Acquisitions news

"The Witch's Scale" by Angela Slatter. Cover artwork "Hexenwippeoel" © Michael Hutter

“The Witch’s Scale” by Angela Slatter. Cover artwork “Hexenwippeoel” © Michael Hutter

For those with long memories, sometime ago we told you about a novella, featuring cover artwork by Michael Hutter (see above), from Angela Slatter called The Witch’s Scale - it is scheduled for publication next year, along with more novellas from women writers including Kathe Koja and at least one other who shall remain nameless for the moment while negotiations are ongoing. We are also hoping that a few more will come on-board as well.

The Grieving Stones

Also coming next year, in January, will be Gary McMahon’s novella The Grieving Stones, which sees him at the top of his form. Deeply unsettling, spooky yet deliciously ambiguous, this is a story which will linger with you for a long time. We here at Spectral definitely think it’s one of his best. Additionally, its publication will mark Spectral Press’ 5th anniversary, so it’ll be good to have the author who launched the imprint with What They Hear in the Dark back once again.

Glyphotech by Mark Samuels. Cover artwork  © PS Publishing

Glyphotech by Mark Samuels. Cover artwork © PS Publishing

We are also very pleased to announce that Mark Samuels’ collection Glyphotech and Other Macabre Processes, long out of print, will be be reissued in paperback with a new cover and bonus stories. It was originally published by PS Publishing, and Mark is one of our finest, but egregiously underrated, writers of weird fiction in the UK. We hope this new edition will go some small way of spreading his work to a wider audience.

More details of all books in due course.

News and stuff

Photo by Liz Marshall-Jones

Photo by Liz Marshall-Jones

First, here’s the publisher, Simon Marshall-Jones, holding a copy of Ray Cluley’s ice-bound novellette Within the Wind, Beneath the Snow, a box of which arrived yesterday evening. This has the distinction of being the very first Theatrum Mundi title, and we couldn’t have chosen a better tale to start the new imprint with. Along with the main story, there are five bonus short stories included. Top that off with a stunning cover by the legendary Jim Burns and it all adds up to a winner.

"Within the Wind, Beneath he Snow" ©2014 Ray CluleySpectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Jim Burns

“Within the Wind, Beneath he Snow” ©2014 Ray CluleySpectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Jim Burns

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!

UK £15

EU £16

US & RoW $30

In January 2016, Spectral will be celebrating its FIFTH ANNIVERSARY, and to mark the occasion (amongst other things) Spectral will be publishing a novella by Gary McMahon, whose chapbook What They Hear in the Dark inaugurated the press in January 2011. Title TBC, but more details will be forthcoming within the next few months.

Also, contracts have now been exchanged with Kathe Koja for her dark fairytale The Prince of the Air, due out next year under the Theatrum Mundi imprint. Kathe has been on our ‘must-publish’ authors list ever since we began, and we were so thrilled when she agreed to let us publish something by her. Also next year, you can look forward to new works from Angela Slatter, Simon Bestwick, and Conrad Williams – 2016 is shaping up nicely already.

Don’t forget too that you can also preorder Tim Dry’s Theatrum Mundi novella Ricochet – see previous blog entry for full details.

01:08:2014 Gary McMahon mini-interview

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris - ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

Spectral Book of Horror Stories, edited by Mark Morris – ©2014 respective individual authors/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Vincent Chong

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another in the series of mini-interviews of contributors to The Spectral Book of Horror Stories, conducted by the wonderful Angela Slatter. This time, we bring you the king of raw, the gut-wrenching, and the emotionally-devastating (not to mention grim) tale, Gary McMahon, talking about his contribution Dull Fire, as well as what inspired him to write in the first place – read the conversation HERE.

This is going to be a major publication for this year, so please do pre-order your copy today of this first in an annual anthology series – ordering buttons below (if you want to pay by any other means, please contact us at spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we’ll happy to send you details):

£12.50 UK

FOR THOSE ATTENDING FANTASYCON 2014 YOU CAN ORDER AT THE SPECIAL PRICE BELOW AND PICK IT UP AT THE CONVENTION VENUE.

