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New horizons, News from NovaCon

And so it was, PS Fans and Funsters all, that there came, on a rather drizzly Saturday morning (just last week, in fact), with the North Sea spraying against Hornsea’s deserted promenade, three intrepid heroes in the shape of Nicky, Mike and yours truly already anticipating the day’s first coffee. I leaned against the mercifully empty stocks while PS-strongman Mike committed some fifteen boxes of fab and wondrous literary fare—including Mike Carey’s cunningly titled THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF MIKE CAREY and, on his third PS outing, Garry Kilworth with ELEMETAL, a collection of stories born out of a discussion on themed collections with the Canadian writer Claude Lalumiere.

Before long we finished packing the van and then set off into the dismal strangeness of the A1079 skirting the Vale of York and thereafter the M62 and M1. Conversation in the van was buoyant with nobody displaying signs of snoozyness, so we prepared for the convention with a steady stream of banter and a food and convenience stop. Not long after (thanks to Mike’s sat-nav the clutter of a familiar British city (on this occcasion, Nottingham) and the convention hotel came into view.

Ten minutes saw the van parked up and in short order trolleys laden with boxes were then moved across a gloriously generous parking lot before we set up tables in the dealers’ room.

Top Left: Garry and Mike busy signing. Top Right: Pete, Christopher Priest with daughter Angela and Linda Carey. Bottom Left: Garry Kilworth Bottom Right: Annette and Garry Kilworth with Mike Carey.

Then it was inside for the customary round of hugs and handshakes with old friends including Christopher Priest, Neil Summerfield (one of our longest regular customers), Ian Whates, Garry and Annette Kilworth (Garry’s ELEMETAL collection marking his third appearance from PS) and GoH Mike Carey and his wife Linda. . . Garry and Mike making a panel appearance together on the stage interviewing each other and extolling the virtues of the short form before sitting and signing books—whoo hooo! Books for sale! Hurrah!

With the day darkening and protective sheets being thrown over the dealer tables for the day it was time to wrap up, re-pack unsold books and bid a reluctant farewell (while all around us it seemed all other attendees were preparing to go out for dinner) before braving the rush hour traffic heading to the motorway once more.

It was our first NovaCon and I must say that it was a most pleasant experience and one we felt was worth repeating. Perhaps we’ll see you there next year. Let’s talk about it you and me. We’d have fun, I’m sure.

But what a goodie we have for you this week, chums. Come see.

Victorian England: A contradictory time of industrial progression and superstitious doctrine.

After a brush with death, Solomon Whyte, driven by his fascination with the supernatural, tasks himself with investigating the origins of Britain’s darkest myths.
 As he explores haunted locales, crosses paths with mythical beasts and discovers the resting place of King Arthur, what Solomon experiences will forever blur the lines between what is fact and what is fiction.

Mixing science with superstition, Solomon inadvertently paves the way for the future of paranormal investigation; his legacy will be that of Britain’s first paranormal investigator, discovering for himself the secrets of The Tainted Isle.

Award-winning author Dan Weatherer was first published by HAUNTED MAGAZINE in Spring, 2013.

Aside from the publication of numerous short stories with a multitude of presses, his next major project was a solo collection of short stories titled THE SOUL THAT SCREAMED (Winner of the Preditors & Editors & Readers' Poll Best Anthology 2013). 
 A further two collections—ONLY THE GOOD BURN BRIGHT (Spring 2015, James Ward Kirk Fiction) and NEVERLIGHT (Spring 2016, Spectral Pres)—quickly followed. His first non-fiction book (WHAT DWELLS WITHIN) was released in the Autumn of 2015 and details the life's work of paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.

In 2015, Dan was shortlisted for the prestigious position of Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2016-2018

In 2017 NEVERLIGHT was shortlisted for the first annual Arnold Bennett Literary Prize. His fourth collection JUST EVENTIDE was released in August 2017. 2017 also saw the release of Dan's historical novella CRIPPEN, courtesy again of Spectral Press.
 An accomplished playwright, Dan was winner of the 2017 Soundwork UK play competition, a finalist in the Blackshaw Showcase Award 2016, and a two-time finalist of the Congleton Players One Act Festival, 2016. Dan has had several of his plays appear at festivals and fringe events. THE DEAD STAGE, a book detailing Dan's experiences as a novice playwright was published courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing in October, 2018.

In 2019, Dan was nominated for a local Heroes award (The Sentinel) for his continued promotion of literacy and mental health issues in the city of Stoke on Trent. His second non-fiction title SOUNDS OF A MADMAN was released courtesy of Nonplussed Publishing.

Dan lives in Staffordshire, with his wife and two children.

Now you know a lot about him, kids, so why don’cha read on and acquaint yourselves with THE TAINTED ISLE itself.

