Please bear with us – we have no internet connection thanks to Openreach

Last thursday (2 November) at 18:44 our broadband vanished. After various tests and checks by our ISP it became clear that the problem was with the connection which is provided and maintained by Openreach. We were told it would be fixed within 48 hours. Today (monday 6 November) Openreach have said that it is a broken cable which is due to be fixed by the 22nd December (they didn’t say which year, I’m assuming 2017 but that may be hopeful). Apparently, despite having a Service Level Agreement with our ISP, Openreach feel no need to pay any attention to it. So we are without any internet connection (apart from by mobile phone) and incapable of conducting significant parts of our day to day work.

We have already lost business from one client today as a result.

If you are trying to contact us electronically, don’t be surprised if we are delayed in responding. Please bear with us.

 

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Cold Fire – Peter R. Ellis at Leominster Library

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

On Thursday 19th October 2017, Peter R. Ellis will be spending the afternoon in Leominster library to promote his latest book Cold Fire, a September Weekes novel that follows on from the Evil Above the Stars series. If you’re near Leominster, come along and say hello, check out the book and find out more about September Weekes and the cold fire of the title.

Peter R. Ellis

Leominster Library, Thursday 19 October 2017, 2pm-6:30pm, 8 Buttercross, Leominster HR6 8BN

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Instrument of Peace audiobook now available

Instrument of Peace unabridged audiobook from Tantor narrated by Matthew Lloyd DaviesThe Symphony of the Cursed trilogy by Rebecca Hall is being released as unabridged audiobooks by Tantor Media Inc. narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies.

Instrument of Peace, the first book in the trilogy, is now available to buy as a downloadable audiobook from Apple iTunes and Audible. The second book, Instrument of War, will follow later this year and the final book, Instrument of Chaos, will be available in January 2018.

 

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meticulous and painfully familiar – Pen Tynan’s (sort of) review of SmartYellow™

Artwork: Leosaysays

Artwork: Leosaysays

On her blog Axes’n’Yarn, Pen Tynan has just written a very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) article, which is partially a review of SmartYellow™ by JA Christy but also a commentary on the current welfare state in the UK. SmartYellow™ is set in contemporary Britain, although when we read it we hope that it is an alternative reality and not ours!

I am not going to try to précis Pen’s article, nor do I want to attempt to reduce it to merely a review of SmartYellow™ as it is so much more. I will say that Pen finished reading SmartYellow™ a month ago and says it is still haunting her. The description of life in a council estate, Pen says, is meticulous and painfully familiar. The science alluded to, that enables the inhabitants to be monitored and ultimately controlled, probably does not exist (says Pen) but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine those who have control using more mundane methods for achieving the same goals.

Pen concludes by saying that the “real thing that left me shaken and melancholy from reading SmartYellow was a real, deep and darkly certain feeling not that this could happen, but that it already is happening.” She says that she desperately wants to recommend this book to people but with the warning that it might affect the reader (or as she puts it “it might leave you feeling like shit”). I’m going to interpret that as a positive recommendation!

You should read, and think about Pen’s article (click here to read it), whether or not you have read or might read SmartYellow™. Of course we hope you will read the book too.

 

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“a fantastical story with plenty of excitement” – review of Instrument of War on Risingshadow

Artwork by Alison Buck

Artwork by Alison Buck

On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Rebecca Hall’s latest novel, Instrument of War, the second book in the Symphony of the Cursed trilogy following on from Instrument of Peace. Seregil enjoyed Instrument of Peace (see his review here) and says he was excited to read Instrument of War. So it’s just as well that it is “just as good” and is an entertaining read for those who love “exciting and fast-paced YA fantasy fiction”. In fact he says it not only lives up to the first book but “even surpasses it”.

The book is a “well written sequel” and he says that those who have read Instrument of Peace will feel immediately at home with the story and “be delighted to immerse themselves in it, because the author delivers a good story”, adding that she “wonderfully maintains tension and excitement in this novel and goes boldly forward with the story”. This book “deepens the story arc” offering exciting and thrilling moments because Rebecca “keeps on building upon what she created in the first novel”.

