Spectral subscriptions – a further update!

A reminder that Spectral subscriptions are still available for the first THREE chapbooks  – by Gary McMahon, Gary Fry and Cate Gardner  – £10UK/£12EU /$20 US/ $25US RoW per sub per year (inclusive of p+p). Individual chapbooks are available at £3.50UK/£4EU/$6.50US/$12RoW (all prices inclusive of P+P).  To order, please submit remittances through Paypal, please, account spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com (and if you send it as a gift then there are no Paypal fees this end).

PLEASE NOTE!! When gifting the money, PLEASE write your address in the personal note section – I have discovered that the address doesn’t show up if you send money that way…

Advance warning: if you take out a subscription from issue TWO, the price is £13.50UK/£16EU/$30US/$40RoW. Why? There will be FOUR issues in the subscription, plus it includes postage to your part of the world. Also, these are very high-quality productions, and even at this price it still represents extremely good value for money. Crisp, clear printing, understated, top notch artwork and some of the best writers working in the ghostly/supernatural horror field today. Taking the amateur small-press to a new level, in fact.

Susbcriptions are very limited – act today to get yours!!!

Some more Spectral reviews…

Here are two recent reviews of Gary McMahon’s chapbook for Spectral, What They Hear in the Dark. The first is from Jason Baki’s Kamvision blog:

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What They Hear in the Dark is the third story by Gary McMahon I’ve read in as many months. Each have been in a different format: the first was a short story in the underground horror anthology, The End of the Line; the second was his new novel from Angry Robot, Pretty Little Dead Things and now there is this chapbook. Throughout each of these different formats, the thing that stands out the most for me in McMahon’s work, is the intensity of his writing. His prose style is deeply introspective in tone, every thought and feeling of his characters is meditated upon. There is also a real sense of entering a liminal space, a place where defining boundaries disappear, along with certainty. I love this aspect of his writing, and in this story it is perhaps even more noticeable than in those others I’ve mentioned.

This short fiction explores the aftermath of a dark tragedy in the life of two individuals. Rob and Becky have lost their son in a terrible event, and now they are trying to move on with their lives as best they can. They’ve bought an old house which needs some work, and they hope it will give them something else to focus on as well as a fresh start. The house has a strange room in it, empty, and occupying a position within the building that apparently stifles all sound. The Quiet Room Becky calls it. In this place of emptiness, of absence, the loss they have sought to escape from becomes manifest. What follows is haunting metaphor, a wound that cannot heal, and a loss so great it cannot be spoken.

As this is only a short story I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice is to say, all of McMahon’s skill in conjuring a sense of psychological unreality and intense psycho-spiritual borderlands is present here. There is a wonderful cohesiveness to his writing as well, as if all that occurs within his characters is mirrored and reflected back by the outer world. Often the reflection is distorted, and here he injects the subtle suggestion of things being wrong beneath the surface that for me creates the most effective uncanny fiction.

This is a great first release for the newly formed Spectral Press. I actually think this is my favourite of the stories by McMahon I’ve read so far. Elegant and haunting, it would make a fantastic introduction to the writing of a powerful emerging voice in dark fiction. Definitely worth checking out.

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And this one is from Paul D. Brazill and posted on his You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You? blog:

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Rob and Becky want a fresh start. Their young son was killed and in the aftermath their marriage is dying. So, they move into a crumbling old house in the hope of rebuilding it and their marriage. And then they discover The Quiet Room, a room that isn’t on the blueprints of the house and is filled with more than silence.

What They Hear In The Dark by Gary McMahon is a wonderfully written chiller, full of atmosphere and sadness. It is a story of  real people facing up to a real life trauma and confronting its  ghosts. It is the first in a series of chapbooks from the cool new indie publisher Spectral Press and is highly recommended.

