Infernal Poetry

14 Aug

Two new poetry chapbooks will be released by Atlantean Publishing very shortly.

Infernal Stars is a chapbook of poems inspired by the worlds and words of Clark Ashton Smith, featuring poems by Sheika A., Norbert Gora, Frederick J. Mayer, DJ Tyrer, and Lee Clark Zumpe. £1.50 (UK) / £3 (overseas)

The title is derived from an unfinished novel by Smith, titled Infernal Star.

Ivory and Rose Leaves is a selection of decadent, aesthetic and symbolist verse, featuring poems by Sheikha A., Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, Clive Donovan, Frans Jozef Goossens, Mark Hudson, John Light, Robert William Schmigelsky, DJ Tyrer, and Lee Clark Zumpe. It also includes a translation by DJ Tyrer of one of Baudelaire’s poems. £3 (UK) / £6 (overseas)

Three-for-two offer applies to all booklets.

Payments can be made via https://www.paypal.me/DJTyrer or UK sterling cheque to the Atlantean Publishing editorial address (payable to DJ Tyrer).

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When We Return…

27 Jul

Atlantean Publishing is currently on hiatus. The idea is to reduce in the inflow so that it’s possible to reduce the backlog, but a flooded cupboard has somewhat dented that plan, still we hope to get back to you all soon…

The only exception to the hiatus is submissions to the The Supplement – you are welcome to submit articles, reviews and letters of comment.

When we reopen to submissions in September, we are looking for Lunar poetry, Great War poetry and fiction, and Christmas (or otherwise festive) horror stories – with these categories closing at the end of that month. (Please remember to include the theme in the subject-line of your email.)

We will also be reopening to general submissions in September and there are other collections in the pipeline – visit the wiki page for further details.

Remember, we only provide a contributor’s copy, but we are happy to accept reprints.

Sensitive Readers – Insensitive Writers?

26 Jun

The Bookbaby site recently discussed authors using ‘sensitivity readers’ and the comments from authors were largely negative (and, I must say I’m in accord with the feeling that stories shouldn’t pander to the easily offended). But, one interesting point struck me – that the term ‘sensitivity readers’ was being used for both actual ‘sensitivity readers’ and what we might call ‘accuracy readers’, and that most people were fine with the latter, but not the former.

For clarification, a ‘sensitivity reader’ exists to check for issues in the story (whether words, stereotypes or situations) that could cause offence. Of course, this can prove useful (if you’re writing what is intended to be a positive portrayal of black people, you don’t want to find you’ve propagated offensive stereotypes or used terms that will offend) and may be necessary for certain markets (books aimed at the schools market need to be appropriate to their intended readership). But, too much caution can stifle good writing (after all, the best writing will challenge and risk offense), and an over-reliance by editors on ‘sensitivity readers’ may cause them to reject books that tackle difficult subjects for that very reason.

What I’m calling an ‘accuracy reader’, on the other hand, is someone who checks for factual errors. Although, in the context of ‘sensitivity’ I’m discussing, this may mean asking a transperson to check that everything related to your transwoman protagonist is accurate, this is no different to asking an expert for assistance in ensuring the accuracy of your work. Of course, there may be an overlap between ‘sensitivity’ and accuracy (“yes, that word is used correctly, but it is very offensive and not suitable for a children’s story”), but the aim is primarily to get the story right, not mollycoddle.

While I wouldn’t advocate setting out to offend for the sake of being offensive (or attempting to gain publicity through outrage), I have little time for editors who would neuter a story in case it offends someone. There will always be a need for stories that take risks, ask difficult questions and present awkward truths and we shouldn’t fear them. But, we should strive for accuracy.

Awen is 100 issues young!

20 May

Yes, it’s true – Awen has reached its hundredth issue! You can download a pdf copy for free from the issues page, along with several earlier issues.

This issue includes:

Fiction by SchiZ, DJ Tyrer, Jenn Weiss, and Lee Clark Zumpe,

Poetry by Nick Armbrister, H.G. Carter, Marc Carver, Aeronwy Dafies, DS Davidson, Emma Doughty,  Diane R. Duff, Walter Durk, Rik Hunik, Keith Murdoch, Paul Murphy, Gordon Scapens, SchiZ, Megan Sherman, and Neil Wilgus.

Call for submissions

24 Apr

Editor Jon Harvey at Spectre Press is looking for submissions for two new anthologies…

The Realm of British Folklore

(Probably, this will not be the final title)

Tree entity

I am looking for stories and poems for a new anthology that involves British Folklore.

The stories may be short or long, even as long as a novelette. The stories or poems can be of horror, humour or psychological. But, I don’t want any twee stories.

I will pay one penny Sterling per word, with a minimum payment of £10 Sterling for poems and very, very short stories. For illustrations, I will pay £30 for ‘header’ illustrations to a story, £100 for full page illustrations and £200 for the cover illustration. All rights are reserved by the author and the artist. If your story, etc. has been published elsewhere, please let me know where and when the work was published.

I would like to have all the material in by Halloween this year as I would like to have enough to keep me busy over Christmas. The anthology, hopefully, will be ready for release by February/March 2019.

Contact me by email (jon.harvey@talktalk.net or spectrepress01@gmail.com) or by post to Jon Harvey, 56 Mickle Hill, Sandhurst, Berkshire, GU47 8QU, UK.

