Showing posts from July, 2014


Copies of the latest issue are on their way to contributors, reviewers, anthology editors... Oh, and subscribers! I'll be posting copies to overseas subscribers first, but those in the UK should receive their copies in a few days. And here is the cover... Cover art by Sam Dawson. Stay tuned for further developments... Update: go to the 'Buy Supernatural Tales' page (click on the tab above) for all your purchasing options. 

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, w

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...

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...

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 "Echoes" 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, inclu

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 Tale s, 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 term

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 y

New Kindle Edition

It's a slow process, but I'm making ST available on Kindle. You can find the above issue here , for instance. I think ST#16 is pretty good, of course. And it doesn't cost much - £1.79, in fact, or $2.99. So please, give it a try. You won't regret it. What are the stories? Well: 'The Night Watchman' by Gary Fry. What could be more civilized than a game of cricket in a quiet English village? But some players are less than sporting. 'Red Christmas' by Jim Steel. A tale of the Korean War, of old comrades, and a series of strange postcards that prove some old soldiers don't fade away. 'Perfectly Nature' by Jane Jakeman. A weird vignette of maternal instincts misdirected. Or not. 'Adoptagrave' by Jane Jakeman. A short-short story of a meeting in a country churchyard. 'Company' by Ray Russell. Some people are alone at Christmas. And some people ought to be. 'Trouble With the Hob' by Tina Rath. An upbeat tale of supernat

Codex Lilith

Pete 'Cardinal' Cox, the Peripatetic Poet (and sometime Laureate) of Peterborough, has published a new pamphlet of verses. Richly annotated as always (I'm sure I'm not the only annotation junkie out there) Codex Lilith deals with the alternative history of witchcraft - alternative, that is, to the Christian view of them all being devil-worshippers etc. It's always good to know an author whose erudition is a little deeper and whose ideas are a bit stranger. Pete Cox has obviously read widely, and this latest booklet is chock-full of interesting images and information. The first poem, 'Canon Episcopi', looks at the origins of the Church's witch-mania. I'd quite forgotten that the eponymous document spells out what was, for the time (c. 900 AD) a rational view of magic. The Abbott of Treves, Regino of Prum , insisted that witches merely believed that they could do magic. They had no real powers to harm anyone - a literal case of saying  'in you

Writers on Cigarette Cards

First up, the author of 'All Hallows' and 'Crewe'. Always saw him as more of a pipe smoker, if that. He and others can be found at the wonderful digital archive of the New York Public Library. H.G. Wells, best known for his genre-defining science fiction, but also the author of 'The Door in the Wall', 'The Stolen Body', 'Pollock and the Porroh Man', and other weird tales. Again, Blackwood ('The Willows', 'The Wendigo', 'Ancient Sorceries') doesn't strike me as a nicotine addict, but I could be wrong.

The Drawings of Hill House

Over at the Writers' Houses blog you can see some drawings that Shirley Jackson used while working on her famous novel.  The above is a sketch of the path Eleanor takes towards the end of the novel, while below is a very rough plan of an upper storey.

The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Shadows: Vol 2

Last year saw the publication of a collection of stories for hard-core M.R. James enthusiasts. The idea was for authors to write prequels or sequels to tales by MRJ. The winning tales were selected by the legendary Ro Pardoe, editor of Ghosts & Scholars . So successful was the Book of Shadow s that a second competition was launched, and a second volume will be out this autumn. It can be ordered now from Sarob Press . Here are the contents: Introduction by Rosemary Pardoe Peter Bell ~ “The Sands o’ Dee”  C.E. Ward ~ “11334” David Longhorn ~ “Lineage” Elsa Wallace ~ “A Tale from Kildonan” John Howard ~ “Touched” Reggie Oliver ~ “Absalom” Christopher Harman ~ “Slapstick” Rick Kennett ~ “Dolls for Another Day” Derek John ~ “The Desecrator” Helen Grant ~ “The Third Time” Mark Valentine ~ “Character”  John Ward ~ “The Partygoers” Judging by the standard of last year's collection, this book will offer an excellent read. And I need hardly add that it'

Up the Amazon?

Okay, here's the thing. It's been put to me (not for the first time) that ST ought to be available on Amazon. I have dodged this issue rather often down the years, partly due to techno-fear (yet another thing to mess up), but also because of Amazon's questionable influence on the field of publishing. And yet, precisely because Amazon is such a hugely successful business, publishing ST there would almost certainly increase sales, and the profile of contributing authors would rise accordingly. What do you think, gentle reader? I'm grateful for any input, from general opinions to specifics on your own Amazon experiences, especially with regard to Createspace. Thanks, in anticipation.