Monday, 28 November 2016

What's the Matter With Slithers?


Snakes – ew! Cold-blooded, poison-fanged, slithering about the place…  They’re creepy, right?

Well, not according to Barbara Michaels, whose first book, What’s the Matter with Slithers?, provides a rather different picture of these oft-maligned creatures.


Not that she always felt so warmly towards our no-legged friends. When her grandson first decided to get a pet snake, Barbara was wary. But the newly christened Mr Slithers soon won her round.

Barbara says: ‘You might not think so, but snakes have personalities. A snake is as much an individual as a cat or a dog. And just like a cat or dog, once you get to know one, it becomes part of the family.’

And so, hoping to show this seldom seen side of snakes, Barbara was inspired to write What’s the Matter with Slithers?, a charming tale of a corn snake with an itch he just can’t scratch. Adorably illustrated by up-and-coming artist Sian Bowman, it is a tale that manages what to many might seem the impossible: making a snake not only sympathetic, but cute!

The conclusion is gently educational, revolving around Slithers shedding his skin. While What’s the Matter with Slithers might be Barbara’s first book, it draws on her wealth of writing experience.

Barbara Michaels

Barbara has had several short stories published, contributed to the award winning Laughing not Laughing, and has worked for many years as a journalist and a freelance writer; she is also part of the editorial board of Bimah, the magazine for the Jewish community of mid and south Wales. But most importantly, for many years Barbara has played the role of storyteller to her family. Barbara continues: ‘As a mother and a grandmother – soon to be great-grandmother. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to spin a tale to dispel a child’s fears, or to teach them something without them even realising it. I thought about this a lot while writing my book. I wanted to capture the feeling of a good old fashioned bedtime story: something cosy and comforting which leaves you having learned something, but most of all, with a smile.’

So Slithers might just dispel the phobias of children and parents alike. The launch of the book on 26th November was a great success.  


What's the Matter With Slithers? launch. From left to right: Matt, Holly, Barbara, Verity, Liberty, Holly.

Candy Jar’s Editorial Coordinator Will Rees says: ‘What’s the Matter with Slithers? is a truly endearing tale. The illustrations alone are enough for you to want a Slithers of your own, and combined with Barbara’s sweetly traditional storytelling, the book is an irresistible package.’

Friday, 25 November 2016

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH


What’s a cowboy without a horse? Or a carriage without a horse to draw it? The partnership between horses and humans goes back over five thousand years. Many stories have featured these docile, faithful and intelligent creatures, with each generation having its own equestrian epic. Remember Champion the Wonder Horse, Mr Ed, Black Beauty or War Horse? Well, move over, Stable Gossip is here, ready to capture the hearts of a new generation.

And yet, to most of us – children and adults alike – horses remain mysterious creatures. Dogs love us, cats judge us… but horses?

It is to shed light on these enigmatic animals that Joanna Fisher has written her debut book for children, Stable Gossip, a collection of six original short stories lovingly illustrated by Eric Heyman.

As international Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer, Joanna has been riding for nearly forty years. And though the Stable Gossip gang are a bit more talkative than your average horses, their stories and personalities are all based on Joanna’s own animals.  

Joanna says: “Everything in this book actually happened, so in a way these stories write themselves. But to give my horses a voice, I had to get inside their minds, to understand what they were thinking and their behaviour. Luckily, I have a gift of understanding.”

Formerly representing Great Britain internationally in Dressage for five years, being shortlisted for two Olympic Games, and having spent nineteen years training abroad, Joanna believes her success as a horsewoman is due to this all this hard work.

Joanna continues: “It’s always better to sit on a friend than to sit on an enemy. If you understand a horse, you can empathise with it, and together you can develop a relationship based on mutual trust and understanding, working daily with each other to achieve the best results.”

So as the Stable Gossip gang bicker, the young reader will learn about the real-life personalities of a group of horses, the way they see each other and about the bonds that form between these deeply social animals. Such lessons are woven effortlessly into the stories, so that the reader will come to understand the psychology of horses without even realising they are being taught.

