jen_qoe: (wicked women)
Jan Edwards is a woman of many talents – writer, editor, publisher, bookseller, Reiki master, tarot reader, quilter, motorbike chick, Britain’s first female master locksmith, gardener, cook, potter and sculptor…

So, first let’s talk about Jan the writer. When did you first start writing and what genres draw you.
It always sounds like such a cliché to say I have always written, for as long as I can remember, but I suspect this is quite true with the majority of writers. I amused the family no end by talking in the third person for a week or more when I was around seven years old, because I wanted to see what I would sound like as a book and at secondary school I filled many school notebooks with fiction (mostly during lesson times). I wrote primarily for myself for years and only really started thinking about writing for publication in my late thirties when the family and business needed less of my time.

What draws me? I have always been fascinated by folklore, myths and legends, especially those that give rise to local customs, so fantasy was a natural path. A great deal of my short fiction has been dark fantasy, urban fantasy and horror and many of those stories have been drawn directly from those sources. Sussex Tales, my mainstream novel, also has a lean toward those local customs with the added bonus of country wine recipes and rural herb lore.  Currently I am writing a crime novel set in WW2 which is more historical than mythical –though I still find myself caught up in the same levels of research. As you can see there is no one genre that draws me; except for a recurring love of those old legends.

Which authors have inspired you in these genres?
This is the kind of question I always hate answering mainly because my influences and inspirations are so wide. Jane Austen and Daphne Du Maurier have always been huge influences, as have Arthur Conan Doyle, Joan Aitken, Michael Moorcock, Robert Holdstock and so many more. Ask me tomorrow and I will find a half dozen others.

When it comes to more recent authors it is even harder to choose because we all read so many new titles by so many people that to name one or two above the rest would be unfair to the dozens of other equally spiffing writers. I could list all of the recent and forthcoming Alchemy Press authors such as Pete Atkins, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Bryn Fortey, Mike Chinn, Anne Nichols, Adrian Cole, Pauline Dungate, James Brogden, Paul Kane, Marion Pitman, David Sutton,  John Grant et al – or the Penkhull Press writers; Misha Herwin, Jem Shaw and Malcolm Havard – but that would be unfair to all of the other writers that not yet published by either press!

Recently read books that I’ve enjoyed most especially (who are not Alchemy Press writers – all of whom are fab!) have been by (in no special order) Jo Walton, Joanne Harris, Jim Butcher, Lou Morgan and Paul Finch. There are others of course but these are the ones that have stuck with me, which is always a good sign.

Have you ever been tempted to retell Pride and Prejudice with a genre slant? ;-)
It has crossed my mind, though it has been done so many times already that I am not sure it would be a project people would want to see. A regency urban fantasy might be quite fun to do if I got my act together. Elizabeth Bennett is one of the greatest characters in literature. She could be parachuted into almost any setting and still work. I suspect she has been paid homage (and occasionally pastiched) by many, many, writers – albeit under different names.

You’ve just had your supernatural fiction collection Leinster Gardens and Other Subtleties published with The Alchemy Press. Tell us a little more about that.
Leinster Gardens and Other Subtleties (to paraphrase) is exactly what it says on the cover. A collection of supernatural fiction (in paper and kindle formats). All but one of the stories included have been previously published, and some of the stories had a limited audience on first publication it seemed like a good idea to give them a second airing. The single original story in there is not strictly speaking new as it was accepted for Twisted Tongue magazine which folded before my story was published. They are all supernatural in origin, either traditional ghost stories or tales that revolve around a spirit of a kind. I am not a writer of visceral horror, but rather (I hope) the sort that raises an uneasy sensation in the back of the neck when you are walking home in the dark!

