...back to P'kaboo Publishers

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nikki Mason from BestChickLit reviews "Raider" (Solar Wind 4)

Thank you Nikki Mason of BestChickLit, for this lovely review:

The Solar Wind IV: Raider! – Lyz Russo

 December 5, 2014    Book Reviews  0
Solar Wind IVWhat they say:
Alien Touchdown! If the crew of the Solar Wind thought the Unicate and the Rebellion were tough cookies, they haven’t yet met the Danaan – from Planet New Dome. Coming to take over Earth – or destroy the planet. Or alternatively, for a mango daiquiri in the subtropical paradise of Southern Free. And then destroy the planet.
And why is Captain Lascek acting so strangely?
Raider is the fourth in the series of Solar Wind novels.
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
Things are getting even darker aboard the Solar Wind in this fourth novel in the series.
When the beautiful but psychopathic alien, Dana, arrives for a visit, all hell breaks loose. Captain and the stunning, ass-kicking Perdita break up as Captain is once more captivated by his previous flame – Rushka’s mother, horrific mutants are threatening the crew and, indeed, the world and it looks as though the ship is going to have to be taken into space to escape. Everyone has their secrets, and it is only by pulling together and trusting each other that the whole crew can survive. At least Paean and Federi are back together…surely nothing more can touch them, right?
Russo once again surprises and delights with her depth of imagination and conviction for this surreal, piratical world. The characters continue on exceedingly realistic journeys as they blunder through very choppy waters indeed. As ever, it is the excruciatingly complex relationship between the ever developing Paean and her near schizophrenic soul mate Federi that had me hooked. And, whereas sometimes small plot details evaded my understanding from time to time, the adventure and the fascinating characters guaranteed a scintillating addition to the series.
What more can this crew of beautiful pirates cope with? I can’t wait to find out.

... and of course you can

Click here to buy this book from P'kaboo or pre-order your P'kaboo paperback.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Carmen Capuano signs to P’kaboo! 

November 28, 2014 

Bookseekeragency announces:

Our client Carmen Capuano‘s new novel Split Decision has been taken up by P’kaboo Publishers, and is due out early in 2015. We’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile our congratulations go to Carmen, and also to P’kaboo on their choice!

Yes, P'kaboo are happy to verify this: Author Carmen Capuano has signed on for the publication of her YA novel "Split Decision".

We subjected the author to the P'kaboo Book Club on Facebook, and some reader questions.  Here is the post. If you are a fan of Carmen's or enjoy books in general, do check in on the P'kaboo Book Club; we have fun every Monday night, every time we do something different.  Sometimes we interview an author; sometimes we play a story game or rhyme; sometimes we discuss books.  The discussion does not die between Mondays but continues in relaxed Facebook-style commenting mode.

A more official author interview of Ms Capuano is posted at this link on the Bookseeker Agency's blog.

Carmen, welcome aboard!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fairy Folk Christmas Market: We were there

Our stand: In the garden (Kitten and Moon Flower by Robin Shea)

Our book stand indoors

Some of the goodies there

Some more goodies
Some more goodies

The Fairy Room

More fairies
Fairies in the garden

The stand next to ours: Activities for children, all led by the "Fairy Folk" who run this fair and who have a children's party business.

One of the "Fairy Folk" in her full Party services getup.

It was an interesting and very lovely market.  Not entirely a book faire, but our books added a component that would most definitely have been missing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Two books, reviewed by Nikki Mason of BestChickLit

Nikki Mason of Bestchicklit has blessed us with two more beautiful reviews.  Posted here are short excerpts from the reviews, but to read the full reviews please follow the links.

The first one is our youngest release, teen vampire fiction by Marie Marshall:

From My Cold Undead Hand – Marie Marshall

 October 17, 2014    Book Reviews  0
My Cold Undead Hand[...]
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
What impressed me most about this book was that it was a vampire novel where vampires were unequivocally the bad guys. All the evil things you ever read about vampires from I Am Legend or Dracula come back to the fore in Marie Marshall’s novel, with no romanticism and no sexuality – just brutal, dead killers.
Chevonne is more than just a normal American teenager. She fights for a group called The Resistance, who aim to rid the world of ‘vamps’. But the undead seem to be [...]