"You may well know that the hall and its many treasures have passed through the ownership of many generations, yet not one single penny has ever changed hands to procure her ownership. It is blood that inherits the manor, not wealth nor influence, and it is said that many lengths have been taken to keep it so.

     “In 1643, the manor and its land were owned by Lady Anna Farlish. History tells us that her husband, Lord Timothy Farlish, was a most unpleasant sort. A letch and a drunk, it is said, he indulged in many extramarital affairs, yet his wife stood resolutely by his side.    

   “One such affair involved Lady Farlish’s sister, Margaret Anstey. She was the younger of the two, and it is said that Lord Farlish had lusted after her for many a year. Margaret fell pregnant by Lord Farlish, who at this time had no immediate heir. With no plans to divorce Anna (for she held the rights to the estate), it is said, he attacked Margaret as she guested in the east wing, stabbing her with a pocket knife in a desperate attempt to rid her of child.

     “Sadly, Margaret succumbed to her injuries and died that very night. With her dying breath she cursed Lord Farlish for his deeds, citing that she belonged in the manor house with her family, and should her head not remain perched atop the mantelpiece until the manor did crumble, then each who resided within would suffer terribly.

     “The murder of Margaret Anstey was attributed to one of the servant boys and the claim put about that having been spurned in his efforts to woo her, he had attacked her out of fury. He was hanged from a tree in the grounds at the very same time that Margaret was interred in the Anstey family crypt, in Burton Agnes Cemetery, which lay on the opposite side of the village.
“That night, the house was beset by all manner of terrors, so much so that the body of Margaret was ordered exhumed the next morning and her head removed and brought back to the manor.”

    It was at this point that my host stood and bid me follow him. I asked what specific terror had befallen the house that night, but he did not answer. We left the study and followed a narrow, oak-panelled corridor as it weaved its way through the bowels of the house. After passing several rooms, Lord Fawksby stopped before a set of grand double doors. He searched his pockets for a moment and produced a small key. He paused for breath after turning the key and spoke to me, his eye fixed upon the keyhole. “I shall warn you, no person has set foot in this room in almost a decade. I cannot prepare you for what you may experience in this place. Know that you look upon Margaret of your own will. Yes?”

Read full extract here:


THE TOMMYKNOCKERS deluxe lettered edition

And now, as the end of this missive crawls into view and I can hear the still as yet distant (but nearing) footsteps that suggest Mike approaches to demand the letter, here’s something completely different . . . a special note to those lovely folks who entrusted us with their hard-earned loot in exchange for the uber-deluxe Edition of Stephen King’s THE TOMMYKNOCKERS.

it’s now near on but a step away—indeed, here you can see the fruits and indeed the vegetables of our labours.

Also just in are the signing sheets for THE STAND, delivered by a surely exhausted Don Maitz who may well already be soaking his writing hand. So tomorrow, probably while you’re reading this, the sheets will be going over to Nigel at Biddles whose team has the daunting task of tipping them into the books. All we’re waiting for now are the slipcases. Meanwhile, this weekend Nicky, Mike and I will go through the TOMMYKNOCKERS dummy one final time and then we’ll be on our way.

REVIEW : ICE & OTHER STORIES by Candas Jane Dorsey

A rave review which appeared in ALBERTA VIEWS

ICE & OTHER STORIES is an anthology put out by the UK house PS Publishing, celebrating the career of one of Canada's greatest science fiction innovators, Candas Jane Dorsey.

The release of the collection comes at an opportune time: Dorsey was recently honoured with the Golden Pen Award for lifetime achievement by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. She is also currently co-editing an anthology called Food of My People, which was inspired by a story of hers with that name. In fact, that story is one of the standouts of this group-a sort of meditation on the power and magic of homemade meals and the ways in which love can transform and heal.

The collected stories here span just over 30 years, starting with one from 1988 and ending with a previously unpublished story, "End of the Line, or, Desperate Russian Girls Looking for Love:' They are arranged chronologically, with story notes at the back in which the author provides some context as to how or when or why they were written. The first piece, "(Learning About) Machine Sex;' is Dorsey's most widely anthologized story, having been included in such stellar collections as the Norton Book of SF and the Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women. While such distinction might demand its inclusion, the story is almost certain to seem dated to younger readers who have grown up with cybersex and internet pornography and witnessed the #metoo movement. This could make for a rather unfortunate start to what is otherwise an outstanding body of work and a brilliantly entertaining read.

