The Blackwood Papers

On an Amazon near you now. If you are not a fan of the billionaire space race though, you can get the ebooks right here on our own ebook store. 

Take a wander through the collection of papers and articles as you unwrap the story 

Is it Funny?

I was reminded by Alastair Stuart’s The Full Lid that there are many excellent podcasts out there, you may not be familiar with.

I wanted to highlight one that I love when I get the chance to just listen for a while. 

Is it Funny? By Kate Laity

You can listen on any major podcast outlet as Kate takes you on a tour of comedy through the ages. Laity is an academic, a writer, and always a fan making this a delightful gentle wander. Is it Funny is interesting and clever but made with genuine affection for the material which makes me want to spend time listening to the author enthuse about the subject of each session even where I have no familiarity with the material.

 

Coming Soon – The Blackwood Papers by Kim Bannerman

Slightly later than intended, so our apologies for those waiting for this title, but we are delighted to announce the release of Kim Bannerman’s ‘The Blackwood Papers’ is now imminent. 

Cover art by Daniele Serra
Layout by Vincent Holland-Keen
Edited by Darren Pulsford
Typeset by HandEbooks

When painter Celeste Blackwood vanishes in the autumn of 1911, her disappearance is dismissed by the community as a nuisance rather than a tragedy: she’s nothing more than a flighty young socialite running away from her responsibilities and marriage. But the mystery of Celeste’s fate endures through the decades until a curious museum curator uncovers a series of letters, newspaper clippings, journal entries and police reports. Together, they reveal a story of motherhood, family secrets, cannibalism and murder, and chronicle the extraordinary lengths a desperate mother will take to save her child.

            Enthralling and disturbing, The Blackwood Papers explores the shadowy region between imagination and reality, myth and science, truth and deception. From turn-of-the-century San Francisco to misty Canadian forests and rocky Arctic islands, novelist Kim Bannerman has created a harrowing landscape for readers to explore with every page of The Blackwood Papers.

British Fantasy Society Awards Shortlists Announced

Huge congratulations to all those shortlisted but a special shout out to Shona Kinsella who has been shortlisted with novella The Flame and the Flood

Book cover design cover for Fox Spirit’s The Flame & The Flood by artist Sarah Anne Langton

Very well deserved recognition for Shona in the novella category.

In Slyvo, one child in a hundred is born with an affinity: a magical link to an element, able to shape and use it as they choose. If they are lucky they will become a master craftsman, able to command high prices; if they are unlucky, the factories always demand new wielders, kept as slaves and worked to exhaustion. Talis and Almoris are free wielders, dedicating their lives to helping wielders leave the country for better lives abroad. But not everyone believes in their mission, and not everyone can be trusted – when Almoris takes in a runaway, they find themselves pulled into a mission that puts their lives in danger and threatens both their loyalties and their love. 

Best Novella

Jurors: Timy Takács, Phillip Irving, Ellis Saxey, Kshoni Gunputh, Alasdair Stuart

  • The Flame and the Flood, Shona Kinsella (Fox Spirit)
  • Honeybones, Georgina Bruce (TTA Press)
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho (Tordotcom)
  • Ring Shout, P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom)
  • A Song for the End, Kit Power (Horrific Tales Publishing)
  • Triggernometry, Stark Holborn (Rattleback Books)

You can view the full list of all categories here 

I can’t resist a few extra shout outs here too

Extra foxy congratulations to

The Full Lid 
Daniele Serra 
Ginger Nuts of Horror
Black Shuck
Breaking the Glass Slipper, PodCastle and PsuedoPod
Charlotte bond & Robert Shearman
Georgina Bruce & Zen Cho

 

When there is a Wolf at the Door….

This year marks 10 years since Joyce Chng’s Wolf at the Door was first published under the name J, Damask. 

We thought we would celebrate.  Yes FS is only 9, so no it hasn’t been with us for 10 years, but we love these stories and we really, any excuse for a party. By party we mean staying home reading books. 

So follow us on twitter @FoxSpiritBooks for giveaways and more this month as we make July the Month of the Wolf.

Cover by S.L. Johnson images

Love is all around us… And it’s here!

