Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music: the trailer

Once again, Mark West has produced a lovely video book-trailer to go with the latest Spectral chapbook, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music, which is due to be launched upon the world at the end of February/beginning of March 2012. This one has, unfortunately, sold out already, but you can still get yourself a subscription (for 1, 3 or 5 years) to ensure that you receive every subsequent issue of this critically-acclaimed series of chapbooks – and Paypal buttons have been provided for your convenience down the right-hand side of this blog.

In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Rough Music:


The Spectral/This Is Horror Short Story competition closes tonight at midnight GMT (31st January 2012)!! Glide on over to the This Is Horror website for all the details!!

King Death at Twilight Ridge

As seems to be traditional around these parts, we’ll start the week with a review. This is the latest write-up on Paul Finch’s King Death, posted on Robert Morrish’s Twilight Ridge blog. To see what the Cemetery Dance columnist thinks about the most recent Spectral chapbook, please click here.

Talking of King Death, as you will most probably have worked out, the picture above is of the front cover of the Paula Guran-edited The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2012, the volume in which Paul’s medieval tale will be featured. And just take a look at some of the illustrious names that will be keeping Paul company!! Stephen King, Joe R Lansdale, Tim Powers, Charles De Lint,  Gene Wolfe…. a heady mix indeed!


Don’t forget, for those of you who want to enter the Spectral/This Is Horror Short Story Competition, you have until midnight GMT on 31st January 2012 (tomorrow) to get your entries in. We’ve already had some cracking stories sent in and there’s still time to enter, so why not add yours to the list? Details of submission guidelines and prizes can be found here.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny: cover concept preview

The Respectable Face of Tyranny © Gary Fry/Spectral Press 2012 - artwork © Neil Williams 2012 based on an original photograph of Saltwick Bay by Philip Haigh © 2012

We here at Spectral don’t normally blog this late in the day, but we just had to show you the absolutely superb job that artist Neil Williams has done for the cover concept for Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny, the debut novella in the Spectral Visions line. It’s based on a wonderfully atmospheric photograph of Saltwick Bay (which plays a central part in the novella’s story) by local photographer Philip Haigh, a member of the Halifax Photographic Society (to whom many many thanks for letting us use it).  There are still a few final details to be worked out and added, but the idea is definitely there. For the moment, please feel free to just wallow in its cold, isolationist beauty….

Talking of Neil Williams, here’s a link to a blog he wrote recently about the inspirations behind some of the covers he’s created, including a couple of the ones he’s done for Spectral – you can read his fascinating insights here. I think Neil has a great future in the field, and I encourage anyone needing cover artwork or graphics to get in contact with him now – he’ll certainly do your work very proud!

King Death: a new review

In the wake of receiving the news that Paul Finch’s Spectral chapbook would be the imprint’s first reprint in a Year’s Best anthology (Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2012, edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books), subscriber Chris Bissette sent me his own review of the story, posted on his website. Want to know what Chris thought of this slice of medieval supernatural horror? Then just click here.

More reviews soon – onwards and upwards!

News: Who says Monday mornings can’t be good?

Spectral Press is DEFINITELY on the up and up, as this first blog of the week will show. The editor here at Spectral Towers is currently doing a victory dance, albeit one that’s slightly arthritic. Now I can hear you all say “And why is he doing a victory dance, especially first thing on a Monday morning?” (although that could be because he hasn’t had anywhere near enough coffee yet)….

Although I was told just over a week ago, I can officially announce that Paul Finch’s King Death is going to be reprinted in Prime Books’ Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2012, edited by Paula Guran. And what great writers will be keeping Paul company – Gene Wolfe, Tanith Lee, Tim Powers, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, and Lisa Tuttle, as well as future Spectral chapbook author Angela Slatter. This is the best news that a new independent press could possibly hope for, and shows that Spectral isboth on the right track and has a great future ahead of it!

You can see the full Table of Contents list here.

