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About Crystal Lake Publishing
While we strive to present only the highest quality fiction and entertainment, we also endeavour to support authors along their writing journey. We offer our time and experience in non-fiction projects, as well as author mentoring and services, at competitive prices.
With several Bram Stoker Award wins and many other wins and nominations, Crystal Lake Publishing puts integrity, honor, and respect at the forefront of our publishing operations.
We strive for each book and outreach program we spearhead to not only entertain and touch or comment on issues that affect our readers, but also to strengthen and support the Dark Fiction field and its authors.
Not only do we find and publish authors we believe are destined for greatness, but we strive to work with men and woman who endeavour to be decent human beings who care more for others than themselves, while still being hard working, driven, and passionate artists and storytellers.
Crystal Lake Publishing is and will always be a beacon of what passion and dedication, combined with overwhelming teamwork and respect, can accomplish. We endeavour to know each and every one of our readers, while building personal relationships with our authors, reviewers, bloggers, podcasters, bookstores, and libraries.
We will be as trustworthy, forthright, and transparent as any business can be, while also keeping most of the headaches away from our authors, since it's our job to solve the problems so they can stay in a creative mind. Which of course also means paying our authors.
We do not just publish books, we present to you worlds within your world, doors within your mind, from talented authors who sacrifice so much for a moment of your time.
There are some amazing small presses out there, and through collaboration and open forums we will continue to support other presses in the goal of helping authors and showing the world what quality small presses are capable of accomplishing. No one wins when a small press goes down, so we will always be there to support hardworking, legitimate presses and their authors. We don't see Crystal Lake as the best press out there, but we will always strive to be the best, strive to be the most interactive and grateful, and even blessed press around. No matter what happens over time, we will also take our mission very seriously while appreciating where we are and enjoying the journey.
What do we offer our authors that they can't do for themselves through self-publishing?
We are big supporters of self-publishing (especially hybrid publishing), if done with care, patience, and planning. However, not every author has the time or inclination to do market research, advertise, and set up book launch strategies. Although a lot of authors are successful in doing it all, strong small presses will always be there for the authors who just want to do what they do best: write.
What we offer is experience, industry knowledge, contacts and trust built up over years. And due to our strong brand and trusting fanbase, every Crystal Lake Publishing book comes with weight of respect. In time our fans begin to trust our judgment and will try a new author purely based on our support of said author.
To date we've published around 100 books, and with each launch we strive to fine-tune our approach, learn from our mistakes, and increase our reach. We continue to assure our authors that we're here for them and that we'll carry the weight of the launch and dealing with third parties while they focus on their strengths--be it writing, interviews, blogs, signings, etc.
We also offer several mentoring packages to authors that include knowledge and skills they can use in both traditional and self-publishing endeavours.
We look forward to launching many new careers.
This is what we believe in. What we stand for. This will be our legacy.
Welcome to Crystal Lake Publishing--Tales from the Darkest Depths.
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WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM
THE ART OF STORYTELLING IN THE HORROR GENRE
Book one in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series, Where Nightmares Come From focuses on the art of storytelling in the Horror genre, taking an idea from conception to reality—whether you prefer short stories, novels, films, or comics.
Featuring in-depth articles and interviews by Joe R. Lansdale (Hap & Leonard series), Clive Barker (Books of Blood), John Connolly (Charlie Parker series), Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King (IT), Christopher Golden (Ararat), Charlaine Harris (Midnight, Texas), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger series), Kevin J. Anderson (Tales of Dune), Craig Engler (Z Nation), and many more.
