Category Archives: New Titles

New Books! For you to order and so on!

CONTEST: Winner of “The House that Death Built”… and much more!

The winner of the original, marked-​​up, edited manuscript for, plus Copy Nº1 of the Limited Edition of  The House that Death Built has been determined! Not only do they win both of those, they also win a copy of Wicked Delights, plus a bound copy of the “manuscript version” of Terribilis written by Carol Weekes (these was planned to be used entirely for valued individuals who could provide cover quotes, but some were left over after the initial mailing was done).

Here’s the video of the draw taking place!

And for those who haven’t the bandwidth or patience to watch it, the winner is:

Riju Ganguly
Gujarat, India

EXCELSIOR!

SPRING 2013: Début Novel! with Big Name Artist's Cover!

Atomic Fez is over-​​joyed to announce details of a title for publication in the spring of 2013: Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams, with cover art by DC Comics and Vertigo artist Jimmy Broxton!

While Sleepless Knights is Mr. Williams’s first novel, his writing has already been commissioned in the past by entities as diverse as BBC Cymru Wales TV and Radio, as well as Welsh National Opera, and the Courtyard Theatre, Hereford for whom he is also working on a future main stage adaptation. 

Jimmy Broxton, whose work has graced the pages of Knight & Squire, Saucer Country and The Unwritten, will be providing his prodigious gifts to the outsides of Sleepless Knights, with a ‘concept sketch’ of the cover art already in hand.

Mr. Broxton’s contribution brings ‘the final piece of the puzzle’ for a project that has been quietly bubbling away at Atomic Fez Publishing for nearly a year.

[click to enlarge / reduce]
Mark H. Williams

“When I read the manuscript,” said Atomic Fez’s Publisher/​Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin, “it was tough to remember it was a first novel by the author; it felt like something by a far more practised writer. I’m lucky to be trusted with the work.”

Tackling the Arthurian and ‘Knights of the Round Table’ legends was a daunting task which author Mark H. Williams [left] undertook with respect and foreknowledge of its possibilities. “I’ve always loved the King Arthur legend,” says Mr. Williams. “For me, it’s the recipe for the perfect story.

“It’s got magic and monsters in spades,” he continued. “Incredible feats and outlandish quests. Heroes and villains, love and betrayal. Humour and scares, twists and turns. And, at its heart, a very human story of idealism and frailty; about the aspiration to create something good in this world, no matter how far you might fall short of it.”

Mr. Williams points to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman as influences, calling them both “writers who inspired me with their entirely serious approach to comic fantasy. I started [during University] to develop a taste for novels like The Princess Bride–books that approach the fantasy genre with a spring in their step, a twinkle in their eye, and a strong story at their heart.”

“For my money”, states Mr. Martin, “this marks a start for a new, great author’s exposure to the world’s readers.”

About the Book: Sleepless Knights!

It’s not easy being the man behind the myth.

Sir Lucas is butler to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the person who managed every epic legend behind the scenes. He’s the one who made sure each quest happened in the right place at the right time, and that everyone involved had comfortable accommodation for the weekend. The man whose average working day involved fighting dragons, defeating witches, banishing demons, and ensuring the Royal pot of tea never crossed the thin line separating ‘brewed’ from ‘stewed’. What’s more, 1,500 years after that golden age, he’s still doing it: here in modern Britain, right under our noses…

Through ten working days in the life of Sir Lucas the Butler, discover what really went on at Camelot. The story behind Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere. The truth about the quest for the Grail. And find out what happens one fateful day in June, when King Arthur and six of his knights are revealed as living among us. A revelation that brings about the return of Merlin and the end of the world, uncovering secrets from the past that King Arthur would rather stay buried, and forcing Lucas to confront the truth about his own unique and peculiar destiny. A destiny he will do anything to avoid, even if it means sacrificing the love of his life in the service of his master.

In short, the kind of crisis only the ultimate butler can resolve.

About the Author: Mark H. Williams!

Mr. Williams is a screenwriter, playwright and novelist. He’s written two UK-​​touring stage adaptations for The Birmingham Stage Company – Horrible Histories: The Frightful First World War (nominated for a Manchester Evening News Award, “Best Family Show”) and Horrible Science.

He’s written for BBC Cymru Wales TV and Radio, as well as Welsh National Opera; the Courtyard Theatre, HerefordSherman Theatre /​ Sherman CymruCwmni Theatr 3DThe Desperate Men Theatre Company; and Dirty Protest. Mark is under commission to Theatr Iolo for a new play for a family audience, touring Wales in the summer of 2013. He’s also currently working on a main stage adaptation for the Courtyard Theatre Hereford, and research & development with Cartoon De Salvo and National Theatre Wales.

[click to enlarge / close]
Jimmy Broxton

About the Artist: Jimmy Broxton!

