Saturday, 25 December 2010

Jan's Xmas Estronomicon

Big congrats to Alchemy member Jan Edwards who has a story in the Xmas Edition of Estronomicon! Check out Otterburn here!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Wildstacks - Issue One!

Oh yes! Wildstacks #1 is now live!

Cover illo by Sunila Sen-Gupta

Fiction line up:

By Rob Shearman

By Rod Rees

By Nicholas Royle

By Ian Whates

By Andrew Hook

By Kari Sperring

By Marion Pitman

By Christopher Fowler

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Mike's Dark Valentine

Our Mike has made another sale! Woot! His story Only the Lonely will be appearing in the Spring issue of Dark Valentine. More news as and when we get it!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Debbie on the Publishing Struggle

Alchemy member Debbie Bennett has published a guest blog post talking about the struggle of getting published, found, for your reading pleasure, on the Harrogate International Festival website. Go see!

Mike Makes You Flinch

Alchemy member Mike Chinn will be having his story Cheechee's Out published in the upcoming Made You Flinch Anthology. Made You Flinch will be an anthology of two volumes produced by the Library of Horror, full table of contents and ordering information to be revealed at a later date so we'll let you know as and when...

Congrats to that Mike!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Wild Stacks!

The Alchemy Press is coming out of hibernation to bring to you: Wild Stacks! A brand new online magazine of genre fiction goodness. Issue #0 is up now with stories from Allen Ashley, Anne Gay and Mike Chinn and Issue #1 will hit the interwebs in a couple of months time.

Meanwhile, submissions are open so get your stories in!

Alchemy Press is brought to you by Alchemy Writers Jan Edwards and Peter Coleborn; with Wild Stacks edited by Pete, ably assisted by Jan and Alchemy Writers Jenny Barber, Debbie Bennett and Mike Chinn.

Tomorrow, the multiverse! Mwa ha ha!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Jan's New Blog

Our Jan now has a new internet presence - pop on over and see how talented she is!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Alchemy in October

For all those Alchemy Writers who have managed to recover from Fantasycon (and those few who haven't!), don't forget that Saturday 9th October sees the next meeting of our merry crew.

Story challenge for the month is a Halloween/Samhain/similar festival of your choice story of around 3000 words.

See you there!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Jan gets Ethereal

Our Jan does it again!

Jan's story Winter Eve has been accepted for Ethereal Tales #9 - the Halloween special issue which will be published 30th October.

Big cheers for the fabulous Jan!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Jan's April Love (and other stories)

Jan's story April Love will be available online for download from 3rd september with a superb illustration by Dutch artist Shannon van Muijden. Find it in Dark Valentine Magazine here.

Other fiction from Jan coming up in September/October:

Appearing in Twisted Tongue #17 is a flash fiction piece called Eve Watch.

And Jan's short story May Day Comes Askew will be appearing in Tales of the Greenmantle #2.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Jenny interviews Aliette de Bodard

Awesome fantasy writer Aliette de Bodard was interviewed recently by Alchemy member Jenny Barber. The interview will be appearing in Dark Horizons #57 in September and an extract can be found on the BFS website here!

Not only that, but two lucky winners can get their hands on a copy of de Bodard's debut novel Servant of the Underworld by entering the competition at the end of the interview! How can you miss that?

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Jan goes Greenmantle!

More awesome publishing news! Alchemy Writer Jan Edwards is having her story Mayday published in Greenmantle Magazine in September, with a follow up story commissioned for the next issue!

Very cool!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Chills & Winter Chills

For a decade, Peter Coleborn edited and co-edited (with Simon MacCulloch) ten issues of Winter Chills/Chills for the British Fantasy Society -- the magazine dropped the "winter" with issue 5. A history of this magazine is currently appearing on the Alchemy Press blog.

Jan's Good Neighbour

And for those of you on Authonomy, for a cracking piece of fantasy fiction, check out Alchemy member Jan Edwards and her excellent novel Good Neighbour

So what's it all about?

