jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Oops, one more Ancient Wonders interviewee for you lovely peeps - our very own Pauline E. Dungate!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I spent all of my working life as a teacher but ended up as the resident teacher at Birmingham Nature Centre with a classroom full of exotic animals. I spend a lot of time reading, writing and reviewing when I am not in the garden. I take my camera on exotic holidays looking for wildlife. Last year it was Ecuador.

What inspired you to write “One Man's Folly”?

Every year there is a Middle Earth Weekend at Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham. Because of the Tolkien connection, the local paper often runs articles about his influences around this time. On the photo of Perrot’s Tower, an octagonal building, I noticed that the corner stones of the topmost floor looked very different from the rest of the brick built building. That led to the question of what they were made of. What if it was a stone circle in the sky. The story grew from there.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

It would probably have to be Hadrian’s Wall – either that or British Camp, the hill fort on the Malvern Hills.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The mystery. We know so little about them so there is much that can be imagined and no-one can tell us we are wrong.

What do you have coming out next?

I am working on a near future thriller set in Birmingham plus a number of stories. I write reviews and poetry as Pauline Morgan and there are plenty of my reviews around. The writers’ group I belong to has recently put out a pamphlet called Grapeshot which has three of my poems in it.

[Pauline E Dungate’s stories have appeared in anthologies such as Skin of the Soul, Narrow Houses, Swords Against the Millennium, Beneath the Ground, Merlin, Victorious Villains and Under the Rose. She has won prizes for poetry and has been a judge for the Arthur C Clarke Award. She reviews for SFCrowsnest and runs workshops covering all areas of creative writing. She lives in Birmingham with husband and fellow writer Chris Morgan.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links
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And our final Ancient Wonders interview is the one, the only, Kari Sperring!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I'm a mediaeval historian (specialising in Celts) by training and a writer by instinct – I started writing aged seven and I haven't stopped since. I love swashbucklers, ancient mysteries, things and people who are not what they seem, complex worlds and intrigue, which get into everything I write. As does water; I can't account for that, but most of what I write ends up with water as a key element.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Oh, goodness, that's hard ... I don't know. Maybe the court of Louis XIII or Louis XIV: I'd love to meet the real d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

That sense that the past is still there, immanent in every stone and that we are all part of the flow of history.

What do you have coming out next?

I have a sequel to The Grass King's Concubine due from DAW, probably next year. It has no final title as yet, but the working title is Death and the Madwoman

[Kari Sperring grew up dreaming of joining the musketeers and saving France, only to find they’d been disbanded in 1776. Disappointed, she became a historian and as Kari Maund published six books and many articles on Celtic and Viking history, plus one on the background to favourite novel, The Three Musketeers (with Phil Nanson). She started writing fantasy in her teens, inspired by Tolkien, Dumas and Mallory. She is the author of two novels, Living with Ghosts (DAW 2009), which won the 2010 Sydney J Bounds Award, was shortlisted for the William L Crawford Award and made the Tiptree Award Honours’ List; and The Grass King’s Concubine (DAW 2012).]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links!   
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Under the Ancient Wonders interview spotlight today we have the very fine and funky Lynn M. Cochrane!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

Challenged to describe myself in three words, I answered, "Orange headed barrel". Now you'll recognise me anywhere (oh, and it has worked!). To quote my Scottish grandmother, I'm as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth, though I will admit to having both children and grandchildren. I prefer to write words. They often turn up as poems but they also appear as stories, usually hovering in the intersection of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Sometimes, the poems have tunes attached. Maybe they should be called songs. I'm a member of Yardley Baptist Church in Birmingham where I serve as Newsletter Editor and as a member of both the Worship Team and the Preaching Team – so perhaps you should add sermons to the list of things I write!

What inspired you to write “Ringfenced”?

A photo of a standing stone, somewhere in the north-east of England, which had a ray of blue light firing straight up from its tip. Things like that burn themselves into my memory.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Ness of Brodgar. From there I could get to the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness, possibly also Maes Howe and Skara Brae, all on Orkney. So many questions: Are they linked, other than by location? How are they linked? Were they all in use at the same time? How were they used? Would I be able to gain and give some answers?

