Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label short stories. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 September 2019

3 Minute Scares is back for its fourth frightful year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants your scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being broadcast on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 26th October.

This year’s 3 Minute Scares competition will be judged by novelist Andy Remic and Emily Oldfield of HAUNT Manchester, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the real-life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of around 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is. The deadline for entries is Thursday 17th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Keri Moriarty, who impressed the judges with a stylish but unsettling tale. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘Keri’s winning story was really well-written – she got so much atmosphere into such a short space of time. Each year, I’m impressed with the different ways writers handle the constraints of telling a story in just three minutes. There’s a lot of talent out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people across our region submit for this year’s competition.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition, including information for people unable to submit a recording, can also be found on the website.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

OUT NOW: The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four, ed. by J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey (The Sinister Horror Company, 2018)

A new collection of tales of terror, including 'Planning Permission', a story of municipal horror from yours truly...

Some words are born in shadows.

Some tales told only in whispers.

Under the paper thin veneer of our sanity is a world that exists. Hidden just beyond in plain sight, waiting to consume you should you dare stray from the street-lit paths that sedate our fears.

For centuries the Black Room has stored stories of these encounters, suppressing the knowledge of the rarely seen. Protecting the civilised world from its own dark realities.

The door to the Black Room has once again swung open to unleash twenty four masterful tales of the macabre from the twisted minds of a new breed of horror author.

The Black Room holds many secrets.

Dare you enter… one final time?

Contents:

Foreword by Michael David Wilson
Prologue by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
That Thing I Did by Tracy Fahey
Eating the Dream by K.A. Laity
A Clear Day in a Season of Storms by Simon Avery
The Hanging Boy by Gary McMahon
Mam's Girl by J.L. George
Tears of Honey by John McNee
Deciper by Daniel Marc Chant
Tap, Tap... by Marie O'Regan
Black Silk by Benedict J. Jones
Dragged Down by Ramsey Campbell
Palace of the Damned by C.L. Raven
Brooks Pond by Mark West
Planning Permission by Hannah Kate
Shrivelled Tongues of Dead Horses by Erik Hofstatter
Death Wish by Margrét Helgadóttir
Size Isn't Everything by James Everington
Pain Has a Voice by Stephen Bacon
Swimming Out to Sea by Penny Jones
Reanimation Channel by Mark Cassell
Craft Ail by Duncan P. Bradshaw
Dr Zwigli's Last Paper by Elizabeth Davis
Laurel by Terry Grimwood
Tide Will Tell by V.H. Leslie
The Last Horror Story by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
Epilogue by Tracy Fahey and J.R. Park
Afterword by Jim Mcleod

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Refuge. For more information, or to buy a copy, please visit the Sinister Horror Company website.

Friday, 7 September 2018

3 Minute Scares is back for its third terrifying year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants scary stories for Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s Spookiest Wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 27th October.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout Manchester, the real-life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is. The deadline for entries is Monday 15th October, at midnight.

Last year’s competition was won by Fiona Cullen, with a rather squeamish little tale about a college biology lesson. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘I loved Fiona’s story – it was so dark! Over the past couple of years, I’ve been really impressed with the way people can tell so much in just three minutes. There’s a lot of talent out there, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people across our region submit for this year’s competition.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.

OUT NOW: The Spooky Isles Book of Horror, edited by Andrew Garvey and David Saunderson (Dark Sheep Books, 2018)

A new collection of stories and articles about the UK and Ireland's horror and folklore, including a short story and essay about Hannah Beswick, the Manchester Mummy, by yours truly...


From The Spooky Isles, the UK and Ireland's favourite horror and paranormal website, this first volume of the Spooky Isles Book of Horror features 20 stories and essays from 18 different authors. Well-established dark literary voices and new writers explore the UK and Ireland's darkest horror and folklore, from long-dead serial killers to malignant fairies, evil cults, spontaneous human combustion, vengeful ghosts and black dogs...

... welcome to the Spooky Isles!

