Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Eleanor's Tears: Chronosmith-Inspired Tea from Adagio!

Book 2 of The Chronosmith Chronicles, Eleanor's Tears, is now available in paperback and digital formats. If you know anything about book author and co-creator Kara Dennison, you know she likes tea a little. She entertained that hobby (is it even a hobby anymore?) in this latest book, and even more so.

The estate where Eleanor's Tears is set has a special tea blend that you won't find anywhere in the world... and that's probably a good thing. But in anticipation of the book release, Kara has come up with teas inspired by the characters from the series — and you can purchase them from Adagio!

Adagio Teas is a long-running tea maker with all sorts of blends for all sorts of tastes. Several years ago, they gave customers the option of making and sharing their own custom blends. A few creative sorts began making blends inspired by their favorite TV shows, along with custom labels. From there, Adagio became a major supporter of the fan community, and encourages and promotes "fandom" blends.

A fancy tea assortment

At the moment, there are six Chronosmiths blends, which you can order in sample sizes, 3 oz bags, or 5 oz tins. (Note that some products may be temporarily unavailable due to the holiday rush — just wait a bit and they'll be back!) You can get:

The Soldier-Poet: Classic and romantic but strong, like Savalia. A blend of Earl Grey, rose, and vanilla black teas.

The Engineer: Smoky, sweet, and with enough caffeine to keep Mordicai going. A blend of Lapsang, Irish Breakfast, chocolate, and a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

The Senator: A light and calming chamomile with fruit, perfect for Kendo. A blend of chamomile, white peach, and white peony teas.

The Super-Soldier: Mysterious and unique, like Tor Fasa. A blend of Pu-erh Dante and vanilla oolong with accents of cardamom.

The Detective: Strong, vintage, and down-to-earth, like Inspector Edensh. A blend of Irish Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong, and butterscotch black tea.

The Freelancer: Sweet and strong to get the job done, inspired by Tati Rhys. A breakfast tea base with chocolate, vanilla, and almond flavors and safflower accents.

Fandom blends can also be shipped with each other (in the romantic sense), meaning that ordering them together is worth your while. In our case, ordering Savalia and Mordicai teas together gets you a discount!

Also, Kara has foregone her loyalty points from orders of these blends — don't worry, she gets them in plenty of other ways — in order to donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. So a small portion of every Chronosmiths tea sale goes to Kara's personal charity of choice, the Epilepsy Foundation.

If you like these teas, have a look at the Total Party Wipe collection: a set of teas blended by Kara based on the Oxventure Dungeons & Dragons campaign, with label art by Ginger Hoesly! (Neither Kara nor Ginger has any official ties to Outside Xbox, Outside Xtra, or Gamer Network, and their cut of the proceeds goes to the charity Child's Play.)

Be sure to review the teas if you like them — and should you be interested in more (maybe a set for Aliens for Hire?), let us know!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES #2: Eleanor's Tears Is Now on Sale!


We're pleased to announce that, despite the many delays 2020 has dropped on us, Eleanor's Tears is now available for purchase! The second book in The Chronosmith Chronicles takes our heroes to Earth in the year 2012, where the hidden history of a tea plantation threatens to blossom into an extinction-level event.

Author and Chronosmiths co-creator Kara Dennison penned the new book, and sat down for an interview telling us what's to come in the heroes' second outing in a brand-new universe.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Kara Dennison, anime news writer and occasional other things writer. I'm also 50% of Altrix Books and co-creator of the Chronosmiths along with Paul Driscoll.

What is Eleanor's Tears about?

My elevator pitch has been that it's an apocalyptic time-travel ghost story set on a tea plantation, with time cops and time robbers. That seems to have interested at least a few people.

More specifically, it's about the Chronosmiths having a bit of a locked-planet adventure. They've discovered that something is threatening to wipe out life as we know it on Earth (that's how you know this book was originally written in 2019!), but when they attempt to land and investigate, their time machine is tethered and they have no escape unless they basically consent to being arrested. So they have a small window in which to, as they see it, save the world. Meanwhile, there are two other parties from different points in time with their own designs on the situation.

Sign: Margaret's Hope, Maharanee Hills

Where did the concept for Eleanor's Tears come from?

From a real place! There is a tea plantation in Darjeeling called Margaret's Hope, which has a very sweet (and much more benign) legend concerning how it got its name. I learned about it while visiting a tea shop owned by two friends of mine.

I love horror and ghost stories, and I thought it would fun to throw something supernatural like that into the series. And, given my love of tea, setting a story right at the source like this only seems natural.

The Chronosmiths went through a lot in After Vincent. Where were they before Eleanor's Tears, and where are they now?

