“full-frontal, Gonzo storytelling” – review of The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises on All Things Jill-Elizabeth

On her blog, All Things Jill-Elizabeth, Jill-Elizabeth recently reviewed The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner. The books were not her usual fare and she “found them a bit, well, grittier than my taste tends to run”. She freely admits that she decided not to finish reading either book, but felt compelled to write a review because to not do so wouldn’t “do justice to the author OR story … simply because I picked up a book outside of my comfort zone and it delivered what it promised, namely a story that I wasn’t exactly comfortable launching myself into.”

The Janus Cycle cover image

Artwork: Alison Buck

The Janus Cycle has multiple narrators (one per chapter) telling different aspects of the story from differing perspectives as they lead inevitably to the final event (that they all need to prevent). Jill comments that, as “the narrative progresses, you get glimpses of where you are and why you’re there, but there’s a certain amount of flexibility in the style that I struggled with a bit. I tend to prefer my novels in a more traditional format – I’m a bit old-school in that regard.” She adds “I like a slow-build, with lots of backstory and complicated, well-developed, characters. Janus has the latter in spades…” The stories that lead to the denouement are “told well” but unfortunately Jill couldn’t make it to the end.


Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

Dinnusos Rises was, she says, “more my style”. However this too has multiple narrators and ultimately involved Jill feeling uncomfortable. As she says it “isn’t a comfort book, and I think stepping outside of my comfort zone is where I ran into issues with them. That’s me, not the books.” She found the characters “intriguing” and “colorfully presented without ever feeling either over- or under-done”. Tej, she says, “manages a tidy turn of phrase in his descriptions of people and their emotional baggage – there are some cleverly massaged psychological insights here, and those were fun to discover.” She adds “The writing is strong, as is the characterization”.


She concludes by saying that Tej is “a very talented individual”, describing his writing as “full-frontal, Gonzo storytelling”. Although they were quite far outside her usual reading taste, Jill says “they were very well crafted and the characters are deeply human for good and for ill. And on top of that, the cover illustrations are extremely cool, aren’t they?” As well as complimenting Tej’s writing and the covers of both books, Jill also described both Tej and Elsewhen Press as “exceedingly cool and easy to work with” – obviously a very discerning person!

You can, and should, read the whole of Jill’s review on her blog here.

 

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Nine Worlds 2017 – we had a blast!

We had a great time at this year’s Nine Worlds Geekfest. We had only just returned from a wedding in the South of France (where we first had to acclimatise to the heat), when we were rushing around preparing for our biggest convention of the year, in the damp and dull London weather. But as soon as we arrived at the Novotel everything brightened up (apart from the weather!)

The first sight to welcome attendees was the sign inviting us into the convention centre and leading to the registration desks.

On arrival at Nine Worlds

We had the honour and privilege to be gold sponsor for this year’s Nine Worlds and had a very visible presence which was very humbling (every room had a display outside with our planet-clock logo next to the Nine Worlds logo as above). We were very proud to be supporting such a fantastically inclusive event.

One of the benefits of being sponsor was to be able to provide a booklet for the attendees’ goody bags. As we were having a launch party for two books on Saturday afternoon, it seemed like the best use of that opportunity would be to provide a sampler of both books, as well as the chance to show off our lovely authors, artists (and now, first voice artist) as well as all our book covers. (I have already blogged about this booklet when we delivered it on the Wednesday beforehand, but in case you missed that, here’s a look at it anyway:)

Elsewhen Press goody bag booklet for Nine Worlds 2017

Friday morning started off rather busy as we had exciting news to pass on: a Press Release about Rebecca Hall’s Symphony of the Cursed trilogy being released as unabridged audiobooks by Tantor Audio; and Peter R. Ellis’ new September Weekes novel Cold Fire (following on from his Evil Above the Stars series) being available in eBook format.

We had a double table in the Vendors’ room and spent the rest of Friday morning setting it up. If you’ve seen us at any other events you’ll recognise our layout:

Our table at the start of Nine Worlds

When the doors to the Vendors’ room opened at 1 o’clock, there was a queue of people waiting outside. But, overall, Friday was fairly quiet (as at most conventions). Throughout the rest of the weekend it was always clear when the panels had ended (there was a 45 minute gap between sessions to allow for winding down, setting up and getting from one panel to the next – a model that should be followed by other conventions!) as the Vendors’ room quickly filled up for about half an hour and then thinned out for the next hour. After the first of these influxes of people it became clear that we had insufficient light above half of our table (and some other vendors’ tables too) as most of the ceiling lights were in the centre of the room putting our table in the shadow of anyone who was standing trying to look at our books. Meriel from Nine Worlds was looking after the vendors and she and Jess (who was the Nine Worlds interface with the hotel) set off on a mission to resolve the problem. The hotel had no standalone lamps to offer, but a while later Jess re-appeared with a whole load of very cool strings of lights, that she had bought at a nearby Primark, and distributed them to those vendors who needed more light.

