13 Ghosts of Christmas: the first review

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

Well, this is what we’ve nervously been waiting for – the very first review of the first Spectral Press Christmas Ghosts Story Annual, also known as The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. The honour of posting that first write-up is Walt Hicks of The Hellbound Times, someone who always ties with Jim Mcleod of The Ginger Nuts of Horror to get the first reviews of Spectral Press titles posted. Anyway, please direct your cursor this way and click here to read what Mr. Hicks has to say about the anthology.

There are fewer that 30 copies of the book left at present – for more details on pre-ordering the hardback edition, please refer to the previous post. Paperback orders should start from next week!

Going back to The Ginger Nuts of Horror, Jim Mcleod will be running a series of short interviews on the blog with each of the contributors to 13 Ghosts, starting tomorrow (1st December) with your friendly neighbourhoood publisher, Simon Marshall-Jones. The author interviews will run in the order in which they appear in the book, and each one will be accompanied by a review of their story. The web address to the blog is here.

More reviews and news soon!!

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas: format change

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas cover image

Just a short blog this morning, to let you know of a slight change to the physical format of the hardback edition of the first Spectral Christmas Ghost Story Annual aka The 13 Ghosts of Christmas. It will now feature cloth boards in a fetching dark green, foil stamped titles in gold on front and spine, and wrapped in a full colour dustjacket – altogether a much more classy affair appropriate to the book itself. It will still have crimson endpapers and red silk bookmarker, and will still retail at the same price as before.

We are glad to report that two-thirds of the print run of the limited numbered hardback have already been claimed. If you are a fan of the ghost story, or know a friend or relative who is, this finely produced volume would make an ideal seasonal gift or stocking filler. Pre-order your copy today before they all disappear!

NOTE: The book will be available from mid-December – all orders will be sent to purchasers at that time!

All prices are inclusive of p+p.

£27.00 UK

40€ EU

$50.00 US & RoW

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very special edition of the annual, hence the prices, coupled with the rather high postage rates that have been decided by the powers-that-be at Royal Mail.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Spectral Press: 2013 line-up

Spectral Press logoMonday morning again – and what better way to cheer everyone up than to tell you about what we have in store for you next year! So, gird those loins, and prepare yourself for some marvellous goodies coming your way from Spectral in 2013:

As you already know, we’ll be continuing to publish the quarterly chapbooks, with stories from Paul Kane (Creakers), Terry Grimwood (Soul Masque), Simon Bestwick (The Judgement Call) and Angela Slatter (Home and Hearth). And, of course, there will be the latest Spectral Visions novella, Whitstable by Stephen Volk coming in May, plus in December the 2013 Christmas Ghost Story Annual. But, this is where it gets really exciting – how does the following grab you?

In the summer we will be putting together the first volume in the Collected Spectral Chapbooks  editions. We also hope to include some new material to go with the first eight stories published in the critically-acclaimed short story series. Format to be announced.

In November we will be publishing an as yet untitled novella from the master storyteller himself, Tim Lebbon. Tim is a New York Times bestseller, is the author of, amongst others, ColdbrookEcho City, and The Heretic Land, as well as numerous novellas and short stories. He has also written five novels with Christopher Golden, and has also written novelisations for various franchises such as 30 Days of Night, Hellboy and Star Wars. This is a particularly exciting coup for Spectral Press and we are very much looking forward to working with Tim on this project.

Paul Kane makes a second appearance, also in November, with a collected edition of his ghost and supernatural short stories, simply called Ghosts. The collection will also feature new material, written specially for the volume.

Finally, we are delighted to announce that we will also be publishing a deluxe illustrated hardback edition of Paul Finch‘s highly-acclaimed novella Sparrowhawk. This will be available both individually and at a special price bundled with the Christmas Annual 2013.

So, lots to look forward to – onwards and upwards!

The Eyes of Water: getting the FEAR

Eyes of Water cover image

Many years ago now, there used to be a popular newsstand horror magazine called FEAR which, in the course of time, faded away with the onslaught of the electronic revolution in mass communications and information technology. It disappeared off the shelves, which was a great shame as it was one of the better periodicals out there. But, just like that other genre stalwart Starburst, it’s now made a welcome return to print, but this time backed up with an online presence as well.

Anyway, the very first issue featured a review of Alison Littlewood’s The Eyes of Water and we have been promised that more reviews of Spectral publications will appear in the next issue plus, at some point, an interview with Simon Marshall-Jones. In the meantime, we reproduce here in full, courtesy of managing editor John Gilbert, the review of Alison’s chapbook.

“Small or specialist publishers are the lifeblood of genre fiction and at the moment Spectral Press is one of its rising stars. So much have they to offer that we decided to feature [one] of their new […] titles. The first is The Eyes of Water by Alison Littlewood,  a claustrophobic tale [of] underwater caves on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

Alex is told that his friend, Rick, has been found dead after diving into a cenote that fed into a whirlpool just off the coast. Alex finds Rick’s death hard to accept particularly as he was such an expert navigator of the underwater caverns. His suspicions are further aroused when he sees the body of his friend [in] the morgue and cannot understand as Rick’s face is the only part of his body to be destroyed in the accident. Drawn to investigate he soon finds himself [in] a world of danger he could hardly have imagined.

