Thursday, February 28, 2013

Submission period: one month remaining

Now is the time to start polishing your stories. The submission period for The Alchemy Press Books Of ... Astrologica, Pulp Heroes 2 and Urban Mythic ends on 31st March 2013. Get submitting. For guidelines visit the individual pages (click on the links).

Q&A: John Howard

The editors of The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders asked their contributors some searching questions. Now it’s the turn of JOHN HOWARD.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I like to write about things which interest me – often to do with forgotten or alternate histories, obscure places, ambiguous people.

What inspired you to write “Time and the City”?

The title of the anthology! Something ancient, something wonderful. I love SF pulp magazine artwork from the 1920s and ’30s: those cities and buildings, wonderful machines and spaceships by the likes of Frank R Paul and Leo Morey. So a story about an incredibly ancient city full of wonders came into my mind…

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?


What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

The sense of standing on the edge of the abyss of time.

What do you have coming out next?

A couple of stories in anthologies, plus a collection from Swan River Press called Written by Daylight.

[John Howard was born in London. He is the author of the collection The Silver Voices and the novella The Defeat of Grief. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Beneath the Ground, Never Again, and The Touch of the Sea. John has collaborated with Mark Valentine on a number of short stories, six of which featured Valentine’s long-running occult detective The Connoisseur. These tales have been reprinted in The Collected Connoisseur. Most recent to appear is Secret Europe, (written with Mark Valentine) to which John contributed ten of the twenty-five stories, set in a variety of real and fictional European locations.]

Photo (c) Peter Coleborn

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sex, Lies... five star review

Sex, Lies and Family Ties by Sarah J Graham has received a five star review by Jenny Barber on Goodreads:

“On the face of it this is not a cheerful book to read, as the tragedy of the lead's childhood experiences are slowly revealed and accentuated by the troubled lives of her friends. However Carol refuses to let any of that break her and throughout the darkness there is a stubborn thread of hope that brightens the way as she overcomes both the physical threats directed at her and the more pervasive societal pressures that try to entangle both her and her friends.

There are deft moments of humour in the story, and definitely a giggle to be had at some of the 70's slang (especially if you're too young to have been born at the time!) and Carol makes for the kind of enthralling protagonist that you can't help but root for to the extent that when the book finishes, there's the immediate desire to know what happened to her next, and that's always the sign of a great story well told.

Highly recommended!”

Sex, Lies and Family Ties is available in printed and eBook formats from Amazon and other online dealers.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Astrologica update

Allen Ashley, editor of forthcoming anthology The Alchemy Press Book of Astrologica, gives us this update:

“Keep those stories coming in, I am very much enjoying reading them.

Now, everybody has their own star sign so I am looking for a fair spread of stories. With this in mind, I would be particularly keen to receive a few more stories themed around the following signs: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Capricorn.

Of course, if you are writing something on a sign not mentioned above, that’s fine, please send that in as well.

All stories previously received – many on the star signs mentioned! – are still under consideration. I love editing but I’m a busy man. Make me even busier!”

Q&A: William Meikle

The editors of The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders asked their contributors some searching questions. Next up is WILLIAM MEIKLE.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write?

I'm a Scottish writer. Around 1991 I started to submit stories to the UK small press mags. It's been a slow but steady progression from there. I now have over twenty five professional short story sales and have fifteen novels published in genre presses.

I've been asked many times why I write what I do. I choose to write mainly at the pulpy end of the market, populating my stories with monsters, myths, men who like a drink and a smoke, and more monsters. People who like this sort of thing like it.

I write to escape.

I grew up on a West of Scotland council estate and I spent a lot of time alone or at my grandparent's house.

My granddad was housebound, and a voracious reader. I got the habit from him, and through him I discovered the Pan Books of Horror and Lovecraft, but I also discovered westerns, science fiction, war novels and the likes of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Alistair MacLean, Dennis Wheatley, Nigel Tranter, Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov. When you mix all that together with DC Comics, Tarzan, Gerry Anderson and Dr Who then, later on, Hammer and Universal movies on the BBC, you can see how the pulp became embedded in my psyche.

I think you have to have grown up with pulp to get it. A lot of writers have been told that pulp equals bad plotting and that you must have deep psychological insight in your work for it to be valid. They've also been told that pulp equals bad writing, and they believe it. Whereas I remember the joy I got from early Moorcock, from Spillane and further back, A Merritt and H Rider Haggard. I'd love to have a chance to write a Tarzan, John Carter, Allan Quartermain, Mike Hammer or Conan novel, whereas a lot of writers I know would sniff and turn their noses up at the very thought of it.