Our table at Nine Worlds with added fancy lights

The lights proved to be an attraction in themselves and I’m sure Jess could have made a decent commission supplying them to all the people who came up to ask where we had got them!

As at last year’s Nine Worlds, we spent the weekend chatting to some lovely people: imaginative, amusing, entertaining, thoughtful, even profound at times. It didn’t matter whether they were in the guise of a squirrel, dalek, alien, evil witch, jedi, lemming, or even human. The Nine Worlds attendee badges included communication preference overlays and pronoun stickers to help ensure not just inclusivity but also prevent inadvertent offence (another model that could usefully be followed by other conventions).

We also endeavoured to sell some books, of course, and had spirited discussion on the relative merits of eBooks and print editions (and, indeed audiobooks) with more than one visitor to our table.

On Saturday evening, at 5pm, we held the aforementioned book launch party. Setting up was greatly eased by the unexpected help provided by Nine Worlds staff who were on hand to reconfigure the room for us. We had John Gribbin and Zoë Sumra reading from their new books (Don’t Look Back and The Wages of Sin, respectively), and talking a little about themselves and their writing in response to questions from the audience and from our interviewer Peter R. Ellis. The audience was not as large as we had hoped – but it’s quality not quantity that’s important and they were a splendid bunch of people! The other advantage of fewer attendees is that we had plenty of wine left over to bring home (which we will be quietly drinking over the next few months).

Launch with Zoë Sumra, Peter R. Ellis, John Gribbin

All too soon, Sunday afternoon arrived and the Vendors’ room closed its doors and everyone started disassembling their tables. Within an hour, we had our books, posters and other paraphernalia all packed into boxes ready to be taken home (courtesy of our youngest daughter) – and once again the ever-helpful Nine Worlds staff quickly moved our boxes down to the loading area for us while we waited for the car.

All packed and ready to go home

Sunday evening was spent in a nearby Italian restaurant with friends, enjoying delicious food and lively conversation. Monday morning we checked out and headed for the train home.

Although we have been attending conventions almost since the inception of Elsewhen Press, it is still both exciting and exhausting. So we are always very grateful for the help that we get from our authors, friends and the convention organisers and volunteers. This year’s Nine Worlds was no exception. We made it through, more or less retaining our sanity, thanks to the support and help of our authors Siobhan McVeigh, Peter R. Ellis, Christopher Nuttall (along with Aisha and, of course, Eric who gains more fans at every convention!), Zoë Sumra (with Misha and Sylvianne), John Gribbin, Rebecca Hall, Edwin Hayward, and Susan Oke, and the support of Nine Worlds staff and volunteers especially Meriel and Jess.

 

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Booklet from Nine Worlds 2017 goody bag.

We were Gold Sponsor for this year’s Nine Worlds convention, and one of the benefits was to be able to supply a booklet to be included in attendees’ goody bags. As we were having a launch party for Zoë Sumra’s The Wages of Sin and John Gribbin’s Don’t Look Back on the saturday night we thought it would be a nice idea to include an excerpt from each to whet attendees’ appetites. So, as well as having: a bit of blurb about us; pictures of all of our authors, artists and (now, ‘our’ first voice artist); and the covers of all our books; it also included chapter 4 of Zoë’s book and the eponymous short story from John’s.

Elsewhen Press goody bag booklet for Nine Worlds 2017

But now Nine Worlds is over it seems a shame that anyone who was not there should be left out. So we have a pdf version for you to download here.

 

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Rebecca Hall’s fantasy Symphony of the Cursed trilogy to be released as unabridged audiobooks

The Symphony of the Cursed trilogy are the latest Elsewhen Press titles to be available on audiobook, in transatlantic deal announced with Tantor Media Inc.

DARTFORD, KENT – 04 August 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the signing of a deal with Tantor Media Inc. for the unabridged audiobook rights to Rebecca Hall’s Symphony of the Cursed trilogy.