There are the self-obsessed ones, like Nosey, prone to talking a lot, not to mention running amok through dressage competitions. There are the dopey ones, like Leo, constantly unsure of what exactly is going on. Or the prim and proper ones, like Flo – who’s a princess, don’t you know?

Along with their friends, Rumbo, Charmeur and Coco, the Stable Gossip gang are an eclectic bunch, but in their differences they express a message of companionship that is true to the spirit of a stable full of horses, as well as a positive moral for the young reader.

Across six stories, the gang argue, fall in love, practice for their competitions, celebrate Christmas and, well, just generally horse around. These stories are the first in what is intended to be an expanding range of Stable Gossip adventures, including future books and a possible animated series. 

Editorial Co-ordinator for Candy Jar Books Will Rees says: “As a brand, Stable Gossip has huge potential. A lot of children’s books are about anthropomorphised animals. But Stable Gossip is that rare thing: a children’s book where, behind the fun, there’s an author who’s a bona fide expert on her subject. Young readers will not only be entertained by this book, but will learn a lot too.”

The Wishing Bazaar

Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce its latest brand new free story!

The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell will be sent out to all subscription customers, and those who pre-order the forthcoming novel, Blood of Atlantis by Simon A Forward.

Sharon Bidwell was born in London on New Year’s Eve. She has been writing professionally for many years, with her first short story recieving praise for being “strong on characterisation, and quite literary, in terms of style”.Her work has appeared steadily in both print and electronic publications, such as Midnight StreetAoife’s KissNight To Dawn, and Radgepacket. She has written several romance novels under the name Sharon Maria Bidwell, including Snow Angel and A Not So Hollow Heart, as well as dark fiction under the name Sharon Kernow. She was propelled into the universe of Steampunk as one of the writers for Space: 1899 & Beyond, winning the approval of series creator and award-winning game designer, Frank Chadwick. She wrote three books in the series, one of which was co-authored with editor (and writer) Andy Frankham-Allen.The Wishing Bazaar is her first piece of Doctor Who related fiction.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I first met Sharon via the wonderful world of social media back in, I think, 2009. I was very impressed with her work, and soon enlisted her for my Space: 1889 & Beyond series. Her work ethic was proven to me when a novella fell through at the last minute and she agreed to co-author a replacement with me – which we did, in only two weeks! Sharon’s first drafts are often better than a lot of published works out there, and from the off I told her that I would get her writing for the Lethbridge-Stewart series. She resisted for all of five minutes.”

Sharon says: “I've written for and with Andy before with great success, so I was not entirely surprised when he got in contact about his latest project. For one thing, he'd been 'hinting' for some time that he wanted to rope me in and Andy isn't someone who understands no as an answer.Whenever I hear from Andy, I never know whether to cheer or groan. All those who write novels for well-known television shows now have my utmost respect. Some find it easy; for others the experience feels difficult and involves a lot of angst. I'm one of those worriers. Despite the responsibility, Andy has dragged me into incredible worlds and stories that are part of history and there's no way not to be grateful for that.Invariably the experience of writing for Lethbridge-Stewart was, for me, daunting, exciting, fun, and adventurous…a bit like the character himself.”

Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “Sharon was an unknown quantity for me, but I knew that Andy had worked with her before, so I was more than happy to see what she’d come up with. Having read her short story, and looked up her other work, I now believe she’s going to be a wonderful addition to our stable of authors on this series.”

This story is set between Times Squared and Blood of Atlantis.

Blurb: Back from New York, Lethbridge-Stewart is investigating one of the strangest cases that has come across his desk yet. Wishes are coming true, and if there’s one thing Lethbridge-Stewart still doesn’t believe in it’s magic. But what if he’s wrong?

The cover of The Wishing Bazaar is by regular cover artist, Richard Young.Richardsays:“I adore working with Candy Jar, and their cover briefs are always so specific, but this one was rather ambiguous as there were several elements that I could have used on the cover. I decided to concentrate on the alien of the piece.One passage of the story mentioned its burning eyes. Using a combination of traditional drawing and then colourisation in Photoshop (to really get the blazing eyes right), this is what I came up with.And I'm pleased to say everyone loved it.”