Mr. Broxton is a UK based graphic artist, illustrator and designer. He is best known for his work on DC/Vertigo’s “The Unwritten” with Mike Carey; Paul Cornell’s “Knight and Squire” six issue mini series also for DC comics (collected in Batman: Knight and Squire), and most recently a run of short stories for Dark Horse Comics Presents, working with writer by Martin Conaghan. His hobbies include: cooking, cycling, boxing, and pretending to be somebody else.

NEW BOOK! NEW CONTEST! New New New! Now!

Have you ever wondered how an author and editor communicate to each other? Have you ever wondered how a book started its life when it left the author’s gifted hands and then was hacked to bits by the editor and/​or publisher? Have you ever looked around you and thought gosh, what I really need is a big stack of loose paper with lots of doodles and red marks all over it? Do we have an opportunity for you!

Photo by Thana Niveau [click to embiggen or close]
Author consulting a colleague about his manuscript

During the process of editing the début novel by John Llewellyn Probert, The House that Death Built, a great number of things were scribbled on a stack of paper upon which the original draft of the work was printed (using paper made entirely from “bagasse”, the fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice, and employing a clean energy supply and closed water cycle process) from the file as it was initially submitted by author. Then I started doing a combined edit /​ proofing /​ smart-​​arse comment effort as is my normal wont. One well-​​known UK author complimented me on providing the most entertaining editorial notes he’d ever seen. 

Once I’d finished doing all of that — including a few attempts at sketching something in the story, which I normally never do, but did here in an attempt to understand a couple of bits in the plot — the stack of paper was sent off to the author for him to go through and make changes in the aforementioned Microsoft Word for Mac file which he had sent to his hard-​​working publisher to print out and scribble all over. Yes, a perfect balance of old-​​world craftsmanship and the modern technological methods of precision reproduction combined for reasons of entertainment.

Once he’d stopped screaming to Lady Probert about the frequency of red pencil marks resembling a blood-​​splatter pattern, he set himself to the task of going through the paper, making many of the changes suggested, ignoring a few of the more arcane punctuational preferences his publisher seems to like (“manœuver”, æreoplane,  and “fœtid” for example), and occasionally making a comment on a page or two in reply; plus adding to one of the drawings demonstrating his own considerable artistic skills!

So, what does all that look like, exactly? 

NOW SOME LUCKY PERSON OTHER THAN THE AUTHOR CAN FIND OUT!

WIN THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT… and more!

All you have to do is buy a copy of The House that Death Built directly from the publisher’s site (which is this one right here, by the way), before October 31st and you’re automatically entered! Yes, any of the three editions qualify you: paperback, hardback, or even the eBook edition (as long as it’s the *.ZIP file version, as identities of the purchasers through Kobo and Amazon can’t be tracked).

What  do you get? It might be easier to tell you what you don’t get! The number of things is so numerous they are beyond most people’s ability to count! 

Well, okay, there’s at least three things, which is fewer than the fingers of most people’s hands. Still, that’s a lot!

Here’s what you win:

  • the original manuscript! which has been written on by the editor and author as they crafted the final form of the book
    Cover art by Stephen Upham [click to embiggen or close]
    Cover art by Stephen Upham
  • plus! “Copy #1″ of the Limited Hardcover Edition (be the envy of your friends everywhere!)
  • plus! a copy of Wicked Delights, John Llewellyn Probert’s previous title from Atomic Fez!
  • plus! …something else from inside the vaults of Atomic Fez

LIMITED HARDCOVER EDITION DETAILS

Includes, exclusive to this edition, the Author’s ‘Afterword’ about the genesis of the book as well as its writing and influences! Only 100 individually numbered copies, signed by both the author and  cover artist, dust-​​jacket over burgundy binding cloth, with both title and  author’s name stamped in gold on spine, and FREE POSTING AND PACKING.

So… there you go! Everyone entered is guaranteed at least one price: a copy of the début novel from award-​​winning, highly skilled, and frequently silly author John Llewellyn Probert! …because you just bought one, you see. It’s just that easy!

NEW TITLES: Benji Spriteman #2, and a Début Novel

Well, hello there!

2012 has proven to be occasionally tumultuous and terrible, but we forge ahead here in the mighty headquarters of Atomic Fez Publishing, offering up two titles for ordering now: The Designated Coconut and The House that Death Built, both of them novels, and both of them worth a careful examination.

Click to get more details [new tab or window]
Cover art by Sunila Sen-​​Gupta

John Travis has his 2nd book in “Benji Spriteman” series: The Designated Coconut. Be assured these are not the animals in the movies of questionable intelligence such as K-​​9 or Marmaduke, these animals are mirrors of ourselves, nature’s reflection of our own societal form and pressure, plus a wink or two along the way presenting familiar cultural references.

In the twenty-​​four months that had passed since The Terror, the world had become a slightly more civilised place — so civilised that when two female feline crime writers turn up to do a signing at a local bookstore, only one of them is murdered, implicating Benji Spriteman.