Contents:

Sparks by Michael Connon
The Black Dog by Tracy Fahey
Letters from a Toxic Heart by Ed Burkley
Lambs to the Slaughter by Chris Rush Havergill's Fetch by Catherine Shingler
Hunger by Ann O'Regan
Jackfest by Phil Davies
Dust to Dust by Hannah Kate
Am Fear Liath, the Grey Man of Ben Macdui by Kevin Williams
The Handfast Wife by Áine King
Ring Around the Rosie by Barry McCann
Churchgoing by Kevin Patrick McCann
The Ear by Jaki McCarrick
Creatures of Rath and Bone by Rachel Steiner
The Final Answer by Will Graham
Camp 46 by Petula Mitchell
Stranger than Before by Barry McCann
The Pied Piper of Essex by Ra Goli
Spoor by DC Merryweather
Come Away by Tracy Fahey

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book, please visit the Spooky Isles website.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

OUT NOW: The Darkest Midnight in December, edited by Storm Constantine (Immanion Press, 2017)

A new collection of seasonal ghost stories, including 'Log', a tale of festive foliage by yours truly...


The ghost story is a Christmas tradition; shadows looming over the brightly-lit tree in a room where logs crackle in the hearth, and the smell of spice and brandy fill the air. Outside the weather is chill; perhaps snow is falling. The house is far from town – lights twinkle in the distance. And over the festive season, as people gather to celebrate and welcome in the New Year, eerie breath might be heard in a dark corridor, hurrying footsteps overhead, a sigh in the depths of a stairwell. When all are supposed to be happy and secure, the intrusion of fear, grief or sadness are alien, and yet bizarrely integral to a time of celebration whose roots lie in ancient, pagan festivals. What stirs in the darkness?

Contents:

An Eye for an Eye by Rosie Garland
On the Loop Line by Misha Herwin
Holly and Ivy by Fiona Lane
The House with the Gable by Nerine Dorman
When He Comes Home Through the Snow by Storm Constantine
Bethany's Visit by Jessica Gilling
The Supernatural Stocking by Rhys Hughes
Log by Hannah Kate
Driving Home for Christmas by Fiona McGavin
Gift from the Sea by Adele Marie Park
Kindred Spirit by J.E. Bryant
A Midwinter Nightmare by Suzanne Gyseman
Spirit of the Season by Rick Hudson
The Shadow by Wendy Darling
Jay's Ghost by Louise Coquio

For more information, or to buy a copy of the book, please visit the Immanion Press website.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

3 Minute Santas - Festive Flash Fiction Wanted


A call for seasonal submissions to be broadcast on the radio!

In response to some comments on my 3 Minute Scares competition for Hannah's Bookshelf on North Manchester FM, I've decided to do something a bit different at Christmas this year. Say hello to... 3 Minute Santas!

I'm looking for recordings of festive (not necessarily Christmas) stories for inclusion on my radio show on Saturday 16th December - but they can only be 3 minutes long! Stories are welcome from anywhere in the world, and in any genre. A selection of 3 Minute Santas will be broadcast on the show on 106.6FM (in the North Manchester area) and on digital (for the rest of the world) - and don't worry, there's a 'listen again' feature just in case you're in a different time zone!

3 Minute Santas isn't a competition, but a call for submissions. It's open to anyone, and the more the merrier! For details of how to submit a story, just click here. The deadline is Sunday 3rd December.

And please do share this info with anyone you think might be interested!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

3 Minute Scares is back for its second year!


North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants you to scare her this Halloween! She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3-minute stories for her annual creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s spookiest wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 28 October. Winners will also have the chance to read their story at the Boggart Hole Clough Halloween Lantern Parade later that evening.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by horror author Simon Bestwick and Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout, Manchester’s real life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is.

Last year’s competition was won by Ian Peek, with a terrifying little tale about Jack o’Lanterns. North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘Ian set the bar pretty high with his winning entry last year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s competition brings. The standard of entries from all over the region last year shows that there’s a lot of talent for terrifying out there.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.

Monday, 20 March 2017

OUT NOW: Into the Woods (Hic Dragones, 2017)

http://www.hic-dragones.co.uk/product/into-the-woods/

A new collection of eighteen sinister sylvan tales, edited by Hannah Kate. Available now in paperback and eBook.

