Friday, 1 January 2016

Blood, foam, fury - terror on the high seas

It gives me great pleasure to see in the New Year by officially announcing volume nine in the TERROR TALES  series I edit for GRAY FRIAR PRESS: TERROR TALES OF THE OCEAN.

Yep, it's done and dusted at last, and you can order it right now from either the publisher's site, or from AMAZON.

The original idea behind this anthology series was to do a round-tour of the British Isles, publishing brand new scary fiction from a range of top-drawer writers, each book interspersing these works of fiction with true tales of terror relating to each region under examination.

However, nine volumes in, we've got around the UK at a rate of knots, and though there are several British locations still to visit, it was probably inevitable that gradually we were going to start looking farther afield, and to a certain extent this new volume is the first one of that ilk. In a nutshell, this time around I gave my writers free rein - they could look at any sea or ocean on Earth, not just those washing along the shores of the UK, and I told them to go over them, under them and all along their edges.

As you can imagine, there was considerable potential here for some truly chilling horror stories, and as you're about to find out - if you buy! - none of the lads and lassest disappointed. But ... as always, it's now time for me to shut my mouth and let the book do the talking. Here's the official front cover artwork (courtesy of the near-superhuman Neil Williams) and the back-cover blurb. Below that sits the full table of contents, and under that a few choice excerpts to hopefully whet your whistles for the greater terrors to come:

The rolling blue ocean. Timeless, vast, ancient, mysterious. Where eerie voices call through the lightless deeps, monstrous shapes skim beneath the waves, and legends tell of sunken cities, fiendish fogs, ships steered only by dead men, and forgotten isles where abominations lurk … 

The multi-limbed horror in the Ross Sea
The hideous curse of Palmyra Atoll
The murderous duo of the Messina Strait
The doomed crew of the Flying Dutchman
The devil fish of the South Pacific
The alien creatures in the English Channel
The giant predator of the Mariana Trench

 And many more chilling tales by Peter James, Adam Nevill, Stephen Laws, Lynda E. Rucker, Conrad Williams, Robert Shearman and other award-winning masters and mistresses of the macabre.


Stuka Juice by Terry Grimwood
Ship of the Dead
The End of the Pier by Stephen Laws
The Swirling Sea
Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed by Steve Duffy
The Seventh Wave by Lynda E. Rucker
The Palmyra Curse
Hippocampus by Adam Nevill
The Offing by Conrad Williams
Blood and Oil
Sun Over the Yard Arm by Peter James
Echoes of an Eldritch Past
First Miranda by Simon Strantzas
The Derelict of Death by Simon Clark and John B. Ford
Horrific Beasts
The Decks Below by Jan Edwards
The Flying Dutchman
Hell in the Cathedral by Paul Finch
From the Hadean Deep
Hushed Will Be All Murmurs by Adam Golaski
And This Is Where We Falter by Robert Shearman

It is William Bates who is at the stern and spies something strange in the seas behind us. What is that? he says. I say I do not know, it looks like a black spot upon the surface of the water. I am sure that we will lose sight of it soon, fast as we are now speeding, but an hour later we think to look back, and there it still is - it is larger, if anything, it is ganing on us. It is in pursuit. How it bobs about on the waves.
     Before sunset it is close enough that we can identify it, and it is a coffin ...
And This Is Where We Falter
Robert Shearman

Cold water arced across her face like a slap, returning her to her senses; and to a roughly humanoid shape framed in the doorway.
     Its arms seemed too long, with webbed hands clutching the hatch edge. Its legs were bowed and short. A ridge of bone rose across its skull, which was narrow, with eyes set more to the sides than was human. The mouth was wide, with a pronounced peak to a thin upper lip, giving a beak-like appearance ... 
The Decks Below
Jan Edwards

Feeling lighter now as the buoyancy supported the weight of the suit, I made a half-turn on my platform so I could see the keel of the ship and maybe discern what held her in place. I waited for a gush of bubbles to pass so I could get the whole picutre. But what I then saw sent sheets of ice through me. I pushed my face forward against the glass plate, my eyes bulging, my heart thudding.
     Gripping the bottom of the ship like a massive sucker was an amorphous piece of flesh, Pulpy and white, it was; almost the shape of a wine glass, its wide mouth clamped onto the keel as if the creature sucked at the timbers. Beneath that, it became fluted, growing narrower and narrower until a stem little thicker than my own waist ran down into the deeps ...
The Derelict of Death
Simon Clark and John B. Ford


And now a quick and personal, though not completely unrelated thing, if you don't mind. Just a reminder that Avon Books at HarperCollins, who publish my Heck crime novels, have started raiding my own back catalogue of horror stories and putting them out (for the first time ever) as ebooks - as both a single collection, DARK WINTER TALES, or individually, as per this, one of my favourite supernatural thriller stories, TOK, (though there are plenty of other titles to choose from too).

If you're interested, just scroll down to the previous post on this blog, and you'll find all the details.

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