Ally Morgan is 17 and she has lived with her American mother in Texas for most of her life. Ally’s mother is killed in a hit and run accident. Then her missing father is found dead. Ally learns that her father was one of the Fey Folk, but believes herself to be human. When she arrives at Tegleigh Manor, in Sussex, there are several attempts to kill or kidnap her, and she soon begins to learn just what she must and can do to survive. Taking her father’s body through a portal in the nearby Hill she enters a new world of intrigue and power plays. The Fey Queen does not believe Ally is who she is said to be. Meanwhile, the Pwca (trickster) is hiding out in the family cellar claiming he owed her father his life. With two young Fey friends, Sian and Turi, Ally sets out to discover who killed her parents and is now attempting to steal her birthright. This is the first book in a proposed YA series about Ally and her Clan.

That link again ... read me!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Mike goes Appalachian

Huge congrats to Alchemy member Mike Chinn whose story The Appalachian Collection is due to be published in the Pill Hill Press anthology: BACK TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE: More Horror in Rural America (edited by Jessica A. Weiss & Jessy Marie Roberts). The tentative release date is September 2010 - more news when we get it!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

Possible market for your heroic fantasy tales. From their website:

"Welcome to the one-year anniversary issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly! One year of adventure, action, and arcane magic. One year of broadswords, short swords, long swords, lust, love, loss, revenge, romance, dragons, goats, stoats, and all points in between. We’ve had stories nominated for international awards while surviving tornadoes, hailstorms from hell, floods, escapes from New York, and soccer tournaments — we and our ISP — won’t be stopped! And all the while we’ve stayed true to our primary goals of publishing on schedule and finding cool tales to stoke the resurgence of adventure fantasy/sword and sorcery."

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Jan's Dark Valentine

More hot publishing news from the Alchemy cabal!

Alchemy member Jan Edwards will be having her story April Love published in Issue 2 of Dark Valentine.

Rock on, that Jan! :-)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ace in the Hole: short story

If you missed it when originally published in The Paladin Mandates by Mike Chinn, you can read one of the stories on the Alchemy Press blog.

Piper at the Gates of Fantasy

Just in case you're interested, I'm starting to post to my blog again. I doubt that I'll have time to post long, serious commentaries -- just snippets of news and stuff.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Jen on Authonomy

Alchemy member Jenny Barber now has a book up on Authonomy! (Well, the first five chapters of it...)

The book: Taurus

The pitch: Karis was content to live a life of raiding the waters around Marigan. Until a distress call from her human sister brings her against the might of the Gethine Alliance and the secrets they’ve uncovered in the ghost city of Sagara.

Amy Morgan was only supposed to recover a sword from a maze. One pack of Minotaurs later and she finds herself caught up in a new world where mermaid-pirates hunt the seas, her friends are captured and there’s all manner of trouble waiting for her if she can find her way home.

Kassia was looking for adventure, but an expedition to Sagara gives her more adventure than she ever imagined when she finds something that the violent Gethine Alliance has spent years searching for.

But surviving the Alliance’s attentions is easy compared to what’s waiting for them back on Earth.

That link again.. read me read me read me!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Mike's Parlour Games

And now for some Alchemy Fiction! (Wahey!)

About the story:
Last year Mike's story 'Parlour Games' was published in the now out-of-print anthology Tales from the Smoking Room - edited by Benedict J Jones and VC Jones and published by Hand of Danjou Press.

In Parlour Games, we get the the return of Mike's popular character, Damian Paladin - Mike says:
'It wasn’t intended to be a Damian Paladin story as such – but Paladin’s been around in one guise or another for quite some time, and I’ve always had a small, thinly-disguised repertory company of characters popping up in my fiction (something I picked up from Michael Moorcock). It felt like the thing to do: why invent another expert on the occult and weird when you already have one to hand.

