You may be right, I may be crazy

Well if I am quoting Billy Joel on a Friday afternoon and it’s not Piano Man then there is a good chance i’m up to no good.

I’ve been busy lining up new projects and am contemplating other things that have been brought to my attention and when I look at all the thing I need to get done in the next few months I start looking for the men in white coats.

All you need to know right now is we have exciting new things coming up and I will tell you more as soon as I can. As always the approach is ‘give me one good reason why we can’t’ so you can expect that in addition to finally getting Tales of Eve and Fox & Fae out, along with three more fox Pockets there are two or three other projects slated to come out before Christmas.

MOAR COFFEE!

A Foxy Fellow

Growing up the book I read most often, more than my favourite Narnia books (The Magicians Nephew and The Horse and his Boy), more than the Jungle Books whose poems I could recite by heart (and some I still can), more even than the Just So Stories, was Fantastic Mr Fox. It was my quick fix read. Full of cunning and humour and people it was easy to dislike. I grew up on a small holding, we lost our chickens to foxes over a couple of weeks and the whole thing was so messy and upsetting we never replaced them.  Yet this fictional fox was so full of charm and wit and cleverness I was very firmly on his side. I still have my original copy. The cover is missing. It fell off with over use.

As an adult (technically if not always in behaviour) of 35, there are many books I love. Many tales I’ve reread a dozen or more times and every time found something new to surprise and delight me. I still read Fantastic Mr Fox. He is still my favourite literary hero.

The stories in Fox & Fae celebrate the fox for all the wonderful attributes they share with Dahl’s creation. The book also explores the downsides of being beautiful and clever. It also visit the flip side of that, in ‘A Crackling Fart’ for example our foxy fellow’s superiority and cleverness are his downfall as much as his greed. It’s a wonderful collection of stories and I hope someone somewhere will take one of our foxes to their heart as much as I did Fantastic Mr Fox.

Tales of the Fox and Fae will be out this summer in the mean time there are plenty of other Fox Spirit titles out there.

If you check out the rest of the site you will find a small number of foxes caught on camera around the world. Fox photos are by Phil Knott.

Happy Birthday To Us.

Happy Birthday the Fox Spirit Skulk

The process of getting up and running took place over May and June last year with the first book going live on the 4th July 2012, but our first blog post went up on the 2nd June 2012, so we were officially a year old yesterday. You should all get yourselves a cake and pop a candle in it to celebrate. I will be.

I spent the birthday doing the 2012/13 year accounts so I thought today I’d give you all a bit of a round up of the year. Lessons learned and a few highlights from the figures, that sort of thing.

I have learned that things do not go to plan. Even if I control every thing perfectly (which I don’t) then there will still be delays and hiccups and more changes to make.

I’ve learned that no matter how many people go through a document and no matter how many times there will always be one or two errors that sneak in. The largest of which was half the final story in Nun & Dragon being missing when the ebook first went live. If anyone who bought it never got the updated download (Kindle were supposed to make this available automatically) then let me know and I will send it to you btw.

I’ve learned that I will always take a bad review personally, even if I can find nothing of truth or merit in what it says. It is a fact that while I am being all cool and telling my authors to shrug it off, I am taking it out on pads or an opponent later. These books are your babies, but I believe in them and love them like my own.

I’ve learned that there are a huge number of amazingly talented people who are willing to be incredibly generous with their time and talent for whatever the budget will allow, just because they like the project, or the people or just feel like it. I believe very strongly that people should be paid for their work, but I am eternally grateful that people are willing to negotiate to help a start up like this get going.

Fox Spirit wouldn’t be anything but an idea without all the people but time and talent into it, submitting, formatting, creating artwork, editing, reviewing, just talking about our books, and so on. Thank you.

I’ve learned there is a much greater appetite for writing and reading short stories than I had imagined.

There are plenty of other things, but those are always at the top of my list.

Now the years figures.

Well Fox Spirit is running at a significant loss at present. That’s ok, I knew it would in the first year or so. The upside is I shouldn’t have to pay any taxes. Happy Days.

In our first year we published nine books. Two Novels, four novellas, one non fiction and two anthologies. We’ve had one guest editor published and two more in the works.