Artwork by Alison Buck  based on feather photo by KPG_Payless/shutterstock.com   Artwork by Alison Buck

Symphony of the Cursed starts 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, which continues in Instrument of War and concludes in Instrument of Chaos, 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.

This is a fantastic YA trilogy; and, as we all know, YA fantasy appeals to readers (and listeners) of all ages. The first two titles are already available in eBook format, Instrument of Peace is also available in paperback and Instrument of War will be available in paperback later this month. The concluding book, Instrument of Chaos, will be published by Elsewhen Press early in the New Year. Now Tantor Media will be bringing all three books in the trilogy to the many fans who prefer audiobooks.

Peter Buck, Elsewhen Press editorial director said “We are thrilled to be working with Tantor again on a new audiobook series. We’re sure that Symphony of the Cursed will prove to be a hit with audio fans.”

Scott Smith, who acquired the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy for Tantor Media, said “YA Fantasy has become one of the fastest growing genres in audio over the past year and we feel that Rebecca’s Symphony of the Cursed trilogy will be well-received by this ever-growing segment of audiobook fans.”

Instrument of Peace, the first book in the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy is expected to be released in audio in September 2017 and will be available through major retailers; Instrument of War will be released in audio in October 2017; and Instrument of Chaos in January 2018 simultaneously with the print edition.

Notes for Editors

About Rebecca Hall

Rebecca HallRebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University in New Zealand, 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 the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy 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.

visit bit.ly/SymphonyCursed

About Tantor, A Division of Recorded Books

Located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, Tantor Media, a division of Recorded Books, is a leading publisher of thousands of bestselling and award-winning unabridged audiobooks. Tantor audiobooks are available through all major distributors in the retail and library markets, digitally and in CD format. Tantor’s parent company, Recorded Books, is the largest independent publisher of unabridged audiobooks in the world, with operations in the US, UK, and Australia.

visit https://tantor.com

Tantor Media contact: Cassandra McNeil +1 877-782-6867 x57 cmcneil@tantor.com

 

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Almost ready for Nine Worlds!

Only a couple of days to go until Nine Worlds 2017 gets underway.

We’re Gold Sponsor, so we’re already pretty excited! Goodness only knows what state we’ll be in be by Friday morning!

We’ve been to Hammersmith already today to drop off our shiny booklets that will be in each attendee’s goody bag.

As well as pics of our authors and book covers, it also includes a whole chapter from Zoë Sumra’s new book The Wages of Sin, the second book in her Underside series, and the whole of the eponymous short story from John Gribbin’s collection Don’t Look Back. We’ll be having a launch party on Saturday afternoon for both of those books, with readings, interview, Q&A, signing and refreshments.

We hope to see you there – come and say hello to us, we’ll be in the Vendor’s room (Bourg) throughout the weekend, and in the Mouton Cadet room for the launch party on Saturday at 5pm.

Want a sneak peek at our goody bag booklet? Okay then…

Elsewhen Press goody bag booklet for Nine Worlds 2017
 

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“non-stop whimsical adventure” – review of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There on Amazing Stories

Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis Miles

Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell
ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis Miles

On the Amazing Stories website, Ricky L. Brown has posted a review of Ira Nayman’s latest novel in the Multiverse series (aka Transdimensional Authority series), The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There. Having not read any of the previous books in the series, Ricky was initially apprehensive at diving in to the series at book 5. However, he says that such apprehension was unnecessary and assures readers that they will be comfortable jumping into this series at any point. In fact he says “I did not have the pleasure of starting at the beginning, but I fully intend to do so in the near future”.

Ricky describes Ira’s series as “a collection of humorous examinations of the social interactions between a wide range of colorful characters who travel between alternate realities”, which is a pretty succinct outline. He says that this latest addition to the series is “compelling” because the events that are being investigated involve people having their consciousness exchanged with somebody else in a different reality. He finds the idea of a multiverse fascinating enough, he says, but add “Nayman’s penchant for literary wit to the mix” provides the reader with a “non-stop whimsical adventure that is both thought provoking and difficult to put down”.

Ricky draws the inevitable comparisons with Douglas Adams. Both Nayman and Admas, he says, “employ the same dry humor and ability to make the most irrational situation seem, well, commonplace”. His analysis of both is itself thoughtful and insightful and he concludes that “Adams’ work seemed limited to cultural and social issues dropped in a fantastic setting, but Nayman takes these concerns in a different direction by drawing on the fandom of science fiction and relying on the strength of his target audience’s knowledge of the genre to understand the humor”.

