08 May

Out Now: The Necromancer’s Rogue by Icy Sedgwick

The Necromancer’s Rogue is the second book in Icy Sedgwick’s quirky dark fantasy Underground City series. It’s ideal for fans of Harry Potter, Tim Burton, Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman.

Get The Necromancer’s Rogue here

After his excursion into the realm of the dead, apprentice mage Jyximus Faire wants a more quiet life. But a petulant prince wants to raze the Underground City and turn it into a pleasure ground for his rich friends. And a Lord of Death seeks a hidden artifact to tear open the Veil between the worlds and destroy the living. Taking it easy is not an option.

Even though she condemned him to the Perpetual Death, the necromancer general Eufame Delsenza needs Jyx’s help to escape a notorious prison. And she needs him to work with a Shadowkin, a persecuted race used as thieves and spies.

Can Jyx regain his confidence in his magick and ‘go rogue’ to awaken an ancient goddess, work with wolves, and save his home from destruction.

 

27 Feb

Out Now: The Firebird By Nerine Dorman

Introducing The Firebird, by Nerine Dorman.

Will Lada deny her blood and uphold the order that’s become her family? Or will she listen to the whispers of the demons? After all, they might just be telling the truth.

Get The Firebird here

Lada always wanted to be one of the warrior-monks who are the last bastion in a war against the demons and insurgents that threaten her island home. Yet to achieve her dream, Lada turned blood traitor, her decision leading to the death and exile of her family. Her betrayal comes to haunt her now, ten years later, when her elders demand that she oversees her brother Ailas’s trial.

 

27 Feb

Out Now: Empty Monsters by Cat Hellisen

Introducing Empty Monsters by Cat Hellisen.

Aden Onnery is the eldest son of a family of midwives who use their power to eradicate magic.  His whole life he has believed that the Onnerys destroy the monsters that will bring the end of his people, until he is forced to enter into a bargain with a magical survivor…

Get Empty Monsters here

As a boy, Aden was never meant to take on the Onnery mantle, but an accident of birth has left him marked and strange

Now, in order to save his sister from the harsh law of the colonial powers, Aden chooses to enter the world outside his experience and go against everything he has been taught to believe.

He must help save the very thing his family are meant to exterminate—a magical lineage in his people. 

30 Nov

Out Now: Of Magic & Memory by Cristy Zinn

Announcing the launch of Cristy Zinn’s new book!

Ava’s mother’s secrets and her own burgeoning magical powers put her in danger from those who hate magic. But magic is the only way she can save her friends. And herself.

Get Of Magic and Memory here

Of Magic & Memory is the story of Ava, a girl struggling to understand her magical abilities after her mother’s sudden death.

When she discovers that her mother lead a double life, quietly caring for the winged Russet and his twin sister who live in the nearby mountains, she has to question everything she remembers about her past.

But there is someone in her town of VanVere who hates magic, someone who will go to great lengths to rid the town of it, including trying to have Ava kidnapped. With Ava spending more and more time with Russet and his sister, the added attention on her threatens to expose her new friends.

When all their lives are in danger from someone even more damaged than her, Ava will have to find the power in her own magic and memories to save them all.

27 Sep

Out now: I Heart Robot! by Suzanne van Rooyen

Suzanne van Rooyen’s I Heart Robot is officially here!

In a world on the brink of war between humans and robots, Quinn and Tyri are drawn together by their mutual love of music. But she doesn’t know he’s an android.

Get I Heart Robot! here

Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who gets her musical aspirations.

Q-I-99, aka ‘Quinn,’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI-enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.

Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music draws them closer together, forcing Tyri to question where her loyalties lie and Quinn to question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, will Tyri’s and Quinn’s passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?

16 Jan

Out Now: The Real by Masha du Toit

Masha du Toit’s latest science fiction novel offers a glimpse into an alternate future Cape Town, where alien technology has irrevocably altered the people and the landscape.

The Real is the sequel to The Babylon Eye.

Get The Real here

Three children, abandoned by their parents, manage to scavenge a living in what remains of a seaside resort. But when some strangers occupy the nearby dilapidated circus, they’re in more danger than they can possibly know.

Meanwhile Elka Veraart, a returning character from du Toit’s The Babylon Eye, finds herself on the run with her cybernetically-enhanced dog. She’s been framed for a crime she didn’t commit, a crime that carries the death penalty.

Old enemies and Elka’s own dark past threaten to catch up with her and draw the children into harm. Can she save everyone, including herself?

29 Dec

Masha du Toit launches Babylon’s Eye

Cape Town based Skolion author, Masha du Toit, launched her brand-new novel The Babylon Eye on 25 November 2016.

Set in an alternate version of Cape Town, South Africa, a world in which the divisions between nature and technology are blurred. The setting, the Babylon Eye, is a  town set in the portal between two worlds. The technologies of both worlds combine to create cyber-beings and bio-mechanical hybrids.

