Clarendon House's Special 2021 So Far: An Overview


Let’s take a look at some of the hot releases from Clarendon House Publications this year so far and break down what each is about and who exactly would enjoy reading them.

We begin with the first major release of 2021, and work forward.



Getting Your Short Stories Published: A Guidebook by Steve Carr

Non-fiction guidebook (revised and expanded second edition)

What is this book about?

This is an easy-to-read, short professional guide to the marketing of short stories.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Any short story writer who has already written some material but a) doesn’t know what to do next or b) hasn’t had any or much success getting acceptances from publishers. This guidebook strips things back to basics and gives you a tried-and-tested way of achieving results.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

There’s nothing really like this on the market, as far as I can tell. Most guidebooks about short stories start by trying to tell you how to write them, but Carr assumes that you have a working knowledge of the craft and some pieces ready to get published. His focus is very keenly on how to get acceptances from publishers, in a practical, efficient and effective manner.

The blurb:

Beginning his writing career as a military journalist, Steve Carr has had over 500 short stories — new and reprints — published internationally in more than 325 publications, in print and online magazines, literary journals and anthologies, since 2016. Prior to that his plays were produced in several states in the U.S. He has had seven collections of his short stories published, received two Pushcart Prize nominations and acquired a large social media following. Under his Sweetycat Press imprint he has published five anthologies highlighting emerging writers. He is the publisher/editor of the online magazine Short Story Town. Steve is one of the most qualified people on the planet to give other writers practical advice on the ins and outs of getting a short story published. The second edition of his popular guidebook on how to get your short stories published reveals his organizing system and his methodology for approaching editors, and is full of tips to get your work in print.



Galaxy 2: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Sci-Fi and Fantasy Flash Fiction Anthology 2021

Anthology

What is this book about?

Galaxy 2 consists of 45 pieces of flash fiction in the science fiction and fantasy genres. Each story is unique and some are quite challenging; many represent the cutting edge of new talent in this field.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Science fiction and fantasy fans are obviously going to get a lot out of this, especially those ones who are hooked on the essence of both genres, which is the ability to step outside what is considered ‘normal’ reality, and to play with concepts, timelines, ideas, images and themes in completely new ways.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

There are plenty of short story collections out there, but many feature well-known authors or classic tales from yesteryear — which is great, but if you want something new and fresh, which can be read in just a few minutes, then Galaxy 2 is probably for you.

The blurb:

Come on a set of journeys — sometimes to starscapes far away, sometimes to magical other worlds, and sometimes right next door, all super-compressed into 500 words or less — and experience the wonder of these special genres in ways you couldn’t have imagined.Featuring the work of Edward Ahern, Gabriella Balcom, Jim Bates, Andrew Bathgate, J.D. Bell, The Birch Twins, Jeff Blanchard, David Bowmore, Elizabeth Brown, Ashleigh Cattermole-Crump, Russell Colclough, RLM Cooper, Meera Dandekar, Dawn DeBraal, Joshua Dyer, Sally Eberhardt, DJ Elton, Ximena Escobar, J.C. Haggerty, Heather Hood, Kerri Jesmer, A.R. Kavli, Mark Kuglin, Charlotte Langtree, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Sasha Janel McBrayer, Jenean McBrearty, Sue Mitchell, Mel Lee Newmin, A. L. Paradiso, Sultana Raza, Richard Rebel, Michal Reiben, Vaughn Roste, Bruce Rowe, A. A. Rubin, Amber M. Simpson, Linda Sparks, CL Steele, Jeffrey Stephens, V. H. Stone, L.T. Waterson, Kristiina Zadin and Hiskandar Zulkarnaen.



Noman's Land by Mel Lee Newmin

Science fiction novel

What is this book about?

