Thursday 30 July 2009

Much Cackling... is not a village in Somerset

There's a place called Wookey Hole*, and this week they recruited a witch. Not a 'proper' witch, but a witch to give the place the authentic feel of a cynosure of dark forces and so on. Something for the kiddies, in other words. Though looking at the successful applicant, 'Carla Calamity', I suspect there's also 'something for the dads' going on here. Ms Calamity, aka Carole Bohanan, is a former estate agent, and is therefore moving down the career ladder, at least with regard to evil deeds, tee-hee. You can see a fairly detailed report with more pictures here. She has a good hat, though but. I always think witches should have decent headgear, though apparently the only formal job requirements were an ability to cackle and no allergy to cats.

*Wookey Hole is only rude if you are a Star Wars fan. And are rude thinking, obviously.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Vote, vote, vote...

People are voting for their favourite story in ST15. I'm not giving anything away by saying that Huw Langridge is currently winning, with his cracking tale of strange doings by the seaside, 'Last Train to Tassenmere'. It's early days yet. So, readers, get voting. Only a few have bothered so far. But if you have an opinion, why not make it known? 

Friday 24 July 2009

Lovecraftian Interrogation

Not by a creature with tentacles, no - by John Humphreys, one of those grumpy old men on the telly. I meant to post this ages ago. I thought she did rather well. How many did you get right? No cheating...

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Buy Some Haunted History!

Forgot to mention in my last post that some of the Haunted History booklets from Swan River Press can be purchased from the authors via PayPal. The place to go is here. The booklets are as interesting as they are diverse. To summarise my review in ST15 - Gary McMahon's Brutal Spirits is about a haunting in the horrible 'Get Carter' car park in Gateshead, which is currently being demolished - and not before time. The Nanri Papers by Edward Crandall is a must-have for anyone who - like me - loves those crazy Japanese ghost movies set in high schools. The Red House at Munstereifel, by Helen Grant, is different again. Here we have a collection of papers about old-time witch mania in Germany. Authentic? You, the reader, must decide!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Haunted History

In ST15 I mention the series of Haunted History booklets printed by Brian J. Showers over in Dublin. I claimed that they are out of print, mostly, but this is not strictly true. Some can still be obtained from the various authors. Peter Bell in York has some copies of his fascinating 'On the Apparitions at Gray's Court'. These apparitions occurred at a fascinating and very characterful old building that Peter worked in and was kind enough to show me not so long ago. He informs me that booklets cost five pounds each, including postage and packing. If you want to get in touch with Peter his email address is:

Wednesday 15 July 2009

I get email and even real letters about stuff!

First, the sort of unalloyed praise I thrive on (hint, hint).

Dear David,
Just to say congratulations on the excellent ST 15 and I am so glad you
have recovered from the eye operation, which must have been a very
stressful time. All the best, Jane Jakeman.

Jane is a writer of historical mystery novels. Her story 'The Demon Lover' will be appearing in ST very soon. Well, soon-ish. Next up, an American in Dublin puts me straight about what may the most complex publishing venture EVAH!


Supernatural Tales 15 arrived this morning! Many thanks for the review of the Haunted History series! I will forward your kind words on to the writers. Do you mind if I use snippets of the review on my website where applicable?

Just a few comments: I don't think any of the booklets are "out of print"--the ones that don't appear for sale on my website were only ever obtainable privately through the authors. (Although I have seen some of the other titles appear in places like Cold Tonnage, etc.) But as far as I know, anyone with enough determination can still get copies of all the booklets!

"Blind Man's Box" appeared in MASQUES OF SATAN, but it was written originally for this series and published as a booklet in June 2007. Unfortunately I had to send you photocopies of this one as I no longer have any copies of my own! Similarly, Mark Valentine's story "The Seer of Trieste" was written for this series, but it also appears in his new collection THE NIGHTFARERS (which I hear is landing on doorsteps today!) A new Valentine collection is always cause for celebration!

If you liked these stories, you'll be happy to know that I'm in the final stages of editing an anthology called HAUNTED HISTORIES for Ex Occidente Press. Can't say when it will be out exactly, but the contents will include all six stories you've read, plus seven or eight new stories written especially for the book! It's my first real foray, aside from my humble booklets, into editing... fingers crossed!

Thanks again! I look forward to the stories! Especially the one by Rosalie Parker!


Crikey, he's keeping busy. Find out more about Brian here.

Also re: ST15, I've received a letter from my old friend David G. Rowlands about the collection The Other Passenger by John Keir Cross. I'll be printing his comments in full in ST16. If you don't know David's work, try to get your hands on one of his collections of traditional, beautifully-crafted ghost stories. Mind you, they're not cheap. His collection The Executor is selling for a hefty seventy-five quid on AbeBooks at the moment.

And yet more stuff keeps arriving. My friend and assistant editor Katherine Haynes is putting together a chapbook of her stories to make 30 years in publishing. This means she started when she a mere slip of a girl. Anyway, she decided that her collection - Daydreams and Nightmares - would benefit (if that's the word) from an introduction by me. I wrote one a while ago, but she's changed the contents slightly so I'm doing another one. She has sent me the new story entitled 'The Cupped Hands'. Katherine tells me she deliberately tried to think up a title Machen might have used. I think she's got it right.

It's all go here at Chateau Valdemar. I've just had some ice cream - Lyle's Golden Syrup Flavour - and now I must set to with a will.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Saltwell Park 2

More from Kate Rusby, too - a reprise of 'Village Green' and a rather sad farewell to England. Odd choice for a celebration of a park, you may think, but who am I to judge? The point is that this time you see a bit more of the many interesting features. I really must buy a decent camera.

Friday 10 July 2009

Old School

Gradually the embers grew paler; the figures in the tapestry more shadowy; the columned and curtained bed loomed out vaguer; the room seemed to fill with greyness; and my eyes wandered to the mullioned bow-window, beyond whose panes, between whose heavy stone-work, stretched a greyish-brown expanse of sere and sodden park grass, dotted with big oaks; while far off, behind a jagged fringe of dark Scotch firs, the wet sky was suffused with the blood-red of the sunset. Between the falling of the raindrops from the ivy outside, there came, fainter or sharper, the recurring bleating of the lambs separated from their mothers, a forlorn, quavering, eerie little cry.

Vernon Lee: 'Oke of Okehurst'

Monday 6 July 2009

My Local Park

A vital insight into my fascinating life. The music is performed by Kate Rusby, but of course it was Ray Davies who wrote it. Gosh, we English are so quirky.

I like walking in the park when the weather is reasonable. At the moment it is flipping mental, with torrential rain and hail today. Good grief. Right, back to the envelopes.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Life is but a groaning shadow...

New book, new book! Paul Finch, whose work has appeared in ST and is therefore officially good, has a new book out. It's from Grey Friar Press. 

Supernatural Tales 56 - contents

The next issue - due out in the autumn - will see a mixture of familiar names and some newbies. I hope, as always, that the stories find fav...