Spectral Visions paperbacks and eBooks

To make it convenient for customers to buy the paperback and eBook editions of all the Spectral Visions novellas, all the links have been listed below:


The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry








The Nine Deaths of Dr Valentine cover image







And, just for good measure, here’s the link to Stephen Volk’s Whitstable as well:

Whitstable cover image







Fire up your Kindles!

A very short post this morning, to make it even easier and more convenient for you to access both our current titles available on Kindle:

Whitstable cover image

WHITSTABLE by Stephen Volk



The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

THE NINE DEATHS OF DR. VALENTINE by John Llewellyn Probert



New review and news – 05:06:2013

Whitstable cover image

Just a very quick post this morning, to tell you about the very latest review of Stephen Volk’s Whitstable which has just crossed the virtual Spectral Publishing desk – this one’s from Matthew Dent and has been posted to his A Man with a Blog blog. Not only does he have nice things to say about the novella, but he also has good things to say about Spectral too! You can read Matthew’s review here.


Some of you will be pleased to know that the previous novellas in the Spectral Visions series, The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry and The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert, will soon be available in eBook form. Keep checking back here for when they’ll be available.

More soon!

STOP PRESS: new Cate Gardner novella acquired

Nowhere Hall cover image

Those of you who have followed Spectral’s progress over the years will recognise the atmospheric Daniele Serra cover above, the one that graced Cate Gardner’s superb chapbook Nowhere Hall. So, it is with a huge sense of pride that we can announce that Spectral will be publishing a novella by the lovely Cate in early 2015 called The Bureau of Them. Once again we will be visiting Cate’s slightly twisted and not-quite-right view of things, where the worlds of the living and dead collide, and where hope dangles precariously from the slenderest of threads. Cate has the enviable ability of make the most ordinary absolutely extraordinary, and of investing beautiful colour into the most monochrome of everyday realities. The Bureau of Them is no exception – this is definitely a piece of writing to look forward to!

More details as and when!

Another Spectral miscellany

Spectral Press logo


As a special treat to you all you lovely people out there, we’re offering the two Spectral Visions novellas we’ve recently published in paperback, The Respectable Face of Tyranny by Gary Fry and The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, as a bundle at a bargain price of £9 (plus P+P). All you need do to secure them is to click on the requisite button below and we’ll do the rest (all prices include P+P):

UK £11.50

EU £13.00

USA & ROW $23

Supplies are extremely limited, so hurry and order your copies now! If you want to pay by any other means, then please contact us on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com and we’ll let you know the details.


The Christmas Ghost Story Annual is coming along very nicely, and the final selection has almost been made. There’ll be some familiar names and some less well-known, but all the stories are excellent examples of modern interpretations (and reinterpretations) of the classic ghost story. The selection spans all styles, from grim to blackly comedic, and so there should be something for everyone in there.

We here at Spectral were impressed by the quality of submissions – in fact, there were enough to nearly fill next year’s annual in addition to this year’s. Authors will be contacted very soon as to whether they were successful or not – so keep looking in your inbox over the next few days!

There was one surprise: Simon Bestwick’s tale ‘The Judgement Call’ so impressed us that it’s going to replace the originally planned chapbook of his which was due to be published in June next year. Now, we are looking to publish ‘The Judgement Call’ in either September 2013 (as a taster for the Ghost Story Annual) or December 2013. Keep checking back here as more details become available.

Onwards and upwards!

FantasyCon 2012: paperback offer

The Respectable Face of Tyranny cover image

For those of you out there who are going to be at the event of the year in Brighton between the 28th and 30th of this month, there will be a special offer available to attendees on the paperback editions of Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny and John L. Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine – in other words, if you buy both at the same time, it’ll only cost you £9 instead of £11. They will still be available separately at the usual prices.

Look forward to seeing you there!

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine: the competition

The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine cover image

We were thinking the other day that we hadn’t run a competition for a while so, in order to rectify this obviously heinous situation, we’ve decided that, since John L. Probert’s affectionately gruesome homage to the films of the late actor and horror icon Vincent Price, The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, is due to be launched at the end of this month, then this a prime opportunity to hold one, and what a competition it is!

All you have to do is answer this question, set by the friendish Mr. Probert himself:

In the film THEATRE OF BLOOD, how many plays made up Edward Lionheart’s final season of Shakespeare?

THE PRIZES: Top prize is a personally signed copy of the hardback, along with a poster of the front cover image (also signed), a paperback copy of Gary Fry’s The Respectable Face of Tyranny (signed), a set of posters of the covers of all the chapbooks published to date, and a Spectral badge.