This is classic science-fiction at its best: smart, witty, heartfelt stories that ask relevant questions about the human experience, that never overexplain their worlds or pander to their readers. "Turtles All the Way Down;' for example, written as a chapter excerpt from a fictional inquiry report investigating the phenomenon of "reality faults;' is breathtakingly executed and resonates strongly with the current climate crisis. "Death of a Dream'' tells the harrowing story of a mother-turned-detective searching for her digital daughter, who has been kidnapped into the online equivalent of a sex trafficking ring. This story is strong, urgent and moving, and could easily be imagined as the next binge-worthy Netflix series or summer blockbuster. "Seven in a Boat, No Dog" is a highly original post-apocalyptic tale that is as much about multiculturalism, gender and sexuality as it is about the end of the world.

ICE & OTHER STORIES constitutes international recognition of an important Albertan talent. These shrewdly intelligent and tender-hearted stories are a must-read not only for sci-fi fans but for anyone who appreciates a good short story.

—Matthew J. Trafford is the author of The Divinity Gene.



The third title in CD's Graveyard Editions imprint.

The dark space inside our head, where reality mutates, where the people and places we trust no longer exist. This is the landscape of eternal terror, inhabited by creatures we can't even name. It is the place we fear, and the place we belong, where our private horrors endure…

James Cooper has rapidly developed into one of the most distinguished writers of contemporary horror fiction of his generation. His stories possess a rare insight into human nature and capture the voices of those who feel at odds with the world, their strange tales resonating long into the night, leaving the reader profoundly moved. The stories collected here offer a unique view of the family dynamic and are frequently disturbing. Don't say you haven't been warned…

Published as a Signed Limited Edition Hardcover:
• Limited to just 500 signed and numbered copies
• Personally signed by the author on a unique signature page
• Printed on 60# acid-free paper
• Featuring a high-end binding with colored head and tail bands
• Printed and bound with full-color marbled endpapers
• Sewn-in ribbon page marker
• Featuring hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine
• Smyth sewn to create a more durable binding
• Limited ONE TIME printing of this special edition

We have just 5 copies in stock now and available for £39.

Nicky's Newsround

No further updates on the three lots of signing sheets for our anthologies; THE UNQUIET DREAMER edited by Preston Grassmann; TEN-WORD TRAGEDIES edited by Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden; MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS REVEALED edited by Darrell Schweitzer, that are still out there in the wilds of winter collecting signatures, and I’m collecting more grey hairs as the weeks go by.


May you never hear invisible footsteps following you down the stairs . . .

Stephen Jones's GASLIGHT, GHOSTS & GHOULS, a centenary celebration of R. Chetwynd-Hayes, is now with the printers and should be appearing before the year end. A  wonderful tribute to one of the most important horror writers and editors working in Britain during the 70s and 80s, this fabulous edition features a collection of sixteen classic RCH tales, PLUS:

  • Introduction by Stephen Jones
  • A Writer in the Dark Lands: An Interview with R. Chetwynd-Hayes by Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher
  • Photo Gallery featuring rare images of RCH
  • Gallery of full artwork by Les Edwards
  • R. Chetwynd-Hayes: A Working Bibliography by Stephen Jones and Marc Damian Lawler

We have orders in for slipcases for THE STAND; MALLAM CROSS (signed by Steve Saville) and THE BEST OF T.M WRIGHT; THE COMPANION & OTHER PHANTASMAGORICAL TALES by Ramsey Campbell. Hopefully delivery won’t be too long.

  • Garry Kilworth handed over the signed sheets for ELEMETAL TALES in Nottingham last weekend and they are already on their way to Biddles to be tipped in.
  • We are now waiting for THE KILLING MOON by Allister Timms from the printers;
  • and the signed edition of SOMETHING FROM BELOW by S. T. Joshi to arrive from Biddles.

What about THE BROOD by Steve Bissett? I hear you ask. Never fear, the final corrections have been worked on.

Of the two deluxe editions that some of you are waiting to hear about. As you have just read, THE TOMMYKNOCKERS is imminent and R IS FOR ROCKET is close to completion. Apologies for the delay. We will have a realistic update very soon.

By the way, let us know when you receive your copies of FANTASTIC FICTIONEERS edited by Pete Von Sholly. Photos of you holding the books would be very acceptable for future newsletter exposure! We hope they arrive safely and no, I’m sorry but we are not accepting any claims forms for broken tiles or steps when the parcel lands at your house.

That’s all for now. Back to Pete.

    Zzzzz . . .! Oh, sorry, Nicky—I must’ve nodded off. Thanks for that.

    Okay, gang, it’s a little after midnight on Thursday now and the rain has stopped—for a short while, at least—and our hearts, prayers and best wishes go out to all those people who seem to be spending so much of their time battling the elements, be it here in Britain, the US, Venice and Australia, plus others I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I only hope that as we all move toward the holiday season your burden lessons, May the weekend hold great fun and treasures galore. Look after yourselves and whomever shares your life with you. Happy reading .

    And that really is it now—Mike is now kicking the door to my office. Have fun!

    Hugs from the greensward.


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