“little short of a masterpiece” – review of HOWUL and interview with David Shannon in Reader’s Digest

Cover design: Alison Buck

In the Reader’s Digest online Culture section, HOWUL by David Shannon is featured as the Must-read of the week.

The review by Timothy Arden describes HOWUL as “unconventional, quirky, extraordinary … unmissable” and “little short of a masterpiece”. Following the review is a fascinating interview with David Shannon. You can read the review and the interview here on the Reader’s Digest site.

 

“It reminded me of a Doctor Who plot” – Reviewer names Million Eyes one of her top reads of 2020

Cover: PR Pope
Calling it “tense, ominous and addictive”, book blogger Karen at Hair Past A Freckle posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in January last year. On New Year’s Day 2021, she named it one of her top reads of 2020.

Karen begins by explaining how Million Eyes begins in 1100 with King William II and something that very obviously shouldn’t exist in the 12th century. Like many readers, she knew of this event having seen the Rufus Stone in the New Forest where William was supposedly accidentally shot, and which Million Eyes says may not have been quite as straightforward as history tells it.

It’s difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers but I can say that there are some completely unexpected moments which totally shocked me.

She goes on to describe the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, saying that they are “very different people” and that she “particularly enjoyed seeing how Jennifer’s understandable scepticism gradually diminishes as she realises that he is telling the truth”. She calls the characterisation “excellent throughout” and that Jennifer in particular is a “fabulous character”.

She rounds off her review by saying that “as a long-time Whovian, perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Million Eyes is that it reminded me of a Doctor Who plot”.

You can read the full review on Hair Past A Freckle here.

 

Sex and Drugs and Mind Control

Latest novel from Simon Kearns is a literary fusion of science fiction, existential terror and psychological thriller in the style of the ‘New Weird’

DARTFORD, KENT – 22 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Night Has Seen Your Mind by Simon Kearns. In an isolated house in the snowy wasteland of the Arctic, five people take part in a cryptic experiment funded by a tech billionaire – although they will be well rewarded financially, have they even considered the potential psychological impact, and is it worth the gamble? Crossing genres, this story is the epitome of modern speculative fiction.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Especially pertinent as we all live through yet another lockdown, Simon Kearns has successfully leveraged our inherent fear of isolation and bleakness to make us identify with his diverse characters as they slowly try to come to terms with their prolonged stay in the Arctic. That anxiety combines with a natural suspicion of hi-tech entrepreneurs, distrust of intrusive devices that attempt to read your mind, and the inevitable suspicion of stir-crazy strangers. The result is an exciting yet very well-grounded story that may literally blow your mind. Not only is sex and drugs and mind control an appropriate tagline for the story, it may also turn out to be how many readers have coped with lockdown.”

The Night Has Seen Your Mind is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 22nd March.

Notes for Editors

About Simon Kearns

Simon Kearns was born in London in 1972 and grew up in Northern Ireland. In his teens he returned to London to study philosophy. At the end of 2004 he moved to the south of France where he lives with his partner and two children. His debut, Virtual Assassin, (Revenge Ink, 2010), explores personal responsibility in a corrupt society. It was followed by Dark Waves, (Blood Bound Books, 2014), about a powerful haunting and the scientist determined to debunk it. His stories have appeared in publications such as The Future Fire, Litro, The Honest Ulsterman, and on numerous websites.

He revels in etymology, guitar, gaming, and the science of superstition.

About The Night Has Seen Your Mind

Tech billionaire, Mattias Goff, has invited five creative professionals – programmer, pianist, writer, actor, and photographer – for a month-long residency at Crystal Falls, his Arctic retreat. Researching brain waves, and especially the enigmatic gamma wave, Goff asks his guests to wear a kind of EEG cap in order to record the electrical activity in their brains while they engage with their respective disciplines. Although they will be paid $5Million each for the experience, they all start their sojourn a little wary – some more than others. Cut off from the outside world in the stunningly beautiful, if stark, Alaskan winter landscape they immerse themselves in their work. Soon, though, reality seems to be shifting. What is Goff really researching? Are his guests only being observed, or manipulated?

Cutting across genres, The Night Has Seen Your Mind is a literary fusion of science fiction, existential terror and psychological thriller in the style of the ‘New Weird’.

Visit bit.ly/TheNightHasSeenYourMind

 

Cover reveal: Riftmaster by Miles Nelson

Riftmaster is an adventure by Miles Nelson, telling the story of college student Bailey Jones who is plucked from his life on Earth by the Rift, a mysterious and unpredictable force 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. Bailey is curious about his new companion’s real identity, but hopes that, with years of experience of the Rift, this cosmic traveller can help him find a way to return to Earth. First though, 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.

Cover art: Miles Nelson

For many of our books we commission an artist to design a cover based on one or more ideas from the author, ideas that may be expressed in words or illustrated with a basic scribble. In this case Miles, the author, provided an eye-catching concept design that was virtually ready to be used. After he had made a couple of small tweaks, the cover was complete. The intriguing star-filled silhouette of the eponymous Riftmaster sets the scene well for this story.

We probably shouldn’t have been surprised that Miles would provide suitable cover art, as each chapter starts with a stylish fleuron, also designed by Miles. One of them, depicting the Riftmaster and Bailey, makes an additional appearance on the back cover of the book.

Artwork: Miles Nelson

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. It will be published in eBook format in March and in print in May.

 

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

Unveiled: Cover image for The Night Has Seen Your Mind by Simon Kearns

In January, Elsewhen Press will be publishing The Night Has Seen Your Mind, the latest title from France-based British author Simon Kearns. Cutting across genres, The Night Has Seen Your Mind is a literary fusion of science fiction, existential terror and psychological thriller in the style of the ‘New Weird’.