And what is the story about? Here is the description:

Meisje is no ordinary dog. She’s a gardag, a cybernetically enhanced living weapon. She’s also lost, hungry, and lonely. Elke Veraart is on Meisje’s trail. If she can find the dog she’ll win back her own freedom. If she fails she’ll be sent back to prison.

As she closes in on the gardag, Elke finds her admiration for Meisje growing. And Meisje, weak with hunger, begins to wonder if she could trust the woman who is hunting her. Then Elke discovers that there are other hunters searching for the gardag and that her orders have changed. She no longer has to find Meisje. She has to kill her.

 

Buy Now

29 Dec

Introducing Skolion

Skolion was founded in 2016 under the leadership of Nerine Dorman. In her original blog post, she described the formation of Skolion:


Once upon a time (possibly around about 2006 or 2007) I read this article by author Ian Irvine, and I thought to myself, “How difficult can this really be? I’m going to do better.” I had my literary heroes, like Neil Gaiman, JRR Tolkien, Poppy Z Brite and Storm Constantine, among others, to look up to. I was in the process of writing my first novel, Khepera Rising, which back then I thought was just the dog’s bollocks, and I’d soon be able to quit my shitty job as a newspaper sub-editor and live the high life as a successful (and wealthy) published author.

Yes, I can hear you laughing.

In fact, I’m laughing at my own naïve self.

My journey as a published author has been a long slog of trying to crawl out of the slush pile, and having moderate success in selling to an assortment of small presses and eventually self-publishing a few myself too. (Not to mention the countless rejections.) I consider myself lucky if I sell three or four copies of my novels each month. It’s no reflection on my writing – it’s just that I’m not writing the next FSoG or The Hunger Games. My career as editor has been far more financially viable than author…

And it’s taken me a few years to make peace with the fact that I’ll only ever have a small, niche readership, and those are the people for whom I’ll continue to write stories.

Not too long ago, an author who, many years ago, was my introduction to SFF and remains a beacon in the literary world, Ursula K Le Guin, made a speech at an awards ceremony (and you can read the whole thing here), but this is the gist of what she says that resonates with how I feel about the stories that *must* still be told.

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.

Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximize corporate profit and advertising revenue is not quite the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship. 

Truth be told, the overheads for producing books are hellish, and the competition in the market is fierce. The big publishers are going to be in it for the money. They will publish those books they know will sell to as many people as possible (celeb bios, cook books, self-help, politics, religion…) Sadly, this means that there are many of us whose voices will not be heard, who won’t be given the same opportunities as those who’re writing to satisfy trends.

That’s not to knock the trends – they do fulfil a function (and keep publishers afloat). As much as some of us would like to frown at the Twilight franchise, I’ve lost count of the readers who gush on about how Meyer’s books have introduced them to reading, and that they’ve become voracious readers since they first visited that tiny town called Forks… And some of those Twilight fans have gone on to read my books, so who am I to complain?

But Le Guin has also gone on to investigate another publishing model – one that has become increasingly attractive to me, that of the publishing co-operative.

Anyone with a computer and the right software can publish a book now, which means that more books are being published each day than ever before. Readers are spoiled for choice, yet the problem comes in that not all books that are author published are quite ready or of a sufficient quality to pass muster. Small presses have, for the past decade, tried to find that happy medium between self- and traditional publishing, but anyone who’s been keeping an eye on developments recently will see how many of these small presses have either imploded spectacularly or simply wasted away. And woe betide those who try to get their books into brick-and-mortar stores – I promise you, the returns alone are the death knell for most. Putting out many titles in the hope that some are a success also doesn’t work. The shotgun approach sucks. Exceptional voices get lost in a torrent of merely adequate writing. There aren’t enough sales to keep these companies afloat – as they too still have overheads (paying editors, designers…).

You try writing edgy urban fantasy featuring a bisexual black magician then see your book compete with the three raunchy paranormal romance titles released by your publisher the same week… No prizes for guessing which novels will receive the most marketing push from your publisher’s social media…

Hence the inception of Skolion. We’re a core group of SFF authors and folks with media savvy who have a great love of SFF. We understand that the traditional and small press models are untenable, and that although self-publishing is an option, it’s so much easier for us to work together, pooling our skills and experience. Between us, we boast editors, designers, media gurus, marketing experts and a general understanding love for our genres. Our aim is to create the kinds of books we want to read. Our aim is to make good books. We might not be the next Twilight, but we want you to know that when you pick up one of our books, it will be something special, something different – a work of art made with love and passion that is most certainly not a commodity. Most importantly, we aim to empower our authors and put them in charge of their diverse stories that are told authentically.

At present, the co-op is by invite only, and we are keeping it low key so that our growth is sustainable. But if you’re interested in what we offer, and want to keep up to speed with our doings, you’re more than welcome to follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook group.