The full non-fiction anthology lineup includes:
- Introduction by William F. Nolan
- IT’S THE STORY TELLER by Joe R. Lansdale
- A-Z OF HORROR of Clive Barker
- WHY HORROR? by Mark Alan Miller
- PIXELATED SHADOWS by Michael Paul Gonzalez
- LIKE CURSES by Ray Garton
- HOW TO GET YOUR SCARE ON by S.G. Browne
- STORYTELLING TECHNIQUES by Richard Thomas
- HORROR IS A STATE OF MIND by Tim Waggoner
- BRINGING AN IDEA TO LIFE by Mercedes M. Yardley
- THE PROCESS OF A TALE by Ramsey Campbell
- GREAT HORROR IS SOMETHING ALIEN by Michael Bailey
- A HORRIFICALLY HAPPY MEDIUM by Taylor Grant
- INTERVIEW WITH JOHN CONNOLLY by Marie O’Regan
- THE STORY OF A STORY by Mort Castle
- WRITING ROUNDTABLE INTERVIEW with Christopher Golden, Kevin J. Anderson, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- HOW I SPENT MY CHILDHOOD LOOKING FOR MONSTERS AND FOUND POETRY INSTEAD by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- BITS AND PIECES INTERVIEW WITH JONATHAN MABERRY by Eugene Johnson
- THE REEL CREEPS by Lisa Morton
- THE MONSTER SQUAD by Jess Landry
- WHAT SCARES YOU by Marv Wolfman
- PLAYING IN SOMEONE ELSE’S HAUNTED HOUSE by Elizabeth Massie
- CREATING MAGIC FROM A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER: Del Howison interviews Tom Holland, Amber Benson, Fred Dekker, and Kevin Tenney
- Z NATION: HOW SYFY’S HIT SHOW CAME TO LIFE by Craig Engler
- LIFE IMITATING ART IMITATING LIFE: FILM AND ITS INFLUENCE ON REALITY by Jason V Brock
- WHERE NIGHTMARES COME FROM by Paul Moore
- STEPHEN KING AND RICHARD CHIZMAR DISCUSS COLLABORATING by Bev Vincent
- CHARLAINE HARRIS DISCUSSES STORYTELLING by Eugene Johnson
- WHAT NOW? by John Palisano
This collection is perfect for…
- writers of all genres
- authors looking for motivation and/or inspiration
- authors seeking guidance
- struggling authors searching for career advice
- authors interested in improving their craft
- writers interested in comics
- authors looking into screenwriting and films
- horror fans in general
- those looking to better understand the d
When a child mysteriously disappears from a small town and even his mother seems indifferent, it’s time for the new sheriff to step in.
Meet Chris Baker, the new sheriff of the quiet Adirondack town of Clifton Heights. As one inexplicable case after another forces him to confront the townsfolk in The Skylark Diner, it’s the furtive Gavin Patchett that hands Chris a collection of not-so-fictional short stories that tumbles him into a world of monsters, ageless demons, and vengeful citizens.
As Chris reads through the stories the veil starts to lift, and he soon questions what is real and what’s not, and whether he really wants to know.
Nothing will ever be the same again.
So welcome to Clifton Heights, New York, an average Adirondack town, and nice enough in its own right. Except after dark, under the pale light of the moon. Or on a road out of town that never ends, or in an old house on the edge of town with a will of its own. The town's nice enough, honestly. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone...
Things Slip Through carries on the literary tradition of Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Ray Bradbury, and Charles L. Grant.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the Author:
What makes Things Slip Through so special?
In many ways, I feel like this is my personal philosophy for the weirdness of the world. Without ascribing to any one philosophy of the hereafter, what if there are other dimensions, other realities out there, and in certain places in our world, the corners don't quite meet, aren't quite square, leaving cracks...and sometimes, in this strange world of ours...don't things slip through from other worlds to this one, and vice versa? It's what made the Twilight Zone so powerful. We're all just one odd step away from slipping through to someplace like our world, but not exactly like it...
Tell us more about your lead characters?
The main characters in the framing device are Gavin Patchett – at this point failed author and now high school English teacher – and Chris Baker, new sheriff and widower. Chris Baker is trying to solve a missing child case and is stymied by the seeming reticence of anyone in Clifton Heights to do or say anything which might lead to some answers. In the year he's worked in Clifton Heights, he's sensed something...off about the town. It's a nice town, filled with good people...and something else. Chris finally presses the question to his small group of friends: Father Ward, Headmaster at All Saints High, Gavin Patchett, English teacher at Clifton Heights High and Fitzy, a doctor from Utica. Gavin takes Chris to The Skylark Diner to share with him the secrets of Clifton Heights, in the form of stories he's written...or perhaps, channeled.
What's up with the town of Clifton Heights?
To be honest, I have no idea, and I'm not sure I want one. Charles L. Grant never explained the source of his fictional town's weirdness, Oxrun Station, (though maybe he intended to before passing away), and even though I've toyed with the idea of some ancient evil slumbering in Clifton Heights, or some cataclysmic mystical event cracking the boundaries between worlds, I'm still unsure if such a thing would be satisfying, or ruin some o
Sebastian “Seb” McAlister has run out of luck in Vegas. Cornered by a trigger-happy gang and shot through the stomach, he makes a desperate escape in his supercharged Hellcat. Fate guides Seb safely out of Sin City and into the desert, but as his wheels fade into the horizon, he fades into darkness.
