The Den of Geek website is featuring Elsewhen Press and some of our authors in an article about The trailblazing female authors of science fiction. The article not only looks at some of the great names from the past but at what is happening today. As Alison says “Stereotype-busting is one of science fiction’s great contributions to culture and society”.
Despite much prejudice over the years, it is undeniable that female authors have been a strong and significant force in Science Fiction and Fantasy since the earliest days. One only has to think of Margaret Cavendish, Mary Shelley, Jane Webb Loudon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Julian May, Marion Bradley, Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling. Even so, it is generally harder for female authors to be published, and many readers still say they are less likely to pick up a book if the author is obviously female.
Elsewhen Press, which was established in 2011, applies no constraints of age, race, gender or sexual orientation, on the authors whose work we consider or publish – our only criterion is quality. We now have a roll-call of female, male and non-binary authors, from various continents, writing in many different sub-genres of speculative fiction. To mark International Women’s Day 2018, we would like to highlight some of the female authors that have enabled Elsewhen Press to live up to its mission of delivering outstanding new talents in speculative fiction. They are all great writers and awesome people; we are honoured to have them as our authors and friends.
Zoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband, their daughter and a collection of swords. Zoë writes when she’s not fencing, looking after her daughters, or working as a print controller for an advertising company.
The Underside series (Sailor to a Siren; The Wages of Sin)
The Underside series, space opera with a significant nod to gangland thrillers, introduced us to Zoë Sumra’s universe and established her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all made this a first series in what is going to be a fascinating and enthralling universe.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Tanya enjoys using the tranquil prairies as a setting to her not-so-peaceful speculative fiction.
She is married with two children which means among her accomplishments are the necessary magical abilities to find a lost tooth in a park of sand and whisper away monsters from under the bed.
As director of a non-profit Francophone community center, Tanya offers programming and services in French for all ages to ensure the lasting imprint and growth of the Francophone community in which she was raised. What she enjoys the most about her job is teaching social media safety for teens and offering one-on-one technology classes for seniors.
Tanya was fifteen when she wrote her first column. She has a diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing. Today, she actively submits to various newspapers, writes and publishes the local Francophone newsletter for her community, and maintains a blog at Life’s Like That.
Sacred Land Stories (Legends on the Prairies; Ghosts on the Prairies; Cursed on the Prairies)
The Sacred Land Stories trilogy follows a trans-generational timeline that starts in Legends on the Prairies, continues in Ghosts on the Prairies and culminates in Cursed on the Prairies. Alternate history suspense incorporating the paranormal and magical realism, and infused with romance, these are stories that concern the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes in the prairies of Saskatchewan, stretching from 1882 to 1936. 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.
Sanem Ozdural was born in Ankara, Turkey in the 70s, and spent her childhood from age seven onwards in England. Happy days at a quintessentially British boarding school in Surrey helped forge her character and tastes, not to mention lasting friendships. Making her way to the U.S. she studied economics at Princeton University. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she moved to New Orleans where she practiced as a prosecutor and civil litigator, and spent seven wonderful years living in the French Quarter.
In 2004 she migrated from New Orleans via Washington, D.C., reaching New York City in 2006, where she lived and practiced law until 2013. After teaching business law at Koç University in Istanbul for a few semesters, she is now back in New Orleans once again working as a lawyer. Sanem was an avid bridge player until the tenth round of revisions to her debut novel. She is now thoroughly enjoying an indefinite bridge sabbatical, and imagining all sorts of stories that feature absolutely no bridge or chess.
LiGa series (LiGa™; the Dark shall do what Light cannot)
The LiGa series is a thought-provoking series of books in an essentially contemporary setting, with elements of both science fiction and fantasy. The LiGa of the series title is a contraction of Life Game, a game in which contestants are gambling with their lives to win what is essentially indefinite life expectancy. In the first book we meet the players of a LiGa™ Bridge tournament who are competing against each other to join the ranks of the ‘Immortal’ members of LiGa. In the second book, we find out more about the secretive organisation behind the game as we travel with some of them to a fantastic place beyond the Light Veil.
Rebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University but somehow passed anyway, eventually graduating with a decorative piece of paper. She moved to the UK to pursue a career in publishing and after a couple of mishaps ended up in Edinburgh and sold Instrument of Peace to Elsewhen Press, which is not quite the career she had in mind. The career she did have in mind was along more editorial lines which is why she is now a volunteer at Inspired Quill and a freelance copy-editor for everyone else. She also has a blog which she infrequently remembers to update, where those mysterious things known as short stories can be found.
Even after three years in the UK, she is baffled by the fact that the British use miles, pints and 1p coins but things like pineapple lumps, black forest chocolate and L&P have not caught on. Rebecca would like to make it very clear that she is a Kiwi and absolutely NOT an Australian (or South African) and she will do almost anything for chocolate.
Symphony of the Cursed trilogy (Instrument of Peace; Instrument of War; Instrument of Chaos)
The Symphony of the Cursed trilogy, is a YA fantasy that begins with Instrument of Peace, which Rebecca describes as a magic school setting combined with the reality of the mundane world and horror of the Dresden Files, without any characters named Harry. Her trilogy sees the main protagonist, Mitch, move from high school to university while he strives to break The Twisted Curse that threatens those around him.
The location for the story may be surprising to some readers, especially those in the Northern hemisphere. The Academy, where Mitch is being educated in magic, is in a semi-mythical land populated by magical beings and legendary creatures, not to mention awe-inspiring natural features such as volcanoes, that has in recent years been discovered to be the location for Middle Earth. We know it, of course, as New Zealand.
Katrina 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. Forbidden Alliance and Freedom’s Prisoners completed the trilogy. Her latest novel is The Ghost in You.
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything.
A dark undercurrent runs through the trilogy: 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. Despite seeming to be set in a distant and dystopian future, it is clear that many of the disturbing aspects of Katrina’s future world can be seen here and now; this should be a warning to us all. The books appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.
J.A. Christy’s writing career began in infant school at the age of seven when she won best poetry prize with her poem ‘Winter’. Since then she has been writing short stories and has had several published in magazines and anthologies.
She holds a PhD in which she explores the stories we use in everyday life to construct our identities. Working in high hazard safety, she is a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist and writes to apply her knowledge to cross the boundaries between science and art, in particular in the crime, speculative and science-fiction genres.
She lives in Oldham with her partner and their dog. J.A. Christy also writes under the name Jacqueline Ward.
SmartYellow™ explores themes of social inequity and scientific responsibility. J.A. Christy’s first speculative fiction novel leads her heroine Katrina to understand how probability, hope and empathy play a huge part in the flow of life and are absent in the stagnation of mere survival. As readers we also start to question how we would know if the power of the State to support and care for the weak had become corrupted into the oppression of all those who do not fit society’s norms.
SmartYellow™ offers a worryingly plausible and chilling glimpse into an alternate Britain. For the sake of order and for the benefit of more fortunate members of society, those seen as socially undesirable are marked with SmartYellow™, making it easier for them to be controlled and maintained in a state of fruitless inactivity. Writer, J.A. Christy, turns an understanding and honest eye not only onto the weak, who have failed to cope with life, but also onto those who ruthlessly exploit them for their own ends. At times tense and threatening, at times tender and insightful, SmartYellow™ is a rewarding and thought-provoking read.
One as a sensible, hard-working type, employed in financial systems, graphic design and web site development. Another as a writer, scribbling away, committing her stories to disc and eventually publishing several to reasonable acclaim. Throughout all of them, the mother of two and wife of one.
Skilled at exploring the psychology and interior lives of her characters, Alison delivers stories that range from chilling tales of horror through insightful contemporary drama to thought-provoking science fiction. Her empathy with her protagonists, her rich descriptive prose and her use of gentle humour serve to ensure that, whatever the setting, her stories are always a rewarding read.
