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

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.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Hic Dragones presents... A Night of Strange and Dark Fictions

as part of Prestwich Book Festival

Monday 27th May, 7.30pm
Prestwich British Legion (near Heaton Park tram station)
225 Bury Old Road
Prestwich M25 1JE

Tickets £6 (+ booking fee) in advance from the festival’s Eventbrite shop

Come and listen to some of the finest and strangest authors writing in the UK today. What do they have in common? They’ve all been published – at one stage or another – by North Manchester’s strangest publishing house, Hic Dragones. And they’re together in Prestwich for one night only.

Rosie Garland:
Manchester-based Rosie Garland has published five solo collections of poetry and her award-winning short stories, poems and essays have been widely anthologized. She is an eclectic writer and performer, ranging from singing in Goth band The March Violets to her well-loved stage persona Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen. The Palace of Curiosities (HarperCollins) is her debut novel.

Toby Stone:
Toby Stone is a Whitefield-based novelist who also teaches in North Manchester. Toby went to the same school as Batman (Christian Bale) and Benny Hill. As an adult, Toby has been a toy-seller, an Avon lady, double-glazing Salesman of the Week, a mortgage broker, a suspicious barman, a school governor and a bingo caller. Aimee and the Bear (Hic Dragones) is his first novel.

Also featuring readings from Hic Dragones anthology writers:

Simon Bestwick: acclaimed author of ‘modern masterpiece of horror’ The Faceless (Solaris)
Richard Freeman: writer and cryptozoologist
Jeanette Greaves: contributor to Wolf-Girls and Impossible Spaces
Nancy Schumann: author of Take a Bite, a history of female vampires in folklore and literature
Beth Daley: graduate of the Creative Writing PhD programme at the University of Manchester
Daisy Black: writer, medievalist and heavy metal morris dancer

Your host for the evening will be Hannah Kate, ringmaster at the strange little circus that is Hic Dragones.

Plus… prizes to be won, a bookstall and a stall from Rock and Goth Plus


powered by

Monday, 22 April 2013

Call for Submissions: Hauntings: An Anthology

Short Story Submissions Wanted

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 illness, your past, a nation’s past, your doppelgänger, 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, a grey cat, a black dog, a ticking clock, someone you used to know, someone you used to be.

We are all haunted.

Submissions wanted for a new anthology of short stories based around the theme of haunting.

What we want: Edgy, dark and weird fiction. Any interpretation of the theme is welcome – and we have no preconceptions about what ‘haunting’ 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: Thursday 31st October 2013

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

For more information, see the publishers' website or email Hic Dragones

Important Information:
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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

GUEST POST: A Vampire's Guide to Dummies

A new short story by Toby Stone

Toby Stone is a novelist from Whitefield, near Manchester. His debut novel, Aimee and the Bear is out now from Hic Dragones. You can find Toby on Twitter (@tobystone1) or on his blog.

'A Vampire's Guide to Dummies' is an exclusive, unpublished short story.


A Vampire's Guide to Dummies

You may have already read A Zombie’s Guide to Attaining Zen and A Skeleton’s Guide to Overcoming Anorexia. A Vampire’s Guide to Dummies is the third in this series of aspirational texts for the dead. Yes, you too can be a better creature of the night. But A Vampire’s Guide to Dummies is as much help-yourself as self-help. It’s about our food, about where to eat and what to eat – by which of course I mean, who to eat.

I’d like to thank you for taking an interest in where your next meal comes from. There is a wide range of flavours available to vampires, but dummies are the most representative of mortal dishes. Like Big Macs for human children, we all know how a dummy tastes. That sweat of desperation, the slight lard of overeating ice-cream on the sofa, the rich lethargy of their blood. Personally, I prefer to snack on the thick. Intelligence has always made the human bitter. Look at Nietzsche.

Dummies are formed by stupid parents, an insipid childhood and, most often, reality TV. They think vampires foppish, refined, with cheek-bones as high as Robert Pattinson’s side-burns. As a newly turned vampire, you will still be stumbling against this cliché. Female teenagers won’t give you the time of day, let alone night. With regard to film stars, people tell me I most resemble Darth Vader, after he takes off the mask. Words don’t really fit me. The word ‘corpulent’ could have been coined for my gut, but doesn’t have enough syllables and wouldn’t encompass it. Very little does and I shop by catalogue.

