New Releases, here first!!

Our summer titles are available here first!!

Girls and Aliens by Anne Michaud

Girls, 5 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. 

Caleuche by Jonathan Ward

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.

Hire Idiots by Professor I. M. Nemo

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!

Eater of Names by A.R. Aston 
Sequel to the Hobgoblin’s Herald.

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.

Still not sure? Read the opening chapters of all four in the free download on our front page.

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!

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

 

Fennec : New Release

We are so proud of our little sister Kit, the second title in her line for Middle Grade to Young Adult readers is available today!

The Girl in the Fort by Tracy Fahey

Tracy’s collection of short stories was shortlisted for this years BFS best anthology and in this full length novel seh delivers the same talent for story telling.

‘Your actions affect others; you are very powerful.’ For a second her eyes seem to glaze over, her voice deepens. ‘You hold a great fate in your hands, and no-one can tell what way it will turn. It is all within you, but there are dark shadows around you…’

After her father takes a job abroad, eleven year old Vivian is sent from Dublin to stay with her grandparents in their ramshackle family home in the countryside. At first she fiercely resents abandoning city life and her friends – but reluctantly finds herself becoming attracted to the strange fairy fort in a nearby field, and the odd secrets it holds. But spending too much time in the fort can be a dangerous thing, as Vivian and her new friends Katie and Tommy find out. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Vivian sees her grandmother’s folk tales come to life, experiences the complicated joys of witnessing the past, and forges new relationships with her family.

Launch Day : Into the Blight

Our latest Fantasy outing is Into the Blight by Jonathan Ward. 

It is a time of turmoil and uncertainty.

For decades the Bask have ruled over the six clans of Arran. Now they rule no longer: overthrown by a creature from legend that wields terrifying power, and seeks to remake the land according to her own inscrutable designs.

Fearing that the creature might turn her attention their way, the rulers of the neighbouring kingdom of Taleria seek anything that could stand against her might. They find it in the past: in the tales surrounding a cursed land and an ancient power buried there. An expedition is mounted to claim this power for Taleria.

But there are some things in the world that should very definitely remain buried…

Read more here 

Contact us for review copies or author interviews adele@foxspirit.co.uk

Launch Day

The Hobgoblin’s Herald is now available!

Andrew’s debut is a fantastic fantasy adventure for lovers of traditional fantasy and those looking for something a but different. 

Cover art by Tabatha Stirling

There are monsters in the forests of Katahia, and not all of them are human…
 
When a poacher’s daughter saves one of their chieftains, she is drawn into the twisted world of the dreaded hobgoblins, where life is cheap and pity is weakness. Together, the girl and the malignant beasts must cross a realm on the cusp of dynastic civil war, in search of a land where they might thrive, or else be eradicated in the coming conflict.
 
As the road before her grows ever darker and her allies ever stranger, Mallory must choose which side she owes loyalty, and what she is willing to do in order to survive.

Read the opening paragraphs here 

Find the book on Amazon uk here

Contact me at adele@foxspirit.co.uk if you are interested in reviewing The Hobgoblin’s Herald or interviewing the author. 

Cover Reveal : Hobgoblin’s Herald

This summer has a couple of fantastic new releases coming. One of which is the fantasy novel ‘Hobgoblin’s Herald’ by A.R. Aston. 

The book will be launched on 1st July so there will be plenty of time to grab a copy before Edge.Lit and get Andrew to sign it. 

In the mean time, here is the cover by the fantastic Tabitha Sterling mudlarkdesign.tumblr.com and for your enjoyment, the Prologue. 