I write to escape. I haven't managed it yet, but I'm working on it

What inspired you to write “The Cauldron of Camulos”?

I've tried my hand at several works of fantasy over the years, and they almost always come out the same way – pulpy, with swords, sorcery, monsters and bloody battles to the fore. It's the way I roll.

I may start with good intentions, of writing high fantasy with political intrigue and courtly goings on but, as in the Watchers series, Berserker and the Augustus Seton stories, my inner barbarian muscles to the fore, says Bugger this for a lark, and starts hacking.

The blame for my enthusiasm can be laid squarely at several doors. There's Conan, of course, and Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon and the whole pantheon of Eternal Champions; there's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Solomon Kane, Jon Shannow, the princes of Amber and the shades of a thousand more from the likes of Poul Anderson, A Merritt, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H Rider Haggard, Karl Edward Wagner and many others

So, there's that, and a long standing fascination with Arthur going way back to my childhood and reading The Sword in the Stone, Elidor and a big book of medieval romances with exciting colourful prints of knights and damsels and dragons.

In "The Cauldron" I wanted to strip away the medieval and go back to the Celtic and Saxon versions of the legends, although I suspect Arthur and the Grail as archetypes go back even further than that.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go?

I'd love to see Orkney, during the mound-building, menhirs-raising years. I'd love to see Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar going up and discover why they were built as they were. Or Carnac in Brittany. I'd love to revisit it while it was getting put up.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

I have a deep love of old places, in particular menhirs and stone circles, and I’ve spent quite a lot of time travelling the UK and Europe just to visit archaeological remains. I also love what is widely known as “weird shit”. I’ve spent far too much time surfing and reading Fortean, paranormal and cryptozoological websites. The cryptozoological stuff especially fascinates me, and provides a direct stimulus for a lot of my fiction.

But there’s just something about the misty landscapes and old places that speaks straight to my soul. Bloody Celts … we get all sentimental at the least wee thing.

What do you have coming out next?

Next up is a weird Sherlock Holmes collection, The Quality of Mercy and Other Stories from a new imprint, Dark Renaissance. It's in deluxe limited edition hardcover and trade paperback editions, with a dozen illustrations by Wayne Miller who has previously done a lot of work on my covers for Dark Regions Press.

"When I first set out to document the casebook of my good friend Sherlock Holmes, there were some cases I approached with a certain degree of trepidation. Holmes has a public face as a man of strict rationality, a stickler for method and observation. But Holmes himself has always been open to more extreme possibilities."

In these pages you'll find, among other things, a Jade pendant that bestows great power, a fiddle that holds the key to an ancient secret, a lost overcoat that wants to return to its owner, and an encounter with an old foe that imperils the whole of Great Britain. All of them are cases that Holmes and Watson must solve, even if they have to open themselves to extreme possibilities to do so.

[William Meikle is a Scottish writer with fifteen novels published and over 250 short story credits in thirteen countries. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies; recent short stories were sold to Nature Futures, Penumbra and Daily Science Fiction. He now lives in a remote corner of Newfoundland, Canada, with icebergs, whales and bald eagles for company. In the winters he gets warm vicariously through the lives of others in cyberspace.]

Friday, February 22, 2013

Q&A: Adrian Tchaikovsky

The editors of The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders asked their contributors some searching questions. First up for interrogation is ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY.

Tell us a little about yourself, and what you like to write? 

I’m a writer of epic fantasy, with eight books out in my series Shadows of the Apt and the ninth coming out this August. I’m also a lawyer (civil litigation) and my interests include LARP, RPGs (games, not grenades), sword techniques and zoology, but I had been working towards becoming a published author for a long time.

My current series is set to run to ten books, charting a conflict between the insect-kinden that takes them into their equivalent of the 20th century, and a world war. I’m currently working on a number of future projects in different settings.

What inspired you to write “Bones”?

“Bones” is set in the same world as the Shadows of the Apt series, and draws on a chance reference a character makes in The Sea Watch to an archaeological site where the deep past of the insect-kinden’s world appears to have been uncovered. This sparked a lot of speculation amongst readers, so I decided that the site deserved a story of its own. When the call for the Ancient Wonders anthology came along it seemed the perfect opportunity to write it.

If the TARDIS could drop you off to any one site in its heyday, where would you go? 

