Hire Idiots is live!

If you have been following the issues in academia in the US and to some extent the UK, or just like a good murder, Prof Nemo is here to help with ‘Hire Idiots’, which seems to be the rallying cry of academic institutions at the moment. 

Hire Idiots by Professor I.M. Nemo
Cover by Jenny Haines
Edited by Daz Pulsford

‘This is a work of fiction.Any resemblance to the living or the dead is purely coincidental and ought to make you ashamed at the comparison.’

PROMINENT PROFESSOR STABBED TO DEATH AT KINGSLEY COLLEGE!

Unfortunately, the murder may get lost in the confusion of new vice presidents, marketers, focus groups, assessors and protestors as the administration tries to make education profitable. There’s no time for mystery!Professor Clarence Van Dyke finds himself bewildered by the changes, but determined to get to the bottom of the killing. He wants his friend to rest in peace – or perhaps he just wants to spend more time with the attractive Detective Riordan. But isn’t he the primary suspect?

New Release! Caleuche

Caleuche by Jonathan Ward,
Cover by Kieran Walsh

Jericho has fallen.

The world lies in ruins: overrun by an endless tide of self-replicating killing machines known as the Bugs. Only a fraction of its population managed to flee the planet aboard whatever ship would carry them, heading for jump points that would take them to new solar systems and, hopefully, to safety.

The last ship to escape from orbit is the passenger vessel Caleuche: populated by a band of traumatised refugees, piloted by the mind of a murder victim. They face a desperate struggle for survival in the pitiless void of space, as fear and mistrust threaten to doom them all.

Yet they may not be alone, out there in the darkness.

Opening Paragraphs:

‘Programmable Construction Drones (PCD), or Bugs as they are more commonly known, are poised to forever change life as we know it. Equipped with cutting-edge nanotechnology, they can carry out almost any task, and are even able to build the tools they need to accomplish their objective.’
…..
‘It is, however, my recommendation that the JCCO retains full control of all PCD-related technology. Although the potential of the Bugs is almost limitless, the extreme care required in their programming coupled with the dangers unfettered nanotech poses means that the oversight of a central authority is required. If Bug technology were to fall into the wrong hands, the possible consequences could be horrific beyond all measure.’

– Excerpts from report submitted to
the Jericho Colonial Control Office, August 23rd, 2145

Sophia:

For an unknowable length of time, Sophia drifted, enveloped by slow, placid dreams of gentle ocean waves and the heat of the sun beating down on a tropical shore. She was filled by a sense of peace so overwhelming that she could feel little else, and didn’t care to: no fears or concerns could break through the tranquillity and intrude into her thoughts. Indeed, she could imagine nothing other than an eternity of relaxation.

 

Eater of Names is Live!!

Cover by Tabatha Stirling

The sequel to Hobgoblin’s Herald is now available in kindle and paperback formats on Amazon worldwide as well as in ebook formats via our own website! We are obviously very excited. If you haven’t read the first book yet, grab it quick and get caught up! 

You can get an idea of what you are in for in Hobgoblin’s Herald from its excellent Goodreads reviews

Eater of Names

Time is the Death of Heroes. Time is the Eater of Names.The old knight is lost.Sir Aethed, disguised as a merchant’s bodyguard, travels the world seeking to reunite his crusading king Aaren with the mythical blade Moontalon, so that the crusader king might turn the tide against Ivak Mornscour and save Guien from his horde of travesties.But stranded on the frozen, windswept tundra of Ashebos, Aethed must face child-eating demons and mammoth gods, with the unwelcome aird of a wretched band of hobgoblins and the strange, savage girl who serves as their herald.

Girls And Aliens by Anne Michaud – Available Now

We are delighted to announce the launch of the first book in Anne Michaud’s trio of collections that put girls and women at the fore of their own stories. 

In the first volume our heroines find themselves face to face with alien forces.

Five Girls, Five Aliens. Five Tales of courage and outer space. In this collection by Anne Michaud the lesson is clear, never underestimate the power and resolve of ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances. 
 
‘Anne Michaud’s writing is haunting, powerful and often beautiful’ – Amanda Rutter
 
Contents:
Fix Six
Stardust Motel
Battlefield Lost
Snakes and Ladders
Mercy’s Morgue
 

Stories by Anne Michaud
Cover by Daniele Serra
Edited by Amanda Rutter
Formatted by HandEbooks
Cover layout by Vincent Holland-Keen

You can find the paperback and ebook on Amazon worldwide and the ebook in mobi and epub on our own estore.

Amazon UK Paperback

Reviews are always appreciated, even if it’s just a couple of lines.