So far the best sellers have been Weird Noir and Pseudopod, level pegging at the end of the financial year  and both Weird Noir and Pseudopod have had a small number of sales in Euros as well as £ and $. Nun & Dragon sold the most physical copies.

The anthologies and essays are overall moving faster with the novels and novellas going more slowly. I presume this is due to more people being involved in spreading the word. So folks, help spread the word we have starving authors who need your love.  Not to mention starving artists and Editors.

We have had lots of positive reviews and I will update the press page shortly, so if you’ve reviewed something and it’s not up already let me know and I’ll add it. If you’d like to review us also drop me a line on adele@ foxspirit. co.uk

Our second year will be just as busy if not more so. There are three titles waiting in the wings to break into the world any moment a couple of novels committed to, Fox Pockets, more Noir, more Bushy Tales and general mayhem to unleash.

Keep an eye on our submissions page for what we are up to and follow us on twitter @foxspiritbooks or facebook to make sure you don’t miss anything.

 

 

You are a Time Lord

I will be attending the Futura event in Wolverhampton this June and it has got me thinking about reading and the appeal of the speculative fiction to me and obviously others. I came to the conclusion that I am a Time Lord and so are you.

—–

I have travelled to other worlds, fought a million battles, won and broken a thousand hearts, lived endless lifetimes, changed age, gender, race, religion, sexuality, even species more times than any Time Lord. I have both ridden, fought and been a dragon. I’ve watched worlds created, pass through their evolution and burn out. I’ve mastered the broadsword and the lazer canon. I have matched wits with Moriarty and I have been Nemesis. I have read.  

Every work of fiction is in its essence a portal fantasy. Every book, whatever genre, offers the reader an opportunity to lose themselves utterly in another mind. It’s more obvious is the fantastic genres than in literary, because who really thinks of someone else’s mundane and slightly depressing life as portal to another world. It is exactly that though, simply by merit of not being your life, your thoughts and your actions. All fiction is fantasy to some degree, but not all fiction is the fantastic! Personally I prefer to zap myself into lives I could never really live, something truly beyond what I could expect to experience in my every day.

It’s a choice too, whether to experience a book immersively or as a spectator.  Some people simply read a book and walk away, but I prefer to fall into it, to let my imagination conjure it around me and to be a part of it for a while. I know a lot of passionate readers do the same.  I think it partially explains the hoarding mentality of many book lovers (this one included). All those shelves don’t just hold wonderful stories, they hold open the doors to other worlds. They allow us to travel through time and space. On the outside they are a few inches of paper, on the inside they contain whole worlds and systems we can visit at will. They are, in short, our TARDIS. You don’t need a madman in a blue box, you need books. With books instead of travelling with a Time Lord you become one.

No wonder so many spec fiction fans watch Dr Who when readers are all Time Lords!

Very exciting updates!

The second Bushy Tales Anthology, ‘Tales of the Fox and Fae’ is nearly ready for press. It may be a little later than originally intended but it will be a volume worth waiting for. We have a fantastic line up of stories for you (copy across).

We’ve also made the slightly unusual move of including a comic strip in the book. For those of you viewing digitally, the story ‘Outfoxed’ written by Jasper Bark http://jasperbark.net/comics/,http://www.youtube.com/user/jasperbark , with fantastic artwork by Soussherpa www.soussherpa.com , http://soussherpa.deviantart.com and lettering (and additional formatting) by Bolt-01 http://www.futurequake.co.uk/will be at its best viewed on media such as a tablet rather than phones.

I’m particularly excited to see this story included as it was always the purpose of the Bushy Tales to go a little beyond the expectations of a traditional anthology. In Nun & Dragon we mixed genres and included some illustrations and even recorded a song for the Ballad of Gilrain so to bring the comic book form into the pages is very much in keeping with what these books set out to do.

Kieran Walsh has provided incredible internal illustrations and has outdone himself on his wonderfully creepy imaginings of a world that could hold these tales.

Cover art once again by Vincent Holland-Keen who reports that fur is much harder than scales, but who has delivered another gorgeous cover.

