Archive for the News Category

The happy publisher…

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on December 22, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

… and his first publication…

Yes, they’re actually here!! So anyone who wasn’t sure can now order one in complete confidence!!

You can buy subs for Spectral Press chapbooks (or individual copies, if you wish), direct.  You can now have the whole of the first year’s publications sent right to your door AND you’ll be able to enter the subscriber-only prize draw (for details of the prize, please see below). You can now pay through Paypal and each sub will cost £10UK/£12EU /$20US/ $25US RoW (all prices inclusive of postage and packing). Individual chapbooks will be available for £3.50UK/£4EU/$8US/$12RoW (again all prices inclusive of p+p). Please send Paypal remittances to spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com. If you want to pay by cheque please email me for details on the same address!!

When you do subscribe, your name will be entered into the prize-draw, where you stand the chance of winning a specially signed and framed edition of the first chapbook by Gary McMahon. Alongside it will be a copy of the annotated manuscript, which means that Gary has scribbled all over it in red pen – and he’s even signed it and drawn a little doodle of a smiley horned creature on it as well (very cute, in the way that only Gary understands the word). The winner might even get a free subscription extension for another year on top of that…

Closing date for competition is 31st December 2010! So, what are you waiting for? Get subbing NOW!!

Keeping in touch….

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Just a really small blog to let you know how to stay abreast of everything to do with Spectral Press:

First up is the dedicated WordPress blog,, where you’ll be able to keep up with developments, find out what’s forthcoming, news and information regarding the press’ activities.

Secondly, Spectral has a Facebook page as well – which can be found here. Just press the ‘LIKE’ button to show your appreciation – there will also be links to the WordPress blog there, too.

We also have a Twitter account now, as well – @SpectralPress – join us there if you can! Would be great to see you!

Lastly, you can always contact Spectral on spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com directly for information on such things as how to order, events we’ll be attending or forthcoming publications. Media enquiries should be directed there as well.

2011 looks set to be a great year – so why not join us!

A Public Service Rant… er, I mean, Announcement…

Posted in News with tags , , , on December 19, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

So, we were caught by surprise yesterday with the weather, or at least I was. The BBC forecast clearly said that there would be a light snow shower around 3pm and that it would stop within three hours. So what did we did get? A very light snow shower that started at around 11am and which went on for about five minutes, then stopped. Only to start again very shortly after and not stop until 8pm. Yup, nine hours of snow falling from the sky – haven’t seen anything like it since my 70s childhood in Wales. And, judging by what a few meteorologists have intimated, this winter is going to be harsher than the 1962-63 one, which my dad was always fond of telling me about – I was born in ’63 in the middle of a snowstorm, apparently – which, according to my own twisted sense of logic, is why I prefer winter to summer. And yes, I’m sticking to that.

Anyway, I digress. Why am I writing this particular blog (apart from the therapeutic value of a rant, however mild) and wittering on about the weather? What does it have to do with Spectral Press? Well, it means, given the backlog that The Royal Mail currently seems to have amassed, that the signature sheets that have been/will be sent by Gary McMahon for the first chapbook will be delayed. Which inevitably means that the book won’t be collated this week as planned – and said printers will be closed until the 3rd January. Rest assured, however, that the chapbook will be available in the first month of 2011 (come what may) and that all subscriber copies will be sent out practically the minute they arrive here at Marshall-Jones Mansions. I even have the envelopes all written out ready. These really are circumstances frustratingly out of my control and yes, it’s bloody annoying.

But, I’ll end on a lighter note (this is where the light-hearted, human interest stories would go in a broadcast news bulletin – see? I do pay attention…). I popped into the printers a few days ago to check to see whether the covers had been printed – and yes, they had been, and to further erode a worn-out phrase, they blew me away. The quality is something that exceeds even my expectations and really enhance the graphics work of Neil Williams, who designed them. Combined with Gary’s superb story, it really IS a thing of beauty, even if I say so myself – I have high hopes for Spectral, but only time will tell. Roll on the New Year!!

PRESS RELEASE: MORRIGAN BOOKS signs Martyn Taylor’s Whitechapel for its e-book series

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on December 18, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Morrigan Books yesterday signed a contract with author Martyn Taylor with regards to publishing his novel Whitechapel, as part of its new e-book series. Martyn has already been published by Morrigan Books in the anthology The Phantom Queen Awakes, with his short story The Good and Faithful Servant, and is also due to be published with Gilgamesh Press and their début anthology In the Footsteps of Gilgamesh with The No Man.

Morrigan Books is extremely excited about Whitechapel and believe it is a book that will whet the appetite of anyone who appreciates clever and imaginative fiction.

During the Indian summer of 1888 London is the capital of an empire that colours half the map of the earth red. Yet even the rulers of such an empire are taken aback when envoys arrive from a very distant location, wishing to come under the protective wing of the Great Queen. While the government entertains the visitors (the ‘Men from Mars’) they also have them kept under close observation by their chief secret policeman, Inspector Fred Abberline. These mysterious visitors also attract the attentions of a penniless radical teacher and journalist, George Wells, and his equally eccentric lady friend, Miss Cara Benn. As the negotiations proceed in Whitehall, in Whitechapel Abberline and Wells become involved in ghastly slaughters that will leave the inspector’s place secure in history, as well as opening up the future to Wells.

