Category Archives: Publications

The Curse of the Mouse and Minotaur

The virgins have been sacrificed, the sage burnt the incense lit and the libations poured.

I am delighted to announce that having done everything except raise the mummy (more luck than judgement tbh), we are finally releasing The Tales of the Mouse and Minotaur, the third and final volume of our Bushy Tales.

This series started with Tales of the Nun & Dragon which is the book that started Fox Spirit and it is the conclusion of our original project. As always a mixture of genres, with humour and darker stuff featuring greek myths and rodents, sometimes both. 

Stories from K.T. Davies, Chloe Yates, James Bennett, Nerine Dorman, Jay Faulkner, Sarah Cawkwell, Pat Kelleher, C C D Leijenaar , Joan De La Haye, Andrew Reid, Ben Stewart, Catherine Hill, Jan Siegel and T.J. Everley 

Fennec gets Ghoulsome

The first title in our exciting new Fennec line for pre teens is released today!

Ghoulsome Graveyard by G. Clark Hellery

When the local graveyard is scheduled for redevelopment, journalist Catherine decides to help the residents. She decides to hold a fete and enlists the help of everyone living in the graveyard but with ghosts, zombies, witches and a werehuman, what could possibly go wrong? Come and join us for cake, games and more than a little magical chaos in the Ghoulsome Graveyard.

After accepting Ghoulsome and deciding to proceed with a pre teen line, we asked Geraldine Clark Hellery to curate the new line for younger foxes. 

Fennec will be an important part of the skulk moving forward as we get them hooked young encourage younger readers and make the kind of stories that we love here at Fox Spirit more accessible for those who are maybe not quite ready for our more adult content. 

Young adult novels will continue to form a part of the main Fox Spirit line so you can be sure anything bearing the Fennec logo, although still entertaining and awesome, will be suitable for readers as young as eight. 

Out Now: Respectable Horror

Respectable Horror front cover

Get your hands on this beauty! Respectable Horror is out in the wilds and ready to be lured to your home. Miss Poppy (our cover model designed by S. L. Johnson) will lead the way to a spectral crew of authors who are just dying to give you spine-tingling chills. This new collection offers names both familiar and new, writers who believe that it’s possible to terrify without more than a few drops of blood. The wind in the trees, the creak in the floor board, an innocent knock on the door: they’ll all take on a more sinister cast as you turn the pages of this book.

Introduction by K. A. Laity
The Estate of Edward Moorehouse by Ian Burdon
The Feet on the Roof by Anjana Basu
Spooky Girl by Maura McHugh
Recovery by H. V. Chao
The Holy Hour by C. A. Yates
Malefactor by Alan C. Moore
A Splash of Crimson by Catherine Lundoff
In These Rooms by Jonathan Oliver
A Framework by Richard Farren Barber
Running a Few Errands by Su Haddrell
Miss Metcalfe by Ivan Kershner
The Little Beast by Octavia Cade
The Well Wisher by Matthew Pegg
Where Daemons Don’t Tread by Suzanne J. Willis
Full Tote Gods by D. C. White
Those Who Can’t by Rosalind Mosis
The Astartic Arcanum by Carol Borden

Description:

Do serial killers, glistening viscera, oceans of gore and sadistic twists make you yawn behind a polite hand? Are you looking for something a little more interesting than a body count? These are tales that astonish and horrify, bring shivers and leave you breathless. You may be too terrified to find out what happens next – but you won’t be able to resist turning the page. We’ll make you keep the lights on. For a very long time.

BUY AMAZON UK

BUY AMAZON US

BUY AMAZON DE

BUY AMAZON IN (coming soon)

Save

Respectable Horror: C. A. Yates

Respectable Horror front cover
The author of ‘The Holy Hour’ may perhaps be better known for tales of another type:

With regard to my story ‘The Holy Hour’ soon to be presented to you under the auspices of Respectable Horror:

Respectable, you say? Well now, it’s a good job you came to me, my dears, for it is well known about these parts that I am the very embodiment of the well-turned heel of etiquette, the nine-time retriever of Lady Windermere’s Fanny, the epitome of Respectability. Its goddamned quintessence, I say. Yes, indeed, I am all about the corsetry and manners, my sweetest hearts, the decadently clad dandy wilt throw no shade on me. My writings, for the most part, are not that of some rabidly cussing blood-crazed termagant, it’s not all effing and bloody jeffing, with dismembered limbs akimbo and boiling pans of severed heads on the stove – I mean, I once wrote a story about a Sub-Aquatic Opera Company, for goodness’ sake. That’s a positively cultural orgasm of respectability right there, a full on lah-di-dah rigour of protocol and decorum.