This is an interesting and well constructed review, not just of this book but of Ira’s approach to humour and storytelling. He concludes by saying that this book is “a fun read and a fine introduction to author Ira Nayman if you’re not already familiar.” He says he will now be adding the earlier books in the series to his “must read” list.

You can (and should) read Ricky’s full review on the Amazing Stories website here.

 

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REVEALED: Cover of Cold Fire, the new September Weekes novel

In the Evil Above the Stars series by Peter R. Ellis, we were introduced to heroine September Weekes. In that trilogy, September discovered who she is and was called upon to save the land of Gwlad from the evil Malevolence (in case you haven’t yet read them yet – why not? – I won’t introduce spoilers by saying any more!) Now Peter has delivered the first September Weekes novel, Cold Fire. September is still at school and is still the Cludydd o Maengolauseren, but this time she finds herself closer to home, at least in space if not time. As far as she can tell, her appearance hasn’t changed, she’s even wearing her school uniform. But in a London of 1680, others see her as a lady of considerable social standing. She has been brought here to stop something happening that would give the Malevolence an opportunity to enter the universe. But she doesn’t know what. Her first stop is a tavern, to meet Robert Hooke, and then off to see Sir Robert Boyle demonstrate to the Royal Society the results of his investigations of the phosphorus and its cold fire. Far away at the edge of Wales an alchemist has learnt of Boyle’s discovery and, helped by his young assistant, is attempting in his own way to form the mysterious material, little suspecting that his work threatens to open the universe to the evil power of the Malevolence. September starts to understand what is happening but feels powerless to stop it. Then she encounters some fantastic beasts who may be able to help her, if she can work out how to save them from the Cold Fire.

The cover design by Alison Buck shows us September meeting one of those fantastic beasts, the dragon Obsidian.

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

Cold Fire will be available as an eBook at the beginning of August and in paperback in October.

 

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Launch party for Dinnusos Rises – Tej Turner talks in a tent

Well, actually, it was a yurt but that wouldn’t have been alliterative.

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

Saturday the 8th July saw a vibrant and excited group of people from far and wide descend on the Milgi restaurant in Cardiff. Secreted at the back of the restaurant in an unexpected outdoor space is a yurt full of comfy sofas. Once Tej and friends had been let loose on it there were vines hanging down from the central opening and draped across tables, along with grapes too. But more importantly there was wine, I mean books. We were all there for the launch party for Dinnusos Rises by Tej Turner. It was a good turnout and a fantastic time was had by all. Before proceedings really got underway Tej was interviewed on camera, giving some thoughtful insight into his influences and motivation. Then, for some reason, it was decided to interview yours truly (fame at last!). What’s even more surprising is that any of my interview actually made it through the final edit.

If you were there you know what a great time we all had. If you weren’t there, you should now be kicking yourself at a missed opportunity. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and met some really lovely people. Thanks Tej.

Behind the scenes (literally) - Tej being interviewed on camera

Behind the scenes (literally) – Tej being interviewed on camera

A Tej talk - not be confused with a TED talk

A Tej talk – not be confused with a TED talk

If you want to watch the interview it’s on Youtube:

Here’s Tej reading:

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“intelligent, intriguing and imaginative” – review of Don’t Look Back on RisingShadow

Artwork: David A. Hardy

Artwork: David A. Hardy

On RisingShadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Don’t Look Back by John Gribbin. He starts by saying that he considers it to be “one of the best sci-fi short story collections of the year” adding that he found John’s way of “combining science and fiction highly effective”. He goes on to say that because John is a science writer and an astrophysicist he has “invaluable insight into the source material and he’s capable of writing stories that intellectually stimulate readers. This truly makes a difference, because his stories have … an element of credibility that can’t be found in many other stories.”

Seregil then lists the stories (and two essays) in this collection, with a brief outline of the essence of the story followed by his own comments on each one – comments that frequently include “excellent”, “intriguing”, “fascinating” and “wonderful”. I will just single out one, Something to Beef About, which Seregil says “perfectly demonstrates how good a storyteller the author is”. He says that what is best about these stories is that they use “science and scientific facts as a basis” but don’t “forget the value of imagination, storytelling and surprises”. Seregil also liked John’s “effortless way of adding humour, sharpness and … subtle wittiness”.