Author Alison Littlewood skillfully describes the beauty of the underwater cave system while combining it with a claustrophobic horror that insinuates itself upon the reader as they descend into the story. Brilliantly and skillfully envisaged, The Eyes of Water is an unusual tale where every turn can reveal the unexpected.”

Many thanks to John and the FEAR team for the review – looking forward to the other reviews when they appear! Onwards and upwards!

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas: the full wraparound cover

This morning Spectral Towers is completely fogbound – a fortuitously appropriate atmosphere in which, we deem, to reveal the eerily beautiful wraparound cover to The 13 Ghosts of Christmas anthology, due to be published this time next month. We think that the combination of Vincent Shaw-Morton’s and Neil Williams’ talents have created yet another winner here. So, ladies and gentlemen, please feast your ocular orbs on this beauteous wonder!

13 Ghosts cover image

We are also pleased to report that sales of the book are very steady, and has generated quite a bit of interest and buzz across the electronic universe. Copies are still available, but stocks are dwindling fast, so please get your orders in now as it’s sure to  sell out, and we think it would be an absolute shame if you missed out on it. The limited, numbered hardback edition is available on pre-order now, wrapped in that gorgeous cover shown above, with gold foil stamped titles on front and spine. It also features an introduction by Johnny Mains, and there will also be red endpapers (suitably festive) and a silk ribbon bookmarker to set things off nicely. Edition size  100 numbered copies only, of which more than half have been claimed already – so get ordering now!

All prices are inclusive of p+p.

£27.00 UK

40€ EU

$50.00 US & RoW

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very special edition of the annual, hence the prices, coupled with the rather high postage rates that have been decided by the powers-that-be at Royal Mail.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas: Final Table of Contents

13 Ghosts cover image

We here at Spectral Towers are proud to announce the final complete Table of Contents of Spectral’s first ever Christmas Ghost Story Annual,  aka The 13 Ghosts of Christmas:

Introduction                                                                                 Johnny Mains

1          An Odd Number at Table                                             John Costello

2          Concerning Events at Leinster Gardens               Jan Edwards

3          Carnacki: A Cold Christmas in Chelsea                 William Meikle

4          A Taste of Almonds                                                      Raven Dane

5          Where the Stones Lie                                                   Richard Farren Barber

6          All that is Living                                                            Nicholas Martin

7          And May All your Christmases                               Thana Niveau

8          Now and Then                                                                 Martin Roberts

9          December                                                                         Paul Finch

10        Ritualism                                                                          Gary McMahon

11        We Are a Shadow                                                           Neil Williams

12         The Green Clearing                                                      John Forth

13        Lost Soldiers                                                                   Adrian Tchaikovsky

Publisher’s Acknowledgements                                           Simon Marshall-Jones

BONUS

Whitstable novella preview (May 2013)                         Stephen Volk

This looks set to be a great book, and we think it would be an absolute shame if you missed out on it. The limited, numbered hardback edition is available on pre-order now, featuring all the above wrapped in a gorgeous cover image by Vincent Shaw-Morton, with gold foil stamped titles on front and spine. There will also be coloured endpapers and a silk ribbon bookmarker to set things off nicely. Edition size  100 numbered copies only, of which half have been claimed already – so get ordering now!

All prices are inclusive of p+p.

£27.00 UK

40€ EU

$50.00 US & RoW

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very special edition of the annual, hence the prices, coupled with the rather high postage rates that have been decided by the powers-that-be at Royal Mail.

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine: new reviews

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

Today, we bring you notice of TWO new reviews of John Llewellyn Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, the gruesome yet affectionate tribute to the films of Vincent Price. The first one can be found at the Classic Horror Campaign‘s website, and was written by Eric McNaughton – – just click here for that one.

The second one is from the magazine The Little Shoppe of Horrors and with the kind permission of the editor, Dick Klemenson, I reproduce it in full below. The review was written by Alan Wightman.

“Having read and thoroughly enjoyed this highly entertaining blood-soaked tale of murder, madness and macabre revenge, it’s obvious to me that author John Llewellyn Probert isn’t just a talented story-teller. It also stands out a mile that his knowledge of, and admiration for, ‘vintage’  ( i.e. pre-the torture porn & slasher craze of the last couple of decades ) horror films is second-to-none.

The story grabs the reader straight away, with the discovery of a badly-charred corpse, hanging from Bristol’s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, high above the Avon Gorge.  D.I. Jeffrey Longdon and his assistant Sergeant Jenny Newham are assigned to investigate and it doesn’t take them long to realise that this is the most bizarre case they’ve ever encountered.

While they’re looking for motives and clues, a second, even more bizarre death occurs, involving a hot air balloon and a unicorn. I’m not going to give you any more information about this murder or the ever-more inventive ones that follow, because if I do, knowing that LSOH readers are in the main, familiar with the great horror films of the 50s, 60s and 70s, before you go out and buy the book – which I would recommend –  you might start piecing together clues and this would only spoil your enjoyment of what is, I promise you, a terrific read.