The human form, though, is the focus of this guide, and I want to help you to be the most effective vampire you can be. We are, after all, the mortal’s foremost predator. And where better to hunt than in the city, on a summer’s evening, as dusk rots the sky? The girls in their slight dresses, passing like sirens freed from their calling. The jiggle of their hems, of their bosoms. The strong, young men, their nape and shoulder muscles unfurled like wings. The city, in the summer, makes a simile of everything, and the motion of human limbs in the dying light is as pleasant as poetry. Always eat the beautiful. And you can tell, just by looking and listening around, that the most beautiful are also the most stupid.

There are three ways of defining the dummy food-group.

1. What a Dummy is Not

New vampires are drawn to a certain type of food. You will want to eat the vibrant, the strong. To drink blood barely held in check by its veins. I like late night cafés with large windows, and my voyeur’s pleasure is the chav. They are the big cats of the human race – its big game.

The chav, though, is an occasional snack. While they represent good calorific value (their bloodstream contains four-fifths of the RDBI – Recommended Daily Blood Intake), they are exceptionally tenacious livestock. According to research, the calorie-cost of subduing a chav is often more than the benefit of supping on one.

Still, an americano warming your frigid palms, you will find yourself gazing at them, drinking them in as they pass in gangs, having discarded black Nike hoodies for shaven heads and chequered, short-sleeved shirts. You will rise, as I so often have, and follow one into an alley, as he looks to leave his last drink on the cobbles via his bladder.

When you do, there exists a combination of techniques (recommended by most vampire masters) used to prepare this plate. Any good Nocturnal Arts class can train you in these, until they become muscle memory. Practise the moves with a dummy (not a real one, of course). Diagrams can be found in the appendices.

● First, he will unzip. You will clutch at him, grasping his wide, pink, sun-spanked throat.

● Pull him close until you can feel the muscles of his back writhing against your gut.

● The chav will curse and butt back his head.

● You say: ‘Hold still, please.’ And: ‘Stop fighting it, sir.’

● You wrap your legs around his hips, topple him to the side, and roll on the ground, behind cardboard boxes, green skips and black bags.

● The chav will fight like he has always known how, since he was six. But he has always been beaten and, at the end, will go limp, apart from the motion of his tears.

● Then feed. As noted, a chav is not a dummy but a treat, and, though it is important to indulge oneself once in a while, be sure to pop a Rennie afterwards. Chavs give me indigestion. It’s not that I don’t like them, but that they don’t like me.

2. The Male Dummy
Interesting Facts
The top investment banks (of which number JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays Capital) take pride in firing 20% of their employees every year. The crème may become wildly rich, but the bottom is regularly tapped out and left to rot on the floor. Financiers are among the five professions rated most likely to commit suicide. Due to this, and to 90-hour working weeks, which mean personal relationships are few and distant, bankers are easy pickings. Like thread worms from the bottom of society, nobody misses their passing.
If chavs are rare steaks, the strip joint is the easiest place to pick up the more everyday meat. Near the centre of the city, lap-dancing clubs throb with flesh, with neon lights, and with lines of magnetism that draw the dummies in. This is the place to buffet.

I eat peanuts by the bar and try to ignore the women. From time to time, I may prospect one for a private dance, so as to blend in, but I tell them I’m an arse man. I recommend the bottom dance. It does the appetite no good when you are enveloped in the down of their breasts, in the scratch of their areola, in the probing of their nipples. All your skin will feel is the throb above each, the clanging of blood like church bells in her jugular.

If you can, take a friend. The choice of companion is important. If possible, sit with somebody you cannot stand and have little inclination to talk to. You do not want to be distracted from the hunt. If you have not already turned your spouse, may I suggest doing so now? If you are unmarried, as I was, take a parent. I sit with Frank, who sired me.

