Tag Archives: new publishers

Q2 2013 Roundup of New Publishers

First off, apologies for the lack of any new reviews from me lately.  I started a new job in late March and have been busy drinking from the proverbial firehose.  As fate would have it, the period leading up to mid-June is the busiest time of the year for the group I work in, so I’ll continue in slightly-overwhelmed mode for a couple more weeks, but have a ton of stuff queued up for review and will start catching up asap, starting with a two-fer review of a pair of titles by Ian Rogers.

In the meantime… it’s been more than six months since our last roundup of new publishers, so let’s take stock of who’s newly entered the fray (or recently been discovered):

Biting Dog Publications – A past publisher of titles by Nancy Collins, Neil Gaiman, and Jack Ketchum, Biting Dog had been moved from the Active Publisher list to the dormant and defunct section, but recently re-emerged with more than 30 ebooks.  Authors include Collins (eight titles), Neal Barrett, Jr. (seven titles), Sara Brooke (four titles), and John Paul Allen (three titles).  Several of their “titles” are just short stories, but they also have some book-length works as well.  There’s no editorial presence whatsoever on the website — no indication of why BDP went dormant for quite a while, why they’re suddenly back, or whether they intend to publish any more print books.

$(KGrHqYOKnUE1OjcYQmiBNdZSC!bCQ~~_35Dybbuk Press – Another press that is getting promoted, at least temporarily, from the dormant section back to the Active Publisher list, although it’s not clear whether Dybbuk is really back to stay.  The last post on their website, from August 2012, indicates that they’re almost done reading for an anthology entitled King David and the Spider From Mars.  The lack of any further updates in nine months doesn’t seem promising. To date, Dybbuk has published eight titles, in both trade paperback and ebook format, in their nine-year history, with the most recent titles being an anthology and a collection by Michael Hemmingson. I’ll give Dybbuk the benefit of  the doubt for the moment, but their stay on the Active Publisher list may be very short-lived.

HM2800_600Horrific Tales Publishing – A UK-based publisher that has released two books to date, the werewolf novels High Moor and High Moor 2 by Graeme Reynolds, with each available in trade paperback and ebook format.  As far as I can so far tell, HTP is not a self-publishing enterprise, but if I do find that to be the case, then I’ll remove them from the list. Edit: in late-breaking news, I just confirmed that HTP is, in fact, Reynolds’ own site, so I won’t be adding the press to the list of legitimate publishers (unless/until they publish work by other authors).  I will, however, go ahead and leave in this description so that it’s apparent why they’ve been excluded. 

 

Frights Cover 3-22-12Horror Zine Books – This press is an offshoot of horror website thehorrorzine.com (which has been around since 2009, but unfortunately looks like a GeoCities site circa 1996), and the brainchild of author/editor Jeanni Rector.  HZB has produced A Feast of Frights, an anthology edited by Rector, as well as her novel Accused, a predisposition towards the publisher’s own work that is often not a good sign (at least not if you’re seeking, like me, to track true independent publishers, and not self-publishing enterprises).  However, Rector’s website and anthology efforts have garnered praise, and contributions, from some fairly big names in the genre, including Ramsey Campbell, Simon Clark, Joe Lansdale, and Tom Piccirilli.  I think the two titles mentioned above are the only ones HZB has published, but I’ll be damned if I can tell for sure: the website’s organization is an abomination; for example, clicking on the Books link in the navigation bar leads not to a page on the books HZB has published, as one might expect, but rather to a page of book reviews.  Two earlier Rector-edited anthologies promoted on the site, What Fears Become and Shadow Masters, were produced by a different publisher (Imajin Books).

headerinsidenuovohome1bMezzotints – An Italian publisher that primarily produces genre work in the Italian language (with roughly 8 titles to date), they recently published an English-language-version ebook of Samuel Marolla’s Black Tea and Other Tales.  The thin collection gathers three previously published (in Italian) tales and is edited Benjamin Kane Ethridge, with an introduction by Gene O’Neill.  It remains to be seen whether Mezzotints will produce further English works or if this was a one-off curiosity.

