Nicky and I had a blast of a time in Hull last weekend

. . . when we met up with Martin Goodman at Waterstones, where lots of fans (plus several of his PhD students) gathered to listen to the author read an extract from FOREVER KONRAD. Questions followed and sales were brisk—hurrah!—and we crowned the whole event with my buying more books <sigh!> and pausing in the fun’n’games for a coffee and a piece of cake before heading north east on the clumpety Hornsea road. It wasn’t too long before the guano-besmirched dark brick walls and familiar gargoyle-festooned outline of PS Towers loomed into view against the traditionally grey and windswept backdrop of the North Sea.

Of course, it’s been a God-given week for spookiness . . .

. . . what with Hallowe’en descending on us right in the middle of a visit from Tim, Zoe and toddler CC—I tell ya, you would not BELIEVE the energy that girl has, and still barely four years old. Naturally, she wanted all rooms and corridors decorated with all manner of appropriate fare . . . thus gnomes, Frankenstein monsters, vampires plus several fine pieces recently purchased from some of the town’s more bizarre outlets barely a stone’s throw from the sea, where truly observant visitors might glimpse cadaverous ghouls and even tentacled oddities struggling through the surf and the waiting darkness, all heading for the popular retreat that is PS Towers . . . where those who walk and work do so in careful collusion.

I must say that it was a great honour to be told by a clutch of parents that they had been given instructions by their kids to make sure they were taken to the town’s manse of mystery and malevolent mayhem; indeed, one nervous mum (whose spectacularly attired seven- or eight-year-old I chased along the road grunting grandly as candies and chocolate spilled from his little orange pumpkinhead carrier) referred to me as “that maniac in the big house:” ya know, compliments just don’t come any better than that, for my money.

On a slightly more serious side, we just received this from Phil Treagus:

I am emailing from www.thereadinglists.com—a website dedicated to inspiring people all over the world to read great books. We have recently compiled a very special article, which included a brilliant contribution from one of your published authors, Ramsey Campbell.
 The article is entitled;
The Scariest Books Ever Written, and is a special release for Hallowe’en.  I am currently in the process of reaching out to all involved and asking for their support in promoting this special reading list to ensure maximum exposure for all of our guests who contributed.
It’s common for the associated publishing company to place a link on their news/blog/press page, and to promote our articles via their social media; and if you’d like to help us out – the article can be found here:

thereadinglists.com/scariest-books-ever-written

Thank you so much, your support for our project is greatly appreciated.  I really hope you’re well, and happy Halloween!  Best wishes, Phil Treagus

And now, with all this talk about Hallowe’en, here’s Pete mid-afternoon on Hallowe’en at a nearby pick’your-own pumpkins field.

GORILLA IN MY ROOM by Jack Ketchum

Anyways, what the heck, let’s talk about books—and lookee here, Fester, there’s a GORILLA IN MY ROOM.

Yessir, that’s a fairly clumsy switch to Jack Ketchum’s new collection for Cemetery Dance. I met Jack just the once, maybe a decade ago at Providence’s wonderful NeCon Convention and he proved to be a lot of fun . . . though his work can be a far cry from something you could read aloud to your kids (take it from me: get ‘em to hit the big three-oh first!). But GORILLA IN MY ROOM is a true guilty pleasure, full of the horror and terror we've come to love and expect from the author Stephen King has called, "one of the best in the business."

What Jack has crafted in these stories are portrayals of the starkest, darkest aspects of the human condition, enthralling, expertly constructed, and very very powerful. Some will put a lump in your throat. Some will have you squirming. Some might be so intense and disturbing that they leave you no choice but to put it aside for a while, catch your breath, and finish when you've worked up the guts. But one of the stories here—‘Bully’—was a commission from me for POSTSCRIPTS issue #22/23 from 2010, so he definitely does have a soft side (though I’ll bet he hates me saying that!).

We have twenty copies available, all numbered from a total print run of 750 copies priced at just £30 plus postage. Get ‘em while they last, kids. This is fiction that does far more than ‘entertain,’ and it goes far beyond what we expect when we read ‘horror.’ No haunted houses here, gang. The only monsters are the very worst kind: humans.

And here we make up a CD brace with just three copies available of Bentley Little’s THE HANDYMAN.