The Chronosmiths are an interesting group. They're very much that "why do we hang out with each other" energy that a lot of D&D groups get. They're conflicting personalities with conflicting goals and methods, even if they have an essentially similar aim. At the end of After Vincent, they'd come to terms with the fact that they won't always align on what are frankly pretty important decisions. A lot of this book deals with the four of them trying to define themselves. What is a Chronosmith? What's their code of ethics? Where do they align? The story at the root of Eleanor's Tears pulls them in several different directions — deep down they all want to do what's right, but there are little pivots where "right" can take on conflicting meanings depending on who you're trying to do right by.

And what about Mordicai and Savalia in particular? Did their time together one book ago change anything about their relationship?

Savalia and Mordicai are the closest of the Chronosmiths - they all have some degree of crossover with each other, but their relationship is the keystone. They've spent a lot longer in each other's company than the rest of the group has with them or each other, thanks to the events of After Vincent. They still bicker because they are these very opposite personalities, but they're a work in progress.

I love a comment Paul made when he saw the covers for these first two books side by side, where we see Ginger Hoesly's gorgeous art of Mordicai and Savalia. Something to the effect of her being way out of his league. Though all joking asking, they really are an odd match, and I love exploring the places where they butt heads, and then what it takes to make them stop. How serious do things have to get before one or both of them back down?

There are also some new characters added to the universe. There's Isaac Edensh - what's his deal?

Edensh is, in short, a time detective. His presence cracks open this whole other level of what's going on in the 83rd century, where time travel is heavily legislated. He's a bit Gene Hunt, a bit Inspector Zenigata. If you've outlawed renegade heroes, someone has to go around picking up the slack, and that's him and his team. And now he's got these free-floating entities, the Chronosmiths, and he's not a fan at all.

His underlings do gossip a bit about him, especially this idea that he might have been around for whatever it was that caused the time travel ban in the first place. He's definitely impassioned about it — he's very clear that his goal is to someday make his own job obsolete — but beyond that he's not giving away any history. For now, at least.

And then there's Tati Rhys, of course.

Of course! She was designed by the aforementioned Ginger many years ago for another set of stories. I saw pictures of Tati when I was visiting a while back, and I liked her deal so much that I asked if we could put her in The Chronosmith Chronicles. 

Tati is a freelancer operating outside the law, which she can do thanks to a rather unique method of time travel. She's also a great foil for the Chronosmiths: she asks the questions they won't, and she's equally likely to be friend or foe or passive observer. She just wants to get paid. And sharp-eyed readers may have caught mention of her in After Vincent — but now you get to see what she's about.

Will readers need to read After Vincent to appreciate Eleanor's Tears?

When I write anything in a series (alone or with others), I write it with the assumption that someday someone will pick this book up at a thrift store or garage sale with no prior knowledge. I want any reader who finds this book at random to be able to enjoy it for itself. So you'll get a lot of the previous back story seeded through, a lot of nods to what happened before, so you won't be left completely  in the dark.

That said, After Vincent is a lot of fun, and so full of historical research and so beautifully written. And there are a lot of things that will eventually feed into the end of this "season," I suppose, that are worth diving into. Ideally, and a little greedily, I'd love to see people read the whole series.

The two books do have a tie thematically, though.

It wasn't planned, but Paul and I both hit on a similar theme: the fetishization of illness. With After Vincent it was mental illness; with Eleanor's Tears it's physical. I've endured a lot health-wise and gotten this kind of thing myself from genuinely well-meaning people. This allowed me a way to say something: not just "I don't like it," but why it's so important to view people for who they are and not what they suffer.

Despite what Mordicai may think, the Chronosmiths aren't about fixing history. They're about fixing conceptions of it, and what those conceptions do to the here and now (or, in their case, the future). Sometimes that does involve saving the day; other times it just means making sure a lost story is told.

What's next for the Chronosmiths?

Two books from people who aren't us! Next up is Jon Arnold, who's writing a really fantastic time-hopping political thriller. Then MH Norris is writing what she's described as The Aztecs meets Disney's Cinderella, and it's just as lovely as it sounds. Paul and I round out this first (and hopefully not last) run: he'll be tackling a medieval story, and I'm currently pulling together a great big daunting book 6.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Happy Doctor Who Day!


Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

It has been wonderful reading so many posts today celebrating yet another milestone for the longest running science-fiction series. Like lots of our friends and supporters, Kara and Paul have enjoyed travelling with the Doctor as fans and artists and we can’t wait to see where that blue box will take us next.

Altrix Books started out as an imprint for a charity book based on the Time War and although we have spread our wings, we are continuing to publish Doctor Who related books. Now would be a great time to pick up Army of Ghosts, a collection of engaging essays on some of Doctor Who’s forgotten stories that covers every decade of the series. Provocative, nostalgic and though-provoking, this would make a great addition to any Doctor Who collection.

Also from today you can pick up a copy of the 1987 fannual published by Terraqueous Distributors. It features some stunning artwork from our artist Ginger Hoesly and contributions from many Altrix Books friends and alumni. Order here from Lulu.