'I had no particular author or influence in mind – although I suspect Arthur Conan Doyle and MR James weren’t buried too deeply in my subconscious (James especially – since his ghostly tales were originally told from the brandy-warmed glow of a cosy, English university don’s study). Plus I’ve always enjoyed that typical late nineteenth century style of fiction – with its use of language and broad vocabulary.'

And so, for your reading pleasure, here it is!

Mike Chinn

I slip my watch from its pocket and compare it to the smoking room’s mantle clock. Both agree that midnight is still several minutes away. Putting the watch back I catch Burgess’s eye: it appears that he too has been watching the time. Burgess shrugs his massive white eyebrows quite expressively, and draws on his cigar. We are both thinking the same, I imagine.

Almost midnight – and still no hint of whatever entertainment Rees-Franklin has planned for us. Every month the Rees-Franklins host a select dinner – just Burgess, Wyatt and I. All excellent evenings, to be sure. Mrs Rees-Franklin is an excellent hostess, her fine features still exhibiting much of the beauty for which she was so renowned in her youth; but to be frank, her husband is a little dull: his opinions and politics safe and conservative. The man never had, in my esteem, an original thought in his life.

However, two months ago they introduced some truly remarkable after-dinner amusements. I cannot conceive the idea was his – far too singular. Mrs Rees-Franklin, perhaps, although I think I detect the mischievous hand of their delightful daughter, Trudy. Word has already spread throughout local society; the Rees-Franklins are suddenly the talk of the county.

Last month they hired an excellent illusionist who astounded us with sleight of hand, a baffling mind reading trick, and a startling finale involving a clockwork mannequin and a quite gruesome vanishing trick – very much in the new Grand-Guinol style – for which Trudy volunteered. I confess that I was more than a little relieved when she stepped forth at the end – none the worse – over the dismembered mannequin. I believe I applauded the loudest of all. And the month before it had been a genuine medium – or so they insisted – and we spent a jolly evening among knocking tables, spirit guides, and trying to guess exactly who was rattling the ghostly tambourine. Even the ladies joined in.

But it is looking increasingly unlikely they will be rejoining us this evening. It is almost certain Mrs Rees-Franklin – along with Trudy – will have retired for the night. We men have been abandoned to our cigars and brandy.

I glance at the clock again: bare seconds have passed since last I checked; midnight is as far away as ever. The evening is becoming interminable.

I stand, making my way to the brandy decanter and pouring a generous splash into my snifter. As I do so, it occurs to me that we are one short. Rees-Franklin has an extra guest tonight – the natural curse of sudden popularity, perhaps – a gentleman he introduces as one Demyan Andreivich Pravdinski. Despite his Russian name, his features more resemble that of the Mediterranean breed. His dress and manners, however, are impeccable, and his knowledge of the world quite remarkable.

“I say – what happened to that Russian fellow?” I ask the room in general.
Everyone glances at his neighbour, drink and cigars lowered.

“Good riddance to bad rubbish,” Wyatt mutters. He smoothes his magnificent side whiskers.

“He slipped out just after the ladies were excused,” Burgess says. He’s an astute chap, Burgess; little gets past him. “Quiet as you like.”

“Well now,” I ask our host. “Has our mysterious guest fled?”

Rees-Franklin smiles; it stretches his round, shiny face to the point of bursting. “Mr Pravdinski is still in the house, gentlemen. I understand he had some matters to attend to.”

“Damned irregular,” Wyatt complains. He heaves himself to his feet and helps himself to more brandy and a second cigar – though his complexion is already quite ruddy. “Slipping away like some Hottentot…”

“Indeed.” Burgess puffs on his own cigar. He resembles a powerful locomotive cresting a hill after an arduous climb. “Like a thief in the night, what…?” He glances towards me – in acknowledgement of my perspicacity, I hope.

