jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
Oh what news we have for you my lovelies!

First, Urban Mythic #1 was kinda sorta nominated in the British Fantasy Awards.  Oh yes! Our very own Adrian Tchaikovsky made the Best Short Fiction short list with his story 'Family Business'.  Massive congrats to Adrian!

Our publisher overlords at Alchemy Press also made the short list for Best Small Press and Best Non Fiction (with Doors to Elsewhere by Mike Barrett); and with our loyal Fox Spirit editor hats on, we're also rather pleased that Fox Spirit Books also made the shortlists in Best Small Press, and Best Anthology (with Tales of Eve edited by Mhairi Simpson).  So epic glee all round!  (Not least because so many women made the BFA short lists this year as well. Hurrah!)

Now! Urban Mythic #2 news!
Yes, my darlings, we have contents!  In alphabetical order, with proper order to follow anon, here be our fabulous people...

Sarah Ash – La Vouivre
James Brogden – Avatising
Carl Barker – The West Dulwich Horror
Andrew Coulthard – Paradise Walk
K T Davies – For the Memory of Jane
Pauline E Dungate – Trapped in the Web
Chico Kidd – Blood*uckers
Tanith Lee – The Mermaid
Christine Morgan – High School Mythical:Asgard
Lou Morgan – Death and the Weaver
Marion Pitman – The Cupboard of Winds
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Where the Brass Band Plays

And! There will be a cover by Les Edwards - to be revealed at a later date.

Aaaaaalllll the awesome!
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
ian-whatesAnd today Urban Mythic author Ian Whates answers a few questions....

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

I find it difficult to pinpoint my first exposure to science fiction and fantasy. I recall watching early episodes of Lost in Space and Doctor Who (back in the William Hartnell days), and I was always borrowing volumes of Greek and Norse mythology from the library. The writing of Andre Norton was key, I know, as was a serialised reading of John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids on BBC radio, but which of these came first..? Suffice to say I grew up fascinated and inspired by all of these things and started writing my own stories from a young age. That has stayed with me throughout my life. I love to write in the same genres I read: science fiction, fantasy, a dash of horror … and if I can blend ingredients from all of those strands, so much the better.

What was it that inspired “Default Reactions”?

Good question. My partner, Helen, has a far higher tolerance for shopping than I do. One day a few years back (2006?) I sought sanctuary in a pub (now there’s a surprise) close to Covent Garden while she continued to satisfy her retail itch. As I waited, I jotted down the outline of a story that drew on our experiences and the people we’d encountered that day. Centring on the concept that there are many versions of London existing in close proximity which most of us are completely oblivious to, the story features a succubus and a character called ‘Chris’ who can sense and interact with the different Londons. I’ve grown fond of Chris, who, in the interim, has featured in a few further tales involving alternative Londons. The announcement of the Urban Mythic anthology coincided with a developing interest in the trans-cultural enigma that is the Green Man, and it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to write another Chris story. The narrative came together from there.

How urban do you like your fantasy and who are your must-read authors?

To be honest, it doesn’t have to be urban at all – I enjoy well-written ‘epic’ fantasy as well – but I’m never averse to a good bit of urbanisation! The whole post-Buffy vampire side of things has completely passed me by, though. To me, ‘urban fantasy’ still means the likes of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station and Alan Campbell’s Scar Night (both excellent, incidentally). This is why I created my own ‘fantastical-city-with-a-personality’ in Thaiburley, the setting for my City of 100 Rows trilogy of novels. Thaiburley is very much its own creature and I didn’t set out to emulate anywhere else when creating it, but the city almost certainly owes a debt to Fritz Leiber’s classic Lankhmar – I still cherish every one of those tales. My single favourite (and sadly often-overlooked) urban fantasy is probably Megan Lindholm’s (aka Robin Hobb) Wizard of the Pigeons, set in contemporary Seattle, while if you’re looking for something a little more classical, I can’t fail to recommend Hope Mirrlees’ wonderful Lud-in-the-Mist.

As both a writer of short and long fiction, and editor of many publications, do you find yourself drawn to one of those things more than the others, and are there any fiction forms you want to try your hand at but haven’t yet?

I’m very much a writer first and foremost. The editing and publishing are things I stumbled into without really planning to. Having said that, I take a great deal of satisfaction from all aspects of what I do – otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing them. I cut my teeth writing shorts, but, equally, I enjoy writing novels as well. Hopefully, I’ll never lose the appetite for both forms. Yes, there are still plenty of areas of genre fiction I’d like to explore and write in. I’ve written space opera, military SF, urban fantasy, heroic fantasy, grimdark, slipstream, comic SF… I’ve written a ghost story and a vampire story, a time-travel story, a cyberpunk tale, a psychological horror and many others. But I’ve never written an alternative history piece, not really, I’ve only dabbled with steampunk, and I’d love to write a full-blown crime/thriller at some point. So, many sub-genres visited to date but just as many still to explore.

What will you be up to next?

