The news this week . . .

. . . all you fellow heat sufferers, puffing and panting out there, is that our latest BEST NEW HORROR reprint from editor Stephen Jones (yes, it’s OUR latest but the volume actually first appeared in 2013) touched down a couple of weeks ago decked out in all its sumptuous trade paperback splendour to take its place with volumes 1, 2, 3, 26, 27 and 28. (And Steve is currently beavering away on number 29.)

Anyway, just in case you’d forgotten, here’s the line-up:

  • Who Dares Wins: Anno Dracula 1980 by Kim Newman
  • Click-clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman
  • Dead End by Nicholas Royle
  • Isaac’s Room by Daniel Mills
  • The Burning Circus by Angela Slatter
  • Holes for Faces by Ramsey Campbell
  • By Night He Could Not See by Joel Lane
  • Come Into My Parlour by Reggie Oliver
  • The Middle Park by Michael Chisleet
  • Into the Water by Simon Kurt Unsworth
  • The Burned House by Lynda E. Rucker
  • What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Z— by Lavie Tidhar
  • Fishfly Season by Halli Villegas
  • Doll Re Mi by Tanith Lee
  • A Night’s Work by Clive Barker
  • The Sixteenth Step by Robert Shearman
  • Stemming the Tide by Simon Strantzas
  • The Gist by Michael Marshall Smith
  • Guinea Pig Girl by Thana Niveau
  • Miss Baltimore Crabs: Anno Dracula 1990 by Kim Newman
  • Whitstable by Stephen Volk

Hey, what could be a finer way to start things off

—it’s even brought a heavy shower of rain that has bounced across the battlements: it’s a sign, I tell you . . . a sign! I’m just sorry I didn’t manage to mention the greensward—oh, hang on . . . I just did. But it isn’t green any more, it’s brown. <sigh>

This week is a bit of a pot pouri . . .

I have to agree with Nicky that it’s a delightful break from staggering room to room at the mailing offices lugging boxes of the three volumes of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS.

As you can see from the photo we are all geared up for preparing and posting copies out. On Thursday we had the first batch of volume one  delivered from Biddles who tip the signing sheets in for us.

We now have to start numbering individual orders and then make sure that each book is wrapped as carefully as possible to avoid any dinks or bumps whilst it’s travelling to you.

Bear with us a little longer while we cope with this mammoth task. We won’t be stopping until every single order is posted out. (Nicky . . . Tamsin . . .  come back!!!)

This is our main priority now but as you saw in last week’s letter there are plenty more titles planned.

Also still going out next week is the unsigned edition of Brian James Freeman’s WALKING WITH GHOSTS—

beautifully illustrated by Vincent Chong—which certainly seems to be picking up a lot of attention. First off, Paul Simpson at SciFi Bulletin:

"Freeman has the gift for creating a world economically in his stories that lingers long after the final paragraph, sometimes because of the characters but often more the ambience evoked . . . A dark and chilling collection of stories that will inveigle their way into your mind.

Click on the link for full review.

And as though that wasn’t enough, here’s Barry Hunter’s review:

"The book is divided into four parts: Weak and Wounded, More Than Midnight, Dreamlike States and Lost and Lonely. You can be sure that the stories fit the description and will possibly leave you weak, lost, lonely, having strange dreams, and up after midnight . . . Freeman is a force to be reckoned with. He writes extremely well and his stories pack a punch to the gut. And to the heart."

Click on the link for full review.

Tamsin arranged with Brian (left) to set up an interview with Robert Brouhard (right). So, without further ado . . .

RB: Hello, Mr. Freeman. Thank you for speaking with me today. I see that PS Publishing is about to publish a new book by you called Walking with Ghosts, a 29-short-story collection. Is this your biggest collection so far in your career and does it feel exciting? 

BJF: It is easily my larger collection to date. It contains revised versions of previously published stories and a few new ones, too. I’m very excited for this book to be seeing print and I’m thrilled to finally have something published by PS Publishing!