He awakes among a tiny community in the middle of nowhere. A mountain range circles the hodgepodge of shacks like prison walls looming high. And the warden that resides in those mountains is big, ugly, and deadly—a creature straight out of a Lovecraftian nightmare.
If Seb hopes to escape that wayward way station, he’ll need enough cunning to outwit a force beyond comprehension… and a fast car. With a little luck and a ragtag group of would-be monster mashers racing alongside him, Seb just might have a shot of making it through the mountains alive.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Crystal Lake Publishing (Tales from the Darkest Depths) proudly presents this Bram Stoker Award-nominated non-fiction anthology, Horror 101: The Way Forward.
Horror 101: The Way Forward – a comprehensive overview of the Horror fiction genre and career opportunities available to established and aspiring authors.
Ever wanted to be a writer? Make money online? Perhaps you’ve already realized that dream and you’re looking to expand your repertoire. Writing comic books sounds nice, right? Or how about screenplays?
Covering aspects such as movies, comics, short stories, ghost-writing, audiobooks, editing, publishing, self-publishing, blogging, writer’s block, YA horror, dark poetry, networking, collaborations, eBooks, podcasts, conventions, formatting, web serials, artwork, social media, agents, and career advice from seasoned professionals and up-and-coming talents, Horror 101 is just what you need to kick your career into high gear.
Horror 101, although written by horror authors, is a must read for any person interested in becoming a writer, be it writing for a hobby or a career.
Horror 101 is not your average On Writing guide. Horror 101 focuses on the career of an author. It covers not only insights into the horror genre, but the people who successfully make a living from it.
Horror 101: The Way Forward is perfect for people who:
- are starting their writing careers
- are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
- are looking to pay more bills with their art
- are trying to establish a name brand
- are looking to get published
- are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
Here are just a few of the great articles and essays you can expect:
- Making Contact by Jack Ketchum
- What is Horror by Graham Masterton
- Avoiding What’s Been Done to Death by Ramsey Campbell
- What a Short Story Editor Does by Ellen Datlow
- Bitten by the Horror Bug by Edward Lee
- 12 Tips on Making a Career of It by Steve Rasnic Tem
- Screamplays! Writing the Horror Film by Lisa Morton
- Balancing Art and Commerce by Taylor Grant
- From Prose to Scripts by Shane McKenzie
- Writing About Films and for Film by Paul Kane
- Screenplay Writing by Dean M. Drinkel
- Audiobooks by Chet Williamson
- Ghost-writing by Thomas Smith
- Self-Publishing: Making Your Own Dreams by Iain Rob Wright
- The Pros and Cons of Collaborations by Michael McCarty
- A beginner’s guide to setting up and running a website by Michael Wilson
- Poetry and Horror by Blaze McRob
- So you want to write comic books… by C.E.L. Welsh
- Writing the Series by Armand Rosamilia
- Running a Web serial by Tonia Brown
- The 7 Signs that make Agents and Editors say, "Yes!" by Anonymous
- Filthy Habits – Writing and Routine by Jasper Bark
- Ten Short Story Endings to Avoid by William Meikle
- Editing and Proofreading by Diane Parkin
Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.
This is Writers On Writing – An Author’s Guide, where your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming – and being – an author.
In this first volume you’ll find in-depth essays from authors such as Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Mercedes M. Yardley, Tim Waggoner, Jasper Bark, Kevin Lucia, Monique Snyman, Todd Keisling, and Dave-Brendon de Burgh. Edited by Joe Mynhardt:
- “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge
- “The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique Snyman
- “Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
- “Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes M. Yardley
- “What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
- “Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
- “A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
- “Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
- “Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner
Writers On Writing give young authors the guidance they need, but has advice for all authors, from the interested newbie to the seasoned veteran (sounds delicious, right?).
Are you ready to be called an author?
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from The Darkest Depths
Interview with the Authors:
So what makes Writers on Writing so special?
Todd Keisling: Writers On Writing is unique in that it provides a collection of essays from both newcomers and established professionals, providing a wide range of perspectives on the art and craft of writing.