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Pass the trowel ... if only! I'm fascinated by the remnants in the ground (and anything still standing above ground) and by the puzzle of what such things and buildings were used for. I'd love to take part in archaeological explorations. Perhaps the big question is how someone from the 21st century would cope if they were dropped into the relevant point in time and space.

What do you have coming out next?

I'm always writing poems. It's almost as if they catch hold of my hands and won't let go until they've been attached to paper or the current electronic equivalent. I'm working on some short stories, a couple of which may well end up being rather longer – novellas or even novels; who knows? I also edit the showcase anthology for Cannon Hill Writers' Group, Salvo, and its new little sibling, Grapeshot.

[Lynn M Cochrane lives in the outskirts of Birmingham. She has been writing most of her life and has produced three collections of poems. She has had short stories published in convention publications and in Raw Edge, the West Midlands Arts publication. She is a member of Cannon Hill Writers’ Group, leading writing workshops from time to time.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links!   
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And today in the Ancient Wonders interview spotlight, is the fabulous Anne Nicholls...

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I love a good story: thrills, adventures, heroism, the writing of wrongs.

What inspired you to write “Dragonsbridge”?

I wrote “Dragonsbridge” after I got back from a great little fantasy convention called Les Féeries du Bocage, held in a friendly village in rolling French countryside an hour south of Paris. We were sat next to Pierre Dubois, a famous TV presenter of all things to do with Arthurian romance, which was what I did my thesis on. And of course we were quite close to the forest of Brocéliande, which I looked up on Google Earth. Hmm, hidden valley, Celtic deities, portals to Otherworlds, and just desserts (and I don't just mean those fantastic lemon tarts you get in France!).

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

If I could TARDIS into any specific place and time in history it would have to be the Library at Alexandria in time to get the scrolls out before the ravening religious nutters set fire to it. I so want to see the maps of Atlantis, talk to the scholars and curators (after all, the TARDIS has a translation and interpreting program) – and enjoy the weather after all this late, blasted snow! I could free a couple of slaves who'd be grateful as well as good cooks and go off and have wonderful lives of their own. And I'd just generally enjoy ancient academia – before coming back to now with a small but tasteful treasure trove.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Hmm, ancient landscapes and sites. Well, all landscapes (except urban ones) are ancient. It's the colour, the exoticism, the thought that so many different peoples have lived their individual lives shaped by the great cultural sweeps of history, climate and location, that's what appeals to me. What about Florence in the time of Lorenzo? Wouldn't you just love to see the procession he organised for his betrothal, him in his gold-bedecked armour, the courtiers in their jewelled robes, the musicians and the artists before Savanarola burned their pictures? The valleys of the Pueblo Indians when they were still alive? Tahiti before cargo cults? The great greenwood that carpeted the length and breadth of England as the last ice-age retreated? Charnwood Forest when it fringed a tropic sea?

What do you have coming out next?

I'm in the throes of finishing three short stories for Alchemy Press, and a couple of novels – one historical and one a fantasy, so I'm keeping busy. In fact, at times my life feels like a Heath Robinson contraption edited by Escher. Luckily I'm enjoying the ride.

[Anne Nicholls, has had ten books published in SF and the self-help fields. Her highly acclaimed novels Mindsail and The Brooch of Azure Midnight appeared under the name of Anne Gay. For four years she was the editor of LineOne's Science Fiction Zone, which had around 140,000 readers every month. She is currently working on a YA fantasy trilogy. Anne also features in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky link
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And let us not forget Ancient Wonders!  Today we have the excellent Adrian Cole under the spotlight...

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I'm a Devonian with Irish blood (County Cork) I live in Solomon Kane country and I'm a retired Business Manager now writing full time. I have a lovely wife, Judy, and two grown children, Sam and Katia; and the other woman in my life is Bella, my feisty calico cat. I write what I suppose could generally be termed imaginative fiction, if such a term could adequately cover SF, fantasy, horror, pulp, with a few crossbred bits. I have had over 20 novels published, and many short stories, since the mid-seventies. I enjoy writing old fashioned pulp stories but equally enjoy writing modern SF.

What inspired you to write “The Sound of Distant Gunfire”?

One of the ways I try to keep fit is by cycling and in North Devon we are blessed with some marvellous trackways, including an old railway line converted to a cycle path for nearly 20 miles. I've been up and down it numerous times and the countryside and unique atmosphere gave me the idea for the story, although I don't actually find the cycle path spooky – it appeals to the elemental in me. (Or perhaps that should be, the mental in me).