RB: For those that are new to your writing, what would you tell a reader to expect from your kind of horror tales?

BJF: Most of my stuff is very quiet. Very little gore and direct horror, although there are some things that happen “off the page” that is very bloody and horrible. Readers say that’s why some images from my stories such as a tipped over lawnmower or a tea kettle screaming on the stove have stuck with them for so long. They didn’t see the awfulness happen; instead, they had to think more deeply about what must have happened and let their imagination work it out, which made the horror of the event last longer.

RB: As a long-time reader of your work, I’ve notice some small interconnections in your works. Should we expect any of that in this collection... like repeating characters or locations?

BJF: There are several locations that show up time and time again, and at least two stories that are so directly connected they’re basically brother and sister.

RB: I’ve noticed the theme of family is very common in your work. What other themes are favorites of yours to write about and why?

BJF: I don’t actually have a great answer to this! I’m more of a “gut” writer, so I don’t think too hard about themes until after the early drafts are done. Then I will do a pass specifically to see if there’s something my subconscious was poking at, and I’ll try to weave that thought into the work a little better. But I only tend to think of themes at that point, so it’s more about what my subconscious has been dwelling on than which themes that are my favorites.

RB: I know it’s probably hard to choose, but do you have a favorite story in this collection?

BJF: Very difficult to pick one! “Mama’s Sleeping” or “Pop-Pop” or “Ice Cold Dan the Ice Cream Man” are at the top of my personal list right now simply because they’re fairly new and that feeling of “hey, this might be good!” is still lingering. On the other hand, “Running Rain” took years of revisions to get the prose where I wanted it, and I love the story because of all the work it took. “Walking With the Ghosts of Pier 13” is one of the older stories and writing that one changed how I approached storytelling, which in turn changed the entire direction my writing was headed in. That said, “The Last Beautiful Day” might be my favorite story I’ve ever written, which is why it closes out WALKING WITH GHOSTS.

RB: How do you recommend readers go through your new book: front to back, jump around, one story a night, etc.?

BJF: Readers can approach the book however they’d like, but please don’t read the story notes at the end first! Spoilers abound there. That said, I spent much of this year trying to get the arrangement of the stories just right, so I should probably say to read the book in order!

RB: Are any stories brand new to this collection? Have any been published in the UK before?

BJF: Several are brand new or were only offered to my supporters previously.

RB: One of my favorite parts of some short story collections is when the author talks a little bit about each story candidly, will we get that with this collection?

BJF: Yes! I love reading story notes from the author, yet I had great hesitation about writing them for my own collection. Part of the reason is I’ve noticed some authors use the story notes as a way to kind of “prop up” a work they see as being less than their best. I firmly believe a story should stand on its own. You send it out into the world to live or die by what you’ve put on the page. If you have to explain something, you failed. But... I do love story notes, so I gave writing them a try this time. There’s a note for every story, actually.

RB: I noticed there is a brand-new Introduction by William Peter Blatty. How did that come about?

BJF: Bill and I stayed in touch after I worked on the production materials for his short novel Elsewhere in 2008 and 2009. He was a generous guy with his time, he offered me some excellent advice when I needed it, and he is dearly missed.

RB: Thank you, again, Mr. Freeman.

BJF: Thank you, Robert!

C'mon now! What a fantastic interview. Thanks, Brian and Robert. And, here's a little something extra . . .

Click to watch Brian's WALKING WITH GHOSTS book trailer on YouTube. 

And that’s about it for this week.

We’re expecting (hoping for? praying for?) still MORE rain and anything else that’ll bring the temperature down to more manageable levels. Right now (it’s Thursday early evening) we poor shmucks are starting to get a little giddy at the prospect of Mike and Sheryl’s return from the wilds of the far south.

Have a great weekend, folks—look after each other and stay safe. And, of course, happy reading.



PS Publishing

Grosvenor House, 1 New Road, Hornsea
United Kingdom