You’ve got another collection – Fables and Fabulations – coming out soon. When, with whom and is there a particular theme to it?
Fables and Fabulations is coming out very soon as a ‘Penkhull Slim’ volume with the Penkhull Press. Again these are all previously published stories gathered together in a single volume, but unlike Leinster Gardens and Other Subtleties there is no particular theme beyond fantasy in its broadest sense. Fables and Fabulations opens with the vampire tale ‘A Taste of Culture, (first published in the Mammoth Book of Dracula and ends with ‘Winter Eve’, (from Ethereal Tales #9) which is an urban fantasy on Halloween and the water horses of legend galloping across Pontypridd common.  There is also are SF and horror tales in the mix so hopefully something for everyone.

Next, Jan the editor. You’ve edited multiple publications for the BFS, and co-edited for both The Alchemy Press and Fox Spirit Books. What’s the appeal of this side of publishing for you?
I do love the process of putting an anthology together. Sifting through the submissions and coming across those gems of short fiction is hard work but infinitely rewarding. The downside is in having to reject some really good stuff, either because it doesn’t fit or there is a similar story that you like just that little bit better. It is also a great way to network with other writers!

Do you have a dream anthology project you’d like to do or authors you’d like to work with in the future?
There are so many projects that would be fun to do. Something with a pagan theme perhaps – ‘Quarters and Cross Quarters’ (a working title) or maybe as an retired locksmith something like ‘Picking Over Locks’. That said I prefer not to have my themes too narrowly set. By the time you have read the sixth story about one-legged zombie hunters or Unicorns at Halloween even the best of fiction can lack originality.

Who would I like to work with? Hmm. Well the Alchemy Press books of Urban Mythic 1 &2 and Alchemy Press book of Ancient Wonders as well as the Fox Spirit book of Wicked Women all have some stellar line-ups. Top notch established writers and talented new arrivals. And of course with Alchemy Press I have worked with some fabulous writers already mentioned. So who left? I would love to get stories from Charles de Lint or Jim Butcher, Joanne Harris or Sarah Pinborough. But there are dozens, maybe hundreds of writers I could name and would hate to make a list and forget to include folks I admire but who slipped my mind just for a moment.

Do you have any recommendations for short fiction or anthologies by others?
Other than Alchemy Press authors you mean? See above. There are a zillion great writers out there I could name! The Terror Tales series of anthologies from Gray Friar Press are always worth reading. Sadly the Mammoth imprint is being phased out – I was thrilled to get a story accepted for one of their last titles Mammoth book of The Adventures of Moriarty. PS publishing put out some cracking anthologies. As a writer I enjoy an anthology that has variety. As an editor, though I use my e-reader as everyone else does, I still feel that books should be a thing of beauty, and I place a lot of value on production values. Layouts should please the eye and typos be few and far between. Most of all, with both hats on, they should entertain. I suspect only the editors like every story in a given anthology, but the good thing about them for a reader is that if there is one story in a volume that doesn’t grab you there is a good chance the next one will.

What are you up to next?
I have Fables and Fabulations coming soon, there are short stories due out in three anthologies in The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty: The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes’s Nemesis, Tales From The Lake: vol 2 and Terror Tales of the Ocean, and one other yet to be announced. I have a main stream novel due out with Penkhull Press in the spring and a crime novel and urban fantasy series in edit.

On ‘fun stuff’,  you can catch me in a panel at Fantasycon 2015 in Nottingham, where Alchemy Press will be selling books and launching Music in the Bone, a collection by Marion Pitman.   We shall also be at Novacon in Nottingham selling books, I shall be on  panel about editing and  we will be launching Anne Nicholls’s collection Music From the Fifth Planet; and then there is Sledgelit In Derby where we are selling books and hopefully soft launching the collection The Complete Weird Epistles of Penelope Pettiweather, Ghost Collector by US writer Jessica Amanda Salmonson .

On other stuff Alchemy Press have multiple short listings in the British Fantasy Awards. Best Anthology: The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic 2, edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber;  Best Collection: Nick Nightmare Investigates, by Adrian Cole (co-published with Airgedlámh Publications);  Best Non-Fiction: Touchstones: Essays on the Fantastic, by John Howard and Best Independent Press: The Alchemy Press itself. (we won this award last year.

