Monday, 28 July 2014

Issue 27 is officially looming

So, what's in the next issue, eh? Stories, that's what, and here is your at-a-glance guide to what those stories are.

'The House Warming' by John Greenwood. A tale of a family making a new start in the country, and the strange folk they find there.

'Quarry Hogs' by Jane Jakeman. In the 19th century an English gentleman's country estate was his little kingdom. But some kingdoms cannot repel the barbarians at their gates.

'Our Autumnal Passage' by Thomas Stromsholt. 'The quietness made us aware of just how dead the town had become: all the small shops were closed, the cafeteria was empty, no bells sounded from the church, and the streets lay undisturbed by traffic.'

'An To Bury Ring' by Tom Johnstone. An ancient stone circle exerts its influence over those who unwisely - or unwittingly - invoke dark powers.

'Over the Gate' by Aonghus Fallon. 'Maybe love can draw lovers together no matter what stands between them, whether it’s miles or years. Ever since that day I've always reckoned hate is every bit as powerful.'

'The Tagalong' by Sean Logan. A group of Millennials find themselves in a backwoods trailer park. Quiet, isn't it?

'Marshlights' by Marc Lacard. 'I see you in your sorrowful, heavy flesh, and I would make you lighter.'

Further updates to follow.

Kindle Update

All recent issues of ST are now available for Kindle. If you go to the 'Buy Supernatural Tales' page (see tabs above) you can find links to all individual editions via both UK and US Amazon sites. I've also uploaded the first issue.

There are also links to print-on-demand site Lulu for recent issues.

Oh, the next issue? Well, ST#27 is well under way and will be out early next month. See next post for the contents...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Love and Mr. Batchel

Re-reading The Stoneground Ghost Tales of E.G. Swain this last week I was struck by how much I'd forgotten about them. It's conventional wisdom to say that Swain, while obviously resembling M.R. James as an author in some respects, offers cosier fare. This is true, but I wonder how many people have noticed that Swain is also a bit of an old romantic?

Spoiler alert, and all that...

Friday, 18 July 2014

Dreams of Shadow and Smoke

The Swan River Press is preparing to launch a volume of new stories to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of J. Sheridan Le Fanu. It looks very impressive. Here's a list of the contents:

"A Preliminary Word"
Jim Rockhill & Brian J. Showers

"Seaweed Tea"
Mark Valentine

"Let the Words Take You"
Angela Slatter

"Some Houses — A Rumination"
Brian J. Showers

Martin Hayes

"Alicia Harker's Story"
Sarah LeFanu

"Three Tales from a Townland"
Derek John

"The Corner Lot"
Lynda E. Rucker

"Rite of Possession"
Gavin Selerie

"A Cold Vehicle for the Marvellous"
Emma Darwin

"Princess on the Highway"
Peter Bell

'Editors Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers are long-time admirers of J.S. Le Fanu's ghost stories and novels of gothic suspense. Between them they have worked on several Le Fanu-related projects, including the collected supernatural stories, a bibliography, and a series of chapbooks. They also sit on the editorial board of Le Fanu Studies, and with Gary W. Crawford edited the Stoker Award-nominated volume Reflections in a Glass Darkly: Essays on J. Sheridan Le Fanu.'

It's nice to see a healthy number of ST contributors in there. Also, of course, Sarah LeFanu, a familiar name (and voice) to those of us who listen to Radio 4. Swan River is currently accepting orders.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Stoneground Ghost Tales

A new publisher, The Midnight Press, has brought out a nice, reasonably-priced paperback edition of E.G. Swain's classic collection. 

The man behind the new imprint, Ken Mackenzie, has 'taken the bull by the horns and realised a long-held dream by creating a press that publishes books using classic design and typesetting principles'. This is certainly true of The Stoneground Ghost Tales, which looks very stylish and has eminently readable print in roomy margins.

This seems as good a time to recommend this book to furnish that old spooky library I keep talking about. It certainly offers a few pleasant hours' reading. Swain's tales could hardly be more firmly rooted in the Jamesian tradition.

As chaplain of King's College, Cambridge, E(dmund) G(ill) Swain was lucky to hear M.R. James' famous Christmas readings of his stories. Swain's own fiction has a Jamesian feel, but the ideas are somewhat tamer. They are, however, at least as good in terms of plot and characterisation - the Rev. Roland Batchel and his circle are as believable as any characters in classic ghostly fiction. 

I can't help including a wonderful extract from one of the stories that has nothing to do with the supernatural, but does give me a frisson of horror. In 'The Place of Safety', Mr Batchel's friend Mr Wardle sets him straight on the whole antiquarian business: 
'... it annoyed him to see his host poring over (...) documents which he contemptuously alluded to as 'dirty papers'. "If you would throw those things away, Batchel," he used to say, "and read the Daily Mail, you'd be a better man for it.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Ghost Story Awards

Announcing new annual awards devoted to the classic ghost story tradition…

Three stalwarts of the classic ghost story have combined to launch new awards for the Best Ghost Story and the Best Ghost Story Collection each year. The journals Ghosts & Scholars and Supernatural Tales and the literary society A Ghostly Company will jointly sponsor the awards. The winners will be chosen by votes of their readers and members. 

The trio will interpret the term ‘ghost story’ broadly, to mean any supernatural motif. The classic exponents of the field did not always write about ghosts, but also about a wide range of other uncanny entities, and sometimes left room for doubt too. The awards will cover new stories in a similar range.

The first awards will be made in 2015 for stories and books first published in English in 2014. Voters will be able to name up to three choices for each award. Readers and members are asked to think about who they would like to vote for throughout the year. The book award may be for either a single-author collection or a multiple-author anthology. Votes will be requested early in 2015. 

The awards will be made to the story and book receiving the most votes. As a safeguard, Award Administrators will exceptionally be able to disqualify any win resulting from unfair practice. 

The award winners will each receive a specially commissioned statuette and a year’s free membership or subscription to A Ghostly Company, Supernatural Tales and The Ghosts & Scholars Newsletter

Enquiries to the Awards Secretary – Mark Valentine, Rules available on request.