Saturday, 14 January 2017

PRESS KIT: Tales of Wonder, from Inklings Press.

Included below are graphics for the upcoming Tales of Wonder, from Inklings Press. All graphics are free for use by anyone wishing to use them to promote the anthology, feature them in reviews or features, or otherwise find them useful for editorial purposes. 

For further information, Inklings Press can be contacted on Twitter, @InklingsPress, by emailing or drop a note in the comments below. 

There is a universal link to take people directly to their local Amazon store too, which is:

Happy reading!

Friday, 13 January 2017

REVEALED! The cover for Inklings Press anthology Tales of Wonder

Inklings Press is nearing the launch date for its next anthology - which means it's time to reveal the cover for the new collection. Without further ado, and with a tip of the hat to Ricardo Victoria as ever for his work on the covers, we bring you...

More than that, as you can see, we can announce the line-up for the collection.

From the top, we have:

E.M. Swift-Hook, author of the Fortune's Fools books. You can find those on Amazon. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Matthew Harvey returns after last featuring in Tales From The Universe. Check out his free story here on the site, Foxwife. You can also find him on Twitter.

Jessica Holmes joins in the fun again after featuring in the previous two anthologies, Tales From The Universe and Tales From Alternate Earths. You can read her free story A Night To Remember here on the site, and find her on Twitter here.

Rob Edwards is another to return after appearances in the previous two anthologies. You can read his flash fiction piece Throne War here on the site, but frankly you should take a wander over to and indulge in Rob's podcast readings of his stories. You can find him on Twitter too.

Leo McBride appears fresh from appearing in the Anthology Askew collection. He is a regular in the Inklings anthologies, and of course, the head honcho here at Altered Instinct. You'll find plenty of his words here - but you might want to start with his free story In The Stars We Learned To Soar. He has a Facebook author page and Twitter for updates too.

Brent A Harris was the driving force behind the last anthology, focusing on alternative history. That's very much his genre - as you can read here with his announcement of his publishing deal for his book A Time Of Need. His free story The Long Breakfast is something of a teaser for that world. You can find him on Facebook,  and Twitter.

Terri Pray returns after making her Inklings debut in Tales From Alternate Earths. Terri has a host of writing out there - she is an author and editor in chief at Underthemoon/FSW, producing both RPGs and fiction. She blogs at and you can find her on Twitter at @TerriPray_UTM. You can also find her on Facebook.
Jeff Provine makes his Inklings debut in this collection. Jeff is a lecturer in Oklahoma, USA, tackling topics such as Charles Chaplin, mythology, and the history of comic books. He collects local folklore and has created three walking tours of ghost stories in the Oklahoma City metro. His fictional works include YA adventure Dawn on the Infinity, steampunk Celestial Voyages, and alternate history Hellfire. He is on Twitter @JeffProvine, on Facebook , and you can read some of his twists on history at

Last, but far from least, is the top man behind this anthology, Ricardo Victoria. Science fantasy, the theme of the collection, is very much Ricardo's genre of choice. From Star Wars to anime, Saturday morning cartoons to... well, his own writing, that's the work that Ricardo loves to read, watch and create. Ricardo is a regular in Inklings Press collections, and you can find him on Twitter as Winged_Leo and on Facebook. You can also find a free story by him here, Dealing With The Aftermath.

It's a great set of writers - and we hope you'll soon enjoy a great set of stories. Come join our launch party on January 21 - we'd love to get to know you!

The book is available now to pre-order on Amazon - dive on in, you know you want to:

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Book awards, submission details and deadlines for 2017

Inklings Press has come a long way in 2016 - just check out our book titles available now - and thoughts have turned to perhaps submitting some of the work that has featured in recent anthologies for awards.

But rather than keep the information about awards to ourselves, this blog post is going to be a rolling, updated one detailing awards as we find out about them, the submission details, links and deadlines - because there are lots of great authors out there and it's good to share.

If you happen to know of more, give a holler in the comments!

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're starting this with just a few to set members of the Inklings and friends rolling - check back for updates.

