Just got back from a trip to London where many of the great and the good of British genre publishing gathered to celebrate the tenth anniversary of powerhouse indie publisher, NewCon Press. NewCon’s owner/publisher/editor, Ian Whates has done a lot for me personally in publishing both The Moon King and Secret Language, and I owe him an enormous debt of gratitude. Not only for publishing my work, though, but also for introducing me to new writers via the mainstay of NewCon’s business, their anthologies. A NewCon Press anthology strikes the perfect combination of famous writers, writers whose names you know but perhaps haven’t read too much of yet, and names that are completely new to you. And for someone like me who loves discovering new writers to follow, there is no bigger treat.
Case in point? Two brand new anthologies to celebrate the publisher’s first decade. Crises And Conflicts and Now We Are Ten. I was honoured to be asked to contribute something to the latter book and the resultant story, Rare As A Harpy’s Tear, is a real departure for me. A story of harpies and djinns and tragic love, this is stylistically more fantastical than you’ll normal see from me and, playing with form. it consists of ten sections of exactly one hundred words each (all of the stories in the book reference the number ten in some way). I’m delighted with how it turned out, and amazed to see it in the same book as stories by Nancy Kress, Peter F Hamilton, Ian McDonald, Tricia Sullivan and Eric Brown, whose work I’ve loved for years as well, of course, as names like EJ Swift and Bryony Pearce who I now get to enjoy for the first time. It’s NewCon doing what they do, and I hope they never change.
It certainly doesn’t look like it. Plans for the coming couple of years are super exciting. I’m particularly looking forward to the new series of novellas due to launch soon, short story collections by Gareth L Powell and Keith Brooke, and especially another project very close to my heart: Elasticity, The Best Of Elastic Press, which will be edited by Andrew Hook. Like NewCon, Elastic Press were instrumental in helping to kick start the careers of writers who had amassed a good body of short fiction work but had yet to make an impact with a book. Between 2002 and 2008 they published over thirty collections and anthologies by huge variety of writers, and my personal favourites among them were by Marion Arnott, Gary Couzens, Mike O’Driscoll, Chris Beckett, Gareth L Powell and Justina Robson.And they published my first book too, The Ephemera. It was an unbelievable thrill for me to hear that someone wanted to publish my stories in book form, and I’m just as excited now to be able to say that one of those stories, Amber Rain, will be included in Elasticity. This going to be an incredible collection of stories, and I simply love the fact that both of these editors who have done so much for me are working together to make it happen.
And from two legends of the UK indie scene, to a newcomer. David Stokes’s Guardbridge Books published their first book earlier this year, and now they’ve followed it up with two anthologies in a series called Myriad Lands. I have a story in the second volume, and this time am sharing space with such giants as Adrian Tchaikovsky and the wonderful, late Tanith Lee. For this anthology David asked me for something in the world of The Moon King, and I’m glad I was able to oblige. So, if you’re a Moon King fan you can find what sort of thing people get up to on Darkday Night.
Do yourself a favour and pick up an indie book.