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Machu Picchu, up in the Andes. I'd want to be disguised as a native, though, otherwise I daresay I'd be pegged out and sacrificed to the sun, or worse. I've never been there, but one day...

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

Like many people, I suppose, I relate to them in some kind of atavistic way. I am an outdoor person (but also, by contrast, bookish and movie-ish) and love the elements – I lived on the edge of Dartmoor as a kid and as a youngster I grew up around the Cornish landscape (mines and beaches); and I now spend a big chunk of the year in the sea (I go home for tea, of course). Much as I appreciate modern technology, I still feel moved by the ancient past. I think it is because people were closer to the earth and the elements in those days.

What do you have coming out next?

My next novel is due out in 2014 and is a science fiction book, The Shadow Academy. It is set in an alternative Britain, the action moving between Dumnonia (Devon) and Londonborough. It's about a corrupt Authority and how it abuses power, a common theme in all my stuff! There are some short stories due as well, “Nightmare on Mad Gull Island”, a booklet from Spectre Press, and “You Don't Want to Know”, which will be in Stephen Jones' third Innsmouth collection from Fedogan and Bremer, Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth – both of these are Nick Nightmare stories and there are more of his stories in the works. He's got a strong grip on my PC at the moment. And there are other various projects in hand, large and small. Watch this space!

[Adrian Cole is the author of 25 novels, beginning with The Dream Lords in the 1970s, through The Omaran Saga and the Star Requiem to the Voidal Saga in 2011. He is also the author of numerous fantasy and horror short stories, having been published in Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Forthcoming from Edge Books is the novel The Shadow Academy; he has a short story in The Worlds of Cthulhu anthology due soon from Fedogan and Bremer; and he also has a story in The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links!   
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Continuing the author-palooza for Ancient Wonders - here's Shannon Connor Winward!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I’m an American author and poet. Most of what I create is speculative – some sci-fi, fantasy, and what’s been called “mythpunk” – though I write a little bit of everything. On my blog I talk about real life: the writing process, the emotional ups and downs. I chronicle my experiences raising a child with special needs, because I feel there’s a lack of information and empathy for families who have to go through this, and it’s my way of contributing to a larger conversation. I like to write about what touches me, what fascinates me. A lot of my stories deal with death and madness, but not in a macabre sense. I like to explore liminalities.

What inspired you to write Passage?

I minored in anthropology as an undergrad, with a special interest in the Celts of Britain and Ireland. I was writing a thesis on Celtic death rituals, which is largely speculative due to a scarcity of archaeological evidence. I came across a discussion of how the Celts may have used the monoliths as a means of connecting themselves psychologically to the landscape, since they had emigrated there, and places like Newgrange and Stonehenge predated their culture considerably. I became so distracted with the idea that I wrote “Passage” instead of what I was meant to be working on. I scribbled it in the middle of my research notes.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I’d love to visit Great Britain in the Iron Age – though, to be honest, if the Doctor came to get me, I wouldn’t be picky.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

I feel a closer kinship to ancient religions than to modern ones, at least in a spiritual sense. Our ancestors were more intimately tied to nature and her cycles, and that is reflected in their sacred sites.

What do you have coming out next?

I have poems due out in various magazines, all TBA, and I’ve been invited to participate in some local fiction anthologies. Right now I’m working on a sci-fi story inspired by Egyptian mythology and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and a modern-day fairy tale about a wicked librarian. I’m also working on my second novel, an urban fantasy, and my first poetry collection. I publish updates and links to my work on my blog.

[Shannon Connor Winward's writing has appeared in many venues including: Pedestal Magazine, Flash Fiction Online, Strange Horizons, Illumen, This Modern Writer [Pank Magazine], Hip Mama Zine and the anthologies Twisted Fairy Tales: Volume Two, Jack-o'-Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy and Spectacular: Fantasy Favorites. Her poem "All Souls' Day" was nominated for a 2012 Rhysling Award.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links!  
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Next lovely Ancient Wonders author under the spot light is Bryn Fortey...

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

OAP. Widower. GSOH. Friendship, maybe more – oh no, sorry, that's the Two's Company ad I'm trying to put together.

