The Grieving Stones by Gary McMahon

"The Grieving Stones" artwork by David Verba ©2015

“The Grieving Stones” artwork by David Verba ©2015

This coming January will be Spectral Press’ fifth anniversary, and to celebrate it Gary McMahon, the writer who launched the press in January 2011 with his chapbook What We Hear in the Dark, is back with a new novella entitled The Grieving Stones. It’s an extremely atmospheric tale (see blurb below) and we have decided to approach the artwork from a more abstract angle, going more for mood than figurative depiction, so we asked artist David Verba to come up with something – it’s certainly a lot different for the usual Spectral covers (which is no bad thing!). Preorders will be available later on in the year.

“When she looked at the windows, a premature night had fallen. The house smelled of herbs and butchered meat.”

It seems like such a good idea at the time. Take a group of clients for a weekend-long group therapy session in a remote location, an isolated house near some ancient standing stones. A place with a history of secrecy and witchcraft. Clean up the house. Use this work as part of the therapy process. Talks. Role-play. Team work. Togetherness.

The reality, however, is that everybody has to fight their demons alone.

Alice hopes that the trip might help her to cope better with her husband’s death. What she doesn’t anticipate is finding some allies – ones that remain in the shadows but encourage her to join their sisterhood. Three women who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself.

These dark sisters disturb something inside her that has long been caged: a power that, once released, changes everything.


The Bureau of Them by Cate Gardner – cover reveal

“The Bureau of Them” by Cate Gardner ©2015 Cate Gardner/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2015 David Chatton-Barker

THE BUREAU OF THEM by Cate Gardner

We don’t normally blog on a Sunday, but when this cover image by David Chatton-Barker was sent to us we thought ‘What the Hell, let’s do it!’…

Cate Gardner’s new novella The Bureau of Them (with Introduction by Angela Slatter) is due to be published this coming June/July and will be launched at this year’s Edge-Lit event in Derby in July alongside Mark Morris’ Albion Fay and Stephen Volk’s Leytonstone. To whet your appetite, here’s a teaser blurb from the back cover:

You’re not the first to talk to your dead here, the vagrant said. The living always chase after their dead until they come upon their own.

Formed from shadow and dust, ghosts inhabit the abandoned office building, angry at the world that denies them. When Katy sees her deceased boyfriend in the window of the derelict building, she finds a way in, hoping to be reunited. Instead, the dead ignore, the dead do not see and only the monster that is Yarker Ryland has need of her there.

The cover image above is by David Chatton-Barker and you can preorder the limited hardback and the unlimited paperback:




$50US & RoW




$40US & RoW

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Something a little different…


DAF Turbo artic Spectral Press 01

As is often said, “From small acorns do great trees grow…” and our esteemed chief editor and publisher Simon Marshall-Jones took that to heart. As a collector of diecast vintage commercial vehicles from the years 1900 – 1970, the promotional item pictured above was a natural choice – although, disappointingly, no vintage vehicle models were available to customise. Instead, however, we have this DAF Turbo artic instead in 1:87th scale, which is still verily imposing. We all have to start somewhere…

Many thanks to Taff of Oxford Diecast Models for sending me in the right direction – and thanks also to Tony Graham of Code 3 Models for producing the model. Now, next step is to make the real thing happen – now that WOULD be imposing…

DAF Turbo artic Spectral Press 02

Press release: The Michael Armstrong Script collection

House of The Long Shadows (Mock up only - subject to change)

House of The Long Shadows (Mock up only – subject to change)




Michael Armstrong

Michael Armstrong

London Repertory Company Joins Forces With Spectral Press To Publish The Entire Screen Play Output Of Michael Armstrong

February 25th 2015, London, UK – London Repertory Company are delighted to announce a working relationship with Spectral Press who will be publishing the complete screen play output of the LRC’s Artistic Director Michael Armstrong (Mark Of The Devil, Eskimo Nell) in paperback and e-book format, with the first edition due in April.

Spectral Press is a British Fantasy Award-nominated independent, specialising mainly in the supernatural, quiet horror, and ghost story end of the literary fiction spectrum.  It publishes chapbooks, novellas, collections and anthologies.  Alongside the fiction, Spectral also publishes non-fiction books on cinema and televisual media through the Spectral Screen imprint.

Genre movie legend Michael Armstrong is making history by being the first screen writer to publish his entire set of filmed and unfilmed screen plays in their original uncut texts before front office changes and including all missing scenes and dialogue, thereby enabling readers to experience the films exactly as he intended them for an audience.