Convention-wise, I’ll be at Andromeda One in Birmingham this September, Bristolcon in October, and World Fantasycon in Brighton over the Halloween weekend. At both the latter two events I’m holding launch parties for new titles, among other things. On the publishing and editing front, there are several NewCon Press titles on the way during the remainder of this year, including an Adrian Tcahikovsky collection, Feast and Famine, a Steve Rasnic Tem collection, Twember, one from Stan Nicholls, Shake Me to Wake Me, and a further collection from Tanith Lee: Colder Greyer Stones. In addition, I’ve just finished editing an anthology produced in honour of David Gemmell: Legends, featuring the likes of Joe Abercrombie, James Barclay, Tanith Lee, Storm Constantine, and all sorts of others – this is intended in part as a fund-raiser for the Gemmell Awards – and another anthology, Looking Landwards, of original SF stories examining the future of farming, agricultural engineering and food production; this latter volume produced to mark the 75th anniversary of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers. I’m also progressing ten different titles for next year (editing, commissioning and agreeing cover art, etc, etc), including novels, collections, and anthologies, as well as working on a third volume of Solaris Rising for Solaris.

Writing-wise, my latest novel, Pelquin’s Comet, is currently being considered by publishers. This is intended to be the first in a new space opera trilogy, so, all being well, I’ll have two further volumes to write. A 22,500-word novella featuring ‘Chris’ has recently been serialised over four issues of Aethernet magazine, and I’m considering expanding this into a novel. I have stories forthcoming in PS Publishing’s PostScripts and a couple of other anthologies, notably Solaris’ End of the Road, and I’ve just been commissioned to write a ghost story for a brand new publisher. Oh, and I’m one of the judges for next year’s Arthur C Clarke Award, which requires me to read around 80 novels over the next seven or eight months. So, I should be able to keep myself occupied for the foreseeable without too much trouble. I genuinely enjoy everything that I do, which is just as well, since I tend to do quite a lot of it.

[Ian Whates has two published novel series, the Noise books (space opera) from Solaris, and the City of 100 Rows trilogy (urban fantasy with steampunk overtones) via Angry Robot. Around 50 of his short stories have appeared in various venues; two were shortlisted for BSFA awards. His work has received honourable mentions in Gardner Dozois’ Years Best anthologies and featured in Tor’s ‘Best of’ Futures from Nature. His second collection, Growing Pains, appeared via PS Publishing in March 2013. Ian chaired the BSFA for five years and has served as a director of SFWA. He has edited titles in The Mammoth Book of… series and the on-going Solaris Rising series. In his spare time, he runs multiple award-wining publisher NewCon Press, founded by accident in 2006.  Visit his website at: www.ianwhates.co.uk ]
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
UM cover A 008 dBreaking news from Urban Mythic launch central!  We will now be launching the very fabulous Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic at 12pm on Friday 1st November (as opposed to the previously advertised time of 3pm!) at the World Fantasy Convention.  So get yourself down to that there Brighton and party with us!

More news soon!
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And lo! There was an Urban Mythic author interview! I give you, Jonathan Oliver... jonathan_oliver

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

By day I’m the editor-in-chief of three imprints, by night I tinker with my own words. Well, that isn’t technically true. I’m not vastly prolific so I sort of fit writing in, in bits and pieces when I can. Mainly in lunch-breaks. I like to write whatever takes me, to be honest. I tend towards the darker end of the spectrum, but of late my stories have often been slightly more hopeful.

What was it that inspired “White Horse”?

The White Horse at Uffington is quite close to us, so it seemed like the perfect setting to talk about myth and magic. As nobody really knows who created it or for what reason, I decided to come up with a legend of my own. At its heart, the story is about parenthood (especially fatherhood) and how we overcome mistakes made and the parts of ourselves we’re often not that comfortable with. Man, that sounds way too deep! The literary inspirations certainly came from writers such as Alan Garner and Robert Holdstock, who explore our relationship to myth and landscape.

How urban do you like your fantasy and who are your must-read authors?

Hmmm, I like my fantasy pretty varied. It doesn’t necessarily have to be urban, but my favourites in that field are probably China Mieville (especially Perdido Street Station), Christopher Fowler, Mervyn Peake (Gormenghast is really one vast city), Gaie Sebold to pick just a few.

As an editor at Rebellion you’ve been involved with publishing tie-in fiction and co-creating shared worlds – what’s the appeal in those for you?

Yeah, that’s for the Abaddon side of things. It’s great fun creating a whole new world in collaboration with someone. We never published tie-in fiction as such; instead we decided on the types of fiction we wanted to publish and then set up worlds for the authors to play in. The joy really came with seeing writers go mad with what you had set up and put their own spin on things.

What are you up to next?

I’ve just finished a pretty dark story called “Turn”, so that’s gone out for consideration. Currently working on something set in the world of silent movies (which features my sweariest character yet!) and am sort of prodding the novel in my mind. It will happen at some point. Having written two already, I’m just massively aware of what hard work they are. But yes, the novel will happen. Even if it breaks me. Which it probably will.

[Jonathan Oliver is Editor-in-Chief of Solaris, Abaddon Books and YA imprint, Ravenstone. Sometimes he finds the time to write and has had two novels published and several short stories in such anthologies as A Town Called Pandemonium, Terror Tales of London and Horror Express. He lives in Abingdon with his wife, Ali, their daughter, Maia, and their cat, Fudge. Catch him at: jonoliverwriter.blogspot.com ]
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
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)
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!

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