With deep apologies to the whole of human history, I think that I would need to tool up and go see the truth behind the fossils. The choice isn’t Ancient Rome or da Vinci’s studio, for me, it’s Cretaceous or Carboniferous, or scuba diving through the Burgess Shale fauna.

What appeals to you most about ancient sites/landscapes?

There is nothing more evocative than an ancient landscape, civilisation or relic that still retains its mystery. All too often that turns out to be something of a false promise, but when confronted by something like the Antikythera mechanism, or the as-yet unopened tomb of Qin Shi Huang, it’s a window onto a past that remains as mysterious and elusive as myth.

What do you have coming out next? 

The last two volumes of Shadows of the Apt should be out this year and next, after which I have a stand-alone fantasy, Guns of the Dawn, which takes place in a sort of alternate 1800-style of setting, concerning a bitter war between two formerly close nations. My personal tagline is “Jane Austen meets Bernard Cornwell by way of Ursula le Guin.”

[Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Lincolnshire, studied and trained in Reading and now lives in Leeds. He is known for the Shadows of the Apt fantasy series starting with Empire in Black and Gold, and currently up to book eight, The Air War. His hobbies include stage-fighting, and tabletop, live and online role-playing.]

Photo (c) Peter Coleborn

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ePUB editions now available

We're pleased to announce that ePub editions of Pulp Heroes and Ancient Wonders are now available via Weightless Books. Click on the title, below, to head to the Weightless website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pulp Heroes now on Kindle

The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes, edited by Mike Chinn, is now available from the Kindle store on Amazon at $4.99 or equivalent. I can supply an ePub version, as well -- simply contact the alchemypress[at] A printed/paper copy is also available from Amazon and other online dealers.

To remind you, Pulp Heroes includes choice stories that take you to pulp worlds and heroic realms:

Mike Resnick – Origins
Robert William Iveniuk – House Name
Anne Nicholls – Eyes of Day, Eyes of Night
William Meikle – Ripples in the Ether
Chris Iovenko – The Perfect Murder
Bracken N MacLeod – Ivy's Secret Origin
Joshua Wolf – Crossing the Line
James Hartley – Jean Marie
Ian Gregory – Currier Dread and the Hair of Destruction
Amber L Husbands – The Going Rate
Michael Haynes – No Way but the Hard Way
Adrian Cole – The Vogue Prince
Joel Lane – Upon a Granite Wind
Milo James Fowler – The Last Laugh
Allen Ashley – In the Margins
Peter Crowther – Heroes and Villains
Peter Atkins – The Return of Boy Justice

Cover painting by Bob Covington

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ancient Wonders now on Kindle

The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders, edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber, has made it to the Kindle store on Amazon at $4.99 or equivalent. I can supply an ePub version as well -- simply contact the alchemypress[at] A printed/paper copy is also available from Amazon and other online dealers.

To remind you, Ancient Wonders includes 14 choice stories (plus an introduction by Kari Sperring) that take you to wondrous realms in fantasy fiction:

Adrian Tchaikovsky – Bones
James Brogden – If Street
Shannon Connor Winward - Passage
Pauline E. Dungate – One Man’s Folly
Anne Nicholls - Dragonsbridge
Peter Crowther – Gandalph Cohen and the Land at the End of the Working Day
Misha Herwin – The Satan Stones
Lynn M. Cochrane – Ringfenced
Bryn Fortey – Ithica or Bust
Adrian Cole – The Sound of Distant Gunfire
William Meikle – The Cauldron of Camulos
John Howard – Time and the City
Selina Lock – The Great and Powerful
Aliette de Bodard - Ys

Cover by Dominic Harman

Friday, February 1, 2013

Astrologica update

Allen Ashley, editor of our forthcoming anthology The Alchemy Press Book of Astrologica, reports:

“Thank you to all the authors who have sent me stories so far. One of the best parts of editing an anthology is the moment when one makes the very first formal acceptance. From that point onwards, the book truly comes to life. So, I am pleased to announce that I have acquired ‘The Yellow Fruit’ by the fabulous Texan writer Ralph Robert Moore. His story is based upon the star sign of Leo. It’s a terrific piece and has set the benchmark very high for the whole anthology.

For those of you who have already submitted stories, please be assured that your fine works are still under serious consideration. For those of you who haven’t sent me a story yet, what are you waiting for? The world is turning, the stars are moving in the heavens and I am waiting to be further delighted. The entire zodiac is your plaything – and yes, I will happily consider further Leo pieces. So, get writing, redrafting and submitting!”

Send stories, queries, etc directly to Allen, and for submission details click here. And for help on presenting your manuscript, click here.