 

DeadSoulsWS-e1358463780350Omnium Gatherum and Odium Media – Omnium, Odium… oh my!  OK, where was I?  Omnium Gatherum has actually been around since 2011 and is focused on, in the publisher’s own words, “providing unique dark fantasy fiction in print, ebook and audio formats. Dark fantasy fiction, as we define it, combines the best of fantasy and horror to comment on history, science, society or the human condition.” Of their 18 titles, the most notable are probably two titles, Knock Knock and Delphine Dodd, by the highly regarded S.P. Miskowski.  Odium Medium, meanwhile, is the publisher’s horror imprint.  They state that the imprint publishes “horror fiction with young adult protagonists and bring(s) classic horror tales back into print.” The YA focus of their original titles is interesting, if seemingly a bit inconsistent with their reprint philosophy.  Titles to date include reprints of Michael Laimo’s Dead Souls and Rick Hautala’s The Wildman, as well as an original novel by Dean Harrison.  Strangely, there seems to be no links from the Omnium Gatherum site to the Odium Media site.  Equally strangely, the idea of actually selling books seems somewhat foreign to the Omnium site — there is no e-commerce aspect to the site, and links to Amazon are somewhat hidden (only available by clicking on book covers).  It’s worth noting that the two website have some some intro graphics that are cool if you’re working with plenty of bandwidth, but annoying if you’re not.  Finally, The founder of the twin imprints, Kate Jonez, is also a writer, with a debut novel due this summer from Evil Jester Press.

cover-art-pstd-3-feb-26-version-2Postscripts to Darkness – I’m going to with this as the name of this publisher, even though the actual publisher listed on their titles is “Ex Hubris Imprints.”  But the latter doesn’t have a website (or any web presence) while the former does have a site… and as far as I can tell, the two are one and the same.  Regardless, PSTD (their website tagline rather cutely says “Pssst…Dear Darkness…Are you there?”) is a Canadian publisher of three anthologies, entitled Postscripts to Darkness volumes 1, 2, and 3.  Publisher Sean Moreland was apparently inspired by a locally-funded visit to Canada by Glen Hirshberg and Peter Atkins’ long-running annual Rolling Darkness Revue, and he formed PSTD as a result.  Their volumes are short (at least one running less than 100 pages), composed of short-short stories and some non-fiction, available in hard-copy format (either trade paperback or chapbook — I’m not sure of the binding) and are planned to appear twice yearly.  There’s no indication that they’re looking to publish anything beyond this anthology series.

The_Wicked_-_James_NewmanShock Totem Publications – Many publishers in the horror genre first get their feet wet printing a magazine before graduating to books, and Shock Totem Publications is a perfect example of this.  Shock Totem magazine debuted in 2009, with six issues having appeared so far, and fiction by the likes of Cate Gardner, Jack Ketchum, and John Skipp.  The move to books came in 2012 with a limited-edition reprint of James Newman’s novel, The Wicked, which featured a nicely done, retro-style cover with faux creases and bumps.  A collection by Mercedes M. Yardley has followed, with the limited edition including a separate chapbook.  Shock Totem’s regular editions are available in both trade paperback and ebook formats.

SWVol2-WebTradeCoverSomething Wicked Books – Similar to Shock Totem above, Something Wicked began its life as a print magazine in 2006, publishing both horror and science fiction, before converting to an online magazine in 2011, with 19 total issues published to date.  SWB is unique on our list, being the only South African publisher, meaning that many of the authors they’ve published in the magazine and in their two, annual, trade-paperback Something Wicked anthologies are unfamiliar names to U.S. readers (even though SWB points out that they buy from authors all over the globe).  A few of the bigger names include Abigail Godsell, Nick Wood, Lauren Beukes, and Cate Gardner (mentioned above as a Shock Totem author as well).  As with Postscripts to Darkness, the actual publisher listed sports a different name but doesn’t really represent the publications in question (Something Wicked’s publisher, Inkless Media, does have a website, but it contains no direct information on the books published), and so the Something Wicked magazine site is what I’ve linked here.

theamulet_medValancourt Books – This is a truly borderline inclusion, as I’ve excluded many publishers from the list for the reason that the majority of their titles are non-horror, and Valancourt Books certainly meets that description.  I can’t bring myself to exclude them, however, given the roster of horror names that they do publish: John Blackburn, Basil Copper, Gerald Kersh, and Michael McDowell, to name a few.  Valancourt has been around since 2005, when they were formed with the idea of using “modern technology to restore widespread access to rare, neglected, and out-of-print literature.”  Their titles are published in trade paperback form, and they have several book lines, with the most notable being 20th Century Classics, Gothic Classics, and “Valancourt Classics.”