Second and third prizes for the next two correct entries will be signed paperback copies of The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine, accompanied by a poster of the cover image (unsigned) and a Spectral badge.

Please your answers to the question to us here at Spectral Towers on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com, to arrive no later than the 24th September 2012. The winners will be notified via email after FantasyCon 2012 and your prizes will be despatched in the first week of October>

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Novella Preference Service

Spectral LogoSo what’s this, we hear you ask?

Good question! Well, we’ve had more than a few people asking us about whether we intend to have a subscription service for our Spectral Visions novellas, like we do for the chapbooks. After thinking about it, we decided that this wouldn’t really work, as the novellas are unlikely to be any set price across the range, so instead we came up with this idea, the Novella Preference Service.

Essentially, what this will entail is drawing up a list of people who are interested in regularly purchasing novellas from the Spectral Visions line and then offering titles to them before anyone else, at a discount price (£1/$2 off cover price, for instance). That way, you can be sure of getting the volumes you want plus you aren’t committed to buying all of them. You will be sent press-releases ahead of official announcements and then you just reply, telling us whether you’re interested in buying or not.

So, if this idea appeals and you’re keen on purchasing volumes from the Spectral Visions  line then please send your name to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com and tell us that you would like to be added to the Novella Preference Service.

Hope to hear from you guys soon!

The Respectable Face of Tyranny Chapter I: exclusive excerpt

Below is the first chapter of Gary Fry’s forthcoming novella from Spectral, The Respectable Face of Tyranny, for your delectation and delight – please note that there are now only NINE copies of the limited hardback edition (with bonus novella World Wide Web) left, but the paperback (containing just The Respectable Face of Tyranny) will be available soon, which can also be pre-ordered through the previous blog entry, at bargain prices. Enjoy!


“Dad, I’m getting a tattoo.”

“You are not getting a tattoo.”

“I am getting a tattoo.”

“Sally, you are not getting a tattoo.”

And then, with a predictability Josh found vindictive, his daughter said, “Mum would let me have a tattoo.”

Abruptly the space between them went silent.

There was no use telling Sally that if what she’d just said was true, she should go and live with her mother. They’d had that debate until they were both red in tooth and claw, and a sad truth had always lurked at the back of it: Denise had left them, for another man, not only putting her ex-husband’s nose out of joint, but also that of her only child.

But the world was cruel; neither needed reminding of the upheavals of the last year to realise that.

Josh looked up from his book to re-examine the static caravan’s interior and then tried to recall brighter days, just before the global economic meltdown, when he and his family had lived in a fine detached house in West Yorkshire and had used this Whitby-based alternative accommodation only when they wished to, during long summers and icy winters, to get away from the everyday travails of work and school. Although he’d purchased the caravan (like everything else in his once prudent life) as a long-term investment, he hadn’t expected to be living here so soon.

And nor had his daughter Sally.

At least she’d stuck by him, however . . . which was more than could be said for Denise. At the first scent of a financial  crisis, of an end to regular hair  appointments and a withdrawal of her credit cards, Josh’s ex-wife had done a bunk, hooking up with some wealthy guy she’d met at the gym and developing a relationship too quickly to imply spontaneity. All of which had left Josh with the responsibilities of looking after a sixteen year-old girl. He was only forty three himself and had never been much of a people-person.

It had turned out that he didn’t have much of a head for business, either. During several months in early 2008, over £300,000, his life’s savings from his small security company, had been plundered on the stock market . . .

The book he was reading at the moment was right: big events stood behind everybody, dramatically defined them, were lights casting the darkest shadows . . . And if Josh didn’t stop thinking this way, he thought he might start crying again.

He glanced back at his daughter, flinched from the sullen expression she wore which reminded him of her mother, and said, “Why didn’t you arrange to see any of your new friends this evening?”

“No money.”

“Who? Them or . . . you?”

Sally gave him a look as if to say What a stupid question. But that of course was unfair. Despite having cut back on innumerable forms of expenditure since his portfolio had been battered – selling the house and his beloved 5-series BMW; giving up skiing and horse riding – he’d tried hard not to compromise his daughter’s lifestyle. Okay, so she’d had to switch schools from a Leeds comprehensive to one out here on the coast, but surely that would be good for her in the long run. City kids were under the constant threat of malign influence; there were no such dangers in this relatively peaceful town.

“I’m saving up,” Sally said at last, still examining the upper meat of one arm, as if picturing the inked horrors she presumably wanted tattooing there. “There’s a guy in town who does them really cheap.”

Josh wondered who had put this idea in the girl’s head, and was reminded that, in all its tawdry prevalence, fashion transcended any geographical restrictions. He glanced at the small television in one corner, which he’d managed to salvage from their previous home. The medium of devils, he thought, but then realised he shouldn’t be too critical of Big Business. He still had a lot of money invested in such companies. And when most of this had been eaten away during the financial crisis, his dividend-based income had been slashed to the bone.