In an attempt to solve the crime and clear his name, Benji ends up in Rockway, the sleepy seaside town where the remaining sister is staying. Only Rockway turns out to be not too sleepy, and the detective finds his life in danger not only from the animals on land, but from those above and below it too…

As I waited in the lobby, I listened to the comments of various animals as they came in from their early morning walks. Almost all of them were complaining about the heat. ‘World’s gone mad,’ an old Tabby in a pair of shorts muttered to himself on the way to the elevators, ‘preferred it in the Old days. Didn’t have to buy fans then. Just sat on the rug and licked my ass. Good times.’

For those of you who hesitated when The Terror and the Tortoiseshell was introduced, but are intrigued by the notion of sentient animals fighting crime, wait no more! Heading to either book’s page provides you with an offer of two (2!) books for a savings of ten (10!) dollars ($$!) or a good, solid English “fiver” (£5!) plus free shipping! Excelsior!

Click to learn more about this title [new tab or window]
Cover art by Stephen Upham

Meanwhile, John Llewellyn Probert has written a novel! It’s his first! It’s groovy, and so is he! It’s called The House that Death Built and is available in three (3!) formats! It’s available in eBook format, which is DRM-​​free as is the case with all Atomic Fez eBooks; there’s a paperback edition; and there’s a Limited, Numbered, Hardback edition which is signed by both the author and the cover artist! Atomic Fez isn’t in the habit of doing ‘collector’s editions”, but as this is John’s début as a novelist, it seemed apt to create a special version of this title, just for him. It may also be the final outing for the characters “Mr Massene Henderson” and “Miss Samantha Jephcott”, which are the “specialists in paranormal adventure” he created to engage in daring-​​do against the spirit world, and who have previously only appeared in the short stories collected in Against the Darkness (available from Screaming Dreams through THIS LINK).

You are cordially invited to join Mr Massene Henderson and Miss Samantha Jephcott, specialists in paranormal adventure, as they embark on their most perilous case to date.

The Dark Manor isn’t just any old haunted house. Built on the site of a stone circle, from bricks saturated with pain and agony, windows that have seen terror beyond insanity, and doors that would scream if the wood from which they were fashioned could voice the appalling acts to which they have been witness, the house was designed with evil in mind and deliberately constructed to bring William Marx, the wealthy industrialist who built it, into contact with the spirit world.

But Marx hasn’t been seen since he entered the repository of death and madness that is The Dark Manor, and neither have any of the people who have gone looking for him. Now Sir Anthony Calverton has purchased it and needs the place investigating properly, which of course calls for some proper supernatural investigators.

Who will survive The House That Death Built? Only time and the pages within will tell…

Ο Φόβος είναι ο πόνος που προκύπτουν από την αναμονή του κακού

Also, for those of you who haven’t already got a copy of his collection Wicked Delights, its regular price has just been reduced! Hooray! Get the same number of excellent words for less money! HUZZAH!

PLUS! There’s a contest! But more about that a bit later. Oh, it’s worth the wait, let me assure you!

Announcing the Titles for 2012 and Another for 2013

Now that we’re well and truly into the new year (and thus we’ve no reason to keep accidentally putting “2011” on things anymore), it’s time to let you all know what’s coming in the next twelve months! Things have been quietly plotted in secret until now, so they’re being let out into the yard to run about in the fresh air for a little bit. Have a look at them before they get dragged back into the basement for some more advanced adjustments.

Atomic Fez  World Headquarters Building
Atomic Fez World Headquarters Building

All of the titles are novels, and in the case of the first and last ones, they are the author’s first ‘long-​​form narrative’. Hooray!

There’s absolutely no artwork available, and isn’t that a pity? Try to be patient.

Likewise, pre-​​orders will begin once we’re closer to the date, with each title’s eBook edition being made available just as soon as the text is finalized and the files are back from the hard-​​working slave labour.

Autumn 2012

  • In conjunction with the British Fantasy Society’s FantasyCon 2012 in Brighton (September 27 – 30):
    • John Llewellyn ProbertThe House of a Thousand Screams (title not final)
    • John TravisThe Designated Coconut (Benji Spriteman #2)

Winter 2012

  • In conjunction with the World Fantasy Association’s World FantasyCon in Toronto (November 1 – 3):
    • Mark Leslie LefebvreI, Death

Spring 2013

  • In conjunction with… um… because it’s nearly Spring Equinox, St. David’s Day /​ Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant (March 1st):
    • Mark H. WilliamsSleepless Knights

 In order to whet your appetite, here’s some text about the individual titles. You’ll also notice that the second and fourth in the lists below are very-​​much Wales-​​oriented, thus in keeping with my never-​​ending accidental association with the country and its people. I swear this is not by design; but it just keeps happening, so why try to fight it?

 
The Designated Coconut
 (Benji Spriteman #2), by John Travis, author of The Terror and the Tortoiseshell; Autumn 2012

As the first in the series was an homage to the noire thrillers, so we have the second Benji Spriteman tale similar to the classic English Mystery of roughly the same era.