Foreword Indie Awards

Eligibility: Book published in print or electronic form in 2016. Fee of $99 for one category.
Deadline: January 31
More details:

Nebula Awards

Eligibility: various categories, all works first published in English in the United States during the calendar year
Deadline: February 15, nominations by SFWA members
More details:

Hugo Awards

Eligibility: various categories, from short story to fan site, novel, fan artist... lots.
Deadline: March 17, nominations by Worldcon members
More details:

Washington Science Fiction Association's Small Press Award

Eligibility: work under 17,500 words published for the first time in 2016 in a book or periodical published by a small press
Deadline: April 2
More details:

Writers Digest awards

Eligibility: Various categories, including genre fiction. Printed, bound book must be submitted. Fee of $99 for early bird entry rising to $110.
Deadline: April 3 for early bird, May 1 for final
More details:
NOTE: Also a self-published ebook award in August (same fees, no print copy required, submitted online) and a short short story contest with a January 16 deadline ($25 fee, submitted online, no print copy, and 1,500 words or less)

Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards

Eligibility: any book published by an indie or small press author between September 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017
Deadline: July 1, voting from September 1
More details:

IBPA Awards

Eligibility: may be entered by publishers of print books
Deadline: Passed for 2016, not yet announced for 2017 but was September and December for the two call deadlines in 2016
More details:
NOTE: Digital awards program also available for ebooks:

Reader View Awards

Eligibility: Written in English, targeted at North American market, various categories, published in same year.
Deadline: Passed for 2016, not yet announced for 2017 but staggered deadlines from October in 2016. Fees starting at $60 per entry.
More details:

Monday, 9 January 2017

PODCAST REVIEW: Aiming for a healthy 2017

This article previously appeared in The Tribune Weekend section on January 6.

Did you make resolutions for 2017? The turn of the year is a time when many set their sights on plans for the new year, and look back on the year gone by. Podcasters are no different, and here are health and lifestyle websites reflecting on ways to make 2017 a happier, healthier year.

Katy Says With Katy Bowman

Host Katy Bowman is a biomechanist – that's new to me, but it appears that she likes to incorporate more movement into everyday life, from walking with friends rather than sitting for a coffee, through to more adventurous ways to get your body moving on a more frequent basis.
Her end of year chat with guest Dani Hemmat reflects that, as the two discuss what worked well for them in the year before and what goals are lined up for 2017.
Some of it sounds like the kind of wistful resolutions made but never likely to be kept – from the desire to learn how to juggle or to go hunting – but a lot of it is focused on issues that I've seen many speak of a desire to do, such as cutting down on screen time or taking a step away from social media.
The host says she feels healthier the older she gets – so it certainly seems as if she's feeling positive results from such decisions, though much of the ambitions talked about are far from out of place alongside those of you or I, expressed at New Year parties as maybes and mights. That's not a bad thing, though, it means such ideas are within reach – and for those determined to follow through, hearing others make such pledges might be the support needed to carry them off.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists team of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus launched their podcast around a year ago – with the goal of clearing the clutter of life, reducing things to make more room for the things that matter.
The podcast looks at things from that perspective – though I'll confess I raised an eyebrow at its not very minimal running time of an hour and a half for the end of year review.
The show itself looks at such things as recognising when you begin to feel you might not fit in your workplace any more and the personal changes you need to make in order to adapt or take a new path. They also consider how binge watching on Netflix makes you unproductive – but lay out ways in which you can stop yourself doing it. That one might not be all positive for the pair, with their new show up on Netflix in a number of regions!
Their goal of cutting out the clutter is admirable, and there's some good stuff in this podcast. I do think overall it could do with being a little tighter, and with a bit of editing to cut out some of the chatter as well as the clutter, but it's a new year, we've all spread a little bit after all that festive eating, so we won't do down a little spread in the conversation too!

The Nutrition Diva's Quick And Dirty Tips For Eating Well And Feeling Fabulous

This show hasn't quite gotten back from its Christmas break yet – but for those who have healthier eating on their agenda for 2017, it's a quick listen that is brimful of ideas.
Each bite-size show of about ten minutes or so in length focuses on a single nutrition suggestion – recent shows looking at the effect of prunes on bone loss, the uses of a pressure cooker, nutrients to help keep the weight off and so on.
The format is as simple as host Monica Reinagel with a microphone, but this is ideal coffee break listening for those wanting to plan how to include healthier food tips in their life. Dive in, there's lots of useful information to be found.

