Lethbridge-Stewart: An Ordinary ManBookmark and Share

Monday, 16 December 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced the third instalment in the six-book Bloodlines sequence of novels is now available to pre-order:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: An Ordinary Man
Written by Andy Frankham-Allen and Tim Gambrell
Cover artwork by Colin Howard

The destruction of the causal nexus continues, as the timelines of the Lethbridge-Stewarts and Traverses are wiped out of existence.

A new reality has been created, so very close to the essential timeline. And it is into this reality that Anne Travers is sent to retrieve a man who bears a shocking resemblance to Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.

February 1969, and school-teacher Archie Lethbridge-Stewart lives an ordinary life. A contented life with his little family in the Cornish village of Bledoe. But that is all about to change. First his old pupil, Owain Vine, is having strange visions. Visions of a London covered in web! And on the news it seems London itself is being evacuated – a major gas leak and bears breaking free of London Zoo. Can these events be connected?

Linking all this is a strange old man. A man who insists he knows Archie. Only, the man insists on calling him Alistair. Who is this strange old man? What is this talk of the future? And why should Archie and Owain risk everything to go with the old man to London?

Anne Travers has the answers. But, unfortunately, she appears to be little more than a ghost!

Originally intended as a solo project by Andy Frankham-Allen, An Ordinary Man is now a co-authored project, with Tim Gambrell coming on board to share the author duties. Andy explained the change in author line-up:
The same life stuff that got in the way of Loose Ends got in the way of this book. When it became clear I would not have the time to write the novel, I turned to a trusted author, one who understood the main setting of the book, the village of Bledoe.
Tim Gambrell said:
An Ordinary Man has certainly been no ordinary book. I have enormous respect for Andy; it takes guts to admit all is not well and that you need help with something. When he asked me to write this with him, I did what I'd do for any mate in trouble: I shifted things about in my own life and agreed immediately. Andy had laid the book's groundwork for me. This is still his book at the end of the day. The cornerstones of the plot and the structure had been laid, and the cast assembled. My initial challenge was planning a lot of the bits that went in between – plotting the character journeys from A to B to C. First and foremost, this is a character-led story, not an action-packed adventure. There are characters here I'd not written for before, such as Owain. But I know Bledoe, I've long known its occupants and, because I've always been a reader of the series as well as writing for it, I felt comfortable with Owain.
Andy added:
Unlike a normal Lethbridge-Stewart commission, this one had much more than a shopping list of elements. The story was already laid out, the opening chapters written. Tim had a very specific brief. Once he’s finished his work on it, I shall then take a pass over it myself, tweaking scenes here and there so that it more accurately matches my vision of the story.
Tim continued:
What I've enjoyed most about writing An Ordinary Man has been immersing myself in these characters, because they're not quite what we expect them to be. I've loved seeing how far I can push a situation before the characters say 'enough is enough', or ‘okay, you win’. And what really prompts us, as human beings, to take action outside of our comfort zone, or make changes to our lives for anything other than selfish reasons. I've got a wife and a young family, I've got adult responsibilities. And I've done a lot of soul-searching in writing this book. And it's got a cover by Colin Howard. I've not had one of those before, so that's exciting!

Colin Howard returns for cover-art duties, and he was particularly excited by the challenges presented to him:
I had quite a lot of fun with this cover, despite the original brief. That posed a few challenges. For Lethbridge-Stewart on this occasion it required him to be of the same age as Web of Fear’s colonel, however in this novel he is simply a Cornish School teacher in Bledoe, minus the famous moustache! So, time for screen grabbing Web again, to find a suitable reference of Nick Courtney at that age. Then I had to view elements of Inferno, to find a forehead reference as well as top lip! In order to flesh out my digital painting, I also added a blazer and tie of the type worn by the younger school-teacher Brig in Mawdryn Undead. I then opted for my usual ‘Way too much detail’ background of a Cornish Fishing Village. I sketch these digitally first, then paint over the sketch at around three hundred times magnification on multiple layers to allow for necessary repositioning if required at the cover layout stage. Anne Travers was again a challenge, as Tina Packer spends most of Web playing a supportive sympathetic cast member in two-hander scenes with Patrick Troughton, so therefore is subsequently ‘facially in-shadow’ with most of her scenes in the Unit base. I then had to add more of a 1970s hairstyle and dress, as her character does a little inter-dimensional time-hopping!
On top of those challenges, Colin was excited to be able to do the one thing he’d wanted to do since first joining the Candy Jar artist roster in 2015:
I have been desperate to get to do a Yeti-related cover, but things didn’t ever quite work out. So this time I ‘politely insisted’. In this novel I was told that the Great Intelligence’s London invasion is more successful without the Doctor or Lethbridge Stewart to thwart them. I decided to go to town a little with Big Ben swathed in flowing web, and two of our furry friends looming in the foreground of that section. The other element I was originally asked for was the ‘Sphere-crackling with energy’, so that completed my design idea.

The novel is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and is covered by subscriptions.


Candy Jar Books is currently having a Christmas Sale: more details here.





The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas CrackersBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced a festive collection of tales for The Lucy Wilson Mysteries:

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers
Written by Cherry Cobb, Tim Gambrell, Terry Cooper, Keren Williams, Chris Lynch
Cover by Steve Beckett

Ogmore-by-Sea seems to have gone back to its old sleepy way. But adventure never stops for Lucy Wilson and her best friend Hobo, not even at Christmas...

In the run up to the holiday season, Lucy and Hobo help out at the school Christmas Fayre. But what’s inside the Christmas crackers? Why are people going missing? How does everyone seem to be so unlucky? And who is the mysterious Crone?

A collection of five short stories set between Christmas, the New Year and beyond... this book is Christmas Crackers!

Head of publishing at Candy Jar, Shaun Russell, says:

We’ve had such good feedback for the series of books. Reviews have been encouraging and fans seem to have embraced the series completely. As a small thank you for all of the support received, we wanted to release something completely unexpected in time for our readers to enjoy over the Christmas period.

The short story collection entitled contains five stories by a range of different authors.
  • The Mobile Army, written by popular children’s author Cherry Cobb
    I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write a Lucy Wilson story, having read the books I fell in love with Lucy as a strong independent character who isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs. I hope my daughter grows up to have the same outlook on life.
  • The Christmas Cracker Conundrum, written by Tim Gambrell (originally given away for free in 2018)
    It feels very fitting, to me, for The Christmas Cracker Conundrum to make its way into print, now, for a whole new set of readers. Lucy Wilson, Hobo and I have been on something of a wild journey over the last twelve months. It started with Shaun asking me to contribute a Lucy Wilson short story to Candy Jar's 2018 advent calendar, then it ran through my two 2019 novels, and the journey now comes full circle, back to The Christmas Cracker Conundrum!