Raise a toast to the Doctor! They have been fantastic, all of them. (the featured illustration is by the fittingly named Imogen Newman. Check out the official Doctor Who Facebook page for this and more birthday delights).

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Book Report: Eleanor's Tears Cover Semi-Reveal!

As things open back up (albeit at different rates) and our various involved parties get their feet back under them, we're progressing steadily toward out next releases. As always, we thank you for your patience and enthusiasm as we roll on.

This month, artist and regular Altrix designer Ginger Hoesly is devoting her Twitch channel to Illutober: a personal project where she'll be streaming illustration and design work (and the occasional fun sketch). You can tune in and watch how she does her thing, from concept sketch to finished product.

First on her list was the cover for Eleanor's Tears, the second book in The Chronosmith Chronicles. We'll be preparing to release the book itself as soon as possible upon receiving the completed cover layout, but here's a glimpse at what to expect:

In the meantime, be sure to grab a copy of Paul Driscoll's After Vincent, the first book in the series. And if you've already read it, we'd really appreciate a review! Reviews help us (and all indie writers and publishers) get their books seen.

Also, if you're interested in following Illutober, follow Ginger on Twitter to know when she goes live. And be sure to keep an eye on her Twitch for the live streams themselves, and her Instagram for new art.

Stay tuned for more news on the publishing front.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Dehibernating: Meet the Guinea Pigs of Altrix

 The world is just a little bit weird out there, and it's been affecting everyone... publishers included. From deadline changes to printing concerns, we're all feeling it to some degree. We appreciate your patience with us, and your other favourite writers and indie publishers, during this time.

We're lined up to launch some more things soon — both Paul and Kara working with publishers, and getting back in the saddle ourselves. We and are family are all well, and hope yours are, too.

In the meantime, however, there is an important point to address: that is, the preponderance of guinea pigs here at Altrix.

Overseeing our work at basically all times are these little (and less little) lads: two in the U.S., two in the U.K. Guinea pigs make for harsh, but fair, and overseers. They are never quiet when they have an opinion, but they can be paid off with greens if things get hairy.

The two above belong to Kara: HiFi (black) and Espresso (brown). They are the sole current members of Kara's long-running herd — she's been a guinea pig owner for 20 years.

And here are their U.K. counterparts: Pip (light) and Scruff (dark). These two live with Paul, and get plenty of attention from the family as a whole. They like to perch on couch arms and people, and will happily offer enthusiastic critique from any of these perches.

You will not be dealing with any of them on the customer end, though. Paul and Kara are still firmly in control of Altrix... probably. Provided we have enough kale on hand.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

What Is an "Altrix"?

brown and white concrete building during night time

Names always come from somewhere (unless they don't... but that's a very in-depth discussion for another day). When we decided we were going to have our own publishing imprint, we gave it the name Altrix Books. Readers of The Chronosmith Chronicles and its predecessor will know why — but if you're new, you might not.

So, what is an "altrix"?

Well, there are two answers.

person reading book

One of those answers is: it's a book. A very specific book, and a very very big book. Tor Fasa, one of the four primary players in The Chronosmith Chronicles, compiled that book — with a little bit of outside help. Essentially it's a book that, ideally, contains everything: everything that was, is, and will be. Such things take time, of course, so there are a few corners yet unfilled-out.

There are also a few sections that are completely wrong.

When the Chronosmiths rode the Time Winds into their new universe — our universe — a lot of the Altrix was no longer accurate. That sort of thing will happen across universes. As the Chronosmiths explore these new worlds, they'll cross-reference it against Fasa's Altrix, digging out the erased truths of history and amending their own records as they go.

You can learn more about the Altrix from our blog post on Tor Fasa, and see it in action in After Vincent, the first book of The Chronosmith Chronicles.

Altrix trifolium

The altrix is also, it happens, a type of sea snail. This wasn't something we thought especially hard about, but it did come in handy when it came time to design a logo. Note the design you see on our books and social media by Ginger Hoesly — do you see it now?

Altrix Books will probably never hold as much as the Altrix itself (we're only a small publisher, after all!), but we're looking forward to bringing you fact and fiction from all across the galaxy. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

FROM OUR CREATORS: A New Charity Project for Doctor Who Fans

While Altrix is proud to put out original content, we and our contributors have strong roots in charity projects. From those we've put out ourselves to the many anthologies and works of the people and groups we work with, it's an enduring theme. So we're always happy to be able to promote charity endeavors outside our own.

The latest on our radar is Red Velvet, and it hails from our regular cover artist and designer Ginger Hoesly. This marks her fourth such project (the first three having raised more than $5,000 for various charities so far) — and rather than a zine or an artbook, this is a calendar.


The collection of Twelfth Doctor art includes works from artists known around the Doctor Who fan community (including Ginger herself), and has the option of digital and physical goods as well. There's a set for just about any budget — and proceeds go to the Humanitarian Aid Program for Venezuela.

