Halloween Horror Event!

This one is mainly aimed at those in the UK who are looking for somewhere different to go to on Halloween night – an event featuring three of the best writers working within the horror genre in Britain today, including a Spectral author! Eack of the guests will be doing a reading, plus discussing their work in detail – they are:

Gary McMahon – author of What They Hear in the Dark, as well as Rain Dogs, Pretty Little Dead Things, Dead Bad Things and the Concrete Grove Trilogy.

Adam Nevill - author of the critically acclaimed novels Apartment 16 and The Ritual.

David Moody – author of Hater, Dog’s Blood and the Autumn series.

It’ll be hosted by Michael Wilson of Read Horror webzine and takes place at the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry in the UK on Monday evening, starting at 7.15 – for more information and tickets, go here.

King Death by Paul Finch: the first reviews

Yes, the new Spectral chapbook, King Death by Paul Finch (which isn’t due out until December), has already received its first couple of write-ups. The first of those is from Mark West (who, I will declare, is responsible for the Spectral Press video book trailers and the author of What Gets Left Behind [Spectral Volume VII]) gave the Paul’s tale a little write-up at Goodreads – read what he had to say about it here.

Peter Tennant, in the latest issue of Black Static (#25), also gives the chapbook a general thumbs-up, calling it a “… well-told tale…”. If you want to see what else Peter has to say about it, then you’ll have to go out and track down a copy. It’s always well worth getting hold of this magazine, as it always has a brilliant selection of fiction, articles, interviews and columns in every issue. The website is here.

NOTE: Official review PDFs will be available for media distribution next month sometime – subscriber and individual copies will be sent out soon after that….

COMING SOON: SPECTRAL PRESS BOOKMARKERS!! If you would like one (they’re free) please let me know either by commenting on this blog, on the Spectral FB page or via email on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. They will be available within the next month or two.

A new review of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall

This one is courtesy of Chris Bissette and appears on his eponymous blog – I’m glad to say that it’s yet another wonderful review, and it’s also absolutely fantastic to hear that as a result of reading this chapbook Chris went out and bought Cate’s Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things collection from Strange Publications – one of the manifold reasons why Spectral was set up in the first place, to provide a showcase for the best in current genre writing and to encourage readers to explore the authors’ other published works. To read the review, please click here!

Coming Soon: King Death by Paul Finch


In 1348, England is stricken by the Black Death.

The worst pandemic in human history has reached the kingdom of the warlike Edward III, a monarch who in battle against human adversaries cannot imagine defeat.

Two thirds of his subjects now perish. Woods become wild again, farmland goes to rack and ruin, villages, towns and castles are left empty, inhabited only by ghosts.

Little wonder that fear of the supernatural reaches an all-time high. Little wonder stories ignite about witches and demons spreading the plague, about ‘King Death’, an awesome harbinger of doom from whom there is no protection.

Cynical opportunist Rodric doesn’t believe any of these. With reckless indifference, he sets out to enrich himself…

“Paul Finch’s supernatural stories combine a poetic imagination with a sharp eye for the complexities of human evil.” – Joel Lane

Out end of November/beginning of December 2011 – includes an appended glossary of the medieval terms used in the story and (possibly) a short list of recommended reading on the period in which the tale is set.

NEWS: Spectral Volume V – Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music

As of today, there are only FOUR copies left of this chapbook – so, if you’re intent on purchasing a copy, then I suggest that you get onto it quickly. Simon is a World Fantasy Award nominee, whose work is gathering more than good notices in the press. You can either get an individual copy by sending £3.50UK/£4.50EU/$8US/$12RoW (inclusive of postage) via Paypal to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com or you can get it as part of a four-issue subscription (Paypal buttons at right-hand side of this website). Get to it!

Spectral chapbooks: the future

This week, much of my time (apart from preparing Paul Finch’s King Death for publication) has been spent in pondering the future direction of the Spectral chapbook editions. I mooted some ideas in the two previous blogposts on how I should proceed regarding edition numbers ie, should I keep them as they are or should I increase them? I asked for feedback from subscribers, readers and others as to what they would like to see – many did contact me, and gave me a good deal to think about.

And so, I’ve come to a decision: the numbers will remain as they are currently, in other words, the edition of 100 limited signed and numbered copies will stand as is. However, every two (or maybe three) years there will be a ‘collected’ edition with all the stories in it PLUS, I hope, some new content as well from the authors featured. This will take the form of a paperback and e-book, at least that’s the plan at the moment. The usual quality and production values people have come to expect from Spectral will be in evidence, of course, no question of it being otherwise. I am looking at publishing the very first of these ‘annuals’ in the summer of 2013 or thereabouts…

As always, feedback is always welcome (in fact, it’s positively encouraged), either here, or on the Spectral Facebook page or directly to me at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Any thoughts on this, or other ideas, would be gratefully received – plus, you can always subscribe to a year’s worth of chapbooks at the same time if you feel so inclined, as it’s the one way to guarantee that you’ll get copies of each and every one of them… =)

Another Spectral chapbook option…

Yesterday, I discussed three options with regard to expanding (or not) the print numbers of the limited signed and numbered chapbook runs (see previous blog). There is actually one further option I neglected to mention, which is:

4) Keep the print run as is (ie. 100 copies only) but, every two years, produce an unlimited collected paperback and e-book version. As an added incentive I am looking to include new stories from some of the authors if they’re willing to contribute one.

