BfS Awards 2011 shortlist

BfS Award graphic © Conrad Williams 2010 - 2011. Used with kind permission.

It’s that time of year again, when the British fantasy Society release their BfS Awards shortlist. It’s always an exceptionally strong list of contenders they field and this year is no exception. And I am pleased to see that some of the people involved with Spectral have been nominated to the list, too, to wit:

BEST NOVEL Pretty Little Dead Things (Angry Robot) by Gary McMahon (What They Hear in the Dark)

BEST NOVELLA Sparrowhawk (Pendragon Press) by Paul Finch (King Death)

BEST COLLECTION One Monster is Not Enough (Gray Friar Press) and Walker in the Dark (Ash-Tress Press), both by Paul Finch (King Death)

BEST ARTIST – Daniele Serra (cover artist for Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall)

BEST SMALL PRESS – Gray Friar Press, run by Gary Fry (Abolisher of Roses)

The full list can be seen here.

Good luck to all the shortlisted nominees!! =)

A teaser….

… for Spectral Volume IV, due out this December – a little early I know but it may just tickle your fancy or even inspire you to take out a subscription to Spectral (details elsewhere on this site)… =)


KING DEATH – Paul Finch

In 1348, England is stricken by the Black Death.

The worst pandemic in human history has reached the kingdom of the warlike Edward III, a monarch who in battle against human adversaries cannot imagine defeat.

Two thirds of his subjects now perish. Woods become wild again, farmland goes to rack and ruin, villages, towns and castles are left empty, inhabited only by ghosts.

Little wonder that fear of the supernatural reaches an all-time high. Little wonder stories ignite about witches and demons spreading the plague, about ‘King Death’, an awesome harbinger of doom from whom there is no protection.

Cynical opportunist Rodric doesn’t believe any of these. With reckless indifference, he sets out to enrich himself…

“Paul Finch’s supernatural stories combine a poetic imagination with a sharp eye for the complexities of human evil.” – Joel Lane


More news soon… =)

News, etc.

First up, I am hoping that Spectral Volume III, Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall, will be sent to the printers earlier than anticipated (probably early in August – all copies will be sent out in the latter half of the same month), considering that it sold out so quickly. I’ll be sending all elements to my graphic designer sometime in the next two weeks or so so he can put it all together and then it’ll be all go again…. and not long afterwards it’ll be onto Paul Finch’s King Death, coming in December… =)

Secondly, I’ve now started sending out subscriber newsletters, to keep everyone informed of what’s going on in the world of Spectral. Newsletter #1 was a PDF only affair, but from #2 it’ll be a proper email newsletter, with help from Mr. Chris Bissette, who showed me how to set it all up (for which this technologically-challenged publisher is eternally grateful). The frequency has still to be decided, but it’ll definitely contain news of forthcoming chapbook publications and new developments, plus there’ll also be news of subscriber-only benefits coming soon – so, if you want to know what they’ll be, then I suggest you should subscribe to this exciting new imprint NOW! (Details can be found elsewhere on this website)…

Standby, too, for the announcement of a great new development coming soon(ish)… =D

Black Static 23….

… has a review of Abolisher of Roses within the Casenotes section, written and compiled by Peter Tennant. You’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine to get the full review, but Peter says, in conclusion, that ‘…[Abolisher of Roses] is both disturbing and compelling, a story that is a complex, character-driven piece and at the same time directly addresses philosophical concerns as to the usefulness of art.’

Chalk up yet another positive review for Gary Fry’s chapbook and, by extension, the Spectral Press imprint. Get your copy of Black Static #23 now, available from here.


Cate’s Glitteringly Stupendous Nowhere Hall Competition

Everyone likes competitions, especially when there are brilliant prizes to be won. Cate Gardner, author of the sold out Spectral Volume III (Nowhere Hall), absolutely loves holding competitions, and she has decided, in all her loveliness, to hold a contest for all those people who were unlucky enough to miss out on snagging a copy. BUT, the prize is even better than that, because it’ll be the #1 copy in the limited signed and numbered run, and will be personalised for the winner! How cool is that?

But, I’ve already bought a copy!” I hear some of you exclaim, “What about all those who’re like me and went and ordered one?” Fear not, me hearties, because Cate is also holding a concurrent competition for those HAVE already got their copy! What’s the prize? A four issue subscription to Spectral, comprising Volumes IV – VII! A brilliant prize, if I may say so…

So, the important bit: how do you enter this magnificent contest? Simple – pop over to Cate’s blog, specifically this page, and send her an email. Yes, as simple as that – go on, you know you want to!! =D

(And, as the observant amongst you will have noted, the image posted above is the final front cover, with the quote from the estimable Simon Bestwick, who, I can announce, will be having his own Spectral chapbook called Cold Havens at some point in the future! Meanwhile, Daniele Serra’s cover painting is stunning, isn’t it?)