    I love the characters, their energy, their individuality and the world they inhabit. And Lucy doesn't just speak to kids her own age, either. In the best tradition of children's literature, there's always something in her stories for everyone. Shaun gave me pretty much free reign with my short story, only specifying that it had to involve Christmas crackers, somehow. That's more than enough to get the imagination flowing. We all know where the mystery is with a Christmas cracker, until it's pulled. And if my story makes the readers pause momentarily before they pull their crackers over Christmas dinner, then I'll consider my job well done!
  • Crimes of Fashion, written by Terry Cooper
    I read some of the previous books and couldn't wait to jump into Lucy’s adventures. The story takes inspiration from my teenage years as a rapper and break dancer, when the fashions were highly sought after and everyone was looking for the latest trends in shell suits and trainers. Added to the familiar sci-fi genre, it was great fun to write!
  • Imposters, written by Keren Williams (Candy Jar’s publishing co-ordinator)
    I joined the Candy Jar team just after the very first book in the Lucy Wilson series, Avatars of the Intelligence, was published. Since then, I have had the greatest pleasure of working through the entire range. Being given the opportunity to become a writer in the series has really made my year, but I just hope I’ve written something that everyone can enjoy.
  • Past, Present and Yet to Come, written by Chris Lynch
    I also wrote my story for the Candy Jar Christmas advent calendar last year. This story is a light reworking of A Christmas Carol and explores the future possibilities of the Lucy and Hobo characters.

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Christmas Crackers is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and will be released just in time for Christmas.




The HAVOC Files: Loose EndsBookmark and Share

Monday, 25 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Previously delayed from earlier in the year, Candy Jar Books have announced its next short story collection is now being printed:

The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends
Written By Andy Frankham-Allen, Tim Gambrell, Sharon Bidwell and John Peel
Cover by Adrian Salmon

Events in life are rarely tied up in a neat little bow. There are always loose ends. And for Anne Bishop, nee Travers, nearing the end of her life, this is painfully true.

She receives a visit from a friend she thought lost to her and shares stories about loose ends that were tied up at the last minute.

These include a return to Glencross and dealing with fallout of the events of ‘A Very Private Haunting’, the arrival on Earth of the Star Maidens of Drahb who are in search of the Dominators, an unexpected reunion between the Brigadier and a friend he thought dead for nineteen years, a visit home for Owain Vine and the discovery of a family secret that will change his life forever, and an awkward visit for Lance Corporal Evans to the mother of his dead sister.

At the end of all these tales Anne discovers that one more mission awaits her, when she learns the true story of Rhys Rubery...


This collection also features an exclusive sample of the forthcoming novel 'Downtime 2'.

This collection was originally due early in the year but had been delayed by real life events. It was originally intended to be a collection with only one author, Andy Frankham-Allen, but to ensure it got finished before the end of the year Andy called on the help of a few authors. Andy explained:

As ever, real life drama intrudes on the creative process and when it became clear that I wouldn’t have the time to finish the collection, I decided to give two of my story ideas to two other authors, as well as use Sharon (Bidwell)’s short story sequel to A Very Private Haunting, as it fit the theme of the book. And that theme is, as the title suggests, tying up loose ends left over throughout the original run of the Lethbridge-Stewart range.

The collections features three stories written by Andy; Hide No More (which sees the Brigadier reunited with an old friend) and O Brother, Where Art Thou (Owain returns home to discover a family secret that changes everything), and the two-part The Stories We Tell (in which Anne is visited by an old friend and discovers she has one final mission to undertake), which bookends the collection. The Arrival, which brings the Star Maidens of Drahb to Earth, is written by Tim Gambrell, and Tall Tales, written by John Peel, brings back Evans who has some bad news to share. The collection is topped off by Remnant of a Haunting by Sharon Bidwell, which sees Anne returning to the Glencross, the scene of the novel A Very Private Haunting.

Keren Williams, Publishing Co-ordinator, said:

It’s a great little collection, with a nice mix of sci-fi, ghost stories, and some solid real-world drama. The Stories We Tell is a particularly touching tale, bringing as it does a parallel between the fictional life of Anne Travers and the real life of a Doctor Who fan who died in 2016 at the young age of only sixteen.

The cover features brand new art by Adrian Salmon. Andy explained:

It was important to me that this book was dedicated to the family of Rhys Rubery, my young friend who died three years ago, and so Adrian did a wonderful little portrait of Rhys for the cover.

The book can be ordered from the Candy Jar website.




Lethbridge-Stewart: The ShadowmanBookmark and Share

Sunday, 20 October 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced the second novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, to be released in late October:

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Shadowman (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: The Shadowman
Written by Sharon Bidwell
Artwork by Paul Cowan


A new reality has been created by the temporal disruption ripping through the causal nexus. Welcome to 1978… with a difference.

Anne Travers, co-founder of UNIT, and her husband, Bill, are celebrating their wedding anniversary in France, which is the perfect opportunity for Anne to catch-up with an old friend; Madeleine Bonnaire.

At the institute owned by Madeleine’s father, one professor is more interested in his own project than any work for which Bonnaire has hired him. His need for secrecy and his attitude irritates his assistant, Paul Larousse, who would prefer to dwell on his feelings for Madeleine. Meanwhile, Victor Bonnaire is not at all happy to hear of Anne’s visit, not least of all because he’s always viewed Anne as a bad influence on his daughter.

What seems like a simple case of familial friction takes a bleak turn when a local unknown threat makes the news. Suspicion abounds and throws Anne and Bill into an unexpected mystery. What is the strange threat, and does it present a direct danger to anybody at the institute? Or to those who ask too many questions? Unable to walk away from her friend, Anne has no option but to investigate, little knowing she’s about to face the darkest shadow of her life so far.