Realising he’d get nowhere arguing with stubborn Sally (another characteristic she shared with her mother), Josh picked up his book again and resumed reading about the origins of the universe, about Big Bangs, quantum theory, and other such heady material. He wasn’t sure why he’d developed an interest in these issues – he’d always been rather quotidian in his approach to things – but the truth was that during the last few years, as great events had unfolded in his otherwise quiet life, a curiosity about existence on this third rock from the sun had been firmly established.

It was getting on for eight o’clock this deep autumn evening. Josh finished another chapter, frowning over some complex notions, and then put down the book. Light rainfall flicked the roof of the caravan, like the sounds of insects scrabbling with malign intent – like financiers, he thought; or solicitors; or the Inland Revenue . . . But again he tried to shove aside these corrosive thoughts.

A little later, he poured himself a glass of something numbing – supermarket-brand scotch; it was tasteless but, if taken in sufficient quantities, performed the trick he desired – and then suggested that his daughter go to bed to avoid being tired for school the following day . . . which of course led to more petulant dispute.

“I don’t want to go tomorrow.”

“I thought you said you liked it there. You’ve made plenty of new friends, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, but the lessons are boring on Fridays. Like, triple history. Who cares?”

He himself hadn’t cared much for academia as a young man, relying rather on practical knowledge and a knack for building a trustworthy reputation to ensure success in business. It was only lately that he’d realised that everything in life, strokes of luck and crippling blows alike, had complex antecedents, an intricate network of causes leading to effects . . . But the fact remained that it would be hypocritical to lecture the girl.

At that moment, inspiration struck. Flipping back in his book, he read from one of the front pages: “ ‘He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth.’ ” Then, as a brutal wind blew against one side of the caravan, causing it to lean on its tenuous foundations, he looked across at Sally. “A great poet once wrote that, and I guess he meant that to protect ourselves in the present, we have to understand the past. Forewarned is forearmed, as it were.” But then, recognising the mild pretensions he was
displaying, he glanced away. “Well, something like that, anyway.”

“Dad,” said Sally, getting up from the seating unit in one corner of their tiny lounge. She bore a more sympathetic expression than the one he’d observed earlier, as if she was thinking: Maybe a bit more knowledge would have protected us from disaster.

“Yes, darling?”

She stopped just in front of him, gently took the book from his hands, and then added, “You don’t half talk a load of old rubbish.”

They laughed, the way they often had during happier days, when the family had been unbreakable, cushioned by fiscal solidity. And oh, how fragile that had all proved to be, great monsters coming to take it away . . .

Josh, hugging his daughter, heard something skittering aggressively across the land just outside their new home. After bidding Sally goodnight and watching her vanish inside her bedroom, he climbed to his feet and went to the main entrance, shoved the door open and peered out into the dark.

The static caravan was situated on the fringe of the holiday park, a few hundred yards from a cliff that gave on to an isolated stretch of beach called Saltwick Bay. In certain parts of the site, people were allowed to live residentially, benefiting from year-round sanitation and utilities. Great floodlights kept the park illuminated at night, at least until a sensible hour, but right now Josh was unable to benefit from these, because the only entrance to his place looked out onto the fields surrounding the site. This was lovely on a bright morning, with Whitby Abbey a toothy ruin on the near horizon, but at this time that was no help at all. Blackness filled the eye like an ineradicable stain. The only sight of anything moving outside was surely just a projection of idle fancies, or irrepressible recollections of recent events . . . Stress could do this to a man, as Josh knew all too well. But he was getting over all that; he’d come here to relax and recuperate. Maybe what he needed was a little fresh air.

After checking to make sure his daughter had settled – her light was out and he could hear sleepy breathing beyond her half-closed door – he stepped outside and then locked up the caravan. It was a damp night, moisture seeping into
his casual footwear. Nevertheless, he kept on moving, headed for the coastline, where the wind grew a little more ambitious, ruffling his thinning hair, making him feel every year of his incipient middle-age.

These were unpleasant reflections, but it would be foolish to deny that he was getting older. He and Denise had married young, and Josh had worked hard to secure their finances before they’d decided to have a child. About five years ago, he’d sold his home-security business and sunk all the proceeds into stocks and bonds. He hadn’t wanted to work all his life and, after taking professional advice, had found a way of generating an income from capital growth and dividend yields that had suited both himself and (to a lesser degree) his ex-wife, while also allowing their daughter to grow up with all the comforts he
himself had never enjoyed as a boy back in poverty-stricken 1980s Bradford.

