Paper Road Press aims to bring you ‘books from beyond the beaten track’, but just for now we’d like to lead you down one path in particular. Take a shortcut to strange worlds past, present and future with our new series of science fiction and fantasy novellas inspired by Aotearoa New Zealand.
Interdimensional forests, atomic ghosts and future tech gone horribly wrong abound in SHORTCUTS | Track 1, the first story of which will be launched this Easter. Keep an eye out on Amazon and Kobo, or subscribe now to receive the ebook direct to your inbox when it goes live.
The first book in the SHORTCUTS series is Mika, by Lee Murray and Piper Mejia. Tomorrow we’ll be posting an excerpt from the start of Lee and Piper’s story of one woman’s strange American odyssey.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a mother in possession of a surfeit of daughters must be in want of eligible bachelors. Less well documented are the extremes to which she might go if her daughters’ prospects are endangered by other neighbourhood beauties…
Murder & Matchmaking is a darkly comic mash-up of two classics: Jane Austen’sPride and Prejudice and Arthur Conan-Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The young ladies of Meryton are dropping like flies – can Lizzie Bennett solve the mystery in time? And who is this fancy London detective who has suddenly appeared on the scene?
Debbie Cowens is a Kapiti-based writer and English teacher. She co-authored the award-winning Mansfield with Monsters with her husband and her stories have been published in both New Zealand and international publications and anthologies.
Murder & Matchmaking is her first novel and it weaves together many of her favourite things: Jane Austen heroines, a Sherlock Holmes-inspired detective, mischievous canines and intrigues. She is a little surprised that more chocolate didn’t sneak its way into the narrative.
We are launching Debbie’s book in April, and to raise funds for a New Zealand print run (to get as many copies of the book into local shops as possible), we’re running a PledgeMe campaign to raise $1000 towards print costs. You can pledge to the campaign to pre-order your paperback or ebook copy of the book – or even have a character in the book named after you!
Charlotte Pudding, computer psychologist and recent orphan, is not precisely thrilled with her lot in life (and not just because of the ‘orphan’ bit). Nevertheless, having her routine disrupted by a shadowy corporation, a man who claims to be a retired god, and the secrets of her own family history isn’t a walk in the park, either.
Charlotte’s quest for answers will lead her on a perilous journey into a religion based on Quantum Physics, a hunt for unexpectedly rare plant oil, and a fight to the shame against a black-belt in sarcasm. In a world that runs on peace and harmony, Charlotte is going to discover just how far some people are prepared to go to maintain tranquillity.
Engines of Empathy is also available from select bookstores within New Zealand:
Paper Plus Newmarket
University Bookshop Otago
Bruce McKenzie Booksellers
Praise for Engines of Empathy
“A hint of Adams, a dollop of Pratchett, all delivered with a mischievous smile for an intriguing tale that is great fun … A wonderfully humorous tale that keeps you smiling and intrigued to the very end.”
“Ever wondered what life would be like if all our machines were powered not by electricity or petrol, but by emotions? Neither had I. But now, thanks to Paul Mannering, I can’t stop wondering. Clever, satirical and more than a little weird, Engines of Empathy introduces one of the strangest worlds I’ve encountered in New Zealand fiction – a world that, much like our own, is haunted by the moral consequences of an energy-intensive industrial revolution. From sulking toasters, depressed computers and a passive aggressive fridge to quantum religions and corporate conspiracies, Engines of Empathy is a crazy ride.” —Dylan Horrocks
“Engines of Empathy is charming, clever, funny, and a rollicking good read. Charlotte Pudding is a heroine sensible and capable enough to tackle an abundance of eccentric characters, shady conspiracies, neurotic machines, attack-sarcasm, and a religion based on quantum mechanics. If Douglas Adams had been forced to undergo relationship counselling with his toaster, this is the book that would have resulted.”
—Debbie Cowens, author of Mansfield with Monsters
Wellington-based Paul Mannering’s voracious reading and writing habit began at age 8 after his family’s black and white TV set blew up during the opening credits of an episode of Space 1999.
This personal trauma and some odd reading material (Forensic medicine textbooks and years of Reader’s Digest) has shaped much of his writing since. Engines of Empathy will be Paul’s fourth book, following The Man Who Could Not Climb Stairs and Other Strange Stories (2011), Tankbread (Permuted Press 2013) and Tankbread 2: Immortal (Permuted Press, 2013).
27 New Zealand and American authors delve into the strange, the unexpected, and the downright terrifying things that kids say in this collection of all new flash fiction. From the mouths of babes come 37 stories, from the haunting to the hilarious to the horrific.
Leave the lights on tonight. So you’ll see them coming.
Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work, 2014
Winner – Australian Shadows Award for Edited Publication, 2014
Winner – Australian Shadows Award for Short Stories, 2014: Debbie Cowens, “Caterpillar”
Finalist – Australian Shadows Award for Short Stories, 2014: JC Hart, “The Dead Way”
Paper Road Press is proud to support Duffy Books in Homes by donating the proceeds from sales of Baby Teeth to their programme, which provides free books to over 100,000 New Zealand children every year.
Caterpillars Debbie Cowens White Grant Stone Burying Baby Paul Mannering People Pleaser M Darusha Wehm Con Somma Passione Lee Murray Giant Jack Newhouse Winter Feast Elizabeth Gatens What’s the Story, Mother? Lewis Morgan Blonde Obsession Jean Gilbert Simon Says Matthew Sanborn Smith Tarantella Moon Dan Rabarts Backyard Gardening Jake Bible Because I Could … Celine Murray End of the Rainbow Jenni Sands Kiss Your Mother Alan Lindsay Practice Makes Perfect Sally McLennan Blood Sisters Matt Cowens Windows M Darusha Wehm Dad’s Wisdom Eileen Mueller Recession Darian Smith Paper Butterfly Alan Lindsay The Skulkybunking Wurld Champyon of the Hole Woorld Paul Mannering Teach Your Children Well Lee Murray The Character of 82 James St Anna Caro Love Hurts Jan Goldie Dark Night Jenni Sands Friends AJ Ponder Shadowed Halls Michael J Parry If They Hadn’t Landed So Close Matt Cowens All the Ghosts Dan Rabarts The Boy with Anime Eyes Kevin G Maclean The Oracle of Karawa Paul Mannering Lockdown Piper Mejia The Birthday Present Sally McLennan Peter and the Wolf Lee Murray How They See You Morgan Davie The Dead Way JC Hart