Don’t listen to today’s rabble, my loves! Theirs is the voice of indignity and ignorance.

Free yourself from the restraints of the heathenism of modern hedonism and run with me into an old-fashioned gothic phantasmagoria that will chill your spine and … well, actually, I feel quite foolish now, because there aren’t any creaking old houses, or sinister mazes, or spinster phantoms plaguing ruthless rakes in the night. No tastefully bosom-heaving heroines or gargantuous-foreheaded uncles with their eye on their innocent ward’s prize, no creatures that will cause the blood to run slow in your veins, and there are most certainly no books that will twist you into folly itself. There’s a wife; she’s alone and she’s sad. She might be me one day. I hope not, but I fear it.

Wait! There’s a church, they are très respectable, aren’t they? Well, it might be a church, or it might not now I come to think about it, I’m not a believer myself, at least I don’t think I am… there’s definitely a dog. Everyone likes dogs, all respectable households have one.

And no one – I repeat NO ONE – gets eaten.

Respectable? Fucking A.

Oh.

C.A. Yates.

P.S. Blame The Cure. I do.

Respectable Horror: Matthew Pegg

MR James Ghost StoriesHaunted Objects.

Sometimes it can be quite hard to put your finger on exactly where a story came from or what inspired it, because so much of writing happens in the subconscious. I usually start out with a snippet of a plot, or a character or an idea, but once I start writing other things accrue and attach themselves to it; events occur that I wasn’t expecting, characters pop up and demand to take part, the story takes on a life of its own.

But I can put my finger on some of the influences on The Well Wisher.

I’ve always liked classic horror and ghost stories, ever since reading my grandparent’s copy of A Century of Thrillers: From Poe to Arlen, which sat on their small and only bookshelf, along with The Passionate Witch by Thorne Smith. (I’ve still got the book and the bookshelf.) A Century of Thrillers is a chunky volume, published by The Daily Express newspaper in the 1930s. Its a great collection of classic tales and well worth tracking down.

I wanted to write a story in that vein and thought it would be interesting to write about a haunted object. M.R. James’s The Mezzotint, A Candle in Her Room, (a terrifying children’s book by Ruth M. Arthur,) and Stephen King’s Christine all tackle this concept in quite different ways.

James’s haunted engraving replays a horrific incident from the past but doesn’t offer any real threat to its observers. You could argue that the true horror of the tale lies in the fact that the protagonist is powerless to influence the events he sees slowly unfolding in the picture.

In A Candle in Her Room the wooden doll Dido exerts a malign influence over three generations of the same family. It is the way that possession of the doll changes its owner that is frightening.

The Witch DollChristine, the 1950s Plymouth Fury, is the most concrete haunted object of the three, quite capable of killing you on its own. But like Dido, possession of Christine changes its owner. I like the way King turns the classic 1950s car, a symbol of the American Dream, into something evil. I also like the detail, missing from the film, that Christine’s milometer runs backwards: the more you drive it the newer the car gets. When thugs trash the car, owner Arnie pushes it round the block all night, putting his back out in the process, until the car repairs itself. There’s something satisfying about the physicality of that action.

I had a feeling that if you’re going to write about a haunted object then it should be a functional object, and if its normal function can become threatening in some way then that seemed to me to be satisfyingly neat. Of the three examples of haunted objects above, I think only in Christine do you get a sense of what has caused an inanimate object to turn nasty: Christine has been created by the human hatred of its previous owner, rather than any supernatural force. So its progenitors are Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde rather than Dracula: we create the monster and we become the monster, rather than the monster being a threat from elsewhere.

I like structure in stories. I find it satisfying when things have some kind of internal logic. So I wanted to know why my haunted object behaved the way it did. And that ‘why’ had to also be something to do with it’s function. That was what I was trying to achieve and I hope it works.

