The Launch!

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

You’ll have to forgive the rushed nature of this blog because I’m about to set out on the journey to Fantasycon. But it has been a longer journey to get us here – the official launch of ProximaBooks. It has been a truly epic month. First, Jonathan Pinnock’s ‘Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens was released in paperback and is still available from WHSmith and Waterstones. Then the first episode of Niall Boyce’s e-serial, ‘Veronica Britton – Chronic Detective’ was released on Kindle, and only yesterday Renee Harrell’s e-novel also appeared on Amazon.  And today, the final piece slots into place; Charles Christian’s paperback collection of short stories ‘This is the Quickest Way Down’ arrived and will be available to buy at Fantasycon.

So, if you’re attending Fantasycon tomorrow morning, please come to our launch in the Bar Rogue, starting at 10 am. Jonathan Pinnock, Charles Christian and Niall Boyce will be in the same room at the same time! Also there will be R.B. Harkess, whose YA Sci-Fi Adventure, ‘Aphrodite’s Dawn’, will be out with us nearer Christmas. Finally, I’ll also be there to read an extract from ‘Aly’s Luck” because Renee and Harrell, ctually a husband and wife writing team, can’t quite make the journey from Arizona to Brighton!

For potential readers who can’t make it themselves, I’ll be blogging about each book in detail later this month, but if you’re curious, have a look at Amazon, some of these books are only just over one pound sterling or less than a $, so if you feel the urge to buy: please do!

A thoroughly biased review.

Posted: September 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

‘The truth is out there, though it is not yet universally acknowledged’

 OR

How I came to love ‘Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens’.

As an editor out to launch a Science-Fiction/Fantasy/Horror imprint, I began with very serious intentions. I considered weighty matters such as a possible manifesto stating the particular values I was looking to promote, or consideration of a particular sub-genre I wanted to encourage, a writing style to follow.

Then I met Jonathan Pinnock.

And that all went out the window.

A ‘mash-up’, he proposed: Elizabeth Darcy, Wickham, Sir Humphrey Davey, tentacles, fallen women (one of them headless), Byron, Glastonbury, an airship, and let’s not forget a cameo by a certain lady hack-writer. (There’s so much more, I’d love to describe the pivotal role played by Colin the Pigeon, I just don’t have room.)

I had my doubts. Surely ‘Pride and Prejudice’ had been Zombied? Also, as an English teacher, I had a certain loyalty to Miss Austen, her prose style and wonderful characters.

Then Jonathan told me he’d created a serialised version on his blog that people an enjoyed, and that this was a totally original sequel to the ‘real’ events of P&P.

So I read the MS. And I started laughing. I continued to laugh, once nearly choking to death! (Yes, Jonathan Pinnock nearly killed me!) This was just the most hilarious story I’d ever read.

But this was not just ‘three jokes a page’ humour. The concept was so outrageous and yet beautifully fits the Austenesque world of Regency Britain.

The narrative style drives us on into an adventure that sees Mrs Darcy confront a very alien threat to everything she holds dear. And I’m really only just scratching the surface here. Jonathan’s writing is fresh and finely balanced, his story is structured like a time-piece. Within this outrageous adventure the characters remain real, and the reader cannot but help care for them. And Pinnock does not shy away from some of the social  truths underpinning Austen’s world – there’s a profound episode that explores the largely unseen subject of slavery.

Mrs Darcy is a beautifully assertive heroine, Wickham is transformed into a roguish James Bond figure, Mr Darcy is a revelation, Mr Collins is at his most obsequious and Lady Catherine de Bourgh shows herself to be a woman of many layers.

During the editing process, I never stopped laughing at scenes I had gone over several times. As the MS was passed to different people, they proved just as enthusiastic as we were. At every turn we’ve had very positive responses, and now the books is on sale and being promoted by WHSmith, and of course available at Amazon. (We’d love you to review it.)

It, like the truth, is out there, and we need you to acknowledge it. Already at 54 in Smith’s top 100 ( after only one day of sales), we need you to buy it.

Yes, I’m biased, but it is a book worth buying. It’s a book people will talk about. It is FUN!

Ready to go!