As may be apparent from the descriptions above, it’s starting to feel like we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to finding new publishers.  Not surprising (nor necessarily a bad thing), given that there’s the rather astounding total of 185 publishers on the active horror publisher list.  When I started compiling this list a few years ago, even though I considered myself something of an authority on the small press at the time, I had no inkling the list would grow to include so many publishers.

Is the large number of publishers a sign that the economy is better than believed, at least when it comes to genre book buyers and b00k collectors?  Or is it a case of too many people who don’t know what they’re doing throwing their hat in the publishing ring and producing works that perhaps shouldn’t see the light of day?

You decide.

Publisher Update and Giving Credit Where It’s Due

It’s been roughly three months since my last update  on new publishers, so it’s time to once again take stock of what’s new in the world of small press horror, suspense, and dark fantasy publishers. Before I do that, however, I want to briefly talk about a publisher who was covered in that last update — namely, Evileye Books, about who I wrote: “Features an interesting website design with different format options for viewing, but in a rather ridiculous turn, the most important page on the site — ‘Our Books’ — is empty save for a ‘Coming Shortly…’ message.”

Well, a few weeks later, I received a box of books from Evileye, with a note from press Editorial Director A.N. Ommus, who stated, “I’m sorry your recent experience with our website wasn’t the most pleasing. It seems you caught us with our pants down, as we are in the middle of an extensive reboot of our online presence. With some luck and hard work, we should be live with a brand new ‘magazine-style’ website early in the new year.”  I just checked in on Evileye, and while the entirely new site isn’t up yet, they’ve at least gotten their ‘Books’ page updated. Since I was quick to point out their earlier deficiency, I wanted to give Evileye credit for their follow-up.

Oh, and it’s also worth noting that some of the titles they sent look decidedly interesting. I’ll definitely at least be reviewing their Orren Gray title. And, just to give an idea of what else is forthcoming — we’ll also soon be posting reviews of several other publishers’ titles, including books by Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Matthew Warner, Brett McBean, and Ian Rogers.

Now, without further delay, let’s take a look at 15 more new (or newly-discovered) horror/suspense small presses…

Aklo Press – this UK-based publisher doesn’t have much of a web presence — basically a one-page site where you can order their sole title… or rather could have ordered, since despite said lack of website, or any apparent marketing, the title is already sold out. The book in question is the Lovecraftian anthology Aklonomicon, featuring work by Laird Barron, Simon Strantzas, Jeffrey Thomas and others — and it actually came out back in 2011, so despite that inaugural title’s success, one must question whether Aklo will be producing any more titles.

Alter Ego Books -published a single chapbook title, John R. Little’s Sarah’s Story, back in 2011, with no further website updates since then, so the viability of this press is in question from the get-go, and its time on this list may be short-lived.

Alter Press – doesn’t have a website, only a Facebook page and a message forum.  AP’s first title is the anthology The Exctinction Files, released in September 2012 in trade pb and ebook format, and four additional anthos have been announced.  The amateurism displayed so far does not bode well.

Angelic Knight Press – described on their website as “the brainchild of Blaze McRob and Quinn Cullen…authors who were looking for an acceptable alternative to traditional publishers and self-publishing,” AKP launched their first title in late 2011 and have published 8 ebook-only titles to date, including Armand Rosamilia’s Tool Shed and several anthologies. More anthologies are on tap, including the cleverly titled 50 Shades of Decay, which will feature 50 short-shorts, mostly by authors whose names are unfamiliar to me.

DHG Press – a new book line from the publisher of Death Head Grin online magazine, of which there have been 40 issues to date. Two anthologies have been published so far, in ebook format, featuring the likes of Michael Aronovitz, Jason Sturner, and many others, and four novellas have been announced.  DHG’s works definitely tip towards the amateurish end of the scale, but clearly there’s effort and enthusiasm involved.