Skulk at @Dublin2019 WorldCon

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Floof Will Out

Dublin 2019 World Con will be full of floof! It even includes a performance by the Fox Spirit Skulk Players!

CON-EIRE

‘ConEIRE’  50 minutes FRIDAY 5:00 PM  –  5:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Play

A love letter to the people who do the thankless work behind the scenes at SFF cons everywhere!

It’s three days before the start of ConEIRE, the best Irish-themed science fiction and fantasy con in the tri-state area, when a phone call sets the entire Convention Committee into panic mode. Is Big Name Writer going to pull out at the last minute? What does Very Famous Artist have to do with that decision? And what do the fairies have to say about all this? Follow the hilarious mishaps as the committee members work desperately to salvage months of planning and hard work, all of which are about to be undone by a well-known prima donna.

But there are skulk members appearing throughout the con:
THURSDAY
Ruins, curses, and family secrets: the Gothic  50 minutes 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
Where does the Gothic fit into the overall horror tradition? What elements of the Gothic remain so compelling today, and why? Panellists discuss the genre from its roots to Southern Gothic and other modern interpretations.
Creating podcasts: ideas, people, and themes  50 minutes THURSDAY 4:00 PM  –  4:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall-1
Panel
FRIDAY
Fleshy fears: horror and the body  50 minutes FRIDAY 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Panel
From body horror to body snatchers to possession and beyond, how has horror explored, exploited, and pushed the limits of bodily integrity? What is the subtext of different approaches to body horror, and what practitioners are exploring these assaults on the flesh in the most interesting ways?
Escape Artists podcast: live recording  50 minutes FRIDAY 1:00 PM  –  1:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Podcast
Come and learn more about free weekly podcast fiction! Join the Escape Artists for an audio fiction show presented by all four EA podcasts: Escape PodPseudoPodPodCastle, and Cast of Wonders. There’ll be a Q&A session, swag giveaways, all the latest news, and live readings.
Why is it always raining in Gotham? Noir themes in SF  50 minutes FRIDAY 9:00 PM  –  9:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Panel
Noir tropes are hugely popular in science fictional settings, such as China Miéville’s The City and the City, or William Gibson’s Neuromancer. In what ways are noir tropes adapted or subverted within the genre? Is there a difference in the ways SF books, comics, and movies use elements of noir? The panel will discuss the uses of noir across SF genres and formats.
SATURDAY
Misconceptions in medieval history  50 minutes SATURDAY 10:00 AM  –  10:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-4
Panel
The medieval period is a rich source of inspiration for writers of speculative fiction, but medieval life has been so romanticised in popular culture that it has become hard to separate the chaff of fiction from the wheat of historical fact. Our panel of medievalists will saddle up their warhorses and ride to rescue the damsel of medieval history!
Revolutions in an era of advanced technology  50 minutes SATURDAY 10:00 AM  –  10:50 AM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
How do revolutions (e.g. overthrowing government) occur in an era of advanced technologies? Are orderly regime changes jeopardised with growing asymmetries in weaponry, surveillance, and political power? Are current political processes up to the challenge?
‘Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know’  SATURDAY 11:30 AM to 12:20 PM (50 minutes) Odeon 6 (Academic) Part of: Crusaders and Fairy Kings
Paper
Susanna Clarke’s sprawling novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell takes in the whole of the 19th century attempt to restore magic to respectability in England. Repeatedly the readers are warned that fairy magic is ‘not respectable’ – most often by Gilbert Norrell, who hides his shame at stooping to its employment on at least one occasion. Why is fairy magic not ‘respectable’? I will argue that it is because it is mostly Celtic, rather than the more dour, respectable, and rather puritanical English magic that Norrell seeks to revive and rule over. In contrast, John Uskglass was trained in fairy magic and his troop, the Raven King’s army, is specifically identified as the Daoine Sidhe. In pursuing the Raven King’s example, Jonathan Strange remains open to this Celtic influence and soon surpasses his teacher in skill and daring, but both Englishmen are unprepared for the full fury of the fairy fight.
Horror: where are we going?  50 minutes SATURDAY 5:00 PM  –  5:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Room-3
Panel
Whose book is it anyway?  50 minutes SATURDAY 5:30 PM  –  6:20 PM  |  Point Square , Alhambra
Panel
Who decides which YA books get bought? Publishers? Editors? Booksellers? Parents? Or maybe even YA readers? Join us for a thoughtful discussion on marketing and publishing in YA as we look at how YA novels get chosen. Moreover, what are publishers and readers looking for in a book?
SUNDAY
Portrayals of mental health in genre  SUNDAY 50 minutes 12:00 PM  –  12:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2A
Panel

Content warning: may include discussions of suicide and self-harm, mental illness and ableism, eating disorders.