‘The fetters of the Aelf were made of sapphires, the walls of their cells silver and ivory. It was nothing like the dank black dungeons of menfolk, or the festering oubliettes of Hezra Half-Gremlin. This cell was bright, and cold and austere. It hurt her eyes to look upon the mirror-polished star metal that entombed her here. And so the Herald dangled in a darkness of her own imposing, eyes screwed shut.
Her shackles rubbed unpleasantly against her flesh, and when she cried out, the sound was without echo. The walls
seemed to consume her screams and nullify her protests. Her captors had no desire to listen to her entreaties. Everything she said would be considered a lie by the Fated Ones. Thus she was doomed to suffer an ignoble, yet relatively painless death by their hands. She had days at most, but it was impossible to judge just how long that would be, for days were meaningless in a realm without night to mark the cycles.
They’d taken her bone-threaded war braids, and stripped the Herald of her rune-etched armour of boiled leather and
foraged steel. Upon capture, they’d even scrubbed her face of the blood marks, leaving only the silvery scars that formed their base behind. Like a cat declawed, the Aelf divested her of her scimitar, her daggers, and her sling. Now she wore a simple habit of pale blue silk, but this did nothing to disguise the fact she was a reviled heathen fated to die. She dangled from the ceiling by her hands, a flank of beef hung for smoking. Her bare feet dangled helplessly beneath her. They were the palest they’d been in years. The Aelf could not tolerate filth, not a single gram of it, not even caking their prisoners’ soles.
They had kept her fed with bland wafers and crystal still water, which seemed to sap her strength and will to fight with every mouthful. They could have poisoned her by slipping something odourless and colourless into the daily rations, but she suspected not. They simply had no need to nourish her or poison her. That was the worst thing of all, they didn’t hate her. She meant nothing to the tall, gleaming nightmares. She was an obstruction to remove and her captors would carry out her sentence with a workmanlike efficiency.
The Herald wondered where her allies were now. Were they even alive? She didn’t even entertain the notion they’d
be coming to save her. These were not those kinds of allies. Polder might have helped, but that passive psychotic was next to useless in a scrap.
The Fated Ones would kill her, unless she fought for herself. That was always the way it went.
Each day, she felt her resolve weakening. Her will was maintained now by hate and fear. Curse them for their indifference! 
With her eyes closed, she dreamt of the spiralling nightmare which had brought her to this ignominious terminus.
The five-limbed leviathans of Ashebos, the flying cities, the incandescent Lance of Rael, the black naga, the Djinncallers, the Eater of Names; all these things she had seen, all that pain and wonderment she had experienced, had sprung from a singular event, back in a different life, a different world.
It had been an act of mercy, for one who did not deserve an ounce of it.
She heard the whisper-quiet footsteps of her gaoler in the corridor outside. The lock on the door rattled, as simultaneously the bolts barring it were thrown open one by one. The prisoner clenched her fists, bared her teeth, and drew her feet up to her chest, like an animal tensing for the pounce. She spat bloody phlegm on their pristine floor, which made her smile. If the Aelf wanted her dead, they would need to get their hands dirty. She’d tear at them like a mad shrike. She’d make them work for their kill. She would teach them hate.’

 

Launch Day : Murder for Hire the Peruvian Pigeon

This time of year is always a little busy with releases for Fox Spirit, and this year is no exception.

Murder for Hire was a book I read years before Fox Spirit was a thing, when I was still reviewing. I don’t recall whether I read MFH because I knew Dana, or whether I knew Dana because I read MFH, I don’t suppose it matters. I loved the book, I adore the writer and I followed her across to erotica when she wrote that, and again back to more familiar territory with her awesome Ashley Parker zombie novels, a must for Buffy fans.

MFH

About Murder for Hire:

‘Connie Garrett knows that a trenchcoat and a fedora don’t make a detective. She’s the co-founder of Murder for Hire, an acting troupe that specializes in spoofing, not sleuthing. When MFH performs at a sleepy coastal community’s mystery gala, celebrating the works of a famous hard-boiled mystery writer, the bodies start stacking up, and Connie finds herself on the case whether she likes it or not. Now Connie is committed to solving the murders while trying to keep both the show-and her love life-afloat.’

Revisited : 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf by Jo Thomas

Today we launch the second Elkie Bernstein novel at Edge.Lit4, so it seems a good time to revisit the first in the series.

Elkie is a great heroine, with nothing but her determination, her wits and the strength of any girl living in rural Wales to help her she survives focused attacks, personal betrayal and more. Elkie is an ordinary woman in extraordinary circumstances.

25 Ways Wrap 72ppi

25 Ways to Kill A Werewolf by Jo Thomas
Cover Art by Sarah Anne Langton

‘My name is Elkie Bernstein. I live in North Wales and I kill werewolves.’

When Elkie finds herself fighting for her life against something that shouldn’t exist she is faced with the grim reality that werewolves are real and she just killed one. Part diary, part instruction manual Elkie guides the reader through 25 ways you can kill a werewolf, without any super powers, and how she did it.

Opening paragraphs

My name is Elkie Bernstein. I live in North Wales and I kill werewolves.

I’m human and nothing special. No quick healing, no super strength, no fantastic reflexes, no mutant powers. Just human. I get hurt and the injuries take their own time to heal. It leaves me weak and vulnerable so I avoid it. I can’t fight a million attackers at once — I don’t have the raw talent or the trained skill — so I avoid doing it. I can’t read minds or call lightning from the sky so I avoid situations where they would be my only possible line of defence.

I’m nothing special. But anyone who tells you that you have to be special to kill werewolves hasn’t been trying hard enough. And anyone who says there’s only one way to kill a werewolf needs to experiment more. A lot more.