No chestnuts roasting on the old open fire . . .

. . . for the folks from the far lands, nervously fingering the brims of their misshapen conical hats. They sit, cross legged at the foot of the east wing of PS Towers overlooking the North Sea and watch the catamarans skirt the rocks abutting the greensward below. It’s as restful a pass-time as I can imagine and, indeed, Nicky and I haven indulged ourselves similarly when the mood takes us.

Today has been a doozy . . .

. . . and we got up to a fairly thick covering of snow and it’s persisted all day. It’s evening now as I write this, just a little after 7 o’clock but while the colourful distant horizon has lost its glow and been replaced by a Spielbergian bruise, the snowflakes continue like tiny fireflies. As we neared the wooden bridge into the Towers, the town burgomaster has displayed seasonal softness and freed the small clutch of wretches cuffed and tethered to the ancient stocks.

At a little before 5 pm Nicky and I trudged homeward from the Floral Hall, scene of many a concert, reading and comedic spectacular. As we made our way along, we outlined what lay ahead of us—Christmas Cards,the occasional glass of sherry (and slice of stollen) consumed while various members of the Rat Pack compete with Ramsey Lewis and Sufjan Stevens to serenade us with yuletide tunes. We’re nothing if not traditional, as you can see.

Life is good. I hope it is with you and yours, too.

Now, what do we have for you this coming weekend, as calendar pages are turned and the first flurry of dates are appended?

Well, to kick off, the first copy of our beautiful oversized, traycased, signed and lettered edition of Stephen King’s ‘SALEM’S LOT made its grand (and, come on folks, horribly overdue) entrance to applause, amazement and astonishment in almost equal amount. These will be going out by registered post over the next week or two.

I’m so sorry that this seems to have dragged on. Nothing sinister, just a lot of problems at Blissetts, our printers on this project. But the good news is that they’re ready. I asked for the copy earmarked for Steve King (#1) and it came through in short order. Indeed, it is—as Gary Blissett said—the most wonderful one in the series so far. That is, of course, until the next one, the regular slipcased edition of which is currently underway. We’re all of us—and that’s the whole PS team and the folks at Blissetts—apologise heartily. As you can see from the photograph, if you ordered this monster then you ain’t gonna be disappointed.

ODIN'S GIRL by Kim Wilkins

The cacophony of rattling chains, sconces and bones  (don't ask!) at PS Towers since the announcement that DREAMING IN THE DARK had won the coverted World Fantasy Award for best anthology reverberated all the way down under to an equally invigorated Jack Dann and his PS Australia team. 

How do you follow that? 

How about the daughter of one of Olympus’s finest, ODIN'S GIRL, courtesy of author Kim Wilkins?

Sara Jones has never been like other girls.

On the eve of her wedding, she discovers that the supernatural strength she has been hiding her whole life comes from a father she never knew: the Viking god Odin. His interference derails her closest relationships, and Sara starts to long to be among her own kind. She follows Odin’s ravens into the City, where her father has unleashed seven monsters from Asgard as challenges.

As she faces the challenges one by one, she finds allies she never expected and an enemy she could never have predicted. Sara is torn between her old life and her longing for something beyond mortal knowledge, and it will take every ounce of her godlike power to save who she loves and become what she longs to be.

Kim Wilkins was born in London, and grew up at the seaside north of Brisbane, Australia.

She has degrees in literature and creative writing, and teaches at the University of Queensland and in the community. Her first novel, The Infernal, a supernatural thriller was published in 1997. Since then, she has published across many genres and for many different age groups. Her latest books, contemporary epic women’s fiction, are published under the pseudonym Kimberley Freeman. Kim has won many awards and is published all over the world. She lives in Brisbane with a bunch of lovable people and pets.

And here's an extract . . .

At three months of age, Sara had crushed her grandmother’s index finger. Turned the bone to sawdust. By ten months she had broken six cots and her mother gave up and let her share the double bed. Nobody was allowed to give her wooden toys. Wood, for some reason, aroused more acutely the desire to break and crush. She fared better with stuffed teddies, which she loved to cuddle and stroke. As though their lack of resistance to the world made them safe from her unquenchable desire to smash everything to pulp.

By her third birthday, she was starting to learn self-control. As strong as she was, she still hadn’t worked out the buttons on the remote control. The threat of missing Playschool could make her behave. Then Disney princesses taught her meek beauty. She couldn’t plough her shoulder into the wall as fast in pink plastic high-heels.

But she was always aware of the dark thing inside her. It thrilled her and it frightened her, and she quickly learned to be ashamed of it; though the shame didn’t make it go away. Behind the long backyard was an empty block, and she spent furtive hours every afternoon breaking branches, turning over rocks, chucking broken bricks into the iron fence. School was hard: so many other children to get along with. They had to move town four times, change schools, start over. Broken monkey bars. Water bubblers wrenched off their weldings. A whiteboard eraser thrown so hard at the wall that it made a hole through the plasterboard and sailed through to the other side.

By sixth grade she was fatigued from being the new kid. She learned to be gentle. She learned to pull the rage out of her hands and arms, compress it into a white-hot ball behind her ribs. She sometimes broke a desk or a chair by accident, and gained a reputation among her teachers for being clumsy. Of course. A girl her size had to be clumsy.

That was it. She came to heel.

