British Film Institute event


On Wednesday 18th December, at 6:10pm, the British Film Institute in London will be hosting an event called Shades of Darkness as part of their Gothic Season, where the dramatised ghost story Feet Foremost will be shown, to be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Matthew Sweet, featuring actor Reece Shearsmith, author Helen Wheatley, and A Ghost Story for Christmas director Lawrence Gordon Clark. Spectral will be there in the guise of publisher Simon Marshall-Jones and Tony Earnshaw (editor of the new Spectral volume on Lawrence’s contribution to British genre television); paperback copies of The Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark will be available for sale and signing on the night, as well as order forms for those wanting the hardback edition (which will be available next month).

"The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark", Cover image ©  1971 - 2013 Graeme Morris. Design by John Oakey.

“The Christmas Ghost Stories of Lawrence Gordon Clark”, Cover image © 1971 – 2013 Graeme Morris. Design by John Oakey.

Tickets for the event can be bought here.

Do please come along if you can!

Fantastiq – the Festival of Fantasy, Sci-Fi & Horror

Fantastiq banner ident NEW

It is with great pleasure that Spectral can announce that we will be at Fantastiq – the Festival of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror, held on Friday 9th August – Sunday 11th August 2013 at the Derby Quad, Derby, UK. We will be sponsoring an evening with Stephen Volk on the Friday from about 5pm onwards. There will be a Q&A on Stephen’s contribution to and career in genre television and cinema, including his involvement in the infamous Ghostwatch drama, as well as his other films and series, and, of course, he will also be talking about his latest novella Whitstable (from which Stephen will be performing a short reading). Simon Marshall-Jones will be taking part for at least a small part of the Q&A as well, to talk about the novella from the publisher’s perspective.

Following the Q&A there will be a signing session, where Whitstable will receive its second official launch, and there will be copies of the paperback for sale on the night. After the signing, Spectral is proud to present a showing of the 1958 Dracula, starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, a scene from which features in the novella itself.
Hope to see you there!
For more details of the event, please go here.

Reviews and news – 22:04:2103

Creakers front cover by Neil Williams

To start the week off, here’s a new, short review of Paul Kane’s Spectral chapbook Creakers – this one is from Theresa Derwin and has been posted to her Terror Tree blog. You can read what Theresa thought of it here.



This month’s issue of Fortean Times (#301 – cover above), the magazine that brings to light all the weirdness this world has to offer, has extensive coverage of Peter Cushing’s centenary, including a long article by Stephen Volk on the actor and his reasons for writing Whitstable. There are also quotes from various luminaries of the horror world about Cushing’s influence on them in their formative years and also why he’s so important to the genre. Also featured is a two page extract from the novella to whet your appetite – the issue will be available soon from your favourite newsstand.

As you know, the book is being launched next month at the Whitstable Museum on the evening of 25th May between 5pm-6:30pm. Stephen Volk will be joined on stage by Wayne Kinsey for a spirited Q&A session, who will also be launching his own book, The PC Scrapbook, the same weekend. Tickets are extremely limited, so secure your place to this event NOW! Tickets can be bought from here.

Whitstable book launch

Whitstable cover image

Spectral is very proud to announce that Stephen Volk’s Whitstable novella will launched in… WHITSTABLE MUSEUM, WHITSTABLE, KENT on 25th May 2013 between 5pm & 6:30pm, as a part of the Whit Lit Festival – a very fitting place in which to do so.  There will be a Q&A session with Stephen, and afterwards there will a book signing (Spectral will be there with both hardbacks and paperbacks for sale). This is a ticketed event, and entry will cost £6 – tickets can be obtained from either Whit Lit Festival or TicketSource. Places are extremely limited, so if any of you lovely people intend to go please secure your ticket today!

Whitstable is a beautifully picturesque maritime town on the northeast Kent coast, famous for its Oyster Festival and, of course, the place where Helen and Peter Cushing decided to live in the course of Helen’s illness. The environs of Whitstable have been inhabited since paleolithic times and the town was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Its oysters have achieved fame throughout the world, and have been harvested since at least Roman times. We here at Spectral can’t think of a more wonderfully appropriate setting in which to officially launch this literary tribute to one of Britain’s finest actors.

This promises to be an absolutely scintillating event – look forward to seeing you there!

Season’s Greetings from Spectral!

