Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories, Finally Out

It lives and dies and lives again!  Beat it with sticks and it laughs maniacally at you!  Drive a stake through its heart and you'll only make it come back stronger!  Tickle its tummy and it will bite your fingers and try hard to scratch you with its back legs, in a way that seems awfully cute until you realise just how badly you're bleeding!

I'm talking, of course, about my short story collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories, which has been under construction for the sort of time periods normally reserved for medieval cathedrals.  For a very long time indeed it was supposed to be coming out from Spectral Press, and there was a point where that seemed awfully close to happening - until suddenly it wasn't, because I'd withdrawn it after one missed deadline too many, and then because Spectral had closed its doors with the announcement of considerable unpaid debts.

This was gutting, but it was also probably the single best thing that happened to the book, all told.  Because if it hadn't been for that, it would never have found its way into the hands of Michael Wills and Digital Fiction Publishing, and the levels of effort and commitment that Michael has put into getting this project shipshape - in a fairly trivial amount of time, mind you - are just about incalculable.  In early January it appeared that Sign in the Moonlight might finally have breathed its last, and now here we are, it's not even the end of February, and lo and behold!  We have us a book.

What sort of a book, you might ask?  At least if you've somehow missed all of my dozen posts talking about it before now.  Well, it's the first collection of my short fiction, focusing entirely upon horror and dark fantasy and for the most part a particular brand of those genres, at that.  These are weird tales full of ghosts, monsters and eldritch horrors, heavily influenced by the likes of Machen, Poe, Lovecraft and Wells - though with some distinctly modern twists, because after all it's me writing it and not a bunch of guys who've been dead for decades.  So, for instance, we get a haunting in the shadow of one of the great tragedies of the twentieth century, some distinctly black humour at the expense of the poor, beleaguered child who thinks Innsmouth might make an ideal holiday destination, an off-page cameo from a certain Mr Aleister Crowley, not to mention a brand new novelette treating upon the real-life horrors of the First World War.

Moreover, all that is elegantly illustrated by Duncan Kay, he of that-cover-up-there fame, not to mention ably introduced by Fantasy superstar Adrian Tchaikovsky.  The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories ... it's been a long time coming, but it's out now, and you can buy it in e-book or print in the US here and in the UK here.  Oh, and it's heavily discounted for these first few days, which means that you can pick it up for the practically nonexistent price of 99 cents or 99 pence until this time next week.

Here's the TOC:
  • The Burning Room
  • The Facts in the Case of Algernon Whisper's Karma
  • The Desert Cold
  • War of the Rats
  • The Sign in the Moonlight
  • My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy Aged 7
  • Prisoner of Peace
  • The Door Beyond the Water
  • Caretaker in the Garden of Dreams
  • A Twist Too Far
  • The Untold Ghost
  • A Study in Red and White
  • A Stare From the Darkness
  • The Way of the Leaves