Spotlight: CrossOver by Paul Proffet

When a mystical warning from a vulnerable girl helps Len Doyle avoid a bloodbath, he wants answers.

If there’s one thing a professional killer doesn’t like, its loose ends.

In return for her secrets, the young girl wants shelter and protection.

But in hindsight, perhaps Doyle should have found out what she needed protecting from…

Drawn in equal parts from David Gemmell and Quentin Tarantino, CrossOver is a fresh and edgy take on epic/dark fantasy.

Set both in modern times and alternate realities, the main characters do battle with Underworld Killers and High Daemons, but through it all is a sense of humour as dark as it gets.

After a journey at break-neck speed our group arrive at a tense showdown, but before the smoke clears, several kettles will have died. buy button buy button

CrossOver by Paul Proffet book cover


Paul Proffet lives in Cheltenham with his wonderful partner Tanya and a seemingly constant scuffle with indigestion. He works full-time in the private security industry and writes whenever he can. CrossOver is his debut novel and he has recently picked a fight with the sequel.

Buying options

CrossOver is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle edition.

Children’s Laureate out to find UK’s best young writers

This week saw the launch of Project Remix – current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s nationwide competition to find the UK’s best young writers and creatives. Blackman’s second, and final, major Children’s Laureate project celebrates the art of storytelling, in all its forms, and is being hosted on the teenage story-sharing community The competition, open to UK residents aged 13-19 years, will be judged by Blackman, with entries published on the website and the winners announced at an exclusive event in April 2015.

Project Remix banner

To enter, teenagers are asked to make their own creative work in response to a selection of acclaimed literature – featuring fiction, poetry, graphic novels and short stories from some of the bestselling contemporary and classic authors, including: John Green, Suzanne Collins, Philip Pullman, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker. Entries can be submitted into five categories: Music, Book Cover Design, Book Trailer, Creative Writing, and Comic Strip.

The aim of the competition is to engage young people with literature, using it as a creative springboard into other storytelling mediums, and to open doors to the arts and the creative industries. It was inspired by the growth of online fandom, including fan fiction and fan art and the surge in related digital communities.

“Teenagers are some of the most passionate, dynamic and creative people I know. Yet too often this creative spark is left to flicker precariously and sometimes fade entirely.  Project Remix is all about fuelling that inventive spark, encouraging young people to view literature in fresh and exciting ways, putting creative control directly back into their hands.  Imagine Austen’s Pride and Prejudice remixed into a drum and bass anthem or saxophone solo, Collins’ The Hunger Games reimagined as a vibrant comic strip, and Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go brought to life as a suspenseful book trailer,” commented Blackman.

”As well as celebrating story in all its forms, I hope Remix will shine a light on the vast range of opportunities that there are in the creative industries for our young people – so often overlooked within traditional careers guidance.”

Project Remix will go live on the Movellas website at, with further information about the competition, plus resources to help young people create their entries, including guidance and insider tips from top industry experts from each category.

The full list of Project Remix selected works of literature:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Vintage Classics)
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Tamsin and the Deep comic strip by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown (The Phoenix Comic)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  • ‘Hear and Now’ poem by Laura Dockrill (unpublished)
  • Say Her Name by James Dawson (Hot Key Books)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (Vintage Classics)
  • Heroic by Phil Earle (Penguin Children’s Books)
  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin (Egmont)
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin Children’s Books)
  • ‘Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come To You My Lad’ short story by M. R. James (Vintage Classics)
  • ‘The Alumni Interview’ (short story from How they Met) by David Levithan (Egmont)
  • Split Second by Sophie McKenzie (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Wonder by R J Palacio (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (Scholastic)
  • (Un)arranged Marriage by Bali Rai (Random House Children’s Books)
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (Orion Children’s Books)
  • ‘Ozymandias’ poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (Vintage Classics)
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (Vintage Classics)
  • ’We Refugees’ (poem from Wicked World) by Benjamin Zephaniah (Penguin Children’s Books)

Competition category requirements:

  • Creative writing: write your own piece of fiction inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Word limit: up to 2,000 words
  • Comic strip: create your own comic strip inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to three A4 pages
  • Cover design: design or illustrate your own alternative cover for your chosen book
  • Book trailer: produce a book trailer – a short piece of film, like a film trailer – for your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to 2 minutes
  • Music: write and perform a song or a piece of original music inspired by your chosen book, story or poem. Limit: up to 3 minutes

Virtual Science Fiction Festival–Nov 15 and 16 2014

A free Virtual Science Fiction Festival called #BFIVoyager will be taking place on the 15th and 16th November. A collaboration between HarperCollins and the BFI, the festival takes place as part of the BFI’s major three month celebration of Science Fiction, Days of Fear and Wonder. The festival takes place at BFI Southbank and venues across the UK until December, full of science fiction films and television, including Brazil, A Clockwork Orange, Barbarella, the cinema rerelease of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and a programme of talks, lectures and discussion with film and TV directors, actors and screenwriters.