Seregil says he consider Rebecca’s books to be excellent additions to the increasingly popular YA fantasy genre because she “uses classic elements in a fresh and modern way”. The cast of characters, he says, is “delightfully versatile” with good characterisation because Rebecca writes fluently about “the characters’ feelings, lives and abilities”. He especially likes Rebecca’s “more entertaining and original approach” to vampires, avoiding the common clichés that are often overused in YA faction. He thinks that many readers will like Rebecca’s “vision of vampires, because in her novels the vampires feel much fresher than in many other novels”. He also finds her approach to magic to be “intriguing” and effortless, as is her ability to combine various fantasy elements. He says “I liked it a lot in Instrument of Peace, but now I find it even more intriguing, because she doesn’t seem to hold back anything anymore, but delivers a fantastical story with plenty of excitement.”

Seregil says that, although many YA novels have been written about magic schools and angels, “this novel stands out due to its interesting story and exotic setting” adding that the backdrop of New Zealand locations “adds lots of freshness to it”.

In conclusion, Seregil says that Instrument of War is “one of those rare novels that will captivate younger readers from the very first chapter and will make them read it in one sitting, because the story is immersive”. He is now looking forward to reading the concluding novel Instrument of Chaos (which will be published early next year) because “the story arc is fascinating”.

His final verdict: Good, intriguing and well written YA fantasy that is exciting and fast-paced entertainment for readers of all ages.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.

 

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“a meaty, classic collection” – review by Brian Clegg of John Gribbin’s Don’t Look Back

Artwork: David A. Hardy

Artwork: David A. Hardy

On the the Popular Science book review site at (www.popularscience.co.uk) scientist and science writer Brian Clegg has written a four star review of Don’t Look Back by John Gribbin.

Brian starts by pointing out that even a “diamond-hard writer” like John Gribbin who is “enthusiastic to write hard science fiction” and keen to keep the science real, sometimes has to “cheat a little with the science to make the stories work”. But as this is science fiction, Brian accepts that “scientific accuracy should always come second to the ‘fiction’ part”.

That aside, Brian says that this collection includes excellent stories, adding “I’m fond of short, sudden-twist-in-the-end stories, of which this collection includes some excellent examples.” One of his favourites was The Royal Visit, which “delivers a remarkable amount in just two and a half pages, including an enjoyably dark twist in the ending”. He says there are also longer stories that are “very enjoyable slower and more thoughtful pieces”, highlighting in particular The Best is Yet to Be and Something to Beef About.

Brian observes that many of the stories are in the style of classic science fiction from the 50s, and like classics some have aged better than others, especially where the science has moved on significantly in the intervening years. Nevertheless, overall there’s “plenty of good material here” and he concludes that it is a “meaty, classic collection”.

We’d like to thank Brian for his review. You can read it in its entirety on the Popular Science book review site here.

 

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Cursed on the Prairies coming in September…

If you’ve read Tanya Reimer’s Sacred Land Stories Legends on the Prairies and Ghosts on the Prairies you’ll be delighted to hear that the concluding story Cursed on the Prairies will be published next month. An emotional journey that proves we can’t escape our destinies, Cursed on the Prairies is the culmination of a trans-generational timeline that started in Legends… and continued in Ghosts… If you haven’t read the Sacred Land Stories, now is your chance to read the first two before Cursed on the Prairies comes out.

This is alternate history suspense, incorporating the paranormal and magical realism, and infused with romance. They are stories that concern the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes in the prairies of Saskatchewan. But they also touch on the interwoven loves, hopes, dreams and tragedies of lives lived on those prairies by both the tribes and the settlers. Although each book in the series is a standalone story which can be read without any knowledge of the other two books, the greatest enjoyment is likely to gained by reading them in sequence.

With lingering spirits, a troubled girl, dark rituals, a love potion, cursed men plaguing their lands, a prison break, and the earth itself trying to suck them in, Cursed on the Prairies is a Sacred Land Story that shows that the prairies are a place full of secrets that even a ghost can’t bury.

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

 

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“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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