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!

In the Fox Den

We are trying something new at Fox Spirit. Aunty Fox vlogs from the Fox Den.

In this episode I talk about some books I am excited by, in the first episode I talked about Neil Adams MBE’s autobiography. I will be covering a range of topics and they will all be viewable on our youtube channel along with the book promo’s and other video action from Fox Spirit Books.

Please message me @FoxSpiritBooks if you have subjects you would like Aunty Fox to discuss in the Fox Den.

Congratulations Leicester City

Well, I have never been much of a football fan, but I am Lestah born and aside from a brief education based sojourn to Newcastle I’ve lived in the ‘shire all my life. So it is that I can’t help but feel some pride in the Foxes achievement and enjoy the holiday mood in the City.

Congratulations Leicester City Football Club on a job well done, from one skulk to another.

postcard - lcfc


Diary Dates

Reminders about some Fox Spirit Appearances coming up.

This Thursday 11th Feb we are getting together with DMU Bookshop in Leicester for a Fox Bites event with local author readings.

unromantic tales poster

confirmed readers are: Penny Jones, Leah Osbourne, Marianne Whiting, Margaret Penfold, Mayapee Chowdhury, Daniel Ribot and Cathi Rae

On the 20th February Aunty Fox is a bit further north at the Sheffield Sci Fi Social Club for an evening of talking about books! Hurrah!

On the 3rd March we have our big exciting launch at Forbidden Planet London and we hope to see lots of you there to meet some of the people behind African Monsters and eat cookies. Margret will give a very brief introduction to the concept behind the series and then it’s just chat, enjoy, nibble cookies and get lovely books signed.


Please join us wherever you can!

Fantasy Con gets Foxy

In addition to masses of skulk members being attendees and panelists and having some shortlisters at this years FantasyCon, Aunty Fox is on a couple of panels.


Room: Suite 1
11.00am Monster Mash-Up: Were-vamp-zomb-zilla…With Wings!
Moderator: Jon Oliver
Panelists: Carrie Buchanan, Cassandra Khaw, Tim Lebbon, Will Macmillan Jones, Adele Wearing

Room: Suite 2
2.00pm Turn Up the Volumes: Marketing & Selling Books
Moderator: Adele Wearing
Panelists: Sophie Calder, Jo Fletcher, Graeme Reynolds, Matt Shaw, Danie Ware

Please pop along and ask your questions or just find me to say hi.


Fox Pockets, humble pie and a few other bits

Well, while the other editors have been editing away furiously and turning in nicely presented manuscripts for publication, I have had my head buried firmly in the day to day running of things and so I owe everyone in the remaining Fox Pockets and the final Bushy Tales Volume an apology for the delays.

I also owe everyone, our loyal readership included a bit of an update, probably overdue.

The remaining pockets are now with the copy editor so things are moving forward.
The order of the remaining pockets is

Things in the Dark
An Unknown country
Piercing the Vale (not a typo I promise)
The Evil Genius Guide – Edited by Darren Pulsford


We will be moving to get these out as quickly as possible now. There will soon be Pockets everywhere!

Mouse and Minotaur which is definitely not cursed has now been edited and I hope to be able to give a release date for this very soon.

For anyone wondering about Eve of War, we have been in touch with the writers, there will be a change of Editor however the anthology will be going ahead.

Again, my apologies to everyone and my immense thanks for your patience so far, the team have been great and the delays are on me.
Please bear with us just a little longer and we will get all these incredible stories out at long last.

Thank you

Aunty Fox

Aunty Reads : The Night Circus

For the longest time I’ve struggled to finish books, to read something unrelated to Fox Spirit for my own pleasure. I am starting to reclaim that pleasure. Since I started out reviewing, I thought I might share my thoughts on those books I manage to complete here, with you.

I picked up The Night Circus after a number of friends recommended it to me. They were right!

night ciurcus

The Night Circus is beautiful, complex and enchanting. A story of multiple layers, based around a magical contest whose contestant are committed without their consent and not told the rules. The game must be played and they are tied to it until it is complete. Everyone who works for the Circus or falls for its enchantments is also, more subtlety but just as irrevocably bound to it.

The combatants actually show a frustrating lack of curiosity about the game itself, while as a reader I was initially impatient to understand it better. It isn’t long though before the book casts its spell in full and I was lulled into the nightly life of the circus, less concerned with how or when it will end but rather wandering endlessly down the ouroboros like paths, gawping and gasping as each new marvel is revealed, but never quite shaking the unease fully, knowing that something is not quite ok here.