Writing-wise: it used to be short stories, then I wrote a lot of poetry, now I'm back to short stories. Sort of horror, SF, weird, oddball. I like crossovers and work that's difficult to categorize.

What inspired you to write “Ithica or Bust”?

David A Sutton told me about the Ancient Wonder anthology only weeks before the deadline. Being so long out of the loop I had no real idea of what was required but wanted to have a go, so updated a bit of Greek mythology into science fiction space opera, throwing in as many references as I could squeeze onto the page. It was very untypical of my more usual output but I had great fun putting it together.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I would get the TARDIS to drop me off at Cheltenham Race Course one day next week so I could jot down all the winners and come back to make a fortune from the bookies.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

My problem here is that at my age I remember most ancient sites and landscapes when they were new.

What do you have coming out next?

Two stories in Shadow Publishing's reprint anthology Horror! Under the Tombstone, and two stories accepted by the American audio magazine Tales to Terrify, but I have not been told yet when they are due to be used.

[Bryn Fortey appeared in various anthologies during the 1970s, including: New Writings in Horror & the Supernatural and New Writings in SF. He was also published in various Fontana anthologies edited by Mary Danby. Bryn’s beat-styled poetry magazine Outlaw was Best UK Small Press Magazine of 2004 in the Purple Patch Awards. In the same year he won the Undercurrent Aber Valley Short Story Competition with “The Dying Game”. In 2009 his “A Taxi Driver on Mars” was first in the Data Dump Awards for SF poetry in the UK. Bryn hales from South Wales.]

The Alchemy Book of Ancient Wonders is available in paperback and ebook formats from multiple retailers - see the anthology page here for linky links!
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Wahey!  Next of our fabulous Ancient Wonders authors to be interviewed is Aliette de Bodard.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you like to write?

I'm a writer, engineer and over-enthusiastic cook who loves to write character-driven stories in strange and familiar worlds (and to put fish sauce in everything, including stories!). I've written SF, historical fantasy and creepy horror – bit of an eclectic person, really.

What inspired you to write “Ys”?

“Ys” is inspired by a very famous Briton legend I read when I was younger; the image of a sunken city beneath the waves has always remained with me, as well as the idea that on clear days, you can hear the bells of the submerged churches ringing through the streets. Dahut/Ahes, the princess who doomed Ys, was thrown from her father's horse after he discovered she had been the one to open the gates to the sea; and from there on it wasn't much of a stretch to imagine both city and princess would still be around in modern-day France.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Hmm, it's a tie, but I think I'd pick either Hue or My Son – they're wonderful Vietnamese sites that you can only visit a small part of, due to all the bombs that got dropped on them during the Vietnamese/American war. I've always wondered what it would be like to walk there before destruction struck.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The sense of history; and wondering how people might have lived, and how different they might have been. Also, they're usually very beautiful!

What do you have coming out next?

I have a limited-edition novella, On a Red Station, Drifting, which is out from Immersion Press (and nominated for a Nebula at the moment); and a couple stories forthcoming in various markets. I'm also attempting to wrestle an urban fantasy set in Paris into proper shape.

[Aliette de Bodard lives and writes in Paris, France, in a flat with more computers than warm bodies, and two Lovecraftian plants in the process of taking over the living room, one tentacle at a time. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction: her Aztec-noir fantasy Obsidian and Blood is published by Angry Robot, and she has been a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and has won the British Science Fiction Association Award.]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And today my lovely people, we have our interview of Ancient Wonders author Misha Herwin!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I am compulsive writer who’s been writing ever since I could hold a pen. Rather to my surprise I’ve ended up living in Stoke with an ever patient husband and a moaning cat, who is convinced we don’t feed her enough.  I write books and short stories for adults and kids and my work usually has a supernatural and fantasy element to it.

What inspired you to write “The Satan Stones”?

“The Satan Stones” was inspired by the Devil’s Ring and Finger, a pair of Neolithic standing stones near where I used to live in Shropshire. They have very powerful hold on my imagination and also appear in my latest novel, House of Shadows.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

If I could leap into the TARDIS I’d definitely find my way back to the Devil’s Ring and Finger because I would love to know what really went on there.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The appeal of ancient sites and landscapes is their atmosphere of mystery and magic.

What do you have coming out next?