Frank was not how one would wish to be turned. A straight man’s bad dream: moustached, leather clad, he maintains a relationship with B.O. that has several unhealthy issues, many of which come from his crotch. I often eat roasted peanuts when he speaks, to disguise my wincing and his mouth odour. Ignoring him, I usually pretend to look at the dancers and all they have to offer.

In reality, I am looking at the door. I suggest living in financial centres: New York, London, Tokyo, Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai. Keep up with the business sections of newspapers and note the trading times. When the markets close, your buffet will open for business, and a tide of drink will flood in. A Red Sea closing: of investment bankers, hedge funders, open armed investment managers, shorters, speculators, portfolio re-engineers. Dummies out on the city that suckles them.
A Helpful Table
Here’s a selection of which professions you should aim for. (More comprehensive tables to be found in Appendix C.)

Profession: Banker
Risk: Very low - as above.

Profession: Children in Care
Risk: Low. There is only one subset of society humans ignore more than children, and that is children in care.

Profession: Call Centre Operative
Risk: Average. Due to a lack of daylight, may well be as grey as your flesh but, when not plugged into a computer at the right times, they cause a series of statistics to flash red. Other humans may not miss them, but the machines and their maths will, and in today’s work-place they are all that really matter. On the other hand, these employees really don’t.

Profession: Prostitute
Risk: High. Very little makes the media foam more than the marriage of sex and violence, and the drained body of a hooker is enough to send newspapers into spittle-invected overdrive. The scantily dressed corpse makes the biggest splash, I can tell you. It’s something to do with skin on water. Can I recommend cellophane?

Profession: Soap Opera Character
Risk: Very high. It has long been noted that the human mind is capable of storing only a set number of faces (ranging from 150 to 450). If column inches measure the importance humanity ascribes to one of its own, these alone will be missed.
As you prowl the strip club, do not browse for the alpha males, the men slapping rump and pressing the queen’s crinkled face into places her majesty would rather not see. Instead, cast your greed to the group’s tattered hem. The newbies. The greens. Young men straight out of Oxbridge who have not yet fitted in. Awkward grins long and loose and rubbery, holding their drinks with two hands to stop the shaking. They drink quicker than the rest. Soon, they will be drunk, and not in the way they expected to be at the inception of the evening. Afterwards, you’ll feel elated and tipsy. That’s the advantage of dining on the inebriated; you get a free drink with every meal.

I recommend making your move in the toilet. Open a conversation with a comment on one of the dancers, a line that encompasses her curves.

Say:

● ‘That Ruby’s a bit of alright’;

● or: ‘I wouldn’t mind a bit of slap and tickle with that Sapphire’;

● or: ‘When Diamond bent over, I think my brain came into my nose’; etc.

A male in a toilet has to follow up on these amuse bouche or be thought homosexual, which is not the impression to give in the Gents. Even better, say it in a northern accent. From there, convince them that a dancer wants a private audience, because they are so young and pretty and different.

Say: ‘That Emerald, I caught her looking at you. I’m a bit of regular here. Reckon I could get you a private room.’ (Add ‘lad’ or ‘son’ if you think you can get away with it.)

A man falls for this, a highly educated human, before he realises that ‘special’ was a word concocted for children who don’t understand ‘retarded’. If he does fall, you will walk into the private booth you have booked and because you, like me, are as ugly as a vampire can be, his callow, whiskey soaked eyes will flinch across you. And if you are like me, which is to say obese, you will subdue him with a lap-dance more forceful and heftier, than he had been imagining. And the breasts in his face will be moobs, and unexpected, and it won’t be long before his Bambi body is broken, and your belly thickens.

3. The Female Dummy

Never, and can I make this clear, never attempt to eat a woman you do not know. They start at the presumption, no matter how ugly the lady, that all men are predators. This is not conducive to hunting.

For hunting ladies, I use Facebook.
Did you know?
97% of callers to the Rape Crisis Line report being assaulted by men they know or, I would suppose, thought they knew. Preying on the familiar is what humanity does best, and, if we are to blend in, it is thus the way to go.
Social media is a wonderful way to convince them that they do, in fact, know you.

I have several profiles: some male, some female, some heterosexual, some homosexual, some a little of all four. The pictures are cropped from Google Images. Once one is nestled in a friendship group, it’s amazing how everybody thinks you are someone else’s acquaintance. I spread myself around, using all the tricks they warn children (but not adults) about.