Two magical prodigies battle, using the Circus as their stage and while Marcus and Celia work and spar their respective mentors manipulate and protect the secrets of their ego driven with little regard for who is harmed or at least forever altered by the process.

The writing is beautiful, the story gently compelling, the characters never fully revealed in their complexity, everything is done so beautifully. The Night Circus is a masterclass for aspiring writers in how to create an atmosphere with every aspect of the book that reflects the tale you are telling.

I fell fully under the illusions of this book, absorbing it, watching it unfold slowly like the living statues that adorn its paths. Holding my breath as the illusions unfold ever more intricate and dangerous. What will become of Marcus and Celia as the game inevitably concludes and can the circus survive? Why is Poppet no longer able to read the stars and what is the role of young Bailey in all of this. With workings more delicate than the complications of the Circus’ amazing clock this is a book that draws you in and binds you to it gently, from which you cannot simply walk away before the game is done.

Waxing Lyrical : Shark Infested Custard

In this series I want to address in more detail some of the things that I get asked at events and never have time to address as fully as I would wish.

Shark infested custard

Writing/Critiquing Groups

Writing is hard and it’s solitary and people want feedback. Many writers seek out others and form writing groups to provide the essential service of mutual critiquing. There are a lot of benefits to be gained from this but there are a few things that need to be kept in mind to get the most of them.


How experienced are the other writers in your group?
A mix of experience is great, new writers can bring a freshness that is good for everyone, a disregard of protocol that can make you think ‘actually….’ And that is exciting. It’s also useful to have some more seasoned writers, people who have worked on their craft, bought all of the how to books etc. Everyone has something to contribute, no one is 100% right. First and foremost you have to be happy with what you are writing!

Have they successfully sold into any market, be it self pub, traditional or small press?
Again, most writers do lots of writing without actually making a career of it. If you have anyone in your group who has some real experience, especially if they have been through the process of professional editing etc then their view can be really helpful. Remember though, everyone has an individual experience of the process, some good, some bad, some downright ugly. You need to sift the personal from the business side of it, but there is a lot that can be gained. Also keep in mind different types of publishing have different norms. Paid competition to be featured is not at all unusual in poetry, it’s frowned upon in most prose fiction markets. If someone has a heap of experience writing non fic articles they no doubt have useful and applicable experience but there are probably differences to trying to place short stories in a magazine too.

Do they have very obvious preferences and bias in terms of style and content?
As long as they don’t get stuck in ‘I don’t like X genre’ then there is still plenty of useful feedback to be had, but be aware of who is in your group, what their personal writing ticks are. I have a writer friend who used a particular phrase a second time in a book, just to wind me up because I reacted so amusingly the first time.  I as a reader have my own ticks and it’s hard not to bring them to the listening.


Are they telling you how they would write the story?
The biggest problem with other writers is that they are writers. It’s very hard for a writer to critique or copy edit without trying to fix. It’s not their story, remember that when you note their comments. ‘I would have x do y thing’ isn’t them telling you how to improve your story, it’s telling you how to write the one they would do. On the other hand, no one knows the difficulty of writing better than another writer and they are likely to have a better eye or ear for things going clunk in your prose than many readers.

Are they hearing your work in small chunks rather than consuming it the way a reader would?
Take feedback in context. If they are hearing the story in chunks they will respond to the chunk, don’t worry overly about feedback on tone etc in terms of the whole story. That’s what beta readers are for and we will cover them another day.

In short, feedback from other writers is fraught with issues and needs to be taken in context. It’s also often invaluable. Get it if you can and work through the murk to find the bits of advice and support worth having.

I would always support joining a writing group, writers spend a lot of time alone with their work and the social element, as well as hearing perspectives from other writers are really valuable assets.

Aunty Fox Patches

They have finally arrived! The 3″ Aunty Fox sew on patches are available for £3 ea inc UK p&p and they look great!



All the information for purchasing is on our facebook page and we hope to set something up in the sidebar shortly.

Aunty Fox guest post on The Asian Writer.

You are probably all familiar with the fuss over the Hugo’s and therefore Worldcon. Well I was fortunate to be invited to comment on diversity in SF and the events scene on The Asian Writer and the article went live today.

You all know that diversity in spec fiction is important to me, I’ve posted on it before, but it would be a real shame if we let the puppy contingent be seen as speaking for our community.