Virtual Sci-Fi Festival logo

The aim of the BFIVoyager Science Fiction festival is to explore the link between Science Fiction literature and film and the program will reflect the 3 main themes of the BFI’s film season:

  • Tomorrow’s World – from post-apocalyptic wastelands to megacities to far-flung dystopia
  • Altered States – the science fiction of ‘inner space’ mad scientists, mutants, man-machines and mind-bending trips
  • Contact! – time to explore life from all corners of the universe and across multiple dimensions

The festival will be free to ‘attend’. Register now to be sent the full programme closer to the time and receive 2 free science fiction ebooks.

Spotlight: Scions of the Storm by Alan Scott

‘Scions of the Storm’ is the second instalment in the ‘Storm Series’ trilogy, and covers the next sixteen years of this epic tale. It concludes the tale of Nathanial and his daughter, details the rise of the ‘Midnight Man’ and for the first time reveals hints about the two deadly, but hidden, forces that are using the Twin Kingdoms as a pawn in their eons old game of domination.

As ‘Scions of the Storm’ draws to an end, it prepares the reader for the final episode of this dark bittersweet trilogy and sets the ground work for the final story ‘A Dark and Hungry Storm.’

For more information and updates search Facebook for ‘EchoesOfAStorm’ or visit buy button buy button

Scions of the Storm book cover image

Sandman Slim Nursery Rhymes

Send your child to bed the right way!

As you lay your head to Sleep (Metallica, Enter the Sandman inspired)

When I lay my head to sleep,

I pray to Samuel, my soul to keep.

Beast below the things that bite,

No more day, no more light.

Beneath my bed, eternal night, Dream of hands griping tight,

What’s that noise behind door,

Speak his name dead forever more.

Sandman Sandman, I see you there,

Sandman Sandman, have a care,

Sandman Sandman, my life you take,

Sandman Sandman, I must awake.

One , Two, Sandman is Coming for you! (Freddy Krueger inspired)

1, 2, The Sandman is coming for you,

3, 4, lock your door,

5, 6, grab your crucifix; rocket launder; tactical nuclear warhead; WHATEVER,

7, 8, better stay up late,

9, 10, never sleep again

Sleep baby Sleep (Inspired by an old nursery rhyme)

Sleep, baby, sleep, Sandman guards your dreams tonight;

His Kiss blessed arm holds the door, Gun and knife and a lot more.

Rest your head on dreams shore;

The Sandman is going to count to four.

Sleep, baby, sleep.

2014 Book Illustration Competition winner announced

A Masters student at Camberwell College of Arts has won the 2014 Book Illustration Competition. Sean McSorley’s illustrations for Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad’s intensely visual masterpiece set in 19th-century Congo, beat hundreds of entrants from more than 30 countries. McSorley’s winning illustrations form part of a prestigious Folio Society commission, worth £5,000, to complete nine illustrations and a binding design for a new edition of Heart of Darkness, which is published by The Folio Society in October.

Sean McSorley illustration #1Sean McSorley illustration #2Sean McSorley illustration #3

© Sean McSorley, 2014

The annual Book Illustration Competition is open to student and professional illustrators, aged 18 and over, who have not been published by The Folio Society. The winner receives a highly sought-after Folio Society commission and five runners-up each receive £500 cash. Each year, three prizes of the six are awarded to student entries.

After intense deliberation, the winner was selected from a shortlist of six by a judging panel comprising artist, critic, curator and committee chairman for the Royal Academy Tom Phillips, independent curator and broadcaster and House of Illustration Trustee Kathleen Soriano, last year’s competition winner Finn Dean and Flora Craig from House of Illustration, together with The Folio Society’s Production Director, Editorial Director and Art Director.

“The aim of The Book Illustration Competition is to encourage and celebrate new illustration talent, and the consistently high standard of entries proves that there is a wealth of such talent out there – it was a pleasure to take part in the judging,” commented Kathleen Soriano, independent curator and broadcaster, House of Illustration Trustee.

“It was a real privilege to have been chosen to work on Heart of Darkness, and a real challenge too, since it was my first book illustration commission and I was juggling it around my MA work. I learnt a great deal throughout the process and I hope I’ve done some justice to Conrad’s complex and fascinating text,” added Sean McSorley, winner of the 2014 Book Illustration Competition.

The 2015 Book Illustration Competition will open for entries at 10am on Thursday 25 September.

Spotlight: Brand (The Book of the Fallen #1) by NC Thomas

Brand by NC Thomas book cover*** WARNING Explicit language and adult themes ***

A year ago Jenni was brutally tortured by the same creature that murdered her family. She fled to the bustling city of London in the hopes of disappearing amongst the masses of the capital. Her plan is simple: save enough money so she can escape further from the cursed British Isles which hold nothing but memories of the nightmare that still haunts her dreams every night.