For those of you waiting for ‘Tales of Eve’ our own anthology of weird science for/by women, it is almost ready for release, with some final correction to the book being agreed as I type.

Finally ‘Piracy’ is also well on its way to completion, edits almost done and then it will be off to formatting. Piracy will be released in May.

Our Inaugural Year

Or six months really.

I am wrapping up 2012 with a real sense of achievement and not a little astonishment. At Easter, to the soundtrack of Buffy The Musical, plans for world domination were jokingly discussed and the conclusion was reached that The Nun & Dragon was the perfect pub name. Since none of us own a pub, we decided to make a book. By June that decision had morphed into Fox Spirit and the Bushy Tales series.

I get a bit Oscar speechy now, so you can skip through to the end and the fox if you like.

Joan De La Haye put her trust in me and let me put her titles out, the psychological horror novel ‘Shadows’, the serial killer crime novel ‘Requiem in E Sharp’ and the fun zombie novella with a different perspective ‘Oasis’. Over the following months three more writers have trusted me with their work. In fiction Alec McQuay with the wonderfully weird post apocalyptic punk novella ‘Spares’ and Colin F Barnes with a gothic chiller of a novella ‘A Heart for the Ravens’. In non fiction, our last release of the year ‘The Pseudopod Tapes’, a collection of essays that served as outro’s to the world renowned podcast in which Alasdair Stuart is honest, smart, heartfelt and witty.

I have also had the honour of working with a number of fantastic authors on Nun & Dragon, our first anthology and the incredible writer and academic K.A.Laity who did an astonishing job of editing Weird Noir. I’ve been very fortunate to work with fantastic artists throughout and have tremendous support from a variety of people on a personal and professional level.

Special mentions to Gav at handebooks for performing miracles and having endless patience and Daz for copy editing at short notice.

We have more fantastic things coming next year and I’m very excited. The next two Bushy Tales books, Tales of Eve edited by Mhairi Simpson, the charity cookbook ‘Fantastic Treats’ edited by Andrew Reid and a host of other wonderful things.

So I want to say thank you to everyone who has worked with me, supported me, entrusted me with their stories and hung in their while I work it out as I go.

Now here is an Artic Fox playing in the snow. Image by Phil Knott. Happy Christmas.

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Alt.Fiction does Everybody’s Reading

In 2013, provisionally the third weekend of May  Alt.Fiction will once again bring the proud purveyors and fans of genre fiction to Leicester. Under the supervision of Writing East Midlands the 2013 event will be run by Fox Spirit’s Adele Wearing and the omnipresent (at last years) Alasdair Stuart of Pseudopod and also ALL THE THINGS in geekdom. Having helped out so much on the weekend last year Al is now fully in place as co-cheese.

However if you really can’t wait for next year, or you’ve never done alt.fiction and want to test whether it’s for you before shelling out on tickets, we are having a small taster session as part of Leicester’s ‘Everybody’s Reading’ festival.

The event is on Saturday 6th October from 12:30 – 4pm at Leicester Central Library on Bishop Street. Nearest car park is probably the Newarke Street multi story and Bishop Street runs down one side of Town Hall Square so if you are new to Leicester it’s not too hard to find.

The event will feature a panel with Kim Lakin-Smith, Joseph D’Lacey, Nicola Valentine and Damien Seaman talking about publishing, their various experiences and taking questions. If there is time we may also discuss favourite and important titles in genre fiction, kicking off at 12:45 until 1:45.

After the panel Kim and Joe are offering 45 minute workshops, these are ideal for new writers honing their craft or people wanting to address particular concerns and are always very popular at our events. 2pm – 2:45pm

After the workshops, there will be some 10-15  minute readings and a chance to chat before we close. 3pm – 4pm

The authors have been invited to bring books to sell and sign so some time will be allowed for that, Damien’s novel ‘The Killing of Emma Gross’ is an ebook, so if you are a fan he can always sign your kindle.

This event is totally free and will be a really good friendly opportunity to get a feel for the sort of things that happen at our main weekender so do come along and bring your friends. There will even be free baked goods (a fine altfiction tradition is the baking table).

This was team Hagelrat at alt.fiction 2012 in March.