The following is a list of festivals, people and creatures of British folklore that I can think of. There are likely to be numerous others that either I don’t know or have forgotten about:

There are festivals like Beltane (the Gaelic May Day festival), Samhain (the Gaelic celebration of end of the harvest) normally held on the night of the 31st October and there are other festivals held in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, such as Lughnasadh, which is similar to Samhain.

There are folk such as the ‘The Green Man’, ‘John Barleycorn’, ‘Wayland Smith’ and ‘Herne the Hunter’. There’s the ‘Wild Hunt’ or the ‘Eternal Huntsmen’. And don’t forget the ‘Wicker Man’.

As for creatures, there are Dryads, Hamadryads, Nayads (although the latter two are creatures of Greek mythology), Selkies, Faeries, Elves and Pixies.

Fairyland is supposed to be a special place, full of wonders. However, time there runs much slower than time in the real world. One minute in fairyland could mean a decade or so in the real world. If a traveller enters the land of fairies and then come back, centuries may have passed. Once they step back into the real world they will die and their bodies will crumble into dust.

Pixies and faeries have numerous names in various parts off Britain:

The Welsh Tylwyth Teg form the collection of types of pixies: Ellyllon (elves), the Bwbachod (household spirits similar to brownies and hobgoblins), the Coblynau (spirits of the mines), the Gwtagedd Annwn (lake maidens) and the Gwylion (mountain spirits resembling hags)

Cornwall has piskies, pizkie or pigsies and the Knockers (like the Welsh Coblynau, spirits of the mines).

Scotland have the Aos Si which are supposed to inhabit ancient sites.

By the way, I have heard the Coblynau/Knockers myself in the coal mines of South Wales.

The Children of Clark Ashton Smith

(Probably, this will not be the final title)

CAS illo

Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Garden of Adompha” illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) is my favourite fantasy author. I’ve had the pleasure of publishing several stories in the vein of CAS’s works. I’m very  interested in publishing an anthology of stories, poems and prose poems in CAS’s vein. Whether the stories are based in Averoigne, Hyperboria, Poseidonis, Zothique or anywhere else, as long as it fits CAS’s mode of storytelling, I’ll be more than interested. If your story, etc. has been published elsewhere, please let me know where and when the work was published.

I will pay one penny Sterling per word, with a minimum payment of £10 Sterling for poems and very, very short stories and prose poems. For illustrations, I will pay £30 for ‘header’ illustrations to a story, £100 for full page illustrations and £200 for the cover illustration. All rights are reserved by the author or artist.

I would like to have all the material in by January 31st, 2019 so I can publish the anthology by June 2019.

Contact me by email (jon.harvey@talktalk.net or spectrepress01@gmail.com) or by post to Jon Harvey, 56 Mickle Hill, Sandhurst, Berkshire, GU47 8QU, UK.

The Best Witch?

20 Apr

We’ve had two series of The Worst Witch from the BBC. When the first episode aired, I wasn’t entirely satisfied but hopeful, and opined it was its target audience whose satisfaction mattered most. Well, they clearly were satisfied, as it returned for a second series and I must admit that it has really grown on me with subsequent episodes, with Mildred transforming into a perfect rendition of the character.

It hasn’t displaced the ITV series in my affections, but as a fan of that series, I find it different but equally good and it was sufficiently distinct that I didn’t spend all my time comparing the two, but became immersed in the unfolding story. Although the main characters from the books and the key elements of the series – Agatha Cackle’s plotting to seize the academy, Rowan-Webb, the arrival of Enid Nightshade, the rivalry between Ethel and Mildred – are all there, the series managed to avoid rehashing the events of the older series, forging its own path (such as with Esme Hallow’s story arc and the events surrounding the Foundation Stone) and avoiding direct comparisons between the two. (Perhaps that was why Miss Hardbroom’s first name changed from Constance to Hecate?)

Once I became used to Bella Ramsay as Mildred Hubble, recognisably-Mildred yet distinct from the portrayal of Georgina Sherrington, there really was nothing about the series to irk me and much (such as the consistently-excellent Ethel Hallow and her sister Esmeralda, and the wonderful Enid*) that impressed me.

(*It’s interesting that Enid, as portrayed in both the ITV and BBC series, is nothing like her appearance in the books by Jill Murphy, yet manages to perfectly catch her character, leading to a stand-out portrayal both times.)

I’m currently working my way through the ITV series, and its Weirdsister and New Worst Witch sequels, but I will be buying the BBC series on DVD to watch again from beginning to end once series two is released. (See here and here for the series on Amazon.co.uk.) The two will sit happily side-by-side on their shelf.

This series will please everyone with an interest in The Worst Witch in any of its previous incarnations and the magical school genre generally, and is a perfect series for children, being good escapist fun for fantasy fans of all ages.

In Need of a Supplement

30 Mar

You may have noticed that the March issue of The Supplement hasn’t appeared on this site or through the post. Unfortunately, due to real life pretty much derailing all my plans for March, I didn’t have the time to work on producing any reviews or to type up any of the snail mail submissions (not that I have many). With only a couple of electronic submissions on file, I didn’t have enough to put together even a decent lightweight issue.

If things work out, the issue should appear in April rather than being skipped altogether, but this leads me to a big problem with the next issue – unless I get some submissions soon, I will be providing most of the content myself, and that depends upon my having the time to work on it.

I’m really hoping you will be inspired to send me articles and reviews for forthcoming issues, but, if not, it’s likely that The Supplement will fold at the end of this year with any of my reviews to come being posted on here. So, if you don’t want that to happen, I really need you to submit. Thank you.