Yesterday in the UK the pubs reopened. Today something even better happened., and way more culturally significant.

The Fox Spirit Book of Love has launched. 

You can find it on Amazon  for kindle or in paperback or our own ebook store.

Cover by C.A. Yates, Paul Yates and Vincent Holland-Keen
Typesetting by HandEBooks

It’s edited by the irrepressible C.A. Yates who has been a long term fixture at Fox Spirit with incredible short stories, displaying fantastic range and also excellent humour.  Here the marvellous Yates brings the same spicy variety to that most mysterious human emotion. Love.

Without further ado…

‘These are probably not the love stories you are looking for…..

…. but they should be.’

Love. That many-splendoured thing. It can move mountains and make fools of us all, but what is it? Does it come courtesy of a cherub’s bow?  Is it a battlefield? Endless? Crazy? Only available on a Friday? Well, the answer might be between these covers. Inside you’ll find stories from fantastical worlds to fairy tales, from dark places to virtual reality, tales of transformation, hope, and despair. Above all else, each one is, at heart, about love. 

Contents

Decomposing Corpses: A Love Story by Douglas J. Ogurek
The Holy Waters  by Dolly Garland
Jixxa, My Love  by Alec McQuay
End Times in Paris by James Bennett
Love in The Age Of… by David Tallerman
The First Day of Khirshi-Da by Joyce Chng
By Blade And Bloom by Xan van Rooyen
The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling by Michelle Ann King
A Curse That’s Not For Breaking by Lawrence Harding
A True Wish by Charlotte Bond
Notes on a Haunting by Kit West
Subatomic for ‘It Must be Love’ by Emma K. Leadley
The Twelfth Day by Ro Smith
The Wind’s Son by K.C. Shaw
Salt Ocean by Lisa Shea
Enchanted Garden by K.A. Laity
Rapture on the Lonely Shore by Jenny Barber
The Whale and the Moon by G. Clark Hellery

It’s not all chocolates and kittens you know : The FS Book of Love

The book of love is nearly with us and before we launch we thought we would tease you with the contents.

‘These are probably not the love stories you are looking for…..

 

…. but they should be.’

Decomposing Corpses: A Love Story by Douglas J. Ogurek
The Holy Waters  by Dolly Garland
Jixxa, My Love  by Alec McQuay
End Times in Paris by James Bennett
Love in The Age Of… by David Tallerman
The First Day of Khirshi-Da by Joyce Chng
By Blade And Bloom by Xan van Rooyen
The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling by Michelle Ann King
A Curse That’s Not For Breaking by Lawrence Harding
A True Wish by Charlotte Bond
Notes on a Haunting by Kit West
Subatomic for ‘It Must be Love’ by Emma K. Leadley
The Twelfth Day by Ro Smith
The Wind’s Son by K.C. Shaw
Salt Ocean by Lisa Shea
Enchanted Garden by K.A. Laity
Rapture on the Lonely Shore by Jenny Barber
The Whale and the Moon by G. Clark Hellery

Dyslexic Friendly Books – Kickstarter

I’m delighted to see the kickstarter is doing really well and you can find it here 

THE PITCH

The idea that when you become an adult there are no dyslexic accessible printed books to read, bluntly said is ridiculous. BOTH Press, which aims to fill this gap, is a project from Book on the Hill, which is dyslexic friendly independent bookshop set in Clevedon, North Somerset. We are passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction.

We aim to make exciting good quality fiction accessible to those not currently
provided for by today’s traditional mass book market. We are working with talented and award winning authors to achieve this.
With your help through the whole process of the Kickstarter, we aim to publish
and print 8 titles of dyslexic friendly books for adults. Our long term goal is to
continue publishing good quality adult fiction to produce a wide range of books for people who have challenges when reading.

Our initial target is 6 titles. With another two following immediately with your help via the stretch goals . Of course we want to do more and if by your support we really go over over our target, we will produce yet more stunning books with great authors.

Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer. He lives just outside Stockholm, Sweden having emigrated in 1997. His published works include The Memory Man, Coldfall Wood, Glass Town, One Man’s War, Parallel Lines, and numerous short stories in magazines and anthologies. He has written for Games Workshop, Primeval, Stargate and Doctor Who. Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010. He has been published in a dozen languages and sold more than half a million copies of his novels and stories worldwide.
Previous titles: The Memory Man, Parallel Lines, Glass Town, One Man’s War,
Coldfall Wood. And more…

The Blurb
Under the pretext of opening a school of detectives, Sherlock and Watson are
summoned by the Swedish royalty. The Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle – how can the king be in three places at once? Why is it happening? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem hound the King’s footsteps?
Watson seemingly alone, lectures at the The Bernadotte Chambers in Stockholm, speaking to his carefully chosen audience how this crimes of murder and mummery had come to pass. All the while waiting for Sherlock to appear and present the final reveal.

Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. His Orcs: First Blood trilogy is a worldwide bestseller, with over a million copies sold to date. Both Orcs trilogies made the New York Times bestseller list. Stan’s books have been published in more than 20 countries.
He was the first manager of Forbidden Planet’s original London store and helped establish and run the New York branch. He received the Le’Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007)
Previous titles: Orcs: Omnibus Edition, Orcs Bad Blood: Second Omnibus Edition, Shake Me to Wake Me: The Best of Stan Nicholls, Quicksilver Rising. And more…

The Blurb
The village of Catterby is beholden to no lord or lady. No one believes Lord Salex Nacandro, a warlord and sorcerer, who’s homeland was far to the north, would be a threat.
They are wrong.
Kye Beven a reluctant member of the ‘Band’, the elite protectors of the village,
lacks confidence. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the band,
believes he should never have been selected. When Catterby is menaced by Eskail Gudreen the Emissary of Nacandro, Kye reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark.

Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. She is the author of the short story collections Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, and From Hell to Eternity, as well as the novel House of Frozen Screams. She has been shortlisted three times for the British Fantasy Awards – for Octoberland and From Hell to Eternity, and for her short story Death Walks En Pointe. She shares her life with fellow writer John Llewellyn Probert, in a crumbling gothic tower filled with arcane books and curiosities. And toy dinosaurs.
Previous titles: Octoberland, Unquiet Waters, From Hell to Eternity, House of
Frozen Screams. 

The Blurb
Molly Landor had always imagined having kids someday, though she had hoped it would be by choice and not by accident. After double checking the test was positive, there’s no doubt about it.
Something strange begins to occur and Molly announces that she will go ahead with the pregnancy. Friends and acquaintances become alarmed her behaviour becomes erratic and Molly announces details of her baby that no one could know, even refusing to go to the hospital to check the baby.
Is it just normal pregnancy mania or is something more unnatural arising?

Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. His novels, The Sea-Stone Sword and The Sky Slayer, were published BFS Award-winning publisher, Grimbold books. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, which has featured authors such as Brandon Sanderson and Kameron Hurley, as well as TV stars. He is outspoken about his dyslexia, supporting efforts to spread awareness through talks, articles, and books. He runs The Campaign Trail podcast, which has featured critically acclaimed authors, such as Anna Smith Spark alongside its regular players.
Previous titles: The Sea-Stone Sword, The Sky Slayer, The Storm-Forged Throne

The Blurb
The planet Wanda V has been abandoned for some time. The Gates had collapsed generations ago. It was called a waste of time, but the lone scientist, Hala, sets forth to investigate. While Hala collects data on the planet, legends and mythologies that surround these ruins become all too real.
Can Hala escape a god? And what does this self-proclaimed deity want?

Adrian Tchaikovsky is an award-winning British fantasy and science fiction
author. He is a keen live role-player, occasional amateur actor, and has
trained in stage-fighting. He has written over 20 novels and won the 2016
Arthur C. Clarke Award for Children of Time and the 2017 British Fantasy
Award — Best Fantasy Novel for The Tiger and the Wolf.
Previous titles: Children of Time, Children of Ruin, Cage of Souls, The Tales
of Catt & Fisher: The Art of the Steal, The Doors of Eden.

The Blurb
Doctor Hendry, a known pseudo-historian has gone missing. His employers want answers.
Michael is offered a job that pays ten times what he would get standing outside a club, knocking people over. On reaching the London office of the law firm, Branmer & Stokes, four other professionals are waiting. Two mercenaries, Shaw and Kelling, with broad minds and little scruples. Cohen, a paranormal investigator and Doctor Furrisky from the University of East Anglia’s department of history. Together they are given one job. Find Doctor Hendry in his home on the remote clifftop. They find more than they bargained for or even comprehend.