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And finally, very satisfied customer Stephen Bacon has written a few things about Spectral on his blog – read it here. It appears that the imprint is indeed hitting all the right notes…

Spectral subscriptions – an update

A reminder that Spectral subscriptions are still available for the first THREE chapbooks  – by Gary McMahon, Gary Fry and Cate Gardner  – £10UK/£12EU /$20 US/ $25US RoW per sub per year (inclusive of p+p). Individual chapbooks are available at £3.50UK/£4EU/$6.50US/$12RoW (all prices inclusive of P+P).  To order, please submit remittances through Paypal, please, account spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com (and if you send it as a gift then there are no Paypal fees this end).

Advance warning: if you take out a subscription from issue TWO, the price is £13.50UK/£16EU/$30US/$40RoW. Why? There will be FOUR issues in the subscription, plus it includes postage to your part of the world. Also, these are very high-quality productions, and even at this price it still represents extremely good value for money. Crisp, clear printing, understated, top notch artwork and some of the best writers working in the ghostly/supernatural horror field today. Taking the amateur small-press to a new level, in fact.

Susbcriptions are very limited – act today to get yours!!!

Review #11

This latest review is from Grade Z Horror and written by Capt Murdock – I think he liked it… =)

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Creepy. Creepy. Creepy. What They Hear in the Dark is a first rate ghost story that grabs your soul, tugs at your heartstrings and leaves your head in a fog. Author Gary McMahon has given us a dark tale that gorgeously weaves the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that accompany the loss of love.

Rob and Becky are looking to rebuild their lives after the intensely brutal murder of their young child. The decide to focus all of their sorrow and grief on a dilapidated old estate, feeling that by restoring the house they will somehow be able to repair the damage done to their lives. Instead, they discover a room not found on any of the original floor plans. The room is devoid of any sound. The Quiet Room. The room begins to take hold of Rob and Becky and ultimately becomes the manifestation of their greatest hopes and darkest fears.

What They Hear in the Dark is nothing short of brilliant. Dark, emotional and frightening. Basically, everything you want in a well told ghost story. McMahon’s style is truly sophisticated. He is able to incorporate secondary themes and insightful flashbacks without ever removing the reader from the central plot. He ties all of this up with an ending that will haunt you for days after you put the book down- begging you to read it again and again.

9/10

What They Hear in the Dark is the first in a series of chapbooks being put out by Spectral Press. Each will be in strictly limited quantities of 100 only, signed and numbered by the author. If What They Hear in the Dark is any indication, I think Spectral Press will be an imprint worth following.

Spectral review #10

The goodness just keeps coming in – this is Peter Andrew Leonard’s (from The Man Eating Bookworm blog) review of Gary’s Spectral chapbook…

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Spectral Press kicks off their line of small press chapbooks with none other than Gary McMahon, one of Britain’s best dark scribes. He’s the author of How to Make Monsters,  Hungry Hearts: Tomes of the Dead,  Rough Cut and most recentlyPretty Little Dead Things.

Gary McMahon is one of those writers you hear a lot about from the other side of the ocean but doesn’t get enough exposure over here in Canada, not unless you squirm into the small press arena. Therefore I jumped at the chance to review his latest offering, What They Hear in the Dark.

What They Hear in the Dark is an emotionally charged and atmospheric tale of fear and loss. Rob and Becky move into a new house in the hopes of a new beginning after the senseless murder of their son, Eddie. The house is old, and like their marriage, is in need of some care. When they discover a room that isn’t on any of the blueprints, a room where silence reigns, the couple come face to face with something out of the ordinary.

Right from the start I was drawn to Rob and Becky’s plight. A parent’s biggest fear is something dreadful happening to one of their children. McMahon tackles the topic with the right amount of emotion and tenderness, at the same time exposing the anger and frustration, the emptiness, the couple must face.

Spectral Press is a small press dedicated to producing quality chapbooks devoted to ghostly or supernatural fiction and Gary McMahon’s story certainly gets things started in the right direction.What They Hear in the Dark is beautifully written, displaying McMahon’s strong talent for storytelling.

New Spectral review…

Just received this wonderfully insightful review from Jassen Bailey of  The Bag & The Crow blog…

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Gary McMahon has created a dark and dreary story of a married couple who are attempting to live life after the brutal murder of their son Eddie.  Rob and Becky have recently purchased a house, which is a metaphor of their life. The house is in need of some major repairs much like their marriage.

