To celebrate the August heat wave Phoenix Ark Press are delighted to announce the free promotion of The Terror Time Spies by David Clement-Davies. Kindle copies will be available for free download this Wednesday, August 22nd. Happy reading adventures! For your courtesy Wednesday copy Click here
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Phoenix Ark Press are delighted to publish The Terror Time Spies, by David Clement-Davies.
It is 1793 and Henry Bonespair and his little sister Spike are about to make a very dangerous journey to French Revolutionary Paris. It is Henry Bonespair’s birthday too and the leader of The Rat Catchers, a bold young gang of loyal friends, who love imitating the daring exploits of a rumoured English hero, The Scarlet Pimpernel, has just received a special present from his father’s employer, William Wickham. But in giving Henry Bonsepair his fabulous silver Chronometer, Wickham has his own dark motives, involving a plot top end the Revolution in a stroke, and a shadowy group of Royalists called The League of The Gloved Hand, as strange and ghostly voices are heard around his estate.
When the great trip is suddenly cancelled though, a boring English summer threatens to consume the Rat Catchers, until a pretty French girl staying on the estate is kidnapped by Revolutionary spies. So the children decide to take matters into their own hands, and in a moonlit barn form a brand new gang to help her. The soon-to-be hugely famous Pimpernel Club is born and a series of thrilling adventures begins that not only involves ships, coaches, guillotines, highwaymen and balloons, but a magical watch that may take them travelling through time itself.
Reading age 8-13
The Terror Time Spies is published exclusively to Amazon Kindle at $5.99 and available here
Phoenix Ark Press is a member of the IPG, The Independent Publisher’s Guild
Isn’t interesting that in such dark times, (since the Twin Towers came down, perhaps,) my own editor and now Abrams Vice President, Sarah van More, could not defend a series of children’s books, starting with the novel coming this week, The Terror Time Spies, that were designed to help kids deal with a climate of fear?
The actual value of a story was irrelevant, in their ‘defence’ of editorial power, that wrecked a career and removed a publisher too. I argued, as I had with a partner and ‘so-called’ friend, that a lot of it was about American consciousness these days, projecting fear, but also massive arrogance, and a quality of selfishness and lack of depth too, that some have called Ego Consciousness. ‘Our rights’, but no-one else’s, and engaging the full weight and threat of a system. That projection is understandable in a climate of world terror and conflict, wherever it comes from, but not for a second in a world of children’s and Young Adult books.
Perhaps my anger was actually frightening, at times, but when a publisher is trying to publish a novel with ‘no contact with the author’, actually to mask the legal dispute that had developed, you really are in the realms of Kafka, or just plain tyranny and cruelty. In this case a business tyranny as bad as any other. Tara Break’s projected life fears were enormous, perhaps out of the darkness in her own strange family, and a terror of standing up too. But when a CEO, Mike Jacobson, threatens an author, fighting for their career out of so many personal betrayals, and on their own in London, with ‘issuing attorney’s notices in New York and London’, but also suggests that I had ‘some other motive’, as if I was some terrorist, then something very odd is going on. At one point I joked that that New York madness would involve delivering a literary manuscript in an armoured car!
The abuse of power was later reflected by instructing an entire department not to read a blog, as a publisher denied dialogue on books already there. The whole thing, for a year of trying to work, was because Tara Break would not put away an accusation that was a complete distortion of the events that led up to her changing a number, and the reasons for them. That jaunt through the fields of publishing, writing, true love or friendship cost me everything, and her publisher Howard Reeves his job too, but then she was hand in glove with my editor, Sarah Van More. Who, in her own collapsing life relationships, not only chose to ‘defend’ Tara Break, but invade her own author, breach his trusts to another publisher, Sharyn Novembre at Penguin, and apply no decent or equitable principle, in her scramble for power. The question remains of who the mystery man was, in the mix, who never had the guts to stand up to this supposed bully, and if he actually works at Abrams too.
But the real ‘Terrorism’ was the ferocious and ultimately cynical politics inside Abrams. It was how they both judged and accused without allowing any kind of proper hearing too. How they abused the principles of authorial respect, proper working conditions, emotional safety, freedom of speech, and honest dialogue too, to serve Tara Break’s interests entirely. Why exactly do they publish anything – for the money and their careers alone? In the end I couldn’t take their devil’s pact of silence for success, as they disrespected all their contracts too, so I walked away. Let’s hope, in taking so much poison out, and now publishing one of those three novels too, we can sweep away the awfulness and rebuild.
But if an American CEO can try to lie about the real issues to the US Author’s Guild as well, and promote Sarah Van More over Harold Roves, then under his leadership Abrams are a publisher that cares about nothing, and America will make its world reputation worse and worse. America is a free country, a great democracy, at root, and I once thought Abrams an extremely fine publisher, but If you think it’s an unimportant story because it is ‘only’ about books, or one person’s livelihood, imagine what could happen if innocence or personal freedom were involved? It does happen, in ‘real’ life, and in often frightening America.
Phoenix Ark Press
In a few days time Phoenix Ark are proud to publish The Terror Time Spies by David Clement-Davies. Based loosely on the exploits of The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy, during the French Revolution, it sends a daring band of youngsters to Paris, to confront Terror everywhere. Though intended as the first in a much lighter, entertaining series, it was the book that Sarah Van More had had for nearly two years at Abrams, and would have taken an absurd four years to publish, since signing a contract, if that battle had not happened. There we are.
In the ‘good ol’ days, its publication would have meant lovely things like proper editorial support and dialogue, proof copies, interviews and author’s copies, arriving in brown cardboard boxes, to grace a private bookshelf. The stuff of real life books, that are things and characters in themselves too, not to mention becoming a record of others’ reading joys and histories. All part of those enormously special and intimate things to any author though, made far more intimate by a two year relationship with an Abrams editor, Tara Break, and by a ten year editorial relationship with her colleague. Which was once a source of joy and pride, made all the more tragic in the weird atmosphere of an American firm, of not even being ‘allowed’ to mention it, as if some crime had been committed. But so Phoenix Ark Press was born, and now, because at present they are only to eBook, publishing means, beyond the work of course – creative, editorial and the wonderful cover too, designed by Seb and Julia – the literal press of a button.
The Internet has revolutionised publishing in a way perhaps only comparable to Shakespeare’s day, over four hundred years ago, viz-viz other work here, the creation of The Stationer’s Register in London, that closed only so recently, developing copyright law itself, and, in a sense, the creation of the very idea of ‘the author’. There are many bad things in it, on the Internet too, but many good, like people who did not read hugely, suddenly saying their Kindles or readers had opened entire worlds, and at least it has kept Phoenix Ark alive as a creative voice. It’s massive downside is Amazon’s proud trumpeting of the fact that Borders has declared bankruptcy and the pumping out of work that perhaps should not see the light of day. Perhaps publishing was always rather ruthless, battles of books deeply personal too, and nothing ensures a work’s surival. Perhaps the only thing that really matters is not how we read, but the quality of the stories we are reading, although physical books will never die and we must be very wary indeed of breaking vital human connections. The Terror Time Spies coming soon.