Archive for news

Spectral news…

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

… and it’s very good, nay EXCELLENT, news indeed!

I have nearly raised enough capital to bring the publication of the first chapbook, Gary McMahon’s What They Hear in the Dark, forward. I am now looking at a prospective JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011 launch date for Spectral Press.


All of you are still greatly encouraged to take out a subscription to Spectral Press – this is one method by which you can be guaranteed to get everything that Spectral publishes. Plus, don’t forget the subscriber-only competition, for details, please see below.

Each subscription costs a mere £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 remittances, via Paypal, to spectralpress[at]gmail[dot]com. You can also find out more details about Spectral by sending an email to the same address.


When you do take out a one year sub, 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). And there’s another incentive – the winner will also get a free subscription extension for another year on top of that.

You can ONLY win this prize by taking out a subscription!!! So don’t hesitate!!

Anthology news…

Posted in News with tags , , , , on November 4, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Yesterday, I wrote that the cancer charity anthology I was providing the cover image for was changing its name, as there is already an American television programme called The Big C. Well, it’s been decided that the name of the anthology is now going to be….


This has many, many visual possibilities when it comes designing that all-important cover image – the combinations are endless…. =)

And, in other news….

Gary McMahon’s Pretty Little Dead Things, his first novel for Angry Robot Books (and starring the memorable character of Thomas Usher), is available from TODAY!

Just thought you’d like to know….. =D

Newsy stuff

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

First off,  I received a sci-fi book this morning (I don’t get many of those) for review, which I like the look and sound of, to wit:

Guardians of the Phoenix, by Eric Brown (Solaris)

Additionally, Gary Fry very kindly sent me a copy of the following simply for my reading pleasure:

The Impelled and Other Head Trips, by Gary Fry, with an introduction by Ramsey Campbell (Crowswing Books)

Thanks to Gary for doing so!

Next up is some news about the anthology I’m involved with: first off, it will no longer be called The Big C, as there’s a US television series with that name, so it would be politic to change it to avoid confusion. Several names have been suggested and, as of this writing, nothing has yet been finalised. Will let everyone know when the title’s been agreed on.

Secondly, the provisional line-up of writers is as follows (although this could change at any time):

Ramsey Campbell

Guy N Smith

John Shirley

Allyson Bird

Steve Savile

Steve Duffy

Simon Kurt Unsworth

Tim Lebbon

Gary McMahon

Steve Lockley

Scott Nicholson

Johnny Mains

Stephen Volk

Quite a stellar line-up, I think.

Thirdly, I have suggested that the original artwork that I’ll be producing for the cover to be auctioned off , so that the charity(ies) supported by this worthy anthology can benefit with a little extra money (always a good thing). Most likely this will happen at one of the conventions next year – not only will it make a great present but you also get to help with the search for a cure for this devastating disease. Start saving NOW, people!

Some quick news…

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

I’m not sure just how much I can say or not say at present, so I’ll just give a quick hint here of something else I’m now involved in… I’ve been asked to provide the cover painting for a charity anthology, scheduled to appear sometime next year in time for the convention season. What I will also say is that, judging from some of the messages already flying into my inbox there are some exciting authors already on-board, with some potentially mind-blowing ones put forward as possibles – if they say yes, then it looks set to be THE anthology of 2011.

Talking of such things, Simon Kurt Unsworth gave a charity reading for Cancer Research at his local shop-branch in Morecambe on Thursday evening. On top of that, some of his wife Wendy’s legendary cakes were on sale too. Much money was raised, but they could always do with more. There were some limited edition chapbooks available of his story The Pennine Tower Restaurant – I don’t know whether there are any of them left, but it might be worth your while contacting Simon to see if there are any still for sale. They only cost £3, a £1 of which goes toward Cancer Research UK’s continuous efforts to find a cure for this devastating disease – thousands are affected every year, and it’s all too likely that every one of us will know someone who has been so affected, or will be. You can contact him through his blog here.

Now, it’s become apparent that I have a whole pile of books here waiting  to be reviewed – so this is a forewarning that I will be going through them this weekend and prioritising which ones I will be looking at first. As I mentioned elsewhere, I will be cutting back my reviewing activities to a more manageable level next year in order to concentrate on my other projects – however, I am a man of my word and there fore I will review what has already been sent to me. I won’t be giving up reviewing entirely, as I enjoy it too much. Apologies to anyone who has sent material but not seen a review yet – I may be tardy, but my reviews are thorough and in-depth.