FCon 2014 Special £10

£15 EU

$30 US & RoW

More on Monday!

A return to the Quiet Room

What They Hear in the Dark cover image

Just like we said in a recent blog-post, you can’t keep a good one down. Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark is certainly one of those, and Ann Giardina Magee of The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog seems to agree. Last week she posted a new review of this long sold out classic to HHHB, which you can read here.

NEWS

Alison Littlewood’s chapbook, The Eyes of Water, goes off to be printed today – subscriber copies will start to be sent out next week and promo copies soon after that.

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!!

A small bit of news…

It is with enormous pleasure that I can tell you that Gary McMahon’s Spectral Press chapbook, What They Hear in the Dark, has been recommended for the prestigious Stoker Awards in the Short Fiction category. Bearing in mind that it is only a recommendation and that it has a long way to go yet before it might get put on the ballot, this is still a development I find extremely gratifying, in terms of what I’m trying to achieve with the imprint. It shows me that I’m on the right track with it all, plus that Gary is a great writer. But, if it does go to the ballot stage, however, then even better, and of course I am really hoping it does, as that would be even further validation, so to speak. At any rate, I wish massive amounts of good luck to Gary in the awards!

Good luck is also winging its way to two other future Spectral authors. Simon Bestwick, author of the forthcoming Cold Havens Spectral chapbook, has recommendations in the same awards too, for TWO stories, Dermot (which appeared in Black Static #24) and The Moraine (Terror Tales of the Lake District).  Alison J. Littlewood, whose The Eyes of Water chapbook appears in June next year, has received a recommendation for her story The Pool, which originally appeared in Shadows & Tall Trees #2. It’s nice to see good authors getting some much-deserved recognition!

It has to be observed that the Stoker Awards recommendations list contains some pretty stiff competition, as it does every year, but from Spectral’s perspective this is definitely a step in the right direction and this in its very first year of existence. This will only encourage me to push the quality and strengths of the imprint even further, to ensure that Spectral realises the fullest potential it’s capable of. I shall round this off by saying that, so far, my expectations for how I saw Spectral Press developing have been far exceeded – so let’s see what the next year will bring!!

Onwards and upwards!!

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.

Spectral: 3-in-1 review number 3

Well, this week, as you guys may have noticed, there were no reviews available to me to upload on Monday, thus breaking my recent custom – but this midweek post more than makes up for that. It’s from the esteemed folk at Strange Aeons Magazine and it will appear in the Fall 2011 issue (Number 7), debuting at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, in the US this weekend. With the kind permission of KL Young, Executive Editor of Strange Aeons, I reproduce it here – and this is what they had to say:

This issue, we’re reviewing a line of chapbooks from the newly created Spectral Press imprint. From their site: Spectral Press is a small independent imprint publisher; issuing very limited edition signed and numbered single story chapbooks in a high-quality presentation on a quarterly basis, and concentrating on the ghostly/supernatural end of the literary spectrum.

If you’ve picked up a chapbook before, you know it’s basically an 8.5”x11” stack of pages, folded in half and stapled on the spine. They’re cheap and easy to make, and they look like it. Right off the bat, Spectral is throwing all of that out the window. While the format remains the same, Spectral Press knocks you out with the gorgeous cover art and paper stock, the beautiful text choice and layout, and the spectacular content. Each issue is limited to 100 copies, making them extremely collectible.

Each new chapbook is an “issue”, and Issue I is “What They Hear in the Dark”, by Gary McMahon. After the violent death of their son, Rob and Becky buy a new house in an attempt to keep their minds and bodies busy as they work through their grief. In this “fixer-upper” of a house (a thinly-veiled metaphor for their own relationship), they find a “Quiet Room” – a place where sound literally cannot be heard. Both of them have a solitary, supernatural experience in the room; Rob’s negative, Becky’s positive, and this conflict is what drives the story towards its inevitable, creepy conclusion. If there are any complaints, it is that the characters are a little weak, their identities not quite fleshed out or believable – but McMahon is such a strong writer that it’s easy to forgive, and at 20 pages long you haven’t got time to really notice. An excellent start to this new publishing house!