Spectral Xmas Greeting

We would like to wish all our customers, past, present & future, the most joyful of Christmases and a Peaceful and Fulfilling New Year! We will be back soon, with some new and exciting projects!

Watch out for our end of year assessment blog coming very soon!

Simon & Liz Marshall-Jones

PS: All the copies of The 13 Ghosts of Christmas will be sent out after Christmas now, due to the late delivery of the books to us. We sincerely apologise for the delay, but this really was out of our hands! Thanks for your patience!

Monday morning goodness: 29th October 2012

Various bits of news to get through this morning, so you won’t find us dallying on this beautifully sunny but cold autumn day:

What Gets Left Behind cover image

First up is a new review of Mark West’s What Gets Left Behind, the latest in Spectral’s renowned chapbook line. This one’s from Stanley Riiks, editor of the Morpheus Tales Review Supplement, which he has posted (due to space restrictions in the latest Supplement) on his own blog. We particularly like this quote:

“I can’t remember when I’ve read a short story this good. West has done a grand job and the usually excellent quality of the Spectral Press chapbooks is nudged up to stunning with this.”

The rest of the review can be read here.


Whitstable cover image

Last Friday we revealed the cover (by stellar artist Ben Baldwin – above) to the forthcoming Spectral Visions novella from Stephen Volk (GhostwatchAfterlife), Whitstable. Although the book won’t be published until next May, in time to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the English actor and wonderful human being Peter Cushing, it has already generated quite a lot of interest and reservations are already being made. To make what promises to be a great book even better, Spectral has arranged a superb deal with Cosmic Hobo Productions: for a special price, not only will you get the limited signed and numbered hardback edition of the book, but you’ll also get a 2 x CD audiobook of Peter Cushing reading his memoirs of the Hammer years, Past Forgetting. You can reserve your copies of both book and CDs by contacting us on spectralpress[AT]gmail[DOT]com. This is sure to be a popular book, so get those reservations in today!

You might also like to know that Stephen will be appearing with revered genre writer Ramsey Campbell at the Newcastle Winter Book Festival on Saturday November 24th 2012 at 6:45pm at the Literary & Philosophical Society, 23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 1SE. He will be previewing Whitstable at the event, details of which can be obtained here.

Finally, to wrap things up, we are proud to announce that the thirteenth story in the first Spectral Ghost Story Annual (The Thirteen Ghosts of Christmas) will be John Forth’s The Green ClearingJohn joins the host of other fine writers (details here) whose stories have made it into what we here at Spectral Towers hope will become an annual tradition looked forward to by all lovers of spooky tales! Congratulations John!

Onwards and upwards!!

FantasyCon 2012: A spectacular success

It has to be said that, without a shadow of a doubt, this year’s FantasyCon was THE best one we’ve attended. Certainly, from Spectral’s perspective, this was undoubtedly an unqualified success – but more on that later.

The Spectral staffers (all two of us) journeyed to the seaside resort of Brighton on the south coast of the UK on the Thursday, mainly because we wanted to be feeling refreshed when the con proper started the next day. Nevertheless, on that same evening we stopped by the venue and met up with some old friends, and eventually we, along with Mark Morris, Sarah Pinborough, Rio Youers, Tim Lebbon, Gary & Emily McMahon, and Gardner Goldsmith, stomped off for an Italian meal in a nearby restaurant. Superb start to the weekend.

Friday started pretty blurrily until we had coffee, then everything swam into focus nicely. We spent the day meeting some more old friends, as well as making a lot of new ones. Spectral didn’t have much to do that day, except a book launch later on in the evening – most of the afternoon was spent worrying whether the hardbacks of John L. Probert’s The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine would turn up. Talk about cutting it fine! However, they did turn up , as did the paperback editions – sighs of relief all round.

The launch itself was an absolute blinder – John Probert’s bombastic introduction completely stole the show and, more to the point, the launch room was packed with eager punters – some to collect their hardback copies and others wanting to get their sweaty hands on the paperbacks. We were all kept busy, Simon taking the money (and then handing it on to his wife Lizzie for safekeeping) and John busily scribbling his signature on to the insides of books AND on the poster that came with it. By the time all was over, both Spectral staffers were somewhat shellshocked at how well the event had gone, and John was over the moon at the book’s reception.

Inevitably, then, Saturday was a late start for us, due to sheer exhaustion from the night before. However, a full English breakfast sorted that out. Saturday morning turned out to be a lot quieter than the previous two days, and that afternoon, Mike Powell (our generous host, who let us stay at his flat for the weekend), took us on a Belgian beer tour of Brighton, which left at least one of us feeling a tad worse for wear. The Belgians really do know how the craft their ales.