Plus, you can get digital and overstock copies of her three previous zines — The Hybrid, Moon Man, and A Pile of Good Things — on the site as well. These zines include works from Altrix creators Paul Driscoll and Kara Dennison, as well as previous contributors including Michael O'Brien and Sophie Iles.

Head over to rathzem.com to make a purchase for a good cause. And look forward to more work from Ginger here on Altrix soon!

Monday, June 1, 2020

FROM OUR CREATORS: Travel to the City of the Saved with Kara Dennison

brown grass in front ocean at daytime

Last year, six authors from Obverse Books were asked to pitch in on an anniversary project. The Sextet would unite six of the publisher's most popular lines in six novellas, each making up one part of a greater whole. The Sextet could be read in whole or in part, but — and perhaps we're a bit biased — they're best as a set.

The Sextet includes stories from the worlds of Iris Wildthyme, Señor 105, Faction Hollywood, Seaton Begg, the Manleigh Halt Irregulars, and the City of the Saved. Bringing up the rear in book 6, Vanishing Tales of the City, is our own co-creator and author Kara Dennison.

The short anthology tells six stories of loss in the City of the Saved: a galaxy-sized civilization at the end of our universe where all humans will eventually end up. In a place where every human is bound to go and anything lost can easily be "Remade," a person simply disappearing is unimaginable. But that's just what's happening, and the gaps are becoming more and more evident... until some familiar faces fall into the story.

All of the Sextet's previous stars find their way to the City, whether they're "allowed" there or not. Is it the most ambitious crossover ever? Maybe third or fourth... but you will get to see Señor 105 bodyslam a Faction member while Iris watches.

Vanishing Tales is technically a stand-alone read, but it works best if you've read the full Sextet. But why wouldn't you? There's a magical new Iris story by Nick Campbell, an epic Señor 105 adventure by Blair Bidmead, a set of Seaton Begg mysteries by Simon Bucher-Jones, a sentimental Manleigh Halt Irregulars story by Nick Wallace, and modern-day political intrigue with Faction Hollywood by Jonathan Dennis. Loose threads are waiting to be tied up in the City, and a certain evil force doesn't stay defeated for long.

Plus, supporting Obverse — much like supporting us here at Altrix — is a big boost for indie writers and publishers. Obverse is helping to promote lots of new talent with their various series, and the Sextet celebrates the characters you've come to know and love over the years.

In the meantime, if you'd like more from Kara, check out her essays in Army of Ghosts — and look forward to Eleanor's Tears, her first entry in The Chronosmith Chronicles.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Altrix Q&A: Where Are Our Books Available?

aerial photography of body of water between buildings during golden hour

One of the main questions we're asked — especially when a new book is out — is where our books are available... that is, by nation. We're currently not available in your local bookshop, but that's for another day.

In particular, we're asked: are our books available in the US and the UK? The answer is yes... and anywhere else Amazon serves!

As a team working on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we're understandably both keen to have our work easily accessible to people near us. And considering the state of shipping (and the fact that we have lost our share of packages over the ocean), we wanted to make sure that there were as few issues with getting books to you as possible.

aerial photography of city buildings during dawn

In short, yes, we are available to ship within your country. The longer answer is that we don't actually do anything special to make that happen — we just change the sales links to "amazon.com" for the US, and "amazon.co.uk" for the UK. Which means that if you're not in either of those places, you can alter the URL to match your country of origin and make your life much easier.

What about digital copies? Well, those go everywhere, obviously: no shipping and instant gratification! However, the system is slightly different for our charity anthologies. If you're picking up one of our limited-run charity books, like the previously-published Unearthed or Master Pieces, the ebook edition will come to you from us. That means rather than an instant download, you'll get it from us in an email. If it's been more than a couple days if you've heard nothing, please get in touch to make sure you've not slipped through the cracks. But if it's only been an hour or two, we're on our way to you!

black framed eyeglasses on book page

Speaking of charity publications: we do not keep charity books available beyond a certain specified date. This is both so we can have a final tally of funds for the charity in question, and out of respect to both copyright holders and writers who gave of their work freely. Once a charity book goes out of print, the stories revert to their respective authors; and it's their decision from there what happens to them. Some may share them freely, others may adapt and re-publish them elsewhere, and others still may opt to keep them special to the anthology.

The short version is: if an author you like is in one of our charity books, be sure to grab a copy while you can! After that, it is entirely up to them what happens to the story.

If you have any questions you'd like us to answer — serious or frivolous — feel free to tweet us @AltrixBooks or look us up on Facebook. We're always happy to hear from you!