Not that you have to be a die-hard classic horror film aficionado to have fun reading it. It will appeal to anyone who likes a well-written thriller with an absorbing, page-turning (or Kindle-touching) storyline containing the odd moment of black humour along the way. It grips from page one.  

That said, if like me you adore the films of Hammer; Amicus; Herman Cohen; Roger Corman; and the Unholy Three – Cushing, Lee & Price, whether you  saw  them when they were originally released;   on fantastic re-release double-bills in the 1960’s – I have never forgotten seeing Circus Of Horrors & Horrors of The Black Museum together in a  glorious sleaze-filled programme one Saturday afternoon circa 1965; or were first introduced to them on late night television – as was the case with the young John Llewellyn Probert – you will get so much additional pleasure out of this book I cannot tell you. You will love it!

I would recommend the hard-back edition, as it contains a bonus section entitled The Nine Films of Dr. Valentine, which, after you’ve finished the story, will provide extra reading pleasure.

Many of us watched old horror movies and simply enjoyed them.  John didn’t just watch them. He absorbed them, stored them in his writers brain for years…and has now utilised those memories to craft an original, spine-tingling tale that should it ever be filmed, could well be regarded as a classic of the horror genre.  I’ll be first in the queue to buy a ticket. “

Onwards and upwards!

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas: cover reveal

On this cold but sunny Monday morning, let us brighten the start to your week by showing you the stunning artwork that will be gracing the cover to the very first Spectral Christmas Ghost Story Annual, created specifically for it by Vincent Shaw-Morton. Let’s say right here and now that Vincent has captured the exact vibe we were looking for with this thoroughly evocative piece.

13 Ghosts 2012 cover image

The 13 Ghosts of Christmas © 2012 respective authors/Spectral Press. Artwork © 2012 Vincent Shaw-Morton

A reminder of the stories going into the collection:

Where the Stones Lie - Richard Farren Barber
A Taste of Almonds  – Raven Dane
All that is Living - Nicholas Martin
And May All your Christmases  – Thana Niveau
Carnacki: A Cold Christmas in Chelsea – William Meikle
Concerning Events in Leinster Gardens – Jan Edwards
December  – Paul Finch
An Odd Number at Table - John Costello
We are a Shadow  – Neil Williams
Lost Soldiers - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Ritualism - Gary McMahon
Now and Then - Martin Roberts
The Green Clearing by John Forth

HARDBACK EDITION: Limited, numbered edition, with an introduction on the ghost story by Johnny Mains, then a preface by Simon Marshall-Jones followed by the thirteen stories, each of which will feature a brief introduction before them. Cover image will feature artwork by Vincent Shaw-Morton, with gold-foil stamping on the title on cover and spine. There will also be coloured endpapers and a silk ribbon bookmarker to set things off nicely. As an exclusive bonus, the hardback will include a preview of Stephen Volk’s Spectral Visions novella Whitstable, due to be published in May 2013.  Edition size 100 numbered copies only!

You can now pre-order this volume – but hurry, as nearly half of the print run have been already claimed or reserved. Secure your copy today!

All prices are inclusive of p+p.

£27.00 UK

40€ EU

$50.00 US & RoW

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very special edition of the annual, hence the prices, coupled with the rather high postage rates that have been decided by the powers-that-be at Royal Mail.

The Thirteen Ghosts of Christmas: pre-orders

Today’s the day when you can pay for your hardback copy of the first edition of the Spectral Christmas Annual, The Thirteen Ghosts of Christmas. The cover will be revealed next week, but trust us on this, it’s going to be an absolute beauty! Here’ s a reminder of the stories to be featured in it:

Where the Stones Lie - Richard Farren Barber
A Taste of Almonds  – Raven Dane
All that is Living - Nicholas Martin
And May All your Christmases  – Thana Niveau
Carnacki: A Cold Christmas in Chelsea – William Meikle
Concerning Events in Leinster Gardens – Jan Edwards
December  – Paul Finch
An Odd Number at Table - John Costello
We are a Shadow  – Neil Williams
Lost Soldiers - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Ritualism - Gary McMahon
Now and Then - Martin Roberts
The Green Clearing by John Forth

HARDBACK EDITION: Limited, numbered edition, with an introduction on the ghost story by Johnny Mains and Simon Marshall-Jones, followed by the thirteen stories, each of which will have a brief intro written by Simon Marshall-Jones. Cover image will feature artwork by Vincent Shaw-Morton, framed by a silver foiled design, making it somewhat reminiscent of the Victorian/Edwardian Annuals which provided the inspiration for the anthology. There will also be coloured endpapers and a silk ribbon bookmarker to set things off nicely, plus some exclusive bonus material will also be included – more details soon on that! Edition size  100 numbered copies only!

All prices are inclusive of p+p.

£27.00 UK

40€ EU

$50.00 US & RoW

PLEASE NOTE: This is a very special edition of the annual, hence the prices, coupled with the rather high postage rates that have been decided by the powers-that-be at Royal Mail.