Got a favourite show you'd like to feature in the review? Drop a note in the comments below or tweet me at @AlteredInstinct.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Kupala Night, by NC Stow, Pilot, by CH Clepitt, and Haberdashed, by Robert Lee Beers

The Kupala Night, by NC Stow

I love folklore stories. I swear, they sometimes seem almost alive. They outlive the people in the places they live, they get carried along with those they touch.

The Kupala Night feels the right kind of old - old like a great tree with its roots digging deep, taking grip of your consciousness, and never wanting to let go.

The Kupala games are an annual tradition, and 17-year-old Varvara is longing to go, to hunt for the Fire Flower and dance the Six Dances. But her grandmother urges her not to go, and cryptically warns her against taking part in the Seventh Dance...

It's a delight to discover mythology new to me in this tale, and it's all neatly wrapped in a story of a young girl growing up, and the consequences she might face. Beautiful writing, and a pleasure to discover a new writer for my reading list.

AI rating: 5/5

Pilot: The First in the Crew Chronicles Series, by CH Clepitt

If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be perky. Or wait, maybe there needs to be a bit of impertinent in there. Or vivacious. Or... you see? This one-word thing is never going to work out.

Pilot introduces us to a ship's crew with an unexpected prize haul from the latest card game while at dock: a fairy.

Where fairies go, mischief follows, and that fairy dust is soon working its not-necessarily-helpful magic on members of the crew. Let's just say that locking some of them up for their own good is a wise idea.

It's a good deal of fun, and it serves as a delightful way to meet the characters. One caveat in there is that it could do with another good scrub down as far as editing goes. There's nothing that will spoil the enjoyment, I hasten to add, but a little bit more polish here and there would certainly help it to shine all the more.

AI rating: 4/5

Haberdashed, by Robert Lee Beers

There's fashion to die for, and then there's fashion that people are literally dying over - and wouldn't you know it, but poor old Tony Mandolin has to investigate a swathe of deaths affecting the glitterati of San Francisco.

And not just ordinary deaths, but rather gruesome ones - there are few places for a camera obscurer than the one that leads to the death of photographer Michael DeSimone.

What's a downbeat detective got to do, but call on his buddy Frankie and start plodding the streets, looking for clues, and hoping not to have to call on cranky Wizard Landau Bain. Yeah, good luck with that, Tony.

Beers writes like a mix of Damon Runyon and HP Lovecraft, full of eldritch creatures and dark humour, all for our put-upon hero to have to deal with. But line up another shot down at Tony's bar, and this makes a good companion as you sip that rotgut.

AI rating: 4/5

Saturday, 7 January 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Cherry Pickers, by Bonnie Milani, and Paragon.EXE, by Drew Cordell

Cherry Pickers, by Bonnie Milani

I would probably have been put off by the plot of this reading the description - but it's by Bonnie Milani, and that pretty much ensures I'll pick it up and read it regardless.

Seventeen-year-old Nikki lives on a woman-only penal colony, and the only man in her life is her adoptive brother, Sam, who happens to be a spider creature, one of the Sissyphus natives, and that just won't do for the task she has in mind. You see, Nikki wants to prove her coming of age, she wants to lose her virginity. Enter supply pilot Jake... but he might not be as keen as she hopes to seal the deal, and trouble is on the horizon. Sam might be lined up for his own part in a marriage ceremony, and Sissyphus brides have been known to eat their husbands.

All of this zips by at a brisk pace in this novella - and if you'd told me I'd be loving reading a story about attempts to lose virginity on a far-distant planet amid creatures nicknamed Sissies, I'd have called you crazy, but that's the talent of Bonnie. A fun read, a light read, and once more I tip my hat to a splendid writer, whose Home World novel was one of my reads of the year in 2016.

AI rating: 5/5

Paragon.EXE, by Drew Cordell

This is the prequel to Drew Cordell's Absolute Knowledge, a novella that sets up the background to the tale.

That novel takes place in a New York City of 2146, with a government striving towards achieving the Absolute Knowledge of the title in a stratified society.

It might seem odd then that this novella splits in time, part in that future, part in the Cold War era of the 1960s. Initially, the two seem very removed, but it starts to click together, and lay the pieces in place for the novel, with a mischievous reveal at the end that leaves the reader with more information than some of the characters and that tantalising sense of ohhhhh that makes you want to know what comes next.

It's not a complete standalone in many ways, but then, it's the novel you want for that. This does the job nicely of introducing Drew Cordell's writing and his world to the audience. Did I mention you can find out more about him here too?