Tell us more about you essay in Writers on Writing.
Todd Keisling: My essay “Never Look Away: Confront Your Fears in Fiction” is an anecdotal look at an important lesson I learned early on in my writing career: That you shouldn’t look away from your subject matter, no matter how disturbing it is to you. Looking away does a disservice to your story, and by proxy, your reader.
Why should authors read Writers on Writing?
Jack Ketchum: It's rich in the variety of subjects discussed, written by people who know whereof they speak.
Todd Keisling: There are decades of experience contained within the book’s pages, covering multiple genres. I can’t think of a more diverse collection for the established—or aspiring—writing professional.
Do you have other non-fiction books authors should try out?
Jack Ketchum: Stephen King's ON WRITING and DANSE MACABRE. William Goldman's ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. Syd Field's SCREENPLAY.
Nightmares come to life in this comprehensive how-to guide for new and established authors…
Book two in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series picks up where the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Where Nightmares Come From: The Art Of Storytelling In The Horror Genre left off.
It’s Alive: Bringing your Nightmares to Life focuses on learning the craft in order to take your story from concept to completion.
With an introduction by Richard Chizmar and cover art by Luke Spooner. Featuring interior artwork from horror master Clive Barker!
Table of Contents:
- Introduction by Richard Chizmar
- Confessions of a Professional Day Dreamer by Jonathan Maberry
- What is Writing and Why Write Horror by John Skipp
- Tribal Layers by Gene O’Neill
- Bake That Cake: One Writer’s Method by Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale
- Ah-Ha: Beginning to End with Chuck Palahniuk and Michael Bailey (Discussing the Spark of Creativity)
- They Grow in the Shadows: Exploring the Roots of a Horror Story by Todd Keisling
- Sell Your Script, Keep Your Soul and Beware of Sheep in Wolves' Clothing by Paul Moore
- The Cult of Constraint (or To Outline or Not) by Yvonne Navarro
- Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires─Oh My! by Kelli Owen
- The Many Faces of Horror: Craft Techniques by Richard Thomas
- Giving Meaning to the Macabre by Rachel Autumn Deering
- The Horror Writer’s Ultimate Toolbox by Tim Waggoner
- Sarah Pinborough Interview by Marie O’Regan
- Conveying Character by F. Paul Wilson
- Sympathetic Characters Taste Better: Creating Empathy in Horror Fiction by Brian Kirk
- Virtue & Villainy: The Importance of Character by Kealan Patrick Burke
- How to write Descriptions in a story by Mercedes Yardley
- “Don’t Look Now, There’s a Head in That Box!” She Ejaculated Loudly (or Creating Effective Dialogue in Horror Fiction) by Elizabeth Massie
- Point of View by Lisa Mannetti
- What Came First the Monster or the Plot? In Conversation with Stephen Graham Jones by Vince A. Liaguno
- Building Suspense by David Wellington
- Conveying Horror by Ramsey Campbell
- Unveiling Theme Through Plot: An Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- Interview with Clive Barker by Tim Chizmar
- World Building (Building a terrifying world) by Kevin J. Anderson
- Speak Up: The Writer’s Voice by Robert Ford
- Writing for a Better World by Christopher Golden
- Shaping the Ideas: Getting Things from Your Head to the Paper or on Screen. Interview with Steve Niles, Mick Garris, Heather Graham, Mark Savage, and Maria Alexander by Del Howison
- On Research by Bev Vincent
- Editing Through Fear: Cutting and Stitching Stories by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
- Leaping into the Abyss by Greg Chapman
- Edit Your Anthology in Your Basement for Fun and Profit! . . . or Not by Tom Monteleone
- When It’s Their World: Writing for the Themed Anthology by Lisa Morton
- Roundtable Interview by John Palisano
- The Tale of the Perfect Submissions by Jess Landry
- Turning the Next Page: Getting Started with the Business of Writing
Cheating husband Ricardo could never keep it in his pants, and now it’s stuck in the worst possible place.
His Mexican road trip becomes a nightmare straight out of urban legend when he agrees to take the wrong woman back over the border. A bolt of lightning sees him fused to his fellow cheater on a detour into the backwoods. Now he’s fighting wild beasts and raw nature just to stay alive in this dark comedy romance that blends erotic horror with black humour and extreme splatter.
And now... A warning!