“They were only trees, after all. Only trees.”

A magical place steeped in mysticism. A foreboding place of unspeakable terror. The forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. What resides within its shadows? Demons, fair folk, that man the adults warned you about… and the trees. The trees are everywhere. Is it safer to stay at home? Or are you ready to take a journey… into the woods.

Contents:

'In the Dirt, Under the Trees' by Megan Taylor
'The Collectors' by Jaki McCarrick
'Forgotten Falls' by Cameron Trost
'The Crying Tree' by Patrick Lacey
'The Trees on Bundam Hill' by Rachel Halsall
'What's Mine is Yours' by Magda Knight
'The Green Road' by Tracy Fahey
'Dear Hearts' by Jessica George
'In the Trees' by Ramsey Campbell
'Long Stay' by S.A. Rennie
'In the Hidden Hollow' by Ross Smeltzer
'Where You End and I Begin' by Martin Cornwell
'A Winter's Tale' by Nancy Schumann
'Cord' by Jan M. Flynn
'Guests' by James Tawton
'Knotweed' by Hannah Kate
'St Erth' by Tim Major
'I Bury my Bones' by Jane Bradley

For more information, or to buy a copy, please visit the Hic Dragones website.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Into the Woods Launch Party

Come and join us at the launch party for Into the Woods, a new collection of short stories from Hic Dragones.

Friday 17th March 2017, 7-9pm
International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
Manchester M1
United Kingdom

FREE EVENT

Into the Woods - eighteen sinister sylvan tales

A magical place steeped in mysticism. A foreboding place of unspeakable terror. The forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. What resides within its shadows? Demons, fair folk, that man the adults warned you about… and the trees. The trees are everywhere. Is it safer to stay at home? Or are you ready to take a journey… into the woods.

“They were only trees, after all. Only trees.”


Join us at the launch party on Friday 17th March. Readings by: Ramsey Campbell, Tracy Fahey, Jane Bradley, Magda Knight, Martin Cornwell, Hannah Kate, Megan Taylor and Nancy Schumann

Free wine reception, giveaways and launch discount on the book.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

3 Minute Scares – A Halloween Writing Competition for North Manchester FM

North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate wants you to scare her this Halloween!


She’s asking people throughout Greater Manchester to submit their scariest 3 minute stories for a new creative writing competition. Writers keen to be crowned Greater Manchester’s spookiest wordsmith can submit a recording of their mini-tale via Hannah’s website, with the best entries being played on air on the Halloween edition of Hannah’s Bookshelf on Saturday 29 October.

The Halloween flash fiction competition will be judged by Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlaínn and Dr Xavier Aldana Reyes of MMU’s Centre for Gothic Studies, with the writer of the best entry receiving a prize from Breakout, Manchester’s real life escape room game. Entries need to be 3 minutes long, meaning a word count of 350-400 words. The judges will be looking for style and originality, as well as how scary the story is.

North Manchester FM presenter Hannah Kate says: ‘I want this competition to bring out some of the region’s scariest talent. It’s difficult to tell a good tale in just 3 minutes, but I know that there’s people out there who are up for the challenge.’

All writers need to enter the competition is a computer with a microphone… and a good story. Entries can be recorded via Hannah’s website. More information and rules of the competition can also be found on the website.

Hannah’s Bookshelf is North Manchester FM’s weekly literature show, and it goes out live every Saturday 2-4pm. The show has been running since January 2015 and has featured guests including Rosie Garland, Ramsey Campbell, Tony Walsh and Gwyneth Jones. The show broadcasts on 106.6FM for North Manchester residents and through the ‘listen online’ feature for the rest of the world.


For further information please contact:

Email: David Kay or Hannah Kate
Website: North Manchester FM or Hannah Kate

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Call For Submissions: Into the Woods (anthology)


From magical places steeped in mysticism to evil foreboding places of unspeakable terror, the forest is a place of secrets, a place of knowledge, a place of death, and a place of life. But it is also a vulnerable place easily lost to the chainsaw and the drill. Our fascination with what may lie within the woods is an enduring one. Bewilder us, scare us, entertain us. Take us on a journey… into the woods.

