Monday, October 14, 2019

Last Call for Unearthed!


Master Pieces is going into its final stages... and that means it's last call for Unearthed!

Our contributors were exceedingly kind in giving of their time and effort to raise funds for the American Research Center in Egypt. To that end, we will not be leaving Unearthed as part of our permanent library. Their stories may appear in other volumes at their discretion, so be sure to keep an eye on your favorite authors from the collection!

Funds so far (plus a little extra on top from us) have already been sent to the ARCE in anticipation of the end of sales. Anything further between now and the end of the run will be sent along as well. So if you've been on the fence, not only is your last chance to grab a copy on the horizon... your purchase will still go toward the charity!

We'll announce the exact date of final sales soon, but for now we can say we'll be closing them out about a week before Master Pieces goes on sale. It'll be announced big on social media so you can't miss it.

For now, get your last orders in!

Monday, September 30, 2019

MASTER PIECES: Cover Reveal!

With our next charity anthology just around the corner, we figured it was about time to reveal the masterpiece that will serve as the cover of our Master Pieces:


The cover was designed by Ginger Hoesly, who previously created covers for Seasons of War: Gallifrey and Unearthed (as well as an interior piece for the latter). She's also the co-creator of the book series Owl's Flower with our own Kara Dennison.

More information on Master Pieces, including ordering, will be forthcoming. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for more news. And if you'd like some of Ginger's art for your own (including goods of the Doctor Who variety), check out her shop page!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: Who Is Kendo?

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It's time to come back around to the upcoming Chronosmith Chronicles and look at another of our returning characters, Kendo. First appearing in Seasons of War: Gallifrey, Kendo will join Savalia, Mordicai, and Tor Fasa in a completely new universe, saving the world their way... though what "their way" constitutes may take some figuring out between them.

Before starting her new life aboard the Hexachron, Kendo was a politician — not a particularly famous or highly regarded one, but one with big ideas and goals. Unfortunately, her eagerness to get her ideas heard was constantly at odds with her anxiety. On occasion this would simply mean she found it hard to speak her mind; at worst, she might make promises or plans beyond her capabilities, thinking it would help bolster her cause.

Kendo's life has been completely different to her cousin Savalia's. Where Savalia grew up in a small town with little to her name except tradition and work ethic, Kendo had a comfortable life in a big city. Nonetheless, she had both an understanding of and connection to Kendo's lifestyle, and much of her work in politics was devoted to tearing down misconceptions about the different classes of their world.

Surprisingly, especially to herself, Kendo often ends up being the diplomat of the Chronosmiths. She has neither the poise nor the exceptional abilities of Tor Fasa, but when in her element she excels at navigating dialogue with new people in new places. She tends to sell herself short on this point, especially when at her most high-strung, but the results show.

Amongst the group, Kendo is naturally most closely tied to Savalia, her one remaining family member. However, she has some degree of respect, and almost friendship, for Tor Fasa. In a different time she looked up to him because of his connections and the results his methods brought. Now that she is more aware of exactly what those methods are, she's slightly more hesitant to let herself be impressed by him. At the end of the day, the two are on a far more equal footing than she's ever likely to realize.

Stay tuned for more news about The Chronosmith Chronicles, its characters, and the writers who will be joining us for its first run!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

State of the Altrix: Our Master Pieces and Upcoming Adventures


It's time for a quick check-in behind the scenes! As ever, we appreciate the support, reviews, and contributions from our readers and writers.

First up, Master Pieces. We're currently getting one or two final pieces in place and edited. The cover has been drafted by Ginger Hoesly and is being finished up as we speak. We're looking forward to a cover reveal once it's done. From the line art alone, we can tell it's going to be a... well, you know.

Additionally, progress is being made behind the scenes on The Chronosmith Chronicles. A first draft of the first book by Paul Driscoll is done and about to enter editing mode, and the second book is well underway itself. The adventures of the Chronosmiths beyond their original dimension are already looking exciting!

Finally, don't forget we're editing one of the four upcoming essay anthologies from Watching Books! You Goes for the Remote will feature personal essays on British television throughout the decades. There are also books on British film, music, and books, if one of those catches your interest.

If you're looking for things to tide you over as you wait for Master Pieces:


  • Make sure to pick up your copy of Unearthed! And if you already have, we'd appreciate a review on GoodReads, Amazon, or your book review platform of choice. It helps get the word out!
  • Be sure to put in your pre-order for the Obverse Anniversary Sextet! The book series comes out next month and features new adventures from Iris Wildthyme, Señor 105, Faction Hollywood, and more, finished off with a new City of the Saved book by Kara Dennison!
  • Have a poke around Ginger's shop to pick up some of her work!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Remembering Terrance Dicks


As of this writing, we at Altrix Books received the news of the passing of Terrance Dicks literally moments ago. It's hard to say good-bye to any member of the Doctor Who family, but even more so for someone who has been so influential for so long.

Rather than issue a "statement" from Altrix, we'd each like to take a moment to give our own thoughts individually:

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It’s no exaggeration to say that Altrix books would not be here today if it wasn’t for Terrance Dicks, whose death today, for all of the many writers he has inspired, leaves a huge void in the Doctor Who universe. Together with Barry Letts, Dicks masterminded an incredible period of success for the show at a time when there had been talk of cancellation. This was the Doctor Who I grew up with in the seventies and Terrance Dicks was at the heart and soul of it.

My earliest memory of Doctor Who is being taken to see the stage show The Seven Keys to Doomsday, scripted by Dicks. I was enthralled by the spectacle of it all, mesmerised by the Daleks and the Clawrantulars, but above all gripped by an adventure story that I could understand and believe. I decided when we left the theatre that day to go home and make adventures of my own. I started drawing little comic books and making plasticine models, I fantasised about the off-limit areas in my town and beyond, such as the local dump or the boarded-up windmill, and I turned all kinds of household objects – from toothbrushes to an upturned rug – into props or even characters.

I wasn’t escaping, I was making sense of the world around me through story and imaginative play. I have Terrance Dicks to thank for that. His work on the show stood out more than most because it spoke my language. Robot is still to this day, one of my favourite episodes, complete with that immortal line “there’s no point being grown up, if you can’t be childish sometimes’.

But back then, I didn’t read the on-screen credits or theatre program. I only knew of Terrance’s name because of the Doctor Who section in my local library. There was an almost mystical quality about the early Targets, especially the ones with those strange old men on the cover, the Doctor with another face (something I was getting used to after Trevor Martin, on stage, and then Tom Baker, on screen, replaced my first Doctor, Jon Pertwee). I would flick through the lovely smelling books, trying to make of a story through the occasional illustrations and wishing I could read better.