In similar news, Ellen Datlow will also be “writing extensively about Spectral’s debut” (quoting the revered editor herself) in her summary for Best Horror of the Year Volume 4, due out in May, I believe. Yet another indication that Spectral is going places…

Onwards and upwards!! =)

The Respectable Face of Tyranny: a teaser…

On Monday, if you remember, we announced that Spectral would be launching a new line of novellas under the umbrella title of Spectral Visions. We also announced that Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of  Tyranny would be the first entry in the series, to be published in April. To whet your appetite, here’s a little blurb about it…

“What the monsters used to achieve with claws, they now manage with pens… 

Three years ago, Josh lost a lot of money on the unforgiving stock market. Now he’s divorced and living with his teenage daughter in a seaside caravan. Sally wants a tattoo; Josh just needs work.

For solace, he explores Saltwick Bay, a secluded stretch of beach whose cliff-side rock runs back to the ruthless Jurassic periods. There’s also a rotting boat there, leftover from the violent Second World War.

But when eerie creatures appear at night, dancing in the silent bay, Josh’s mind starts turning along unfathomable tracks . . . which may lead right back to the birth of tyranny.

Gary Fry’s new novella channels the spirit of Algernon Blackwood and other great masters of the weird tale, summoning forces from this world and others in a relentless symphony of unease. The signed limited hardcover edition includes an extensively revised version of his Lovecraftian novella WORLD WIDE WEB, in which a young boy must make sense of his parents’ divorce in a world of buried secrets and inexorable cosmic interventions . . .” 

The novella will be available as a limited signed hardback with coloured endpapers and a silk ribbon marker (plus a bonus novella), a Print on Demand paperback and a e-book. Pre-orders for the hardback will be available from next month – pricing to be announced soon.

More news soon!!

Awards news: What They Hear in the Dark receives accolade

A great day for Spectral or, more specifically, Gary McMahon, as his Spectral chapbook, What They Hear in the Dark, was awarded the Chapbook of the Year accolade in the inaugural This Is Horror Awards. Also, another (future) Spectral chapbook author, Simon Bestwick, was runner-up in the same category with Angels of the Silences (Pendragon Press). Congratulations to both Gary and Simon!! Here’s the link to the announcement.

Additionally, Peter Tennant of Black Static Magazine gave an Honourable Mention to Gary’s chapbook in his year-end review, aka Pete’s Picks of 2011. You can find out what else he recommended by going here. Once again, kudos to Gary!!

SPECTRAL VISIONS: a new line of novellas from Spectral

Monday mornings, just because of their bad reputations and the fact that most people actively hate them (except when on holiday), are the one time of the week that announcements were made for. And yes, this is a slightly long-winded way of saying that we here at Spectral have an announcement to make, to wit, that we are launching a new line of books, starting the month after Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music chapbook has been unleashed on the world.


This is the name we’ve given to a line of occasional novellas, the first of which will, as hinted at above, be published in April of this year. And the title that will inaugurate the line will be The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry (Abolisher of Roses). It is envisaged that there will be several versions – a limited hardback (which will also contain a bonus novella World Wide Web), a Print On Demand paperback (without the bonus story) and an electronic version covering the various e-reader platforms (also without the bonus story). Pricing is still being worked out as this is being written but pre-orders will be taken on the hardback from early next month.

Novellas in the Spectral Visions line won’t be published as regularly as the chapbooks are – the next one isn’t going to be published until next year. What I can guarantee, however, is that the same rigorous attention to detail will be lavished on them as the chapbooks have had – Spectral will never publish anything less than absolute high-quality. Full-colour boards with excellent artwork like readers have come to expect, stylish endpapers, quality paper stock and even a silk marker ribbon for the hardbacks will definitely make them extremely good value for money. AND, rest assured, the same concerns will govern the production of the paperbacks and e-books.

Don’t forget to check back here regularly for more details of this exciting new development in the expansion of Spectral!! Onwards and upwards!!

A double review and some news

Today’s review is a double one, courtesy of the fine folk at Shock Totem, specifically a gentleman by the name of John Boden. Like his previous review of Spectral chapbooks for the same magazine, he’s chosen to review two at once and this time out it’s the turn of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall and Paul Finch’s King Death. John loved the first two Spectral publications, so does he feel the same about Volumes III & IV? Click here to find out!


After yesterday’s announcement and call for submissions for the first Spectral Christmas Ghost Story Annual 2012, I have now moved that blog to a new page so that access to the guidelines is permanent until the deadlin of June 30th. If you’re interested and want to know whatt you need to do to submit, then please just click on the relevant page. Thanks!!