Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music: the trailer

Once again, Mark West has produced a lovely video book-trailer to go with the latest Spectral chapbook, Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music, which is due to be launched upon the world at the end of February/beginning of March 2012. This one has, unfortunately, sold out already, but you can still get yourself a subscription (for 1, 3 or 5 years) to ensure that you receive every subsequent issue of this critically-acclaimed series of chapbooks – and Paypal buttons have been provided for your convenience down the right-hand side of this blog.

In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Rough Music:


The Spectral/This Is Horror Short Story competition closes tonight at midnight GMT (31st January 2012)!! Glide on over to the This Is Horror website for all the details!!

King Death at Twilight Ridge

As seems to be traditional around these parts, we’ll start the week with a review. This is the latest write-up on Paul Finch’s King Death, posted on Robert Morrish’s Twilight Ridge blog. To see what the Cemetery Dance columnist thinks about the most recent Spectral chapbook, please click here.

Talking of King Death, as you will most probably have worked out, the picture above is of the front cover of the Paula Guran-edited The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2012, the volume in which Paul’s medieval tale will be featured. And just take a look at some of the illustrious names that will be keeping Paul company!! Stephen King, Joe R Lansdale, Tim Powers, Charles De Lint,  Gene Wolfe…. a heady mix indeed!


Don’t forget, for those of you who want to enter the Spectral/This Is Horror Short Story Competition, you have until midnight GMT on 31st January 2012 (tomorrow) to get your entries in. We’ve already had some cracking stories sent in and there’s still time to enter, so why not add yours to the list? Details of submission guidelines and prizes can be found here.

A reader’s mini-review, a reminder and some news

Today’s bloggy missive starts off with a mini-review of Paul Finch’s King Death from a reader, Riju Ganguly, which the good man posted to Goodreads and to which he also gave 5 stars. Here’s what he said:

A short-crisp piece from one of my favourite authors, displaying all the hallmarks of his penmanship: rich descriptions that enliven 14th Century England and the Black Death devastating its contours, brilliant portrayals of the two characters (the mercenary Rodric and the mysterious boy), and the stage-by-stage construction of the story within a few pages. And special commendation for Spectral Press for bringing out such an exquisite chapbook. Recommended.

Many thanks for the little write-up Riju – the original posting can be read here:

I would encourage any readers of Spectral publications to send in their reviews to me for putting on the blog – if you have one then please send them to spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Thanks!!


Don’t forget that the Spectral/This Is Horror short story writing competition is still ongoing, where the lucky winner will get to have their winning tale published as a chapbook as well as receiving a lifetime subscription to every single publication that Spectral puts out. This is a great chance for aspiring writers to get their work out there, so get your typing fingers dancing and start writing!! Details of the competition can be found here.


Or, rather, a heads-up on a blog post to be posted here on Monday about submissions to the first Spectral Christmas Ghost Story annual, to be published in early December 2012. So, if you fancy writing something seasonal to be read to an enthralled audience sitting around a roaring log fire on Christmas Eve this year, then this annual anthology might just be your thing – make a date to come back here on Monday to get all the gen on submissions to Spectral’s first short story anthology.

This Is Horror Awards 2011

Spectral has had a spectacular first year and you out there can add to the rise of the imprint by voting for it in the inaugural This Is Horror Awards (This Is Horror was formerly known as Read Horror and See Horror – the two merged recently). Spectral Press has been nominated in two categories: Best Chapbook of the Year (for What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon and Nowhere Hall by Cate Gardner) and also in Best Publisher. The poll, and instructions on how to vote, can be found here:

This Is Horror Awards 2011

And, while you’re there, why not vote for some of the other worthy stuff that’s been nominated – if you’ve read something this year that’s really floated your boat and it’s listed here, then let people know by adding your weight behind it by voting. Like people say, your favourite book/anthology/magazine can only win by getting the votes – and that extra vote might make the difference!

Voting ends tonight at midnight – SO GET VOTING AND SPREAD THE WORD!!

(Full disclosure: I write a column and articles for This is Horror and therefore I am NOT voting in this poll)

While you’re there, please also have a look at the exciting short story writing competition that Spectral is running in conjunction with the magazine – you can win some truly spectacular prizes, including a lifetime subscription to everything that Spectral publishes and also publication with your winning story in a future chapbook. To coin a phrase, you gotta be in it to win it!! Details here.


I would all like you to warmly welcome the latest addition to the chapbook line-up: Lisa L. Hannett. I’ll be publishing her beautifully bleak and spookily haunting story Smoke Billows, Soot Falls in 2014 (provisional), alongside fellow Australian wordsmith Angela Slatter. I can promise you, it’s a belter of a tale!

A new King Death review and news

I must extend my gratitude to Paul D. Brazill for writing and sending me this latest review of Spectral Volume IV (Paul Finch’s King Death), which can be found on his You Would Say That, Wouldn’t You? blog. He calls Spectral Press “… an impressive indie publisher…” and he gives the latest chapbook a thumbs up, but to find out exactly what it is he wrote in his review, you’ll just have to go ahead and click here.