What we want: Edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘into the woods’ might mean. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, (sub)urban fantasy, Gothic, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, slipstream. We’re looking for original and fresh voices that challenge and unsettle. (And, please remember, we do not publish misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia or racism.)

Editor: Hannah Kate

Publisher: Hic Dragones

Word Count: 3000-7000

Submission Guidelines: Electronic submissions as .doc, .docx or .rtf attachments only. 12pt font, 1.5 or double spaced. Please ensure name, story title and email address are included on the attachment. Email submissions to Hic Dragones. Submissions are welcome from anywhere, but must be in English.

Submission Deadline: Monday 13th June 2016

Payment: Contributor copy: 1 copy of paperback, eBook in ePub and/or mobi format; permanent 25% discount on paperback (resale permitted); 1 free eBook from our catalogue.

More information: email or visit the Hic Dragones website.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Call for Submissions: Nothing (anthology)



Bleak landscapes, empty hearts, insignificant lives, dystopian futures, extinction, limbo, uncertainty, death. A beautiful void or a horrific state of being. The simple complexity of nothingness.

Submissions wanted for a new anthology of short stories based on the theme of nothing.

What we want: Edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘nothing’ might mean. Any genre considered: dark fantasy, urban fantasy, Gothic, horror, sci fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, biopunk, dystopian, slipstream. We’re looking for original and fresh voices that challenge and unsettle. (And, please remember, we do not publish misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia or racism.)

Editor: Hannah Kate

Publisher: Hic Dragones

Word Count: 3000-7000

Submission Guidelines: Electronic submissions as .doc, .docx or .rtf attachments only. 12pt font, 1.5 or double spaced. Please ensure name, story title and email address are included on the attachment. Email submissions to Hic Dragones. Submissions are welcome from anywhere, but must be in English.

Submission Deadline: Monday 5th September 2016

Payment: Contributor copy (1 copy of paperback plus eBook in ePub and/or mobi format); permanent 25% discount on paperback (resale permitted); 1 free eBook from our catalogue.

For more information: email or visit the Hic Dragones website

Thursday, 17 September 2015

OUT NOW: Werewolves Versus the 1990s

https://gumroad.com/l/wv01#


A full-colour, mind-warping, 80+ page collection of werewolf art, stories, poetry and comics. Inspired by the decade of skateboards, clam digger shorts, AOL disks and the colour aqua.

Edited, designed and produced by A. Quinton
Cover art by Tandye

Contents:

Art: Kathy Lea Moyou, Joe Williamson, Ludovic, Tandye, HamsterToybox

Comics: Mike Roukas, Todd A. McCullough

Poetry and stories:
Dial-Up by Tah the Trickster
Wasco by Laura Cuthbert
My Hazy Recollections Of Project: Metalbeast by Craig J. Clark
The Werewolves Of Brainerd by Dan Wallbank
Beasts Pay Their Dues by Slay
Heat Wave by Joey Liverwurst
Ill Will by Hannah Kate
FBI Warning by A. Quinton
'N Amerikaanse Weerwolf in Kaapstad by Lew “Viergacht” Delport

To get a copy of the zine (pay whatever amount you think is fair), please click here.

To find out more about this and future issues of Werewolves Versus, please click here.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

OUT NOW: European Monsters (Fox Spirit, 2014)

Edited by Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas



Blurb:

They lurk and crawl and fly in the shadows of our mind. We know them from ancient legends and tales whispered by the campfire. They hide under the dark bridge, in the deep woods or out on the great plains, in the drizzling rain forest or out on the foggy moor, beneath the surface, under your bed. They don't sparkle or have any interest in us except to tear us apart. They are the monsters! Forgotten, unknown, misunderstood, overused, watered down. We adore them still. We want to give them a renaissance, to re-establish their dark reputation, to give them a comeback, let the world know of their real terror.