During the visit of the two famous mystery-​​writing sisters, a death occurs, leading to a complicated series of events. How did the safe in the locked room get stolen? Who was behind the poisoning? Is someone at the resort’s hotel involved, and is it the beer-​​guzzling band-​​leader? What do the mole-​​men have to do with it?

 
The House of a Thousand Screams
 (working title), by John Llewellyn Probert, author of Wicked Delights; Autumn 2012

The very first novel from John Llewellyn Probert provides a mystery of ghosties, ghoulies, long‑legged beasties, and thing that go ‘bump’ in the night, starring Mr Massene Henderson and Miss Samantha Jephcott; the most un‑likely team of paranormal investigators you’ve somehow lived your life without… until now!

Henderson and Jephcott head to the wilderness of Northern Wales to investigate a house constructed from the bits of haunted buildings and filled with devices of death, all constructed on a foundation of a ‘stone circle’. Designed to be the most haunted house in Britain, the original owner hasn’t been heard from since the mid-​​1950s, and the new one wants to know if he’s got the real thing or not. What lies in wait for the two detectives and the four people who are there to help in the research, and will anyone survive to claim the fees for their labours?

 
I, Death
, by Mark Leslie Lefebvre; Winter 2012

The terrifying story of a young man coming to terms with a death curse.

By writing an on-​​line journal, Peter O’Mallick hopes to deal with his emotional turmoil at being dumped by his former girlfriend. While the blog helps, it also attracts cyber stalker Bryan Brecht, who coerces Peter into doing things which should never be done… 

Hilarity ensues.

Publisher (left) and Author (right) sign contracts for “Sleepless Knights” prior to RCMP Musical Ride performance in Maple Tree Square (out of shot, to right) {photo: Laura Cotton}
Publisher (left) and Author (right) sign contracts for “Sleepless Knights” prior to RCMP Musical Ride performance in Maple Tree Square (out of shot, to right) {photo: Laura Cotton}

 

Sleepless Knights, by Mark H. Williams; Spring 2013

It’s not easy being the man behind the myth.

Sir Lucas is butler to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; the person who managed every epic legend behind the scenes. He’s the one who made sure each quest happened in the right place at the right time, and that everyone involved had comfortable accommodation for the weekend. The man whose average working day involved fighting dragons, defeating witches, banishing demons, and ensuring the Royal pot of tea never crossed the thin line separating ‘brewed’ from ‘stewed’. What’s more, 1,500 years after that golden age, he’s still doing it: here in modern Britain, right under our noses…

Through ten working days in the life of Sir Lucas the Butler, discover what really went on at Camelot. The story behind Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere. The truth about the quest for the Grail. And find out what happens one fateful day in June, when King Arthur and six of his knights are revealed as living among us. A revelation that brings about the return of Merlin and the end of the World, uncovering secrets from the past which King Arthur would rather stay buried, and forcing Lucas to confront the truth about his own unique and peculiar destiny. A destiny he will do anything to avoid, even if it means sacrificing the love of his life in the service of his master.

In short, the kind of crisis only the ultimate butler can resolve.

CLICK for embiggening / de-embiggenation

This Week's Fish Wrap (№44): Free Fiction for Folks!

Not so much of an ‘up-​​date’ as a “here’s something you’ll like” sort of post this week.

Lobby of Atomic Fez HQ (or JFK’s Terminal 6, it’s tough to tell the difference sometimes)
Lobby of Atomic Fez HQ (or JFK’s Terminal 6, it’s tough to tell the difference sometimes)

Carol Weekes, the author of Terribilis, has posted a couple of short stories on her blog. This gives you the chance to read some of her other work either after you’ve read her novel, or as an “enticer” for it.

The two tales are:

  • Neurosis”, which first appeared in 69 FLAVOURS OF PARANOIA, Issue #4; and
  • Snowfall”, which first appeared in THE EDGE, Issue #7, edited by Greg Gifune

Also worth noting is that her novel is available on Kobo at the sale price of $499 as part of their “Great Reads for $4.99 or Less” category. HEAD HERE to locate that on their site.

ONE FINAL NOTE ABOUT 'THAT HOLIDAY'

Deadlines for ordering of printed books from the North American Shipping Depot in time for the 25th of December are as follows:

  • INSIDE CANADA: December 10th
  • TO THE USA: December 6th
  • UK & OTHERS: November 29th (although much of this last category is covered from the UK Centre; those dates to come soon)

Thank you all for your continued support and interest.

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

Things You Missed Last Week (№41): The Ever-Changing Retail World [UPDATED]

Before we get into anything ‘newsy’, let’s have a look at what’s been consuming me nearly steady for a couple of weeks or more on the main site: “platform compatibility”.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the main site, but didn’t much feel like trying to hard-​​code the HTML and so on. There are ways to do just about anything on a site, but unless you want to have nested tables galore, complicated style-​​sheets with floating location specifics, and a shed-​​load of other things I can’t even spell, it wasn’t easy. Possible, yes; but not easy.