In the main, I turn the subject of threads to my love of the Twilight series.

‘I real respect Edward, he’s so cool, it must be real hard for him.’ I will post, having Wikipediaed the books. I was unable to read them.

‘Yeah, I no how u feel. Sometimes the hardest thing 2 do is the best thing. Sometimes, u cant have what u want, and it makes u thirstier for it, but somehow its better,’ she will reply.

‘I no right what you mean.’

‘You’re the only man I no who gets it.’

‘8-) I think we can actually learn something from vampires. No I sound crazy. But I do.’

‘Yeah, same here.’

After several months, I will arrange to meet my quarry. Yes, a long incubation period for the maggot to turn into a fly, but you have to imagine several of these ‘relationships’ gaining wings at the same time. Twilites, I call them. Light meals, not too stodgy, you can do things afterwards and enjoy the rest of your evening. Nothing worse than a full roast on a summer’s night.
A Case Study
As with humanity, the most powerful teaching tool for vampires is often the anecdote. This is not, though, a heart-warming parable of a frog tricking a scorpion, or of a bear that learns to talk about his feelings. But if you practise what this study preaches, it will at least warm your guts.

I met one particular ‘Twilite’ for the first time in Starbucks. (Please note: women find coffee less intimidating than alcohol on a first date.) I asked her to wear something red, around her throat, so that I would know her.

The meal-to-be tends to writhe on the hook of this meeting for at least an hour. I sat regarding this one for two hours , as she waited for somebody who looked entirely unlike my ugliness. She wept a little, and in public, and a group of young women pointed at her and whispered. One laughed, and my victim-to-be left in a tirade of clothing and a line of cravat. She looked like someone whose faith in humanity had been shattered. A bit quick to jump to conclusions, humans. She wasn’t paying attention as she reached her flat, and she didn’t lock the door.

It would be insensitive to describe what happened within.

I followed her down an unlit hall, past a white-framed, single paned window. I am light-footed, for an obese man, and can creep. (I am not weighted by a soul.) She slumped on a chair beside a small wooden table and fell forward into her own arms, crying. Her sobs were loud, and I feared the neighbours might be roused, before seeing the regular red gashes, like the marking of prison time, up her arms. I realised that this kitchen had heard it all before. The cupboards were worn, the shelves listless. Her arms, as I was watching them, continued around to clutch at her back, not so much hugging as trying to stab. I could hear tight cotton tearing.

‘You’re right,’ I said.

Her nails stopped, her hands became claws: furtive, stunned animals trapped by her own elbow joints.

‘You could learn from vampires.’

She attempted to turn, but I leant the weight of my chest upon her nape. She tried to scream but the weight, as I knew it would, crushed her lungs into withered leaves. I slammed her head, once, against the small, wooden table. A book toppled onto the floor, face up. New Moon, it said, and it looked eared and resigned, like an old dog. I could hear panting, but it was just her.

She was bleeding from her nose. This distressed me. Impatient, I bit and sucked, and she jolted in her Ikea chair, wetting the tea-stained white cushion and soiling her summer skirt. All I could smell was the red stuff. I could hear her squelching as she writhed, until she stopped.

You’re hungry now, aren’t you?

Before I left I walked through the lounge to the bathroom, picking my feet between discarded books. The lounge had the look of a struggle. Above the sink, the electric light came on but seemed reluctant. Since I’ve been gone, it’s been a relief not to stare at my face. In my day-life, I was an estate agent and the crap of it all had begun to rub off. I looked like shit alive. No doubt I look worse now, but not to me.

I smiled at my lack of reflection, curled back my lips, revealing the extent of my teeth, and reached inside the top-right pocket of my black jacket. From it, I removed a thin, white box, with a single canine drawn on it, in blue.
After every meal, I floss.

Some Pointers on Dining Decorum:

• Always carry floss. We may be descended from medieval Eastern European savages, but we are not barbarians. It is anti-social to spend the evening with larynx hanging from your teeth.