Contents:

Here Be Monsters! by Jo Thomas and Margrét Helgadóttir
Herne by J.C. Grimwood
Vijka by Anne Michaud
Broken Bridges by James Bennett
Upon the Wash of the Fjord by Byron Black
Nimby by Hannah Kate
Black Shuck by Joan De La Haye
A Very Modern Monster by Aliya Whiteley
Mother Knows Worst by Jasper Bank and Fabian Tuñon Benzo (artist)
Fly, My Dear, Fly by Nerine Dorman
Melanie by Aliette de Bodard
Moments by Krista Walsh
Hafgufa Rising by Chris Galvin
Old Bones by Peter Damien
The Cursed One by Icy Sedgwick
Serpent Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky and Eugene Smith (artist)

For more information about the book, please visit the publisher's website.

Friday, 1 August 2014

OUT NOW: Hauntings: An Anthology (Hic Dragones, 2014)



A memory, a spectre, a feeling of regret, a sense of déjà vu, ghosts, machines, something you can’t quite put your finger on, a dark double, the long shadow of a crime, your past, a city’s past, your doppelganger, a place, a song, a half-remembered rhyme, guilt, trauma, doubt, a shape at the corner of your eye, the future, the dead, the undead, the living, someone you used to know, someone you used to be.

We are all haunted.

Twenty-one new tales of the uncanny:

The Conch
Rachel Halsall

Ghost Pine Lake
Brandy Schillace

Haunting Melody
Allen Ashley

Lever’s Row
Hannah Kate

Crying for my Father
Audrey Williams

The Man in Blue Boots
James Everington

A Handful of Dust
David Webb

Stella’s
Sarah Peploe

Focal Point
Michael Hitchins

First Bell
Patrick Lacey

Ghost Estate, Phase II
Tracy Fahey

A Place for Everyone
Rue Karney

Under His Wing, Poor Thing
Keris McDonald

The Foolish Light
Guy Burtenshaw

The Philosopher’s Way
B.E. Scully

Dreaming a Dream to Prize
Mark Forshaw

Professor Donaldson’s Séance
Stewart Pringle

Shifting Sands
Daisy Black

Moon Child
Mere Joyce

The Eight Pane Sash
Jeanette Greaves

The Anatomy of Mermaids
Elisabeth Brander

Available now in paperback and eBook. For more information about Hauntings: An Anthology, or to buy a copy, please visit the publisher's website.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Hauntings: An Anthology - Launch Party

International Anthony Burgess Foundation
3 Cambridge Street
Manchester M1
United Kingdom

Thursday, 31 July 2014
7-9pm



Come and join us at the launch party for Hauntings: An Anthology, a new collection of short stories from Hic Dragones.

Hauntings: An Anthology - twenty-one new tales of the uncanny

A memory, a spectre, a feeling of regret, a sense of déjà vu, ghosts, machines, something you can’t quite put your finger on, a dark double, the long shadow of a crime, your past, a city’s past, your doppelganger, a place, a song, a half-remembered rhyme, guilt, trauma, doubt, a shape at the corner of your eye, the future, the dead, the undead, the living, someone you used to know, someone you used to be.

We are all haunted.

Join us at the launch party on Thursday July 31st. Readings by: Tracy Fahey, Mark Forshaw, Hannah Kate, Sarah Peploe, James Everington, Michael Hitchins, Daisy Black and Rachel Halsall

Free wine reception, giveaways and launch discount on the book. For more information, please visit the publisher's website.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Review: House of Fear, ed. by Jonathan Oliver (Solaris, 2011)



Published in 2011, House of Fear is an anthology of haunted house short stories, edited by Jonathan Oliver and featuring stories by writers such as Adam Nevill, Sarah Pinborough and Christopher Priest. I picked those three names at random, as the collection’s contents page is an impressive list of well-established UK horror writers (and a couple of American cousins), with a small number of new voices being introduced alongside.

I was asked to review this book for another site I write for, but as that review will be somewhat brief, I thought I’d write a longer post here so I can talk in a bit more detail about the collection. This book definitely deserves the additional space.

The theme (or setting or motif – depending on the way it has been interpreted) that organizes House of Fear is the haunted house. Each of the nineteen stories features a ‘house’ of some description (though ‘home’ is probably a more accurate term), and each one presents a ‘haunting’ of sorts. It wouldn’t be fair to describe House of Fear as a book of ghost stories, however, as ‘haunting’ is to be understood in its widest sense. That said, there are a fair few ghosts within the pages.