Naturally, any publisher worth his salt doesn’t like to stand still for too long, even with something as well-established as a successful chapbook line. To that end, I have been toying with the idea of including one evocative drawing in every chapbook, to illustrate and encapsulate the mood of the story, starting with Spectral Volume V, due in March 2012. This will be a great chance for any artists out there to get involved with the imprint and its onward growth – so, if there are any budding Da Vincis out there, please contact Simon Marshall-Jones on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

On a related theme and much further down the line, I will be holding a cover art competition, doing much the same thing for artists that the current SpectralPress/Read Horror short story competition is doing for writers (see the details of that competition here). I am looking to hold the art contest sometime in the latter part of next year, so keep a lookout for that.

So, as always, onwards and upwards!!

Competition time!! News!!

Yes indeed, it’s competition time over on the Read Horror website and what a competition it is too!! Spectral has teamed up with this great magazine to bring you an absolute stonker of a short story writing contest, with prizes to match, to wit:

“The grand prize is a lifetime’s subscription to every single publication put out by Spectral Press from 2012 onwards, as well as getting the story published in a future anthology or chapbook! Second prize is a year’s subscription (four issues) of the acclaimed Spectral chapbooks (from Volume V on), with the third prize winner receiving one future publication of their choice! Any ephemera, like bookmarks, postcards and posters, will also be included in each of the winner’s prizes if available, etc.”

So, what do you have to do to win this exciting booty? Well, first you’ll have to hop on over to the Read Horror website, read through the competition blurb and rules, and then get your thinking caps on! This’ll be your chance to show Spectral publisher/editor Simon Marshall-Jones and Read Horror editor Michael Wilson your short story-writing prowess. It’ll be your chance to get published and read by people! What better incentive is that?


Today marks the first anniversary of this Spectral Press website/blog – it’s hard to believe that it was just over a year that the imprint was first conceived and that less than two months later it became an actual reality (and here’s a link to the first ever blog entry written on the site). Paul Finch’s King Death will round off Spectral’s first complete publishing year very nicely, and Simon Kurt Unsworth’s Rough Music will be the 1st anniversary issue, so to speak.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has helped make Spectral the success it has become – all the authors, subscribers, readers and reviewers, especially to those people who took what I was attempting to do entirely on trust. In particular, however, I want to extend gratitude to Neil Williams, who is entirely responsible for the look and layout of Spectral (including the creation of some stunning and atmospheric covers) and also to Mark West who, as well as being a great writer, has been something of a dab hand at producing some excellent video book trailers for the imprint. Without all these factors, Spectral Press wouldn’t have achieved anything like the amount it has in the short time it has been in existence.

Next year, I have some plans to expand the imprint, with the introduction of a new line of limited hardback novellas, to be given the umbrella title of ‘Spectral Visions‘. I am hoping to make an announcement about the first in the line within the next couple of months, as well as provide more details about the novellas themselves. From the imprint’s perspective, it’s the logical next step to take. Here at Spectral Towers I hope that you will come along and join us as the imprint grows and expands!

Nowhere Hall gets another review…

And here we are, on another cold and grey Monday morning, wondering just how quickly we can make the week go by until it’s the weekend again. Well, here’s something that will at least occupy a small portion of that time: a great new review of Cate Gardner’s Nowhere Hall, this time from Richard Baron and posted to his personal website – you can get to it by clicking the link here.


And now, a little news of something happening later on… a fabulous Spectral/Read Horror competition. Details will be revealed in all their wondrous glory on the Read Horror website sometime today, and I can guarantee that it’s an extremely wonderful competition, with some magnificent prizes to be had… either keep a look out on the site itself, (and while you’re there, check out the 100 Horror Story Recommendations), or come back here tomorrow when I will be blogging about it. I foresee this as being quite a popular competition….

LATE EDIT! The competition has now gone live on the Read Horror site – get to it! =)

Competition news

Just giving you guys advance warning that in the very near future Read Horror webzine will be running a Spectral Press competition – Michael Wilson (High Priest of Read Horror, Chief Interrogator of Authors and Wrangler of Zombies [no doubt]) and I are working out the details at the moment, but I can guarantee you that there will be some nice prizes on offer AND that it’ll be an interesting competition. I’ll make a proper announcement as soon as we’ve got something to tell you!

Keep watching this space, as the well-worn cliché goes…. =D

Cate’s Nowhere Hall competition: the winners!

Remember last month I told you about the two splendiferous competitions that Cate Gardner, author of Spectral Volume III Nowhere Hall, was running in the wake of the chapbook selling out? The one where two lucky people could win either a personalised copy of #1 of the book or a year’s subscription to Spectral?Well, the contest is now closed, names have been drawn from the proverbial hat and we have a pair of winners! But if you want to know  who they are then you’ll just have to jet over to Cate’s website – follow the link here.