Tuesday 2 December 2014

Making Trakz - Feb 2015

In the rush to get October's Son edited in time for the crucial Halloween deadline, the prequel to Spikez was pushed back to February 2015.

So, what's the story behind Making Trakz?  The video below is one of several used during talks at primary school visits by author, Richard Mayers.

This is one of the publicly released examples highlighting the advances in robotics, and a good example of a real life animal cyborg.  Advancements are probably way ahead by now (this video made in 2007!), but ethically this will not be known to the public for some time.  

In Spikez, the lead scientist, Professor Windar, is working on military grade cyborgs to be used in surveillance, but much of his research stems from his success with his first robotically enhanced mouse.

Making Trakz gives readers the backstory behind the likeable sidekick featured in Spikez, explaining his origin and why he wears such big goggles and has tank track feet.  If you don't know what we're talking about, see the picture below. 

Burton Mayers Books will be releasing more details between now and February, including some chapter excerpts, sketches and cover design concepts.  

Wednesday 19 November 2014

October's Son - Amendment to Publication

In light of recent feedback, author John Michaelson was keen to stress that he does not condone the act of carrying knives or weapons in London.  He was also keen to give the details of organisations and charities who support the victims of knife crime and human trafficking.  John has come across several knife attack victims and regularly helps survivors of human trafficking because of the nature of his undercover work.

Details are below:

www.knifecrimes.org A support website for UK victims of knife crime; full of online resources and links to several charities, useful information and commentary from victims, relatives and experts.  Supported by the Home Office.

www.unseenuk.org set up in 2008 as a direct response to the exploitation of vulnerable children and young adults who become enslaved, both in the UK and abroad, and trafficked into gangs, usually for the purposes of prostitution. Unseen raises awareness about the issue and has made positive steps to rehabilitate those whose lives have been ruined through mistreatment by Ants.

www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk The NCA (formally SOCA) responds on a 24/7 basis, targeting the criminals and groups posing the biggest risks to the UK. They build a single comprehensive picture of serious and organised crime affecting the UK, drawing on information and intelligence from a wide range of sources.

www.stopthetraffik.org A global movement of activists around the world who passionately give their time and energy to build resilient communities and prevent human trafficking.

Formatting issues

During the formatting of October's Son, there were some American and English spelling conflicts and auto-correct functions and omissions that should not have occurred.  Burton Mayers Books would like to apologise to those who may have noted this during their reading experience, but would like to assure customers that this has since been rectified.  The Kindle version should auto-update and the print version has been amended with Lighting Source. On the plus side, this means that there are several first edition copies that will no longer be available anywhere else.

The alternatively titled Nook version 'The London Vampire Diaries' is set for release in 2015 and will feature photographic content so as not to clash with the Kindle version. The book will also be available on iBooks and other eReader devices at the end of 2015. 

Saturday 18 October 2014

October's Son - Cover Design

Having secured some great pictures with John Michaelson, we were faced with the challenge of trying to capture the theme and content of his book in just one image.

We shared the images with John and expressed our desire to use one of him wearing his mask on the front cover.  He was not keen on this idea and stressed that the mask was for public appearances only and that he does not want to be seen as a pantomime villain.  It made sense, since the book is very much about quashing the vampire myths.  We then considered something similar to what he tried originally from his website.
However, John did not have the original and disclosed that it was a found image he happened to come across during his research.  We traced the image down using the web to someone called Paul Cook, so credit due there for capturing such a creepy image.  We then realised that we didn't have many pictures of London without John in them, and with the October publication deadline looming, we began to panic.
We trawled through some of John's own images on the London Vampire Flikr account and suggested those below to him below:

This image had the right darkness and colours but had nothing distinguishable about London. John said it was taken between the Strand and Covent Garden, but didn't say much more other than that there is no longer any scaffolding there.

This image is taken from Highgate Cemetery, but John was keen to stress that he was not trying to create a spin-off of the Highgate Vampire phenomenon. We both agreed that it was a great image.