Monday, April 20, 2020


Van Gogh - The Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV 1888 - art-vanGogh.com

Paul Driscoll's After Vincent is filled with the works of Vincent van Gogh, from his iconic Starry Night to his less-known Poet's Garden and skeletal self-portrait. If you're not familiar with Vincent's broader body of work, it's a great way to learn about them... though the involvement of Mordicai, Savalia, and the rest are not necessarily what you'll see in history books!

Paul worked many of these pieces into After Vincent, in which our heroes travel back in time to meet the artist and forward in time to learn about the Goghians — the religion founded around the artist's life. How many will you spot along the way?

You can pick up a copy now, either in paperback or digital, and make the journey yourself. You can also get a taste of the book, as well as some of the art that features in the narrative, in this collection of extracts. Peruse lines from the story paired off with some of Vincent's works!

Also, keep an eye on the blog — news on Eleanor's Tears, the second outing for the Chronosmiths, is on its way!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New Book Announcement: Army of Ghosts

Altrix Books is delighted to announce that the critical essay collection Army of Ghosts will shortly be available to purchase from Amazon. 

Covering over forty Doctor Who adventures from Hartnell to Capaldi, the essays explore those stories that tend to get lost in the crowd. Between the renowned and the notorious lie plenty of undervalued treasures in the Doctor Who canon. Our ten writers consider the reasons behind their obscurity and whether or not they worth revisiting again.

Writers include Martin Ruddock (Doctor Who Magazine, SHiNDiG!), Kara Dennison (The Black Archive, Crunchyroll), Paul Driscoll (The Black Archive, WhatCulture), Matt Nida, David Cromarty, Steven B, Richard O’Hagan, Tom Marshall, Jim Hall and Tony Green.

Includes a bonus section on such official curios as Dimensions in Time, The Curse of Fatal Death, The Pertwee Radio Plays, Shada in its various incarnations, The BBCi webcasts, The Infinite Quest/Dreamland, and the video games Destiny of the Doctors and Lego Dimensions.

Foreword by the editor of Obverse Books’ Black Archive series, Philip Purser-Hallard.

Cover illustration by Sophie Iles (Big Finish, Doctor Who Magazine).

The book was originally conceived and commissioned by JR Southall (Watching Books) as a follow up volume to Hating to Love (Watching Books) which explored those stories often considered the worst. A revised edition of Hating to Love and a third volume – Stitches in Time, covering the most groundbreaking Doctor Who stories, will be released at a future date.

The collection is dedicated to Kenny Davidson, a fellow fan and admin of the Book of Fab Facebook group who tragically died last year. In Kenny’s memory, a proportion of the proceeds will be going to The Meningitis Foundations.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Chronosmith Chronicles: A Primer Before AFTER VINCENT

As far as we're concerned, you won't have to do anything special to dive straight into the first book of The Chronosmith Chronicles. With After Vincent, Paul Driscoll introduces the team of four to a new readership — which is just about everyone! — and a new universe.

But just in case you'd like a jump start on the series, here are a few places to get started.

Who Are the Chronosmiths?

Hailing from the planet of Percusia, the four Chronosmiths were swept into our universe on the Time Winds in their time machine, the Hexachron. But in the 83rd century Humanian settlement of Kat A, things are very different from back home. For starters, time travel is heavily regulated, and their brand of heroics is frowned upon. But that's not the only difference between our universe and theirs...

Check out previous posts to learn about the team:

Tor Fasa: With his mysterious connection to the Altrix and a repository of super powers yet to be explored, he is the most mysterious of the Chronosmiths.

Kendo: The "face" of the Chronosmiths, a retired politician with big ideas and a love of the upper hand... both of which hide a constant hum of anxiety.

Savalia: The soldier-poet. A war hero with an artistic soul, a keen eye, and a tendency to shoot first (whether she'll ask questions later is variable).

Mordicai: The engineer. He takes pride in his knowledge, creates clever invention, and is overall smarter than he acts... partly because he'd almost have to be.

The Hexachron: The "fifth Chronosmith," the quartet's time machine is much more an active hand in their adventures than they often realize.

What is After Vincent?

The Chronosmiths' adventures in our universe begin with a visit to legendary artist Vincent van Gogh. In the 83rd century, Vincent is worshiped as a god — but there is unrest among the Goghians as a new leader begins changing things. Though initially in the employ of Aliens for Hire, the Chronosmiths change plans: directing their attention to the true story of Vincent, in danger of becoming even more lost under the legends, if not changed forever.

What's next?

green field

From an artist worshiped as a god to a skeleton in a family's closet — Eleanor's Tears by Kara Dennison will see the Chronosmiths encountering a ghost, an intergalactic freelancer, and the people whose job it actually is to keep the timeline tidy. Keep an eye on this site and our social media for news on this and the rest of the books in the series.

Get your copy of After Vincent!

Sunday, March 8, 2020


The Hexachron is taking off at last!