This is exciting science fiction, full of the fundamental energy of the genre — space travel, alien cultures, capable but vulnerable characters, exploring new ideas… This is a real triumph and has deservedly been hailed as a new classic.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Any true fan of science fiction who appreciates both hard science — not only physics, but sociology and psychology — and who likes a combination of intelligent and well-paced action which never lets its grip loosen and thorough, well-thought-out ideas which themselves are completely gripping.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

Think 1960s fresh, energetic sci-fi, but with a developed and pulsating heart. It’s not easy to pick out comparisons without leaving out this book’s vibrant uniqueness. Think Star Trek at its best, but coupled with some Arthur C. Clarke and the rapid pacing of Star Wars…but those comparisons don’t really do Noman’s Land justice.

The blurb:

Humanity’s worst nightmare: an intelligent alien race equipped with vast spacecraft is attacking the furthest outposts of Earth’s expansion — attacking ruthlessly, brutally and relentlessly, refusing to communicate. Their onslaught is so merciless that it is kept secret from the world’s population for fear of mass panic.

When expert linguist and political rebel Daj Dimarco is press-ganged into the desperate diplomatic mission charged with ending the aggression, he has little hope of ever returning to his former life on Earth. But when an unexpected confrontation with a member of his own crew suddenly flings him into a world he could never have imagined, Daj becomes the only hope for humanity's continuing existence— if he can somehow stay alive himself…

Mel Lee Newmin presents a story destined to be a classic of the science fiction genre: a fast-paced, multilayered adventure which is also richly textured and thought-provoking.



The Chrysalis and the Creatures of the Highlands by Bruce Rowe

Fantasy/animal fable

What is this book about?

This highly unusual book tells the tale of a group of animals involved in a mythic transformation of their world. It has elements of quest and war, but also contains some comedy and a little metaphysics — it’s all very hard to categorise, which is perhaps its greatest strength: it sort of invents its own genre.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

This book is probably not for anyone who enjoys a standard fantasy with all the usual tropes. It might be said to be ‘trope-defying’, in fact: it features animals which resemble creatures we know, but which are also very different in form and manner; and the actual plot, while similar to a standard quest, also varies at key points into something quite different. If you’re looking for something unusual, perhaps a book which might spearhead a whole new genre, this is it.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

A reader’s first thought might be Richard Adams’ classic Watership Down — but reading on, a discerning reader might also pick out elements as varied as Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Lucas’s Star Wars. But these are misleading references to a large degree. In short, this book is its own genre and such comparisons flounder.

The blurb:

The Chrysalis is coming: the vast evolutionary process through which the earth moves from one stage to the next, creating gentler environments and hence gentler creatures through adaptation, under the watchful eyes of the Creators of All Things. In the meantime, Renwick and his lagomorphs are in danger of being overwhelmed by the vicious chief of the Dire Wolves, Caden.A perilous quest must be undertaken; a violent and merciless enemy confronted. Be prepared for a tale of epic triumph, tragedy and transformation…



Poetica # 3: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Second Poetry Anthology 2021

Poetry anthology

What is this book about?

This is a collection of short poems from all over the world with wide-ranging topics, methods, emotional depths and use of images.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Anyone seeking poetry which is new, fresh, vibrant and emotional.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

Many collections of poetry exist. What makes Poetica 3 different is that these poets are largely completely new voices.

The blurb:

The power of poetry to transfix, enchant, persuade and delight comes to life in this special selection of modern poems from talented poets all over the world. Prepare to be moved, mesmerised, motivated and amazed!



Molly's War and Other Short Stories by Jennifer Brookins

Literary short story collection

What is this book about?

This book consists of eleven short stories of a most unique kind. The author tells the tale of colourful and unusual characters from yesteryear in a way which uniquely retains those character’s voices and experiences and leaves the reader emotionally moved in ways they might not suspect.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Lovers of literary short stories, powerful but unusual character dramas, memoir and intense emotion will enjoy these tales — but also anyone who enjoys the way in which unexpected, unfamiliar, sometimes strange, often odd narrative techniques can be used to get to the heart of what makes people tick will delight in Molly’s War.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

Well-crafted but unorthodox short story collections with powerful emotional ‘punchlines’.

The blurb:

In this extraordinary collection, Jennifer Brookins takes us on journeys into the past so vividly that we see and hear the sights and sounds of times long gone — but also we voyage inward, into the human condition, with humour, insight, poignancy and joy.