Do not buy this book, gentle reader.
No really, we mean it. Move along, click away from this page and go look at some Dino porn instead. We’re not kidding. The only reason we published it is because award winning author Jasper Bark has got some serious dirt on us. Honestly, there’s no other reason to put out something this depraved.
This is the sickest, filthiest and most horny novella you’re likely to read this year. It will turn you on even as it turns your stomach. Think you’ve seen everything there is to see in horror and erotica? Think again! Just when you think this story can’t get any lower it finds new depths to plumb.
Why are you still reading this?! Oh God you’re going to buy it aren’t you? You can’t help yourself. You’re going to click on that purchase button and download this little bad boy.
Well don’t say we didn’t warn you...
But, if you do enjoy STUCK ON YOU, be sure to pick up Jasper’s STUCK ON YOU AND OTHER PRIME CUTS collection, as well.
Stuck on You carries on the proud tradition of Jack Ketchum, Jeff Strand, and Poppy Z. Brite.
Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths
Stuck on You eBook categories:
- Horror novella
- Extreme horror
- Black humor
- Erotic Horror
- US Horror Fiction
- Horror Short stories
- Dark Fantasy Horror
- Horror Romance
- Horror Comedy
- UK author
- Urban legend
- Dark Humor
Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.
With twenty-two dark tales diving beneath the surface of loss, love, and life.
Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page, where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the most popular of our finalists.
Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.
Volume one includes horror, thrillers, suspense, and stories of love lost, death, 2nd chances, the monsters within, and the beauty beneath it all.
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Closure on a Bed of Nails” by Chad Lutzke
“Fast Car” by Tracy Fahey
“Tears of Buddy” by Patrick R. McDonough
“Puzzle Pieces” by Armand Rosamilia
“Pretty Like Butterflies” by Tim Waggoner
“S1:E7” by Robert Ford
“Pain is Your Teacher” by Michael Harris Cohen
“Memory Lane” by Red Lagoe
“The Silence of the Sirens” by Loren Rhoads
“It’s Me Not You” by Jonathan Winn
“Sisters of Loss” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Talisman” by Jezzy Wolfe
“The Melting of Your Gods” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“Charms” by Dino Parenti
“Not Your Average Monster” by Kenneth W. Cain
“Where the Children Run in Darkness” by Guy Medley
“Tunnels” by Tom Over (winner)
“The Truth about Dani” by Joe Mercer
“Baby Savannah” by M.J. Sydney
“Rats Scratched in the Linen Cupboard” by Dani Brown
“Raining” by John Boden
“The Death Experience” by L.A. Story
In this volume…
- Taunted by a cactus, a man copes with grief after the loss of his wife.
- Alondra DeCourval visits Franz Kafka’s grave to think about death.
- A lovestruck woman strives to connect with a man she’s convinced is The One.
- The perfect funeral for a child—all according to a Mother’s well-crafted plan. The exception is one small, unexpected development no one could have ever prepared for.
- A short meditation on the haunting nature of love and loss, and the aftermath of both.
- Victor’s sanity has been threaded together by the memory of his daughter’s voice, until now, when her laughter falls silent.
- An adrenaline junkie believes he can take on the ultimate challenge—coming back from the dead.
- Sisters share everything. The good...and the bad.
- Sometimes being a hoarder is dangerous...
- In our ever-changing world, what we view as a monster is constantly evolving…but at what cost?
- Buddy's heart aches for his family’s arrival.
- Bright colors may be beautiful, but sometimes they can be dangerous.
- Sometimes the darkness we harbor within is best left behind closed doors.
- Rats scratch in the children's ward.
Welcome back to Clifton Heights.
Sheriff Chris Baker and Father Ward meet for a Saturday morning breakfast at The Skylark Diner to once again commiserate over the weird and terrifying secrets surrounding their town.
Sheriff Baker shares with Father Ward the story of a journal discovered in the ruins of what was once an elaborate koi pond and flower garden, which regales a tale of regret, buried pain, and unfulfilled debt:
“Sophan” – Jake Burns has always been a bit...off. Rude, awkward, sometimes brutish, he's tolerated by Nate Slocum and his friends because he hits a mean line drive, and because they all know but don't discuss the abuse he faces at the hands of his troubled father, a Vietnam veteran consumed by his demons. But Jake is suffering something far worse than domestic abuse, and when Nate discovers what, he faces an impossible choice: help Jake and put himself in the path of evil, or abandon him, only to damn himself in the process.