Even before my first day at school, when I still couldn’t tie up my shoelaces and had no idea what a urinal was, I’d learnt to read. My Mother’s musty Enid Blyton and Richard Crompton books were among my first ‘by torchlight’ sleep (and nightmare) avoiding therapies, but it was those Doctor Who novels that I really wanted to bring home and read under the pillow. Thanks to the library card, I very quickly learnt that I would probably enjoy a Doctor Who book that little bit more if it was written by Terrance Dicks. It was also a bonus that I could get through his ones so much quicker. I looked forward to each new adaptation, but none more so than a Terrance Dicks. It didn’t matter whether or not I liked the adventure he was novelising. Dicks could bring to life the most dismal of stories.

My love of reading and of writing is in large part down to Terrance. His written voice was so distinctive, that even though I’d never heard him speak, it was almost as if he was part of the family – Uncle Terrance, as he became affectionately known. In my teenage years, I finally got to hear and see Terrance speak about Doctor Who and his work and I wasn’t disappointed. His unbounded enthusiasm, that childlike glint in his eye as he told all kinds of engaging tales, real and invented, and that absolute commitment to the Doctor as a hero for our times, all turned the legend maker into something of a legend himself.

One of the many characters Terrance had a hand in creating was the Doctor’s nemesis, the Master, and I’m sure I echo all the authors involved in our next anthology, Master Pieces, in saying that I hope our book will be seen as a fitting tribute. Indeed, one of Terrance’s brilliant lines lies at the heart of the book: “the cosmos without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about (The Five Doctors).” The mortality of our real-world heroes, especially those we grew up with is, similarly, a hard thing to contemplate. Terrance Dicks will be sorely missed, but he will never be forgotten.

Paul.

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When I was younger, whether or not you could grow up with Doctor Who in America was solely a function of whether your local PBS station cared to run it. If you didn't discover it as a child, you discovered it as an adult from existing fans with episodes taped off PBS. If you wanted to learn more about the people who worked on the show, there was no Google or Wikipedia or DVD extras; you went to Myth Makers videos with soft-edged cases, or to your friends who brought you the taped episodes.

Terrance Dicks was always a name floating in the background of all the Doctor Who I encountered. The names of all of the writers and editors — Terry Nation, Pip and Jane Baker, even people as recent and accessible as Andrew Cartmel — were passed around among older fans at sci-fi conventions as I scrambled to discover who was who and why each got talked about as much as they did.

For others discovering Doctor Who stateside, he was a much more constant companion. At least one friend has noted that he discovered the series solely through the Target novelisations, as there was a time when it was easier to find those in the U.S. than a PBS station running episodes. I received a stack of those books myself when a friend was cleaning house, marking the first time I was hyper-aware of Terrance's name.

Not having had the opportunity to grow up with Doctor Who, a lot of Terrance's effect on my life, career, and fandom is in retrospect. He was responsible, in whole or in part, for concepts so deeply woven into the series as to become inextricable: Time Lords, the planet that would eventually become known as Gallifrey, the Sisterhood of Karn, and — of course — the Master. Hundreds of us are realizing today just how much of a hand he had in the series we love, even those of us who already knew him as a towering influence within it. As Paul mentioned, Altrix would not exist if it weren't for his creations... not only because he kept the show alive, but also because so much of what he injected into the series became the keystone for the show's 50th anniversary (and, by default, our flagship book).

It's very telling when, while outlining someone's work, it's quicker to say what they didn't contribute to than what they did. There's a reason Terrance's name has always floated in the background of Doctor Who: it's literally always been there. From his work on Patrick Troughton's season to his non-fiction and Big Finish contributions, he's one of a very few threads that extends almost entirely from one end of the Whoniverse tapestry to the current raw edge.

In my various lines of work, I've gotten to hear industry people talk openly about other industry people. Terrance was one of the golden few who never got a "Yeah, but" from anyone who spoke about him. Even jokes about him were knowing and affectionate. Everyone either knew him or knew of him, and mention of his name evolved into story time.

Today's social media is sad, but also enlightening. Fans are going through their bookshelves to find their favorite bits of writing from Terrance, be it a book in general or a specific line. I've seen more than one photo of a family warming up their copy of "The Five Doctors" for the evening. It's a beautiful things to see, and truly the best way to remember just how much of an impact he had on Doctor Who. It's a show that's an ever-growing network of contributions, but the stories he built will always be a strong through-line.

My thoughts tonight are with those who knew him. Thank you for sharing your stories and for helping the world remember him fondly.

Kara.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Master Pieces - Building the Jigsaw



Over the last few months I’ve been putting together a collection of short stories starring the various incarnations of Doctor Who’s arch-enemy, the Master. This is the first fiction anthology I’ve edited and I’ve enjoyed the new challenge immensely. It’s been a big learning curve, made easier by having a wonderfully talented and generous bunch of authors on board, who have been a pleasure to work with.


Some of you will know that the project began in 2016, under the excellent stewardship of Scott Claringbold of Red Ted Books. When the baton was passed on to me, I already had around twelve accepted stories, approved but waiting to be edited. There were very few restrictions in place, with the collection pitched as being open and diverse. The story must star the Master, either an existing incarnation or one of the author’s own making, and to make Master Pieces stand out from other Doctor Who collections, writers were told that the Doctor was not to feature as an active character. That was as far as it got at that stage – no overriding arc, no continuity links between stories, and no methodology on how the collection would be structured. This wasn’t an act of laziness – the idea was to allow for as much freedom as possible and see what came out of it.


The first job was to put out a new call for stories to fill in the gaps. I wanted to make sure that all the televised Masters had equal billing, and so individual authors were approached with specific Masters in mind. The response was fantastic, humbling and heart-warming given that authors were writing for free, with all proceeds going to The Stroke Association. We were able to increase the roster of writers to 20.


There had been some early talk about a connecting group of flash-fiction stories, scattered between the more substantial ones, all supplied by one of our fine writers, and these would have been fantastic. I decided, however, against this approach because it allowed us to include many more authors than originally envisaged. Pleasingly, that work has not gone to waste and will be appearing in other forms. A couple of unused pitches were also revisited and the writers in question rose to the challenge and turned their initial ideas into terrific stories.


Deciding on an opening story was straightforward and allowed for a logical and simple ‘in order of the incarnation’s appearance’ structure, notwithstanding the fact that some of our Masters are either from alternative dimensions or new creations who could, in theory, be slotted in anywhere. Chris McKeon’s opener also sets up rather neatly the conceit of the Doctor’s absence throughout the book. That absence provided the basis for the final story in the collection, which serves as both a bookend and a way into any potential sequel. 


What is fascinating is how hard it is to write about the Master without the Doctor. This should be of no surprise, given that the character was rooted in the idea of the Doctor having an arch-enemy from his own race. He is, as if often cited, the Moriarty of Doctor Who. But if Sherlock’s nemesis can gain his own billing, thanks to the genius of Anthony Horowitz, then why not the Master, too?


When I was researching the character for Obverse Books’ Black Archive on the 1992 TV Movie, Doctor Who, I came across an excellent piece in an old Doctor Who Magazine by Lance Parkin. He notes how the character became a generic evil guy – the go-to of Doctor Who villains. Making sure that our collection added light and shade to the Master was an important consideration when it came to selecting and editing the stories. The very concept of Master Pieces was an excellent opportunity to explore the character beyond the lazy stereotypes. 

You’ll find in the book stories that explore the nature of good and evil and question the reasons for the Master’s villainy and indeed the Doctor’s, perhaps unwitting, role in all of that. At the same time, I’ve avoided overly retconning the facts as we know them, and hopefully the unmistakable voices of all the TV incarnations all leap from the page. He and she is the same character we love to hate, or hate to love. The collection reflects the variety of its parent show. There’s black humour, the surreal, alternative universes, bases under siege, swashbuckling adventures, heists, horror, space opera, political intrigue, even a touch of romance.


One night, when I was waiting for a couple of new entries, I did a very rudimentary statistical analysis of the stories we had in, partly out of curiosity, but also to ensure we had the balance right. Here’s what I found:


  • 9 stories discuss or feature the Master’s use of hypnosis.
  • 8 stories discuss or feature the Tissue Compression Eliminator.
  • 13 stories include the phrase “I am the Master” and 7 of these use the catchphrase “I am the Master, and you will obey me,” or a variation thereof.
  • In 11 stories the Master assumes a false identity, but only in one of these does he wear a disguise (in another 2 he discusses his love for dressing-up).
  • 9 stories mention or feature Gallifrey.
  • 1 story features the Daleks and 6 others name-check them.
  • 1 story features the Cybermen and 3 others name-check them.
  • 1 story features the Rani, who gets a name-check in one other.
  • 7 stories do not mention the Doctor by name. In total there are 203 uses of the word Doctor (a couple of these in reference to another doctor).
  • 2 stories do not mention the Master by name (one of which is a Missy story). The word Master as a title is used 678 times in total.

We are planning to publish this Autumn, so keep checking the Altrix Books social media accounts for news, including the cover reveal, the full roster of writers, and ordering information. In the meantime, we have been releasing teasers for each of the stories on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


I hope you enjoy reading these misadventures as much as I have editing them.

Paul.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Beyond the Altrix: Digital Monsters and Scary Stories!

Have you been enjoying our look behind the scenes at the stories of Master Pieces? There are a few more to come so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts! In the meantime, we'd like to bring your attention to a couple of things you may enjoy from our contributors:


Firstly, if there's an anime fan in your family (and there probably is!), don't forget that this is your last day to order Gokigen na Chou! The Digimon anniversary zine features art by 44 artists, including our cover artist Ginger Hoesly. There's also an art piece by her in the zine itself.

You can select from a variety of bundles that include prints and other goodies along with the zine. It's a great gift for a family member or friend who grew up with the show; but after today, it will not be available for sale!



Secondly, our friends over at 18th Wall have released their latest anthology, Sockhopes & Seances. The book features a collection of spooky stories set in the 1950s, including works by our co-founder Kara Dennison, Unearthed artist Sophie Iles, and Spragg Memorial Competition winner Joshua Wanisko. Books are available in print or digital formats.


You can still pick up a copy of Unearthed in our shop, too — and keep an eye out for more this year!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Get a Glimpse of Our Master Pieces!

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Looking forward to Master Pieces and want an early taste? We're sharing some of our favorite bits of the upcoming stories on social media!

The charity anthology, currently scheduled to come out before the end of 2019, will feature new stories about Doctor Who's Master behind all the different faces you know (and a few you don't!). If you've been following our blog for a while, you probably caught our first announcement, but as we draw closer, time for a bit of a refresher.

Master Pieces was originally conceived of over at Red Ted Books (the publisher behind Scream of the Shalka Doctor anthology Nine Lives), and will now be handled by Altrix by our own Paul Driscoll. Funds raised will go to the UK's Stroke Association.

The book will feature stories from both our founders, as well as authors including Jon Arnold, Tim Gambrell, Simon A Brett, Scott Claringbold, and many more. Interested? Then keep an eye on our social media!

Over on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we're running teasers from all the stories in the anthology. Keep an eye out for lines from the upcoming book. Can you guess what each story is about — and, in some cases, which Master it's about?

We'll be back with more news on the anthology soon!

Monday, July 22, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: I.E. Kneverday


We've still got a few Unearthed contributors reporting in with Q&As, and we'll be sharing them as they come in! This week, author I.E. Kneverday gives us a look behind the historical fiction piece "Was I A Viking Old?":


Altrix Books: What about the UNEARTHED concept made you want to pitch a story?

I.E. Kneverday: The prompt for UNEARTHED offered the perfect balance of specificity and open-endedness. It was very clear upfront that Altrix Books was looking for stories about “the contents of any coffin, sarcophagus, mausoleum, or other big mysterious tomb,” and that at some point in the story the writer had to reveal what was inside. (Reminded me of the famous — or perhaps infamous — "Mystery Box" approach that J.J. Abrams takes with his writing). But apart from that prime directive, there were no limitations on genre, setting, or time period. My mind was free to wander. And wander it did indeed.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story,

Kneverday: My story, "Was I a Viking Old?", is a work of historical fiction set in 1840s New England. It centers around the real-life discovery of an ancient skeleton adorned in armor. The story's main protagonist, Naomi Haynes, is a (fictional) reporter on a quest for truth. After arriving in Fall River, Massachusetts, she soon uncovers conflicting stories as to the skeleton's origins. Famed poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow plays a central role as the progenitor of the most popular story, but just how accurate is his take on events? Our intrepid reporter Naomi puts herself at great peril to find out...


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Kneverday: The title of my story, "Was I a Viking Old?" is a line taken directly from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem "The Skeleton in Armor" published in 1841. And indeed, the poem plays a key role in the story itself, with Longfellow arriving in Fall River (an actual town that Longfellow actually visited) to perform a reading.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Kneverday: The most challenging part of creating my story was pacing. As a work of historical fiction, it was tempting to go deep on all of the various historical details. But given that this story is really a mystery at heart, I had to push myself to trim the fat and keep my protagonist moving forward. Instead of describing the details of Chekhov's Gun (or in this case, Chekhov's cutlass) ad nauseam, I made a conscious effort to get to the action sooner rather than later.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Kneverday: You can read more of my short fiction on my website, Kneverday.com. I also recently edited (and contributed to) an anthology of urban Celtic fantasy, NEON DRUID, which is available on Amazon. If you're interested in crossing over into the Celtic Otherworld, a place where the mischievous gods, monsters, and heroes of Celtic mythology intermingle among us, NEON DRUID is for you. Finally, for my latest writing updates, you can follow me on Twitter.


Pick up your copy of Unearthed!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Done Binge-Watching? Get Reading!

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While Paul has been putting the finishing touches on Master Pieces and Kara has been trying to keep up with all the new summer anime coming out, Netflix has put out the third season of Stranger Things. And if you're anything like most of the world (except Kara, who's lagging behind as usual), you're already done with the latest season of adventures.

If you're craving more... well, we can't help you there. We don't have those kinds of insider contacts. But if you're in a Stranger Things mood and feeling the urge to delve back into the very first season, let our own Paul Driscoll be your guide!

Stranger Things Book Cover

Paul has penned a Silver Archive entry for the beginning of the blockbuster show, exploring both the real and fictional elements that inspired the story of the weird events happening within Hawkins, Indiana.

The Silver Archive is a sister series to the well-received Black Archive: Obverse Books' series of critical monographs on Doctor Who stories, to which both Kara and Paul have contributed installments. The new series steps outside Who and its adjacent titles, applying the same style and variety of writing to the rest of the world of television.

So if you're craving a deeper look back at where Stranger Things began, be sure to grab a copy from Obverse! There are also volumes on Sapphire & Steel so far, as well as a Christmas compendium by Paul Magrs.

Meanwhile, work continues on Master Pieces as mentioned, and we look forward to offering you some previews of that—and other upcoming projects—in the not-too-distant future.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Outside the Altrix: Black Archive Bracket and Obverse Sextet!


As we work away on our various projects here at Altrix Books, we're also working away on things outside our own venue. Fans of Doctor Who, its expanded universe, and sci-fi in general will want to take note.

First off, the Black Archive Twitter account is currently running a "World Cup" style bracket, asking fans to narrow down their favorite of the critical Doctor Who line. With 32 titles in the series, the numbers are just right. Paul Driscoll's piece on The God Complex survived the very first round, but what's to come? Kara Dennison's Heaven Sent will be up eventually. Be sure to check out the Twitter account and vote for your favorites—remember, you're voting for the book itself, not the Doctor Who story!

And of course, vote for your actual favorites in the line... but if that happens to be one of ours, we thank you very much!


Speaking of Obverse, the publisher's anniversary Sextet series is now up for pre-order! Kara is behind Vanishing Tales of the City, the sixth installment in the Sextet and the line's tribute to Philip Purser-Hallard's City of the Saved series. Head over to Obverse Books to buy one or more of the books (we personally recommend all six... just trust us on this one)!

Thanks as always for everyone's support, and we look forward to having more news on upcoming titles to deliver soon!

Monday, June 24, 2019

State of the Altrix


As promised not long ago, there's a lot on at Altrix Books! If the flurry of information over the last few weeks was a lot, we'll break it down for you.

Unearthed

Thanks to everyone who's bought a copy and who's spread the word about our very first anthology! We've really enjoyed bringing you Q&As from our writers and artists, and may have a few more in the wings now that Kara's back from her trip. If you haven't bought your copy yet, head over to our shop and grab one! We're available in physical and digital format, and all proceeds go to the American Research Center in Egypt.


Master Pieces

As you may have seen, our second charity anthology is gearing up for release very soon. Originally conceived by Scott Claringbold of Red Ted Books, the collection will focus on that other famous renegade Time Lord in all their forms. The cover is in the works, and we look forward to revealing it soon!


You Goes for the Remote

Paul and Kara are teaming up with Watching Books to handle one of their four upcoming essay collections. While this isn't technically an Altrix release, we'd love for our readers to have a look at the submissions page! We'll be handling You Goes for the Remote, a collection of essays on British television. There are also collections about film, literature, and music, headed up by some lovely people, so take a look!


The Chronosmith Chronicles

We know, we know. The longest tease of all. But the pieces are falling into place, and soon we'll have everything we need to tell you what's coming! Our logo will be forthcoming (with a dash of inspiration from the aforementioned trip), along with book titles and the names of the two authors who will be joining us for the Chronosmiths' first "season."


And the Rest...


Yes, believe it or not, there's still more we've not told you. But that's for a later date, once a few things have gone where they need to go. We can't wait to lift the curtain on these... it's turning out to be a packed first year for Altrix!

Monday, June 17, 2019

UNEARTHED ARTIST INTERVIEW: Sophie Iles


Artist and author Sophie Iles is one of our three contributing artists for Unearthed! A notable presence in the Doctor Who fan art scene, Sophie has turned her distinctive work to tales of ghosts, cursed urns, and gentleman thieves. Today, we talk to her about her work in the book, from ancient history to outer space.



Altrix Books: How did you choose which stories in Unearthed you wanted to do art for?

Sophie Iles: We both were given what stories were available to read and say which took our fancy the most and discussed if you had any favourites as a sort of first-come-first-serve basis. However, as both myself and Monica have our own tastes when it came to stories so it was soon really obvious that there wouldn’t be much fighting needed. So that meant I was able to draw the stories I liked the most!


Altrix: How was the subject matter compared to the sort of art you usually do?

Iles: Most of my work that’s currently out is fan related, like Doctor Who, so it was fun to plan and draw something different. This time it was either existing people from history, which I then had to research, or what characters the writers had come up with. In particular, during "Was I a Viking Old?" working out what an important building would look like within historical context, or the complexities of a spacesuit in "Quadrireme."


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of your work on the book?

Iles: With anything that’s illustrating a story it’s always hard trying to create art that is both eye catching and an extension of the story already being told, without giving the game away. It’s a difficult balance that I’m still learning to do.


Altrix: What was the most fun?

Iles: The most fun was figuring out what to draw for the "Raffles the Amateur Cracksman: An Egyptian Cameo," which was great fun because I didn’t know anything about Raffles until I read the story and compelled me to look him up and make sure I had all the correct costume and hairstyles to fit the era. 


Altrix: Where else can people find your work online? Anything else coming out soon?

Iles: I have a website where you can find my previous projects and in regards to social media I can be found most of the time on my Twitter account but I also have Facebook and Instagram.


Regarding upcoming work my first short story is due to be published in the next few weeks and some plans for more drawing projects to be announced very soon!


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Watching Books





This month saw the release of Watching Books’ One More Lifetime – the latest entry in the popular You and Who range. The collection includes reflective essays on every episode of Peter Capaldi’s tenure as the Doctor as well as a diverse range of miscellaneous pieces carried over from previous volumes and cancelled projects. It features a number of Altrix Books contributors and friends, including writer and artist Sophie Iles whose work graces the cover.

Plans are already afoot for a four volume follow up series in a similar vein, focusing on British entertainment.

You Goes to the Pictures (movies)
You Goes to the Library  (literature)
You Goes for a Song (music)
You Goes for the Remote (TV)  
                                    
Kara and Paul are delighted to be involved as editors of the TV book, and we are currently looking for essays. If there’s a British TV show that has special significance to you and your story (not necessarily a favourite, but something that had a profound effect on your life) we’d love to read about it. 

For details on how to submit to any of the four volumes, go to https://youandwho.weebly.com/you-goes.html

Saturday, June 15, 2019

COMING SOON: Master Pieces


Altrix Books is delighted to announce some details about our next charity anthology, and it's one of special interest to fans of the BBC hit series Doctor WhoOur chosen charity for this collection is The Stroke Association.

For centuries, whether by design or default, the Master has lived in the shadow of another Time Lord. An obsession and fierce rivalry with the Doctor has been at the heart of countless evil schemes, causing him to once observe that ‘a universe without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about’.

The Master is usually trying to steal something from the Doctor(s) – their lives, their TARDIS, their companions, their precious Earth, their morality – but even when the renegade’s old friend isn’t the focus of the latest twisted plan, the Doctor is meant to notice and attempt to thwart it.

So what happens when the Doctor doesn’t show up? Can the Master emerge from the shadow of being the Doctor’s arch-enemy? Is there really no pleasure, no mischief, and no reward to be had in a world without the Doctor?

Edited by Paul Driscoll and conceived by Scott Claringbold (Red Ted Books) Master Pieces features stories from Ian McLaughlin, Kara Dennison, Chris McKeon, Scott Claringbold, Mike Morgan, Jon Arnold, Tim Gambrell, Rachel Whitehead, Daniel Wealands, Simon A Brett, Steve Hatcher, Lee Rawlings, Dan Barratt, Mark McManus, Paul Driscoll, Nathan Mullins, Daniel Tessier, and Richard Gurl.

Cover art/design and order information coming soon!

Friday, June 14, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Sharyna Tran


What do you get when you cross ancient history with Iron Chef? Sharyna Tran penned the Unearthed story "Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme?" and we're doing a Q&A with her today about what led her to this unique addition to the anthology!


Altrix Books: What about the UNEARTHED concept made you want to pitch a story?

Sharyna Tran: I liked all the questions that came up with the discovery of the black sarcophagus in Alexandria, especially once it was opened. Who were the woman and two men inside? Why did one of them have a hole in their skull? What was that red liquid?…And what if the answers to these questions were completely unrealistic, yet somehow still semi-plausible, while also drawing on a centuries-old societal fascination with craftsmanship, competition, and food?

(Although, to be honest, wanting to come up with a reason for the internet's desire to "drink the sarcophagus juice" was also a factor.)



Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Tran: "Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme" is an announcer's-eye view of a very peculiar culinary competition, and a natural by-product of my love for food, food TV, and absurdist fiction.


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Tran: The American dub of the original Japanese "Iron Chef" was definitely an inspiration. Also, while diving into databases of papyrus scraps for non-royal Demotic and Hellenic names in Ptolemaic Egypt, I wound up finding additional inspiration for the backstory of one of my characters.



Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Tran: Despite (or perhaps because of) the absurd parts of the piece, it was important to me to make as many of the little details as historically plausible as possible, so I did a lot of research into Ptolemaic Alexandria in the 3rd century BCE. While challenging, and requiring the use of some very appreciated JSTOR resources, it was ultimately quite rewarding, as Egypt at that time was a melting pot of different cultures, cuisines, and cooking styles. And at every point when I researched rather than relying on stereotypes, the story got better.



Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?  

Tran: This is my first published work (yay!), which is exciting, but also means I don't have much elsewhere for people to read. There is a Deluxe Edition of "Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme" with some additional minor edits that expand one of the characters, which didn't quite make it into the book (because, well…first published work).

However, in the interest of increasing donations for the American Research Center in Egypt, I'm sending a .PDF of said version of my story by request to readers who e-mail me at sharyna.t@gmail.com with a screenshot or photo of their receipts for both Unearthed and their additional ARCE donation over $2 (if you bought a paperback) or $3 (if you bought the ebook).


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

UNEARTHED ARTIST INTERVIEW: Monica Marier


Today, we're doing a Q&A with one of the three artists who lent their talent to Unearthed! Author and artist Monica Marier supplied artwork for the stories "Disinfection Protocol," "Long Time Dead," "Ran for Your Life," "Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme?," and "The Sarcophagus."


Altrix Books: How did you choose which stories in UNEARTHED you wanted to do art for? 

Monica Marier: We were attacked in our sleep and awoke tied to a chair and with electrodes stuck onto our skin. The electrodes were connected to a single car battery. We were then told over a crackly loudspeaker that the only way we'd be freed was to yell out numbers one through 13. If we hesitated or repeated numbers, or fought over them, we'd each receive a shock as penalty. If the filthy Hello Kitty clock on the wall of that dark room was to be believed, we were there for 14 hours. I don't know how we got back, but when I awoke on my lawn, the titles of our assignments were tattooed on my arm. I can only assume Sophie's arm had the other titles. Was Ginger there? I don't remember. It's a blur.

(REAL ANSWER) There were a few stories that just leaped out at me as I read the collection. Peel's vampire, and DeCandido's Norse Gods took me back to the sort of stories I enjoyed as a kid. I think every story I illustrated tickled me in some way and reading them transported me.


Altrix: How was the subject matter compared to the sort of art you usually do?

Marier: Well, I can't say I'm a stranger to horror and gothic stuff. My supernatural comic, Skeleton Crew, has tested my mettle and my stomach for over 13 years now. I think my fascination with the gross and the weird goes back to the british comics from the 70's and 80's that were always lying around my house as a kid, giving my nightmares. The rest was comedy, and I love drawing comedy. The human face in its expressiveness has always been a source of joy to me.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of your work on the book?

Marier: The most bated breath, heart-stopping fear involved in illustration is telling the author your vision and showing them your sketches and hoping against hope that you're not going to hear those dreaded words: "That's not what I envisioned at all! You couldn't' be more wrong!" But you talk and you move on and reach something that you both enjoy and can invest your love in. That's the process and that's how it should be. If the author isn't happy, I'm not happy.


Altrix: What was the most fun?

Marier: As I said, I love facial expressions. My favorite thing is to look in my phone camera and contort my face into these horrible shapes as I try to get raw emotion into them: terror, frustration, pain, joy, confusion, foreboding. You really have to be part actor, part film director when it comes to getting that expression just right. I also had fun putting in all those Norse mythological easter eggs into the Floridian bar. I don't get to do things like that very often in comics. No time.

Altrix: Where else can people find your work online? Anything else coming out soon?

Marier: My comics, Skeleton Crew and CRIT! can both be found on the Tangent Artists Website, and we're also uploading them onto Webtoons. On the writing side of things, my first published novel, "Must Love Dragons" will be re-released through Tangent Artists soon (kind of a 10th anniversary edition). It's a light fantasy novel about a grizzled ex-ranger who comes out of retirement while his wife is pregnant (again) and while the kobolds and dragons are still a nuisance, working with noobs and the unions are even worse.

It was a pleasure answering you, and I hope I get to work with all these amazing people again soon.


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Monday, June 10, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James K. Maddox



Today on the Altrix Blog, we're talking to James K. Maddox about his Unearthed story "Quadrireme." In a book focused largely on the past, Maddox travels to the future for his interpretation of the brief!


Altrix Books: What about the UNEARTHED concept made you want to pitch a story? 

James K. Maddox: "What's in the box?" is a concept which provided a huge amount of creative freedom—my initial idea generation produced possibilities as varied as the missing link, an unpublished Agatha Christie, a new colour and, inexplicably, a milkman—so it was great to let my imagination run wild. Knowing that the anthology would help to support the American Research Center in Egypt made things even better; it was good to know that writing about excavation and discovery could help support the real thing.       


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Maddox: Astronaut Maria Shelby is travelling on a solo trip around the Solar System, accompanied by the morbidly-acronymed Microcircuit Operated Rendezvous Terminal A.I. But when she receives a call from Earth telling her that a strange, spherical object has been detected near her position, Shelby finds herself unearthing something beyond her wildest dreams—and from far beyond the stars...     


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Maddox: It's always interesting to think what would remain if we suddenly went extinct. What would happen to the movies, the paintings, or the music that we've made over the years? The Golden Records of the Voyager space probes are floating around out there and might, one day, provide other civilisations with a glimpse of our own. And if we've sent our culture out into space, who's to say that others haven't to? There's something really inspiring about the Golden Records—even if the human race goes boom, we'll still endure culturally in the wider universe, preserved on those phonographs. I think being a Doctor Who fan is bound to make you a bit skittish about media preservation (too bad about all those missing episodes, eh?), so it's nice to think that the works of the Earth might endure, to some extent, even after we've gone. 

But what would happen if somebody from another planet found those records, or we found somebody else's? There's an episode of the short-lived Babylon 5 spin-off Crusade ("The Needs of Earth"), which I've got to give credit to for setting the gears of my brain in motion on this subject. Would they inspire fear, hope, or something else entirely? Those are the questions that were buzzing around my head while writing, and hopefully "Quadrireme" will do a decent-ish job of answering a few of them. 

Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Maddox: Coming up with an acronym that spelled out M.O.R.T while sounding sufficiently kitschy was a pain. I had to do a fair bit of research into the time-delay when transmitting radio signals in space (hopefully I got it right!). I'm indebted to Tim, April and my long-suffering mother for helping to polish the toe-curlingly bad early drafts into something halfway readable.   


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Maddox: I've had a few short stories published here and there: "The Counterfeit Man" in Asymmetry Magazine, the purple-prosed "Morpheus" in Storgy Magazine, and "Sense of Self" in the Doctor Who charity anthology Unbound: Adventures in Time and Space, which is cheating because I co-edited it. You can find me on Twitter @bottleuniverse, where I'll try and stay on-topic with writing talk and probably go off on tangents about tv-tie-in novels and 90s sci-fi shows. 


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Friday, June 7, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Michael O'Brien


Today on the Altrix blog, the Unearthed Q&As continue with "Disinfection Protocol" author Michael O'Brien! Michael is a writer, performer, and podcaster, and he's kicking off our anthology with a bang!


Altrix Books: What about the UNEARTHED concept made you want to pitch a story?

Michael O'Brien: My imagination ran wild when I originally heard of the discovery of the sarcophagus. I didn’t then consider any possibility as bizarre as what my heroines find! But when I heard about the anthology, I began to toy with the idea of finding something far more foreign than any normal person would expect. With that, I had to write the story.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

O'Brien: When the real-life researchers on the scene found little besides skeletons and sewage inside the box, I changed several elements of my story to account for that. My fictional journeyman scientists find something else small and unnoticed while cleaning the skeletons, and that unlocks a secret beyond their craziest fantasies. What the world saw may have been camouflage for a terrible secret, and someone may have investigated that secret long before our protagonists did…


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

O'Brien: My primary conscious influences were the SCP website - a fictional catalogue describing a containment facility for nightmares - and the work of horror manga creator Junji Ito. There’s also inspiration from the TV show “Bones”, the movie “TRON”, a sequence in the Arthur C. Clarke novel “Rendezvous With Rama”. Certain elements from a movie script outline I wrote as a teenager turned out to provide back story! I may someday have to see where those particular breadcrumbs lead.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

O'Brien: I tend to intensely empathize with my characters, so I’d never attempted a story in which they’d  be traumatized to this degree. I’m pleased with the results, but I have to say that shortly after the first draft was done I needed some TLC from my partner.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

O'Brien: My podcast Managlitch City Underground posts on iTunes and at managlitch.com, and tells the story of a pirate radio broadcaster living in a city steeped in superscience, supermagic, and regular breakdowns of reality. If you’re lucky enough to own a copy of the limited-release “Unbound” anthology of alternate Doctors Who, I have a story there; and some upcoming work will likely be mentioned on the podcast site - whether directly related or not!


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James Bojaciuk


Today, we're talking to Unearthed contributor James Bojaciuk, writer of the short story "An Egyptian Cameo." James is also CEO Duobus of 18th Wall Productions, and his expertise was indispensable in bringing Unearthed to print!


Altrix Books: What about the Unearthed concept made you want to pitch a story?

James Bojaciuk: Archaeology was my first love. Before publishing, even before writing, I wanted to be an archaeologist - and whatever influence Indiana Jones may have had to one side, a serious archaeologist. If it weren't for some problems in the field that made it unlikely I could have gotten a job, I still would have gone for it. Add to that, Kara Dennison was responsible for the collection. I wanted to work with her again, after she'd written my favorite story in Stranger Tales of the City. Because we had no direct contact while working on the book, I especially looked forward to working with her directly.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Bojaciuk: Archaeology is never easy. Particularly not in the late Victorian era. Particularly when you're surrounded by bandits intent on making sure the pharaoh's gold goes anywhere except a museum. A little girl's photography hobby - as well as one of the greatest master thieves, currently dead - find an unusually photogenic solution.


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work?

Bojaciuk: A Raffles story could only be inspired by E.W. Hornung's Raffles the Amateur Cracksman. A Victorian/Edwardian gentleman thief, Raffles is one of the more enduring creations of the era. But he isn't always what we should expect of a "gentleman" thief. His early stories are much more what we should expect: a relatively pure, if sometimes cruel, man who steals for the thrill. The first collection ended with Raffles' death. Like Holmes, he returned, but things were not the same. The later collection - The Black Mask - is a wonderful example of early noir/hard-boiled. This story takes place between his apparent death and resurrection; we see how the man he was becomes the man he would be, deadened and desperate.

There literally would be no story without Ernie Smith's Tedium. In "Point, Shoot, and Forget" he discusses the history of disposable cameras, including the Victorian Ready Fotografer (among other spellings). Barely a machine at all, it was glass plates, rough cardboard, and film in a contraption just advanced enough to call a camera. I was immediately charmed by it, both for being one more device putting the lie to "Victorians would have thought any modern invention was black magic" and for its qualities as a camera itself. The entire story emerged from this piece.

I owe much to Jason Thompson. Without his Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology (particularly volume 2), this story would have been impossible. William Flinders Petrie, and his digs, were presented clear as life with every detail and quote I could need.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Bojaciuk: I had intended to present an exacting, detailed version of one of Petrie's real digs. Chronologies of his work got in the way. During the period where Raffles would have been in Egypt, it's seemingly unclear which site Petrie worked. Petrie himself was a remarkable record keeper, but these were also some of his less extensively-covered digs (I can't help but suspect it was due to his break with the Egyptian Exploration Fund around this time). Thus, we were left with a vague dig. However, details of the dig and camp life are all accurate. We have only unpinned this dig from a concrete location.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Bojaciuk: As CEO Duobus of the award-winning publishing house 18thWall Productions, I can always be found at 18thwall.com.


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Monday, June 3, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Paul Driscoll


Up next in our round of Q&As is Paul Driscoll, author of "The Jar of the Alabaster Assassin"! Paul is the co-founder of Altrix Books along with Kara Dennison, and co-creator of the upcoming book series The Chronosmith Chronicles. He's also in the midst of editing Altrix's next charity anthology, coming out later this year.


Altrix Books: What about the Unearthed concept made you want to pitch a story?

Paul Driscoll: My Masters dissertation at Oxford University was on the origins of the gospel of John. I adopted a sociological approach to the gospel which involved plenty of research into the archaeology of fourth century Palestine. For me, it was the most fascinating part of my work, helping to ground in reality not only the text but my faith too. I have never been on a dig, but it’s one of the first things on my bucket list. Writing about a fictional one is the next best thing.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Driscoll: Mary, a young US mum smuggles home what looks like an unremarkable alabaster jar from a synagogue excavation in Huqoq. It soon turns out to have been a very bad mistake, forcing her to confront her own demons and placing the life of her young daughter at risk. There’s fire – lots of it, and judgement will be served.


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

Driscoll: This is an entirely fictional piece – in that I’ve invented a myth and projected it back in time (although there are plenty of facts about Huqoq and the actual excavations that are ongoing there). I think that’s a more honest approach than that taken by the likes of Dan Brown with their sensationalist claims and academically flawed assumptions. That said, this is probably best described as Dan Brown meets Stephen King. I think if the two are fighting it out, then King wins by the end of the story.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Driscoll: The concept of what’s inside the box is a fun one to play with, but my immediate thought was how do I subvert it – it’s not always what’s on the inside that matters. Getting that point across without the story coming across as too contrived resulted in several false starts and about turns. Authenticity is something that even the most fantastical works need and that has to be character led. Some pretty ‘out there’ things happen to the main cast and I had to work hard to ensure their reactions to the unbelievable were believable. By the end of the story the mystery is not solved – that’s up to you, dear reader, but for Mary the right lessons have been learned along the way.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Driscoll: I may have caught the bug for writing historical fiction, or is it fictional history, so do excuse me but I must get back to the 1880s for the first Chronosmith Chronicles novel. Keep an eye out on the Altrix Books website for future announcements.


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Friday, May 31, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR/EDITOR INTERVIEW: Kara Dennison


Today's author Q&A comes from Unearthed editor and Altrix co-owner Kara Dennison! Kara created and edited the anthology, as well as collaborating with Ginger Hoesly on "Kill the Cat," a new Owl's Flower short story. (Thanks to Unearthed contributor James Bojaciuk for the assist on Q&A, so Kara wasn't stuck talking to herself!)


Altrix Books: What led you to create Unearthed?

Kara Dennison: I was fascinated by the media surrounding the unearthing of the black granite sarcophagus in Alexandria. I love history and archaeology, but there was a mystery around it, too. A lot of the guesses and gags got really samey after a while (mostly "it's cursed"), and I thought, "You know, my friends could come up with much better stories for what's inside." That became the idea for the anthology... except, since they popped the thing open the day after I announced my general intent to do it, I followed some friends' advice and swapped it up to be any tomb-like container.


Altrix: What charity are you supporting?

Dennison: Our funds are going to the American Research Center in Egypt, which was suggested by one of our contributors, Sharyna Tran. I wanted it to be a reliable group, as well as one dedicated to either archaeology or history in some way. ARCE devotes their efforts to training archaeologists and scholars, as well as keeping cultural and communication bonds strong between the US and Egypt.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Dennison: "Kill the Cat" is from the setting of the Owl's Flower light novel series I do with Ginger Hoesly. The main line books are a paranormal romance series about a barista and the local nature god who loves her, but there's a wider world of local and global gods that our guy Herne is just a tiny part of. This story introduces Masudah, an Egyptian god of curiosity, who's trying to protect his own interests while humans study his tomb. It's the first Owl's Flower story we've done where our main protagonists don't show up at all, but you'll see one familiar face from the second book and meet a character who'll be showing up in Book 4 and onward.


Altrix: How was your first time curating an anthology?

Dennison: Well, I wanted a learning experience, and I got one! Funnily, the stuff I thought would be easy was challenging, and vice-versa (and needing emergency gallbladder surgery in the early stages was a surprise). I've taken a lot of notes on things I had to learn to do in the moment, things I'd change for next time, but nothing that was outright bad. (The fact that I say "next time" should probably be something of an indicator!) It was really exciting to see all these amazing stories and art pieces come in one by one, and it was a privilege to work with so many of these people. I also owe a lot both to Ginger and to James Bojaciuk for their help in the final stages of bringing it all together.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Dennison: I've got a blog that I (try to) post to once a week, and I'm the artist half of a webcomic with my friend Rob Lantz that's got about 2k pages worth of backlog if you've got a long weekend to fill. Other than that, you'll be able to see more of my work soon from 18th Wall, Obverse Books, and right here on Altrix!

Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: John Peel


Our author Q&As continue today with John Peel! Doctor Who fans will know Peel for his novelizations and many works in both spin-offs and charities, but he has no shortage of original works, too!


Altrix Books: What about the Unearthed concept made you want to pitch a story?

John Peel: When I was a teenager, I read about Howard Carter and the fabulous discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. I grew up in Nottingham, England, where Lord Carnarvan (who funded the dig) lived, so I felt a connection. I've loved archaeology ever since, so when "Unearthed" was announced, I simply couldn't resist.


Altrix: Tell us a little about your story.

Peel: Well, Resurrectionists were a tangible problem in the 18th and 19th Centuries. There was a medical need for cadavers for interns to study, and that created a market for fresh bodies - no questions asked. I wanted to examine how someone might justify to themselves providing the corpses - and, naturally, one possible consequence...


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work?

Peel: The stories of people like Burke and Hare - probably the most notorious grave-robbers ever.


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

Peel: Well, it's always the same challenge in any story, really - creating characters who believe in what they are doing, especially when they are doing what most of us would consider to be wrong or even evil. Very few people in this world do evil things for the sake of doing evil - most people have a way of justifying (at least to themselves) what they are doing. It's really about finding the correct motivation for your villains.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

Peel: Right now, I'm having a lot of fun with the steampunk-influenced adventures of Doctor Omega. And book 2 is all about a tomb and a buried body, so it's right in line with "Unearthed"!



Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

UNEARTHED AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Keith R.A. DeCandido


For the next few weeks, we're going to be chatting with some of the authors behind Unearthed, to help you get to know them better and learn more about their works in the anthology!

Keith R.A. DeCandido penned Rán for Your Life: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. The story brings the star of his book Ragnarok and Roll to a new group of readers!


Altrix: What about the Unearthed concept made you want to pitch a story?

DeCandido: In this particular instance, it was less the concept of the anthology and more the editor -- Kara Dennison has been a dear friend for a very long time, and I wanted to do a story for this anthology so I'd get to work with her.


Altrix: Tell us a little about Rán for Your Life.

DeCandido: It's the latest in my cycle of urban fantasy stories set in Key West, Florida featuring Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet. Cassie is a part-time scuba dive-master, part-time B&B worker, who is also a Norse fate goddess (something she learned only recently to her surprise). People in her life include an immortal barfly, the ghost of an old wrecker captain, and several Norse gods. "Ran for Your Life" involves two Norse gods, Ran and Aegir, and a container that makes any Norse god -- including Cassie -- feel oogy. The story also involves Loki and Odin and several scuba diving trips.


Altrix: What books, shows, or real life events inspired your work, if any?

DeCandido: The biggest inspirations are Norse myths and my experiences being married to a scuba diver -- not my wife Wrenn Simms, but rather my ex-wife Dr. Marina Frants, who was and is an avid scuba diver. Plus, of course, just the general vibe of Key West.....


Altrix: What was the most challenging part of creating your story?

DeCandido: Both Odin and Loki have died in other Cassie stories, but I realized that this story needed to have both of them, so I had to find a way to make it fit at a point in the story cycle where I could use them both.


Altrix: Where else can our readers find your work?

DeCandido: My personal web site, DeCandido.net, is the best place to go -- it has ordering links for my latest books, as well as general links to my e-mail, my books at various online book dealers, my blog, my Patreon, my Facebook fan page, my Twitter feed, my Instagram account, my works for Tor.com, my Wikipedia page, etc. It's basic, but it's a clearinghouse for all the means of finding me and my work online.


Order your copy of Unearthed from Altrix Books!

Monday, May 20, 2019

UNEARTHED: Quick Updates and Authors Elsewhere!

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Hope you're having a great week, readers! Just a few notes on Unearthed progress today, along with what some of our writers are up to.

First off, we're getting the finishing touches slapped together, so we should have sales information for you before long. Many thanks to our writers for their last-minute galley checks and prompt responses!

While you wait, check out what a few of our featured talents have been up to:


Keith R.A. DeCandido has put in an appearance on the Fictitious podcast, talking about his book A Furnace Sealed. Pop over and give it a listen!


A new episode of Michael O'Brien's podcast, Managlitch City Underground, is now available for download. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out the archives and get caught up to the whole story!

Sit tight for more news, and more from our creators, very soon!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

CHARITY BOOKS: Thank You! and Future Plans

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Thank you to everyone who bought a copy of Seasons of War: Gallifrey before we closed out orders! It was an amazing first project for Altrix Books, and we look forward to many more—charity and otherwise—in the coming months and years.

As of now, Gallifrey is no longer available for sale or download. We'll be issuing a final total for sales in the near future.

In the meantime, here's where we stand on our upcoming projects:

Unearthed proofs are about to go out to contributors for one final check. Once everything's been checked over and we get some last art and design work in, it will be up for sale in the shop.

This summer's upcoming charity anthology, edited by Paul Driscoll, will be announcing authors and titles soon. Look forward to it! We'll also be giving shout-outs to our contributors, so you can check out their other work in the meantime.

We have our writers set for the first year of The Chronosmith Chronicles and will be announcing them before long. Paul and Kara will be on board, of course; we've also got some familiar names adding to the team's story!

Other projects are also in the works, but those are early days. We look forward to unveiling them when the time comes!

Thanks as always for your support—Unearthed contributors, keep an eye out for your proofs in the coming days!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

This Week: Unearthed Home Stretch, Future Charity Anthologies, and Swapping Gallifrey for Chronosmiths

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Happy Monday, readers!

First off, just a heads up on Unearthed progress. We're collecting final bits and bobs and preparing to send out a proof to our contributors. Once that's done, we'll be getting the full cover together and getting everything sorted out for sales. You'll see a few tweaks on the site in the next few days in preparation.

Speaking of which, time is almost up for Seasons of War: Gallifrey! We appreciate everyone's support on the project, and are happy to have been able to donate so much to charity on behalf of readers and Doctor Who fans. This will help us make way for the upcoming Chronosmith Chronicles, so keep an eye out!

If you want to get your copy of Gallifrey, you have until this Friday, 3 May, to do so. Head over to the Shop page for one last go.

Finally, we're getting close to be able to announce what comes after Unearthed. Paul has been working away on an anthology of his own, and we've got a few more tricks up our sleeve. Stay tuned!

(And if you liked last week's cover reveal, don't forget: today is the last day to order Ginger Hoesly's charity zine Moon Man! Head over to rathzem.com to pick up zines, merch, and shirts to benefit the Glasgow School of Art!)