New Signing: Shadows on the Wall collection by Steven Paulsen

It is with great pleasure that we announce the acquisition of publishing rights to Steven Paulsen’s dark and weird collection of short stories, Shadows on the Walls. The  collection contains stories from award winning anthologies, as well as original fiction. Original cover and internal art will be supplied by the Hugo and Oscar Award winning artist, Shaun Tan.

The collection is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2018.

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Photograph by Kirstyn McDermott

Steven Paulsen is an award-winning writer whose speculative fiction has appeared in publications around the world. His bestselling dark fantasy children’s book, The Stray Cat, illustrated by Shaun Tan, has seen publication in several English and foreign language editions. His short stories, which Jack Dann describes as rocket-fueled with narrative drive, have appeared in a variety of magazines and in anthologies such as Terror Australis, Strange Fruit, Cthulhu: Deep Down Under, Fantastic Worlds, The Cthulhu Cycle, and the World Fantasy Award winning Dreaming Down-Under.

Steven has also written extensively about Australian horror and fantasy for publications such as Eidolon, Interzone, Bloodsongs, Sirius, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, Fantasy Annual, The St James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers, and The Melbourne University Press Encyclopaedia of Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy. His interviews with Australian SF writers have been published in magazine and book form in Australia, UK, Europe and the USA.

Readers can find out more about Steven’s work at: www.stevenpaulsen.com

News: Cary Lenehan at AICon in Hobart, Tasmania

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Cary J Lenehan at AICon, Hobart

5-6 March saw the annual Tasmanian event of AICon in Hobart. It was a fun, largely anime-oriented event with lots of cosplay.

Cary Lenehan went along to promote the second book of the Warriors of Vhast series, ‘Engaging Evil’. Within a few minutes of the doors opening 3 books had been sold to people who had bought ‘Intimations of Evil’ the year before.

This was another successful outing for Cary who views local activity as being essential to developing and supporting his fan base – we wholeheartedly agree.

Forthcoming Release: The Gate Theory by Kaaron Warren

IFWG Publishing Australia is pleased to have acquired worldwide print and digital book rights for Kaaron Warren’s short story collection, The Gate Theory. “This collection attracted much-deserved rave reviews when it was published in 2015, and when we heard that its rights were available, we jumped for it,” Gerry Huntman, Managing Director IFWG Publishing Australia stated. “Last year we published Kaaron’s The Grief Hole, and we see this work as complementing it in our catalogue.”

The Gate Theory will be released in coming days, both in print and ebook formats, and will also be available in significant discounted form when purchasing The Grief Hole through the publisher, as part of a two-title deal.

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Front and back cover artwork by Carlo Cotronis and design by Jeffery E Doherty.

“We’re all in pain. We try to keep the gates closed by falling in love, travelling, avoiding responsibility, getting drunk, taking drugs…anything to lose ourselves.
But the dull ache remains in each of us.These stories are about the gates opening.”

The Gate Theory holds six tales by award-winning Australian author Kaaron Warren. 
 
Each story resonates with the pain of living.

New Signing: Last Year, When We Were Young by Andrew J McKiernan

IFWG Australia is very pleased to announce the acquisition of Andrew J McKiernan’s collection of dark short stories, Last Year, When We Were Young. This work was first published in 2014, and with this signing, we will be supplementing what is already very good with additional stories and rich illustrations by the author.

The collection will be published in late 2017 or early 2018 – over coming months we will narrow down the release period.

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Andrew J. McKiernan is a writer and illustrator from the Central Coast of New South Wales. First published in 2007, his stories have since been short-listed for multiple Aurealis, Ditmar, and Australian Shadows awards, as well as being reprinted internationally and in a number of Year’s Best anthologies. His short story collection, ‘Last Year, When We Were Young’, was awarded the 2014 AHWA Australian Shadows Award for Best Collected Work. “The Message” was recently optioned to be produced as a short film by award-winning Australian director Tom Spark. www.andrewmckiernan.com

Sneak Preview: Engaging Evil by Cary J Lenehan

We know fans have been waiting for a while, but we can now announce the release of Engaging Evil, book 2 of Warriors of Vhast, by Cary J Lenehan, on the 23rd of February 2017. Here’s the cover:

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Engaging Evil continues the unfolding series set on a distant and fabricated world where magic takes the place of technology and dragons and monsters dwell in unlikely places.

Following on from Book 1, Intimations of Evil, we follow the Cat, the priest, the princess, the ghazi, the tribesman and others, as they leave civilisation and enter the wilds and discover the hidden village of Mousehole, where lurks bandits and indescribable evil.

Engaging Evil is the second book of a series that sees worlds reshaped and myths confounded in a far-flung fantasy adventure.

Well done to Elizabeth Lang of EL Designs, and artist Catherine Archer-Wills for the spectacular cover.