Fox Spirit are also in the running for multiple in the BFA shortlists with:  Best Anthology  with Tales of Eve; Best Fantasy Novel Breed by K.T. Davies; Best Short Story with ‘Change of Heart by Gaie Sebold which appears in our Wicked Women anthology (edited by Jenny Barber and Jan Edwards ) and finally for Best Independent Press

Penkhull Press and Renegade Writers have a story café at the Gladstone Museum in Stoke for Halloween.

I have no doubt other things will be slotted into the calendar before the new year. You can always catch up with what I am doing on my blog site.

Jan Edwards, thank you very much for joining us!

jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
Woohoo! Wicked Women contents time! Ahem... (also, tadaaa!)
Wicked Women
Edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber

Presenting twelve stories of women who gleefully write their own rules, women who’ll bend or break the social norms, who’ll skate along the edge of the law and generally aim to misbehave.

Contents:
(in alphabetical order, final order TBC)

A. R. Aston –  No Place of Honour
Stephanie Burgis – Red Ribbons
Zen Cho – The First Witch of Damansara
Jaine Fenn – Down at the Lake
Juliet E. McKenna – Win Some, Lose Some
Christine Morgan – The Shabti-Maker
Tom Johnstone – Kravolitz
Gaie Sebold – A Change of Heart
Sam Stone – The Book of the Gods
Adrian Tchaikovski – The Blessed Union
Jonathan Ward – A Change in Leadership
Chloë Yates – How to be the Perfect Housewife

Due to be published late 2014 from Fox Spirit Books

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)
Darlings! The awesome team of Jen & Jan are doing a Fox Spirit anthology and we are open for submissions!

Official blurb type thing -
Wicked Women
Edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber

Regular readers of Fox Spirit books know that women are pretty bad-ass - be they evil queens, goddesses, super-villains or anti-heroes, warriors, monsters, bad girls, rebels, mavericks or quietly defiant - so with that in mind, we’re looking for stories of women who gleefully write their own rules, women who’ll bend or break the social norms, skate along the edge of the law and generally aim to misbehave.

Genres: any variation of fantasy, SF, horror and/or crime.
Length: 4000 – 8000 words
Format: doc/docx/rtf files – see the Fox Spirit house style guide for formatting requirements
Email as an attachment to: wicked@majorarcana.demon.co.uk
Please put ‘Submission: Wicked Women/story title’ in the email subject line
Deadline: 30th June 2014
Payment: £10 on publication, copy of the paperback and profit share for two years.

Odd notes -
[1] Yes, we're accepting stories from men too! Just make sure your lead is a woman.
[2] A leading woman can be cisgender or transgender or any person who chooses to self identify or present as a woman in the space of the story.
jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
fox piracyHurrah! Piracy has been ebookified and is available via Wizard’s Tower Books, your regional Amazon and at some point in the next month or so at Spacewitch. And at £2 it’s a steal, so get ye-self over there and get one!

There are a whole bunch of excellent stories in it, by a whole bunch of excellent people, but today I want to talk about mine! Or more specifically, why mermaid-pirates.

See, according to the stories, there are two types of career options for mermaids. The quiet mermaids are the ladies of leisure, lounging around random rocks combing their hair and gossiping with their bestest gal-pals. Occasionally one may be inspired by stories of humans to get involved with the strange land creatures, and by assorted means pursue their target until they’re dutifully wed or consigned to death due to an enchantment gone bad. The bolshier ones are having none of that foolishness, and prefer to seduce their human prey into the water where they can drag them down into the depths for fun and drowning. Every sailor knows this.

Mermaids call shenanigans on boring career options

What every mermaid knows, however, is a different matter. Their stories tell of all those times their selkie cousins lost their skin to human treachery; all those times their sisters got captured for amusement and profit and were ill paid for what assistance they gave drowning humans in storm churned waters; all those times they were hunted by humans who thought they could get an advantage in fishing or just grab themselves a mermaid wife. No sensible mermaid is going to let that carry on unremarked. Not for long.