The Potter's Wheel by Mark Scheel

Literary novel

What is this book about?

The plot tells the tale of Mel Steadman, a young man caught up in the culture of 1960s California, as the blurb says — but in terms of its themes, it’s about growing up, experiencing setbacks, immaturity and maturity, with a particular focus on a precise period and setting: 1960s California, a period with which the author has a personal familiarity.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Afficionados of that particular period; fans of Dylan or The Beatles, or life as it was in that ground-breaking decade.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

To mention Catcher in the Rye is probably to do The Potter’s Wheel a disservice as this book captures the viewpoint of a young man in America in the ‘60s in a more uplifting but very real way. There are few books that contain this mixture of memoir, detail and evocativeness.

The blurb:

The year is 1967. Mel Steadman, a Midwestern farm youth recovering from a severe head injury, becomes dissatisfied living at home and hops a bus to California. He finds work in a low-rent hotel chain and mingles with the young drifters along Hollywood Boulevard. Soon he bonds with an estranged night wanderer named Burch who clerks in a shop called The Potter’s Wheel and encounters a free-spirited femme fatale named Maureen. Adventure follows adventure, culminating, however, in abandonment and violence. Young Mel accrues many hard lessons of the street coming of age, echoes of a Holden Caulfield wrapped into a 'Day of the Locust' during the sixties’ Summer of Love.

“The sixties may now be history, but that history lives again through Scheel's faithful rendering of the street scene in the Hollywood of 1967. The war protests, frenetic youth, and a lonely Midwesterner’s search for life's purpose are deftly depicted here by an exceptionally talented writer.” —Ronda Miller, former State President, Kansas Authors Club, and author of MoonStain, WaterSigns, and I Love the Child.

“Mark Scheel is one of the best writers I know, bar none. And The Potter’s Wheel is a testament to that fact!” —Edna Bell-Pearson, author of Headwinds and Fragile Hopes, Transient Dreams.

“Having experienced the turbulent California sixties myself, I can vouch that Scheel’s portrayal of the people and the times is spot on. Once again, turn on, tune in, drop out!” —Paul Goldman, ecstatic poet, author of Silence Speaks and Upon Your Canvas.



Gary Bonn: Collected Writings Volume One

Unusual short story collection

What is this book about?

The standard answer might be that this is a collection of short stories — but Bonn defies the characterisation of the ‘short story’ and comes closest at times to the definition of poetry or perhaps magical realism or even mysticism. These are challenging pieces which evoke emotion in unusual ways and are hard to define.

Who would particularly benefit from or enjoy this book?

Those looking for a different reading experience. This book is for anyone who wants to step outside the normal short story conventions and experience things told from different perspectives; this is for readers who want to be challenged and are ready to plunge straight into other realities without having anyone hold their hand.

Are there any similar books with which to compare it?

The brief answer is ‘No’.

The blurb:

It is unlikely that any reader will get more than halfway through this first volume of Bonn’s collected works without wondering ‘How on earth is he doing it?’ Bonn’s stories aren't really 'stories' in the traditional sense — it’s not quite clear what they are: poems? Alternate universes woven with words? Glimpses into some other kind of reality? They don't follow the usual convention of 'characters + plot = story'. And anyone who reads them usually emerges pretty certain that this is a good thing. Be prepared to view Life from completely new angles — and yours may never feel quite the same again…


So there we have it so far - there are plenty more gems to come from Clarendon House in the near future, but it's been a very full year already. Are there any common denominators in the above? Well, yes: they are all highly unusual and unique publications, outstanding in their own way. If you've read this far, you'll be able to tell that I have struggled to find comparisons or categories for many of them. Part of the joy in publishing them has been the opportunity to present things to the world which stand alone and in many cases define their own genres. They are aimed at readers seeking beyond the normal groupings of tales, readers who are ready for more colour, more depth, more dynamism and more potent emotional nuances than they might be used to.

Check them out as soon as you can.

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