One night whilst working in a club as a dancer, she meets Dylan who offers her an opportunity to advance her plan exceedingly – one week of her company for £25,000. However, events unfold that suggest their meeting is not just chance but connected to Jenni’s past and future.

N. C. Thomas can be found online at Goodreads and Facebook.

Special Feature: The Art of Greg Spalenka

The Art of Greg Spalenka cover imageGreg Spalenka graduated from the prestigious Art Center College of Design and has now been producing artwork for over 30 years. His selection of clients comprises of film studios including Warner Bros and New Line, magazines including Time and Rolling Stone, newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and numerous book publishers. Greg also gives lectures and seminars at art colleges across America.

“There has always been a yearning inside me to create art that has meaning. I desire to reflect this time and place in which I live, yet also to manifest that other landscape inside my mind and deeper still, inside my soul.”
Greg Spalenka

He is perhaps best known for his work on Neil Gaiman’s The Absolute Sandman and The Absolute Death, and his artwork has also adorned numerous books including Jennifer Johnston’s The Illusionist. Spalenka’s work has also been influential in the process of creating films such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, The Golden Compass and The Ant Bully.

The Art of Greg Spalenka (Titan Books, 26th September, £24.99) is a comprehensive collection celebrating his diverse career, ranging from commercial to fine artwork.

With instructional elements designed to inspire the reader, this book is perfect for art students interested in pursuing a career in both fine and commercial art, as well as art admirers everywhere.

Below is an image gallery of some of Greg Spalenka’s finest – and best known – work.

Astral VespertinaMind BlowMind PowerVoyage of the Dawn Treader 4Voyage of the Dawn Treader 5

ISBN: 9781781168844
26th September 2014

Spotlight: Hell On Earth by David Bowen

Hell On Earth book cover imageWhen staunch trade unionist Reg Hallsworth gets relocated to Hell few can imagine the trouble it will cause. Certainly not Death Third Class number 221 of the Human Transition Department, who hides him there to cover up his own clerical error.

Certainly not Norris who knows nothing of the afterlife, so much so that he doesn’t even know Jenny, the girl he’s currently dating, is an Angel. His Guardian Angel if you really want to put a label on that sort of thing.

And certainly not Jenny who is far too busy trying to help Norris get over his epiphany, his life changing liberation… his nervous breakdown.

But with Hell on strike and sinners queuing up to get in they soon will. With a disaster of biblical proportions just around the corner it is up to these unlikely heroes to save the day and find a suitable location to build a new Hell… on Earth.

If you had to build a new Hell somewhere on Earth where would you put it?

David Bowen was born, of that he is pretty much sure, although it was so long ago he can’t remember any of the specific details. He lives in Cardiff, Wales and describes himself as terminally single. He fervently denies ever being there and has no previous convictions. Hell on Earth is his debut novel.

Spotlight: Echoes of a Storm by Alan Scott

Echoes of a Storm book cover image‘Echoes of a Storm’ is the first book in the ‘Storm Series’, and sets the scene and tone for this powerful bittersweet trilogy.

This dark, gritty, adult fantasy novel explores many themes such as, relationships, loss, power, prejudice and ultimately, the true ‘monster’ that lurks inside of us.

As you delve deeper into the book, you will come across heroes, villain, werewolves and witches, but not quite in the way you have met them before.

The cliff hanger at the end of ‘Echoes of a Storm’ sets up perfectly the start of ‘Scions of the Storm’ which continues this powerful trilogy.

Alan Scott was born and raised on the West Coast of Scotland, and returns regularly to top up his accent. He joined the RAF in 1989 and travelled the world, where he met the wicked and the witless, as well as the kind and thoughtful. He left in 2001.

Having been a lifelong avid reader of dark fantasy and good (really bad) pulp fiction, he finally decided to conquer his dyslexia and try writing his own, using his treasured homeland and love of music for inspiration.

With the help of a proofreader in Texas, USA, and an illustrator from Berlin, Germany, he has created ‘The Storm Series’, which currently consists of a trilogy of novels and two books of short stories. He is fan-friendly and welcomes all comments and reviews of his work. Search Facebook for Echoesofastorm for his homepage, or visit his website

Alan’s greatest writing achievement so far is to have one of stories "Deadly Tap of a Cane" chosen by WorldReader for use by them. This charitable organisation ( aims to help spread ebooks and literacy in developing countries. The way they work is that they take tablets and kindles and they load them up with ebooks and learning materials, and then they send them to schools in developing countries. They’re a really great organisation and are backed by all the big publishing houses.

He still cannot help but smile when he sees that his work has been downloaded in as faraway places as Japan and Brazil. Alan is currently working on another book of short stories for the Storm Series.