This image is a bit of a mystery.  The angles and light create interesting tones and it's quite creepy and significant in some way.  We're not sure where it was taken, but the problem was that if we cropped it to a book cover it would look too bright and lose the impact we wanted it to have.

John used this image on his Facebook and we thought it was quite morbid and perhaps significant.  The problem, however, was that we would have to significantly edit and manipulate to add the right level of gloom to match the novel.  

We know that this image is significanat and linked to Camden, which features in the latter part of the book.  Again, John wouldn't say much more than what we figured, but it lacked the level of fright needed to match the tone of his story. 

The image above is not far from the type used in generic thrillers and crime novels.  However, we felt we were straying away from the fact that the novel is in London, something we were really eager to convey to international audiences. 

The perspective is there but the the threat was not.  Apparently this was the type of alleyway Jack the Ripper would stalk in Victorian London. 

Overall, nothing quite did it for us.  We went back to the drawing board and were planning to reshoot pictures of the capital, when we decided to review the images taken of John near Trafalgar Square and, by chance, found the image that sent shivers down our spine.  It meant significantly cropping to remove John from the image, which meant a drop in definition, but somehow it just worked. 

We hope you agree that malice and threat is clearly represented in the cover.  The red fountain, which is not perfectly reflected, is - in our opinion - such a powerful visual metaphor which exemplified John's fight against a murky underworld beneath the sparkling city of London.  Even John was complimentary, which for us was saying something. 

And as for the back cover, we persuaded John to let us use one of him sat on St-Martin-in-the-Field.  Not only is the image subtle, but it summed up the experience of the photo-shoot, that he remained unseen, not even attracting attention from the majority of night-crawlers.  In fact, only when we finished editing the cover did we realise that we had managed to include a London bus, a black cab, an art gallery, a church and a significant monument - not to mention The London Vampire himself.  Not bad, we thought.  We hope that you agree.

October's Son: The London Vampire Diaries is available from 27th October 2014 from all good book stores and online.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Capturing The London Vampire

How do you catch a vampire? Harder still, how do you capture a vampire who claims he isn't a Vampire? Confused?

At Burton Mayers Books, we were faced with the same problem. Ahead of the release of October's Son: The London Vampire Diaries, we set about trying to shoot some images to use on the book cover and for publicity purposes.  John Michaelson is an enigma to say the least, and with no phone number and no known address, getting hold of him is hard at the best of times.  So imagine trying to arrange a meeting with The London Vampire himself.  Well, it happened somehow.

A meeting was arranged via Skype and John agreed to meet in London's thriving China Town.  We arrived and, too our amazement, found John waiting for us.  See picture below.

John was resolute about where we could go and take pictures, and warned us that Soho would be off limits that evening; he also stressed that the mask would remain on throughout the whole shoot.  He didn't talk much and seemed to be on a schedule of his own.

We got some great shots around China Town and it was amazing to see that most people didn't even blink an eye or stop to notice. It was like he didn't exist.

 This was especially noticeable in Leicester Square. See below.

His trail led us through St Martin-in-the-Fields and into Trafalgar Square where we got some amazing shots that we ended up using for the main cover.

We then followed him towards the river but he suddenly cut through Charing Cross and towards The Savoy where he revealed a bit of the city's history.  Below, Michaelson poses next to the capital's last remaining street lamp fuelled by gas from London's sewers.

We tried to persuade John into taking some shots along the Thames and across East London, specifically landmarks highlighted in his book.  John declined, however, because he had an appointment to meet a medical graduate nearby.  He didn't say much more before we took these last shots.

He was courteous, thanked us for our patience and said he looked forward to seeing the final version of the book.  We caught a bus back home with mixed feelings; a little unnerved about what he told us, and perhaps a little safer knowing he was out there watching our backs.