The Chronosmith Chronicles #1: After Vincent is now available to buy from Amazon. The book, written by Altrix co-founder Paul Driscoll, kicks off a new series of adventures for Savalia, Mordicai, Kendo, and Tor Fasa. Last seen in Season of War: Gallifrey, the characters are entering a new universe with a new history, new methods of time travel, and a whole new set of rules for would-be heroes.

Interested news and review sites can email altrixbooks@virginmedia.com to inquire about a review copy and/or press packet.

>> Interview with Paul Driscoll
>> Purchase After Vincent

Keep an eye on our blog and social media for news on future books in The Chronosmith Chronicles. Book 2, Eleanor's Tears by Kara Dennison, is next in line.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: 6 Facts about the Hexachron

The Chronosmith Chronicles will be reintroducing characters from one of our past charity novels in a whole new universe, as well as bringing in brand-new characters for both the long and short haul. But there's one more name to commit to memory: the Hexachron!

Time travel takes many forms in the new series, from actual crafts to personal devices, from stolen tech to science projects. But the Hexachron is a good old-fashioned space and time ship, with her own quirks. She may seem similar to certain other crafts, but there's plenty that sets her apart.

You'll witness the Hexachron in action in the upcoming After Vincent, but here are a few things to know to tide you over:

1. The "Hex" of "Hexachron" refers to the shape.

turned-on chandelier

The Chronosmiths' craft consistently has six sides inside and out, and is the size of a small hall. In other words, not infinite, but not a simple four-seater, either.

That's also why you'll see a hexagonal shape in the Chronosmith Chronicles logo: a reference to their ride.

2. There's nothing else in the universe like it.

snow covered mountain with aurora borealis

Well, not in this universe, at least. You'll see time travel devices of all shapes and sizes other than the Hexachron, but they all have a common origin. What it is, you'll have to wait and see... but it's completely alien (as it were) to the Chronosmiths.

3. There's (allegedly) a prison on board.

black window frame on dim light

What do the Chronosmiths need with a prison? We'll hopefully never have to find out. (Or maybe we hopefully will...)

4. It looks a bit like home.

grayscale photo of round stadium

Amongst the Hexachron's highly-customizable dimensions, there are at least two that are copied directly from the Chronosmiths' home planet. One is the main console room, which looks like the outdoor theatre where two of our heroes would meet regularly. The other, you'll have to wait and find out for yourself.

5. She's the "fifth Chronosmith."

selective focus photography of person holding lighted brown string light

We know our lineup is Mordicai, Savalia, Kendo, and Tor Fasa. But the Hexachron is just as much a part of the team. This is most evident to Mordicai — and while it can sometimes seem he's personifying her a bit more than is valid, there are some times when it's all but undeniable.

6. There are things about her even the Chronosmiths don't know.

open door beside white paint wall

You should probably know everything possible about your ride before getting in, but even the Chronosmiths' beloved Hexachron is hiding a few secrets. Readers may become privy to a few of them even before our heroes!

The first book of the series, After Vincent, will go on sale soon. How will the Chronosmiths and their Hexachron fare in a world where time travel is regulated and vigilantes need a license? Find out soon — keep an eye on the blog and our social media for announcements!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

AFTER VINCENT - An Interview With Author Paul Driscoll

The Chronosmith Chronicles is about to kick off with its first book, After Vincent! Altrix co-founder Paul Driscoll pens the first installment in the new series — bringing four Altrix characters into their own world.

We're sitting down with Paul for his gateway into the new adventures:

Who are the Chronosmiths?
Following on from the huge success of the Doctor Who charity spin-off Seasons of War, Kara Dennison and I were commissioned by Declan May to write a Seasons of War novel. The result was Gallifrey, published in 2017, a Time War novel set in the Doctor Who universe, but featuring our own characters. Tor Fasa, Mordicai, Kendo and Savalia were such fun to write that Kara and I decided to continue their adventures. Those who enjoyed Gallifrey will be able to make links between the new series and what has now effectively become a prequel, but we were keen to remove them entirely from the Doctor Who universe, making them accessible to non-fans and newcomers.

Is After Vincent a reboot?
Not exactly. Gallifrey ended with our four leads having to flee Gallifrey and go into hiding on a planet called Percusia. To protect their anonymity they have buried the truth about their origins and have made a pact to implant alternative backstories into their memories. The process is similar to the chameleon arch used in Doctor Who. They see themselves as Percusians by birth now.

Is The Chronosmith Chronicles a Doctor Who Spin-Off?
That is down to the reader to decide. We won’t be marketing it as such, but you will see a few nods to Doctor Who and indeed to other franchises. The Chronosmiths think they have fled from a war played out between the Percusians and a race of rhino-like warmongers called the Zechos. They have travelled across the Time Winds into a whole new universe. There they will encounter various races and species unique to the series, as well as an Earth that roughly corresponds to our own. There will be no mention of the Doctor, the TARDIS, Daleks, Cybermen and Time Lords etc., but that doesn’t mean they could never exist in the Chronosmiths’ universe.