Read more here.


The other book that got a review has been around a little longer:  The third in the Solar Wind series, by Lyz Russo:

Freedom Fighter: Solar Wind III – Lyz Russo

 October 20, 2014    Book Reviews  0
Freedom fighter
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
Ready for another complex, piratical adventure? Good! Because Freedom Fighter is just as delicious as Lyz Russo’s two previous novels in The Solar Wind Series.
This is the third Solar Wind book I’ve read and I’ve loved each one more and more to the point where now I’m desperate to have questions answered and I’m missing the characters not being part of my life…Oh, alright, I’m missing not being on board a pirate ship in my imagination!
But this series is becoming progressively darker and more mysterious  [...]

Read more at this link.


About the reviewer:

Nikki Mason, 

 "A chatty reading nut, amateur actress and hit-and-miss baker is our Nikki. She can't remember a time when she didn't love books and the memory of her six-year-old self being read The Hobbit by her dad will always have a special place in her heart. Give Nikki a gothic Victorian novel or ask her to quote anything by the Brontës and she'll be in heaven. What does she love about being a book reviewer . . . "Getting to read things you wouldn't choose otherwise. I also love reading while I'm having my breakfast and knowing that however badly the rest of the day goes, at least it started productively and with something I love doing! It's my dream job!” 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

29th November ebook promo

On 29th November we are holding a BIG ebook sale at Glenstantia Library.

This is the same library who hosted the joint launch of "Freedom Fighter", "Lupa" and "Forest Circle Quest".  An immensely busy, community oriented library.
Of course we will have some paperbacks there as well. for those hard-core readers who want to absorb the words through their fingertips.  Only of the paperbacks that are already launched, alas.

We will also be having coffee and tea there, if you want to join us for a chat.  We’re inviting the P’kaboo Book Club.

glenstantia bib2 library
(The Glenstantia Library is an incredibly busy and creative community centre.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Calling all NaNo Writers

P'kaboo is calling for submissions!

If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, consider submitting your book to us.

Or you could self-publish.  According to some, publishers are dead.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

New books available at P'kaboo

The three guitar manuals from Exclamation Studios are now available in P'kaboo's shop.

More music books from Exclamation Studios will follow.

Also, hurry to get a copy of Marie Marshall's "From My Cold, Undead Hand".

There are still a few copies available with extra material.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The P'kaboo Book Club hosts: LAUNCH

 The P'kaboo Book Club

The P'kaboo Book Club on Facebook presents:

From My Cold, Undead Hand

by Marie Marshall

Where: Online, in the P'kaboo Book Club on Facebook
Follow this link

When: 15 September at 20h00 (GMT+2)


An "Insanely Good" new vampire fiction novel. Don't miss it! First 25 copies will come with additional extra.

Preview the novel at this link. Click on the cover to read a chapter.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Interview with a Vampire Hunter

With the launch of "From My Cold, Undead Hand" imminent on 15 September, Bookseeker Agency interviewed author Marie Marshall about her youngest novel.

Why vampires? Tell us what brought this novel on.