Published in the same font and precise page layout of Armstrong’s unique writing style, each title will be accompanied by a detailed writing history as to its sources and creative problems, front office cuts, changes and alterations, casting choices, production history and an outline of the circumstances that led to certain screen plays ending up on a screen, others being shelved, and many never actually having even been read by anyone in the industry.

London Repertory Company will be the sole publisher for a unique signed and numbered hardback collectors’ set while Spectral Press will be responsible for all paperback and e-book editions of the screen plays.  All proceeds from the publications will go directly to London Repertory Company to whom Armstrong has donated all royalties to aid the LRC’s efforts to regenerate traditional repertory theatre and allied apprenticeship training in the UK.


Spectral’s first paperback title will be the 1982 multi award-winning classic, tongue-in-cheek parody of “Old Dark House” horror movies, House Of The Long Shadows, written specifically for the four great horror legends, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine, and directed by genre favourite Pete Walker in 1983.  Simon Marshall-Jones, chief executive for Spectral Press, said “We are particularly excited to be working with London Repertory Company in publishing Michael Armstrong’s screenwriting work – a terrific legacy of such a legendary figure in the British film industry.”

Forthcoming titles will include the genre classics: Mark Of The Devil with its missing end scene; Armstrong’s original thirty minute screenplay of The Image which starred David Bowie; and his outrageous satirical 70’s comedy Eskimo Nell which has just been released on Blu-ray to celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary.

For further information, please visit and




$40.00US & RoW

For further information or to arrange interviews with Michael Armstrong, please contact:

London Repertory Company

PO Box 59385, London, NW8 1HL, UK

Telephone/Fax: +44 (0) 207 258 1944

Twitter: @LondonRepCo

For downloads and photographs, please visit

Review and news – 20:02:2015

First off, let’s have a review:

"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

The latest one to slide gracefully across our virtual desk is this one of Stephen Volk’s Leytonstone by Mark West, who posted it to his Strange Tales website – the review can read by clicking HERE.


Signed and Numbered Hardbacks (125 only)

£21 UK

£24 EU

$50 US & RoW




$30.00US & RoW


"Ricochet" by Tim Dry ©2015 Tim Dry/Theatrum Mundi. Artwork ©2015 John Oakey

“Ricochet” by Tim Dry ©2015 Tim Dry/Theatrum Mundi. Artwork ©2015 John Oakey

The photo above shows the rather lush newly arrived copies of Tim Dry’s Ricochet – if you’d like to get your hands on one then order through the Paypal buttons below:


UK £10

EU £15

US & RoW $30

The Quarantined City by James Everington

Cover: Detail from Europe after the Rain, 1940–42 by Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976) Oil on canvas, 21-9/16 x 58-3/16 in. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1942.281 Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Cover: Detail from Europe after the Rain, 1940–42 by Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976)
Oil on canvas, 21-9/16 x 58-3/16 in.
The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1942.281
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Just a small reminder that the first episode of James Everington’s Spectral Press serial The Quarantined CityThe Smell of Paprika, is available to download from Amazon. The cover features a detail from Max Ernst’s 1942 amazing painting Europe After the Rain II, with magnificent graphics skills by Neil Williams. You get your copy of the episode from here:



Episode 2, Into the Rain, will be available by the end of the month.

Leytonstone by Stephen Volk

"Leytonstone" ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014

“Leytonstone” ©Stephen Volk/Spectral Press 2014. Artwork ©Ben Baldwin 2014


One evening in 1906 a chubby little boy of seven, son of a London greengrocer, is taken by his father to visit the local police station.

There he suddenly finds himself, inexplicably, locked up for a crime he hasn’t committed – or has he? Blinking into sunlight, traumatised by his overnight stay, he is told by his father the next morning: “Now you know what happens to naughty little boys!” But the incident is the catalyst for a series of events that will scar, and create, the world’s leading Master of Terror in the century to come…


The boy is Alfred Hitchcock.

The story is the gripping and evocative new novella by Stephen Volk, writer of the highly-acclaimed novella Whitstable – which featured Peter Cushing as its central character and was published in 2013 (also by Spectral Press) to coincide with the centenary of the great actor’s death.

Leytonstone – like Whitstable – elevates fact (in this case an anecdote the famous director told repeatedly throughout his life) into resonant and poignant fiction, lifting the veil on not only the innocent and troubled young “Fred” but his emotionally needy mother and a father constantly struggling to do the right thing. But what none of them knows is that, after that fateful night and its consequences, their lives will be changed forever…


STEPHEN VOLK is best known as the writer of BBC TV’s notorious Halloween “hoax” Ghostwatch, starring Michael Parkinson, which caused outraged viewers to jam the switchboards, and even raised questions in Parliament. He also created the award-winning drama series Afterlife and the recent supernatural mystery film The Awakening starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West. His play, The Chapel of Unrest, was presented exclusively for one night only at London’s Bush Theatre starring Jim Broadbent and Reece Shearsmith. His short stories have earned selection in Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, Best British Mysteries, and Best British Horror, and he has been a Bram Stoker, British Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Award finalist. He is the author of two short story collections: Dark Corners and Monsters in the Heart – the latter of which won a British Fantasy Award for “Best Collection” in 2014. He has also won a BAFTA.