Isn’t this just Doctor Who by another name?
The Chronosmiths travel across time and space in a semi-sentient ship called the Hexachron that can change its external appearance using perception filtering technology. Internally, it has the potential to house an infinite number of rooms. Sounds like Doctor Who, right? Inspired by the show and some of its core ideas, the ship and the mission of the Chronosmiths is, nonetheless, quite different. Unlike the TARDIS, the Hexachron has a fixed internal dimension, one that can be occupied simultaneously by all kinds of rooms. The Chronosmiths' mission is to correct and respond to false and misleading history. This could be anything from a lie passed down within a single family to a myth that has propped up a centuries-old intergalactic war.

So book one of the series is about Vincent Van Gogh, the man and the myth?
In the 83rd Century, there is a religious movement known as Goghianism which has elevated the artist to the status of a god. The Chronosmiths will travel back in time, meeting the real Vincent. They are on a specific mission from an employment agency called Aliens for Hire, but will also get the opportunity to challenge some of the tenets of the religion, propagated across the universe in the artist’s name. Some of those beliefs are not all that far removed from contemporary portraits of the artist, as seen for example in the Kirk Douglas movie, Lust for Life, and the many others that have followed it.

Why did you chose to write about Van Gogh?
There are so many links that can be made with the Chronosmiths and Vincent. Mordicai and Savalia are in a Romeo-and-Juliet type relationship, with Mordicai hailing from the city and Savalia from the village where never the twain shall meet. This reminded me of the 19th century artist, specifically his relationship with the prostitute Sien Hoornik. Many of Vincent’s struggles with mental health are rooted in the fact that his family was part of the bourgeoisie. There is a narrative of mutual disownment that chimes with what all four Chronosmiths have done with their own past. Savalia has an artistic spirit and I could see great potential in her meeting the painter, but there is also a dangerous side to both characters. This leads to Mordicai identifying with Paul Gauguin and others who tried to be friends with Vincent. Kendo, Savalia’s cousin, has anxiety issues and so there was a possible connection with Vincent for her too. And as for Tor Fasa, well, he like Vincent has gifts that sometimes feels like a curse to him.

Did the Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor influence your thinking?
Not really. There may be a sly reference or two, but you’d have to read carefully to spot them. Unlike the Richard Curtis story, this one is on an epic scale as we flit between the past and the future and travel along various points in Vincent’s life.

What myths about the artist are you challenging?
Primarily the myth of the tortured genius and the way in which mental illness can be romanticised as a reason for an artist’s brilliance. But the book also looks at religious belief, and the protestant ethics that Vincent both lived by and fought against. Poverty, the treatment of asylum seekers, and the nature of charity with a big C are also under the microscope. I’ve tried to present the artist in all his brilliance, without overlooking his faults. I adore Don McLean’s song, Vincent, in particular the cover version by one of my favourite folk singers, Martyn Joseph, but it wouldn’t make it onto the soundtrack for the movie adaptation!

Which of Vincent’s paintings feature?
Oh, there are plenty that are name-checked, some we get to see him working on, and others take on a special role in the 83rd century. One in particular is important, Vincent’s early self-portrait which is of a skull smoking a cigarette. One of my hopes is that some readers will want to check out Van Gogh’s portfolio and look up some of the lesser known works. But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the sunflowers and the starry, starry night.

That cover suggests that the Chronosmiths are directly involved in Vincent’s death. Aren’t you simply inventing a new myth?
Spoilers! All I can say is that I have endeavoured to avoid sensationalising Vincent’s story, or making out that aliens had any substantial influence on either his work or his mental state. So if they are around in the fields of Auvers or thereabouts, we will find them experiencing Vincent’s story, not shoehorning him into theirs. That said, the circumstances surrounding Vincent’s death remain the subject of much debate.

How will the rest of the series play out?
Did I mention spoilers? One of the tasks of After Vincent was to do some world-building work, hence the novel being a fair bit longer than the other books.  I have also introduced a number of recurring supporting characters, from the multi-species Aliens for Hire to rival time travellers, the Time Riders, whose noses are severely put out of joint by the arrival of the Chronosmiths. But that world building will continue throughout series one with Kara, Jon and MH’s books as well as my own second offering. Watch out for other returning characters who will be introduced later in the run, beginning with a very significant figure who makes a dramatic entrance in Kara’s book, Eleanor’s Tears. It is all leading up to a dramatic finale in book six.

What are you working on next?
My next Chronosmith book is Sceptre of the Innocents, set right at the end of the Middle Ages in County Durham. It features a new alien species, plus the Zechos taking centre stage for the first time, an alien artefact that causes mayhem on the streets of Medieval England, rebellious nuns with a penchant for magic, and a leper turned boy bishop.

The Chronosmith Chronicles #1: After Vincent will be available soon!