Then an old friend of mine said “you know, I think we should re-​​do my site again”. So, I poked around a bit trying to find some way to do what I knew had to be easier now that HTML standards have actually become more… well, standardised. Heavens be praised, things have gotten far easier and more compliant across various browsers. No longer do Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari make things look so different you wonder if you’re looking at the same site sometimes!

The new headache: multiple viewing devices with screens anywhere from a mobile handset all the way up to a Cinema Display. Something that looks great on your 28″ wide-​​screen monitor isn’t going to look great on a 3 1/​2″ phone. Plus, even if it does look decent, there’s a hell of a lot of scrolling to be done on that tiny screen to find the bit on the page you want.

So… after a steep learning curve shoving the knowledge of multi-​​media aware style sheets into my tiny brain, he’s got his site, and I’ve got the same sort of stuff going on here as well. Hooray!

All of that sounds quite geeky, but what it comes down to is that, no matter how you’re looking at the main part of the site (as opposed to this blog; I’ve still got to sort this part out), it’ll adjust to the screen you’re looking at it with, and the site will look pretty as well as be practical.

Here’s how things looked on the three major screen dimensions originally (using a post from a week ago as an example; click for embiggenization):

Full-Size View of Page
Full-​​Size View of Page
Tablet View of Page
Tablet View of Page
Smartphone View of Page
Smartphone View of Page

Basically, what you have is an increasingly smaller section of the top left corner.

Here’s how it looks on the three major dimensions now (again, click for embiggenization)!

NEW Full-Size View of Page
NEW Full-​​Size View of Page
NEW Tablet View of Page
NEW Tablet View of Page
NEW Smartphone View of Page
NEW Smartphone View of Page

Quite an improvement! Now the navigation buttons adjust where they are as the screen narrows in, plus the header graphic changes to take-​​up less space. When you get small enough for the smartphone, everything turns into a long, single column arrangement, no longer requiring things to work much wider than a single picture (because that’s all the width we’ve got really).

With 16% of traffic to the site identifying itself as a tablet (to say nothing of monitors using resolutions near tablet-​​dimensions), it’s important for any site to have these things in mind, but especially when you’re selling eBooks which some people want to read on their tablets, iPods, or smartphones.

In theory, it should be so easy to use now you shouldn’t notice any change has happened until it’s pointed out to you. However, I hope you find the site easier to use as a result.

   

Electronic Sales v. Retail Sales v. On-Line Retail Electronic Sales

Apparently, WH Smith and Kobo have teamed up to provide equipment for the people to read their eBooks on. Kobo supplies the back-​​end to the WH Smith site, plus possibly arranges for re-​​branding their wi-​​fi touch-​​screen readers (which will be the first in the UK) with the high-​​street shop’s logo. It’s the second time Kobo has scored a European deal, as they announced a deal in France just the week prior to the UK deal with WH Smith, and only a few days after the announcement of the Kindle France Store opening.

The move is a smart one for both the UK and French firms, apparently. According to Bloomsbury executive director Richard Charkin speaking to delegates at Frankfurt Book Fair as part of a Google panel about e-​​books, if retailers are to compete with Amazon, they have to create their own devices to sell to people, presumably to keep the customer inside their particular garden. It’s worked quite well for both Apple and Amazon, as both companies have found ways to not only sell equipment to people, but the content to go on that equipment as well. “One stop shopping”, if you will. Add to that houses such as Hyperion as well as Macmillan Bellow and others finally realizing they can make people happy by re-​​releasing their back catalogues and actually have people buy the stuff that’s been out of print and un-​​available for years (and it’s about bloody time, say I), the sooner the shops get wise to the ways of the Big Companies Who Are Beating Them At Their Own Game, the better.

It’s a bit of a losing proposition, though, as the UK has been seen as the worst nation to protect the chains. Some might see that as a damned good thing. Maybe there’s a point there, too. However, the independents flourish by being able to point at the major shops and say “we deliver something they can’t: speciality in selection”. Thus, if all the big stores up and disappear, then the independents will suddenly have to make a go of it without the large stores to do their constant barrage of advertising which serves to remind everyone that “books is good”. It seems a bit odd, suggesting that the little guys are served well by the big guys plastering their 3-​​for-​​2 sales everywhere, but there is a give-​​and-​​take relationship where both sides benefit from each other more than is apparent initially. Certainly it’s a more balanced relationship than the competition between high street shops and the Sainsbury’s of the world (and there’ll be a digital edge to that one soon), and one which John Lecarré now admits he was part of the push that opened to the door to.