Mental health used well can drive a story, create believable motives for characters and even greater awareness amongst the audience. However, these issues are not always treated sensitively or realistically. This panel will explore examples of mental health issues in genre fiction and consider their implications and accuracy.

‘Ditch Diggers’ podcast: live recording  50 minutes SUNDAY 2:00 PM  –  2:50 PM  |  CCD , Wicklow Hall 2B
Podcast
MONDAY
Irish horror and the supernatural  50 minutes 11:00 AM  –  11:50 AM  |  CCD , ECOCEM Room
Panel
Critic Peter Tremayne observed that: ‘Practically every Irish writer has … explored the genre for the supernatural part of Irish culture.’ Ireland has always held its own in fantastical literature, from Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker to Dorothy Macardle and Elizabeth Bowen. But is there a discernible tradition threaded through their fictions? And what, if anything, makes their writing Irish?
Kaffeeklatsch: Marguerite Kenner 50 minutes MONDAY 12:00 PM  –  12:50 PM  |  CCD , Level 3 Foyer
Kaffeeklatsch
Kaffeeklatsch: Alasdair Stuart  50 minutes MONDAY 1:00 PM  –  1:50 PM  |  CCD , Level 3 Foyer
Kaffeeklatsch
[If we missed something tweet Kate with the details]
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Fox Spirit is Seven! #skulkisseven

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Fox Spirit is Seven! How did that happen?!

Did you know there’s an ebook store right here? And that you can use coupon code ‘skulkis7‘ to celebrate our 7th birthday with 25% off throughout June!! What are you waiting for?

It’s a milestone that makes you thoughtful. Shakespeare talked about the ‘seven ages’ of human life in his ‘All the world’s a stage’ speech. The first is birth which he describes as

At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Fox Spirit managed to avoid that unpleasantry: it was born with a song in its heart, a laugh in its mouth and a pub on  its mind — the Nun & Dragon. It was meant to be a one off, but here we are seven years later! Which in Bill’s words means:

Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.

I suppose we can see a little bit of that: hands up skulk members who would rather be writing/drawing/plotting than creeping to our jobs and other duties? Yes, you can put your hands down now. We itch to have the luxury of time, but there are always new responsibilities. In the mean time we can remember that we are yet young and have so many ways to grow.

What will the next anniversary bring? More books? More multimedia efforts? Games? Skulk Island? World Domination?

Time alone will tell — but the skulk has ambitions, you can bet your floof on that. All kudos to our fearless leader Adele!

Countdown to Christmas Day 5

We are going to blow our own wind instruments a little today. My personal preference would have to be the Sax, but you may be more into the Oboe or French Horn. All welcome here. 

Danie Ware, author of the blindingly excellent urban alchemical fairy tale ‘Children of Artifice’ has been featuring heavily over at Damien Seaman’s blog this week with an Interview about her writing career and dayjob and the juggling act many of you raising kids on top of work and writing will be familiar with.

Then there was an in depth review which looked at the prologue debate, the core of family drama in the book and how Danie is a master craftsman when it comes to using description to move things forward and world build at the same time. 

From the review
The book is heartfelt and emotional, authentic and musical, a new mythology that draws its power from the old.

Maybe add this one to your Christmas reading list and don’t forget to drop us a line at submissions@foxspirit.co.uk if you want to share some of your own favourites on the blog this December. 

December Count Down to Christmas

Books make fantastic gifts, I get Papa Fox one every Christmas, it’s his annual book and he always reads it over the few days of Christmas while he has a few genuinely slow days. 

So with that in mind we are inviting anyone who would like to, to send us a review or a short list of recommendations of books people should be reading and gifting this year. 

There is a £5 payment and posts should come to submissions@foxspirit.co.uk
We will continue to accept new posts until around the 14th. Please include your paypal details. Also, for each post we will put £5 into a pot to go to booktrust.org.uk. That’s £125 if we get a post per day, so please do join in. 

To get things going a few Fox Spirit titles you might want to consider for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers.

***

The Judgement Call / Along the Long Road 
by Simon Bestwick and Penny Jones
Two short rural horrors playing with the idea of just desserts. A double date goes horribly wrong in Along the Long Road and in The Judgement Call you have to wonder, would the bell toll for you?

Winter Tales
Anthology
A collection of dark stories to keep you under the covers this winter
Edited by Margrét Helgadóttir

Cover by S.L. Johnson

The Monsters Series
Edited by Margrét Helgadóttir

European, African, Asian and Pacific Monsters are all available now, with Pat 1 of American Monsters coming later this month. Collections of short stories and at in a coffee table format. 