Cover image by Ben Baldwin

Publication date: March 2015

Available in limited signed and numbered hardback (125 copies), unlimited paperback, and eBook.

Retail: £21UK/£24EU/$50US & RoW


Available from the publishers: Spectral Press, 13 Montgomery Crescent, Bolbeck Park, Milton Keynes, MK15 8PP


Signed and Numbered Hardbacks (125 only)

£21 UK

£24 EU

$50 US & RoW




$30.00US & RoW



We here at Chateau Spectrale are extremely proud to announce that we will be publishing crime fiction under a new imprint to be called SPECTRAL STILETTO, the debut title being issued in around 18 – 24 months’ time. Why Spectral Stiletto? Because it harks back to the Golden Age of crime fiction, with its femmes fatale wearing stiletto heels and thugs despatching their victims with stiletto knives. In our estimation it’s the perfect combination.

We are still in the preliminary stages of working out concrete details. but what we can tell is the editorship of the new line will be headed up by JOHN GILBERT, with SIMON MARSHALL-JONES as the Kingpin editor. Some of you will already be familiar with John’s name – he is the editor of the legendary horror magazine FEAR which gained popularity in the eighties, the heyday of horror cinema and fiction. But let’s hear what he has to say in his own words:

“British Fantasy winning editor and author John Gilbert is best known as the founder and Managing Editor of FEAR Magazine. He started his career as a writer and Deputy Editor of home computer magazine Sinclair User, before moving on to write ‘making of film’ books – including a collaboration with Clive Barker on The Making of Nightbreed. Most recently he has published two short story collections and has had his work included in several international horror anthologies. A lifelong crime and thriller aficionado, he says: “I am fascinated by the crime, mystery, noir and thriller genres and, as an editor, keen to bring together some exciting established and new talents from around the world to establish a truly ground breaking crime imprint.”

He has already started putting together a blueprint for the imprint, and what we’ve discussed so far points to very exciting prospects for Spectral Stiletto. Just as hinted at above, there will be some established names aboard as well as those whose work is as yet unknown in the broader world but who nevertheless deserve a wider audience. Specific formats have yet to be decided upon, but rest assured we will be maintaining the high standards which Spectral Press has become known for.

Keep checking back for more details about this thrilling new venture!

News – 26:01:2015

Cover: Detail from Europe after the Rain, 1940–42 by Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976) Oil on canvas, 21-9/16 x 58-3/16 in. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1942.281 Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

Cover: Detail from Europe after the Rain, 1940–42 by Max Ernst (German, 1891–1976)
Oil on canvas, 21-9/16 x 58-3/16 in.
The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1942.281
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT

The first episode of the new Spectral Press eBook serial The Quarantined City by James Everington, The Smell of Paprika, will be available very shortly on Amazon. Above is the rather gorgeous cover – a detail from Max Ernst’s 1942 painting Europe After the Rain II, reproduced by kind permission of the The Wadsworth Museum, Hartford, Connecticut. Layout duties have been ably performed by Neil Williams.

Here’s the blurb:

The Quarantined City: sealed off from the outside world, with only the sight of the ocean to remind its inhabitants of life beyond. No one knows why the city has been quarantined and conspiracy theories abound.

But for Fellows life continues largely as before. He walks the streets, hunts out rare books; the sun continues to shine and the gulls circle above.

There’s the small matter of the ghost haunting his house, but Fellows doesn’t let himself think of that.

But when he tracks down a story by the reclusive writer known as Boursier, his old certainties fade as he becomes aware that the secrets of the city, the ghostly child, and the quarantine itself, might be more connected than he thinks…

Look out for it!

"The Hammer of Dr. Valentine" ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press. Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

Also, classic long-running Hammer magazine Little Shoppe of Horrors gives The Hammer of Dr Valentine a thumbs up in a review by Alan Wright. The review will appear in a future issue of the magazine – we’ll let you know which one in due course. In the meantime, why not get yourself a copy of the book:

The Hammer of Dr. Valentine: limited signed hardback (100 only). 

UK £21

EU £24

USA & Everywhere Else $45

Copies to preorder customers are starting to go out today!

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


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.