Granted, if the big publishers and the large distribution corps keep slapping DRM all over everything, the more electronic reading devices there are out there, the faster and more frustrating the arrival at “but I can’t read my book now” will be. If you buy a book through Amazon, then try to read it on your iPad using Amazon’s app, you might find that book’s digital lock isn’t iOS 5 compliant. Or, possibly, the book you bought at Penguin’s site might not be something your Sony Reader wants to open for you. Why not? Well, it’s the Digital Rights Management that prevents you “trying to do something that’s not allowed”: basically, anything they hadn’t thought about two years ago. Even if your eBook file opens on your Samsung tablet today, who’s to say the next Android operating system up-​​grade won’t do something ever-​​so-​​slightly differently than it used to, the file’s pre-​​programmed settings have a look at things, don’t recognize the way things are done as “correct”, and then shut the door and refuse to open it again.

This is why Atomic Fez sells all its eBooks clean of DRM. You should be able to read that eBook file on whatever equipment you’ve got today, tomorrow, and in the next decade. People basically are honest. You’re not going to try to sell CDs of the books on a street corner next week. Publishers have more trouble getting people to buy any books these days, and really ought to stop worrying about people buying books “the right way”.

Price eBooks fairly, skip the DRM rubbish, drag out the books that have been out-​​of-​​print for a couple of decades and do the same, and everyone’s happy.

Seems simple, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: Over on FutureBook (part of “The BookSeller”), there’s a post explaining how Kobo’s recent in-​​roads in Europe actually demonstrate how it’s better at market penetration than both Apple and Kindle. Mostly, it’s because of the minimum of DRM-​​control and lack of “you buy from us, yo0u read with us, you are owned by us” approach to things, thus completely contrary to the other two big players.

  

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

The Vendors Hall at VCon 36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№38): This Week-End, the Cons are On!

Conventions, that is. FantasyCon 2011 is all about the fun, including – and especially – the Burlesque event which features Theatro Proberto performing both Corruption and Blood on Satan’s Claw (A Pantomime) in one glorious evening of ridiculous insanity! Learn more about that from the man behind this lunacy: John Llewellyn Probert. FantasyCon also has a bunch of extra Guests of Honour and things than originally expected, so head over to the FantasyCon 2011 site by clicking their name above.

I heartily encourage anyone attending the convention to go to anything involving either Mr. Probert or anyone of his retinue. Also recommended is placing a pint in the hand of Christopher Teague in the Dealers Room downstairs. While you’re doing that, why not hand him some money and purchase a copy of one of the splendid Atomic Fez titles on offer? You know it’s right…

The other event of note is the British Fantasy Awards which get announced on Sunday afternoon (which is around 8 AM in the Pacific Time zone). There’s two categories in which Atomic Fez figures: “Best Novella (2010)” has Andrew Hook’s Ponthe Oldenguine among the five possible recipients, as well as Atomic Fez itself considered along with four UK publishers for “Best Small Press (2010)”. ‘Fingers crossed…’, and all that.

Poster for VCon №36 uses art by Artist Guest of Honour Jean-Pierre Normand
Poster for VCon №36 uses art by Artist Guest of Honour Jean-​​Pierre Normand

But the Publisher /​ Proprietor will be at VCon №36 in scenic Richmond, BC! This year’s VCon theme: “Visions of the Future; Imagining Tomorrow from the Past to the Present”

Those attending will not only have the chance to rub elbows with Guests of Honour Larry Niven (well-​​known for the “Ringworld” series, as well as other works employing solid science in its fiction), the artist Jean-​​Pierre Normand, and the film editor Lisa Lassek (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pushing Daisies, Firefly, etc.); you’ll also have the opportunity to meet me!

Further down the post you’ll see a floor plan of the Vendor Hall for the event, so that you can more easily rush to the Atomic Fez table and hand over all of your dough discover just how wonderful all the books are.  Plus – prior to their official publication date – copies of Terribilis and Dirk Danger Loves Life will be available for purchase for ready money! Copies sold directly, however, will not qualify for the “Pre-​​Order & Win!” competition, which will continue until the official publishing date of about a fortnight from now.

Remember: pre-​​order a copy of either – or both – of those two brand-​​new titles through this site, and your copy might be one of the four which are personally signed and dedicated to you by the author(s)!

Plus, if you live in North America, you’ll be able to win one of the two copies of the hardback edition of Terribilis, which is not available in your area in that binding! Additionally, you’ll only pay for the Trade Paperback edition, so it’s like a double-​​win!

The Vendors Hall at VCon №36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)
The Vendors Hall at VCon №36 (with subtle notation locating Atomic Fez table of excitement)

But let’s get back to VCon №36, shall we…?

VCon is the oldest general-​​interest science fiction and fantasy convention in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The convention has promoted the interests of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver, BC and its environs since 1971, offering events and exhibits focused on a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy fandom interest areas such as literature, art, media, music, costumes, comics, games, etc.

VCon is organized by a subcommittee of the West Coast Science Fiction Association–a non-​​profit organization dedicated to the advancement and understanding of science fiction and fantasy fan culture in Vancouver BC and its environs. VCon is not, nor will it ever be, owned by a big business or corporation. For now, and for as long as efforts continue, VCon will be a convention built “For the Fans, By the Fans”.