Ghoulsome Graveyard
By G Clark Hellery
Something for younger readers from our Fennec line. Spooky adventures.

And if none of those appeal, head over to our buy links to browse a broad selection of genre treats.

Review of Children of Artifice

Tej Turner has been kind enough to provide an early review of Children of Artifice by Danie Ware. So for those of you wanting to know a little more, here it is in full.

***

Children of Artifice is one of those novels where, from the very beginning, it is hard to know what to expect (and I mean that in a good way!).

Set within an enigmatic second world, where humans live within a secular city-state nestled within a gigantic crater, knowing nothing of what exists beyond the impassable ridge which surrounds them except for that they were placed there by a mythic race of mysterious beings known as the ‘Builders’ long ago, one could at first suspect that it is going to be a YA thriller of intrigue and discovery. The age it is set in appears to be historic, and yet the rich amalgam of technology and alchemy which sets the scene cannot be pinned to any particular age, and there is also magic. It has elements of fantasy and science fiction, but they have been blended together seamlessly and do not jar.

The author has described it as an ‘urban fairy tale’, which is very fitting. It does have that feel of old and new. It is quite gritty at times, and yet full of beautiful moments.

I do not want to say too much about the plot, because it is a novel which surprises you at every turn and right up until the very end, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen because there are always several paths it could take. So I will speak instead of its other features.

One of its focal themes is family – both the ones people are born with and ones they create for themselves – and the relationships between the characters are filled with nuances which are tender, tragic, uplifting and everything in between. Society – how it controls those within it, and the many ways (positive and negative) which people rebel – is another central theme, and there are some interesting parallels which can be drawn with our present day. It has a wonderfully crafted, vivid setting, and complex, believable characters that come alive from the pages and leave a lasting impression.

I am particularly pleased with this novel’s diverse voices. Both same-sex and heteronormative romances take place during the story but none are presented as bring particularly shocking and the characters are never given labels, and yet it still examines issues of identity, prejudice, and sexual fluidity which are relatable to a modern day reader. It is refreshing to read a novel written in such a way.

Children of Artifice has a fantastic story, one I would recommend to readers of any genre and age. It conjures beautiful imagery and puts you in a state of living dream, taking you on an emotional journey which stays with you. I am looking forward to the sequel.

 

Release Day : Children of Artifice

It’s Alive!! *lightning, thunder, torrential downpour*

Cover by Sarah Anne Langton

Children of Artifice is live and available on an Amazon near you. It will also be available through Forbidden Planet from Mid July. We will post more information on store based events as it comes in, but for now, Danie Ware will be at Edge lit on Saturday 4th July, easily identified by her badge that says Danie Ware and her general new book bounce. 

We will have copies of Artifice at Edge so you can get them signed, just pop over to the dealers room, or bring your own with you, or any of Danie’s books, we don’t mind, it’s just nice to see happy authors scribbling on people’s stuff. 

Anyway, a bit about the book…

An ancient city, sealed in a vast crater. A history of metallurgical magic, and of Builders that could craft the living, breathing stone.

Caphen Talmar is the high-born son of an elite family, descended from the Builders themselves, his artistic career ruined when his ex-lover broke his fingers. One night, gambling down at the wharfside – somewhere he shouldn’t have been in the first place – he meets Aden. An uncomplicated, rough-edged dockworker, Aden is everything Caph needs to forget the pressures of his father’s constant criticism. But this isn’t just another one-night stand. Aden is trying to find his sister, and he needs Caph’s help. Soon, they find themselves tangled in a deadly game of trust, lies and political rebellion. And, as Caph begins to understand the real depth of the horrors they’ve uncovered, he learns that Aden is not what he seems. And Aden knows more about the coming destruction than Caph could ever have guessed. 

Praise for Children of Artifice

“Danie does it again: a delicious tale that I didn’t want to put down.
All the people, all the detail, all the story – and none of the drag. A
one-sitting read of pure joy.” – David Devereux

“Slippery, smart and sexy: an heady alchemical brew of high politics and low magic that’s strong enough to lay anyone low.” – Simon Morden

“A skilful alchemy of raw emotion, renegade sensuality and emboldened fantasy. Ware tears out her readers’ hearts and dips them in molten gold, making every one of us a willing child of Artifice.” – Kim Lakin-Smith

“Children of Artifice has a fantastic story, one I would recommend to readers of any genre and age. It conjures beautiful imagery and puts you in a state of living dream, taking you on an emotional journey which stays with you. I am looking forward to the sequel.” – Tej Turner