Alison Littlewood on Richard & Judy’s Book Club

The video clip above features an interview with the delightful Alison Littlewood, the author of June’s forthcoming Spectral Press chapbook The Eyes of Water – which is already sold out unfortunately. Here, Alison talks about her debut novel, A Cold Season (Jo Fletcher Books), which I highly recommend, as well as the plans she has for her follow-up novel. On this blog next week we will be revealing the blurb for her chapbook. Also look out for a blog-post revealing the cover concept at a future date.

For those not in the know, Richard & Judy are very well-known husband and wife TV presenters here in the UK, who have appeared on a multitude of early morning programmes over the last couple of decades. Some years ago they set a Book Club, in much the same way that Oprah Winfrey has in the States. At any rate, please enjoy watching the video – Alison Littlewood’s name will soon be on the lips of every self-respecting horror fan.

Nowhere Hall still haunts

Nowhere Hall cover image

Just over six months after it was published, we’re still getting the occasional review of Cate Gardner’s chapbook, Nowhere Hall. The one we’re about to link you to was posted on The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog yesterday by Shaun Hamilton, who also wrote the piece. Hop on over to the review by clicking here. Thanks to Shaun for the review!


Two things – first, the limited hardback is in the process of being printed even as this is being written, so the final product should be with us very soon, within the next ten days we should think. As soon as the stock arrives the books will be despatched to those who pre-ordered them.

Secondly, expect the first reviews of the novella to start appearing here very soon…

Letter from New Orleans: a Spectral review

Spectral Press logoAlmost as if to reinforce the point I made yesterday about the Spectral imprint having something of an international reach comes this mini-retrospective review, from Ann Giardina Magee of the famed capital of the Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, and posted to her Booze and Books blog. The review takes a look at not just the last three chapbooks published but Spectral Press itself. Even in this age of the internet and instant global communication, it still gives us a warming frisson to know that Spectral books are being read by people from all over the world and, what’s more, appreciating what we’re doing. Even better, that they think highly enough of them that these readers go on to do things like blog about what they think of the books, as Ann has done. Many thanks to her indeed for taking the time out to write this – you can read what Ann had to say by clicking here.


Just a short update to let you all know that the limited hardback of this novella by Gary Fry is being printed and bound – copies should be available early next month as scheduled. Purchasers will get their copies very shortly afterwards.

Rough Music: Reader’s Review #2

Rough Music by Simon Kurt Unsworth

There are two things that amaze us here at Spectral Towers: first, that Spectral is truly an international imprint and, secondly, that readers appreciate what we’re trying to do and often set about reviewing the stories we publish. This Reader’s Review fits the above to a tee, as Riju Ganguly, the reader in question, is from Gujarat in India – here’s his review:

“I had received this book today, in somewhat “out-of-shape” condition. I promised to myself that I have to ‘straighten’ out the book physically, before I dive. And then, returning to an empty house after the office-hours (wife & daughter not here right now), it seemed most natural that I should pick up this slim volume and, you know, take a quick look and then change, have dinner, etc. etc. Naturally, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s compelling proce caught me by the rough of my neck, and dragged me across the pages. Shame on you SKU! You didn’t even allow me to have my customary tea, before this terrifying story of rage, love, exploitation, half-hearted attempt at redemption, and eventual retribution & loss, was over.

The story is about Cornish. He is, as we get to know, not a nice man. Every night, at around 03-00 hours, he is awakened from sleep by a group of people who create tremendous noise, while wearing masks and standing outside his house. Somehow this noise is not heard by anyone else. And then Cornish watches a curious drama being enacted by these people in front of his house, night-after-night unfolding newer acts & actions, and eventually…

Read this book. I don’t know whether Spectral Press still has any copies left or not (they publish these exquisite chapbooks in highly limited editions), but Cold Tonnage or Fantastic can be helpful. This is top-notch stuff, from the pen of one of the best story-tellers of our time. Highly recommended.”

Riju gave Simon’s chapbook 5 stars on Goodreads – here’s the link to the Goodreads review.

(Unfortunately, this chapbook is completely sold out and unavailable from anywhere else – sorry!)