At the moment House of Shadows is with my agent and I’m working on a YA novel about a dystopian future where wars will be fought over water rather than oil. Juggler of Shapes, my second book in the Dragonfire Trilogy, is now out as an e book.

[Misha Herwin has been writing for many years. At twelve she wrote and staged her first play in a theatre made from a cardboard box. Since then her plays for teenagers have been performed in schools by the Stagefright Theatre Company and at the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica. She has published the Dragonfire Trilogy for kids and her stories can be found in a number of anthologies and magazines including Hens, Bitch Lit and Ghostly Reflections. “The Dragon Who Came to School” was broadcast by ABC Tales.]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Annnnd, the next Ancient Wonders author up for interrogation is: John Howard!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I like to write about things which interest me – often to do with forgotten or alternate histories, obscure places, ambiguous people.

What inspired you to write “Time and the City”?

The title of the anthology! Something ancient, something wonderful. I love SF pulp magazine artwork from the 1920s and ’30s: those cities and buildings, wonderful machines and spaceships by the likes of Frank R Paul and Leo Morey. So a story about an incredibly ancient city full of wonders came into my mind…

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

Rome.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The sense of standing on the edge of the abyss of time.

What do you have coming out next?

A couple of stories in anthologies, plus a collection from Swan River Press called Written by Daylight.

[John Howard was born in London. He is the author of the collection The Silver Voices and the novella The Defeat of Grief. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Beneath the Ground, Never Again, and The Touch of the Sea. John has collaborated with Mark Valentine on a number of short stories, six of which featured Valentine’s long-running occult detective The Connoisseur. These tales have been reprinted in The Collected Connoisseur. Most recent to appear is Secret Europe, (written with Mark Valentine) to which John contributed ten of the twenty-five stories, set in a variety of real and fictional European locations.]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
Next in the Ancient Wonders author interview series: William Meikle!

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I'm a Scottish writer. Around 1991 I started to submit stories to the UK small press mags. It's been a slow but steady progression from there. I now have over twenty five professional short story sales and have fifteen novels published in genre presses.

I've been asked many times why I write what I do. I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate and I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent's house.

My granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to get it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp equals bad plotting and that you must have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. They've also been told that pulp equals bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Spillane and further back, A Merritt and H Rider Haggard. I'd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape. I haven't managed it yet, but I'm working on it

What inspired you to write “The Cauldron of Camulos”?

I've tried my hand at several works of fantasy over the years, and they almost always come out the same way – pulpy, with swords, sorcery, monsters and bloody battles to the fore. It's the way I roll.

I may start with good intentions, of writing high fantasy with political intrigue and courtly goings on but, as in the Watchers series, Berserker and the Augustus Seton stories, my inner barbarian muscles to the fore, says Bugger this for a lark, and starts hacking.

The blame for my enthusiasm can be laid squarely at several doors. There's Conan, of course, and Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon and the whole pantheon of Eternal Champions; there's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Solomon Kane, Jon Shannow, the princes of Amber and the shades of a thousand more from the likes of Poul Anderson, A Merritt, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H Rider Haggard, Karl Edward Wagner and many others

So, there's that, and a long standing fascination with Arthur going way back to my childhood and reading The Sword in the Stone, Elidor and a big book of medieval romances with exciting colourful prints of knights and damsels and dragons.

In "The Cauldron" I wanted to strip away the medieval and go back to the Celtic and Saxon versions of the legends, although I suspect Arthur and the Grail as archetypes go back even further than that.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I'd love to see Orkney, during the mound-building, menhirs-raising years. I'd love to see Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar going up and discover why they were built as they were. Or Carnac in Brittany. I'd love to revisit it while it was getting put up.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as “weird shit”. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading Fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.

But there’s just something about the misty landscapes and old places that speaks straight to my soul. Bloody Celts … we get all sentimental at the least wee thing.

What do you have coming out next?

Next up is a weird Sherlock Holmes collection, The Quality of Mercy and Other Stories from a new imprint, Dark Renaissance. It's in deluxe limited edition hardcover and trade paperback editions, with a dozen illustrations by Wayne Miller who has previously done a lot of work on my covers for Dark Regions Press.

"When I first set out to document the casebook of my good friend Sherlock Holmes, there were some cases I approached with a certain degree of trepidation. Holmes has a public face as a man of strict rationality, a stickler for method and observation. But Holmes himself has always been open to more extreme possibilities."