The Shadowman is set in an alternative 1978, and serves as a sequel to author Sharon Bidwell’s previous novel, A Very Private Haunting. It picks up a thread left over from that novel, set in a world where Lethbridge-Stewart never took part in the London Event, and was never involved in the creation of UNIT. Instead it’s a world where Anne Travers became a founding member of that august taskforce. It also features a new version of her husband, Bill Bishop, as they head to France to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Sharon said:
Some stories feel unfinished. When I wrote A Very Private Haunting, I left a few threads I was unsure I would ever pick up again. I already had the title of the book long figured out together with my basic idea when asked to write another novel in the range. My book, to once again feature Anne Travers, couldn't have come together more perfectly, though with consequences I never imagined at the beginning. The Shadowman features a returning character from A Very Private Haunting, which allowed me to play with someone who comes across as a thoroughly nasty character, though I see a greater depth to him. I'm a multi-genre writer, though I tend to gravitate back to what I call dark fiction, and there's definitely darkness in The Shadowman. I'm finishing some lighter projects at present intending to work on my first horror novel in the new year after completing some preliminary notes and research, so going through The Shadowman again recently has been very useful in that regard.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
I take Sharon wherever I go. She’s worked with me on many projects now, so it was inevitable when I heard that Big Finish were looking for more female authors, that I would put her name forward. I’ve read her story, had some input, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for fans of Jo Grant and the Eleventh Doctor. In terms of The Shadowman, Sharon sent it to me some time ago, at which point it wasn’t part of any particular novel sequence, but rather a continuation of the ongoing narrative began in 2015. But once the Bloodlines concept was developed, it seemed to me that Sharon’s story was a perfect fit, with a few continuity tweaks here and there to place it in an alternative reality in which the events of A Very Private Haunting still happened – more or less as featured in that novel.
The cover is by a new artist to the Lethbridge-Stewart range, Paul Cowan; Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:
I’ve known Paul for thirty years. He’s a great artist with a flair for almost any style. He is particularly well-known for his beautifully illustrated trading cards and TV tie-in comic strips. When the opportunity for him to do a cover came up, I could think of no one better to tackle the Shadowman.
Paul said:
Joining the team at Candy Jar is quite literally a dream come true. I get to illustrate stories featuring much-loved characters from my childhood. I have the honour of seeing my work adorn the covers of some quite wonderful stories by a very talented team of writers, many of whose works line the bookshelves in my studio. I get to join a list of hugely talented artists I admire and who have been major influences on my life and work. But best of all, I get to finally work with my friend, something that's been long overdue.

With the cover to The Shadowman, I wanted to evoke the feeling of 1970s Doctor Who. I knew I wanted to homage the Pertwee years, so the illustration of Anne Travers was very much based on the character of Section Leader Shaw from Inferno, whilst the background should be instantly recognisable to any true Doctor Who fan. The Shadowman himself is actually straight out of one of my own nightmares and when Shaun described the character to me, I knew immediately how he should appear. I used pen and ink with a base wash of alcohol marker, embellished with coloured polychromous pencils and white ink for highlights. I then added lighting effects in Paint Shop Pro, which is my go-to software of choice. It's a relatively new style for me and something I'm still trying to perfect.

The Shadowman is due out at the end of October 2019, and can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle; it is also covered by subscription.


Paul, who has MS, is raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. If you visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/artrelief and donate £5 your name will go into a hat and the winner, chosen at random, will get a hand-drawn A4 portrait of your chosen subject. This can be a friend, relative, child, pet, favourite animal or celebrity. If you donate £15 (or equivalent) or more, then Paul will draw you an A4 portrait of your choice.




Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires BurnBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announce more details about the first novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, Bloodlines:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn
Written by Gareth Madgwick
Cover by Richard Young


1943. Britain's Home Front is feeling the pain of war.

The Fourth Operational Corps has other things to worry about. A downed plane in the High Peak leads Professor Travers to a village full of buried secrets and a family that are far more than they seem.

Her first assignment sees new recruit Eileen Le Croissette infiltrating a Sheffield Steelworks. Buried within is a weapon that could change the course of the war, but what does the secretive Mr Huxtable have to do with it?

Avoiding his domineering father, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart is also on the case. But he wasn't banking on meeting a group of homicidal little robots…

The pieces are being set for another conflict, one that started a long way away, to erupt in the middle of wartime Britain.

Home Fires Burn sees the return of Section Officer Eileen Le Croissette, based on real-life war hero Eileen Younghusband, on her first mission for the Home-Army Fourth Operational Corps, once again alongside Professor Edward Travers. It also features the return of the Brigadier’s uncle, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart and the Quarks (last seen in the Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Mutually Assured Domination!)

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
As with The Laughing Gnome sequence of novels, I came up with an arc in which to tell some non-chronological stories. Shaun and I wanted to highlight some of popular secondary characters, so I looked at which characters would make for a good mix. And, to add to the mix, which monsters had not used independently before. In this instance, the Quarks (baring some comics in the 1960s) always tend to appear alongside their masters the Dominators, so I thought it would be interesting to utilise them without the Dominators. And bearing in mind this first book is set in 1943, that presented the author with another challenge. How to use them without the Dominators, and in a time period long before they ever came to Earth. One other element I wanted to include, just so we had at least one Lethbridge-Stewart in the book, was to bring back the Brig’s uncle, Matthew, a character Gareth handled so well in his previous short story. I’m happy to say Gareth produced a great story that brings all these elements together, as well as honours the great men and women who served our nation during World War II.
This is the first novel by Gareth Madgwick, who had previously written two short stories for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, The Great Magician and Spirits of the Vasty Deep in The HAVOC Files 4 collection, and Inheritance in the Lineage anthology. He said:
I was thrilled when Andy asked me to write my first full length novel, and even more excited when I found out that I would be writing for Edward Travers, Eileen Le Croissette and the Fourth Operational Corps during the war. After all, an eccentric scientist, a confident young woman and a not completely trustworthy military are what the big old Doctor Who universe is all about if, like me, you started with the Pertwee repeats in the ‘90s. The story really began to come together best after Andy asked me to avoid anything that wasn't really known in contemporary literature and science of 1943. That led me down the path of some of the wonderful genre fiction that predated the 1950s, when we think science fiction started. A lot of that has influenced the book in its feel. It's been a blast writing it. Although a massive step up from the two short stories that I'd written for Candy Jar previously, it was a natural progression. I felt that I was combining the character work of Inheritance with the historical research that I did for The Great Magician (although I have to say, Sheffield's libraries have rather a better selection of Second World War material than information on Owain Glyndwr for some reason).
The cover is by returning artist Richard Young, whose previous cover art includes The Flaming Soldier, A Very Private Haunting, and Scary Monsters. Richard said:
I’ve wanted to tackle the Quarks for a long time and knowing that the book is set in Sheffield during the Second World War, I felt that they should have an authentic wartime look. Added to this, I wanted to feature a different picture of Eileen. After a bit of research, Shaun found a wonderful photograph. I just hope people like what I have done.
Gareth adds:
The beautiful cover has really captured the feel of the book.