In “Abolisher of Roses” by Gary Fry (the second offering from Spectral Press), we are introduced to husband and wife Peter and Patricia, at a hoity-toity outdoor art show that Patricia has been invited to show at. At first this feels like familiar Twilight Zone fare – Peter, our point of view character, is broadly painted as uncouth and unlikeable, alternately thinking about how little he enjoys or understands art, and how much he does enjoy his mistress. It’s fairly obvious he will get his comeuppance as he travels farther – and further – into the woods, away from the real art show and into one specifically designed for him. But Fry manages to pull a few tricks from his sleeve, and his skill in storytelling is apparent. The ending is satisfying and unexpected – as every ending should be.

Finally, Spectral’s Issue III is “Nowhere Hall”, by Cate Gardner. In Gardner’s story, our protagonist, the suddenly jobless Ron, is lured into a run-down hotel by a strange umbrella with an even stranger message: We want to live. Help us. Inside, Ron is faced with bizarre memories and imagery, some familiar tropes of the genre, and some not-so.

Gardner tells a confusing and mind-bending story, bordering on stream-of-consciousness and disregard to structure, all things I’m not a fan of. BUT… her mastery of the written word is so strong – in fact, she’s a fucking Jedi when it comes to painting a picture with words – made this my favorite of the three chapbooks. Sure, I might have had to re-read that paragraph anyway, just to understand what was going on in it… but I re-read it first because it was just so beautifully written.

It’s not often that you get to watch a new publishing house begin with such strong content. This is exciting and fascinating stuff, and you want to get in on the ground floor – you’ll be paying for your kids’ college tuition with these super-collectibles in 20 years – because if you don’t think Spectral Press is going to be moving into bigger and better stuff pretty quickly, you’re crazy.

These books are sold out. But you can buy subscriptions for their new releases at [their website – which is right here folks!].

What a fantastic start to the day – this is the kind of review that all publishers (and authors) kill for. Onwards and upwards!! =)

Spectral 3-in-1 review #2

In an effort to spread the good word about Spectral Press, I have been sending all three of the so-far published chapbooks to all and sundry if they stand still long enough. One of those who did stand still long enough was Gef Fox, who very kindly reviewed What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon, Abolisher of Roses by Gary Fry and Nowhere Hall by Cate Gardner for Skull Salad Reviews. I am very pleased to say that the write-ups are excellent and you can see for yourself by going here to read what he said.

Also, there are now (again provisionally) only SEVEN copies of Paul Finch’s King Death left, which means there are only seven subscription places remaining as well. I recommend that anyone who has been dithering about whether to purchase a sub or not should do so now, as I can see Volume IV selling out way before its publication date (December 5th 2011). There are Paypal buttons down the right-hand side of this website, so it couldn’t be easier to order one. If you’re after an individual copy of King Death, then please Paypal £3.50UK/£4.50EU/$8US/$12RoW to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. If there are no more copies left, let me know whether you want a refund or if you’d like a copy of Volume V instead, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music.

New links: a review and a guest-blog

First up is a review of Spectral’s launch title, published back in January this year: What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon. This one’s been put together by Mihai Adascalitei and posted to his Dark Wolf’s Fantasy Reviews blog. You can read his review here! =)

Last week, Graeme Flory of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review did a write-up of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall and, on the back of the fact that he’s enjoyed the two Spectral chapbooks he’s reviewed so far, he asked me to write a guest-blog explaining things like my reasoning behind setting up the imprint and why ghost stories in particular – it’s now been uploaded and you can gain access to my pontifications and witterings by clicking here!

Onwards and upwards!!