Option #3 was the one that garnered most favour with those who sent me feedback, which was a route that I was considering myself. However, one correspondent raised the question, with regards to e-book versions, of piracy and the uploading of them onto torrent sites, which is an ever-present threat in our electronically-connected world. I realise that it’s almost inevitable that this will happen regardless, but any measures I can take to minimise the chances of it occurring will be taken. I am of the mind that I will definitely do a paperback collection at the end of two years (yes, people can pirate those too, but there’s a great deal more effort involved). Of course, ultimately it’ll be a matter of weighing up the risks involved, how much something like that would impact on sales, etc, considering that my outfit is, at present, the smallest of the small independent presses and any loss of revenue will hurt.

There WILL be something beyond the chapbooks forthcoming, of that there’s no doubt. It’s now just a matter of deciding what format that something will take. Once again, I will be grateful for any advice and feedback that people out there care to send my way – leave a comment here, or on the Facebook Spectral page, or by sending me an email at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

Looking foward to hearing from you guys!

Spectral chapbooks: the options

A week ago, I ruminated on the dilemma I face as a result of the chapbooks that Spectral publishes taking off in a way I hadn’t expected ( which is a good thing!). The problem I face is simply stated: given that I sell out of each chapbook fairly quickly, should I up the print run or should I keep it as it is? I asked for feedback from readers and other interested parties, and I did indeed get quite a bit, all of which was useful. My thanks to all those who took the time to do so.

My options are these:

1) To keep the numbers limited to 100 – as was pointed out, there is something quite nice about that number and, certainly from my point of view, it’s a comfortable number of copies for me to sell. Plus, I have to consider the authors themselves – slaving away over a hot pen signing all 100 signature sheets!! This was a popular option when it came to feedback.

2) Increasing the print run slightly, to something like 125. Which means more money coming in, for future projects perhaps, but concomitantly lessens the ‘exclusivity’ factor of the chapbooks themselves. Somehow I’m not all that keen on pursuing this one.

3) Keep the physical signed and numbered copies to 100, but release an e-book version roughly a month later, with perhaps an added extra to make it worthwhile (or perhaps, the added extra printed in the physical copy instead, as that is, in essence, premium content). This is the option I particularly favour, as it allows people to ‘collect’ the chapbooks if they wish to do so whilst ensuring that others, who just want to read the story for instance, can also do that. Of course, this means that it won’t be signed or numbered, ie be unlimited. The e-book version might have some other distinguishing characteristic to mark it out with. Of course, I would have to discuss it with the authors in question as to whether they would be willing to go down this route.

4) A variant of #3 would be to go the audiobook route – release the physical chapbook and then follow it at some point with an audio version, perhaps read by the author him/herself. The one factor that could mitigate against this option is simply cost – recording audiobooks is expensive and Spectral doesn’t possess those kind of resources just yet. However, having said that, it’s something I would definitely like to keep in mind as a future possibility.

So those are the current ideas floating about – as with last week, I would very much appreciate any feedback as to what readers and others think of them, and whether there are still other options I haven’t considered. You can either leave a comment here, or on Facebook, or send directly to me at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Whichever way you choose to communicate, I would be very pleased to hear from you!!

Abolisher of Roses review

If things had gone to plan I would now be waiting for a coach to Newcastle at the fine new coach-station in Milton Keynes, to begin the first leg of my journey to historic Melrose in the border country of Scotland. Unfortunately, the workshop I was meant to have given has been postponed until early next year, and it’s entirely due to legitimate and unforeseen circumstances. However, I shall not be wanting for things to do in lieu of that, as Spectral always demands a lot of my time and this has given me an opportunity to clear some of those items that need seeing to.

In the meantime, I shall point you in the direction of the latest review of Gary Fry’s Abolisher of Roses, written by David Hebblethwaite and posted on his Follow the Thread blog. Generally speaking David has liked what Spectral has put out, but he wasn’t so keen on this one. It’s by no means a negative review, though, and his conclusions are all down to personal taste on this one, I think. But judge for yourself: the review can be found here (it’s the second one down, after Hollis Hampton-Jones’ Comes the Night).

Anyway, I’m off to send email reminders to people…. =)

Newsy bits and pieces

Just a few bits of news to tell you this morning. so let’s get down to it:

First off, Paul Finch’s chapbook, King Death, is provisionally sold out – I will be writing to all those who have reserved subs and individual copies next week. All subs purchased from now on will start with Volume V, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music. Should there be any spaces left a month before publication, they will be offered to those who bought subs from Volume V in the order they came in.

Secondly, I will be travelling north of the border to visit Melrose in Scotland tomorrow. I have been invited by the fantastic Ellen Simpson to give a Creative Writing/Publishing/Editing workshop to a group of enthusiastic schoolchildren who love both reading and writing. I am looking forward immensely to this because a) the children really DO want to learn about the process from manuscript to final product, b) I get to meet Ellen after a couple of years of online correspondence and c) it’s in Scotland, my ‘spiritual’ home. Singly those are all good reasons, but in combination they’re nigh-on irresistible.

This means that I won’t be very active online for the next few days, but I will be popping online occasionally. People are still greatly encouraged to take out subscriptions, as this is the surest way of obtaining every chapbook published. ‘Back issues’ are already being sought after and, like I wrote in yesterday’s blog, expansion of the imprint is becoming entirely feasible. This is due to the enthusiasm of the writers, reviewers, customers (both subscribers and individual purchasers), and readers who have taken a chance on Spectral. So, why not join those who have already jumped on-board and taken out a subscription – it’s still a great bargain at £13.50UK/£16EU/$30USA/$40 everywhere else. Paypal buttons have been provided for your convenience down the right-hand side of this website – if you want to pay any other way, please contact Spectral at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com!

EDIT 2100: due to unforeseen circumstances I am no longer off to Scotland tomorrow – but the good news is that I can resume annoying my wife for the next three days… =)

See you soon! =)