What brought it on was an email from my trusty publisher, asking if I could write a teen-vampire novel. I took that as a request to write one on commission and just hurled myself into it.
There are many well-known writers of vampire stories, from Bram Stoker to Stephenie Meyer, so much so that it is a well-subscribed – some would say over-subscribed – niche of adult, teen, and graphic literature. What makes From My Cold, Undead Hand different?
Honestly I wouldn’t know. I have read Dracula of course, and Joanne Harris’s The Evil Seed, but very little else; oh, and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel of course, and many of the old Hammer films. I have always avoided Twilight – you can call that prejudice if you wish. I’m very familiar with vampire images and myths, but I guess I must have absorbed this knowledge through some kind of cultural osmosis!
What I set out to do was just to write a story, most of it set in near-future with dystopic elements but with a nineteenth-century back-story I already had notes for. I cited a couple of obvious influences in the acknowledgments section of the book, but by-and-large my aim was to write a good story, almost as though the vampire theme was incidental. You could say that the true theme of the book isn’t all the vampire action, but the way that young people can get marginalised in an adult world. I think all writers of genre fiction ought to focus on writing the story first of all, and to hell with the conventions of the genre, if you see what I mean.
Tell us about Chevonne Kusnetsov your heroine. You mentioned that you like heroines to be young, strong-minded females.

Isn’t that the definition of ‘heroine’ anyway? I’ll take it that you mean ‘female protagonist’ if we’re going to generalise here. I do tend to write female protagonists that that are young and strong-minded – Eunice and Jelena in Lupa, Angela in The Everywhen Angels – I don’t know of that many major literary female characters who aren’t young and strong-minded. Well, maybe Bridget Jones, and maybe some of the women in the older Mills and Boon novels would be a bit limp, but not even they would be total dead losses. It is, of course, a literary convention to make your protagonist someone admirable, so that the reader can identify readily with that character. That’s reinforced by the first-person narrative.
Chevonne is, I suppose, a tomboy character. I wanted someone with whom young female readers could identify, but who wouldn’t alienate young male readers. I guess in many respects she is asexual. She certainly has other things on her mind than dating and what-have-you. I didn’t want her to be a Bella Swan – she’s closer to Buffy than that, but with a spiky haircut – so any hint of romance is very low key. But it does crop up, just wait and see.
I think one of the main reasons I needed her to be strong-minded was to highlight that theme of marginalisation I mentioned. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that her decisiveness doesn’t actually move the plot along, but rather she is swept along in it. Two of her most important decisions in the story actually have disastrous consequences for people close to her.
Did you know her surname is the Russian equivalent of ‘Smith’, by the way?
Tell us more about Dianne, Chevonne’s friend.
Di is easily led and, true to the theme of the book, easily marginalised, even by someone she loves. There’s a kind of gaucheness about her. There is a good reason why she sticks to Chevonne, and maybe a good reason why Chevonne sticks to her (although I deliberately don’t make that clear). She’s the character in the book whom I most want to cuddle and tell her everything is going to be all right, but of course… ooh… spoilers, spoilers!
I believe that anyone who pre-orders From My Cold, Undead Hand or is quick off the mark buying it, will learn more about Di from some extra material that I have written.
Chevonne's mother is a bit of a shadowy figure. Are you planning to develop her at some point?
I wasn’t planning to, no. One of the things I did in writing this story was to focus on essentials, via the mind of the protagonist. So much is happening in the story that her mother is hardly on her mind, so she remains shadowy. It’s a part of Chevonne’s character, which is why I guess she doesn’t see the possibly consequences of some of her actions. Add to that I didn’t want Chevonne’s mother to become a kind of Joyce Summers figure (from Buffy), so I deliberately kept her out of most of the story.