October's Son: The London Vampire Diaries is released on 27th October 2014.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Publications - 2014 Update

Burton Mayers Books are pleased to announce that Making Trakz and October's Son will be published internationally by the end of 2014.

Making Trakz is a prequel to the Spikez series of books about an unlikely group of animal cyborgs, built by the British Military to thwart global terrorism.  The book focuses on the creation of Trakz, a domestic mouse who is transformed into a super-intelligent being by the eccentric Professor Windar.  Copies of the 2nd Draft were given to Year 6 and 7 students at Ashlyns School in Hertfordshire to read; parents and a select group of school librarians and academics also read the draft.  The feedback was extremely positive, with students commenting that they found the characters engaging, funny and believable; the narrative was described as exciting and original with great pace. 

The final draft has now been approved and work has begun on formatting for publication.

 October's Son is at the final stages of editing.  Burton Mayers Books have been in contact with the elusive author, John Michaelson, by Skype to clarify and refine the work into a publishable novel.  The book is written in a diary style with references to people and places in London; there will be photographs, links to the London Vampire website and much more.  Readers will not be disappointed, although their perceptions of underground life in London and their definition of what a vampire is in today's world will change.
More details will follow during the coming months.  Stay tuned for pictures, sneak peeks and much more.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Welcome to Burton Mayers Books

Burton Mayers Books is an independent publishing house founded by Richard Mayers and John Burton in 2008.

Richard Mayers is a secondary school teacher and children's author and comes from a background working within the TV and Film industry.  He formed Burton Mayers Books with his colleague, John Burton, to publish and promote a range of groundbreaking titles for the Juvenile market.  Richard worked as a freelance creative for a number of years before becoming a teacher in 2006, but he continues to foster interests in interactive media and has attracted a varied client base over these years.

John Burton also currently works as a secondary school teacher but has a wide and varied background as a designer, illustrator and web developer.  John worked as an independent creative designer at studios across London for a number of years, including working for national newspapers (The Mirror), worldwide charities, projects (Bloodhound SSC) and small businesses looking for a design edge above their competitors.  Because of his contacts and track record of innovation, John continues to offer highly creative ideas to future publishing projects.

The first in-house title was a project that began in 2008 with a concept for a robotic, animal superhero.  Since that time, John and Richard developed the idea and published Spikez internationally in 2012.  During that time, opportunities to collaborate with authors and artists from across the UK continue to come in.

Many of the online design projects Richard and John contributed to since 2009 onwards have also come to fruition, with the first adult title, October's Son, set for release in 2014.  The project, a biographical horror by John Michaelson, attracted John and Richard because of its revelatory content, global appeal, potential to redefine genres and challenge the conventions of non-fiction.  The title is currently being edited for content.

In 2015 there will be an increase in the number and range of titles published by Burton Mayers Books, including an anthology of short stories, poems and photography about London.

List of Titles:

Spikez (Ingram) - 2012: Children's Novel 9-12+, number 1 in the series.
Spikez: Red Dragon - 2019: number 2 in the series.
Spikez: Viral - 2020: number 3 in the series.

Making Trakz - 2014/15:  Children's Novel 9-12+, a prequel to the popular Spikez series.

October's Son: Diary of the London Vampire - 2014 - An adult biographical horror by John

Nuptial Flight: The London Vampire Conspiracy - 2015 - an extended memoir of John Michaelson's gruesome exploration of vampire culture in Europe.

The Hedgehog's Full Moon Party - 2018 - picture book collaboration between Richard Mayers and Abigail de Montfort.

Complete Darkness: A Darkmatters Novel - 2019 - Matt Adcock (debut novel)

Osmond the Toad - 2019 - Liz Noble - Children's picture book

London: An Anthology (2021) - a selection of short stories, poems and photography from some of London's up and coming creatives.

All works will be printed by Lightning Source (Ingram) and available through all leading bookstores.  Electronic versions will also be available on Kindle through Amazon.