• Wear a dark suit and a shirt a shade lighter. Dark cloth is not an aesthetic choice, as you can imagine. First, it hides the sweat patches of a fight. Second, it hides stains. Blood can be absurdly difficult to remove.

• If you do dribble, I suggest lemon juice and cold water. Do not use hot water, do not. It sets the stain. Then, as Buffy herself might have said, hang the article on a line that will receive direct sunlight; it will finish the job for you.

• And, of course, don’t forget your Rennies.

• And don’t forget to look behind you. No, don’t look up, not yet. Keep reading, please do. Dummies read self-help guides, didn’t you know? Why do you think I wrote this? It’s not exactly life-enhancing. Did you know 94.5% of self-help readers are so gullible they’ll believe any old statistics?

I watch you dummies browsing in bookstores from my blacked-out 2CV, with your dirty little self-help purchases. Watch you pay, watch you leave. Follow you home. There’s no bigger dummy than someone who thinks they can change. What is it with humans and vampires? You want to be like us, do you? If there even was an Appendix C, you’d find Aspiring Vampires at the top of the Helpful Table. You keep odd hours. You’re avoided around the water cooler. If you don’t live alone, you’re heading that way. You’re bloody perfect.

Some Final Tips:

● Stay still. The skin of your throat is soft as I run my nails across it. The finest of hairs lift up onto my fingertips. Does that tickle? My nails are short. They don’t grow anymore.

● Try not to soil yourself. This will feel uncomfortable, like having a tooth removed through your throat. No need to add the smell of faeces to your discomfort. Can you smell my chest, instead, as it presses against your back? I’m wearing Old Spice. Nice.

● If you experience sexual excitement, even as you die, if you harden or quicken, do not go red. The body acts in unusual ways to unusual stimulus. You would not be the first to orgasm as you pass out. Go with the flow, it won’t be the only part of you that does.

As advertised in the title, this guide has led me to you. As with any good dummy, it’s time I popped you in my mouth, sucked, and shut up.




About Toby: Toby Stone went to the same school as Batman (Christian Bale) and Benny Hill. Though they were not all there at the same time. As an adult, Toby has been a toy-seller, an Avon Lady, Double-Glazing Salesman of the Week, a mortgage broker, a suspicious barman, a school governor and a bingo caller. Aimee and the Bear is his first published novel. Follow Toby on Twitter (@tobystone1) or on his own blog.



Aimee and the Bear is OUT NOW, published by Hic Dragones. When her mother’s cruelty is too much, Amy holds her teddy bear’s paw and travels to the Other Place—a world where teddies become real bears, where children attend the Night School to escape whatever it is they face at home, where Amy becomes Aimee, and there’s magic in the air. But the Other Place is in danger—the Witch has awoken, and Amy must find the courage to save her baby brother before it’s too late. A dazzling, heart-wrenching and brutal descent into the world of the imagination. This is not a children’s book. This is not a fairy tale. This is not your average heroine.

Watch the trailer:

Friday, 2 November 2012

OUT NOW: Wolf-Girls Kindle Edition

At long last... the anthology of short stories about female werewolves that I edited is now available on Kindle.



lycogyny, n., the assumption by women of the form and nature of wolves

Wolf-Girls: Dark Tales of Teeth, Claws and Lycogyny
Edited by Hannah Kate


Feral, vicious, fierce and lost… the she-wolf is a strange creature of the night. Attractive to some; repulsive to others, she stalks the fringes of our world as though it were her prey. She is the baddest of girls, the fatalest of femmes – but she is also the excluded, the abject, the monster.

The Wolf-Girls within these pages are mad, bad and dangerous to know. But they are also rejected and tortured, loving and loyal, avenging and triumphant. Some of them are even human…

Seventeen new tales of dark, snarling lycogyny by Nu Yang, Mary Borsellino, Lyn Lockwood, Mihaela Nicolescu, L. Lark, Jeanette Greaves, Kim Bannerman, Lynsey May, Hannah Kate, J. K. Coi, Rosie Garland, R. A. Martens, Beth Daley, Marie Cruz, Helen Cross, Andrew Quinton and Sarah Peacock.

Available now from: Amazon UK and Amazon US.

For more information, visit the Hic Dragones website.