Home Fires Burn is released to tie-in with the 80th Anniversary of World War II. Shaun Russell, Head of Publishing at Candy Jar Books, explains a little of Eileen’s role in the war:
With eightieth anniversary of the start of the war, we felt that we really wanted to acknowledge the contribution the greatest generation made to all our lives. In 1941 Eileen signed the official secrets act, and wasn’t able to talk about her work in the top secret Filter Room. In 2017 she was featured in The Flaming Soldier and we’ve had so many requests to bring her back. So, here she is launching the new series of books, and this time round her contribution to this story will have major affect on Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s life.
Gareth said:
The Second World War is an era that has always fascinated me, including the bravery and steadfastness of those like Eileen Le Croissette (later Candy Jar author Eileen Younghusband). Setting it in the beautiful Peak District and also the nearby Sheffield steelworks gave me an opportunity to look into areas of the war effort that aren't always explored elsewhere, and the sacrifices made.

Home Fires Burn can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle from the Candy Jar website. It is also part of the series seven subscription.




Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service updateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 8 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service (John Peel) (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books have announced a change of author for the coda of their The Laughing Gnome series of books.

On His Majesty’s National Service was originally scheduled to be written by David A McIntee and Lynette Nusbacher for a June release. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, David McIntee was unable to continue.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:
I have always been a big fan of David’s outstanding Doctor Who work, and I truly regret having to engage a new author. It is unfortunate that, in David’s own words, he was ‘over committed’, but we’re lucky to have found such a wonderful replacement in John Peel.

The new version of On His Majesty’s National Service will be set during the same period of Lethbridge-Stewart’s life, but will be telling a different story.

Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explained:
John promptly came up with some ideas and a basic outline that fit the shopping list of elements I gave to him – certain story beats needed to be hit, to fit continuity from other books. I did give David the option of allowing John to use elements from his story, should they fit, which David was quite happy to do. However, beyond a few background details, John has opted to go his own way. It’s going to be an exciting adventure story set during the Korean War, in which we see the events that turned Lethbridge-Stewart into the hero we all know and love.

The book is currently available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website.
There was always one question that bugged Bill Bishop, what turned Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart from a man interested in teaching to a career military hero? Using the power of the Laughing Gnome, Bill travels back to the 1950s to find out...

As a young man Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart never wanted to follow in his illustrious family military history, he just wanted to be a maths teacher. But then the Korean War broke out and he was called up for National Service. He soon met Spencer Pemberton – and his life was changed forever!




Lethbridge-Stewart: BloodlinesBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books has announced the seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, a five-book series with an overall title of Bloodlines.

The series launches in September with Home Fires Burn by Gareth Madgwick, which sees the return of real-life World War II hero, Eileen Younghusband. Set during the Second World War, the novel reunites Eileen and Professor Edward Travers. They are joined in this adventure by Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart, the Brigadier’s uncle, who first appeared in the Lineage anthology.

Home Fires Burn is released to tie-in with the 80th Anniversary of World War II. Shaun Russell, Head of Publishing at Candy Jar Books, explains a little of Eileen’s role in the war:
With eightieth anniversary of the start of the war, we felt that we really wanted to acknowledge the contribution the greatest generation made to all our lives. In 1941 Eileen signed the official secrets act, and wasn’t able to talk about her work in the top secret Filter Room. In 2017 she was featured in The Flaming Soldier and we’ve had so many requests to bring her back. So, here she is launching the new series of books, and this time round her contribution to this story will have major affect on Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s life.
Gareth Madgwick said:
I've really enjoyed writing this book. The Second World War is an era that has always fascinated me, including the bravery and steadfastness of those like Eileen Le Croissette (later Candy Jar author Eileen Younghusband). Setting it in the beautiful Peak District and also the nearby Sheffield steelworks gave me an opportunity to look into areas of the war effort that aren't always explored elsewhere, and the sacrifices made.

The second book in the sequence is The Shadow Man, written by popular author Sharon Bidwell, her second novel for the series. In The Shadow Man we unveil the Bloodlines connection a little bit more, and focus in on Anne Travers and Bill Bishop as they head to France to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Sharon said:
When asked to write a novel focusing on Anne and Bill, I welcomed the chance to explore their relationship a little more than the series has hereto allowed for. What better way to add to this universe, than working with a quintessential strong female, one known for speaking her mind, for her intelligence, for her independence, as well as being a mother, and a woman in love?

The third book in the sequence is An Ordinary Man by Andy Frankham-Allen. In this book, the Bloodlines sequence starts to come together as we explore an alternative timeline in which Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart never went into military service. Andy said:
This was originally planned as the opening book in the sequence, but we reshuffled to tie in the Eileen book with the World War II anniversary. As a result, this is a wonderful mid-season (as it were) cliffhanger book, that brings to the fore the hints of the mystery littered throughout the previous two titles. It’ll end on quite the cliffhanger, setting the stage for the next two titles due out early 2020.

Later books in the series are written by Chris Lynch and Baz Greenland, with a sixth tangentially connected title to follow by Robert Mammone. Details on these releases will be announced later in the year.


The series is available to order as either a three or six book bundle from the Candy Jar website; the series is also covered by those with a regular subscription. If you purchase Home Fires Burn you are also entitled to 10% off the following Eileen Younghusband titles: One Woman’s War, Men I Have Known & Eileen’s War (proof of purchase required).

Home Fires Burn: The War is in full swing for Professor Travers, Section Officer Le Croissette and the Fourth Operational Corps. But beneath the farms and factories of the Home Front, another conflict threatens to erupt.

The Shadow Man: A private laboratory. A secret experiment. A lethal mistake. Anne and Bill are about to stumble into one man's obsession, causing someone to pay a deadly price.

An Ordinary Man: Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart lives a simple but fulfilling life as a teacher in Liskeard Grammar School. Owain Vine, former student of Mr Lethbridge-Stewart, also lives an ordinary life. An only child, he is happily settled in his home village of Bledoe. But then strange things begin to happen in February 1969. He starts hearing voices, getting visions of a London covered in web! What connects these visions to his old school teacher? And just who is the strange old woman seen in Bledoe, who claims to know everything about Owain and Mr Lethbridge-Stewart?




Candy Jar Books: updateBookmark and Share

Monday, 20 May 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: Short Story Collection 2 (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books has announced the winner of the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition. The winning story, Gone Fishin’, is written by Megan Fizell from Maine, USA.

Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says:
All the stories this year have been outstanding and we would like to thank all those that entered, but there can be only one winner. Megan has written a wonderful story that took us all by surprise. Her instinct for characterisation is refreshingly different. In particular, we liked the way she portrayed the burgeoning friendship of the Brig, Sally, Anne and Bill. We look forward to working with her in the future.