Steven Poore co-produced the Sheffield theatre premiere of Terry Pratchett’s Wyrd Sisters. He is a founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’. His novel, Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the British Fantasy Awards in 2017.
He has featured in a number of anthologies with the BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books.
Previous titles: Hair to the North, The High Kings Vengence, Art of War: Anthology for Charity, Legends 3: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell. 

Blurb
It is 1958 in an alternate Marrakesh. The cold war still wages on and Sputnik has launched, gazing down of earth. Seemingly Russia is conquering space at last.
An uncover agent needs to be extradited and the British expects Marrakesh to
facilitate this. Saif, a local boy has an important mission, to pick up a British spy unnoticed and bring him to the Deputy Security directorate. Saif escapes surveillance in a borrowed Grand taxi, but the pick-up doesn’t go to plan, as the British agent, known as the lighting rod, is the one man guaranteed to make a hard situation, harder.
The race is on to escape the Russian secret service, advanced technology and
bring the undercover agent into British hands.

John Llewellyn Probert was the winner of the 2013 British Fantasy Award for best novella with Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine. He won the Dracula Society’s Children of the Night Award for his first book, The Faculty of Terror, in 2006. Since then he has published fifteen volumes of horror fiction, including six short story collections. His non-fiction publications include a book on his favourite film, Theatre of Blood (Electric Dreamhouse) and he regularly writes about new movie releases at his online review site, House of Mortal Cinema. He lives in a gothic mansion in deepest Somerset with his wife, the author Thana Niveau. He doesn’t sleep much because there’s just too much scary fun to be had.
Previous titles: Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine, The Lovecraft Squad, The Last
Temptations of Dr Valentine, The Complete Valentine, Theatre of Blood. 

Lynda is having second thoughts about joining Dr Sampson choir, but she really needed to get out of the house. Too long she has spent putting herself into boxes for others benefits, but really was a choir in a psychiatric hospital the right way to find something for herself?
Of course it had to be one of those Victorian gothic monstrosities, and of course it had a dubious past, so really it’s just her imagination setting her on edge right. The weather isn’t helping nor is the fact that suddenly she is a prisoner and something does not want her to leave.

What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected.
Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom;
Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and creating a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day, without being patronising.

What Do We Mean By Dyslexic Friendly?
• Cream paper rather than white.

• A sans-serif font, or a specific dyslexic friendly one.

• Extended spacing between paragraphs, sentences and words

Our Shop Experience
Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults
customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to
read. For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a
dyslexic friendly format. Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist.
We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.
We have been so lucky that many great authors have agreed to participating in this project. Not least the great friend of mine, Stan Nicholls who has supported me since my university days examining archaeology and fantasy and writing fictional narratives for my PhD.

Joining Stan in this project is Steven Savile, another bestsellling author, who’s
father lives in Clevedon and is a customer of the bookshop. Then we have the
horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well established and engaging authors, who also happen to live in Clevedon, and be customers of the shop.

The Arthur Clark Award wining author Adrian Tchaikovsky joins us, who I have
known for many years at Conventions across the country. This introduction is the same with Steven Poore, who I met on my first fantasy convention in Scarborough.

We finish the Magnificent Seven with Joel Cornah, who also has dyslexia, and
joined us on our on podcast on dyslexia for the Clevedon Literature ‘Festival in the Clouds’.

Monster Blog : Haralambi Markov

Haralambi is an old friend of Fox Spirit and I was delighted when i saw his name among the list for this volume, because this last year, more than ever it is nice to remember the connections we have. – Sentimental Aunty fox.

Lessons in Shapeshifting – A hala, a Podcast and a Questioning Protagonist.

by Haralambi Markov

I feel incredibly delighted and privileged to have been invited to Eurasian Monsters as I believe the work Fox Spirit Books has done with this series of coffee table anthologies is important. Who gets to talk about monsters and how they shape our understanding of legends and folklore, plus we all like a good creature feature. Popular culture has its favorite monsters, which I’m not here to mock or dismiss, because I have been greatly influenced by vampires, zombies and mermaids when coming up as a writer.