I’m being a bit coy about revealing too much about The Well Wisher because I hope you’ll read it and I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Miss Andrews, the central character, evolved all on her own to become a troubled, clever, kind, brave, flawed person. And I can’t claim to have planned any of that, it just happened. I do know that one influence on her was Jane Eyre. I’d recently seen a theatre version of the story and it was rattling round in my brain, especially Jane’s orphan status and poverty, which define the choices she can make in life.

For an unmarried Victorian woman, educated but not wealthy, being a governess was one of the few options available. Charlotte and Anne Bronte did this in real life and that experience is reflected in both Jane Eyre and Anne’s first novel Agnes Grey.

I felt that the Victorian governess was in a rather uneasy position, not quite one of the servants, but not truly a member of the family either. I liked that sense of isolation, unease and insecurity.

So Miss Andrews became a governess, sometimes too forthright for her own good but worried about her future, and much braver than me. I would like to know what happens to her next.

But as I said at the start, a lot of any story emerges from the subconscious. So when I was reading the proof copy of Respectable Horror, I was struck by how much of The Well Wisher seemed quite unfamiliar. “Where did that come from,” I wondered, “And that?”

I can’t even claim credit for the double meaning in the title….
 
Matthew Pegg is a writer based in Leicestershire in the UK. Most of his writing has been for theatre and includes work for puppet companies, youth theatres, community plays and a script designed to be performed during a medieval banquet. His most recent theatre work was Escaping Alice, a love story with chains and handcuffs, for York Theatre Royal. He’s also completed a community radio play based on the life of Wordsworth and has been commissioned to create a puppet play to tour to care homes for people suffering from dementia. In 2012 he completed an MA in Creative Writing, and since then he has been working on a novel, and placing short fiction with a variety of publishers. Website: http://www.mpegg.co.uk 

Save

Fool if you think it’s Over!

The last installment of the Elkie Bernstein trilogy by Jo Thomas is here! 

As far as Elkie’s concerned, it’s all over and her happy ending is just around the corner. She’s on her way back to Wales having freed Ben from the clutches of the controlling Dr Olsen and ensured that Dave, her ex-everything, will never be in a position to kill again. She’s even managed to find herself a (somewhat unwilling) father figure in Conn, the one werewolf in the world who seems to have his shit together. All she has to do is say “thank you” to the Valemon, a company so at odds with Olsen they were willing to support her, then get on a plane for home. Easy, right?

cover art by Sarah Anne Langton

Available now in paperback! 

Heading into a new year with books!

As we reach the end of 2016 and stumble blinking into a new year, I thought instead of the usual
‘what did we do, what are we planning’ round up, I would simply gather some recommendations of
books to take you into 2017. These came in response to a shout out on twitter for people to tell me
what books they want people to take with them into the new year.

We meander through many excellent genre titles, occasionally stepping out of speculative fiction
and even into non fiction as people share titles that have excited them and that you might want to
consider. There is a good mix of getting away from it all and getting ready for whatever 2017 brings. 

I have added amazon uk links where possible, in case you want to know more about any of the books or add them to
your reading for the new year.

Names and quotes included with permission.

My choice is ‘How to Be Dull: Standing out next to genius‘ by Basil Morley Esq (K.A. Laity).  The only self help book you will need in 2017 tells you how to be taupe in a world full of primary colours. 

Kev McVeigh (@kevmcveigh) recommends ‘Will Do Magic for Small Change’ by Andrea Hairston as a great fantasy read to start the year with. Loving the title so will be checking this one out myself.

Infomocracy’ by Malka Older is suggested by Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) as a cyberpunk novel to help us through the challenges of 2017.

Will Ellwood (@fragmad) recommends ‘2312’ a sci fi by Kim Stanley Robinson ‘because society can be better’ which seems a good starting point to me. Also the collected short stories of J.G. Ballard.

Zero World’ by Jason Hough is recommended by Steve Taylor Bryant (@STBwrites), SFF with super spies. 

The Sorcerer to the Crown’ by Zen Cho, a sword and sorcery fantasy about English magic, wizards and breaking down barriers. Recommended by the wonderful Juliet E McKenna (@JulietEMcKenna).