The Wishing Bazaar will be sent out to every person who pre-orders Blood of Atlantis (as a single book, or as part of our bundle/subscription offers).

Blood of Atlantis can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the previous novel, Times Squared by Rick Cross, and the forthcoming novel,Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin, or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five.

Candy Jar is pleased to announce that the subscription offer is now being extended to international customers. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/subscriptions.html for more details.

Candy Jar is also offering a special promotion for its online customers. Buy Blood of Atlantis for £8.99 and get Times Squared for £5. This promotion also applies to six other Candy Jar titles. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/offers.html for more details.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Cult Fiction- Gangsters

Candy Jar Books is reissuing the two Gangsters novelisations written by Philip Martin, the writer of Vengeance on Varos and The Trial of a Time Lord parts 5-8.
Originally broadcast as the 1975 Play for Today, Gangsters featured Maurice Colbourne (Resurrection of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen) and provoked a storm of controversy. Its violence was graphic, its portrayal of contemporary racism authentic, its depiction of the mean streets of Birmingham unsparing.

But Gangsters combined this scandal-inducing realism with a daring, postmodern style of storytelling, eschewing the po-faced worthiness of much of Play for Today’s output for a genre-bending self-referentiality that aimed to entertain as much as to hector.

Critics dismissed it, but audiences loved it – so much so that the BBC quickly commissioned two series to continue its story. Airing in 1977 and in 1978 these two six-part serials prompted a critical reappraisal, and ever since, Gangsters has been considered a cult classic, garnering plaudits as one of the most singular shows ever broadcast by the BBC.
This reputation for originality is well deserved. Gangsters featured one of the first truly multiracial casts to be seen on British screens; it depicted both the exploitation of illegal immigrants and the conniving of magical kung fu assassins; the misery of heroin addiction and cut aways to Martin himself dictating the script. It is a truly unique piece of writing.

Now Philip Martin’s uncompromising, anarchic take on the crime genre returns with the re-publication of the two novels that accompanied the TV series. Together in the same volume for the first time, A Life for a Life and Vendetta are two standalone stories that demonstrate the same cocktail of verve and verisimilitude that characterises the show.
Not only furthering the story of the show’s protagonist, John Kline, but setting up what will be the first brand new addition in the Gangsters story for almost thirty years – Death Touch, to be published by Candy Jar Books in 2017 – Philip Martins’ Gangsters is an indispensible addition to this chapter in cult television history.

As the editorial coordinator for Candy Jar Books, Will Rees, says:
‘With our recent publication of the Dr Strangelove novelisation, and our Lethbridge Stewart range, Candy Jar has an established reputation for publishing quality material from the world of cult film and television. Fans of cult media are real devotees, and it is their fandom that keeps these original and challenging works alive. The Gangsters novels have been collector’s items for far too long, and we will get as much of a thrill from making them available to all the fans as they themselves will get from reading them.’

So with these upcoming releases, enthusiasts will finally be able to complete their Gangsters collections, and this iconoclastic blend of the high and the low, the serious and the absurd, the realist, the postmodern and the sheer surreal can finally be enjoyed as its creator always intended it to be.

Philip Martin’s Gangsters is available from the Candy Jar Books website.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Top Tips for Submissions!

