The Known World needs a fix or things could get very ugly

“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?

Cover design: S & A Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/TheMagicFix

 

When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are the police gonna call? The Office of the Witchfinder General.

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.

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/TheEyeCollectors

 

Reading from As Ants to the Gods by Alex Burcher

Cover artwork: Alison Buck

As we aren’t able to have any sort of book launch event for As Ants to the Gods, the author Alex Burcher has recorded himself reading an extract. It’s now available on our YouTube channel.

http://bit.ly/AsAntsToTheGods-YouTube

Is the sacrifice of one man, and his family, justified in order to save humanity?

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.

Cover artwork: Alison Buck

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.

 

Visit bit.ly/AsAntsToTheGods

“ancient magicks and daemons play out against the heat of a desert” – Review of Thorns of a Black Rose on BFS website

Cover design by PR Pope

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.

 

“a highly enjoyable tale” – review by Jill-Elizabeth of Working Weekend

Cover by Alison and Sofia Buck

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).

 

“teasing out the truth is what makes these stories so incredible” – Review of Lord of the Hunt by Jill-Elizabeth

Cover design and artwork by Alison Buck

On her blog Jill-Eliabeth has reviewed Lord of the Hunt by David Craig, the second book in the Sooty Feathers series. As she loved the first book, Resurrection Men (read about her review of that here), it is perhaps unsurprising that she also enjoyed this latest book. In her review she apologises for not having too much specific to say about the story as she doesn’t want to undermine the plot twists or introduce any spoilers.

She says that David Craig is a dab hand at “setting up expectations, only to knock them down like nine-pins” but without “ever generating an eye roll or sense of irritation”. She likes the fact that he doesn’t throw in red herrings to drive tension up artificially, his “misdirections and layered revelations are much more delicate and well-crafted than that and each one feels like an organic and utterly necessary part of the whole.”

Her conclusion is that Lord of the Hunt is entirely enjoyable and definitely worth reading (and if you haven’t already read Resurrection Men, which she describes as also excellent, she says “I definitely recommend reading these in order”). You can read the full review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).

 

Lord of the Hunt available from today

Lord of the Hunt, the second book in David Craig’s Sooty Feathers series is available from today on all popular eBook platforms.

Cover design and artwork by Alison Buck

As Penelope Hill’s new novel demonstrates, authenticity is all well and good but sometimes it sucks!

A horror convention – complete with a ‘real’ vampire wandering the halls, for atmosphere – invites folklore specialist, Marcus, as Guest of Honour. Looking forward to a chilled weekend, he instead finds himself battling to save his friends and fans.

DARTFORD, KENT – 06 March 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Working Weekend, the first fantasy novel from Penelope Hill. What at first appears to be a behind-the-scenes look at the running of a fan convention, from the perspective of the Guest of Honour, soon becomes a supernatural thriller.

Cover by Alison and Sofia Buck

Penelope Hill has been enjoying conventions since the 1970s when she first attended a Star Trek convention. She has made many friends at conventions, encountered many authors, and met her late husband Robin at an early Terracon. She says that her mother took her to her first convention, and dealt with her fannish tendencies by teaching her ancient Greek at an early age, and drawing dragons whenever asked. “She was an inspiring woman, an artist, a writer and a wonderful needlewoman. She gave me much to live up to, and I think she’d be pleased to finally see my name in print.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press says, “Anyone who has been to a genre convention, whether it’s science fiction, alt history, fantasy, horror or something else, knows that there is plenty going on invisibly to make it an enjoyable experience for all the attendees. The committee, particularly for a smaller convention, is always on the lookout for the perfect venue and a special attraction to encourage more fans. So the offer of a gothic mansion-turned-hotel, especially one that has been used as a location in classic horror films, would be too good to pass up. When the owner of the hotel offers to play the role of a real vampire for the weekend to ‘add authenticity’, it is a dream come true. Of course, what starts out as a dream can often turn into a nightmare. That is the setting for this entertaining tale from Penelope Hill, at the fictional horror convention, CoffinCon VII. Good versus evil, ancient powers in conflict; all the while trying to make sure that the rest of the attendees are safe and none-the-wiser as to what is really happening. If you’ve ever been to a fan convention you will recognise many of the characters – the ever-cheerful volunteer gophers, the committee looking forward to finally getting some sleep when it’s all over, the chair-person who’s regretting volunteering and trying to keep everything looking smooth and on plan – but hopefully not an actual vampire!”

Working Weekend is available from today on all popular eBook platforms. The paperback edition will be available from 13th April, having been launched, of course, at a convention (Eastercon)!

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 five cats, a huge library of books, a treasure hoard of fabric and thread, and far too many dice.

Visit bit.ly/WorkingWeekend

About the book

Title: Working Weekend

Sometimes authenticity sucks!

Marcus Holland, European Folklore expert and award-winning writer of Horror and Fantasy fiction, is Guest of Honour at the CoffinCon convention being held in an old gothic mansion-turned-hotel. He’s looking forward to the weekend, as he’s hoping for a break from the pressures of work, the enthusiasm of his agent and the demands of his ex-wife. There’s to be a midnight masque, a Real Ale bar, and the convention committee have even arranged to have a ‘real’ vampire wandering the halls, to help add to the atmosphere.

From the moment Marcus arrives, he starts to feel uneasy, but can’t quite put his finger on the reason why. Although he soon comes to realise what is wrong, he knows that he can’t broadcast his concerns without being thought insane. Far from having a relaxing break, he will be working harder than ever in order to safeguard his friends and fans.

Cover by Alison and Sofia Buck

Fiction / Fantasy / Urban; Fiction / Thrillers / Supernatural; Fiction / Occult & Supernatural

Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-61-8, 240pp, Demy; RRP £10 / €13 / US$20 (13 Apr 2020)

Electronic edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-71-7, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 (06 Mar 2020)