Spectral/This Is Horror competition: the winners

Spectral PressCast your minds back to the latter quarter of last year, and you’ll remember a little competition that Spectral Press ran in conjunction with this esteemed This Is Horror magazine. Well, both Michael Wilson (editor of TIH) and Simon Marshall-Jones (Spectral Press editor/publisher) have been sifting and reading the fabulous entries, which were uniformly of a high standard and so made it a difficult task for us to pick a winner. Thanks to all those who took the trouble to send in a story!!

Unfortunately, as good as all the stories were, we had to pick a winner and so, with a loud fanfare of virtual trumpets, we very proudly announce that the winner of the Spectral/This Is Horror short story competition is……

David Tallerman, whose absolutely magnificent and beautifully told tale, The Way of the Leaves, bowled us over. David wins a lifetime subscription to Spectral Press publications for the lifetime of the imprint!  Plus, the story, about how there are some chasms between people which are unbridgeable no matter how hard you try build one, will feature in a future chapbook. This is what David had to say when we told him he’d won:

“From the minute I became aware of Spectral Press and saw the quality of the books they were putting out, I knew they were my ideal home for The Way of the Leaves.  So I couldn’t believe my luck when the Spectral/This Is Horror contest was announced … and now I really can’t believe my luck!  How often do you get your first choice of publisher for a story, and the chance to read all of the other tremendous work they put out along with it?”

Our runner-up is Samuel Bonner with A Ghost in Tokyo, about one gaming journalist’s somewhat unexpected experience in modern Japan after being told about a legendary arcade game – he wins a year’s subscription to the Spectral chapbooks.

Finally, in the draw for the third place prize, the choice of a future Spectral Press publication, the name picked at random out of the hat is Robert Elrod.


Newsy bits and pieces

Spectral Press LogoTo start off this extremely sunny Monday morning, here are a few bits and pieces of news:

First off, the hardback edition of Gary Fry’s novella The Respectable Face of Tyranny will be delayed very slightly and will now be available in mid-April – but as soon as it comes into stock copies will start to wing their way towards those who purchased them. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Secondly, it has been decided that Wayne Simmons’ as yet untitled chapbook will be published next year, not in December this year as orginally planned. This is purely because Wayne has already published quite a bit recently and he feels that it would be better if the chapbook was published sometime in 2013. Spectral will now ponder how best to rejig things – more news when all has been decided.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the winners of the Spectral/This Is Horror short story competition will finally be announced THIS EVENING – so please look out for that!! We had some excellent entries, and I can definitely say that the winning story thoroughly deserved its first place.

So, until this evening, onwards and upwards!

This, that and the other

Spectral LogoFirst up is the news that it looks increasingly likely that there will be a new novella from Spectral in September, being the second in the Spectral Visions line of longer works. Details are still being worked out (and the author in question is currently in the midst of writing it) but keep checking here on the blog for information as and when it becomes available – what we can say, however, that it looks set to be something of a corker!! We are also looking to launch the title at this year’s FantasyCon in Brighton.

The onward march of Spectral Press continues apace – as noted in yesterday’s blog the first Spectral Visions novella, Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny, has officially sold out in hardback from us here at Spectral Towers. There are some copies available from This Is Horror and very soon a selection of other shops in the UK and US will be stocking limited numbers of it – firmer details will be published soon (although you could have a look at yesterday’s blog to see which shops in particular are stocking it).

In the meantime the paperback version is now also available – the only difference between this and the hardback is that the bonus novella featured in the latter (World Wide Web) has been omitted. It’s available now and you can order a copy using the convenient buttons below (if you want to pay by any other means [except credit/debit cards] please email Spectral at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com):

Prices include postage and packing.

UK – £5.99 (£4.99 + £1 p&p)

EU – 9 Euros (6 Euros + 3 Euros p&p)

USA  – $12 ($8 + $4 s&h)

RoW – $12 ($8 + $4 p&p)

The book is also available from Amazon, both in the UK and the US – just follow the links!

