Readers are looking for stories that cut across traditional categories. Speculative fiction authors are best placed to deliver.

Short story ideas often interrupt Andy McKell as he writes his novels. His latest collection of those stories, ‘Galaxies and Fantasies’, spans multiple genres.

DARTFORD, KENT – 27 May 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. Our authors write stories ranging from epics, through novels and novellas, to short stories. Some plan every scene in intricate detail, while others know their starting point and ending, but let the story unfold in its own way. But all stories start with the germ of an idea, an inspiration, a muse; ideas that come to the writer, often at inopportune moments. Many authors fill countless notebooks with ideas for stories, characters, events, or even just lines of dialogue, jotted down when they occur to them.

Author Andy McKell – well known for his Janus Paradisi series of science fiction novels – is currently working on a new series around the formation and collapse of galactic empires. As Andy says, “I’m an organic writer. While working on my next sci-fi novel, I let the characters lead the way towards what happens next: after all, they know their stories better than I do. I let them whisper into my subconscious: my fingers merely do the typing.”

But as he works on his novels, he gets ideas for other stories.

Andy continues, “BUT… my subconscious keeps hijacking my focus, thrusting new and totally irrelevant possibilities at me. It could be a biblical or mythical reference, a snippet of conversation, the echo of a movie, or an unexplored carry-over from another novel. I jot down the ideas or the opening line/paragraph and get back to the novel. The promise that I’ll return to the jottings usually placates my subconscious. Later, at a more convenient time, I look through the snippets and one or other fires my imagination enough to expand on the idea and there I go, down the rabbit-hole of some totally unexpected adventure.”

Of course, this happens many times, and often such an idea is the germ of inspiration for a short story. Sooner or later, Andy has enough short stories to collect together for publication. Elsewhen Press are delighted to be publishing his latest collection, Galaxies and Fantasies. Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press says, “Having published one of Andy’s short stories in an anthology in 2016, we have been keeping in touch with him, as we do with all of our fantastic authors. When he told us, ‘I have a batch of short stories that just might interest the reading public – at least, I hope they do,’ we asked to read them and were very happy that we did. My first impression of the collection was of an ‘eclectic’ set of stories across a number of the genres that are encompassed by the term ‘speculative fiction’. That appealed to us because we are probably best known for the fact that most of our books cut across multiple genres, which is proving to be very popular with modern readers. But even more than that, all of Andy’s stories, however long or short, have a twist or surprise; they are stories that stay with you long after you have finished reading them. We can’t wait for everyone to be able to enjoy them.”

Andy is still working on his new series, the first book of which is due to be published later this year. Meanwhile, he continues to jot down story ideas that interrupt his writing.

Galaxies and Fantasies, Andy McKell’s latest collection of short stories, will be published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format on 3rd June and in paperback on the 27th June.

Notes for Editors

About Andy McKell

Andy was abducted by science fiction pulp magazines and fell in love with classic noir in his early teens. He worked in marketing, franchising, and computing in London and Luxembourg before launching his own web design company. In 2011, he sold the company and retired early to write, act, and travel.

His multi-genre short stories have appeared in various anthologies, he continues to develop science fiction novels, and has branched-out into classic noir. He has little time for acting, these days.

He hopes you enjoy reading the adventures of his imaginary friends.

About Galaxies and Fantasies

Galaxies and Fantasies: Cover design by Alison Buck
Cover design by Alison Buck

Prepare for the unexpected

Galaxies and Fantasies is an eclectic collection of tales from master-storyteller, Andy McKell, crossing genres from mythology to cosmology, fairytale to space opera, surrealism to hyper-reality. What they all have in common is a twist, a surprise, a revelation. Leave your pre-conceptions aside when you read these stories, prepare for the unexpected, the extraordinary, the unpredictable. Some are quite succinct and you’ll be immediately wanting more; others are more elaborate, but deftly devised, and you’ll be thinking about them long after you’ve finished reading. These are stories that will stay with you, not in a haunting way, but like a satisfying memory that often returns to encourage, enchant or enrich your life.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/GalaxiesAndFantasies

Fantasy author predicted Partygate, evidence noted by OWG investigator

Simon Kewin’s police procedural book, The Seven Succubi, includes scenes set in the covert 13 Downing Street garden (shared with Number 10) where the protagonist notices empty wine bottles discarded in the foliage.

