Sunday 4 April 2021

Books On The Hill - Open Dyslexia Kickstarter Project

I've got something a bit different on my blog today.  I am delighted to share details of the amazing Kickstarter project from BOTH Publishing that will make good quality fiction accessible to adults with dyslexia.  You can find out more about the project by scrolling down but first I have details of the seven fabulous books.

As there are no chapters in any of the books they were all quick reads for me of between 25 and 45 minutes and although I don't usually read sci-fi or fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them.  

So on to the books!

Anchor Point by Stan Nicholls

Kye Beven is lacking confidence, and is ruthlessly bullied. Everyone except Dyan Varike, the best archer in the band, believes he is not good enough for the community’s defence. When Kye’s village is menaced by a despotic sorcerer, he reaches for his bow and steps up to the mark and saves his home. 

The Author:
Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. 

He received Le'Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007) 

What did I think?
Kye is an amazing hero who has no belief in himself but all he really needs is the belief of his friend and a little bit of magic.  A wonderful fantasy tale with a huge message: belief in yourself is the most powerful weapon.

The Four Kings of Sweden by Steven Savile

Summoned by the Swedish royalty, the Great Detective must solve a seemingly unsolvable riddle - how can the king be in three places at once? What devilry is it that has thousands of eye witnesses placing the monarch at cities a thousand miles apart? Witchcraft? Sorcery? Why? And how does this tie in to a string of crimes that seem hound the King’s footsteps? 

The Author:
Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer. 

Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010. 

What did I think?
You can't beat a good Sherlock Holmes mystery and that's exactly what Steven Savile has written.  Beautifully written with an engaging, entertaining and intelligent plot.

Ultrasound Shadow by Thana Niveau
A pregnant woman finds herself at the mercy of her unborn baby. Its strange dark presence directs her thoughts and controls her mind and body. 

The Author:
Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. 

Niveau has twice been nominated for the British Fantasy award – for her debut collection “From Hell to Eternity” and her story "Death Walks En Pointe". 

What did I think?
Oh my goodness, this book is so creepy!  It's horrifying, scary but absolutely brilliant.  I loved it even though it totally creeped me out.  I'd definitely read more from this author, although her books might make me want to hide behind the sofa.

At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul by John Llewellyn Probert

A visitor to a psychiatric institution gets more than she bargained for when it becomes apparent the building she finds herself as a prisoner, doesn't want her to leave. 

The Author:
John was the winner of 2013 British Fantasy Award for best novella. His first short story collection, The Faculty of Terror, won the 2006 Children of the Night award for best work of Gothic Fiction. He is a prolific writer with over 100 short stories published.

What did I think?
Wow!  This is an excellent psychological horror.  I had no idea what was going to happen or whether what I was reading was actual reality or the interpretation of an inmate at the psychiatric institution.  Creepy and chilling, this is another author I'll be looking out for.

The House On The Old Cliff by Adrian Tchaikovsky

A collection of desperate investigators are unleashed on a mysterious disappearance, by a lawyer working for clients who care little about the quarry's fate and more for their own interests. 

The Author:
Adrian is an award wining British fantasy and science fiction author. He won the 2016: Arthur C. Clarke Award for “Children of Time” and in 2017 won the British Fantasy Award — Best fantasy novel for “The Tiger and the Wolf”.  

What did I think?
I loved the creepiness of the old house in this book and the mystery is very intriguing.  I even got goosebumps towards the end when something unexpected appears.  Very well written, prepare to expect the unexpected in this Adrian Tchaikovsky book.

The Clockwork Eyeball by Steven Poore

In an alternate 1958 Marrakesh, the cold war continues with airships, clockwork cars and deadly spywasps. Young Saif risks his life to bring a defecting Russian agent out of the country. 

The Author:
Steven is the founder member of the Sheffield SF&F Writers’. His novel: Heir To The North, was shortlisted for Best Newcomer at the BFA in 2017. He has been a number anthologies with the BFS Award-winning publisher Fox Spirit Books. 

What did I think?
Fast paced and very gripping, I loved this book.  It's like James Bond meets 24 with a fantasy slant.  The writing is excellent with spywasps that felt so real I could virtually hear them buzzing around me and an amazing car chase scene that had my heart pounding.  Absolutely brilliant!

The Breath by Joel Cornah

The scientist Hala travels to a lost planet civilisation and find it seemingly empty. The old gods of the world may be stirring in the very air she breathes as she searches for answers. 

The Author:
Joel Cornah is an author, journalist, and blogger. He is an editor for The Science-Fiction and Fantasy Network, which has included authors such as Brandon Sanderson, Kameron Hurley, as well as TV stars. He is outspoken about his dyslexia, supporting efforts to spread awareness through talks, articles, and books. 

What did I think?
A very interesting story that is surprisingly thought-provoking.  The writing paints scenes that are so vivid it's quite breathtaking to behold.

BOTH Publishing 
By Books on the Hill 
Our Kickstarter Starts April 2021 

Making exciting good quality fiction accessible to a minority group currently not provided for by today’s UK traditional mass book market and providing a new tool for booksellers to use in their drive to increase diversity and inclusion.

Who Are We Working With 
We have been so fortunate that many great authors have agreed to contribute to this project. All are brilliant authors and are names I am sure you will recognise. 

Stan Nicholls, who has been a great support to me particularly with my PhD. He is the author of many novels and short stories but is best known for the internationally acclaimed Orcs: First Blood series. 

Steven Savile, the fantasy, horror and thriller writer, now lives in Stockholm whose father is a customer of our bookshop. 

The horror duo that is Thana Niveau and John Llewellyn Probert, both well established and engaging authors and also residents of Clevedon. 

Adrian Tchaikovsky is an Arthur Clark Award winner and best known for his series Shadows of the Apt, and for his novel Children of Time. 

Steven Poore is the highly acclaimed fantasy writer who I first met on my first fantasy convention in Scarborough. 

We finish the Magnificent Seven with Joel Cornah, who also has dyslexia, and with whom I participated in a podcast on dyslexia for the Clevedon Literature 2020 'Festival in the Clouds'.

How To Get involved 
We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles. 

There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself. There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project. 

You can still contribute outside the kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available.

The Project
Books on the Hill is passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. There are great books out now for children with dyslexia, with specialist publishers like Barrington Stokes and mainstream publishers such as Bloomsbury doing their part. However, there are sadly very few books for adults with Dyslexia in traditional mass market publishing. 

Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected. 

Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and trying to without being patronising, create a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day. 

Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read. For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format. Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist. We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied:
“I have been reading [children dyslexic] books but they are a bit childish so am really happy I have found your company!! Thanks so much again and thank you for making such a helpful and inclusive brand - it means a lot. “
This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure.

The Team
Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaeology. Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution. 

Books on the Hill are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chrissey and Alistair have designed the book-covers together, with Chrissey creating the finished product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process, typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with her. 

Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost. 

Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost. 

Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction. Vicky is a great professional editor.

Twitter: @booksonthehill 
Instagram: @booksonthehill 
75 Hill Road, Clevedon, BS21 7PL

Click HERE for the Kickstarter

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