Children of Time’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky which will have you siding with the spiders gets a shout out from Juliet E McKenna and Tade Thompson (@tadethompson)

On the Edge of Gone’ by Corinne Duyvis, young adult fiction, was recommended by Lynn O’Connacht (@lynnoconnacht) 

All the Birds in the Sky’ by Charlie Jane Anders recommended by Rob Haines (@Rob_Haines) it includes a witch who talks to animals and time travel. 

Image courtesy of Adrian Tchaikovsky

Shona Kinsella (@shona_kinsella) recommends ‘Blindside’ by Jennie Ensor, ‘The House of Shattered Wings’ by Aliette De Bodard and ‘The Good Immigrant’ by Nikesh Shukla

Alasdair Stuart (@AlasdairStuart) draws your attention to ‘Six Wakes’ by Mur Lafferty which is describes as a ‘note perfect locked room clone murder mystery in space’. (Sold!)

The Memoirs of Lady Trent’ by Marie Brennan is recommended by Margret Helgadottir (@MaHelgad) It has Dragons!

The Briefcase’ by Hiromi Kawakami while not spec fic also gets a big recommendation from Margret as does ‘Earth Abides‘ by George R Stewart.

Terrible George (@monster_soup) recommends the grim, violent reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, ‘Alice’ by Christina Henry. (I loved this one too!)

Alec McQuay (@Vampiricchicken) ‘Absolute Pandemonium‘ – Brian Blessed’s autobiography. ‘It’s the absolute nadgers’.

Mongrels’ by Stephen Graham Jones is recommended by Paul Michaels (@paulmichaels) as dark and wry.

The seasonal Jingling Nerdish (@whirlingnerdish) recommends ‘Geek Feminist Revolution’ by Kameron Hurley and ‘The New Jim Crow‘ by Michelle Alexander.

Das Kapital‘ by Karl Marx gets a recommendation from Damien Walter (@damiengwalter) for those leaning toward something a bit more serious for new year’s reading.

Lynda E Rucker’s ‘You’ll Know when you Get There’ a collection of stories, comes from James Everington (@JHEverington)

Shana DuBois (@booksabound) suggests ‘Desert Songs of the Night: 1500 Years of Arabic Literature’ edited by Suheil Bushrui and James M. Malarkey with the comment ‘Exploring the roots and beauty of other cultures is paramount today’. (Couldn’t agree more).

Mr Fox (@TJEverley) recommends ‘The Minotaur takes a Cigarette Break‘ by Steven Sherrill, a novel that sees the Minotaur working as a chef and living in a trailer. Also ‘All you Need is Kill‘ by Hiroshi Sakurazaka which sees the lead caught in a timeloop, reliving his death. 

V for Vendetta‘ by Alan Moore & David Lloyd makes it into the facing 2017 category with a call from Steve Birt (@EvilStevieB)

The seasonal Santa Runny (@runalongwomble) suggests ‘The Fifth Season‘ by NK Jemisin.

Beckett’s ‘Eden trilogy‘ or Walton’s ‘Thessaly trilogy‘. ‘I think we’ll need in 2017 the reflections they bring’. from C. (@solinthesky)

Chris Nguyen (@ChrisGNguyen) suggests Animal Farm by George Orwell and ‘All the Light We Cannot See‘ by Anthony Doerr

The Complete Worse Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Piven & Borgenicht because according to Chloe Yates (@shloobee) ‘we might fking need it’.

Recommended by Joyce Chng  Starhawk’s ‘Dreaming The Dark‘, a book on magic and spirituality.

From Dylan Fox (@foxie299) ‘Watership Down‘ by Richard Adams. ‘Teaches us to listen to our instincts, to believe, to fight, to keep fighting… and to accept death’.

So there you are, a few ideas to get you going as we head towards 2017, swords raised and flag flying and books stockpiled!

It’s almost Christmas

Well the festive season is well under way. People are swamped with office parties and festive fun. Here at Kettu Talo we are trying to balance the social commitments with all the end of year tie up. It’s certainly keeping us busy. The cats are ‘helping’. 

