Well, it was a funny old Christmas that one with a plethora of board games, a couple of jigsaw puzzles, a veritable bounty of TV programmes and old b&w movies, great food and fab drinks, books and mags aplenty, pretty damn near wall to wall music, much snoozing, regular walks along the seafront and the promenade, and even a surprise prezzie in the shape of a very special telephone conversation . . . delivered on one of the beach walks I just mentioned. So you’re probably wondering what was special.
Well, it’s a mighty uber-special gift I want to mention starting first with the phone call. The call came on the Saturday before Christmas Day, from Andy Cox, Main Man of Interzone magazine who wanted to know if I fancied taking on IZ’s production reins, thereby giving Andy a well-earned break. As you might imagine, I did express interest—you may have heard me—so I put calls in to Nicky and Mike and headed homeward as fast as poss.
It’s now the first Thursday evening in the new year and many more conversations have taken place and we’re all of us still pretty excited. . . but there was one additional piece for the jigsaw that I haven’t mentioned and it’s a fundamental element—we needed to establish an editor. We had the product—no problem. We had a publisher—so no problem again. And we had a designer. But we didn’t have an editor. That omission was dealt with quickly and, I’m pleased to say, positively. So folks, say a big hello to Ian Whates, head honcho of the award-winning New Con Press. Ian is fair buzzing about the whole thing and has already been on the phone with Mike discussing ideas for the design.
Of course, there's a whole bunch of minutiae to deal with to ensure a smooth transition, but I can promise you, there’ll be more things to come on this fantastic news item—just wait and see.
So onwards and upwards and over to Nicky for her usual update piece.
As I mentioned in last week's newsletter there has been a manufacturing problem with THE DEAD ZONE. The printers now know exactly what has happened and are preparing themselves to make everything right. We have checked through all the copies in the unit and approximately ninety percent of them will be collected by TJ Books this Friday. The remaining few which are in great condition will be posted out the following week.
The copies that were sent to our trade customers in the USA are being checked by the customers and TJ Books are in the process of finding out the best way to bring them back to the factory. What a ta-do! But we must keep calm in all this adversity.
Bear in mind that all the companies that we work with are also having to deal with the new lockdown which has meant reassessing the government guidelines and organising a suitable way of working that keeps everyone safe.
I will keep you posted about developments in the newsletter and Tamsin will send out messages if there are updates.
Nigel at Biddles has sent me an update about all the signed editions that are waiting for their sheets to be tipped in.
We are still waiting for the signing sheets for THE WHITE LIBRARY by Paul Voermans.
But, next Wednesday 13th January, they plan to deliver copies of the deluxe GASLIGHT, GHOSTS AND GHOULS: A tribute to R. Chetwynd Hayes edited by Stephen Jones.
Also in that delivery will be copies of Daniele Serra’s ARTBOOK both editions. If copies arrive early we will be able to start preparing orders for packing on Thursday but if not, then it will definitely be happening early the following week beginning 18th January.
On Monday 18th January, they plan to deliver the signed editions of our first three Absinthe Books titles; MR SANDMAN by SJI Holliday; BROKEN THINGS: A Tale of Durston by George Mann; and ON THE SHOULDERS OF OTAVA by Laura Mauro.
And also in that same delivery; THE BIG BLIND by Lavie Tidhar; ; THROUGH THE STORM by Rosalie Parker and WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD by R.B. Russell. It's going to be a very busy week in the postage and packing department!
Copies of NIGHT SHIFT by Stephen King should be travelling from Cemetery Dance very soon. I know they are in the middle of sorting it all at the moment. We are hoping for copies by the end of January.
Finally a quick update about the signed edition of THE UNQUIET DREAMER: A tribute to Harlan Ellison edited by Preston Grassmann. I have both the signing sheets but one signature is missing. At the moment the author is in South Africa but is about to return to Canada. I’ve decided that instead of sending out the signing sheet in question I will be sending a specially prepared sticky label which the author will sign and we will then add this to the signing sheet. The author is not at fault at all. It was more to do with lockdown restrictions on post in one country and then the worry of posting anything out to South Africa.
I’m going to hand it over to Mike to finish off this news piece. It’s in response to customer queries about posting abroad now that we have exited the European Union.
POST BREXIT POSTAGE UPDATE
We've spoken to Royal Mail who handle the majority of our post and they say the main change for us is that from January 1st we will be required to attach customs declaration forms to all goods being sent abroad, including to EU destinations. We are also required to do this additional admin electronically which we are told will make for a smoother transition through customs and hopefully, quicker deliveries.
Prior to Brexit, postal prices to EU countries were VAT-exempt or subject to VAT at 20%. From 1 January, we are expecting VAT on postage to EU destinations to change to zero-rated, which is very welcome news. However, as Royal Mail points out, this is subject to current EU and UK government advice, and changes, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out further down the line.
They also point out that the current COVID-related surcharges that have made international postage so much more expensive, are likely to remain in place until the pandemic is under control and air freight availability returns to normal levels. This, of course, applies to our customers in US, Canada, Australia and other worldwide locations.
In addition to Royal Mail, we have enlisted the services of UPS for faster, fully tracked courier deliveries. You will soon be able to select this option when ordering from our main PS and PS2 websites.
As you can see, we've had a whole raft of reviews to share with you that have just come in from recent publications.
It won’t come as a surprise to know that WE ALL HEAR STORIES IN THE DARK by Rob Shearman has received some fantastic reviews in The Spectator and theThe Scotsman.
Philip Hensher of The Specator describes it as " . . . the most original and impressive new fiction I’ve read this year."
Heady stuff, indeed! And there's more for Sean Hogan's ENGLAND'S SCREAMING, a collection of stories with fiction movie characters as a common thread; and STUDIO OF SCREAMS, an anthology of interconnected stories by Stephen R. Bissette, Mark Morris, Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, Stephen Volk.