If you’re interested in more about the history of VCon and its events this year, their official Media Release can be read by CLICKING HERE.

Thus, as is fitting an event which celebrates the genre itself, topics of discussion on panels are rife with ways to better explore the books, art, movies, and games inspired by SF & F style of story-​​telling! Here’s four panel discussions which specifically interest me, as I’m going to be a part of them (while I’m doing that, the table will be taken care of by two able-​​bodied former educators):

Panelling for VCon [full schedule grid here]

First Page Idol Are You Prepared to be Published?
Description: Find out how to hook a reader from the very first page. Anonymously submit your novel manuscript’s first page to be read aloud by a guest of honour and critiqued by a panel of pros. Description: What do authors need to know before they are published? Publishers are here to tell you.
When: Friday, 8 – 9 PM When: Saturday, 11 PM – Midnight
Room: Cedarbridge Room: Cedarbridge
Panellists: Phoebe Kitanidis, Moderator
Brian Hades
Stephanie Johanson
Ian Alexander Martin
Marcie Tentchoff
Panellists: Brian Hades
Ian Alexander Martin
 

 
Listen to This! Listen to This! Page 189
Description: Pros read brief bursts of excellent SF & F by writers well-​​known and obscure (not including their own humble selves). Description: You be the judge. Listen to a short excerpt from Page 189 of unknown works, then vote on whether you would read the book before learning what it is and who wrote it. You may be in for some surprises…
When: Sunday, 10 – 11 AM When: Sunday, 1 – 2 PM
Room: Richmond D Room: Richmond D
Panellists: Ian Alexander Martin, Moderator
Toren Atkinson
Casey June Wolf
Panellists: Ian Alexander Martin, Moderator
Jaymie Matthews
Sandra Wickham
Casey June Wolf

 Yes, it’ll be one action-​​packed, excitement-​​filled experience after another, Kids! Come on along!

…especially for the one on Saturday which I expect will be attended by the two panellists, three drunken louts, and every poetry-​​writing 68-​​year-​​old woman desperate to get their name on the front of a book before they die of anonymity.

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and/​or announce the latest news Atomic Fez has about the publishing house, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

DIRK DANGER LOVES LIFE, by Chris Rothe! Order your copy today!

This Week's Fish Wrap (№36): Big Discounts! More Prizes!

As a follow-​​up to last week’s post (mostly because no one was around, plus today’s post is on a Tuesday owing to yesterday’s Labour Day holiday), I’d like to take this opportunity to direct your attention to the subtle graphic above about the SEPTEMBER SALE-​​A-​​BRATION!!! that’s on right now. Did you notice it? It’s easy-​​to-​​miss, I know.

Yes, as a run-​​up to the two big events of the year – the British Fantasy Society’s “FantasyCon” in Brightin UK, as well as the West Coast Science Fiction Association-​​organized VCon in Richmond, BC – all of the printed editions of Atomic Fez books are on sale! Paperbacks for as little as $10 /​ £8, and hardbacks for just $25 /​ £15! Hooray! The same price as if you were attending the events in person without the bother of carting the books around to all of the panel discussions (although you have the postage to pay for by ordering them through the site). Get a load of all the special prices RIGHT HERE!!

DIRK DANGER LOVES LIFE, by Chris Rothe! Order your copy today!
DIRK DANGER LOVES LIFE, by Chris Rothe! Order your copy today!

In addition to the special pricing, by ordering copies of Dirk Danger Loves Life or Terribilis in their printed editions gets you in on the opportunity to win a copy of those books with the author’s personal scribbling in them!

Not only that, the difficulty of “pre-​​ordering” those titles has been thought about a bit more carefully since last week. In the UK, not only is Terribilis being done in a hardback binding for the International Edition as the North American Edition’s paperback binding, there’s a second run of Dirk Danger Loves Life that will be done in the UK shortly in addition to the North American printing that’s being done right now. So, what with both titles having a print run on each side of the Atlantic, the ‘pre-​​order’ period depends wildly due to production and delivery times wherever people happen to be.

Here’s the solution: each title gets TWO DRAWS! There’ll be a North American Draw for each of the two titles, then an International Draw for them once more. North American winners will still receive either a personalized, signed copy of either Dirk Danger Loves Life in paperback, or Terribilis in the International hardback edition, and now the “Rest of the World” will have their own opportunity to win one of each of those based on their production dates.

Hooray!

So, pre-​​order now and save some money, plus possibly win a signed copy! Plus, because you forgot to get copies when they came out originally, you can also order some other books and save on those as well! Either way, you win!

Advert for Westinghouse B&W Television (“National Geographic”, November 1965)

This Week's Fish Wrap (№31): “Sell Lots! Close Shop!” WTF?!?

“This Week’s Fish Wrap” is an on-​​​​going series of posts summing up the news of the previous seven days in the publishing industry, and appears here each Monday. It’s also quite possible that the posts merely serve as a dumping ground of links so that Atomic Fez Proprietor Ian Alexander Martin can find articles later to include in his occasional rants about how ‘EVERYONE ELSE IS ENTIRELY WRONG’ about various things.