Andy Frankham-Allen, range editor of Lethbridge-Stewart says:
This year the level of entries was particularly high, both in number and quality. And, although these stories are not part of the Lethbridge-Stewart canon, the entrants didn’t let that stop them exploring their imaginations! Shaun and I split the entries in half; he picked five finalists and I picked four. Our two top picks then went to Keren Williams, so she could pick the winner of the two. I’m delighted that Keren picked Megan’s story, as it’s a touching little tale and it’s always nice to have another female voice brought to the Lethbridge-Stewart range. Which, of course, Megan will as part of her prize for winning the competition.

Megan Fizell says:
The inspiration for Gone Fishin’ came as much from Thoreau – 'simplify, simplify' – as it did from the desire to give some of the HAVOC crew a well-deserved break. I'm pleased the premise worked as well as it did.

The idea for the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition came from the company’s commitment to shedding light on fresh writing talent. Since 2015 the Lethbridge-Stewart novels have championed previously unknown authors such as Tim Gambrell and Harry Draper, alongside famous writing names in the Doctor Who universe including John Peel, Nick Walters, Simon A Forward and David A McIntee. This new collection is available to order from the Candy Jar website and features eight featuring Lethbridge-Stewart at various stages in his life:
  • Day Trip by Alan Darlington
  • Marooned at Teatime by Ryan Fogarty
  • Give Me Five Minutes by Mike Warrick
  • The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by James Connarty
  • The Eye of the Beholder by Gary J Mack
  • Summertime Blue by Alexander Whittam
  • The Mystery of the Locked Room by Beau Waddell
  • Nightmare at Lavender Lawns by Bedwyr Gullidge
  • Gone Fishin' by Megan Fizell


Candy Jar is also releasing a special edition of their 2017 limited print run anthology, The HAVOC Files 3. This reprint will contain updated editions of previous stories, and two short stories available for the first time in print. Head of Publishing Shaun Russell explains:
With the success of The HAVOC Files 2: Special Edition earlier this year, it was a forgone conclusion that we’d do a special edition reprint of The HAVOC Files 3. As with the previous release, we decided to look at it as an opportunity to revise a few of the stories, fixing continuity errors and the like, as well as bringing to print two short stories only previously available digitally.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen continues:
This time around we decided to replace The Lost Skin part two (available as part of the larger whole in The Lost Skin novella) with Steven Walton’s The Case of the Missing Fairy. This was originally released digitally for Christmas 2017. Steven is taking the opportunity to expand it somewhat for the print edition. Joining it will be another previous Christmas free story; this time A Funny Turn by Alyson Leeds. Alyson is a solid writer, who wrote last year’s highly popular Fear of the Web. A Funny Turn is set during the earlier days of Lethbridge-Stewart’s career, and sees him being targeted by the Great Intelligence in a rather unique way.

Lethbridge-Stewart: The HAVOC Files 3 Special Edition (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The HAVOC Files 3 Special Edition

Strange fungoid creatures in Hull, a deserted Scottish village at Hallowe’en, wishes coming true, and a special mission for Samson and Evans in Llanfairfach. Young Ali Lethbridge-Stewart and his friends investigate strange happenings in Pengriffen, and Professor Travers returns to Tibet, only to find he’s being followed by enemy agents.

Ten short stories, including two previously only available in digital format, published in print for the first time.

  • The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen by Tim Gambrell
  • A Funny Turn by Alyson Leeds (previously in digital format)
  • The Last Duty by Christopher Bryant
  • Eve of the Fomorians by Robert Mammone
  • The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell
  • The Feast of Evans by Simon A Forward
  • Home for Christmas by The Author Collective
  • Slouching Towards Det-Sen by Shaun Collins
  • The Case of the Missing Fairy by Steven Walton (previously in digital format)
  • Lucy Wilson by Sue Hampton
The book is available to order from the Candy Jar website.




Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National ServiceBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 8 May 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: The Laughing Gnome: OHMNS (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books have announced the final novel in their anniversary series of Lethbridge-Stewart books, The Laughing Gnome:

On His Majesty’s National Service picks up where book five left off, seeing the heroes go back in time to the 1950s and the Korean War:
As a young man Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart never wanted to follow in his illustrious family military history, he just wanted to be a math’s teacher. But then the Korean War broke out and he was called up for National Service. He soon met Spencer Pemberton – and his life was changed forever!
The book is written by David A McIntee and Lynette Nusbacher, with the cover by Steve Beckett, who has provided the covers for The Lucy Wilson Mysteries range. Beckett said:
I was thrilled to be invited to illustrate the cover for the Lethbridge-Stewart novel On His Majesty’s National Service. This allowed me to depart from my usual cartoony art style seen on the Lucy Wilson books and work in a style influenced by some of my childhood favourite comics, Battle picture weekly and Commando. I really enjoyed working on the piece which involved a little research into the Korean War and particularly the Hungarian army. I hope regular readers enjoy the explosive cover art and my rendition of a young moustache less Lethbridge-Stewart.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explained:
We knew we wanted a Commando-style cover, and it took us a while to remember we had an artist who has done some work featuring military characters over the years. Although Steve is primarily known for his Beano work (as evidenced by the style of the Lucy Wilson covers), he can turn his hand to many different styles. As usual, I consulted the author, asked him what he wanted, and we then sent these suggestions to Steve.

Author David A McIntee added:
I wanted both Lethbridge-Stewart and Hooper on the cover, as well as two Korean characters, with Lethbridge-Stewart and Hooper in Hungarian uniforms, just to further tease the audience and make them wonder why... And, I’m glad to say, the final result is pretty much exactly what I’d imagined. I’ve been lucky to have some great covers over the years, and this is easily right up there with them.

The Laughing Gnome: On His Majesty’s National Service is available for pre-order now from the Candy Jar website. It is also covered by the normal subscription and The Laughing Gnome six book bundle.




The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Bandril InvasionBookmark and Share

Monday, 6 May 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced the latest in their The Lucy Wilson Mysteries novel range:

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Bandril Invasion (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Bandril Invasion
Written by Wink Taylor
Artwork by Steve Beckett

Billy Bandril is the TV sensation sweeping the nation! The hilarious antics of this anarchic puppet have kids and their parents waiting all week for another episode of mayhem.

Fresh from her latest adventure, Lucy Wilson could use some time relaxing in front of the box. But Hobo isn’t too sure... There’s something sinister about Billy and his influence over the viewing public.

When Lucy finds herself live on air with Billy, it’s up to Hobo to interrupt the broadcast, before the curtains close... forever.