That’s it on the news front today – there may be a main blog-piece later, but I am opening a bank account for Spectral Press this morning, so I have no idea when I’ll be back. In the meantime, please feel free to wander around the rest of this site, while I go and indulge in some breakfast before venturing outside.

Books galore….

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Just a quick post to tell you about some books I received today, which were:

For review –

The Call of Kerberos (Twilight of Kerberos Book 2), by Jonathan Oliver (Abaddon Books)

The End of the Line, by Various, edited by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris Books)

Especially looking forward to the latter, as I have heard some great things about it and I am attending its launch in London in November- autographs aplenty, mateys… =D

I also received a rather nice book this morning, one that I have already reviewed – Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things by Cate Gardner (Strange Publications). It was signed, of course, by Cate and she also thought to include a signed bookmark, too. But, what really makes it special is what’s on the back cover – above an excerpt from the introduction by Nathaniel Lambert is a quote from my review of the collection, posted at Beyond Fiction some months ago and reposted here a month later. That has really made my day,  even after I managed to lock myself out of the house earlier…. and accidentally insult Steve Duffy by forgetting to include his name in the list of Spectral authors in the previous blog (and of course, I am now suitably contrite)…

Spectral Press update and other plans…

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

It’s been a while since I posted anything about my Spectral Press project , so I thought it a good idea to let you all know what’s happening. So here goes:

For starters, this is the line-up for the first year’s publications:

What They Hear in the Dark, by Gary McMahon (April/May 2011)

The Abolisher of Roses, by Gary Fry (September 2011)

Nowhere Hall, by Cate Gardner (January 2012)

More details and blurb about each very soon. There’ll only be the three in the first year, mainly to judge the kind of reaction to what Spectral has to offer. If it looks like the imprint will be successful then I will increase the frequency to every quarter. My aim, eventually (and this is only maybe), is to publish a chapbook every two months OR two every quarter.

The subscription price for the first year is £10 – I’ll be working out the price very soon for both the rest of the world and the $ price for the US. I’ll be setting up the new bank account tomorrow so that within the next week or two I’ll be able to start accepting subscription payments should anyone wish to take one out.

Other writers who have either agreed to write, or have expressed an interest in writing, for Spectral Press are (in no particular order): Alison Littlewood, Steve Duffy, Thana Niveau, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Steve Lockley, Stephen Volk, Mark West, John Llewellyn Probert, Johnny Mains, Simon Bestwick, Nicholas Royle, RB Russell, Willie Meikle and Angela Slatter. Something for everyone there, I should think. Plus it’ll keep the imprint going for a while….

Jumping the gun maybe, but I am also thinking about Spectral Press in the longer term. This is more of a visualisation exercise than anything else, but this is what I would like to see happening with the imprint.

As well as the main Spectral Press chapbooks, I envision two other, parallel series further down the road:

Spectral Old Masters – republishing ghostly and supernatural tales from the early part of last century and before. I don’t quite know how to go about sourcing public domain/out-of-copyright stories (which, intially, I think they would have to be due to financial constraints) so any help in that quarter appreciated. I imagine them to look something along the lines of the main Spectral line, but with more of a Victorian/Edwardian feel to them.

Spectral Pulp – this would be more of a fun line of chapbooks, giving authors a chance to write something they wouldn’t normally attempt as an hommage to the ‘golden age’ of 50s and 60s pulp publishing. This could take the form of a hard-boiled detective story, or a fantasy story, or maybe a science fiction one, accompanied by some lurid and gloriously technicolour cover artwork that reflects the kind of thing that used to grace newsstands and airport lounge book-racks back in the day. The more outré the better in the last two cases….

Even without the two other ideas coming into being, I’ll be plenty busy enough. This ultimately means that next year I will be cutting back on the reviewing (although the books I have here now will be dealt with, I promise), as I want to concentrate on making Spectral Press the success I think it deserves to be, plus I want to resume my own story-writing. I’ve neglected the latter for far too long, I feel. I have many stories, and story ideas, that I’ve been toying with over the last four or so months, none of which have got very far because of time constraints plus certain personal issues that have deigned to intervene. Those latter are now slowly being resolved, so I should have more time to deal with reviews and Spectral business.