Fedogan & Bremer – a most welcome return to the list — after publishing 28 titles between 1987 an 2005, F&B went dark due to personal troubles experienced by the publisher. When co-founder Philip J. Rahman died in 2011, it seemed unlikely that the press would ever open its doors again, but lo and behold, F&B re-emerged in late 2012 with publication of the hardcover anthology Worlds of Cthulhu, edited by Robert M. Price. Upcoming titles include the third anthology in editor Stephen Jones’ Innsmouth trilogy, and a collection of Rahman’s fiction. Now if only some of F&B’s comeback mojo would rub off on Arkham House…

Hazardous Press – an ebook-only publisher specializing in novellas and short novels, HP’s output includes fantasy and SF as well as horror. Nine titles have been published so far, comprising 4 novels, 3 collections, 1 novella and 1 anthology, with highlights being David Riley’s collection, His Own Mad Demons, Hollis Jay’s haunted-house novel, The Ever, and the zombie anthology A Quick Bite of Flesh.

Kraken Press – ebook publisher who launched a website in 2011 and finally published their first title — Adam Aresty’s novella Recovery — in early 2013.  A collection from Richard Thomas is forthcoming.  Looks to have a strong eye for captivating artwork.  I’m not clear on where Kraken is based, but the website is registered to an owner in Sweden.  Edit: Kraken responded to this post, informing me that the press operates out of the U.S., and their books are intended for the U.S. market. 

Morpheus Tales Publishing – UK-based publisher of the quarterly Morpheus Tales magazine, of which there have been 19 issues published to date.  When it comes to books, MTP has published Matt Leyshon’s The Function Room: The Kollection and two anthologies, although that fact was difficult to discern on their trainwreck of a website, which has a “Books” page that only partially loads, not to mention some very poorly written content.

Nightscape Press – launched in 2012, NP already has nine titles to their credit.  Publishing in both trade pb and ebook format, highlights include Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s novel Dungeon Brain, L. L. Soares’ novel Life Rage, Trent Zelazny’s novella Butterfly Potion, and Stephen Graham Jones’ collection Three Miles Past. Nightscape has apparently acquired Cutting Block Press (as announced by Cutting Block’s owner on a message board in December 2012), but what exactly that will mean for the two presses remains unclear, as neither’s website has any details yet, six weeks after the initial announcement.

Nodens Books – publisher of fantasy and horror, managed by writer and editor Douglas A. Anderson, a genre scholar and the editor of several fantasy anthologies. Nodens debuted in 2012 and has published four somewhat eclectic titles to date, including The Ghost in the Tower by Earl Reed and the verse collection Sable Revery by Robert Nelson, whose poetry appeared in Weird Tales in the ’30s.

Parallel Universe Publications – operated by longtime horror writer and fan David A. Riley, the UK-based PUP previously published the magazine Beyond during the mid-’90s before going dormant. The press recently re-emerged after more than a decade of inactivity, and their first new publication is the hardcover collection The Heaven Maker and Other Gruesome Tales, by Craig Herbertson.

Shadowfall Publications – aiming to be a publisher of both horror and paranormal romance, for both adult and young-adult markets, SP has published — depending on which area of their website you look at — somewhere between 3 and 6 titles to date, some only in trade pb format, some also as ebooks.  The highlight has clearly been Lisa Mannetti’s Stoker-award-winning debut novel, The Gentling Box. Rather disconcertingly, the “News” page on the SP site has only a single post, from almost a year ago; there is frequent usage of “placeholder” text throughout the site; and the registration/checkout process was broken when I tried to download Mannetti’s follow-up, Deathwatch.

Sinister Press – founded by M. Joseph Schuhler, Jr., Sinister Press has been in business since 2011 and has published two novels in trade paperback format — Peter Cumming’s The Neuropathology of Zombies and Steven Shiverdecker’s Morbid Testimony — with a sequel to the Cummings novel forthcoming.

Written Backwards – publishers of two anthologies, both of which are edited by, and include a story by, the press’ owner, Michael Bailey, so there’s a definite whiff of self-publishing here, but given that plenty of other authors have been published in the anthos Chiral Mad and Pellucid Lunacy, WB qualifies for inclusion here.  Some of those other authors are Gary Braunbeck, Gary McMahon, Gord Rollo, Jack Ketchum and Amanda Pillar. Both books are available as trade pbs and Lunacy is also in ebook format.