If you’re thinking about submitting some work to us, we’d love to hear from you, but you might like to have a look at these guides for sending your work to us. 
  1. Include a cover letter – We’d like to know a little more about you and your story. You can tell us anything you think is relevant about who you are and where your inspiration for the story came from.
  2. A synopsis is always helpful – You will only be sending us a small portion of your book, so it’s helpful to us if you can send us a synopsis. Just a brief account of the plot of your book is what we need. 
  3. Don’t send us too much – We love reading your work and finding new authors, but we do receive a lot of submissions. Just 2-3 chapters are enough to give us an idea of what your book is like.
  4. Is your book like another you’ve read? – It’s always helpful for us to know the sort of books you think yours is like. If you’ve written the first book in a series of books about a boy who discovers he’s a wizard, and also the son of a god, you might liken your book to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
  5. Who is going to read it? – It’s also useful to us to have an idea of who your book will appeal to. Is it a general fiction novel? Is it a children’s fantasy novel? Or a Young Adult Contemporary novel? Either way, we’d like to know.  
  6. Have patience – We receive a lot of submissions, and while we try hard to get through all of them as quickly as possible it does take time, so please have patience with us while waiting for a response.
So there you have it! 6 key tips for sending in your submissions to us. For more information on where to send them, visit our website!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Lethbridge-Stewart: 2 for 1 Super Sale!



Candy Jar Books Exclusive
 
Super Sale!

Lethbridge-Stewart Two Book Bundle
For a limited time only! Buy The Schizoid Earth (Lethbridge-Stewart Series 1, Book 2) and receive Beast of Fang Rock (Lethbridge-Stewart Series 1, Book 3) completely free!

 
Head over to our shop right now to claim this exclusive deal!

The Schizoid Earth (Lethbridge-Stewart Series 1, Book 2):-
Lethbridge-Stewart was supposed to be in the mountains of the east. Things didn't quite go according to plan.

On the eve of war, something appeared in the sky; a presence that blotted out the moon. Now it has returned, and no battle plan can survive first contact with this enemy.

Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in a past that never happened, Lethbridge-Stewart must unravel the mystery of a man ten years out of his time; a man who cannot possibly still exist.

Why do the ghosts of fallen soldiers still fight long-forgotten battles against living men? What is the secret of the rural English town of Deepdene? Lethbridge-Stewart has good reason to doubt his own sanity, but is he suffering illness or injury, or is something more sinister going on?

The second novel in a brand-new series of novels set just after the Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear, featuring the characters and concepts created by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln.
Beast of Fang Rock (Lethbridge-Stewart Series 1, Book 3): -
Fang Rock has always had a bad reputation. Since 1955 the lighthouse has been out of commission, shut down because of fire that gutted the entire tower. But now, finally updated and fully renovated, the island and lighthouse is once again about to be brought back into service.
Students have gathered on Fang Rock to celebrate the opening of the ‘most haunted lighthouse of the British Isles’, but they get more than they bargained for when the ghosts of long-dead men return, accompanied by a falling star.
Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart is brought in to investigate what he believes to be signs of alien involvement. But it is not only Lethbridge-Stewart who has an interest in Fang Rock. Anne Travers is called to her family solicitor’s, who have in their possession a letter from Archibald Goff, the paranormal investigator who once visited Fang Rock back in the 1820s, and along with it a piece of alien technology.
What connects a shooting star, ghosts of men killed in 1902 and the beast that roamed Fang Rock in 1823? Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers are about to discover the answer first hand.

Don’t miss out! Order now while the offer lasts!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Candy Jar @ Regenerations Swansea – 24th-25th September 2016


Have you booked to attend this years’ Regenerations event?

With loads of amazing guests and fantastic interviews planned, how could Shaun possibly turn down the opportunity to attend and sell you some books?! 

Most exciting of all these books is a fantastic pre-order from author Peter Grehan, Connecting Who
The Cybermen, the Weeping Angels, the Daleks… the artificial beings of Doctor Who are some of the most iconic in science fiction. But what inspired them?

Connecting Who: Artificial Beings traces their origins back to the myths, folktales and real events of history; the teachings of religion; not to mention the wealth of other sci fi writing from which Doctor Who has drawn.
Peter Grehan has been an avid fan since Doctor Who’s very first broadcast.  With him as your guide, explore the wealth of material which lies behind the longest running science fiction series of all time.

If you can’t wait until Regenerations to order your copy or you’re unable to attend the event, you can visit our store to pre-order now. If you do, you’ll also receive a free copy of the 3rd book in the first Lethbridge-Stewart series, Beast of FangRock

 
Shaun will also be selling some of our other books, so make sure you
drop by and visit!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Lethbridge-Stewart: THE HAVOC FILES




Calling all fans of Lethbridge-Stewart! The Havoc Files are back! 