And while there are plenty of activities where mermaids excel – smuggling, treasure hunting and salvage, music, art, marine sciences (of course), underwater archaeology, combat (especially of the shock troop variety), legitimate trade, hunting, exploration and storytelling; by far the most popular choice is piracy.

And really, why wouldn’t it be? Mermaids have the tactical advantage in the water - they can sneak up on their targets and scuttle a ship hull without even once showing their head above the surface. Or if they want a little more sport, they can sing their prey into the water and hold them there until the air is gone from the humans’ lungs. So taking down a boat and picking the plunder out of the wreckage later is a common way to make a quick profit – after all, the mermaids have tithes to pay to sea-witches and the ruling mer-clans, so they might as well let the humans stump up the booty.

But like a lot of pirates, half the fun is in the fight. When their blood gets going they like the challenge of facing the humans in open combat, matching tooth and claw and stolen blade against whatever the humans can wield. Wagering they’re fast enough out of the water to take down their foes before the biting air and solid ground turns the advantage back to the humans.

And so my story "Past Lives" - where human-pirates hunt mermaids and mermaid-pirates hunt humans and the spectre of an ex-mermaid pirate captain hangs over it all.



Picture Credits:
1 – Mermaids of the Caribbean http://pirates.wikia.com
2 –When Mermaids Attack by David Hahn http://davidhahnart.com/2010/02/28/when-mermaids-attack/
3 – A Pirate’s Life for Me by Selina Fenech http://selinafenech.com/archives/?nggpage=2
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
fox piracyAnd today I've got a guest blog up on the Fox Spirit Books site to celebrate the launch of the very fabulous Piracy. (Yarrrrgh!)

It's subtly entitled - When Temples Attack! and lets me gloriously indulge in my love of pseudo-archaeology and archaeology-adventure tropes in films and other media.  (Though this has nothing whatsoever to do with m'story in Piracy, but our Feral Leader did say we could do any subject we wanted!)
jen_qoe: (akima_san Croft)
And did I mention I'm going to be in this?  Let the happy dancing commence!  ;-)


Full line up (in no particular order) is:

Asher Wismer – War Most Willing
Josh Reynolds – Bultungin
Alec McQuay – Javier Reborn
Rahne Sinclair – EigiEinhammr
KC Shaw – A Cloud Like a Bunny
Emma Teichmann – Mimicans
Margret Helgadottir – The Lion
Jonathan Ward – Mask
S.J Caunt – Metamorphic
Michael Pack – To Fly
Fiona Glass – The Boyfriend, From Hell
Rob Haines – Reliquary
Jenny Barber – To Fox Tor Mire
Francesca Terminiello – Job Security
Den Patrick – Seductions
K.A. Laity – Carlos

Coming out from Fox Spirit Books soon, more details as and when....
jen_qoe: (pirate girl)
Did I mention I'm going to be in this?
fox piracy
Coming soon from the ever-so-awesome Fox Spirit Books, an anthology of piratey goodness with faaaaabulous flash fiction from (in no particular order)....

Emma Teichmann – Silvermelt
Jenny Barber – Past Lives
Christian D’Amico – Insurgent
Den Patrick – Becalmed
Kit Marlowe – Black Ethel’s Beast
Francesca Terminiello – Plunder
T.F.Grant – Geronimo
Chloe Yates – Leave the Pistol Behind
Rahne Sinclair – No Quarter
Margret Helgadottir – Nora
K.C.Shaw – Skyway
Ruth Booth – The Real Deal
Catherine Hill – The Trouble with Daydreams
Asher Wismer – True to the Song
S.J. Caunt – X Marks the Spot
Rob Haines – Pieces of 2^3

Not sure when it's coming out, but it'll be available from Amazon and Wizard's Tower Books in multiple formats.  I'm very excited.  ;-)

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