Whitechapel will be edited by one of Morrigan Books‘ newest editors, Amanda Rutter.

First Spectral Press review…

Posted in Book Reviews, News with tags , , , , on December 17, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

This came in last night courtesy of Neil Leckman and posted on his Virtual Cubicle blog – short and sweet, and most definitely very sharp!

“I just read Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark, a signed and numbered chapbook from Spectral Press, coming out January 2011. Gary has proven that not all silence is golden, and not all rooms are equal. He has a grip on the range of emotion that comes with loss, and how sometimes what you don’t say hurts more than what you can. Be prepared to have him take hold of you, by the throat, and not let go until your vision blurs, and your knees become weak.”

PRESS RELEASE: MORRIGAN BOOKS announces new editors

Posted in News with tags , , , on December 16, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Morrigan Books can today reveal the names of several editors who have been taken on by the company in readiness for its new e-book series. Some are established, whereas others are new to the field, further strengthening the vision of Morrigan Books that it wishes to promote new talent at the company, as well as maintaining its level of excellence in the field of dark fiction.

We are very pleased to welcome the following to Morrigan Books:

RJ Barker

Karen Newman

Richard Palmer

Amanda Rutter

KV Taylor

All our editors can be found at the Morrigan Books site.

SPECTRAL PRESS I: What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon

Posted in Books, News with tags , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

An absence is more terrifying than a presence…

Rob and Becky bought the old place after the death of their son, to repair and renovate – to patch things up and make the building habitable.

They both knew that they were trying to fix more than the house, but the cracks in their marriage could not be papered over.

Then they found the Quiet Room.”

“Gary McMahon’s horror is heartfelt…” –Tim Lebbon

22pg A5 print booklet with card covers, signed and numbered, 100 only – published January 2011.

Available from the publishers – Spectral Press, 5 Serjeants Green, Neath Hill, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK14 6HA, UK for £3 (plus 50p P+P) either through Paypal ( or cheque (made payable to ‘Simon Marshall-Jones’) to the address above. Subscriptions for 2011 issues (3) available for £10 – payment details as above. US/RoW please email for prices to your countries…



Subscribers, please note: this issue will be sent out in early January due to it being THAT time of year and the possible inclement weather that’s been forecast…. Spectral Volume I is currently at the printers and the signature sheets are in Gary’s hands… return expected any day now… =D

Press Release: WHITBY, by Scott V. Harrison & Johnny Mains

Posted in Books, News with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Some news about an exciting new project from Johnny Mains and Scott V. Harrison:


Whitby, North Yorkshire. 1936.

It has been nearly 40 years since journalist Raymond Peakes wrote his original piece on the great storm and the arrival of the Russian schooner ‘Demeter’ to the small fishing village in the dead of night. And now, all Peakes wants to do is forget the past and move on. But the dead just won’t stay buried.

Once more, Raymond Peakes is forced to face the past; to recount his tale of strange happenings and blackest deeds

A tale that began with the arrival of the Demeter.

Believing the ship to be cursed, the superstitious locals want it burned, before it can be sailed back to Varna. But a mysterious group calling themselves the Low Hall Brethren have other plans, staking claim to several items found on board.

As illness and death stalk the sleepy little town, Peakes begins to investigate claims of the dead walking the streets at night, unaware of the monster that has been preying upon the community, in order to slake his thirst for blood.

Count Dracula.

Halted in his seduction of Lucy Westenra by her friend Mina Harker, Dracula has turned his attention upon the inhabitants of Whitby, infecting the town with the ancient curse of the undead.

As the community descends into hysteria, the church wants Whitby destroyed, purifying the evil with fire. The town’s only hope is for Peake to join forces with the shadowy Clerec Robueter, leader of the Low Hall Brethren, the only person who seems to know exactly what is going on and, more importantly, how this nightmare can be stopped.

Set amongst the action of the infamous Dracula, but only containing its eponymous character, Whitby is the story of a man who is willing to destroy himself in his quest to stop Dracula and his harbingers of un-death…


WHITBY is an exciting project to be involved in; it exploits a plot hole in the original novel and offers up a unique chance to tell the story of a town already blighted by superstition and what happens when a real supernatural force rips through the community. I’m really thrilled to be writing this with Scott Harrison, our writing styles match extremely well and it’s quite rather mental to be writing the secret history of Dracula without involving Van Helsing et al. A challenge indeed! – JOHNNY MAINS.

JOHNNY MAINS is the author of the collection With Deepest Sympathy (Obverse Books) and has edited Back from the Dead (Noose and Gibbet). He has written for SFX Magazine, contributes to The Paperback Fanatic and was project editor for The Pan Book of Horror Stories 2010 re-issue. His latest book Party Pieces: The Horor Fiction of Mary Danby will be published by Noose and Gibbet in February 2011.

Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by both the town of Whitby and Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. It’s always been an ambition of mine to explore and expand upon the wonderfully chilling and erotic tapestry that Stoker created over a century ago – a world that’s as vibrantly real and relevant to today’s society as it was to those living in the late Victorian era. To be able to work on something like this with Johnny Mains, a man whose name is already synonymous with great horror fiction, is an absolute joy. Particularly as we share many of the same literary passions. It’s a pleasure to put pen to paper – SCOTT HARRISON.

SCOTT HARRISON is an author and playwright, whose stage plays have been performed both in the UK and the US. He has short stories appearing in forthcoming anthologies from Obverse Books and Dark Fiction, and has co-edited the collection Voices from the Past (H&H Books) with Lee Harris. He has written for HUB Magazine, contributes to Shiny Shelf, and held the post of writer-in-residence for The Dreaming Theatre Company for several years. He is also working on a solo Steampunk novel called Dark Engine.

Spectral progress update…

Posted in News with tags , , , on December 10, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Just a quick blog today, to let y’all know the state of play on how the first Spectral chapbook is coming on. I have just returned from the printers and it’s all looking mighty grand, the signature sheets will be ready by Monday morning and then I can send them on to Gary to number and sign. As soon as they arrive back on my doorstep,  they will go back to the printer’s, and then all the fun of collating and stapling begins for them.

They handily printed up a ‘mock’ of the text and I am happy to report that it meets all expectations and then some – everything was crisply reproduced and very clear. The cover also looks great, too – the people I am using have obviously taken extreme care with it all and to very exacting standards. I shall definitely be using them again.

Quite frankly, it’s absolutely amazing how fast this has all come together. It’s just less than two and a half months since I found myself toying with the idea after being inspired by FCon 2010, and both Nightjar and Tartarus Presses, and then thinking that FCon 2011 would be the ideal launch venue to kick things off in. However, with all the authors I asked agreeing to sign on and then, after I opened the doors to subscriptions (26 and counting at the present time), the brilliant response to it, it’s meant that I can start a lot earlier than anticipated. So, instead of having to wait until September 2011, subscribers and readers will only have to wait about a month.

2011 and Spectral Press have enormous potential between them. I have further plans, as some of you know, and ideas are constantly brewing in my head. I have a few authors in mind that I would absolutely love to feature in the line-up, but that depends on a few factors that I am unable to fulfill at the present time. But I sincerely hope that that won’t always be the case and that at least some of the writers I want to appear will consent to write something for Spectral.

Now, one of the plans I have is that, every couple of years, I will hold an open competition asking for submissions and then maybe getting some of the Spectral authors already published to adjudicate if they have time. The prize will be a chapbook publication. The aim would be to give some newer writers a chance to get their work published. Necessarily, the same high Spectral standards will apply when it comes to choosing the winning story.

Further down the line, there’s the possibility of expanding slightly and possibly publishing very limited novellas in hardback – that one was inspired by ChiZine Publications’ production of Tim Lebbon’s The Thief of Broken Toys. That book showed exactly what is possible, even in a compact format. The possibilities are endless, I feel.

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that everything is going to plan and very smoothly so. Subscribers can expect their copies of What They Hear in the Dark by Gary McMahon to be with them in early January. I am just looking forward to seeing it all come together.

Breaking news!

Posted in News with tags , , , , on December 8, 2010 by simonmarshalljones


Gary McMahon and Sharon Ring sign author/agent contract.

Gary McMahon has signed up with Literary Agent Sharon Ring. Sharon Ring will act as agent in regard to two titles, The Quiet Room and Rain Dogs (previously published by Humdrumming Press).

Gary is widely acknowledged as a powerful, new talent in British horror fiction. He received a British Fantasy Society nomination in 2009 for his first novel, Rain Dogs, and his short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vols. 19 & 20 (ed. by Stephen Jones). Tim Lebbon calls him a “bloody good writer indeed… heartfelt, talented, soulful… serious and mature.” Conrad Williams describes Gary as “a skilful writer… an able cartographer of these badlands.” With three novels already under his belt, plus three more titles scheduled for publication in 2011, Gary is set to reach a wider genre-loving audience.

Gary McMahon said, “I’m very excited about this new collaboration. Sharon is an ambitious, knowledgeable and proactive person, who believes strongly in both my work and her own abilities to make things happen. Her passion for dark literature, along with the contacts and know-how she has developed over the last couple of years, will hopefully place us in a good position to take things forward and bring my writing to an even wider audience.”

Sharon said, “I’ve been working toward taking on my first author as a literary agent for some time now. I wanted to make sure my first client was a perfect fit. An opportunity arose to work with Gary McMahon on two titles and I knew the time was right. Gary is one of the most talented horror fiction authors on the scene, breathtakingly astute in his vision of the modern world and the fears which lie at the heart of us all, and completely unafraid to venture into the darkest of territories. It’s a privilege to be working with him at this time in his career.”

A full list of Gary’s published work can be found at

All enquiries regarding this deal should be directed to Sharon Ring:

This is absolutely brilliant news, especially for Sharon who is one of the hardest working people in the business. Gary just keeps on coming out with the goods – an inexorable force indeed.  I wish her and Gary all the best in this exciting new venture!!