In these pages you'll find, among other things, a Jade pendant that bestows great power, a fiddle that holds the key to an ancient secret, a lost overcoat that wants to return to its owner, and an encounter with an old foe that imperils the whole of Great Britain. All of them are cases that Holmes and Watson must solve, even if they have to open themselves to extreme possibilities to do so.

[William Meikle is a Scottish writer with fifteen novels published and over 250 short story credits in thirteen countries. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies; recent short stories were sold to Nature Futures, Penumbra and Daily Science Fiction. He now lives in a remote corner of Newfoundland, Canada, with icebergs, whales and bald eagles for company. In the winters he gets warm vicariously through the lives of others in cyberspace.]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
adrian tTo celebrate the release of the ebook editions of Ancient Wonders, we gently harassed our faaaaaabulous authors for a little behind the scenes action...

First up to the chopping block - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy, with eight books out in my series Shadows of the Apt and the ninth coming out this August. I’m also a lawyer (civil litigation) and my interests include LARP, RPGs (games, not grenades), sword techniques and zoology, but I had been working towards becoming a published author for a long time.

My current series is set to run to ten books, charting a conflict between the insect-kinden that takes them into their equivalent of the 20th century, and a world war. I’m currently working on a number of future projects in different settings.

What inspired you to write “Bones”?

“Bones” is set in the same world as the Shadows of the Apt series, and draws on a chance reference a character makes in The Sea Watch to an archaeological site where the deep past of the insect-kinden’s world appears to have been uncovered. This sparked a lot of speculation amongst readers, so I decided that the site deserved a story of its own. When the call for the Ancient Wonders anthology came along it seemed the perfect opportunity to write it.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

With deep apologies to the whole of human history, I think that I would need to tool up and go see the truth behind the fossils. The choice isn’t Ancient Rome or da Vinci’s studio, for me, it’s Cretaceous or Carboniferous, or scuba diving through the Burgess Shale fauna.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

There is nothing more evocative than an ancient landscape, civilisation or relic that still retains its mystery. All too often that turns out to be something of a false promise, but when confronted by something like the Antikythera mechanism, or the as-yet unopened tomb of Qin Shi Huang, it’s a window onto a past that remains as mysterious and elusive as myth.

What do you have coming out next?

The last two volumes of Shadows of the Apt should be out this year and next, after which I have a stand-alone fantasy, Guns of the Dawn, which takes place in a sort of alternate 1800-style of setting, concerning a bitter war between two formerly close nations. My personal tagline is “Jane Austen meets Bernard Cornwell by way of Ursula le Guin.”

[Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Lincolnshire, studied and trained in Reading and now lives in Leeds. He is known for the Shadows of the Apt fantasy series starting with Empire in Black and Gold, and currently up to book eight, The Air War. His hobbies include stage-fighting, and tabletop, live and online role-playing.]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
wonders1
Oh yes my fine and funky people, Ancient Wonders is now officially up on the Kindle.  Available from Amazon UK here for the bargain price of £3.28 (and a variety of prices from the other Amazons) but if you'd prefer an epub format, email Peter Coleborn via alchemypress[at]gmail.com and he'll sell you it directly (and if you ask nice, he can probably sort you out with a DRM free mobi copy if you object to the Amazon locked version.)  Paperback editions are still available for those that prefer their stories dead-tree, so either way, you, gallant reader, have nothing but win!


And if you've forgotten what loveliness awaits behind that glorious piece of Dominic Harman artwork, then check it out:

A fabulous introduction by Kari Sperring
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Bones
James Brogden – If Street
Shannon Connor Winward - Passage
Pauline E. Dungate – One Man’s Folly
Anne Nicholls - Dragonsbridge
Peter Crowther – Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day
Misha Herwin – The Satan Stones
Lynn M. Cochrane – Ringfenced
Bryn Fortey – Ithica or Bust
Adrian Cole – The Sound of Distant Gunfire
William Meikle – The Cauldron of Camulos
John Howard – Time and the City
Selina Lock – The Great and Powerful
Aliette de Bodard - Ys
jen_qoe: (Default)
Following the rather lovely launch of Ancient (Buy it! Buy it now!) Wonders, am dead chuffed to announce that me and m'funky co-editor Jan Edwards will be doing another Alchemy anthology next year! It will be called ::drum roll:: The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic and will be launching at WFC next year.

