the whole of the eponymous short story from John Gribbin’s collection Don’t Look Back. We’ll be having a launch party on Saturday afternoon for both of those books, with readings, interview, Q&A, signing and refreshments.

We hope to see you there – come and say hello to us, we’ll be in the Vendor’s room (Bourg) throughout the weekend, and in the Mouton Cadet room for the launch party on Saturday at 5pm.

Want a sneak peek at our goody bag booklet? Okay then…

Elsewhen Press goody bag booklet for Nine Worlds 2017
 

Launch party for Dinnusos Rises – Tej Turner talks in a tent

Well, actually, it was a yurt but that wouldn’t have been alliterative.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Saturday the 8th July saw a vibrant and excited group of people from far and wide descend on the Milgi restaurant in Cardiff. Secreted at the back of the restaurant in an unexpected outdoor space is a yurt full of comfy sofas. Once Tej and friends had been let loose on it there were vines hanging down from the central opening and draped across tables, along with grapes too. But more importantly there was wine, I mean books. We were all there for the launch party for Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner. It was a good turnout and a fantastic time was had by all. Before proceedings really got underway Tej was interviewed on camera, giving some thoughtful insight into his influences and motivation. Then, for some reason, it was decided to interview yours truly (fame at last!). What’s even more surprising is that any of my interview actually made it through the final edit.

If you were there you know what a great time we all had. If you weren’t there, you should now be kicking yourself at a missed opportunity. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and met some really lovely people. Thanks Tej.

Behind the scenes (literally) - Tej being interviewed on camera
Behind the scenes (literally) – Tej being interviewed on camera
A Tej talk - not be confused with a TED talk
A Tej talk – not be confused with a TED talk

If you want to watch the interview it’s on Youtube:

Here’s Tej reading: