Monday, July 8, 2019

Done Binge-Watching? Get Reading!

Image result for stranger things 3

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!)

Monday, April 22, 2019

UNEARTHED: Cover Reveal!

We're in the home stretch, friends... Unearthed is almost ready to unleash on the world, with 12 new stories raising funds for the American Research Center in Egypt.

But every book needs a cover — and Ginger Hoesly (who also did the Seasons of War: Gallifrey cover) has delivered once again:


Ginger's cover art gives us a glimpse of all the spooky, silly, and unbelievable stories awaiting us inside the anthology!

A proof is being sent to our contributors soon, and you can expect order information to open up before too much longer. Thank you all again for your continued patience. We'll be offering previews from Unearthed in the coming days, and more news on our projects to follow!

If you like Ginger's work, be sure to check out her Etsy store. And if you want more art and stories for a good cause, pick up a copy of her current charity zine, Moon Man. Orders are only open for a few more days!

Monday, March 25, 2019

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: Who Is Savalia?


As we continue to approach the first series of The Chronosmith Chronicles, we'll be popping in between book news and other business-y stuff to talk about the characters. Of course, the easiest way to meet them is by picking up one of the last few copies of Seasons of War: Gallifrey — but the book won't be required reading, as the new series will take the four leads off into a new universe.

Recently we talked about Mordicai, the engineer of the group. Today, we take a moment to talk about Savalia, the "soldier-poet."

Savalia is very much a mixed bag of characteristics. She values giving of what you have, thanks to her life in a poor village that focused heavily on hospitality. She's a lover of art, as well as a trained soldier. We knew when we created our team for Gallifrey that we wanted our soldier to be an artist of some sort, rather than having our muscle be an out-and-out brute.

As a character, Savalia was influenced somewhat by Lady Oscar from Rose of Versailles, a manga and anime series about the French Revolution. While Savalia never undergoes any confusion regarding her gender, we wanted her to have that same noble aesthetic, as well as a duty that is at odds with her love for Mordicai.

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So what does life in The Chronosmith Chronicles hold for Savalia? As before, she values love, hospitality, and protecting those she cares about above all else. Her relationship with Mordicai is a core aspect of the team, despite (perhaps slightly because of) their different philosophies when it comes to people and conflict.

She, and the rest of the Chronosmiths, will also be meeting new people who challenge their group structure. But you'll have to wait and see who they are. In the meantime, look forward to more about our heroes!

Monday, March 4, 2019

UNEARTHED Artists: Meet Ginger Hoesly


If you've read Seasons of War: Gallifrey, you're already familiar with the art and design work of Ginger Hoesly. She created the art for the front cover — plus she designed the Altrix logo! So we're excited to have her back again, this time contributing to Unearthed.

Fans of Doctor Who may have seen Ginger's work on Doctor's Notes, at the World Tour in 2014, or at San Diego Comic Con. Some of her art has also appeared on The Doctor Who Fan Show's YouTube channel, as part of Frances Barber's reading of the Eleventh Doctor story "The Gift."

She's also one half of the team behind Owl's Flower, the light novel series she co-created with our own Kara Dennison. The pair create every story line together, with Kara on words and Ginger on art.

Additionally, Ginger is in the process of heading her second charity fanzine, Moon Man, while also co-moderating the Digimon 20th anniversary fanzine Gokigen na Chou. Her first zine, The Hybrid, raised more than $2,000 for One to One Children's Fund.


Ginger will be handling the cover for Unearthed, as well as contributing art to Kara's story, "Kill the Cat" (which takes place in the Owl's Flower universe). You can look forward to seeing more from her via Altrix in future.

If you like her art, be sure to check out her Etsy shop for prints, accessories, and more. She can also be found on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

UNEARTHED Artists: Meet Sophie Iles


As we've mentioned before, Unearthed will feature new art by guest illustrators for each of our stories. We previously featured Monica Marier, and will have one more artist (handling our cover and a piece of interior art) to show off in the near future. Today, we're spotlighting Sophie Iles, who joins Monica Marier in creating multiple interior art pieces for the book.

Doctor Who fans may recognized Sophie's art as it coincides with the classic series's runs on Twitch. She's also been creating artwork for all eras of the show and featuring it at conventions in the UK.

Recently, Sophie headed up publication of Mild Curiosities, a charity anthology centered on Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Her work can currently be seen on the cover of the anthology Defending Earth, now available for pre-order.

You can find out more about Sophie Iles on her website. Look forward to seeing her work, along with art from Monica Marier and the soon-to-be-featured Ginger Hoesly, in Unearthed this spring!

Monday, February 18, 2019

UNEARTHED: Story Announcement!



We're very pleased to announce the title and author listing for the upcoming Unearthed anthology!

The book will feature 12 new stories of mystery and curiosity, from underground tombs to interstellar relics, from a feast fit for a king to a tomb fit for a prince. Appearing in the anthology will be:

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Disinfection Protocol by Michael O'Brien

The Sarcophagus: Or, Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, and Tremble by Graham Tedesco-Blair

Hearing Things by Meredith Peruzzi

Rán for Your Life: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet by Keith R.A. DeCandido

The Jar of the Alabaster Assassin by Paul Driscoll

Long Time Dead by John Peel

Quadrireme by James K. Maddox

In the Heart of the King by Richard Gurl

Whose Cuisine Reigns Supreme? by Sharyna Tran

Raffles the Amateur Cracksman: An Egyptian Cameo by James Bojaciuk

Was I a Viking Old? by I.E. Kneverday

Kill the Cat: A Story from the Owl's Flower Pantheon by Kara Dennison

Featuring illustrations by Ginger Hoesly, Sophie Iles, and Monica Marier

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More information will be coming soon, including sneak previews of the art and stories!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: Who is Mordicai?


While the upcoming series The Chronosmith Chronicles jumps off from Seasons of War: Gallifrey, we make sure to note that Gallifrey is not required reading for the new books. And that's completely true! While readers of the charity novel might catch some things that new readers won't, the new books will be completely stand-alone and enjoyable on their own.

That said, according to Kara's calendar of weird holidays, it's National Inventors Day in the United States. And no one fits the bill there better than our own Mordicai.

So who is Mordicai?


When Kara and Paul first teamed up to write Gallifrey, they had to create four characters. Funnily (and luckily!) enough, each of them quickly took to two of the four plotted-out personalities. Kara "adopted" Savalia and Kendo, with Paul in charge of Mordicai and Tor Fasa. Once their personalities and histories were worked out individually, the notes were brought together of a series of Skype calls, and their stories intersected into what became the charity novel.

Each of the characters had (and has) a short title, with Mordicai's being "The Engineer." This was a very on-the-nose term in Gallifrey, being the name he actually ended up calling himself by. But Mordicai will just be himself as a Chronosmith: an engineer who keeps things working.

Mordicai and Savalia—our Soldier-Poet—make up the romantic leads of the team, and we have very firm rules in place for them. They've had a lot of their relationship trial-by-fire already, after all. At first glance, the two have very little in common: Mordicai is very logic-bound and rule-driven, while Savalia learns rules for the purposes of bending them (from a creative standpoint, at least). They're both past attempting to change each other's ways, though; both ways of thinking have their uses, after all, and aren't necessarily at odds with each other.


Going forward, Mordicai is absolutely the brains, and the designated driver, of the Chronosmiths. Where Savalia leans on emotion, Kendo on diplomacy, and Fasa on influence, Mordicai will always be the most down-to-earth (so to speak).

Saying much more would give away what we have planned... and we have a lot planned! In the meantime, there are still copies of Seasons of War: Gallifrey, both digital and physical, should you be curious about the origins of the series. Pick up your copies now, as we won't be doing a second printing of this particular book!

And stay tuned for more news about The Chronosmith Chronicles and our other upcoming projects.

Monday, February 4, 2019

UNEARTHED Authors: Meet John Peel


Sci-fi congoers and fans of Doctor Who—among other things!—will already know of John Peel. He's known in the Who community for being one of a very few people to commit Terry Nation’s* legendary Daleks to print, both in TV novelizations and original books. Star Trek and Eerie, Indiana fans may also be familiar with his books in those franchises.

And he's joining us for Unearthed!

John's done much more than contribute to the lore of your favorite shows, though. He's the creator of the Dragonhome, Diadem, and 2099 series as well. And he's contributed to a variety of anthologies, including charity works!



So what will you find him in right now? Most recently, he penned his very first audio play as part of the Sounds of Thunder 2019 annual. Toby Hadoke stars in the production, which also features writing from Kate Orman, Simon A. Brett, and more. Check out the website to find out more!

Plus, his short story "The Gutter God" appears in the anthology Tales of the Shadowmen 15: Trompe l'Oeil.

Coming soon, you can read his contribution to the charity anthology Unearthed, coming from Altrix Books and raising funds for the American Research Center in Egypt. What can you expect? Obviously we don't want to give too much away, but his story deals with a a pair of resurrectionists who dig where they shouldn't, and come up with much more than they bargained for.

Check out John's story, and many more, in Unearthed this spring! And to follow his work, drop a like on his Facebook page!

* Amended. Our co-creator isn’t allowed to type names anymore until she’s off the post-surgery painkillers.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

#FunAtWorkDay: How Exactly Does Altrix Work?