Monday, February 10, 2020


Altrix is proud (and more than a bit excited!) to announce that the first Chronosmith Chronicles installment, After Vincent, is about to launch! Edits are done, formatting is done, and the cover is also done.

Who'd like to see it?

Ginger Hoesly drew and designed the cover — following up on her work for Seasons of War: Gallifrey, Unearthed, and the currently-available Master Pieces.

More information on the book will be available shortly, including (soon!) purchase information! We're looking forward to finally kicking off this new series.

Look forward to more on After Vincent... and following that, news on the second book in the series, Eleanor's Tears!

Sunday, January 26, 2020


black and gold roman numeral analog clock

Time is almost up! We're closing submissions for Master Switches, the follow-up to charity anthology Master Pieces, this Friday, January 31.

Check out the submission guidelines for a full briefing on the types of stories we're looking for. In short, where Master Pieces brought us stories of the Master on their own, Master Switches will bring the Doctor into the mix on the back foot.

In our first book, we examined what the Master does when the Doctor is away. Now, we want to know how the Doctor has inadvertently assisted them in their machinations. Like Master Pieces, the Master reigns supreme; unlike Master Pieces, the hero is now in the mix.

A full brief is given in the pitch materials, which you can find linked in the submission guidelines. But a few quick notes:

- Pairing Doctors and Masters from different eras is both allowed and encouraged.

- No multi-Doctor or multi-Master stories.

- Original Masters are allowed, but no original Doctors.

- Doctors and Masters up until the end of Series 10 era will be considered. We will not be publishing material featuring Doctor or Master appearances from Series 11 onward.

Reading Master Pieces is not required to take part in Master Switches; however, should you be interested, copies are now available. You can always pick up a digital copy if you want to read it quickly before you pitch!

Thanks to everyone who's responded so far, and we look forward to seeing what else comes in this week!

Monday, January 20, 2020

On the Black Archive

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If you've been following Altrix Books for a while, you'll know that both Paul and Kara have had the pleasure of working on Obverse Books's Black Archive line. For those unfamiliar, The Black Archive is a line of scholarly and critical works tackling individual Doctor Who stories from all eras of its run. The series has received praise from Doctor Who Magazine, Sci-Fi Bulletin, and many other places.

We're pleased to announce that our own Paul Driscoll has been brought on as an editor for the line! What that means for Altrix is... that we're very proud and looking forward to his work on it. While it's a big undertaking, it's not one that's going to upset the Altrix flow.

When The Black Archive started out, the intent was to have a book come out every few months. Philip Purser-Hallard headed up the line solo, in addition to putting out some installments of his own. Paul Simpson was brought on board to assist, and in turn the publishing schedule ramped up considerably. There are now nearly 40 titles out, with 50 and beyond already planned out into 2021.

Paul Driscoll has contributed Black Archives on The God Complex and the 1996 TV Movie, as well as a take on Stranger Things season 1 for the Black Archive's sister line. Readers following the beginning of The Chronosmith Chronicles won't be surprised to hear that, in addition to his new editorial status, Paul will be contributing another installment on Vincent and the Doctor in future.

If somehow our readers haven't delved into The Black Archive (and something tells us it would be of interest to you), now is a good time! Check out their back catalogue and pick something out to enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2020

STATE OF THE ALTRIX: A New Celestial Toyroom Annual, Sextet, and More!

Thank you to everyone who's currently enjoying our Master Pieces! If you've not picked your copy up yet, may we suggest that now is a perfect time to do so? Physical and digital copies are currently available, so you can hold it in your hands or start reading right away.

Speaking of reading right away, the 2020 Celestial Toyroom Annual is now available to download free from the Doctor Who Appreciation Society! This year's annual is focused up on Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, featuring reviews of each of his stories and a foreword by Katy Manning. Look for a review of "The Green Death" by Paul and Kara, and look-ins from other friends and associates of Altrix!

The Obverse Books anniversary sextet is also out in its entirety! The Sextet features works by Nick Campbell, Blair Bidmead, Nick Wallace, Simon Bucher-Jones, Jonathan Dennis, and our own Kara Dennison. Celebrate a decade of Obverse's most beloved characters. Books can be purchased individually or in a lovely set (with matching covers by Cody Schell).

Finally, don't forget we currently have two open calls!

The call for You Goes for the Remote is ongoing (at least for the time being). We want your essays on your interaction with your favorite British TV shows. If you've read the You and Who series and other related books, you know what to expect. Paul and Kara are editing the book in association with Watching Books, and we'd love to see what you have to say! Find out more here.

We're also still open for pitches for Master Switches, the upcoming sequel to Master Pieces. The new charity anthology will once again be raising funds for the Stroke Association — but this time, we invite you to mix and match Doctors and Masters to bring us devilish stories of the times our hero inadvertently helped his nemesis get a win. Pitches must be submitted by 31 January, so be sure to get them in!