(BTW – if you’re wondering why the publisher is listed as Gray Friar Press at Amazon US, the reason’s quite simple – Gary Fry runs that imprint and he ‘lent’ me an ISBN for it until I can buy some of my own! Rest assured that it is still a Spectral Press publication…)


This is as good a time as any to remind people that subscriptions are available for the chapbook series – the only surefire way of ensuring that you receive every single issue of this critically-acclaimed line of books. Even better is that subscribers now have the option to subscribe for 1, 3 or 5 years. Places are extremely limited however, so if you are intending to purchase one then it is suggested that you do so quickly, please. Convenient Paypal buttons can be found down the right-hand side of this blog.

Right, that’s it for today – except to say ONWARDS AND UPWARDS!!

A trio of Rough Music reviews

Rough Music Cover

Here at Spectral, there was a great start to the week yesterday (more on that below) and today we’ve had a boost to that good start in the form of some new reviews of Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music, the fifth in Spectral’s line of quarterly chapbooks. The first of those reviews is from Anthony Watson, which can be found posted to his Dark Musings blog –  if you’d like to know what he thought of Simon’s story, then please follow the link from here.

The next review is from Gef Fox over at Skull Salad Reviews – see what the wily Mr. Fox has to say about Rough Music here.

And finally, Jassen Bailey of The Crow’s Caw review blog also gives an account of what he thinks of the chapbook – you can find out what Jassen thought of it here.

(Talking of reviews, I’ve just discovered this very short review of Paul Finch’s King Death, posted in The Black Glove horror ‘zine – check it out!)


You know that great start to the week I hinted at above? Well, it was because the limited hardback edition of this novella from Gary Fry SOLD OUT  yesterday!! Yes, all 100 copies have now been spoken for. However, fear not – some copies can be currently ordered from the This Is Horror online shop, and the book will also soon be available from Fantastic Literature in the UK, as well as Jeff ‘N’ Joys (UK), Bad Moon Books (USA), Ziesing Books (USA), Camelot Books (USA), Wrigley Cross (USA) and Nightfall Books (USA) – links to those will be provided to them once the books have been shipped.

You can also buy it in paperback form, but this version omits the bonus novella contained in the hardback – details of how to order this version can be found here.

Spectral/This Is Horror competition update

Spectral Logo 2This is just to let everyone expecting the announcement today of the winner of the Spectral/This Is Horror short story writing competition that there will be a week’s delay, due to circumstances beyond our control. Apologies for keeping you all in suspense, but we promise that we WILL be announcing the winner next week!

Many thanks for your patience!!

Rough Music: a reader’s view

Rough Music Front Cover

We here at Spectral love getting feedback from readers and subscribers as well as reviewers – and subscriber James Bennett has just sent us this short but excellent review of the latest chapbook, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music – this is what he had to say about it:

Rough Music is the fifth release in the Spectral Press line of chapbooks and another fitting addition to the collection. Simon Kurt Unsworth is a British horror writer, whose work has appeared in several acclaimed anthologies, including Never Again, Lovecraft Unbound and The Very Best of New Horror. In 2008, he was nominated by the World Fantasy Awards for Best Story.

Rough Music is another impressive feather in his cap. The story centres on Cornish, a married man who is trying to resolve a troubled relationship with his wife, Andrea. As events in the story slowly unfold, Cornish begins to hear a strange musical discord in his neighbourhood late at night. When he looks out of his window, naked and afraid, and sees the grotesque troupe come to dance on the local green, he finds himself drawn into a weird confrontation with the shadows of his past…

The author takes nothing for granted in this story and handles the unravelling of the plot with patience, skill and genuine depth of feeling. Kurt Unsworth uses crisp, clean prose to draw the reader through the unsettling, enigmatic scenes. Rough Music is subtle and will make you think. The story remains haunting and engaging throughout, the themes of loneliness, guilt, secrets and loss compelling from start to finish. The atmosphere is wonderfully claustrophobic, something for horror fans to savour. The main character’s dread is increasingly chilling as the bizarre performance outside his window swells from the initially annoying into a menacing cacophony. What does the troupe want? Why have they come here for Cornish? An air of mystery pervades the narrative beautifully.

Rough Music is a thoughtful, eerie and fascinating tale, and while the discordant theme turns our eyes to the shadowed corners of our own hearts, the ambiguous ending strikes just the right note.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to James for taking the time to put this together!!

If there are any other readers/subscribers out there who would like to put forward a review of ANY of Spectral’s publications, then please do so – send them to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. We look forward to hearing from you!!