Although this is a retrospective and definitive collection of John’s short stories originally published over many years, Seregil observes that “they have stood the test of time well, because they contain themes and issues that are still relevant”. He compares John’s writing style to Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, and says that “his prose is simultaneously intellectual, imaginative and unornamented”, adding that this is good because “this kind of ‘hardcore’ science fiction doesn’t need florid literary expressions and complex prose to be intriguing”.

Seregil suggests that these stories would appeal not only to science fiction fans who “know a thing or two about science” but also to those who are “not familiar with sci-fi stories, because its contents will appeal to the intelligence of many readers”. He also hopes it may entice readers to seek more knowledge about science, physics and the universe. In conclusion Seregil gave Don’t Look Back five stars because “it contains stories that appealed to my intelligence. It felt satisfying to read these stories, because the author had interesting ideas and views about life, technology and universe.” He finishes by suggesting that readers will “find this collection fascinating”.

Seregil also commented that the “cover art by David A. Hardy looks atmospheric and evokes a sense of awe and wonder”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.

 

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Nine Worlds 2017 Geekfest once again sponsored by Elsewhen Press

Independent speculative fiction publisher is Gold Sponsor for multi-media multi-genre residential pop culture convention in London this August

DARTFORD, KENT – 6 July 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is proud to be the Gold Sponsor of the Nine Worlds 2017 Geekfest.

The first Nine Worlds Geekfest was held in Heathrow in August 2013 following a Kickstarter campaign. A huge success, each year the number of attendees has been increasing, so in 2016 Nine Worlds moved to Hammersmith. Elsewhen Press responded to their quest for sponsors last year, and this year are proud to be Nine Worlds Gold Sponsor. The Nine Worlds Geekfest was “founded on the radical belief that geekdom should not be restricted by class, age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, or the ability to cite Wookiepedia in arguments.” These are values that Elsewhen Press shares and why we are proud to sponsor Nine Worlds again this year.

An enthusiastic supporter of conventions since being established six years ago, Elsewhen Press will also be in the Vendors’ room at Nine Worlds, selling our books for fellow geeks to ‘share and enjoy’.

Notes for Editors

About Nine Worlds Geekfest

In March 2013, Nine Worlds ran a Kickstarter fundraising drive that was 232% oversubscribed and raised £23,000 (the second most successful convention launch in Kickstarter’s history), demonstrating the huge interest for an event of this kind in London. The inaugural con took place at Heathrow in August 2013, with over 1500 attendees.

Innovative and ground-breaking, Nine Worlds brings together a plethora of strands, from the more typical sci-fi tracks featuring gaming, comics, literature, fanfic and film, to Queer Fandom, Steampunk, Skepticism and Geek Feminism. Nine Worlds also hosted the UK’s first academic conference on geek culture, with scholars gathering from around the country.

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2017This year’s Nine Worlds is once again at Novotel London West in Hammersmith from August 4th-6th, 2017. There’s a gentle start on Thursday evening with some low key, informal events and socialising; Friday morning kicks in at full speed at 10am, and carries through until the early hours; Saturday starts at 10am, and keeps on going until 2am or even later; Sunday starts at 10am, and gradually winds down around 4.30pm with informal socialising in the evening.

It’s a residential convention – attendees normally stay on-site for the weekend. This means that the party doesn’t stop at dusk, and there’ll be games, talks, discos, live music and performance, and all-night film marathons running through the evenings. There’ll also be a daytime market on each day for convention attendees.

More about Nine Worlds can be found at http://nineworlds.co.uk/

About Elsewhen Press

Elsewhen Press is an independent publisher, based in South East England, specialising in Speculative Fiction. Established in 2011 specifically to encourage the best new and previously unpublished authors, Elsewhen Press has now published 60 enthralling titles across SF/F genres by a diverse range of authors from around the world. We love books; we have loved Science Fiction and Fantasy since we were young (longer ago than we care to remember!) We pride ourselves on the quality of our books, both content and production, in order to give the best possible experience to our readers in print and digital editions at a fair price, and are delighted that reviews and customer feedback are overwhelmingly positive. We actively adopt an approach based on close personal relationships with our authors, editors and artists, and are honoured that these incredibly creative people identify themselves as part of an ‘Elsewhen family’. Elsewhen Press is an imprint of Alnpete Limited.

Nine Worlds contact: press@nineworlds.co.uk

 

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