Posted: August 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

A really productive month at Proxima. Completed editing Joseph Meed’s ‘Aleera: Tainted Blood’, R.B. Harkess’ ‘Aphrodite’s Dawn’ and Lawrence Pearce’s ‘Hikikomori’. This means we now have seven titles to be released this year. Jonathan Pinnock’s ‘Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens’ is available to pre-order from amazon and WHSmith now, and launches separately on Sept 1st. Watch out for details of our full launch at Fantasycon2011, with ‘Mrs Darcy’, Charles Christian’s ‘This is the Quickest Way Down’, Renee Harrell’s ‘Aly’s Luck’ and Niall Boyce’s ‘Veronica Britton: Chronic Detective‘, on Saturday 1st October.

75 Authors from 11 countries speaks for itself – this is truly an international e-book which reflects a world-wide response to the terrible apocalypse that swept across Japan in March of this year. In only four months Brent Millis, the editor, managed to pull together this wide ranging anthology of sci-fi, fantasy and horror from which 100% of all monies is donated to the Earthquake relief. That alone is enough to encourage you to put your hand in your pocket, but it is far more than a charity book, it is also an excellent read!

When I began reading the e-book I started noting down quality stories to  reference in this review, and then gave up. I might as well have listed all of them. There is something here for everyone, and all of the highest quality. And what a great joy it is to read translations of stories I might never have come across otherwise.

I cannot recommend this book enough. Buy it and enjoy.

I remember the manager announcing, ‘Dr Who will sign your books now’ only to be interrupted by the great man himself,

‘Jon Pertwee will sign your books now.’

Dad laughed, ‘He’ll always be Dr Who.’

I was nine years old and my father had brought me to the local Woolworths for a chance to see my favourite T.V. character. Pertwee had just announced his retirement from the role and was signing books. I found ‘Dr Who and the Cave Monsters’  and shuffled forwards.

There was quite a crush and my Dad plucked it out of my hand and handed it to Jon. A quick scribble and it was done – I’d bought my first Target Book.

To understand the power of Target Books you have to be a certain age. It is astonishing to think T.V once existed in an eternal present. If you didn’t get in front of a small screen by the right time on a Saturday night, you would never see that episode again. It was literally all, or nothing. The only saving grace was that your favourite programme was a serial, that wonderful Victorian invention which kept you coming back for more every week and enabled each series to last for months. But Target books were something else.

They gave you access into recent episodes, opened the stories out into full novels, and allowed you to experience the adventures of earlier Doctors.  They revealed a context for Pertwee – who now became one of many Doctors and set the stage for another actor to become ‘My Doctor’.

The Tom Baker era covers most of my early and late adolescence, and it’s legacy was to shape my taste in Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, both as a reader and a writer.

From the beginning we had stories in which the horror and aliens could be found in the everyday. The person in the lift next to you could be a lethal god from another place or time. Then the programme opened out into the depths of space with the human race sleeping out eternity in a space ark.

Over the years we would be treated to exotic alien planets, pure space-opera, gothic horror, steampunk (before the term existed) Victorian time travellers and so much more. This was often wildly mixed so that you could fall back into an historical era and still have an alien invasion on your hands. All the time these stories were delivered with a mixture of adventure, fear and, above all, FUN.

The Baker era saw the rise of the female companion as assertive women who were not impressed with the Doctor’s ego, but there was a real sense of a relationship. We were carried by them into these strange adventures, and we missed them when they left. These women were the blueprint for the new generation of female companions – without Sarah Jane there is no Amy.

This year I took my twin sons, now both nine, to Coventry’s Forbidden Planet. They fell upon the Dr Who books with glee. Of course they went straight to ‘their’ Doctor, but they also found BBC Books reprints of those Target Books. The Cave Monsters are back, but strangely my children (my daughter especially) think of Silurians as lady Victorian Samurai warriors!

I threw away all my childhood books, indeed most of the books I read before thirty have gone, but I kept one,  and the signature’s still there.

Here are the covers and titles of Niall Boyce’s great new e-serial, ‘Veronica Britton: Chronic Detective’ launched with us in September at Fantasycon.

Niall Boyce’s brilliant character ‘Veronica Britton: Chronic Detective’ gets her new cover for the September release of ‘Episode 1 – A Wounded City’. I love this cover – this really IS Veronica – time traveller adventuress extraordinaire!