The following publishers have announced but not yet published titles, so they’re candidates to be added to the list in the future: Grey Matter Press, Screaming Spires Publishing  and War of the Words Press.

On the other side of the ledger — that is, presses being removed from the list — the only publisher that I could unequivocally confirm as being defunct is Bizarre Books, but I’m also declaring Darkhouse Publishing and Midnight Library to be dead (both their websites have been down for extended periods), and several others appear to be on life support. For example (and this is a random survey), neither Elder Signs Press nor Noose & Gibbet Publishing have made any news posts to their websites in over a year, which is usually not a good sign, but hopefully they’ll rebound.  Until next time…

New Press Roundup for Q4 2012

It’s been almost four months since our last round-up of new publishers, so it’s time for another status check on what’s new in the horror small press. Here are 14 new (or newly discovered by me) publishers that I’ve added to the list:

Burial Day Books — Run by the apparent husband-and-wife team of Gerardo and Cina Pelayo, BDB publishes in both trade paperback and e-book editions. They have two titles to their credit so far: the anthology Gothic Blue Book, which is a collection of short stories and poems that “resurrect the spirit of … Gothic Blue Books, [which] were short fictions popular in the 18th and 19th century”; and the anthology Loteria, a collection of 54 “macabre Latin fairy tales,” one for each of the cards in the Mexican board game of the same name.

Cold Fusion Media — Started out by publishing five issues of the (now defunct) PDF-only magazine Arkham Tales, and has since moved into book publishing (both trade paperbacks and e-books). CFM has so far only published titles written or edited by publisher Nathan Shumate, making their place on this list precarious.  The anthology Arcane, which includes stories by Gemma Files and… a whole bunch of other folks, is sufficient to get the press included, at least for now.  Their other two titles are a novella and non-fiction book, both by Shumate.

Crowded Quarantine Publications — A UK-based publisher with an annoying, badly-designed and nearly content-free website, CQP is another press that is far too focused on books written or edited by the publisher — Adam Millard, in this case.  Despite an earlier announcement that CQP is “currently seeking 8 full-length novels for publication in 2012,” it appears that all seven of their titles are either authored or edited by Millard.  Publishing in both trade paperback and e-book formats, their most recent title is the anthology Grindhouse, featuring stories by Wayne Rogers and 17 others.

Cruentus Libri Press — Another UK publisher, this one with a bare-bones WordPress-based website, CLP bill themselves as “purveyors of unspeakable horror.”  Three anthologies have been released so far, all edited by Kevin Bufton: 100 Horrors, gathering 100 flash-fiction stories of 100 words each; A Fistful of Horrors, a collection of western/horror hybrid stories (interesting choice for a non-US publisher); and Lucha Gore, which focuses on tales with a wrestling theme.

Crystal Lake Publishing — The first South African publisher on our list, CLP specializes in anthologies and single-author collections, and considers itself primarily an e-book publisher, although it offers trade paperback editions as well.   A collection by Joe Mynhardt has been released, and For the Night is Dark, an anthology featuring Gary McMahon, Stephen Bacon, and Scott Nicholson, among others has been announced for 2013 publication.

Dancing Tuatara Press — An imprint of Ramble House Press, DTP titles are selected by John Pelan, who has focused his editorial efforts here since his Midnight House press folded.  The focus is on resurrecting forgotten and overlooked tales from the horror and weird menace pulps.  Available in both trade pb and hardcover editions, 37 titles have been published to date (with 10 of those categorized as detective, SF, or fantasy titles).  Hugh Cave’s House of the Restless Dead is a recent title of interest, and Mark Hansom is a house favorite, with five titles published.  Look for a review of H.B. Gregory’s Dark Sanctuary upcoming here on Twilight Ridge.

Egaeus Press — Unlike many publishers I cover, UK-based Egaeus has a clear statement of purpose: “It is our intention to publish morbid, decadent and baroque fiction in limited edition hardcover volumes of a quality of ornateness rarely seen in modern books.”  Based on what I can discern from photos and specifications, their first two titles certainly live up to those goals.  Reggie Oliver’s 250-copy collection, Shadow Plays, is already out of print while Stephen J. Clark’s intriguing-sounding novel In Delirium’s Circle was published in an 300-copy edition and is still available.