The book as a whole is excellent. The editor has done a fantastic job in putting the collection together – in terms of both selection and organization – and Oliver’s introductions to each story are complimentary without being cloying. It’s also nice to read a short story collection with a consistently high standard of writing. There are no weak links in House of Fear, no stories being held up by their more secure and accomplished neighbours. So, when I talk about the high points in the rest of the review, I’m referring to my own personal taste as a reader.

The collection opens with Lisa Tuttle’s excellent ‘Objects in Dreams may be Closer than they Appear’, which sets up expectations for the rest of the collection. Tuttle’s bittersweet tale of a divorced couple’s return to a house they almost bought at the beginning of their marriage begins with a semi-nostalgia laced with rational reflection, before drawing the reader (as the narrator herself is drawn) into an unsettling, obsessive hunt for something just out of reach. The chilling ending packs a real punch. Tuttle’s story is followed by Steven Volk’s ‘Pied-à-terre’ which is a quite different sort of story with a quite different sort of punch – I’ll admit I welled up a bit when I realized what was happening in Volk’s very moving tale. It is a mark of Volk’s talent as a writer that he was able to handle (avoiding spoilers) such emotional material without sentimentalizing or becoming mawkish.

Of the other stories in the collection, Adam Nevill’s ‘Florrie’ and Jonathan Green’s ‘The Doll’s House’ were particularly favourites, though Rebecca Levene’s ‘The Windmill’ was also fantastic. Nevill’s tale of a young man moving into a house made vacant by the death of its elderly owner was perfectly paced and a deft study in tension-building. This story resonated with me, as, like Nevill’s protagonist, my house previously belonged to an old lady who had lived in it her entire adult life. And, like Nevill’s protagonist, I found that the previous owner’s family had simply abandoned her furniture (and some personal belongings) after the house was sold. I am happy to be able to say that’s where the similarities end, as Nevill’s tale is an off-beat horror which (as good horror should) makes you smile just before it terrifies you.

Green’s story should be given to all aspiring writers trying desperately to come up with the perfect ‘idea’, the plot that is so original it will blow their readers’ minds, because ‘The Doll’s House’ is a beautiful example of why that doesn’t matter. A story of the return of a creepy doll’s house is hardly a mind-blowingly original idea, but Green brings his characters (and the house itself) to life with skill and a light touch. In Green’s hands, the familiarity of the story’s basic premise is transformed into a fresh and compelling piece of writing. And the ending is exquisite (at least, it is for those of us who like our horror shocking).

‘The Windmill’ is one of several stories in the collection that reinterpret the haunted house by widening an understanding of ‘home’, and the places in which we might temporarily reside. Levene’s protagonist is a drug dealer serving a prison sentence. With a limited view from his cell, Lee is able to watch a windmill that he knows from his time outside. Unrepentant, Lee is determined to continue dealing from within the prison, but things don’t work out quite the way he planned. Levene mixes down-to-earth realism with a growing sense of the supernatural to produce a story filled with creeping dread.

One final mention (as I don’t have the space here to go through each story in detail) is Christopher Fowler’s ‘An Injustice’. Fowler’s tale begins with a group of student ghost-hunters – as misguided, opinionated and naïve as that sounds – but evolves into something quite different, and really unexpected. Of all the stories in the book, this is the one that genuinely ‘haunted’ me. I was reading the book one story at a time in between shifts and bands at a music festival, which gave me a great opportunity to compare how long each one lingered in my imagination after I’d finished it. Fowler’s easily won – the final ‘reveal’ just doesn’t go away.

As I said, these stories were particular favourites, but the others stories in the collection are all strong. If I had to make criticisms, I found Christopher Priest’s ‘Widow’s Weeds’ a little disappointing. Priest returns to the figure of the professional magician, so a comparison with The Prestige is inevitable. I didn’t feel ‘Widow’s Weeds’ had the intrigue or narrative power of the earlier novel, and the characterization (even allowing for the restrictions of form) was underdeveloped.