Bentley is another alumnus of POSTSCRIPTS and here he tells the story of Daniel Martin. Daniel has never forgotten his childhood encounters with Frank Watkins, the man who built his family a summer home out of cardboard and plywood. Frank's gaze was oddly confusing, as if he was attempting to discern the proper way to behave because he didn't know how to respond in a human manner, almost like an alien trying to pretend to be human. Since Frank obviously wasn't an alien, Daniel thought maybe the man was crazy. In the end, young Daniel would learn the terrifying truth about Frank Watkins. And as an adult, Daniel is about to discover there are more of them out there. Just three signed copies at £30.

And finally, let’s turn the brace into a triptych, with I’LL BRING YOU THE BIRDS FROM OUT OF THE SKY by Brian Hodge.

When Nona Conklin brings him a painting by the great-grandfather she never knew, gallery owner Timothy Randolph knows he's found the project of a lifetime: curating a spectacular cache of folk art hidden for decades in the mountains of her home. 

"God never made a lazier man than Cecil Conklin. Never put a more slothful soul in a fella big enough to wrestle an ox to the ground."

The Conklin Collection is haunted and haunting, powerful in its brutal simplicity. What looks like the work of a fevered imagination begins to appear more and more like the desperate attempts of a man toiling at the edge of his limits to depict what cannot be depicted . . . An underlying order as old as the hills, its thousand throats concealed beneath the roots and rocks, between the streams and trees, deep in the besieged mountains of Appalachia.

"My momma said it was their eighteenth summer when Cecil started shooting up like a weed again. That ain't normal." But the most crucial painting of all is missing. And the only place it could be is the last place that should be searched.

"The rest, I think they always knew deep down Cecil was the one in trouble, that something was after him already. He never should've gone over the mountain."

I’LL BRING YOU THE BIRDS FROM OUT OF THE SKY is a tale of art and obsession, of a dying heritage and cosmic horror, brought to rustic life with full-color paintings by artist Kim Parkhurst. We have 18 copies available priced at just £30.

Time for an update on what’s bin did and what’s bin hid.

Over to Nicky for a full sounding:

Thanks, Pete: here goes. First off are the deliveries of titles that we have had from TJI:

For those who don’t already know we now have copies of EXTRASOLAR edited by Nick Gevers in stock.

The unsigned edition of FOREVER KONRAD by Martin Goodman is also in stock.

ILLUSTRATED LOVECRAFT- Volume 11 to 14 edited by S.T.Joshi and illustrated by the wonderful Peter Von Sholly are now snuggled in the Unit away from the autumn winds giggling away and wondering where they are going to be posted to next.

WE ARE THE MARTIANS—we have just had more copies of the unsigned edition delivered so all those customers waiting patiently for their copy will be pleased to know that their order will be posted out next week.

Next on the list of good news is that the signed edition of the anthology TALES FROM THE MISKATONIC UNIVERSITY LIBRARY edited by John Ashmead and Darrell Schweitzer has had the signing sheets tipped in and will be landing in Hornsea on Wednesday. Hurrah! I hear you all shout.

And to complete the delivery list we will be receiving the delivery of the slipcases from our manufacturer McCarthy’s. They are THE FIRST FIFTEEN LIVES OF HARRY AUGUST by Claire North and BORN TO THE DARK by Ramsey Campbell.

This last piece of great news means that we will be able to send out both these titles next week.

That’s all the good news for now. WE ARE THE MARTIANS signing sheets are still doing the rounds so that signed edition will not be ready until they are back home and with Nigel to be tipped in. The same applies to the signed edition of the anthology DARKER COMPANIONS edited by Scott Aniolowski and Joseph Pulver.

Thanks once again for your patience. If you are waiting for a title that I’ve not mentioned above then bear with us. I’ll update you again next week if we have any news. 

Thanks, Nicky—gee whiz—I need to lie down.

So that’s it for this week, folks.

We all of us have a lot of reading to catch up on, particularly Mike who took All Hallows off and drove to Sussex (arguably the Haight Ashbury of England). There have been consequences, folks—he tells us he’s fallen in love with prog and acid folk music . . . so he’s now thickening his beard, slurring his words, saying ‘like’ a lot, calling everybody ‘Man’ and who knows what else it’ll lead to. In fact, I caught him out of my eye standing on one leg and pretending to play a flute. Next thing we know, Sheryl will be wearing daisy chains and singing ‘Woodstock’—where’s it all gonna end?!

Have a wonderful weekend, look after each other . . . and happy reading.

Mike, no . . . now that’s it: no sitar!

Pete

 

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Website www.pspublishing.co.uk

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