EvilEye Books — Features an interesting website design with different format options for viewing, but in a rather ridiculous turn, the most important page on the site — “Our Books” — is empty save for a “Coming Shortly…” message.  Forced to go investigating through their blog posts and their Amazon listings, I found approximately six titles, some available only as e-books but a couple also in print editions.  Notable titles include John Urbancik’s DarkWalker, the first volume in an ongoing supernatural noir series, and the anthology The Burning Maiden, which features Sarah Langan, Joe Lansdale, and Tim Lebbon, among others.

Gallows Press — Another trade paperback and e-book publisher, Gallows Press features a few current or former Delirium Book authors among their ten-book line-up, including Brian Knight, Kurt Newton, and Jeff Strand.  Mark Allen Gunnell’s novel Sequel appears to be the most recent title. It’s unclear what Gallows’ relationship with Sideshow Press is, but they list one of Sideshow’s titles among their own catalog of titles.

Genius Book Publishing — A cross-genre (horror, crime, SF, thrillers) with five horror titles among the seven titles they’ve published to date.  Notable titles include Gene O’Neill’s collection In Dark Corners, and two zombie novels in The Hungry series, co-written by Harry Shannon and GBP owner Steven W. Booth.  Titles are available in both trade pb and e-book editions.

Hieroglyphic Press — Seemingly somewhat inspired by Romanian publisher Ex Occidente Press, HP’s focus is defined thusly: “We are a small imprint primarily dedicated to publishing works of an eclectic and rarefied nature: to use a quote from elsewhere we wish for spiritual art – Decadence, Esoterica and Symbolism.”  The four short-run hardcovers published to date feature a decidedly European slant, including: a translation of Polish master of the macabre Stefan Grabinski’s 1919 collection, On the Hill of Roses; and Requiems & Nightmares, the first collection of short fiction by Italian Guido Gozzano, another early 20th-century writer.

Ravenous Shadows — An imprint of Ravenous Romance, edited by horror luminary John Skipp, specializing in novellas and short novels.  RS seems to be approaching things somewhat backwards — as far as I can tell, they don’t have a dedicated website yet, or even any mention on the parent Ravenous Romance site, but they have a Facebook page and a Twitter account.  Ravenous Romance bills itself as a an ebook-only publisher, but there are paperback editions of the RS titles available through Amazon’s print on demand program.  The press debuted with a quartet of titles early in 2012, highlighted by Eric Shapiro’s The Devoted and Adam Cesare’s Tribesmen.  With a stated goal to publish 30-40 titles a year, they’ll seemingly be prolific.  An announced title of note is Unwanted, by Creeping Hemlock publisher RJ Sevin.

This Is Horror — A new venture from a UK-based horror website (of the same name — www.thisishorror.co.uk), which features columns, reviews, fiction, and more.  TIH’s publishing arm is exclusively focused on chapbooks, in a similar vein to Nightjar Press and Spectral Press (although the latter has now branched out beyond chapbooks).  The first round of This Is Horror titles includes some impressive names: Simon Bestwick & Gary McMahon; David Moody; Conrad Williams; and Joseph D’Lacey.

Triskaideka Books — Truly international in flavor, having launched in 2011 in New Zealand and now located in Japan, Triskaideka (which translates to the number 13) started out publishing in book trade pb and e-book editions, but has now switched to digital only.  Their website is disconcertingly out of date and features several broken links but it appears that they have published eight titles so far, with highlights being David Mathew’s  O My Days and Carson Buckingham’s Home.

In the “borderline” category, Eraserhead Press added another bizarro imprint, Lazy Fascist.  Some of their titles may be of interest to readers of this blog.

As for removing publishers from the list…Cargo Cult Press and Dark Silo Press are the only publishers I’m aware of that seem to have definitively shut down recently (their website domains having expired).  There are several others, however, who have been quiet for so long that they appear to be moribund.  For example, Darkhouse Publishing, Golden Gryphon, and Midnight Library all appear to have turned out the lights, at least for now.