Back again…

Golly gosh, my previous post was from before moving house. Nearly five months ago. The move was stressful at times but in the end all went well. Most importantly, all (well, almost all) the books are now in the house and not in the garage, where they were initially stored until shelves had been erected. Now we’re waiting on a new kitchen and bathroom. Once they are done, it’ll be time to decorate.

In the meantime Jan and I have been receiving submissions for The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors, due later this year. In fact, we’ve received over 250 stories — a lot of reading and shortlisting to get on with now the sub window has (almost) closed.

In addition, I am receiving stories from Bryn Fortey for his second collection, which will come from The Alchemy Press, also later in 2018.

I’ve also edited and prepared the layouts for a new novel from Misha Herwin, Shadows in the Grass. This isn’t my usual type of reading material but nevertheless it proved to be a most engaging read, about three generations of a family as they escape from early 20th century Poland to the relative safety of Bristol. The novel is only available as a Kindle book at the moment — the print version should be available shortly. The brilliant cover is from a painting by Misha’s sister Anuk Naumann.

I’ve also been photozapping images again. Here’s one I did previously:

I wish you all a (belated) happy 2018. May it be successful and peaceful.

 

 

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Dramatis Personae

Many novels, particularly the lengthier multi-volumes in the fantasy field, are packed with characters, some major, some minor, others appearing so intermittently that they can be easily forgotten. Many readers will remember a full cast list with no problem; or they simply go with the flow and, especially with a well-written story that has an engaging narrative, hardly ever need to check the list of characters, or dramatis personae . Nevertheless, having something that can be referred to when you’re unsure just who is who can be invaluable. Think Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones and you can see what I mean. Or you may be reading mainstream or crime or any other genre: the arguments for the dramatis personae may still apply.

You can read the full essay over on the Penkhull Press website. Don’t forget when you do: these are guidelines, not rules.

 

On maps

I recently posted a blog on the new Penkhull Press website about maps and their value when writing your novels.

I have read many stories in which the protagonist moves across vast landscapes, through difficult terrains, in unrealistic times, with the minimum of effort. Is it really possible for someone, for example, to track dozens of miles through unfamiliar, dense jungle, lumbered with a backpack, in a few short hours, even at night (unless s/he is a superman/woman, of course)? This contraction of activity/time is a common fault in some fantasy and SF adventures I’ve read.

The essay is meant as general guidelines (rather than rules or a code). You can read the whole piece here.

 

Editorial services

KEEPCALMEDITOR2

I am the editor/publisher of the award-winning Alchemy Press (check out the website to see our range of books). The press has won the British Fantasy Society (BFS) Award for Best Small/Independent Press, Best Collection (twice) and has been short-listed over the years in various categories. I also won the BFS Special Award for services to the society.

Everything written needs a good editor and often the writer is not the ideal person to do this — they are too close to the work. That is why writers require good editors.

If you aim to self-publish, either via POD or as an eBook, the layout is vital. It’s the difference between something that appears professional or amateurish.

With writer/editor Jan Edwards, we are now offering editorial and publishing services. If you have a story that needs editing for sense and/or copy-editing, or if you have a book that requires formatting for publication (eBook or print) get in touch now to discuss the project.

For further information click here.