At the same time, human imagination has concocted some really insane monsters that are lesser known in wider circles. That’s why Margrét Helgadóttir’s work on this anthology series is essential – here you’ve a small registry of stories based on regional creatures written by people from within, so you get to see intimate reinterpretations of their history and how it’s contextualized. Also, it’s a lot of fun to examine your cultural legacy (I’ve been doing more of this work in recent years) and see how it fits with the present. Or doesn’t.

For me at least, there’s a definite disconnect between the lives we lead in Bulgaria and the folklore we once created. Much similar to how deforestation and lawless construction in national parks have severely impacted local ecosystems and endangered native species – our cultural ecosystem hasn’t been welcoming to its own cryptids. Where would these creatures go, if they existed today, and how would we view them?

This was the starting point of my story “Nine Tongues Tells Of”, which describes the relationship and the long conversations between my protagonist and a newly-emerged hala (a shapeshifting spirit of hail storms). The story is as much a commentary on how we commodify every aspect of our lives (the conversations are released as a podcast) as it is a questioning of what we have forgotten. Just as my protagonist is clueless about the hala, so was I initially, apart from its apparent connection to hail. My research was fueled by the intention to do it right; represent the hala correctly. The definitive hala, if you will.

In consulting with the big compendium of folkloric knowledge about the zmey, zmeitsa, lamya and hala, I discovered how rich and decentralized the understanding of what the hala is and what it could be. A reminder that oral knowledge easily differs from place to place and ultimately encourages the freedom to retell. It’s very fitting that stories and beliefs about the hala are as varied and changing since the hala herself is a shapeshifter.

My hala is one of many. Far from definitive, yet still true to her nature.

 

Monster Blog : Vlad Arenev

About the story “Rapunzel”

by Vlad Arenev

They may die, but they do not disappear; but rather transform into something completely different. The garden gnomes. Figure candles. A beer brand, a movie character, a print on a t-shirt.

They continue to exist through their own shadows.

This transformation did not begin yesterday: At some point, the realization set in that simple concepts are clearer, while memory is fleeting and fading away, always liable to be replaced by a colorful movie scene, a children’s book, a popular encyclopedia, or a computer game. ‘Plus five to strength at night, hypersensitive to silver, inhabits cemeteries.’

A kind old domovyk, a beautiful and dangerous rusalka, a stern lisovyk… All of them became part of a “folk culture” in their simplified equivalents. But the real stories – the ones that our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers believed in – they are forgotten. Stories where dead ancestors are close to the world of the living: they can punish bad behavior, but they are also capable of assisting or saving a person from trouble.

When I started thinking about how our actual ancestors would react to everything their descendants have to face in the 20th century… then the story I wanted to write, fell into place. At first I thought of writing about the Great Hunger, but circumstances changed, and the story of Holodomor became something bigger and greater, something that I will still continue to write about.

“Rapunzel” is another part of the story about our world, where the mythical creatures of folk tales live not only on pages of children’s books but in reality as well. I’m grateful to Margret for the opportunity to have this tale made available in English, and I hope that I will soon get a chance to tell other stories about this universe – and to bring them, the real ones, back to life, to reality.

Translation by Mike Olivson.

***

Vlad Arenev is a science fiction and fantasy award winning writer, editor and screenwriter from Ukraine. This Kievite author has published more than 30 books and over 250 short stories — they can be found in numerous magazines and collections, and in languages such as Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, English, French, German, Estonian, and Lithuanian, to name a few. The most popular of Vlad’s books are his books for teenagers and his YA work. Soulhold (2014), Dragonbone Powder (2015), Doghead’s Child (2018), and Sapienses (2019) have been awarded various literary awards, including ESFS Awards (Best Creator of Children’s Science Fiction or Fantasy Books, Dublin 2014), New Horizons (Moscow 2014), and Barabooka (Best Fantasy Novel for YA, 2018), and have also been nominated for awards, like the BBC Book of the Year (Best Book for Children, 2019). Find out more on Vlad’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/volodymyr.arenev