The Havoc Files 2 is available to pre-order now. Check out the synopsis below:-

Ghosts in Cornwall, zombies in Australia, aliens at Wembley, trouble in Egypt, and a siege on the Kent coast. Just a few things our heroes have to face in this volume of collected short stories.

Add to that, an investigation into the strange goings on in a small house in Mevagissey, which sees Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers cut down to size. And much later, the ashes from a destroyed
Earth fall on Lethbridge-Stewart and his family.

Contains five short stories previously only available in digital format, two brand-new stories dealing with the fallout of two popular Doctor Who serials, and previously unpublished material from the latest Lethbridge-Stewart novels.

A collection of short stories from the classic era of Doctor Who, starring Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers, based on the characters and concepts created by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.

As always, The Havoc Files 2 is only a limited run. We have less than 75 copies left now, and they’re going fast, so head on over to our shop to pre-order your very own copy now!

This exciting short story collection includes: -
Ashes of the Inferno by Andy Frankham-Allen (brand new, print exclusive)
House of Giants by Rick Cross (brand new, print exclusive)
In His Kiss by Sue Hampton
The Lock-In by Sarah Groenewegen BEM
The Black Eggs of Khufu by Tom Dexter
The Band of Evil by Roger J Simmonds & Shaun Russell
The Playing Dead by Adrian Sherlock
and
Schädengeists Lot by Jonathan Cooper (previously unpublished interludes from The Showstoppers)
Exodus from Venus by John Peel (original prologue from The Grandfather Infestation)
Also, for a limited time, you can also order Beast of Fang Rock at the same time as The Havoc Files 2 for half price! So you can enjoy all those short stories, plus the sequel to The Horror of Fang Rock (first broadcast in 1977) all at once for only £14.48 (plus p&p).
Make sure you get your hands on all those brand new and exclusive titles by pre-ordering now!


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Happy Birthday, Shaun!


Yesterday was a great day for us here at Candy Jar. Our Head of Publishing and Company Director, Shaun Russell, celebrated his birthday with us at the office with cake and chocolate. Shaun has had a distinguished career working with ITV, Channel 5, GMTV, and The Children’s Channel. He is now responsible for overseeing book production and marketing our titles using his contacts in the industry. We were very pleased to be able to help Shaun celebrate his special day and we look forward to many more years celebrating with him!

Candy Jar invites you to join us in wishing Shaun Many Happy Returns for yesterday.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Roald Dahl Day!



Today, on Tuesday 13th September, we at Candy Jar Books join the rest of the world in celebrating Roald Dahl. 

The whole month of September is dedicated in the literary world to celebrating and remembering that great man and author. You may remember that on World Book Day, back in March, we posted about our favourite Roald Dahl books, but as today is the centenary of Mr Dahl’s birth, we thought it appropriate today to talk of the man himself. 

Born, not far from our office, in Llandaff, Cardiff, Roald Dahl was the only son and middle child of Harald and Sofie Magdalene Dahl. He documented his early childhood experiences and school career in his autobiographical novel Boy: Tales of Childhood. Dahl later became an aircraftman with the RAF, fighting in the Second World War, his experiences of which he published in his 1986 memoir, Going Solo

In his lifetime Dahl had two wives, five children, and a whopping 57 publications, including a compilation of short ghost stories that were edited by him in 1983 before he died in 1990. Roald Dahl is a household name. I’m certain that there isn’t a person in this country who has not heard of, read, watched, or studied at least one of his works. His works induce nostalgia in those of us who were brought up on his stories and excitement and joy in those who read them for the first time. Although there is a lot of controversy surrounding Dahl, who he was, and how he treated those that loved him, there can be no doubt about one thing – his writing, for whatever reason, has stuck in the hearts and minds of those that have read it.

How have you enjoyed celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of this extraordinary person?