The Grief Hole Illustrated: News and Pre-Orders

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The Grief Hole Illustrated: An Artist’s Sketchbook Companion to Kaaron Warren’s Supernatural Thriller, by Keely Van Order will be released next month. Those who ordered it as part of the Limited Edition offer for The Grief Hole are locked in for shipment as soon as the book is printed, but we are offering an excellent preorder price for Australian readers only right now: $36.95 including shipping and GST. This offer will cease in early February 2017.

Kaaron Warren’s novel, The Grief Hole, is fast becoming a dark literary classic, and it was enhanced by internal illustrations, and cover art/design by Canberra-based artist, Keely Van Order.

This art portfolio traces Keely’s passage to the final illustrations and designs, including variations on themes, mood sketches, and pieces of art that were worthy of publishing, but just didn’t quite make it the limited number required for the final product. Keely provides notes on her journey and includes excerpts from The Grief Hole that enables the viewer insight into the direct sources of inspiration for the art.

Keely Van Order’s art and design for The Grief Hole, compiled in this beautiful book, is an apt companion volume to the novel, and captures the spirit of Kaaron Warren’s masterpiece as a stand alone work.

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The Grief Hole Illustrated is 74 pages in length with premium colour printing and paper. It is hard cover with matte finish lamination. To showcase Keely’s work, the book is 280 x 216mm in size (11″ x 8.5″).

CLICK HERE to preorder Keely’s magnificent work for AU$36.95 (Australia only, GST and Shipping included)  It will retail in Australia for $39.95 (GST include, not shipping).

Nick Stathopoulos, the eminent Australian artist, has the following to say in the Introduction to this art portfolio:

NEVER SEEN THE SAME BY ANY TWO PEOPLE

Where teenagers would go to suicide

                         …this was the picture I started with and took the project from here.”

And so begins Keely Van Order’s harrowing journey illustrating Kaaron Warren’s disturbing and dark fantasy The Grief Hole.

This was no ordinary commission.

But then this was no ordinary story. In this portfolio we follow Keely’s creative journey; her conceptual explorations with styles, with techniques, with fonts. Here we have sketches, detailed notes, cover variants, final art, and work rejected due to printing concerns. We get a sense of what she was feeling as she worked through the book. We share her determination to reveal the face of the charismatic, shaman-like Sol Evictus, to unmask him, to deny him being reduced to a mythological archetype. To make him real. And this is where the value of an illustration can override a reader’s imagination.

Throughout publishing history we have great collaborations between writers and artists. Can you imagine A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh without the fragile delicacy of E. H. Shepard, or Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland without the slightly psychotic John Tenniel, or John Marsden’s The Rabbits without the politically savvy Shaun Tan? And now we have Keely Van Order’s dark, brooding, melancholia. Kaaron Warren is a fortunate author indeed.

I’m one of those people who watches all the extras on a blu-ray disc. Partly because I enjoy that insight into how visual effects are created, and what they decided to leave on the (now digital) cutting room floor; and partly because I always harbored ambitions to work in the film industry myself.

Despite knowing the magician’s tricks, I can still draw a distinction between the behind-the-scenes details, suspend my disbelief, and enjoy the movie—not as some technical exercise—but as a piece of pure story-telling. Although I did work peripherally in the film industry, most of my career was directed towards graphic design and illustration. Which means this portfolio is like one of those blu-ray extras for illustrators.

Very few people realize or appreciate how much effort an artist puts into creating work for a book. What makes this a particularly unusual and challenging project is that this story involves an artist sent to capture the faces of dying teenagers—who in doing so dies in a ‘grief hole’. And in taking this project on, Keely has in many ways become that artist, taken on that persona. This is not a happy head-space.

When illustrating a manuscript, an artist doesn’t casually read it. They diligently scour every word to find those key pivotal moments that have the highest emotional and visual impact. As you turn every page of this portfolio, you can see Keely immersing herself in Kaaron’s bleak world, where each word takes on a deeper meaning, evoking a mood, stimulating the possibility of a visual interpretation. This level of engagement makes for great art.

On a purely artistic level, despite Keely’s distinctive, idiosyncratic style, do I detect echoes of an Eastern European aesthetic—perhaps Czech? I’m now thinking of those bizarre Polish and Czech movie posters that have nothing whatsoever to do with the films they are meant to be spruiking, yet remain intriguing works of art on their own terms. Do I sense the influence of cover artists I grew up with – Richard Powers, or Bruce Pennington—hovering around Keely like the ghosts Theresa sees? Perhaps. Or perhaps that’s just me making connections with the artists who served as my inspirations. But then again, like the grief holes themselves, these things are “never seen the same by any two people”.

So look carefully. I’m trusting that after dutifully examining each sketch, each note-to-self, each final illustration, you might glean just what an extraordinary collective work of art Keely Van Order has created. In this case, knowing the magician’s tricks enhances Kaaron’s world.

And a personal thank you to Gerry Huntman for having the foresight and wisdom to connect Keely with Kaaron—a true symbiotic relationship—and for publishing this portfolio. It’s not often we are granted the opportunity to take a peek into an artist’s process, especially in such a handsome format.