I find myself laughing with no little sense of delight. “Is he this evening’s amusement?” I ask Rees-Franklin. The man just smiles back: maddeningly so.

“What?” Burgess joins in the merriment. “Just what can we expect, R-F? Something so risqué we have to wait for the ladies to be sound asleep?”

“I knew it!” huffs Wyatt. “Knew the fellow was some form of blackguard!” Over dinner, talk had naturally turned to the Second Boer War – a subject about which this Pravdinski had proven to be surprisingly knowledgeable. It quickly became obvious that he was no admirer of either Mr Rhodes or the British South Africa Company; Wyatt was predictably outraged.

“I can assure you Pravdinski is neither blackguard nor some kind of degenerate,” Rees-Franklin says in his level way. “He is possessed, however, of the most remarkable talents.”

“Another illusionist,” Burgess smiles. “I hope he’s not as gruesome as the last fellow –quite turned me stomach…” His grin and twinkling eyes belie his words.
Rees-Franklin crushes his cigar and looks thoughtful. “Pravdinski is no stage magician, I believe. His recommendation comes from the highest level. If I revealed just how high—.” His glance flickers to the door which is swinging open. “And here is the man, if I’m not very much mistaken.”

“Speak of the devil…,” Wyatt mutters.

Pravdinski steps into the smoking room, carrying a worn carpet bag. He smiles at us in turn, nodding a brief bow to each. At dinner, I saw that Trudy was quite smitten by his swarthy looks. I feel myself bristling.

“Are your preparations complete?” Rees-Franklin enquires.

“Thank you, yes.” Pravdinski’s voice is well-modulated and strangely accentless. In society, he could easily pass for the very best sort of Englishman.

He places his threadbare bag on the polished floor and opens it. I expect him to produce – with a vulgar flourish – some kind of outlandish apparatus. Instead, he removes a few lengths of cord, a bowl, fresh candles, and a small black jar that is covered in gold symbols. I’m reminded of Chinese and Japanese pottery, which it closely resembles.

Pravdinski places his odd collection on a small table and arranges it carefully: the candles forming a square with the bowl and jar at its centre. The cords he drops carelessly on the table top.

“Do you have a match?” he asks. Burgess leaves his armchair, offering the man his box of lucifers. Pravdinski lights the candles, handing Burgess the matches back as he extinguishes the used one. Then he takes another item from his bag: a clear bottle – rather like a medicine flat – almost filled with an opalescent liquid. Uncorking the bottle, he pours its contents into the bowl. The room is filled with a pungent smell – not unlike carbolic, but underlined with a faint, putrid tang.

“What’s this?” says Burgess, returning to his chair. “Black magic?”

“What?” Wyatt twitches in his chair, like a man awakening from a momentary nap. “Magic you say? Surely not again! Your humour grows too pawky, old man.”
Pravdinski smiles at them both. “Humour me, gentlemen. Let us call it … a calming ritual, if you like. No more the purview of magic than, let us say, an Anglican Mass.”

Wyatt harrumphs loudly but says nothing.

The Russian steps back from his make-shift altar, smoothing his coat lapels. He is silent for a moment.

“Mr Rees-Franklin invited me here after becoming aware of my reputation,” he says eventually.

“Damn me,” chuckles Burgess. “He’s some kind of after-dinner speaker…!”
Rees-Franklin holds up a hand for silence, and Burgess subsides.

Pravdinski bows and continues. “I am aware of his monthly entertainments, and their nature. He believed – as did you all, I am certain – that such things are quite harmless.”

I feel obliged to object. “What? Simple table-rapping and overly-theatrical tricks? Where is the harm?”

Pravdinski stares at me. His gaze is cold and measuring; I feel sure Trudy would not like him so much now. “In themselves, none. Most séances – such as yours – are quite fake; Grand-Guinol theatricality an exercise in quick and cheap scares. It is when such performances are combined with what went before.” He steps closer to the table; his eyes have not left me. “I note you failed to mention what happened three months ago.”

