Author addresses the isolation and alienation felt by many in the trans community, with allegorical SF adventure

Riftmaster, a new novel from Miles Nelson tells a story about identity, empathy, and what it means to be human, which, though timeless, is especially significant here and now

DARTFORD, KENT – 24 February 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Riftmaster by Miles Nelson. On the face of it, Riftmaster is a science fiction adventure about a college student who is whisked away from Earth by a mysterious and unpredictable force known as the Rift and stranded on another world where he meets a mysterious traveller, the self-styled Riftmaster. But at its heart it is an allegory of the isolation and social alienation felt by many in the trans community here on our own planet.

Miles Nelson says, “Riftmaster was in part influenced by my own personal experiences. I wanted to write a story about identity, empathy, and what it means to be human. At the time of writing I was myself going through a difficult period of my life. I felt as though I had very few people to turn to. I was engaged, but felt like I wasn’t the person I wanted to be when I was married. Even my fiancé, now husband, who had stood by me from the very beginning, couldn’t quite understand how I felt. I’m trans and autistic. All in all, a great recipe for feelings of isolation and the need for a magical journey of self-discovery. If there’s anything I can take comfort in, it’s the enormous size of the universe we live in. Riftmaster gave me the chance to fly away from all of those everyday problems to wonderful and beautiful worlds where earthly problems meant nothing, where so far away from societal expectations, a person is free to be whoever they want.”

How do we deal with these problems if we don’t have the opportunity to leave Earth and travel the cosmos? Miles Nelson adds, “Earth is the only home I, and everyone like me, will ever know, and this planet still has a long way to go before we can feel truly safe and welcome. I could do without seeing the horror on people’s faces when they hear my voice having already called me ‘bro’. One of the things Riftmaster addresses is small things like that, and how they can make you feel.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Riftmaster will resonate with many readers who experience isolation and alienation, especially while most of us are still living through imposed social distancing and lockdown. But hopefully it will help people to understand and consider the impact of their words and actions on others.”

Miles Nelson again: “When it comes to the people you know and love, try your hardest to do what makes them happy and comfortable. But… if you slip up or fail, don’t worry; it’s the trying that counts. Every time one of my parents apologises for using the wrong name or pronouns, I always smile. So long as they’re trying their hardest, it’s enough to fill my heart with so much joy. Over the course of the story in Riftmaster, it is not overt attempts to hurt someone, but the adamant refusal to change, that causes the most harm. There are many people in my life who, because they knew me before, refuse to even try. But, if I got a promotion at work, they wouldn’t still call me a cashier. How is this really any different? I know it takes time. But it really is the effort to change that counts. There are a lot of little things people can do to help someone feel just a bit less alien. Treating others as equals, for example, rather than calling them ‘sweetheart’ and ‘sir’. You wouldn’t think it’s a big change, but it can mean a lot more than you know.”

Bailey, the main character of Riftmaster, is himself not trans. He is someone anybody can relate to: a kind-hearted young man on the cusp of his prime, who was cruelly swept away from everything he’s ever known by nothing more than bad luck. As the story unfolds, Bailey is forced to confront his own personal biases in order to change and grow. Miles Nelson hopes that, one day, Riftmaster can help at least one of its readers to do the same.

Riftmaster is available for pre-order in eBook format; it will be published on the 5th March as eBook, and in paperback on 3rd May.

Notes for Editors

About Miles Nelson

Miles Nelson

Miles was born and raised in Durham. He studied video game design at Teesside University, graduating in 2018. Since then, he has taken a step back from coding to work on his writing career, and has since led several masterclasses with New Writing North. He has been writing all his life, and although Riftmaster is technically his fourth novel, he likes to pretend the first three don’t exist. Whilst he is primarily a sci-fi writer who loves long journeys, strange worlds and all things space and stars, he has also had brief flings with the genres of fantasy and horror.

He often writes stories highlighting the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and tries to include themes of empathy and inclusivity in all he does. Even then, though, Miles stands firm in the belief that this is not the defining element of his stories. And although he tries to represent his community as best he can, these themes are never the main focus; because he believes that (in most cases) a person shouldn’t be defined by their deviation from standard norms.

Outside of scifi and fantasy, he has a deep-rooted fascination with natural history, and collects books told from unique perspectives (be they animal, alien, or mammoths from Mars). The older, the better; his oldest book is just about to turn 100! He currently lives in Durham City with his husband, Chris, who so far seems unworried by Miles’ rapidly growing collections.

About Riftmaster

Cover art: Miles Nelson

How do you hold on to hope when you’re being repeatedly wrenched between worlds?

College student Bailey Jones is plucked from his world by a mysterious and unpredictable force known as the Rift, 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. Although curious about his new companion’s real identity, Bailey hopes that, with years of experience of the Rift, this cosmic traveller can help him find a way to return to Earth. But first, 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.

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.

The cover artwork and illustrations in the book were also created by Miles Nelson.

Visit bit.ly/Riftmaster

 

Cover reveal: Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan

Did you know that God had six attempts to create the perfect universe before he finally created ours? Each of them was a learning experience for Him!

Far Far Beyond Berlin is the debut fantasy novel from writer Craig Meighan, which tells the story of a human who becomes stranded on the first world that God created, Joy World, and his subsequent attempt to return home to our world, which involves traversing all six of God’s previous worlds. God is not happy. In fact he’s getting quite flustered so he dispatches Fate, his angel of worse than death, to catch and dispose of the interloper.

As you can imagine, this paves the way for adventures, scrapes, shenanigans, but above all a good laugh (for us, not for the protagonists). And en route we meet some interesting characters including the one who is going to reveal the cover to us… Graham the Gravity-Goose:
 

If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Far Far Beyond Berlin will be published on March 19th on all the best eBook platforms (available to preorder from the end of February) and in paperback on May 17th.

The cover is by artist Gordon Miller.

You can find more details about the book here.

 

Author invents quirky future dialect of English for a literary tale of revenge

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.”

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

About HOWUL

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.

Visit bit.ly/HOWUL

New epic fantasy series from Tej Turner starts with a bloodoath

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.

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/Bloodsworn

 

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).