Having said that, now that I have written the extra material about Di, I can see the potential for taking figures from the novel and writing short stories about them. Maybe stories not directly connected with the novel.
Every author writes him/herself into the story at some point. Which character do you associate with most, and why?
I don’t do that. What I do is mine my own feelings and put them into characters. I’m not Chevonne, I’m not Di, I’m not Miureen, I’m not Anna Lund.
I did do a bit of kick-boxing when I was young, like Chevonne, though. I’ll say that much.
The dystopian future you describe. Is this based on political views you hold or want to present?
Not particularly. I think that trying to do that spoils a book. For me, John Wyndham’s anti-religious stance coloured his science fiction novels too much, as did C S Lewis’s Christian triumphalism. Even Tressel’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists doesn’t quite work. You have to be a Dickens or an Orwell to get away with it. What I did was simply imagine a handful of modern trends and made them a little worse, and that was mainly to create a backdrop and context against which and in which the action could take place.
Which elements of that future, do you feel, will most probably eventually happen?
Well, as they are based on what is already happening… I think the strongest element is the manipulation of government and other institutions by unaccountable forces. The only difference is that they’re not vampires doing it at present. At least I hope not!
You set the action in America. Was there any reason for this? Do you think you have successfully captured a kind of American-ness in the novel?
Well firstly to market the book! Secondly I wanted to have the gun issue as an element. It gave me such a good title, which I appropriated from an NRA slogan. Before you ask, the story is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. Guns are simply a fact in the novel, and although there are unforeseen consequences upon gun ownership laws from one of the major elements of action, that isn’t moralised upon. I guess anyone with strong pro or anti gun opinions will assume I’m on one side or the other, and I don’t mind if they do if it helps to promote the book!
As for American-ness, well that’s secondary. As I said, I focussed on what was uppermost in the protagonist’s mind, and that wasn’t giving chapter and verse about the Statue of Liberty of the Golden Gate Bridge. To help me with aspects of day-to-day life and expression I had a couple of American ‘beta readers’. I did have a battle with my editor over one vernacular phrase which he said was only heard in the mouths of the ignorant and would pass away. I conceded, but since then I have heard Hilary Clinton use it, so I’m claiming a moral victory!
Is there a future for the storyline? We heard noises of a sequel being under construction?
Yes, a sequel is more than half-completed. Without giving too much away, I have moved it forward, so that what we are going to learn about the storyline from From My Cold, Undead Hand we’ll get in back-story. There will be one important character, however, whom we shall meet again in the sequel. There is also a ‘threequel’ planned, though I have to confess the plot is going to be a bit tricky.
Having had this success with vampire fiction, is it something you are going to stick with beyond the planned trilogy?
Heavens, no! Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound so vehement there, like I’m slamming the door shut on vampire fiction. Obviously if a good story occurs to me I’ll write it. What I really meant was that I had put aside three ideas for other novels – partly written in some cases – in order to write this teen-vampire trilogy. I would like to go back to them, and get back to writing primarily for an adult readership.
Is there an essential difference between writing for adults and writing for young adults?
Oh that actually puts me on the spot. No, there isn’t. You can’t ‘write down’ to either. If anything, though, younger readers are less tolerant of superfluity, more acutely observant of inconsistencies, sharper in their use of their critical faculties – mainly because they haven’t yet been taught how to misuse them.