Robert Shearman’s ‘The Dark Space in the House in the House in the Garden at the Centre of the World’ also left me a little underwhelmed. A clever premise – which is almost impossible to sum up without ruining the story – promised to be ‘an unusual story of a house in a garden and how people within that house find out what it is to be human’ (in Oliver’s words). The problem for me was that there was little outside of the premise, and while this was indeed unusual and clever, it wasn’t quite enough to sustain my interest.

Nevertheless, as I said, this is a matter of personal taste. I admit I can be quite traditional in my reading tastes, and usually gravitate towards strong plots and well-developed characterization. On the whole, House of Fear delivered this, as well as a few good doses of horror (of differing types).

So, overall, a resounding recommendation. This is a must-read for horror fans. I would go as far as to say – aside from the collections I have edited, of course – this is my favourite short story anthology of recent years.

For more information about House of Fear, please check out the publishers’ website.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

OUT NOW: Impossible Spaces (Hic Dragones, 2013)

edited by Hannah Kate


Blurb:

It doesn’t have to be this way…

Sometimes the rules can change. Sometimes things aren’t how they appear. Sometimes you can just slip through the cracks and end up… somewhere else. What else is there? Is there somewhere else, right beside you, if you could only reach out and touch it? Or is it waiting to reach out and touch you?

Don’t trust what you see. Don’t trust what you hear. Don’t trust what you remember. It isn’t what you think.

A new collection of twenty-one dark, unsettling and weird short stories that explore the spaces at the edge of possibility.

For more information about the book, please visit the publisher's website.

Contents:

Introduction by Hannah Kate
The Carrier by Daisy Black
Trading Flesh by Simon Bestwick
Etherotopia by Christos Callow Jr.
Mistfall by Jeanette Greaves
The Return of the Curse by Arpa Mukhopadhyay
I'd Lock it with a Zipper by Rachel Yelding
Nepenthes by Keris McDonald
Mindswitch by Chris Galvin Nguyen
Skin Laura Brown
Sharpened Senses by Richard Freeman
The Place of Revelation by Ramsey Campbell
Great Rates, Central Location by Hannah Kate
The Meat House by Maree Kimberley
The Voice Withn by Steven K. Beattie
Shadow by Margrét Helgadóttir
Unfamiliar by Almira Holmes
The Hostel by Nancy Schumann
New Town by Jessica George
Multiplicity by Douglas Thompson
Bruises by Tej Turner
Looking for Wildgoose Lodge by Tracy Fahey

Trailer:

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

OUT NOW: Noir Carnival (Fox Spirit Books)

Edited by K.A. Laity


Blurb: Carnival: whether you picture it as a traveling fair in the back roads of America or the hedonistic nights of the pre-Lenten festival where masks hide faces while the skin glories in its revelation. It's about spectacle, artificiality and the things we hide behind the greasepaint or the tent flap.

Let these writers lead you on a journey into that heart of blackened darkness and show you what's behind the glitz.

Underneath, we're all freaks after all...

Contents:

Caravan: A Preamble by K.A. Laity
Family Blessings by Jan Kozlowski
In the Mouth of the Beast by Li Huijia
Idle Hands by Hannah Kate
The Things We Leave Behind by Christopher L. Irvin
She's My Witch by Paul D. Brazill
The Mermaid Illusion by Carol Borden
Natural Flavoring by Rebecca Snow
Madam Mafoutee's Bad Glass Eye by Chloe Yates
Buffalo Brendan and the Big Top Ballot by Allan Watson
Carne Levare by Emma Teichmann
Leave No Trace by A.J. Sikes
Fair by Robin Wyatt Dunn
Things Happen Here After Dark by Sheri White
Mister Know It All by Richard Godwin
Trapped by Joan De La Haye
The Price of Admission by Neal F. Litherland
Take Your Chances by Michael S. Chong
Mooncalf by Katie Young
The Teeth Behind the Beard by James Bennett

For more information, please visit the Fox Spirit website.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Impossible Spaces Book Trailer

The video trailer for Impossible Spaces, published by Hic Dragones and edited by me! The music, written especially for the trailer, is by the awesome Digital Front.



The book is out on Friday July 19th. Check out the publishers’ website for more information.