Father Ward reveals the story of a tortured man from the nearby town of Tahawus, who visited his confessional seeking solace from a cosmic horror he can never outrun:
“The Man in Yellow” – Stuart Michael Evans has suffered from cerebral palsy all his life, but he’s made due. Sure, his preacher dad is always yammering about “the healing grace of God” and “God's will,” saying all he needs is faith and someday he’ll be healed, but Stuart mostly ignores him. Life isn’t perfect, but it isn’t awful either, so Stuart figures he doesn't need God to heal him, or do anything, for that matter. Everything changes, however, when a renowned faith healer – Reverend Alistair McIlvian – pays a visit to Tahawus’ annual Summer Vacation Bible School. Revival sweeps the town as Reverend McIlvian’s healing touch makes believers out of everyone. But where do these powers come from? God, or something...else?
Devourer of Souls carries on the classic tradition of T. M. Wright, Norman Prentiss, Mary Sangiovanni, and Ron Malfi.
Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the author:
Tell us more about your lead characters:
“Sophan” – It's the late eighties, and Nate Slocum is enjoying summer with his friends. He comes to be confronted with an earthly evil in the most unlikely of places, and learns what a heavy price one pays for failing a friend in need.
“The Man in Yellow” – Stuart Michael Evans has cerebral palsy, but life is okay. It may not be great, but he and his friend Bobby – who suffers from asthma – manage to enjoy life. It's hard, though. Living with his pastor father after his mother passed years ago isn't always easy, especially because Stuart feels that – secretly – his father is ashamed of his only son's handicap. But he manages, even so...
What's up with the town of Clifton Heights?
To be honest, I have no idea, and I'm not sure I want one. Charles L. Grant never explained the source of his fictional town's weirdness, Oxrun Station, (though maybe he intended to before passing away), and even though I've toyed with the idea of some ancient evil slumbering in Clifton Heights, or some cataclysmic mystical event cracking the boundaries between worlds, I'm still unsure if such a thing would be satisfying, or ruin some of the mystery.
Writers never really die; their stories live on, to be found again, to be told again, to scare again.
In Victorian London, a select group of writers, led by Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker and Henry James held an informal dining club, the price of entry to which was the telling of a story by each invited guest.
These are their stories, containing tales of revenant loved ones, lost cities, weird science, spectral appearances and mysteries in the fog of the old city, all told by some of the foremost writers of the day. In here you'll find Verne and Wells, Tolstoy and Checkov, Stevenson and Oliphant, Kipling, Twain, Haggard and Blavatsky alongside their hosts.
Come, join us for dinner and a story:
- Robert Louis Stevenson - Wee Davie Makes a Friend
- Rudyard Kipling - The High Bungalow
- Leo Tolstoy - The Immortal Memory
- Bram Stoker - The House of the Dead
- Mark Twain - Once a Jackass
- Herbert George Wells - Farside
- Margaret Oliphant - To the Manor Born
- Oscar Wilde - The Angry Ghost
- Henry Rider Haggard - The Black Ziggurat
- Helena P Blavatsky - Born of Ether
- Henry James - The Scrimshaw Set
- Anton Checkov - At the Molenzki Junction
- Jules Verne - To the Moon and Beyond
- Arthur Conan Doyle - The Curious Affair on the Embankment
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the author:
So what makes this short story collection so special?
Meikle: I love the idea that all these famous writers knew each other, and met for a meal, a drink, a smoke and some storytelling in an old London club / bar setting. It chimes almost exactly with my own idea of a good time. It's special to me in that it's a culmination of the past half dozen or so years of writing. Before this collection there were the Carnacki stories, the Holmes stories, the Challenger stories, and the collaborations with M Wayne Miller in numerous deluxe hardcovers. THE GHOST CLUB feels like an endpiece to all of that, a last celebration of everything I love about the era and the storytellers. Plus it's the most ambitious piece of work I've undertaken in my writing so far, the cause of much worrying and fretting on my part, so seeing the lovely blurbs and comments from writers I have long admired makes it extra special to me.
Why should horror fans give Victorian Terror a try?