Luckily, however, when it came time for the Spectral at the Movies reading event later that evening, the effects of the beer had worn off and mellowness had taken its place. The reading was also a great success, with Stephen Volk reading a passage from his Spectral Visions novella Whitstable (due in May next year), which is certainly one of the most heartfelt tributes to its main protagonist, Peter Cushing, that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Many of the attendees echoed that sentiment. Stephen’s quiet reading was followed by the larger than life John Llewellyn Probert, who read a part of chapter two of The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine. We all judged the reading a very great success.

The Spectral staffers decided to skip the now-traditional Saturday night FCon disco because, in all honesty, our bones couldn’t have managed it. Instead, we crawled home, tired but happy, and as soon as we fell into bed we were unconscious.

Sunday was an early start, as one of us was moderating the only panel of the day, at 10am,  ‘Marketing for Newcomers’.  The stage was shared with Peter Mark May, Charles Christian and Trevor Denyer (Chris Teague of Pendragon Press was also meant to be participating, but he was attending the British Fantasy Society AGM at the time). A great discussion ensued, marred only by the fact that there was no PA and a loud air-conditioning system, necessitating some shouting just to be heard. The hour went swiftly by, however, and all the panellists seemed to have made a good impression on the early-bird audience.

And so to the high-point of the weekend: the British Fantasy Society Awards. As you know, Spectral was nominated in two categories – King Death by Paul Finch in the Short Fiction category and the imprint itself in the PS Publishing Independent Press Award. Sadly, Spectral didn’t win in either, however just being nominated in the Awards was sufficient. One annoying little disappointment spoiled the event: King Death was inexplicably left out of the nomination announcements for the Short Fiction category. Other than that, everything went very smoothly.

Congratulations are due to ALL the winners this year, meaning that the genre is definitely in safe hands. ONE award winner we MUST mention in particular: our good friend Adam Nevill winning the award for best horror novel, with The Ritual. Certainly it was well deserved!

To conclude, a mightily successful event. There’s no FantasyCon next year – however, there IS World Fantasy Con instead, for which we’ve already bought our tickets. THAT is guaranteed to be TRULY spectacular!

Onwards and upwards!

FantasyCon: the 2012 edition

FantasyCon 2012 logo

It’s that time of the year once more, when the widely dispersed clans of Writers, Publishers and Editors all gather in some hotel somewhere (in the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton again this year) and chat about all things genre and books. This year, unlike our previous attendances, things are slightly different for us: we have a book launch going on, a reading to host, a panel to moderate and an awards ceremony to be nervous about. In between we shall be meeting up with various people to talk ‘business’ over drinks, and we are hoping to be able to report some good things when we get back in terms of new novellas and chapbooks. Spectral is definitely going through some exciting times, and we have a feeling that even better things will be coming your way in 2013 and beyond!

Anyway, for those interested, here’s our FantasyCon schedule for this year:

Friday 28th September, Bar Rogue, 9pm – 10pm: launch of The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine by John Llewellyn Probert. There will be free wine, and John will be signing both the hardbacks and the paperbacks. Posters will also be given away as well as Spectral badges.

Saturday 29th September, Readings Room 134, 9:30pm – 10pm: Spectral at the Movies reading, with Stephen Volk and John L. Probert.

Sunday 30th September, Fitzherbert Room, 10 am – 11am: Panel, Market Information for Newcomers, with Christopher Teague (Pendragon Press) and Peter Mark May (Hersham Horror).

Sunday 30th September, Regency Lounge, 1pm onwards: nervously pacing up and down and biting fingernails at the Awards Ceremony….

If any of you out there are planning on attending, then please do make yourself known to us. This promises to be a great event, the highlight of the year, and what a great setting into the bargain. There will be a further post nearer the time with more details of the event itself, such as Guests of Honour and the programme of events due to be held.

More news soon!

Christmas Ghost Story Annual: deadline reminder

Spectral LogoJust a very quick blogpost from us this morning, to remind everyone that the deadline for submissions for the first Christmas Ghost Story Annual (due this December) is THIS coming Saturday, 30th June. If you’re intending to submit, then you MUST get your story in by midnight GMT on Saturday night. Thank you!

Good luck to all those who will be submitting and those who already have!

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!

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