I just wanted to take a moment to say books make great gifts, so if you are thinking of buying anyone books for Christmas we thoroughly endorse that, and ask that you give some thought to maybe supporting a small press (any small press) and/or diverse writers this year. It’s been a tough one for a lot of us on practical and emotional levels. 

If you are thinking of buying a Fox Spirit Book this Christmas, you can find a list of available titles here and links to them on Amazon here. We also wanted to remind you that we are a print on demand operation, so even with Amazon Prime titles may take a few days to arrive. 

May you all have a wonderful festive season, however you spend it! Please be kind to retail workers and make sure you find lots of time to tuck yourself away for a read. 

Reflections

The Final Fox Pocket has been unleashed into the wild and will be appearing at an Amazon near you.

fs10-reflections-ebook-72ppi

Who are you really? What is left when the mirror cracks, what hides behind a reflection and would you have done anything differently?

Reflections explores the choices people make and their image of themselves in a collection of quirky short and flash fiction.

The Most Tragical and Implausible Fate of Mary I: A Demonic Soliloquay by Chloë Yates, The Birthday Archipelago by Alasdair Stuart, All Heart by E.J. Davies, Fun at the Fayre by G Clark Hellery, The Shining Knight by Andrew Reid, Mirror Image by Greg D Smith, Numbers Game by Colin Sinclair, Premonition by James Everington, There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook by E. Saxey, Self Absorbed by Rahne Sinclair, Seven Years by Alex Helm, Starting Over by Chris Galvin, The Sole by Asher Wismer, Tickets to Ride by N.O.A. Rawle, Shattered by Den Patrick

Appropriate to the end of a long and exciting project, we finish on Reflections. So all ten volumes are now available, filled with treasures from a vast array of authors, including a few recurring characters. The Fox Pockets are short and flash fiction, a few poems and some other oddities, perfect for exploring on coffee breaks and short commutes. You may find someone in there that leads you to novels, like Den Patrick, Danie Ware or Jennifer Williams. Maybe you will find hidden treasures by established authors like K.A. Laity, although you may not always know it’s her. 

These books tramp across genres with no regard for boundary, they care little for conventional wisdom as scenes from incomplete plays make their way in among the prose and poetry, some tell whole stories, some just give you a peep. We recommend you adventure through them yourself, Start wherever you like. 

Cover art for the series is by Sarah Anne Langton

pockets

 

The Boys to the Rescue – Neil Adams MBE

We are doing something a little different with the Neil Adams Autobiography. Instead of sharing chapters, we are sharing a few sections that didn’t make the final book.  We hope you enjoy these extra teasers and if you want to know more about what Neil is up to now, you can find out here.

***

To say we had a tight knit group at the full time academy was an understatement really. They almost existed as one unit. This unity was demonstrated in the face of danger one evening as myself and a couple of the lads were travelling back from a demonstration.

Driving along the road we came upon an overturned car with the wheels still spinning fiercely. Big Rick, called out, “Pull over, Neil! That’s just happened! The guy is still inside!”

I pulled off the road and the boys ran ahead of me to the overturned car. You could smell the petrol in the air and sure enough, smoke started from the rear of the vehicle and then, poof, flames! The driver was unconscious and Mossy, Innis and Big Rick reached in to get him out before the car would be consumed. Mossy and Innis backed off to let Rick do his thing and more so as the flames were becoming bigger and bigger.

I was on the phone dialing 999 and looked up to see the flames growing, “Rick you got to get out of there. It’s going to go!!” I screamed at him. Big Rick was undeterred but the driver wasn’t coming free from the car. His foot was entangled in the seatbelt.

Just like a Hollywood movie, Rick gave one more massive tug, and pulled the guy free of the driver’s seat and away just as the car exploded into full-on flames.

We waited with the driver until the ambulance and authorities came along with another driver who had pulled up behind to see if he could help in the aftermath.

I was so proud of the boys, not even thinking of their own safety but that of the trapped driver, diving in to get him free of disaster. I opened the local paper the next day to read the headline of the event, eager to see the boys’ names listed as heroes. However, their names weren’t there. What was there was a picture of the other driver who drove up after, who had taken a picture of the flaming car. The caption read, ‘I just did what I had to do to save a life.’ The mind boggles.

final_design_V2