Can I get a woohoo? Woohoo! ;-) Now then...this does, of course, mean we're looking for subs...

The basics: For The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic, we are seeking contemporary tales with all the magic and wonder of myth and legend, blending modern life with the traditions of folklore from around the world. Whether lurking in dark alleys or brash shopping malls; from shanty towns to the floating cities of Venice, Bangkok or Dubai; swanky riverside penthouse lofts or humble suburban semis, we want to see how the mythic is woven into the everyday. We want fantasy that entertains but also pushes beyond the usual urban fantasy boundaries; fast-paced action; folk tales re-imagined; mythic creatures adapting to the urban environment; noir; humour; horror (with recognisable mythic elements); literary or lighter styles. Fully realised characters are a must and solid plots extremely desirable.

We don’t want: secondary worlds, steampunk, SF, zombies, paranormal romance or erotica. Also, no human sacrifice, magic help-lines, heaven/hell as a corporation, mythic-beastie love triangles or relentless gore. No poetry.

We are seeking original fiction. Reprints only accepted by agreement with the editors (and will be very few). No simultaneous or multiple submissions. Contributions between 3,000 and 8,000 words. Submission period runs from January 1st to March 31st 2013. Do not submit outside of those dates. More details to be found on the official APBOUM page here.

We're interested in settings and cultures not traditionally covered in urban fantasy but make sure they're well researched and not exoticised.* We'd also like to help make the field of speculative fiction more inclusive and welcoming to both authors and readers from traditionally underrepresented groups, so we're interested in seeing stories from diverse perspectives and backgrounds. 

~ # ~

And if that wasn't enough, we'll also be launching a range of Alchemy Novellas! Full guidelines and wotnot here... In very short - in 2013 there will be 4 e-novellas, which will be collected into a print book at end of the year. Open subs months are December 2012, March 2013, June 2013 & September 2013. Length range: 15,000 - 35,000 words. (The big boss prefers 20,000 - 25,000.) No reprints.

Genre-wise, they'll cover almost all areas of fantasy: heroic fantasy, alternate world fantasy, urban fantasy, supernatural, dark crime and horror. Comic fantasy will be considered but not if it’s a parade of puns or bad gags. We are not fans of zombies or heroic vampires. We will not publish hard science fiction. Though there is some flexibility depending on how well the novella works for the editors considering them. Of which I am one! :-) That guidelines link again!

~ # ~

*Handy links for things to bear in mind:
Appropriate Cultural Appropriation by Nisi Shawl
What is Cultural Appropriation by the Angry Black Woman also posted here with additional comments.
Safe Exoticism, part 2: Culture by Athena Andreadis
From Aliette deBodard:
-  Writing Cultures: Insider vs. Outsider
-  On Worldbuilding, Patchwork and Filing off the Serial Numbers
-  The Prevalance of U.S. Tropes in Storytelling

(I'm sure there are more, but I can't track them down at the mo. Any additional links on the above/similar topics gratefully accepted!)
jen_qoe: (Default)
So today saw the delivery of the books for my next history module - this one being on Empires and a level 3 course (gulp).  But, still, shiny new books with shiny new book smells!  Alas, the new OU policy of not letting you know your assignments until the website officially opens at end of the month has completely buggered my intentions of getting ahead of things... Ah well, there's still lovely booksies to read...

In other news, the fabulous Adele over at her new imprint Fox Spirit, has just published the excellent sounding Tales of the Nun and Dragon...  Behold! The cover....


Have got my copy and will be reading it ever so shortly...

In other-other news, I do believe I have found the perfect hairstyle thingy for evil-twin's Wedding-of-the-Century. 
Thank you Katy Perry for doing all the work and modelling it! Nice and simple and purple!

Oh, and, of course, I really should be mentioning that order details for that there Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders are emerging -paperback editions available from Amazon UK, Amazon USABarnes & Noble or The Book Depository for £10 / $15 - though can be had for the bargain price of £8 if you buy it at Fantasycon in a couple of weeks.  No news on the e-book editions as yet, but rumour has it our beloved publisher is working hard to crunch files and sort that out...