The Internet is amazing, isn't it? Bit by bit, it makes the world around us a little more accessible. Within our own lifetimes, our reach has increased exponentially, enabling us to meet, befriend, and collaborate with people anywhere in the world.

That's a big part of why Altrix exists, why it functions... and, occasionally, why we have to get a bit creative with how we do our business.

First, a little setup for those of you who haven't known us very long. "We" are Paul Driscoll and Kara Dennison, two writers who collaborated on a charity novel and created an imprint under which to release it. Once the book was done, we fancied doing more... and so Altrix Books became more permanent. We hire and collaborate with other writers, printers, artists, and designers to get our work done, of course. But, at the core, Altrix is Paul and Kara.

The two of us met online, and were introduced mainly for the purposes of writing the book. We don't live near each other at all; Paul is in the northern UK, and Kara is on the East Coast of the US. We have been in the same room before, but for most of the time, we're an ocean and a bit apart making things happen.


At present, Paul handles things that involve numbers—sales, orders, shipping, and the like—and Kara handles social media and online presence. In the future, though, we're hoping to ship out of both the US and UK, to make sure readers have a variety of options when it comes to getting their books.

As for editorial work, we divide that up, too! Both of us handle editing, a pitch to Altrix (as opposed to an anthology overseen by one of us) requires the all-clear from us both, and we divide up editing duties on major projects.

Interested in learning more about us? We'll have more information on our 2019 slate soon, including what each of us has on our personal to-do lists!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

UNEARTHED Update: Buried Treasures


Unearthed, our soon-to-be first release of 2019, is moving into its final stages before publication! We're looking forward to offering small samples of what's to come on our social media once orders open. For now, here's a look at where we stand:

The Stories

Save for one author with special dispensation due to extenuating circumstances, all stories are now in. Kara has been editing them and placing them in the full manuscript as they arrive, with a little shuffling around each other here and there as the completed anthology takes place.

Formatting and editing have been a very fluid process, meaning that once the final story is in, it can join the rest as soon as it's edited and formatted.


The Illustrations

As we've mentioned, Monica Marier and Sophie Iles will be creating illustrations for Unearthed, helping us cover the broad range of subject matter with their unique styles. They each have copies of the manuscript and are divvying up the stories. We've gotten in a couple of works-in-progress so far, and they're looking great!


The Cover

Ginger Hoesly will be handling our cover. She's been given the manuscript as well, and we're looking forward to hashing out something with her.


Getting It to You

Since we have readers on both sides of the Atlantic, we're looking for ways to make acquiring this book (and our others going forward) as simple, reliable, and affordable as possible. We'll be offering information as soon as we're ready to open orders!


Keep your eyes on our Facebook and Twitter for a taste of what's in store in the coming weeks!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Quick Thank-You to Our Readers


We like being able to touch base with all of you every week, but sometimes there's not particularly exciting news to give. At the moment, we're at a sort of mid-point with most of our projects. Things are happening, but they're either basic deadlines being met or decisions being made that we can't reveal until a later date. Suffice to say, things are happening under the surface that you'll be hearing about before long.

That said, it's a good time to stop and, again, say "thank you" to Altrix's early adopters.

As many of you know, we originally started as a vanity imprint simply so that Seasons of War: Gallifrey would have a home. But the more the two of us talked, the more we realized there was more we could be doing. We're both writers with things we want to put out there—whether it's ideas for anthologies, new universes, or essays.

We were lucky to already have Altrix in play when we decided to let the Chronosmiths keep going in their own universe, but there was more that we could do. We aren't a major group (we're two people working out of home offices an ocean apart), so you won't see dozens and dozens of books pouring out each year. We know that, at our size, we have to choose everything very carefully; we'd rather promise a small number and see it through (with potential surprises) than promise the moon and under-deliver.

The other part of small-size projects like this is just how acutely our personal lives can affect them. Kara knows this full well via her collaboration with Ginger on Owl's Flower: if one person is sick, burned out, or on a day-job deadline, things cam get stalled. Yet another reason we work with care: to set up a venture that we can tackle and help each other with even when the unexpected happens.

Watching Unearthed come together story by story is a treat: it feels that much more real every time a set of edits is done. As Kara works away on that, Paul is working away on our summer release, with much the same result. And, of course, the Chronosmiths are brewing. We've had an exciting development there that we can't wait to announce... a truly magical addition to their first series of adventures ahead.

Knowing we have both writers and readers excited about what's ahead keeps us motivated. And having people pitching in with resources and assists as we find our way is going to make us better than we would have been at the start.

So again, thank you for all your support. The best is yet to come. And hopefully, before long and once a few things have been filed and signed, some news is to come.