Set in the snowy winter landscape of Alaska, Simon wanted a cover that would set the scene for his story without giving away any of the plot, “something involving a night sky and the aurora borealis” was his brief to artist Alison Buck. Below, you can see the cover she has designed. When he saw it Simon said “I LOVE IT! I was nervous about the cover, but Alison has created something so very similar to what I had in my head. Wonderful work!” Alison’s response was “Phew!”.

Cover artwork: Alison Buck

Tech billionaire, Mattias Goff, has invited five creative professionals – programmer, pianist, writer, actor, and photographer – for a month-long residency at Crystal Falls, his Arctic retreat. Researching brain waves, and especially the enigmatic gamma wave, Goff asks his guests to wear a kind of EEG cap in order to record the electrical activity in their brains while they engage with their respective disciplines. Although they will be paid $5Million each for the experience, they all start their sojourn a little wary – some more than others. Cut off from the outside world in the stunningly beautiful, if stark, Alaskan winter landscape they immerse themselves in their work. Soon, though, reality seems to be shifting. What is Goff really researching? Are his guests only being observed, or manipulated?

The Night Has Seen Your Mind will be published as an eBook on 22 January 2021 and in print on 22 March 2021.

“A disorienting but enthralling experience” – Review of Million Eyes by Parallel Worlds

Cover: PR Pope
Parallel Worlds have posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in Issue 9 of their monthly magazine.

Reviewer Ben Potts compares Million Eyes to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and George Orwell’s 1984. He notes that the manipulation of timelines and ensuing time travel paradoxes are just a backdrop for the novel’s main draw: the conspiracy thriller elements, which are front and centre.

As pivotal moments in history shift, the world starts to become more and more… off, offering a disorienting but enthralling experience. We won’t spoil some of the more delectable twists here, but it gets interesting.

Potts also notes the “believable and genuine conflict” between the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, and that the book does a good job of making the reader feel like they’re stepping backwards in time. He adds that Berry’s writing is “clear and easy to understand” and caps off his review by calling it an “excellent read”.

Potts also makes reference to Berry’s interview with Time Travel Nexus, in which he talks about the creation of the book, the short stories that accompany it (which we published as a free ebook called Million Eyes: Extra Time), his love of sci-fi and conspiracy theories, and how he went about creating his ‘rules of time travel’ for the Million Eyes series.

You can read the full review here. You can also listen to a podcast version of Issue 9 of the magazine.

“incredible yet all too believable” – review by Jill-Elizabeth of Million Eyes

Cover: PR Pope

On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has reviewed Million Eyes by C.R. Berry, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy. She previously read and reviewed the free-to-download collection of short stories set in the Million Eyes universe, Million Eyes: Extra Time (read about her review here). She starts her review of Million Eyes by saying that it was “a delight to read and offered a marvelous set-up to events to come”. She describes it as “a wild ride that whip-cracks back and forth through time”, with “time travel, history, alt-history, conspiracy theory, corporate greed, and a host of characters that range from the hapless to the harried to the horrible”. She admits that she is a fan of time-travel as a concept and the possibilities it allows for talented story-tellers like C.R. Berry.

She mentions that though there are many characters introduced in the various timelines, the two that she felt a real connection with were “Princess Diana, who jumped off the page for me, which is strange since I have never before felt so drawn to her” and the “horrifically corporate-evil queen Erica Morgan who felt like a perfect amalgamation of every corporate CEO I’ve ever known combined with every Disney villain-queen I’ve ever encountered”.

She says that her biggest concern is how long she will have to wait for the following two books in the series to find out what happens next!

You can read Jill-Elizabeth’s review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads).

 

The book they tried to stop – revealing the truth behind a conspiracy against the British monarchy?

Author C.R. Berry’s first book in the Million Eyes trilogy tells the story of the two investigators who uncovered the powerful people behind a shocking conspiracy, against the Royal family, that has shaped the last 1000 years.

DARTFORD, KENT – 09 March 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of the print edition of Million Eyes, the first book in a new trilogy from author and conspiracy investigator, C.R. Berry, tackling power, corruption and destiny.

Cover: PR Pope

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher, Gregory Ferro, found evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348. Ferro teamed up with down-on-her-luck graduate, Jennifer Larson, to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seemed to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers were watching closely. Soon, Ferro and Larson were targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes was initially published in a digital edition in January, to widespread acclaim despite a social media campaign waged against author C.R. Berry by those behind the conspiracy. Thankfully, the attention apparently made it more difficult for them to carry out the threats they had made against Berry. Million Eyes is available from today in a print edition, to encourage more readers to discover the truth that is undoubtedly out there.

Notes for Editors

About C.R. Berry

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four, and has never recovered. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. After a few years spent getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness. He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere, in Surrey.

Visit bit.ly/Million-Eyes

 

“Tragic royal events weren’t actually meant to happen” – Review and Extract of Million Eyes by Short Book and Scribes

Cover: PR Pope
Book blogger Nicola at Short Book & Scribes has posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, calling it “a mind-boggling tale combining fact and fiction”.

She says the concept “that tragic royal events weren’t actually meant to happen” but happened because of time travel “flummoxed” her but that she “absolutely love[s] this kind of story” where you have to “put pieces together to make a whole.” She calls Million Eyes “incredibly well-plotted” with enjoyable characterisations and says she is pleased to know that it’s the first in a trilogy.

As a royalist and someone who enjoys historical fiction, I found the idea absolutely fascinating that Princess Diana’s crash might have been orchestrated for some reason other than the many conspiracy theories we already know about

Short Book & Scribes have also published a free preview from Chapter 1 of the novel.

You can read the full review and extract here.