Marie Marshall is the author of “Lupa”, and “The Everywhen Angels”. Both books are multi-layered, deep stories that explore that area where the boundaries turn vague between what is, what is perceived and what is imagined. She is also a widely read and well-respected Scottish poet.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book exhibition in Durban

Thanks to Colonialist for posting this display of P'kaboo Books:

Showed up until show down.

My book display at the Show.
My book display at the Show.
Our stands in action.
Our stands in action.
The Exhibition with a long name closed at 17h00 today, and then a large group of exhausted exhibitors had to start packing away and clearing out.  
I am now officially more bushed than the Amazon Forest. 
Anyway, it was a good show providing many highly interesting learning opportunities – some we gave, but many we received.  From the Society’s point of view, a highly successful enterprise demonstrating great teamwork and imagination.
© Colonialist August 2014 (WordPress)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Release of "From My Cold Undead Hand": 15 September 2014

Thank you to Bookseeker Agency for the conversation with the author, and for posting this.

Publication date for ‘From My Cold, Undead Hand’ announced!

twitterbanner 2 blog 2
Yes, P’kaboo Publishers have announced the date on which Marie Marshall’s long-awaited teen-vampire novel From My Cold, Undead Hand will be available from them in e-book form. Other forms will become available later, but for those readers with the facility to read the ePub format, buying direct is the way to go!
The story itself is fast paced and gripping. The protagonist is Chevonne Kusnetsov, a teenager from New York City a generation or so into the future. The ecology is in crisis, electricity is scarcer and mainly generated by wind turbines mounted on top of buildings. Meanwhile, vampires stalk the dimly-lit streets after dark. But their very existence is denied by the government and the media. Expose!, a shadowy organisation formed to blow the vampires’ cover wherever it can, is routinely denounced for conspiracy-theory, anti-semitism, and downright insanity. The Resistance, a secret guerrilla army of vampire-hunters, organised in a cell-structure, is denounced as a ‘terrorist’ organisation. Chevonne has been recruited to the Resistance by her history teacher, and she’s tough – straight from the school kick-boxing club, she can use her fists and feet, but also a sword, a stake, and a laser-gun. What is the vampires’ ultimate plan? How does it involve the government? How does it affect Chevonne and her friends Di and E.J.?
The title, From My Cold, Undead Hand, is adapted from a famous slogan popularised by the National Rifle Association in the USA in defence of the right of American citizens to own and carry firearms. One of the features of the novel is that vampires, who in traditional fiction arm themselves with nothing but their teeth, exercise this constitutional right. Well, so do the vampire-hunters! By the end of the book there is a twist to this ‘right’. I asked Marie if her novel was deliberately politicised or partisan on this issue.
No, indeed not, but it did occur to me to introduce gun-carrying vampires and to have elements of the plot which developed the consequences of guns in this kind of conflict or adventure. Of course I have my own views about the issue, but there are two points I’d like to make. Firstly, I’m not American, and it’s America’s call. And secondly, no author worthy of the name lets her own views affect the way a plot is developing. The story goes how the story goes and that’s that. Anyhow it’s not ‘about’ guns. If it has a theme it’s about how young people tend to be marginalised.
That theme turns the dramatic crisis of the novel into a cliffhanger, leaving readers wanting more. Thankfully a sequel is half-written already, and there is even the possibility of a threequel. So who should read it?
It’s pitched at ‘young adult’ level, but it’s not ‘written down’. I think it will be snapped up not only by teenage readers but by adults who are into vampire fiction – and there are many, many of them ‘out there’. I just hope people out there will enjoy the ride as much as my ‘beta readers’ did.
From the point of view of this agency, it is encouraging that P’kaboo have shown faith in Marie once more, and are publishing her third novel on the 15th of September. Keep a watch for updates here, and by following @ColdUndeadHandon Twitter

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Edinborough Festival - reblogged from Bookseeker Agency