At any rate, I hope you can all join me on-board this exciting new venture. I am definitely looking forward to getting the first chapbook out next year – it promises to be quite an interesting ride.

Dark Fiction Magazine: Press release

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

My good friend and Beyond Fiction collaborator Sharon Ring (who is also the driving force behind the Dark Fiction Review webzine), has joined with Del Lakin-Smith to launch a new online magazine, Dark Fiction Magazine. Who better to tell you all about it than Sharon herself:

LONDON, MIDLANDS AND MANCHESTER, UK, 26 Oct 2010Dark Fiction Magazine ( is pleased to announce the launch of a new service for fans of genre fiction. Beginning Oct 31st (Halloween), Dark Fiction Magazine will be launching a monthly magazine of audio short stories. This is a free service designed to promote genre short fiction to an audience of podcast and radio listeners. A cross between an audio book, an anthology and a podcast, Dark Fiction Magazine is designed to take the enjoyment of short genre fiction in a new and exciting direction.
Dark Fiction Magazine publishes at least four short stories a month: a mix of award-winning shorts and brand new stories from both established genre authors and emerging writers. Each episode will have a monthly theme and feature complementary tales from the three main genres – science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Co-founder Del Lakin-Smith said: “I love reading short stories, and with the increased uptake of mobile and portable devices this really is a growth area. But like many I find I don’t have as much time as I would like to read, so I tend to listen to many podcasts on the go. The idea of replacing my podcasts with high quality, well performed audio short stories is something I find highly appealing, so Sharon and I set about making that a reality.”

Sharon Ring, co-founder of Dark Fiction Magazine, said: “From technophobe to technophile in less than two years; I spend a great deal of time working online. To while away those hours, I like to listen to podcasts and drink copious amounts of strong coffee. Now, while I don’t recommend you drink as much coffee as I, I do recommend you check out what Del and I have created. We love podcasts; we love genre fiction; we built a site to bring the two together.”

The theme of Dark Fiction Magazine’s first episode is The Darkness Descends and will feature four fantastical stories:

  • Maybe Then I’ll Fade Away by Joseph D’Lacey (exclusive to Dark Fiction Magazine)
  • Pumpkin Night by Gary McMahon
  • Do You See? by Sarah Pinborough (awarded the 2009 British Fantasy Society Short Story Award)
  • Perhaps The Last by Conrad Williams

Lined up for future episodes are Pat Cadigan, Cory Doctorow, Jon Courtenay, Grimwood, Ramsey Campbell, Rob Shearman, Kim Lakin-Smith, Ian Whates, Lauren Beukes, Mark Morris, Adam Nevill, Gareth L Powell, Jeremy C Shipp, Adam Christopher, and Jennifer Williams, among others.

With a team of dedicated and passionate narrators, a central recording facility and a love of genre, Dark Fiction Magazine delivers a truly outstanding aural experience.

Dark Fiction Magazine will also be producing special editions with seasonal stories and topical issues, competitions, flash fiction episodes and novel excerpts. Each episode aims to shock and delight, to horrify and confound as Dark Fiction Magazine takes its listeners on an aural tour through the world of genre fiction.

Dark Fiction Magazine is a collaborative project, created and developed by Del Lakin-Smith and Sharon Ring. For further information, contact Del or Sharon at

Book and some news

Posted in Books, News with tags , , , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by simonmarshalljones

Okay, a book plopped on my doorstep this morning that I’d actually forgotten about, but was immensely pleased as it reminded me that Joseph D’Lacey had promised to get it sent to me when I met him at FantasyCon2010 just over a month ago:

When the Night Comes Down, by Joseph D’Lacey, Bev Vincent, Robert E. Weinberg and Nate Kenyon (Dark Arts Books)

In other news, as broadcasters are wont to say, this blog will be featuring more exclusive reviews in the future, reviews which won’t be posted anywhere else. This is simply because I would like to build that side up on this space – I enjoy writing reviews and I just thought it was time to expand the blog to include them rather than ‘reprint’ ones that have already been posted elsewhere. Plus I have a fair amount of books to get through, so another venue will certainly help me in getting them out there.

I will be starting to take Spectral Press subs/pre-orders very soon, within the month in fact. I’ll be setting up the promised bank account the weekend after this one coming, as I had to make an appointment to open one – but there you go and it’ll be getting sorted out very soon.

Right, main dish of the day coming up once I’ve worked out what I am going to write about. =)