Meikle: It's where we come from. The Victorian era storytelling tradition was the launching point for horror, and also for crime fiction, for science fiction, for fantasy and for much of how we see the world today. It gave us Sherlock Holmes, Dr Jeckyll, Dracula, the Invisible Man, Captain Nemo, and all manner of ghosts, spooks and spectres that still fill our entertainment of choice today. It's my way of paying homage to that tradition. This is who I am.
How did you choose which authors to use in this book?
Meikle: Initially all I knew was that Doyle and Stoker were founder members of the club in London. Then I found out that Henry James was in London at the same time as them and it started to come together.
Bram Stoker Award® winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure.
They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).
Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the poets:
What makes this poetry collection so special?
Alessandro: Collaborations are the salt of poetry, can create special, unique blends and flavours. This book is exquisite, in that way.
Linda: Collaborations can create remarkable work, whether it’s poetry or fiction. Alessandro and I each did a third on our own and then a third together. This book was written with us in completely different time zones (Arizona & Italy), without ego and is the best poetry I’ve created so far.
Tell us more about the theme of this book.
Linda: There was no hard rules, we agreed to riff off any of the words in the title: Place; Broken; Thing(s). The real magic is how the book flowed from us, as we allowed our imagination freedom to play, trusting the dark, surrealistic tales told would fit; and they did!
Alessandro: Imagine a collage of different places, connected by invisible wires. We play the role of the explorers of that elusive, borderlands world.
Why should readers give this book or your work a try?
Linda: Our book has unique songs to offer, something we couldn’t recreate separately. It stands alone with any work we do in the future because even the poems I wrote by myself were influenced by working in our shared arena in undefinable ways.
Alessandro: If you're a curious traveler, ready to walk with us along a trail without markers, this is a good book for you.
“Kevin Lucia is this generation's answer to Charles L. Grant.” – Brian Keene
The things we want are so very rarely the things we need.
Clifton Heights, a modest Adirondack town, offers many unique attractions. Arcane Delights sells both paperbacks and hard-to-find limited editions. The Skylark Diner serves the best home-cooked meals around, with friendly service and a smile. Every August, Mr. Jingo’s County Fair visits, to the delight of children and adults. In essence, Clifton Heights is the quintessential small American town. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone is treated like family. It is quiet, simple, and peaceful.
But shadows linger here. Flitting in dark corners, from the corner of the eye. If you walk down Main Street after dark, the slight scrape of shoes on asphalt whispers you're not alone, but when you look over your shoulder, no one is there. The moon shines high and bright in the night sky, but instead of throwing light, it only seems to make the shadows lengthen.
Children disappear. Teens run away. Hunters get lost in the woods with frightening regularity. Husbands go mad, and wives vanish in the dead of night. And still, when the sun rises in the morning, you are greeted by townspeople with warm waves and friendly smiles, and the shivers pass as everything seems fresh and new...
Until night falls once more.
Handy's Pawn and Thrift sits several blocks down from Arcane Delights. Like any thrift store, its wares range from the mundane to the bizarre. By daylight, it seems just another slice of small town Americana. But in its window hangs a sign which reads: We Have Things You Need. And when a lonely traveling salesman comes looking for something he desperately wants, after normal visiting hours, after night has fallen, he will face a harsh truth among the shelves of Handy’s Pawn and Thrift: the things we want are rarely the things we need.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the author:
Why should people try your work?
As a reader, I've always been a fan of character-driven, more atmospheric horror, so naturally that's the kind of horror I try to write. I'm heavily influenced by the work Charles L. Grant, T. M. Wright, Stephen King, Norman Prentiss, Mary Sangiovanni and Ronald Malfi - writers who all create compelling characters with emotional depth, and that's what I aspire to in my own work. I want to grapple with some of life's toughest questions through fiction, but still create something that's entertaining, while also meaningful.
Do you have any other books featuring these characters?
My work takes place in the same small fictional Adirondack town, Clifton Heights, so there are lots of crossover characters and Easter eggs, name references, etc. This book, however, is very much a standalone work, with the exception of minor references to series characters like Sheriff Chris Baker, Father Ward, author Gavin Patchett (Things Slip Through, Devourer of Souls, Through A Mirror, Darkly) and bookstore owner Kevin Ellison (Through A Mirror, Darkly). The mysterious shopkeeper and his shop, Handy's Pawn and Thrift, is mentioned throughout the series.
In which order should folks read these Clifton Heights books?
Really, the only order which might appear chronological is that Devourer of So