Open Dyslexia Kickstarter Project - Books On The Hill #BlogTour


I'm delighted to be sharing a special Kickstarter project on Hair Past A Freckle today. Many thanks to Books on the Hill and Anne Cater for inviting me and for sending me digital copies of the current titles available.

I work in a primary school and am passionate about helping to make reading a pleasure for our children. Fortunately there are many options available for all tastes and abilities but although there are a number of books published now for children with dyslexia, the same can't be said for adults with dyslexia. Therefore, a project like this one which seeks to improve inclusivity for a group not well served by mainstream publishing is so important. I've read three of the books and I'll share my thoughts below, together with a synopsis of all the planned titles but first, here's more information about the project.

Books on the Hill is passionate about helping people who have dyslexia, or have any difficulty with reading, to access the joy of good fiction. There are great books out now for children with dyslexia, with specialist publishers like Barrington Stokes and mainstream publishers such as Bloomsbury doing their part. However, there are sadly very few books for adults with Dyslexia in traditional mass market publishing. 
Dyslexia is a learning difference that primarily affects reading and writing skills. The NHS estimates that up to 1 in every 10 people in the UK have some form of dyslexia, while other dyslexic organisations believe 1 in 5 and more than 2 million people in the UK are severely affected. 
Dyslexia does not stop someone from achieving. There are many individuals who are successful and are dyslexic. Famous actors, such as Orlando Bloom; Entrepreneurs like Theo Paphitis, and many, many more, including myself. All of who believe dyslexia has helped them to be where they are now. Dyslexia, though, as I can attest to, does not go away. You don’t grow out of it, and so we are acknowledging that and trying to without being patronising, create a selection of books that will be friendly to people who deal with dyslexia every day. 
Since we started the project in 2019, Books on the Hill have had many adults customers with dyslexia come in shop the asking for something accessible to read. For example, one customer asked if we stocked well known novels in a dyslexic friendly format. Unfortunately we had to say no, as they just don’t exist. We explained what we are trying to achieve by printing our own and she replied: 
“I have been reading [children dyslexic] books but they are a bit childish so am really happy I have found your company!! Thanks so much again and thank you for making such a helpful and inclusive brand - it means a lot. “ 
This response is not isolated. We have had many adults come in to the shop with dyslexia, who do not read or struggle to read and they they believe dyslexic friendly books would have real impact on their reading for pleasure. 

How To Get Involved
We are launching a Kickstarter beginning in April 2nd 2021 for 30 days, with the focus on paying for the printing of our books and giving us starting capital to continue to print more titles. 
There will be many ways you can be involved in this. You can contribute on the Kickstarter website itself. There will be a number of different options of donating money, in which you will receive rewards, such as ebooks of a title or a paperback of one or more of the titles to be published. In addition a unique reward from authors who are contributing to the project. 
You can still contribute outside the kickstarter. We are happy to receive your help in the shop, where we will have a donation box available. 

Click here to find out more about the project, including the rewards available and to donate.

About the Books

Anchor Point by Stan Nicholls

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

The Author:
Stan Nicholls is the author of more than thirty books and was shortlisted for the 2001 British Fantasy Award. 
He received Le'Fantastique Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions to Literature (2007) 

This is one of the titles I have read and though it's only a quick read, I felt I got to know the characters well and was interested to discover how Kye would cope with both his own lack of confidence and the threat to his village. I really enjoyed this story; it's definitely one for fantasy lovers and could probably be considered grimdark-ish.

Sherlock Holmes and the Four Kings by Steven Savile

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

The Author:
Steven Savile is a bestselling British fantasy, horror and thriller writer. 
Steven was a runner-up for the British Fantasy Award in 2000 and again in 2010.

I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes so couldn't resist this short story. I thought Steven Savile really captures the essence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing, having Watson as the main narrator. The mystery is intriguing and though it's quickly solved, there is still a fun twist as the master detective reveals the truth.

Ultrasound Shadow by Thana Niveau

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

The Author:
Thana Niveau is a horror and science fiction writer. 
Niveau has twice been nominated for the British Fantasy award – for her debut collection “From Hell to Eternity” and her story "Death Walks En Pointe"

The House On The Old Cliffs by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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

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

The Breath by Joel Cornah 

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

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

The Clockwork Eyeball by Steven Poore

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

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

At Midnight I Will Steal Your Soul

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

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

This was the third title I read and it's a classic suspense horror tale set in a psychiatric institution. I must admit that my sympathy for the protagonist, Lynda dipped after she uses an ableist slur but otherwise I enjoyed the creeping sense of dread in this chilling read.

The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling

When the Kickstarter hits £8000, the classic by Rudyard Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King" with become available as a paperback and ebook. 

About the Team
Books on the Hill is Alistair Sims. He is the manager and commander-in-chief of the bookshop (though his partner, Chloe and his mother, Joanne, who set up the bookshop with him, may disagree with this description ). Alistair is dyslexic and has a PhD in history and archaeology. Alistair could not read until he was 13 and is passionate about helping anyone who has difficulty reading. He is the driving force behind BOTH Press and has been involved in every step in this project, from finding award winning authors to contribute, the cover design, and the road to publication, including setting up for distribution. 
Books on the Hill are collaborating with Chrissey Harrison, who is also an local author and member of North Bristol Writers Group. Chressey and Alistair have designed the book-covers together, with Chrissey creating the finished product we now look on at awe with. Nearly all the design work has been done by Chrissey, and she is also in charge of the printing process, typesetting. We are so proud and appreciative to be working with her. 
Special mention must go to Harrison Gates, who runs Nine Worthy, and who has dedicated his time and expertise to produce our print catalogue for us free of cost. 
Joanne Hall is an author, editor and formerly the Chair of BristolCon, Bristol’s premier (and only) science fiction and fantasy convention. We must give a huge thank you to Jo for proof reading the stories free of cost. 
Vicky Brewster has edited all the new stories by the authors. She specialises in editing and beta reading long-form fiction. Vicky is a great professional editor.



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