The latest in the series is written by Wink Taylor, one of the writers behind children's TV characters Sooty and Basil Brush, and the Theo the Mouse Show tour. The Bandril Invasion draws upon this background with its own maverick children's character, Billy, whose motivations are not all in good fun. Taylor explained:
I spent a lot of happy years writing for children's television and theatre, the bond that kids form with the characters is one of the most rewarding aspects. I was always determined to honour that bond, and make certain that the magic was never broken. It was a privilege to write for such household names and it always fascinated me that the puppeteers at all times remained firmly hidden. This got me thinking: what if the motivations behind this were not benign and were in fact ... thoroughly evil!!

The cover is by regular artist to the ranger, The Beano's Steve Beckett:
This bold, bright cover was a blast to do. Developing a Doctor Who monster, a Bandril, into children’s TV’s hottest new star was great fun. It still has a slight air of menace about it though – poor Hobo!

The Bandrils made their first appearance in the sixth Doctor adventure Timelash; range editor Shaun Russell, said:
Timelash is probably one of the most Marmite Doctor Who stories ever made, either you love or hate it! In my opinion it does have some of best and worst monsters ever featured in the series. The Borad, for example, is wonderful. Others are not so good. The Bandrils, however, are quite puppet-like, and this was my inspiration for this Lucy Wilson story. And that’s when we thought of Wink Taylor. His television and theatre background really helped in creating this slightly oddball Bandril story, which draws upon Doctor Who’s past in many exciting ways.

At the crossroads of old Who and new, with the heart of Jacqueline Wilson, the comedy of David Walliams and drawing on the creativity behind some of children's entertainment's most enduring hits, there's something for readers of all ages in the book.

The Bandril Invasion is available to pre-order exclusively from the Candy Jar and Lethbridge-Stewart websites.




Lethbridge-Stewart: Travers and WellsBookmark and Share

Saturday, 27 April 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced the paperback release of the novella Travers and Wells as it launches a new spin-off series of books featuring the characters Professor Edward Travers and HG Wells on their travels across parallel worlds en route to the alien world of Karfel - where the Dominator fleet is about to attack!

Lethbridge-Stewart: Travers and Wells: Other Wars, Other Worlds (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Travers and Wells: Other Wars, Other Worlds
Written by Robert Mammone

"For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there with my friend, Edward Travers, the last men left alive."

Edward Travers, pulled out of time by a mysterious force, finds himself on a hill with a young man called Herbert George Wells. Together the men travel across England, intent on discovering where they are; a world distinctly different from the one they know. And yet, for Edward Travers, it is one that seems vaguely familiar...

For strange, meteor-like objects have landed in the heart of England, and the inhabitants of Earth have found themselves victims of a terrible attack. A ruthless race of Martians, armed with heat rays and poisonous smoke, is intent on destroying everything that stands in its way.

Only things have not turned out the way Travers' expected, for this is not the war of the worlds HG Wells wrote about, but something much worse.

Originally released in 2017, the backdoor pilot to this series has been retitled Other Wars, Other Worlds. Talking about the reception of his book, author Robert Mammone said:
I am gobsmacked by the overwhelmingly positive reception. You hope that when the results of all that hard work venture into the world readers are at least kind to it, but the lovely reviews on the internet, and the personal comments I've received left me feeling giddy. When I heard the hardback had sold out so quickly I looked forward to the day when more people could pick up the paperback, and that day is almost here! Here's to more readers enjoying the adventures of Travers and Wells!

Range Editor, Andy Frankham-Allen explained how the new series developed:
The potential of the series was always to be determined by sales and critical response, which, we are glad to say, have both proven to be sufficiently positive. The series itself, and the adventures contained therein, are based on the works of Wells, following the example set by the Doctor Who serial Timelash by Glen McCoy, which saw a younger Wells encounter several people and situations that inspired some of his best known works. Every book in this range will be a play on a story written by Wells, and not always the most obvious ones. Although, naturally, the first two novels pull from two of Wells’ biggest hits, The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr Moreau.

As indicated above, the second book in the series will be called The City of Dr Moreau, written by Andrew Allen:
"Wells blinked a couple of times, balling a fist into his eyes to rub away the sweat trickling there. But it was no good; the room was too dark and he still couldn’t see anything. Nonetheless, he was painfully aware that someone – something – was in the room with him. He heard a snuffling, a guttural breathing, and the thing moved closer."

Edward Travers and HG Wells are flung once again into an alternative reality: a London both achingly familiar and quite unlike the city either of them know. In the dying days of the Edwardian empire, public protests over the increasing use of vivisection in animal research collide with rising fears about looming war.

Connecting both is the mysterious Dr Moreau. Wells is fascinated by the accomplished scientist, but Travers is horrified by the dark truth of the man that he previously had believed to be mere fiction.

As the two men begin to discover the purpose behind their adventures out of time and come face to face with who is controlling their journey, they pursue Moreau to the inevitable conclusion: his very own island of creation, a perverse garden of Eden that’s very close to home...

The paperback edition of Other Wars, Other Worlds is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, as is a limited edition hardback edition of The City of Dr Moreau; the latter can also be pre-ordered in paperback for a limited time ony as part of an exclusive bundle with the first book.





Lethbridge-Stewart: Pirates of the Prime MeridianBookmark and Share

Saturday, 13 April 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books have announced its latest free-for-download short story in its Lethbridge-Stewart series:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Pirates of the Prime Meridian (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Pirates of the Prime Meridian
Written by Roy Martin

When Spencer is on holiday with his dad in Peacehaven, he is surprised to see that the town is bursting with pirates. Most are typical tourist-friendly types, but several seem slightly more sinister. He tries to tell his dad, but is not believed. It is only when he meets Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart that he discovers that Peacehaven and the pirates have been connected throughout time.

Based on characters created by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln.

Roy Martin, author of the novel NV-66, wrote this story especially for Candy Jar. He said:

As I was part of the Doctor Who audience growing up in the ’70s, it was great to have the opportunity to write a short story featuring a fantastic character such as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. For me it was exciting to adapt my writing style to integrate with a pre-existing universe.

I chose to include pirates in the adventure, because for me, they represent enigmatic and shadowy characters from the murky past of history, epitomising working class entrepreneurs; forging fortunes in life, by their own sweat and guile, not afraid to operate outside of the establishment. Plus, when writing I like to get into character, and who doesn’t like dressing as a pirate for the day?

A word of warning for the unwary, ill prepared traveller of adventures. Never upset a pirate. A scallywag will find themselves dancing the hempen jig soon enough.

Pirates of the Prime Meridian can be downloaded from the Candy Jar website.