He’d always been aware of the inexorable passage of time. Sally had grown up quickly and, just before the credit crunch and all the upheaval this had resulted in, Josh’s mother had developed early-onset dementia. At her own request, she’d moved into a supervised block of apartments in her beloved Whitby. This was largely what had governed Josh’s decision to buy holiday accommodation here on the coast. Before long, he realised, he’d have to take on his mother’s care more proactively than had been the case up until now. He also knew it wouldn’t be long before Sally would be thinking about moving on – maybe to university or to a place offering more job opportunities than this secluded, tourist-driven town. These thoughts made Josh feel sad – and not a little afraid.

He’d come to the edge of the cliff overlooking enigmatic Saltwick Bay. The strong light cast by the large sodium lamps in the holiday park illuminated the lengthy patch of grassy land on which he stood, feeling its sinuous way over the fenced-off drop, before being challenged by the swarming darkness of a distant sea writhing with chalk-like dashes of starlight and moonshine. There was a pungent aroma of salt and seaweed, conveyed by a chill wind which struck Josh with all the indifference of a final settlement invoice. He shivered, and as he did so, coins chinked in his pockets.

Then, as he glanced down the side of the cliff, he saw them.

The tide must be out, though it was too dark to say for certain. If the alternative was true, however, how could these small entities be located where they were? Each seemed to be made of light, iridescent of wing and fiery of skull; their infectiously jerky motion put Josh in mind of birds stalking for prey on riverbanks. They bobbed and wove, scudding across a dark surface, which must be just the sand and stone he’d observed while exploring the area during the last few years. If these creatures were real species, and not merely tricks of light, they’d require material purchase on solid ground, because surely nothing could glide across water with such leaden inertia.

Were these entities just illusions engendered by a mind still smarting from all Josh had endured lately: near bankruptcy, his brutal divorce, the mild trauma of relocation? All he could think about was the book he was reading, a tome exploring the origins of existence, how the universe’s creation had led inexorably to life on this planet, to evolution and then to humankind . . . The author had talked of big events existing behind all living entities, like a sun at their back, blazing and roaring, casting long shadows from all that was real, driving everything forwards, hungry and eager . . .

Josh looked again at the creatures he could see down in Saltwick Bay.

And at that moment, the holiday park’s lights went out.

He was immediately put in mind of an entity as big as a building, looming up behind him, blotting out the sodium lamps, eliminating his shadow. This thing was impervious to the hopes, cares and aspirations of Josh and his kin, subsuming everything once treasured at an indifferent whim. It was a mighty force set in motion by accident, by botched plans, by a non-sentient power . . . Josh wasn’t sure where these thoughts were coming from. All he knew was that, with the absence of illumination behind him, the light-laced creatures down in the Bay were now much more visible.

Approximately ten in number, they appeared a few feet high and at least one wide and long. They seemed to trail slivers of rainbow as they darted back and forth, leaping occasionally, ducking repeatedly. They made no sound. If they were feeding, it was difficult to determine what their prey could be. Then, after several minutes, they gathered like a collective mass of colour and light, like some surreal flock, before taking wing . . . or at least shooting up into a star-stricken sky. And seconds later they were gone, gaudy hues winking away, swallowed by the darkness.

Then Josh felt lonely, ineffectual, victimised, and – for a second time this evening – dismayingly frightened.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny Chapter One is © 2012 Gary Fry/Spectral Press. All rights reserved. 

You can order the hardback from here and the paperback from here.

The Respectable Face of Tyranny: the paperback (plus other stuff)

Yes, you read that right – Gary Fry’s novella, launching the new Spectral Visions line of longer works in April, will also now be available as a paperback. You can pre-order copies below, but please note that this contains the lead story only – the bonus novella, World Wide Web, is ONLY available in the hardback edition, of which only a few copies are left (see here for details on ordering the limited HB edition if you want both novellas). The paperback will be available through Spectral only for the time being, but it will also be made available through Amazon shortly before official publication.

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)

And yes, that’s right, I said Amazon – Spectral is spreading its wings in a bid to get its name out there to the masses far and wide. That may be a commonplace these days, but it shows how far Spectral has come in such a short time. We are also looking to upload an e-book there at some point in the future, too. There’ll be an announcement when it’s available – look out for that!


The winner of the Spectral/This Is Horror short story writing competition will be announced on 9th March 2012 – we’ve had more than a few VERY strong, high-quality entries and deciding the overall winner is proving to be a tough one. Keep on the lookout for a special blog announcement here very soon!!


Now, SFE has its very own Facebook page – go here to ‘like’ it and please spread the name around!! Thanks!!