For those who just want to buy a subscription, please see previous blog entry!

Subscriptions: a reminder

Just a little note to remind people that subscriptions to Spectral Press chapbooks are still available, but will now be starting from Volume IV (Paul Finch’s King Death). Subscriptions are £13.50UK/£16EU/$30US/$40RoW and for your convenience Paypal buttons can be found on the right-hand side of this blog. If wanting to pay by any other means please contact me at spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com. Those of you who have already subscribed and who now wish to extend their subscriptions to Spectral VII are also encouraged to renew at this point (but let me know that it’s a renewal. =)

If you’re unsure about wanting to take out a subscription, then think of it like this: you’ve seen the author names being bandied around here and there, or seen their books on various internet sites or bookshops, or even read the great reviews of these writer’s books on book-blogs and review sites, BUT you’ve never been entirely convinced because you don’t know whether you’d like their style of work. Spectral chapbooks are a great way of introducing you to all these writers and you won’t have to break the bank in order to check them out! Plus, at the four-issue rate Spectral is currently offering, it represents an absolute bargain!

However, just to give you guys advance warning, both subscriptions and individual issue prices will go up slightly from Volume V to cover increased postal rates – I will endeavour to keep the increase as minimal as possible, however, but even so it will still represent remarkable value for money.

So get subbing!! =D

Read Horror review and something a little different…

Just a quick little blog-post this morning:

First, Michael Wilson over at Read Horror webzine gave Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark a short review, giving it a thumbs up. Michael will also be reviewing the other Gary’s Abolisher of Roses at some point in the near future – in the meantime, here’s what he said about Mr. McMahon’s chapbook.

Antipodean writer Angela Slatter, of Sourdough & Other Stories (Tartarus Press) and The Girl with no Hands (Ticonderoga) fame (both of which I have reviewed), asked me to participate in one of her fun little ‘Drive-by Interviews’, which she published today. You can see what I said by clicking here.

Don’t forget, too, that copies of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall are now available on pre-order, but I urge you to get your order in quickly as there are only FIVE copies left (15th June 2011)…. =)

Abolisher review and a little news

First up on this somewhat undecided-what-to-do-weatherwise Monday morning is a review of Spectral Volume II (aka Abolisher of Roses by Gary Fry) from the good people at the Innsmouth Free Press. Nice to see that Gary’s tale is still getting the kudos it so richly deserves…. (click on the link to read the write-up).

Next up is some news on the follow-up to Abolisher, Spectral Volume III, which, as you all know, is going to be Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall. Cate talked about it on her blog a few days ago, and already there are precious few copies left, so, if you haven’t subscribed and want one of these little gems, get ordering NOW (either subscriptions or individual issues)! I suspect that, just like Volume II, this will disappear long before the official publication date of 5th September – read what Cate said by clicking here.

NOWHERE HALL – Cate Gardner

“We want to live…

In the ballroom, wallflower mannequins stretch their fingers towards Ron. He can’t ask them to dance. He’s already waltzing with other ghosts.

Someone stole the world while Ron contemplated death. They packed it in a briefcase and dumped him in the halls of the ruined hotel–The Vestibule. A nowhere place.”

“One of the finest and most individual voices around- there really is no-one quite like Cate Gardner.” –Simon Bestwick

I thoroughly recommend Cate’s stories and I also seriously suggest everyone to check out her collection Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things (Strange Publications) to sample her wonderfully surreal fairytale world – but, be aware, it’s a place where whiter than white isn’t quite as innocent as some would have you believe, but it’s also a whole lot more than that…. (also check out what people have been saying about her work in the Reviews section of her website)

(Please note: the cover shown above is a mock up – there will be a different typeface to go over Daniele Serra’s stunningly atmospheric artwork…)

A review and a new career as a columnist….

First up on this dreary Monday morning (has anyone bothered to tell the weather that it’s actually June?) is a short review of Gary Fry’s Abolisher of Roses courtesy of Chris Bissette – his take on the most recent chapbook can be found here.

Also, the beginning of this month saw my debut as a columnist for Read Horror webzine, the first instalment of which you can read here…. please feel free to leave a comment or two, and I sincerely hope that you can join me every month for my ruminations on genre, books, film, media and other things.