Lethbridge-Stewart: The Brigadier and Lucy Wilson unitedBookmark and Share

Thursday, 28 March 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced the fifth book in The Laughing Gnome series, which sees the worlds of Lethbridge-Stewart and The Lucy Wilson Mysteries collide:

The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets
Written by Tim Gambrell
Cover by Steve Beckett

Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is still lost in time, cast through his own time stream by the mysterious Gnome.

Answers are presented to him when he meets the architect of his travels, and is told he has one adventure ahead of him. A chance to make sure his legacy is secure. He will be sent to 2018, and a meeting with his granddaughter, the protector of Ogmore-by-Sea, Lucy Wilson.

In 1937, young Ali Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James find themselves face to face with smugglers, while in 2018 Lucy and Hobo are preparing for a trip to Cornwall.

What connects 1937 and 2018? The Brigadier and Lucy Wilson are about to find out, when they are cast back in time and join the Bledoe Cadets in solving the mystery at Redgate Smithy. The price will be high for at least one of the Cadets. But for the Brigadier and Lucy, it is a chance to understand what truly binds them together, what it is to be a Lethbridge-Stewart!

Following on from The Laughing Gnome: Rise of the Dominator, books five and six sees the Brigadier team-up with his granddaughter, Lucy Wilson, in an adventure through time! The two-book special, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets and The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets, finally solves a mystery that has been two years in the making, since 2017 and the novels Night of the Intelligence and Avatars of the Intelligence (the very first Lucy Wilson Mystery - how did Lucy and Hobo end up in 1937 to have a picture taken with young Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart and his brother James?

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen set the scene:
Ever since The Lucy Wilson Mysteries was devised, Shaun (Russell) and I had in a mind an adventure that would see Lucy team up with the Bledoe Cadets. We knew there was much fun to be had in having a mixed-race teenage girl interacting with children from 1937. We sowed the seeds in the very first novel in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries range by having her see a photograph of herself and her grandfather as a child, this was built upon in my own novel, Night of the Intelligence, in which it is revealed that James has memories of Lucy and Hobo. So, it’s been a lot of fun exploring those plot points and finally revealing the truth behind them.

The author for that exciting story is first-time novelist Tim Gambrell, who originally won a competition to have a character named after him, and later wrote a short story for The HAVOC Files 3: that story, The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen, led him to being considered for Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets:
After my short story was published, I pitched another story idea which Andy asked me to develop into a novel proposal. I very much felt, from that point on, that Andy was keeping me on his reserve bench, waiting for the right position to ‘play’ me in. The creative process has been pretty fluid ever since the first writers’ meeting in Cardiff, with a strong sense of collaboration and mutual support between Andy and all of the writers. That’s certainly been appreciated by me, with this being my first published novel. Each of our slots came with a character to focus on, but otherwise we were pretty free to tell the sort of story we wanted to tell. However, my slot came with a shopping list. I was given the title, Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets, so I knew from the start it would be a cross-franchise book. Some of the book needed to take place in 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Lethbridge-Stewart. Added to that, the story would have to feature time travel so that Lucy, Hobo and the Bledoe Cadets could meet. And it couldn’t contradict anything already established regarding the Bledoe Cadets and alien encounters. Finally, it had to be set before the events of 1938 in The Forgotten Son, so that Sir Alistair could spend time with his brother James. That might sound like a whole lot of limitations, but I found it really liberating. It focuses the mind, being given restrictions like that.

Andy continued:
From the moment I first read that short story, I knew Tim would get it right. He has a great handle on the Bledoe Cadets, who I created for my novel, The Forgotten Son, and I’m rather protective of them. But Tim ‘got’ them. Of course, the only risk was trusting a first-time novelist with this story. I’m happy to say, it’s a risk that paid off!

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:
Once the story was decided, Andy and I bounced back and forth the idea of having the story told from both the Brigadier’s point of view, and Lucy’s. Telling the adventure for the more mature readers in the Lethbridge-Stewart range, and then retelling it for a younger reader as part of The Lucy Wilson Mysteries. We had hoped to release both books simultaneously, but the logistics didn’t make that feasible, especially as, for Tim, it would essentially mean writing two novels at the same time! So, it was decided that Tim would write the Lethbridge-Stewart version first, and then we would sit down to discuss how to approach The Lucy Wilson Mysteries version. Lucy’s own perspective brings with it some unique things, not least a different opening before the Brigadier turns up. Although it’s essentially the same story, both books can be read independently, however reading both version will provide a more fuller take on the story.

The Laughing Gnome: Lucy Wilson & The Bledoe Cadets will be released in late April, with The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: The Brigadier & The Bledoe Cadets due out in the summer. Both books are now available for pre-order from the Candy Jar website.

The Laughing Gnome series will conclude in May with book six, On His Majesty’s National Service, by David A McIntee.



Candy Jar Books are also involved in an inspiring book event at The Comic Guru (which has recently relocated to St David's Arcade, Cardiff). The comic shop is celebrating the role of women in film, TV and comics on Saturday 30th March between 11:00am and 4:30pm.

STRONG FEMALE VOICES AT THE COMIC GURU: MEET THE AUTHORS!

As we approach the end of this turbulent decade strong female characters have begun to take centre stage across all film, comics and TV drama, most especially sci-fi. Both DC and Marvel have had enormous successes with Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel respectively.

One such organisation to embrace this change is the Comic Guru, now located in the Queen Street arcade. And to celebrate this, the Comic Guru is partnering with another staple of Cardiff’s sci-fi scene, award-winning independent publisher Candy Jar Books.

To coincide with the recent release of Captain Marvel, the first woman-led instalment in Marvel’s cinematic universe, the Comic Guru is hosting its first collaborative event with Candy Jar, an author meet and greet showcasing just a few of Candy Jar’s strong female authors. Fans will get a chance to meet Alyson Leeds, an author from the Doctor Who spin-off Lethbridge-Stewart series, as well as children’s sci-fi authors Cherry Cobb and Michelle Briscombe.

Owner of the Comic Guru, Kristian Barry, says: “Both the DC and Marvel comic and film franchises have been at the catalyst of change. They have always embraced diversity and championed equal rights. Captain Marvel shows that women can be superheroes too. At the Comic Guru we want to celebrate this, and with Mother’s Day coming up we thought it was an ideal opportunity.”

Candy Jar’s range of titles spans everything from children’s fiction to war memoirs. It is perhaps best known, however, for its Lethbridge-Stewart series, a fully licensed collection of novels about the adventures of the classic Doctor Who character Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. As one of the only non-BBC official Doctor Who products out there, the series has attracted an international readership, and it is currently in its sixth series.