DARTFORD, KENT – 01 April 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. It is often the case that speculative fiction turns out to be prescient, and in the case of our latest title this is once again true. Simon Kewin is an author of both science fiction and fantasy novels. At the end of 2020, Elsewhen Press published The Eye Collectors, the first book in Simon’s Witchfinder series – a police procedural with a difference, the protagonist works for the Cardiff branch of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of government which enforces the law against magical crimes. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the story is a whodunnit mystery set in a contemporary fantasy setting. The success of the book ensured that now in 2022, The Seven Succubi, the next title in Simon’s series, has been published. In this latest story, the investigator has to visit the London headquarters of the Office of the Witchfinder General, at 13 Downing Street, an address hidden inside 12 Downing Street and one that shares its garden with Number 10. Sitting on a bench in the garden he notices that “a dead wine bottle lurked in the shrubbery near my feet, and there was another wedged end-on into a bush as if someone had tried to conceal it.” This was written before the ‘Partygate’ allegations were made public. There’s no mention of a broken swing, but nonetheless it begs the question, if such a minor detail in the story is true, might the rest be too?

When asked about the discovery in the garden of number 13 Downing Street, Simon Kewin said “I’ve been asked by the Office of the Witchfinder General to make it absolutely clear that no crystal balls, divination spells, scrying devices or other illicit magics were used in the creation of this description of events in Downing Street. Definitely not. The whole thing is complete coincidence.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, says “When we read that scene in the book, we were amused but had no idea how significant an observation it was – not just a throw-away line as we originally thought. Once the Partygate allegations surfaced and were being officially investigated, we realised how prescient Simon had been. He has been allowed unprecedented access to restricted case notes and other material within Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, the first time this has been permitted in over three hundred and seventy-five years. So it seems more likely, especially given his assurance that he used no methods outlawed by magus law, that those events have been known to various agencies within law enforcement for some time. Nevertheless, Simon has always been very careful to emphasise the fictional nature of the events in his books, albeit based on the experiences of OWG investigators. But, as is often observed, there’s no smoke without fire…”

The Eye Collectors, the first book in the Witchfinder series, was described by one reader as ‘Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!’ The book has appealed to readers of contemporary and paranormal fantasy, as well as fans of police procedural, true crime and alternate history.

The Seven Succubi, the second book in the series, was published in eBook format in February and is now also available in paperback.

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.

About The Seven Succubi

Of all the denizens of the circles of Hell, perhaps none is more feared among those of a high-minded sensibility than the succubi.

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

The Assizes of Suffolk in the eighteenth century granted the Office of the Witchfinder General the power to employ ‘demonic powers’ so long as their use is ‘reasonable’ and ‘made only to defeat some yet greater supernatural threat’. No attempt was made in the wording of the assizes to measure or grade such threats, however – making the question of whether it is acceptable to fight fire with fire a troublingly subjective one.

Now, in the twenty-first century, Danesh Shahzan, Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, had been struggling with that very question ever since the events of The Eye Collectors. An unexpected evening visit from his boss, the Crow, was alarming enough – but when it turned out to be to discuss his thesis on succubi, Danesh was surprised yet intrigued. Clearly, another investigation beckoned.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/WitchfinderSeries

Red Dragon facsimile edition published today

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

Elsewhen Press are pleased to be able to publish this facsimile of the 1999 illustrated, limited edition privately published by the author but since unobtainable.

When we published The Seven Succubi (the second story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645), the second book in Simon Kewin’s Witchfinder series, it referenced Dr Miriam Seacastle’s modest book Red Dragon, which was privately published by the author herself in 1999 in an illustrated, limited edition. We were keen to obtain a copy but discovered that there were no extant copies available. In his own book, Simon had mentioned that the OWG in Cardiff had a copy, so we sought permission to examine it. After much obfuscation and bureaucracy, we managed to contact the librarian directly. With a little persistence they were persuaded to allow us to peruse their copy in a secure facility. We were able to make a photographic record, which is what we have used as the basis for this facsimile edition.

We subsequently obtained permission to reproduce Red Dragon from Dr Seacastle, who expressed delight that her book would once more see the light of day, but conveyed her concern that all copies would again be seized by the OWG. We assured her that we are firmly of the opinion that this book is an invaluable collector’s item, and we will robustly resist any attempt to suppress its republication.

We also obtained the approval of the illustrator to use the original illustrations in this facsimile.

Travel broadens the mind, even inspiring fictional worlds

Tej Turner, author and seasoned traveller, realised that his own experiences, backpacking in exotic parts of the world, were the perfect field research for his epic fantasy adventure series.

DARTFORD, KENT – 14 March 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One such author is Tej Turner. Tej works in Cardiff as a chef by day and writes fantasy books by night. But he is also an ardent explorer, informing and entertaining his many online followers through a travel blog in which he documents his, often ambitious, trips. Authors often spend more time doing background research for their stories than actually writing, especially if they have to create an imaginary world and populate it with competing peoples, myths, legends and cultures, not to mention geography, flora and fauna. Sometimes, though, the authors have already done some of the research without even realising it.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “In 2015, we published a gritty urban fantasy that Tej had written, The Janus Cycle, but we hadn’t physically met him because he was handling the edits while away on a 9 month backpacking expedition around Asia. In fact, we first met him in person when we launched the book at Eastercon in a hotel in Heathrow, Tej arriving straight off the plane from Kathmandu. We have been friends ever since.”