Abiding Evil, Alison’s second published novel, was a bestselling psychological horror story. A sleeping menace is roused deep in the darkness of a forest. For decades it grows, biding its time, reaching out to tug at the ordinary lives of those living beyond the shadow of the trees. Their children begin to disappear.
Unaware and unsuspecting of the danger, a group of families, friends for many years, journey to a newly re-opened hotel. It stands alone in a clearing a mile or more within the forest boundary. For some this will be their last reunion.
The long-awaited sequel will be published this year by Elsewhen Press.
Alison is also a talented artist who has designed many of the covers for our books. She is one of the co-founders of Elsewhen Press.
We are excited to announce that we will be at this year’s Eastercon – Dysprosium 2015 at the Park Inn in Heathrow. Instead of one large Dealers’ Room, there will be a number of smaller rooms and we have secured a whole room to ourselves 😉
It’s syndicate room 13, but we’re not at all superstitious, so we’re sure it will be okay (touch wood).
That means we will be able to offer our own programme events. We will be announcing more details soon, but for starters we will be launching the following books in paperback during Dysprosium:
On the Risingshadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee has written a very complimentary review of our anthology of New Speculative Fiction, [Re]Awakenings. As far as we know, Seregil is our first Finnish reader. But don’t worry, the review is available to read in English here! My favourite line from his review is at the end: “If you enjoy reading well written and fascinating stories, this anthology won’t disappoint you.” Thanks Seregil 😉
This is turning out to be an exciting time here at Elsewhen Press. We’re only one month into 2012 and we’ve already signed up two new authors, an American professor and an award-winning Scottish author.
The former, David Colón, has written an interesting work of literary speculative fiction, his first novel The Lost Men, an allegory set in a near-future where most of the world’s population have gone and the few remaining survivors are guided by perceived Fate. It is a novel that raises interesting questions about the human condition and personal responsibility. The Lost Men will be published this Spring.
The latter, Douglas Thompson, has written an intriguing novel, Entanglement, which he calls philosophical science fiction. The story starts in 2180 when travel to neighbouring star systems has been mastered by the use of quantum teleportation, ‘entanglement’ of sub-atomic matter. In the course of the novel, 24 worlds are explored; what humanity discovers is both surprising and disturbing, enlightening and shocking. Entanglement will be published this Summer.
I expected this to be an exciting week. We officially launched the imprint Elsewhen Press, with our first title [Re]Awakenings bringing some new authors to the attention of fans of Speculative Fiction. Monday morning [Re]Awakenings went straight into the UK Kindle bestsellers charts for Fantasy Short Stories and Science Fiction Short Stories. By lunchtime we were in the top 10 in both charts and by tea time we were at no 3 in Fantasy Short Stories. Not bad for a first day! We crossed our fingers and hoped that the rest of the week would be as good. Tuesday was much quieter but we were still feeling quite happy when, in the evening, we heard the sad news that Anne McCaffrey had died. That rather wiped the smile from our faces. For most of us in the editorial team Anne had been a significant formative influence on our tastes in reading. She was a fixture in our bookshelves and our hearts; someone that we never imagined being without. The best we could do was sit down with a mug of Klah and tell Harper’s tales. It helped.
So we are ending this week much less cheerful than we started it. We are, however, immensely proud to have produced a great book; to have started an imprint catering for people who, like us, love science fiction and fantasy; and to have launched the writing career of some new, young (and not so young) authors whom we whole-heartedly believe will go on to become firm favourites with many readers.
[Re]Awakenings an anthology of new Speculative Fiction was launched today. As part of the Elsewhen Press digital-first policy, it has been published in a digital edition today and will be published in a print edition in March next year. It is available on all four of Amazon’s Kindle stores (US, UK, Germany, France) and all 32 of Apple’s iBookstores (UK, US, Canada, Australia, most of Europe). It should be on Kobo too but hasn’t appeared on their store yet (but it’s not even breakfast time in Ontario yet).