Before we get to the ‘meat’ of the matter this week, let’s have a little something else first.

Last week may have been the first mention of Carol Weekes’ Terribilis here, but the raves are already in!

Terribilis is Incredibilis!

Carol Weekes has produced a most impressive novel with Terribilis and displays an expert mixture of great characterization and a fascinating, intricate, and very well-​​​​developed plot – and a deft touch with humor as well. I couldn’t put this novel down once I’d started it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended – a vastly enjoyable read from a gifted author. Fans of good mysteries and “who-​​​​done-​​​​its” will love this novel.

–Norman L. Rubenstein; Macabre Musings

Terribilis combines elements of a tight police procedural mystery with all the plot-​​​​twists and chills of a knock ‘em dead suspense thriller. Fans of Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton or Linwood Barclay would be delighted to discover this novel by Weekes.

Mark Leslie, editor of “Campus Chills”

If you’re interested in learning a bit about Carol, you could scratch that itch by reading this short Q&A–style interview with her: CLICK HERE. If that’s not enough, then follow the links below to win a copy of the novel in ARC format!

Goodreads ARC Giveaway

Terribilis by Carol Weekes

Terribilis

by Carol Weekes

Giveaway ends July 192011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

But lest you fear that Chris Rothe was getting left-​​out already, FEAR NOT!  Here’s a link to the interview with him: CLICK HERE. Then, if you so desire, head over to Goodreads and win a copy of his novel in ARC format!

Goodreads ARC Giveaway

Dirk Danger Loves Life by Chris Rothe

Dirk Danger Loves Life

by Chris Rothe

Giveaway ends July 192011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Advert for Westinghouse B&W Television (“National Geographic”, November 1965)
Advert for Westinghouse B&W Television (“National Geographic”, November 1965)

 

Sell More Books Than Ever! Close the Door Quicker, Too!

Well… poop. It seems that Borders USA is definitely not going to continue business after last week’s auction. For those of you just joining this saga, Borders USA has been battling the “Going Out of Business Sale” demons for nearly a year. Borders UK folded a couple of years ago, then the Australian version a few months ago, but the American chain looked like a solid contender for continuing life; especially when reports of Barnes & Noble were filled with stockholder revolt at its president. Thus, it seemed only a matter of time before B&N would be gone and the other players could sit back and count all that phat cash! Sadly, nope: as you’ll find from the first link there, it’s gone as of pretty much now and 11,000 people are to be laid off.

What with many independent, long term businesses finding it impossible to operate and pay ever-​​increasing costs for city property and commercial business taxes, adding the above events to the mix makes one wonder “will I ever walk into a book shop again?” When it comes to pass that, as is the case with Borders’ auction last week, no one is even interested in placing a bid for a multiple-​​location, national chain of stores – no matter what those stores happen to offer – you really have to wonder about things.

AND YET, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has sold over 2m copies in the UK alone,¹ and the latest in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin (no relation to this publisher) has also done quite well, thank you. How in blazes can a store specializing in books go out of business when books are selling so damned well?

As noted above, yes, much of the predictable reason for this is taxes. Additional problems are the ludicrous deep discounts of popular titles, offered by non-​​bookshops such as Tesco (and see the UK article above for confirmation of that). Another retailer guilty of absurd deep-​​discounting is Amazon.com/.co.uk/.ca/.de/.fr/.jp². The one way the large publishers attempt to off-​​set the loss of revenue is the avaricious prices of the eBooks, plus ever-​​increasing RRP for titles which everyone knows will never be referred to without a massive “% OFF!!” slapped on top of it.

Part of the solution, as far as publishers are concerned, is to try and reach the readers as directly as possible, though their own web-​​sites such as you see here. However, if you’re an average reader, your first instinct is not to ask the question “who is publishing that new book by my favourite author?” but actually “does my favourite author have a new book out?” So, where does the person wanting that alleged book go to find out what the title and cost of it go…? Possibly the author’s web-​​site, but probably one of the Amazon sites. The only other location might be, oddly, their discount grocer or Brobdignagian-​​sized box of natchos retailer. that seems to be the way things are going, anyway.

Sorry, no answers here, nor even much in the way of hope, just a post to note the placing of another brick in a construction of something. I’ve no idea even what that construction is shaped like, but one does feel a tad that the final form will look a bit dreary. Blast.

Thoughts…? Hope for the future…? Anyone…? Anyone…?


¹ By the by, Bookseller.com, you need to fix the links in your e-​​mailed daily summary of articles, because the only way I could locate a link to that piece that worked was using the Publishers Weekly newsletter’s link that they got via Twitter somehow. [ BACK  ]

² …and soon to add Australia to the mix, apparently; just in time to wave good bye to the last Borders Aus/​NZ sign to be removed! [ BACK  ]