 *  *  *

Only that wasn’t it. There was one other incident, wasn’t there? She just didn’t like to remember it. High school, bitchy teenage girls, a Queen Bee. Sara always kept her eyes down, but she nudged six foot, with red-gold hair and generous curves. She couldn’t stay invisible. The rage bubbled over. It seemed so long ago now since she had felt that power move up through her veins and sinews…

Sara had seen Queen Bee just two weeks ago, across the road in the distance. She was still in the wheelchair. The clumsy-fingered churn of guilt had started all over again. Nobody had been around to witness that fight. The injuries weren’t consistent with a schoolyard smackdown, so nobody believed Queen Bee and of course Sara denied everything.

Sara was used to denying everything.

ODIN'S GIRL featuring stunning line art cover by Richard Kirk (see below) will be available as an unsigned jacketed hardcover for £20. A signed edition limited to 100 copies at £40 will follow in the new year.


In The Ammonite Violin & Others, Caitlín R. Kiernan rises to meet the high expectations she set with such collections as Tales of Pain and Wonder, A is for Alien, and the World Fantasy Award-nominated To Charles Fort, With Love. Within these pages, you’ll discover a dazzling suite of stories situated on the borderlands between the unspeakable and the erotic, the grotesque and the sublime. Here are stories of dream and metamorphosis, strange lands and beings existing beyond the veil of death and beyond this earth. Here is a selkie who's lost her sealskin, a woman with a black hole in her heart, a fairie girl fallen to the Queen of Decay, the descent of a modern-day Orpheus, and a killer who has fashioned the most exquisite musical instrument from the remains of one of his victims. Here are dreams, nightmares, and worse things yet.

Trained as a vertebrate paleontologist, Caitlín R. Kiernan did not turn to fiction writing until 1992

Since then the Irish-born American author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, has published ten novels, many comic books, and more than two hundred and fifty published short stories, novellas, and vignettes. She is also the author of scientific papers in the field of paleontology. Kiernan is a two-time recipient of both the World Fantasy and Bram Stoker awards.

Here's the opening to the title story 'The Ammonite Violin' [Murder Ballad #4]

If he were ever to try to write this story, he would not know where to begin. It’s that sort of a story, so fraught with unlikely things, so perfectly turned and filled with such wicked artifice and contrivances that readers would look away, unable to suspend their disbelief even for a page. But he will never try to write it, because he is not a poet, or a novelist, or a man who writes short stories for the newsstand pulp magazines. He is a collector. Or, as he thinks of himself, a Collector. He has never dared to think of himself as The Collector, as he is not without an ounce or two of modesty, and there must surely be those out there who are far better than he, shadow men, and maybe shadow women, too, haunting a busy, forgetful world that is only aware of its phantoms when one or another of them slips up and is exposed to flashing cameras and prison cells. Then people will stare, and maybe, for a time, there is horror and fear in their dull, wet eyes, but they soon enough forget again. They are busy people, after all, and they have lives to live, and jobs to show up for five days a week, and bills to pay, and secret nightmares all their own, and in their world there is very little time for phantoms.

THE AMMONITE VIOLIN & OTHERS also featuring cover art by Richard Kirk (see below) will be available as a trade paperback for £11.99.

RICHARD A. KIRK, Visual artist, illustrator & author

As I already said, the stunning artwork that graces Kim and Caitlín’s covers come from Richard A. Kirk, who has already illustrated A IS FOR ALIEN and TALES OF PAIN AND WONDER, both from Caitlín Kiernan with Caitlin’s THE AMMONITE VIOLIN coming up any day now with more Kirk art. And finally, from Richard himself, MAGPIE’S LADDER, a wonderful illustrated collection which will surface sometime next year.

And just to whet your appetite, 2018 will also see another title from Stephen King—be patient, be patient, you exciteables—plus the new novel from Charles de Lint entitled THE WIND IN HIS HEART, 600+ pages running to more than 160,000 words.

Over to Nicky for a quick scan of what else is afoot. Take it away, Nicky.

I’m pleased to say that so many of you took part in the amazing BLACK FRIDAY / CYBER MONDAY OFFERS that Mike put together. The've all now found their way into boxes and should be arriving with you soon.

Meanwhile, If you've ordered an unsigned copy of BLACK WINGS VI, the latest in the anthology series edited by S. T. Joshi, or Robert Silverberg’s collection ROUGH TRADE, then they are either being collected by the postman tonight or will be posted early next week, depending on how quickly Carole has been wielding the bubble wrap.

The signed editions will follow sometime in the new year once the signing sheets have been gathered up and tipped in.

As Pete mentioned earlier, we've just uploaded the print ready files for ODIN'S GIRL by Kim Wilkins and Caitlin Kiernan's collection THE AMMONITE VIOLIN & OTHERS and it's fingers crossed as to whether they'll arrive before the year end.

But we are hoping to take more deliveries of titles that have been at the printers for some time and I'll keep you posted in the coming weeks.

And finally . . .

The signing sheets for the deluxe editions of WE ARE THE MARTIANS and DARKER COMPANIONS are still doing the rounds. Sigh! With 40 plus contributors from all four corners of the world, I'm sure you can  imagine, it's a laborious time consuming process, so we really do appreciate your patience. I’ve had to uncross my fingers and toes so many times as they were going a funny colour.

Thanks Nicky . . .

Okay, that’s about it from me today (it’s now almost midday on Friday) so I’ll bid you a truly fond farewell and huge and hearty thanks to those readers who got in touch about last week’s Newsletter and, in particular, all things baseball. I have a few ideas on that score so please do watch out for some hunky dory editions of some ballgame classics. See, I’m getting’ all psyched up again!

The big plan for me this weekend is to go buy me a stonkin’ big stocking that’ll hold all my presents! Whoo hoo!


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