It was in 2014, just before going on that trip around Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Nepal, that Tej had written the first few chapters of Blood Legacy, the second book in an epic fantasy series he had been planning: The Avatars of Ruin. When he got home in 2015, he picked it up again to finish writing it.

Tej says, “I would like to say that I went travelling as ‘field research’ but that would be a lie – it is just something that I love to do. But that said, when I returned from that trip, I did realise that one of the arcs for Blood Legacy involved its main characters doing things that I had just done myself; namely journeying to lands that are not only different to what they know in terms of scenery and climate, but also – at times – a bit of a culture shock.

“I remember – when I returned home a year later and continued writing – reaching certain points of the story and realising that I didn’t need to do any research because I already had firsthand experience of what the characters were doing. One example of this being when they needed to cross a mountain range; I had just come back from doing a high altitude trek in the mountains of Nepal so the experience was all still fresh within my mind.”

In 2021, Elsewhen Press published Bloodsworn, the first book of The Avatars of Ruin series, and now Blood Legacy is also available, in both paperback and eBook. Tej is currently close to completing the third book in the series, Blood War. Tej adds, “Blood War includes a story arc from even more regions of my world, including a jungle civilisation.”

Bloodsworn attracted praise from best-selling authors Anna Smith Spark, who said: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously”; and Christopher G Nuttall, who said: “a stunning introduction to a new fantasy world”.

Blood Legacy, too, has already garnered praise from respected authors. Allen Stroud, author and current chair of the British Science Fiction Association said, “Tej Turner is taking you on a journey into Fantasy, only it’s not quite the journey you expected, and it’s all the better for it”; Joanne Hall said, “a nuanced, smart high fantasy novel with intelligent, complex characters, good LGBT rep and some killer twists”; and David Craig said, “an exciting book which ups the stakes, mixing traditional fantasy with an element of possession horror”.

Blood Legacy is available from today in both eBook and paperback formats.

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

Tej Turner does not have any particular place he would say he is ‘from’, as his family moved between various parts of England during his childhood. He eventually settled in Wales, where he studied Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. Since then, Tej has mostly resided in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. His childhood on the move seems to have rubbed off on him because when he is not in Cardiff, it is usually because he has strapped on a backpack and flown off to another part of the world to go on an adventure.

When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains, and so far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he intends to return to someday. He also hopes to go on more adventures and has his sights set on Central America next. Firsthand accounts of Tej’s adventures abroad can be found on his travel blog on his website. A place he also posts author-related news.

His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and its sequel Dinnusos Rises was released in 2017. Both are hard to classify within typical genres but were semi-biographical in nature with elements of magical realism. They have often been described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has since branched off into writing epic fantasy and has an ongoing series called The Avatars of Ruin. The first instalment – Bloodsworn – was released in 2021, and its sequel Blood Legacy is out now. He is currently engaged in writing the third instalment (Blood War).

About The Avatars of Ruin

Book 1: Bloodsworn

Cover design: Alison Buck

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children 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.

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…

Book 2: Blood Legacy

Blood Legacy cover artwork: Alison Buck
Cover design: Alison Buck

The ragtag group from Jalard have finally reached Shemet, Sharma’s capital city. Scarred and bereft, they bring with them the grim tale of what happened to their village, and a warning about the ancient powers that have been awakened and now threaten all humanity.

Despite this, some of them still hope that reaching sanctuary within the Synod will mean an end to their hardships, but these hopes are soon dashed. Sharma’s ruling class are caught within their own inner turmoil. When Jaedin senses that there are moles within their ranks, not only does his call to crisis fall mostly on deaf ears, but some who do hear seek to thwart him when he tries to hunt these infiltrators down.

Meanwhile, across the Valantian Mountains, Gavendara is beginning to muster its forces. Using ritualistic means to augment their soldiers, their mutant army is like nothing the world has ever seen before.

The Zakaras are coming. And Sharma’s only hope of stopping them is if it can unite its people in time.

Covers by Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/AvatarsOfRuin

“the reality that Grimwood has built and constructed on the page is beautiful and brilliant” – Review of Interference on The Fantasy Hive

Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer
Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer

Over on The Fantasy Hive website, Lucy Nield has written a detailed and very thoughtful review of Interference by Terry Grimwood. Trying to present extracts from Lucy’s review wouldn’t do it justice, so I recommend you read it in its entirety on The Fantasy Hive here.

The Seven Succubi by Simon Kewin out in eBook today

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

The Seven Succubi by Simon Kewin, the second story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645, is out today in eBook and will be published in paperback on 28th March.

“Think Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!”