Both are struggling for closure. They discover a room in the cellar which becomes fittingly known as the Quiet Room. Inside the Quiet Room, Rob and Becky are forced to feel; something they apparently haven’t done for some time as evidenced by their individual reactions after spending time in the room. The Quiet Room offers thoughts, no distractions, and very well could be the key to truths. Most of all, it offers absolutely no noise.

Rob and Becky have a difference of opinion as to what the Quiet Room represents. One thing is for sure, they come face to face with their personal demons, past scars, and ghosts in this room.

Gary McMahon’s prose will change your mental forecast. This story will make you feel. What They Hear in the Dark is a well written story woven with loss, pain, ghosts, personal demons, and struggle.  McMahon takes on several major themes without distracting the reader. This is impressive considering it is a chapbook of 22 pages.  This chapbook is highly recommended to all. You will especially enjoy this one if you love tales where life is the ultimate villain.

Jassen Bailey

News

A couple of bits of news:

First, Wayne Simmons (author of  Flu and Drop Dead Gorgeous) very kindly let me have some space on his blog to talk about Spectral Press, the ideas behind the imprint, some of the history of chapbooks and some of my ambitions regarding the imprint. You can read it here.

Secondly, I have just been interviewed by Joseph D’Lacey of Horror Reanimated – which, he has told me, should be posted very soon. So look out for that!!

The name of Spectral is slowly, but surely, getting out there…

New review

This came in late last night, a new review written by writer, editor and producer Cavan Scott, and posted on the Cavblog

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What They Hear in the Dark, the first chapbook from Simon Marshall-Jones’ new Spectral Press imprint, is a creepy little tale of a couple mourning the death of their son. To combat their grief, Rob and Becky have thrown themselves into a renovation project, restoring a run-down old house to its former glory. The theory is that as they plaster over the cracks in the building, they will also repair their own fractured relationship and fill the aching void in their lives.

Needless to say, it isn’t working. However, they have found what, at first, looks like an interesting distraction. The ramshackle house contains a room that shouldn’t be there. It’s not on any plans and makes no architectural sense. And that isn’t the strangest thing – not only is the room structurally impossible, it also somehow absorbs any sound. Within those uncanny four walls, silence is king.

For Becky, the silence of the Quiet Room is a comfort, helping her find literal peace, but Rob isn’t so sure. Is there something else lurking in the silence, something linked to their son’s murder.

Gary McMahon‘s unsettling tale is a fantastic start for Spectral Press. Like all good ghost stories, the events are left somewhat unexplained, forcing you to fill in the blanks and the very concept of the Quiet Room is chilling and claustrophobic. This is understated horror, which never resorts to blood and gore, upsetting your soul rather than your stomach. The underlying menace at the heart of Tom and Becky’s dilapidated house will stay with you long after you’ve put down the rather handsome little publication.

The best short stories leave you longing to find out more, and this is certainly true of What They Hear in the Dark. McMahon could easily return to explore the terrible silence found in that inexplicable room and I for one will be returning to the Spectral Press for more ghostly goings-on.

A new year, a new review…

Another positive review – this time from author Cate Gardner (note: I will declare here that Cate is due to have her own chapbook, Nowhere Hall, published this September by Spectral), published on the Skull Salad review site.

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What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon is the first chapbook from new publisher, Spectral Press. Both author and story are excellent choices to open the imprint.

There’s no sound in the quiet room. After the death of their son, Rob and Becky move into a new house and discover the room. It’s a room that shouldn’t exist and like grief, the couple experience the space differently. For Becky it is a comforting place, somewhere to feel close to her son. For Rob, it is a different experience altogether.

There is a sense of menace to the tale and McMahon weaves these characters and the room into our hearts and our nightmares.

What They Hear in the Dark is a gorgeous chapbook–both the story and the presentation. The publisher Simon Marshall Jones has produced a top quality chapbook and I highly recommend it. I should however note (though there is no bias towards the story in this review–I hope) that I have a chapbook forthcoming from Spectral Press.