I laugh again. “Three months ago? There was nothing three months ago.” I turn to look at Wyatt, Burgess and Rees-Franklin. All are looking at me coolly.

“You remember, old man,” says Burgess. His huge eyebrows droop over his eyes, masking them. “R-F hired that Hindu chap to perform some kind of exorcism…”

“Damned nonsense,” Wyatt huffs. “Thought you needed a ghost first.”

“You were told it would be the Kathmarti Ritual, I believe?” Pravdinski asks.
Rees-Franklin nods heavily.

“A cleansing ritual rather than an exorcism,” continues the Russian. “In skilled hands a worthy practise, leaving house and inhabitants spiritually purged. But the man you employed was as much a charlatan as the medium who would amuse you all the next month. Rather than banishing any and all evil presences – he invited one in.”
Wyatt barks a derisory laugh. I join in. Oddly, Burgess and Rees-Franklin remain soberly quiet.

“I think I should recall such a spectacle,” I say. I wonder if I missed one of the dinners. It’s inconceivable that Rees-Franklin would fail to invite me; I’ve certainly never turned one down. “Come now,” I add, as cheerfully as possible, “confess to the joke…”

“No joke, my dear chap,” says Rees-Franklin carefully. “At least—.” He pauses, seeming unable to continue.

Wyatt clears his throat and takes a great interest in his brandy glass.

“What R-F is trying to say,” Burgess interjects, his veiled eyes reflecting fire from his cigar, “is that whatever humour there may be in the situation is certainly not of our creation.”

“You went over the entire house?” Rees-Franklin asks Pravdinski.

The Russian nods. “Thoroughly. There are traces to be found everywhere, of course. Little more than hints for the most part.”

“For the most part?” Rees-Franklin repeats. I have indulged too well in the brandy, and his pedantry makes me irritable. I begin to feel as flushed as Wyatt’s face, and loosen my collar.

“The greatest concentration is – as I feared – in your daughter’s room” Pravdinski is saying.

I start at the Russian’s words. He has been prying in Trudy’s room?

“Is this appropriate behaviour?” I exclaim. “Allowing a stranger access to Trudy’s bedroom?”

“Pravdinski has been nowhere except at my express wishes,” Rees-Franklin says. “It is not his behaviour we find questionable.”

“Then whose?” I unknot my tie. The room has grown too oppressive; the fumes from the Russian’s damnable concoction are thick and cloying. I can scarcely breathe.

“My daughter worshipped you,” Rees-Franklin murmurs. His voice is calm and measured; the sudden emotion in his eyes is not. “Damn it all – she still does! Once I would have been delighted to accept you as a son-in-law. But now—!”

“Now?” I can scarcely believe what I am hearing. Is the man drunk? I grip the arms of my chair, willing my breathing to settle; praying my racing heart will calm. “What have I done? I have always behaved impeccably towards your daughter!”

“That is why I find this so difficult.” He will not meet my eyes.

“Steady, R-F,” Burgess mutters.

Wyatt looks as uncomfortable as I feel. “What is all this?” he demands.

Pravdinski is pressing on with his point as though no of us has spoken. I find it hard to catch his words – there is a painful thrumming in my ears. “The failed Kathmarti Ritual brought something into the house. It could not survive as an uncorporeal force. It needed a host; we know it found one.”

I glance in Wyatt’s direction. His whiskers are pale against his crimson features. “It cannot be!” I say.

“Of course not!” The Russian is scathing. “Who in this room cannot remember more than two months back – the time when I believe the summoned thing fully awakened? Who in this room nurtures an unrequited lust for Trudy Rees-Franklin – a desire the creature delights in satisfying…”

“No!” I find the strength to stand, pushing against my chair with quivering arms.

“What utter filth! What rot! That is simply not true!”

“What is true is that during daylight hours, Miss Rees-Franklin cannot remember the terrors of the night—.”