Annnnnnd, not only that, but m'fine and funky co-editor Jan and I will be doing another anthology next year - that one will be the APB of Urban Mythic and details on that shall be forthcoming after Fantasycon...
jen_qoe: (Default)
Let there be w00t!  We now have the final table of contents for the upcoming Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders!

Introduction from Kari Sperring
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Bones
James Brogden – If Street
Shannon Connor Winward - Passage
Pauline E. Dungate – One Man’s Folly
Anne Nicholls - Dragonsbridge
Peter Crowther – Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day
Misha Herwin – The Satan Stones
Lynn M. Cochrane – Ringfenced
Bryn Fortey – Ithica or Bust
Adrian Cole – The Sound of Distant Gunfire
William Meikle – The Cauldron of Camulos
John Howard – Time and the City
Selina Lock – The Great and Powerful
Aliette de Bodard - Ys

Ancient Wonders will be launched in Brighton at Fantasycon on Saturday 29th September, at 10am. News on ordering details to follow shortly on the Alchemy Press website.

Meanwhile, we shall be dancing on the furniture and shrieking like mad things...  ::bouncybouncybouncy::
jen_qoe: (Default)
Hurrah! We can haz cover! Behold, the gorgeousness that is the Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders... ta daaaah!


The fabulous artwork is by Dominic Harmon and to say we're a bit thrilled about it would be an understatement of epic proportions.

In other news, there's, ooh, 22 days left for you to get your submissions in.  Check out the the posts here, here and here for the details.  Read the guidelines, burn them into your brain, and pay attention to the theme - we're flexible on what your ancient wonder is, but real or made up, it needs to be in there somewhere. 

Meanwhile, we shall be happy-dancing all over the sofa. ;-)
jen_qoe: (Default)
Further to my last, you'll find the particular story preferences of m'fabulous co-editrix Jan on her blog here. (Whereas mine are in the last post!) All told, no matter what the setting or sub-genre, an engaging story is what we're looking for. That submission link again!
jen_qoe: (Default)
So, you may or may not have noticed that I have a bit of thing for stories about ancient sites (no, it's not just tomb raider fangirling. Although any kind of archaeological adventuring is always fun... ;-P ) Therefore, being asked if I wanted to do an anthology on ancient sites with Jan Edwards for Alchemy Press was a bit of a no-brainer. It's called The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders and is set for publication around late September and we are open for submissions right now. (Yes, now!) ;-)

Soooooo, the necessary blurbage:

The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders

Standing stones, burial mounds, ruined castles or sunken settlements, the ancient sites that litter our landscapes have a mysterious appeal which cannot be denied.

Think myth come to life; old folktales updated; the consequences of tomb raiding; hidden guardians and secret civilisations; from archaeology to tourism; mysticism and myth; folklore to the fantastical. Take us on a journey around the esoteric and enigmatic places that cannot fail to fire the imagination. Intrigue us, thrill us, make us wonder about the where, the what and the who.

We are interested in fantasy, sf, weird and horror tales of all kinds. (No erotica, romance or poetry.)

The nit-picky official guidelines and other techy details can be found on the Alchemy Press website here

--
Now the official bit's done, on a personal note and in case it needs saying - we welcome stories from anyone and are looking for stories involving ancient sites found anywhere on this world, secondary fantasy worlds or other worlds, with well rounded active characters of any age, race or orientation. Make sure your settings and cultures are well researched and not exoticised and be wary of cultural appropriation (see here and here and here and here and here for more on that).

Co-editor Jan will likely be putting her own preferences up on her blog at some point (will link as and when), for me, personally I'm a fan of the type of stories found on Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld and Expanded Horizons so stories with that kind of feel are going to make me happy. I also skew more towards the fantasy and SF end of things and particularly want to see stories set in or crossing over to other worlds. Also stories where actual archaeology occurs. Especially if the site in question doesn't get destroyed at the end of it. ;-) And fun pulpy romps that don't commit crimes of cultural appropriation (as mentioned above). Ooh, and dystopian/post-apocalyptic fic. And space ships. Can we get an ancient site on a space ship? (Actually, an ancient crashed/buried space ship does technically count as an ancient site...) Do the fae get annoyed when people hijack their standing stones for riding ley lines? What happens when the local community object to a gold-digging chancer kicking over their heritage?

There's bundles of possibilities for interesting stories so bung 'em over to us.

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