The Edinburgh Book Festival is all about…

I’m sitting here preparing my article about today’s visit to the Edinburgh Book Festival for The Mumble, the up-and-coming site where reviews of artistic events in Edinburgh, and increasingly more widely in Scotland, are posted/blogged. Part of the preparation is downloading the day’s photos, and I’ve found that as well as illustrations for that article, I have sufficient pictures for a photo-blog entry, so that’s what I’m going to present here. So, the Edinburgh Book Festival is all about…
Edinburgh 2014 07-200I’m a regular attender of the Book Festival, and have been for some time, but this is the first time I have ever attended as a hard-working journalist rather than in my other role as a literary agent. But this time, with The Mumble out to make its mark and with myself as one of its new team of reviewers, I have ‘Media Accreditation’. This means I get to walk around with a name-badge hanging round my neck, looking like I belong there.
Big Names.
image: BBC
image: BBC
The Book Festival attracts a wide range of people from literary and public life. Perhaps one of the biggest draws in 2014 was George R R Martin. Tickets for his two appearances were sold out within minutes of the Box Office opening several weeks ago. The popularity of his A Song of Ice and Fire series has been enhanced by television’s Game of Thrones which of course is based on it. The most remarkable thing about the series, to my mind, is the way the author has sustained its narrative impetus. Now, though, even he says the TV version is catching up with his books at too fast a rate!
Other ‘names’ in this year’s festival include Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Parsons, Jack Monroe, Alexander McCall Smith, Roy Hattersley, James Naughtie, Seumas Milne, Paul Muldoon, and Billy Collins, to name only a few. It’s likely that a lot of the tickets have been sold, but maybe… just maybe… there might be a few returns? Who knows. It is well worth trying your luck.
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha provides a stern, mounted presence, complete with an impromptu seagull...
The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha provides a stern, mounted presence, complete with an impromptu seagull…
Sitting in the sun.
Edinburgh 2014 19-600
Edinburgh 2014 04-600
Edinburgh 2014 05-600
Seriously, it wouldn’t be a visit to Edinburgh if I didn’t manage to meet up with Damo Bullen, grafted-on son of Edinburgh, prolific poet, and brains behind The Mumble.
'Glory be to God for dappled things...'
‘Glory be to God for dappled things…’
Doing brisk business.
The Festival staff were kept busy in their various roles…
Edinburgh 2014 10-600
Ice Cream.
Di Rollo’s tricycle-mounted stall was on site again today, and their ice cream is delicious. I spoke to the owner of this family business, who was glad about the warmth and sunshine today. Some of the preceding days had been wet, and the visitors’ appetite for ice cream had been at a low.
Edinburgh 2014 11-600
It’s traditional. This one stretched right the way round the Square. I kid you not.
Edinburgh 2014 13-600
Edinburgh 2014 12-600
Edinburgh 2014 14-600
Edinburgh 2014 15-600
Now, there was something else… what was it? Ah yes – Books!
We can’t ignore the main purpose of the whole festival, its raison d’être, and the centre of attraction, can we.
Edinburgh 2014 08-600
Edinburgh 2014 09-600
Books were, and always will be, the driver here at Charlotte Square. Rows of them, stacks of them, poems from Burns to Bukowski, novels, non-fiction, children’s, literary, light – books, books, and more books.
Room for one more?
Nae chance, pal! Find yer ain royal heid tae sit on!
Nae chance, pal! Find yer ain royal heid tae sit on!

Monday, July 7, 2014

From my Cold Undead Hand - Sneak Peek into MM's newest YA novel

FMCUH bookseeker image

"From my Cold Undead Hand" by Marie Marshall

is a short, fast-paced YA novel.  The story sprang forth from the writer's (totally not cold or undead) hand as a result of a challenge set to her by yours truly.  We were commenting on the "Twilight" series (who doesn't) and both of us were convinced each could write something faster, pithier, something with more gusto than the epic teen/vampire romance series.
 The result of this challenge is this story.

 Better hold on, crawl in under the blankets and put the Kindle light on.  Don't read it while you're alone.

 The story is set a few decades in the future, with the protagonist a young girl in high school who does martial arts and knows how to "dock" a vampire.   Her feisty warfare is backed by a "cell" of vampire hunters, and opposed by other young people who seem to be more of the "Twilight" persuasion, idolizing the vampires.

 But Chevonne Kusnetsov has more than vampires to fight.  Teenage mood swings, uncertainty about friendships and a very remote relationship to her mother give an ominous background to the plot. Throughout the book she is in fact discovering herself and her own family's history, as well as having to get behind what the vampires are planning.  They are organized, far too organized to be mere mindless predators...

 You readers, safely under your blankets reading with the Kindle light on - be afraid.  Be very afraid.

 For those of you who loved the "Everywhen Angels":  This one is even better, and the best news is that there may be sequels.

 Well done, Marie!

(Reviewed by gipsika)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Another beautiful review by Nikki Mason


The Assassin – Lyz Russo

13503733What they say:
‘”Remember who you are!” His sister died with those words on her lips. Something sinister lurks in his psyche. Something that loves killing. Can he complete his mission without selling out to this entity? The voyage of the Solar Wind continues…’

Darker and even more intriguing than the first Solar Wind novel, this second book in the series is a real treat for lovers of adventure and sci-fi.
The fascinating gypsy, Federi, takes centre stage in this book when the Captain of pirate ship The Solar Wind is prematurely forced to go ahead with a mission to protect the world from the lethal plans of the deadly Unicate.