“Thank the Lord,” sobs Rees-Franklin. Burgess pats his shoulder.

“This is madness!” I cry. I try to roar my outrage – but I am too weak. There is no air, yet I am burning up.

“Her ordeal remains only as a vague, formless horror,” the Russian presses on, merciless. “And even that is no match against the love she holds for you: her disbelief buries the unspeakable thoughts deeper still. She denies them. The creature chose its host well.”

I collapse back into my chair. I am hallucinating – for I see a lurid mist begin to boil from the Russian’s bowl of liquid. Within that mist I see a face: my face. It is a gaunt mask, contorted with rage.

I scream – but it is not my voice. That sound could never be my voice!
Pravdinski and Burgess are either side of me. I never see them move. The Russian’s cords are lashed around my wrists and ankles. I am bound to the chair. I writhe uselessly, and another roar of fury escapes my lips.

“Steady, old man,” I hear Burgess say. “It’s for your own good.”
Pravdinski is holding the bowl – bringing it closer. The raging face howls mutely in the vapours. I feel its terrible anger bellow from my throat in perfect synchrony with its lips.

“Hold him!” the Russian commands. Burgess tightens his grip. He is joined by Rees-Franklin and a bemused Wyatt. All three bear down on me.
Pravdinski places the bowl at my feet. I want to kick it over – send its noxious contents across the floor – but I am bound too securely. As the Russian comes to his feet, he removes something from within his coat; it glimmers in the candlelight.

The mantle-clock begins to chime midnight. The evening’s entertainment finally begins.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Mike is Doomed!

Our Mike has sold another story! This time it's Hell Freezes Over which will be appearing in the anthology Doomology: The Dawning of Disasters. Doomology is edited by Bill Tucker and Wayne Goodchild and will be published by the Library of Science Fiction & Fantasy Press (date TBA).

Guess we know who's buying the drinks today!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Jan is reaching New Horizons

Big congrats to our Jan, who has just had her story Grey Magic for Cat Lovers accepted for publication in the British Fantasy Society's magazine New Horizons.

Her story will be appearing in the Summer 2011 issue...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Mike is Null Immortalis

And big congrats to young Mr Chinn as he's made another sale. His story A Matter of Degree will be appearing in Null Immortalis (Nemonymous #10). Publication date to be announced soon!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Three for the Price of One!

This month you will find not one, not two, but three (yes, three!) Alchemy-ites in one lovely publication. Dark Horizons #56 (courtesy of the British Fantasy Society) hosts the excellent poem 'Quest' by Jan Edwards and Peter Coleborn, as well as a guest editorial on gender balance in the BFS by Jenny Barber.

If you're not already a BFS member, Dark Horizons is definitely a good reason to take the plunge... :-)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Bitter End

And for those of you waiting to read Mike Chinn's excellent 'Welcome to the Hotel Marianas', the Pill Hill Press anthology The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror is out now! Read all about it here!

-Edited to add... and the lovely Mike talks about the story in his latest blog post here!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Write Fantastic is 5!

To celebrate the Write Fantastic's fifth anniversary of awesomeness, that lovely band of writer peeps will be hosting a funky event in Oxford. Details are here!

Not only that, but they've welcomed four excellent writers into the WF fold - Kari Sperring, Ian Whates, Freda Warrington and Liz Williams.

Rock on!

Alt-Fiction News

Alt Fiction fans will be pleased to note that not only is it on this year, but the star studded line up has begun to take shape! Check out the details here!

Mike's Raw Terror!

And yes, what you've all been waiting for! :-) The Read Raw Press Anthology: Raw Terror, is available to buy right now! Yes! Right now! Check it out here.

Its primary selling point is, of course, the fact that Alchemy member Mike Chinn has a story entitled 'Kittens' in it... :-)

Nicki's New Blog

Alchemy Member Nicki Robson has a new blog here!