AI rating: 4/5

Friday, 6 January 2017

Altered Instinct introduces cyberpunk writer Drew Cordell

I blame Akira. The first time I sat down and saw Akira in all its big-screen glory (at, bizarrely, the Welsh premiere), I had to go and dive into similar worlds. Soon, I was reading Walter Jon Williams, Pat Cadigan, and some guy named William Gibson, and playing the Cyberpunk role-playing game. The urgency created in worlds where technology is the daily tool and constant risk facing our heroes, where corporations dominate over nationalities, and where politics is about who wields the most cutting edge technology is a heady mix. It is a pleasure then to introduce Drew Cordell, who has just published his first novel in such great company. Without further ado, Altered Instinct is delighted to welcome Drew as a guest. Take it away, Drew.

Hey everyone, my name is Drew Cordell, and this is my first guest post on Altered Instinct. I’m a new author that just published my first cyberpunk science fiction novel, Absolute Knowledge. While I’m new, I’ve learned a lot in these past two years as I finished my novel and prepared it for publication, first through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign then through Amazon in both paper and digital formats. I’m excited to share a truncated version of my experience with you.

If you’re not familiar with the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, it’s typically represented by societies (often in the near future) that are dominated by technology, automation, and large corporations or governments that have taken more power than they ought to. A lot of books, movies, and games can be considered cyberpunk, but the main overarching theme that unites most of them is the idea of high tech and low life. Citizens are often oppressed by the very technology that enables the standard of life set in the society in question.

To me, cyberpunk science fiction, particularly science fiction that’s set on our own world, is fascinating. As we grow closer and closer to advanced AI taking over many jobs, it will be interesting to see how the world changes and adapts. Technology today plays a bigger part in our lives than ever before, and it’s not hard to see why many people fear an AI takeover. Whether utopian, dystopian, or something in between, AI will have a lasting outcome on our everyday lives going forward.

Having been an avid reader all of my life and reading countless science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels, I became fascinated by the idea of what would happen if everything in a society was automated? What would the people do for a living? What would control society? These ideas progressed into the idea that sparked the premise of my trilogy, Absolute Knowledge.

Initially, Absolute Knowledge was supposed to be a fantasy novel. There was supposed to be some sort of wizard’s alliance where the wizards used spells, and enchantments to collect people’s thoughts, improving their own knowledge and growing more powerful. I started writing, and it just didn’t work. Fast forward a few months, and I had pivoted the idea into a science fiction shell. The words (and coffee) flowed, and I had the completed first draft within eight months, a hefty 115,000 words and I had the smug attitude that I was done. This being my first novel, the truth of how much work goes into a book AFTER writing the first draft hit me like a brick. Months later and with the help of several trusted beta readers and editors, I had something that more or less resembled a completed book. It was time to figure out how to get this thing published.

With my entrepreneurship business degree (currently one year away from graduating), I settled on launching a crowdfunding campaign for my novel before my retail launch and managed to double my funding goal for the project. This helped me recuperate my expenses for editing and graphic design before my book even hit the shelves, all while doubling my initial funding goal for the project. I’m just about finished with my campaign, (just waiting on deliveries in order to ship rewards to my backers), but I’ve started a series on crowdfunding for authors which you can read right here. Despite doing a ton of research before launching my campaign, I still learned a lot (and am still learning) during my campaign.

If any other authors are interested in pursuing crowdfunding for their work, I’d be happy to provide free crowdfunding consultation and give feedback on your campaign prior to when it goes live. I want to share my experience with others and help them in their self-publishing or hybrid-publishing experience. If you’d like feedback on your project, just shoot me a message on facebook, or twitter.

As of right now, I’m transitioning into my retail launch and working hard to market my book as a blend of cyberpunk and hard science fiction which emphasizes technology and scientific accuracy wherever possible. I’m currently running several marketing campaigns through multiple outlets with varying success, and will hopefully have some good insights to share going in a few weeks once I’ve compiled all the data, but as of right now, my retail launch is going fairly well.

Hopefully, this will be the first of many guest posts on Altered Instinct, and I look forward to sharing insights on science fiction, writing, and do some book reviews on here as well. If you’d like to take a look at my novel, Absolute Knowledge, you can check it out right here.

Until next time,