Alyson Leeds, whose debut novel entitled Fear of the Web is based on old Doctor Who story, The Web of Fear, states: “The one thing I always disliked about The Web of Fear was how male dominated the storyline was, and being a part of the Lethbridge-Stewart series has given me a chance to make sure the females are given their platform to speak.”

Michelle Briscombe’s novel, The House on March Lane, contains two brave female protagonists, one from the modern day and the other from the Victorian era. Both characters are free thinkers and despite being separated by one hundred years they become unlikely friends.

Cherry Cobb, author of Will’s War, a book about a boy who time travels back to World War Two London, focuses mainly on male characters. Cherry says: ”My dad was eleven when he was evacuated from Plymouth. He often used to tell me stories about how they lived and I think this is why it felt more natural to me to write about the experience of a boy. Although Will’s War has a lot of male characters, I did not aim it at boys, but as something to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Shaun Russell continues: “We’re proud of the stand sci-fi has been taking recently. We’ve tried to make our statement with our authors, as well as our Lethbridge-Stewart spinoff, The Lucy Wilson Mysteries. Sci-fi is for everyone, boys and girls, and this event has something for the whole family. Not to mention, as it takes place the day before Mother’s Day, it might be just be the perfect opportunity to pick up a last minute gift.”

Publishing Co-ordinator, Keren Williams, elaborates: “Alongside author meet and greets, there will be a chance to get your hands on some free books, and if you are interested in becoming an author yourself, Candy Jar’s team will be available to chat throughout the day.”

And just for balance, Terry Cooper, author of the sci-fi comedy Kangazang! Small Cosmos, and director of the Welsh independent film, Offworld, will also be signing at the Comic Guru. He says: “I have two daughters myself and do recognise the importance of strong role models for girls. Despite my book being a laddish adventure story, it is the female character that ultimately saves the day. Equally in Offworld it is the female spaceship Captain that takes centre stage in my story.”

Kristian Barry continues: “I’m really looking forward to welcoming this group of talented authors into my shop, it is sure to be a stupendous start to many more Comic Guru events.”




Lethbridge-Stewart: The HAVOC Files: The Laughing GnomeBookmark and Share

Sunday, 17 March 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced a brand new limited edition anthology of short stories set within The Laughing Gnome series:

The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome
Cover by Colin Howard

Sir Alistair, Dame Anne and Brigadier Bishop have been astral projected throughout the Brigadier's timeline by the mysterious entity known only as the Laughing Gnome. Thirteen jumps, thirty-nine different adventures.

Explore eight new encounters through time in the brand new anthology, including Sir Alistair finding himself in the body of his uncle, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart, in the 1930s; uncovering a Silurian relic in the 1980s; and an encounter in Africa with his eldest son, Mariama Lethbridge-Stewart, in 1963! And Dame Anne encounters the Borad in 1930s Scotland, in a new story by the creator of the BBC smash, Land Girls, Roland Moore!

Featuring stories written by some of the most popular Lethbridge-Stewart authors, including Harry Draper (Lineage, Short Trips: The Last Day at Work), Sarah Groenewegen (The Daughters of Earth), James Middleditch (Piece of Mind), and John Peel (The Life of Evans, Doctor Who: The Daleks’ Masterplan).

From September 2018 to May 2019, the Lethbridge-Stewart range has been releasing The Laughing Gnome sequence of novels, which sees the Brigadier, Anne Travers and Bill Bishop astral projected throughout the Brigadier’s timeline. The six-book series covers the major points in the sequence, but not all the astral jumps through time. The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome explores a further eight adventures in the sequence.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explains further:
Between Fear of the Web and Rise of the Dominator there are twelve further jumps; that’s twelve time periods in which our heroes find themselves. Three times twelve, in fact, as each of our heroes have an adventure in any given time period. Some of these jumps have been mentioned in the sequence of novels, but by the time of Rise of the Dominator only one of these adventures has been chronicled (the third novel in the sequence, The Danger Men, shows Bill Bishop’s adventure in 1999). This anthology chronicles a further eight adventures covering 1929, 1963, 1986, 1955, 1993 and more!

Among the eight authors selected for The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome anthology are popular Lethbridge-Stewart writers John Peel, Sarah Groenewegen, Harry Draper and Shaun Collins, as well as acclaimed Australian author George Ivanoff. A full list of authors and story titles will appear on the Candy Jar website in due course.

The cover is by Doctor Who and Lethbridge-Stewart artist Colin Howard.
Finally, The Laughing Gnome gave me an opportunity to paint Nicholas Courtney’s likeness ‘undisguised’ on the cover of a Lethbridge-Stewart book, after a hiatus from the covers, due to working on the BBC Animations for Shada and The Macra Terror over the past couple of years. For this cover I utilised screen-grabs from of both the Brig and Anne Travers, which I then sketched digitally into position. From there I painted them digitally, using my usual technique, whereby I start with mid-skin tones, then add shadowed areas, down to almost black, then return to adding the lighter areas on the portrait up to white to give a nice realistic feel. In the detail areas I tend to zoom-in to a minimum of 250-300 pixels per square inch to ensure a realistic finish to my painting and to achieve the finer detail. I decided to go with a classic military green for the Brigadier’s uniform rather than the awful washed-out khaki/ochre of season seven.

With Anne, I used the same technique, although, when you get a nice likeness/screen grab, it often means that you have areas of the head cropped out of screen-shot, so I looked for other scenes where the rest of her hairstyle can be ascertained; in this case a small 1960s beehive, which she had in the latter episodes of The Web of Fear, although I did exaggerate it slightly to mimic a Gnomes hat. I also did a little bit of a search online to get eye/hair colour, etc, and incorporate those into the artwork. Each Portrait is around one-two days’ work, plus background, so in the end it takes around a week to paint each cover.

One of the things I have always enjoyed with some of the art jobs I’ve had in my career is when I get to create something from the author’s descriptions in the text, and with the Laughing Gnome a nice detailed description was available from Simon a Forward’s Scary Monsters. So I did a few slight alterations from my initial sketch, and ended up with the ‘cheery/sinister fellow’ featured on the final art, complete with a weathered look of an old Ornament with moss/lichen decorating his visage. This is probably the part of doing these books I enjoy the most, when your creative side is challenged, and you get to design your own creature from a brief, and you aren’t just copying a design or just adding effects/filters to a photograph. Like most of the other covers out there these days.

The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome will be a limited edition release, available to pre-order now exclusively through the Candy Jar website.

Note: The HAVOC Files: The Laughing Gnome is not included in any subscription or multi-book deal.