Tag Archives: Mark Morris


The sea was now in retreat. The air smelt swept clean. Water collected in the ripples on the sand and reflected the blue sky overhead.
Donald, Magnus’s younger son, saw the dead seal first. Magnus squatted beside it. Its neck was badly bruised and one of its eyes had gone. A flipper was missing.
“What happened to it, Dad?”
Magnus rolled it over. His cursory post-mortem was inconclusive.
“I don’t know.”
They followed the curve of the beach, and there lay mackerel, herring and ugly monkfish, dull eyes wide in surprise at their fate. Some were whole, but most were torn up, the clumsy dissection revealing guts and flesh already starting to rot.
“Shame. What a waste.”
They picked their way through more seal carcasses. These had fared less well. Most were missing great chunks. Some looked bitten down to bone, the edges black and high.
“Rank.” Peter covered his nose.
“It’s nature.” Magnus loved his sons too much to coddle them. “We all end up like this.”
Magnus meant rotting, not chewed up. Donald screwed up his face.
They found pieces of oars too, beaten and worn. A rowing boat with a hole in its hull. A length of fearsome looking chain. The ocean bed had been dredged and deposited on the shore.
After a quarter of a mile, the soft ascent of beach onto land was replaced by vertical columns of rock. The container was in the cliff’s shadow.

From “Maw”


“Maw” is a new story of mine that will appear in NEW FEARS 2, edited by Mark Morris. It’s not in my new collection from Undertow Publications.

Mark Morris has posted this on his Facebook feed with regards to NEW FEARS 3-

“Despite the amazing feedback, NEW FEARS hasn’t *yet* sold enough copies in the UK and the US for Titan to commit to any further volumes of the series, which means there almost certainly *won’t* be a NEW FEARS 3 next year. I’m pretty gutted about this, as I dearly wanted NEW FEARS to be an annual anthology in the tradition of the old Pan and Fontana paperbacks.

Every cloud has a silver lining, however, and Titan have not yet cancelled the series outright, but merely put it on hiatus while they assess the situation. What this basically means is that NEW FEARS needs to sell more copies if it’s to have any chance of continuing beyond a mere two volumes. So if you’ve been thinking of buying the book, but haven’t got around to it yet, could I please urge you to take the plunge and order a copy? Alternatively, if you’ve already got the book, then please tell others about it, or buy copies for friends and family as presents (whether they like horror fiction or not).

I’ve had *so much* feedback from people telling me that an annual, non-themed, mass-market horror anthology of original fiction is what the genre has been crying out for for years – but the bottom line is that in order for the series to continue each volume needs to earn out for the publisher.” Mark Morris

This mades me sad, not as a writer, but as a reader. Horror is being squeezed. So is the small press. Without them, I wouldn’t have venues to send my work to for consideration but more importantly I wouldn’t have places to go and read new stuff, the really challenging, beautiful and subversive stuff that’s hard to find in mainstream publishing. Even if you don’t like “Maw”, NEW FEARS is a buffet, so something else will be to your taste. Not sure about NEW FEARS? Try  TTA Press, Undertow Press, Unsung Stories, Black Shuck Books or Fox Spirit.

Money is getting tighter for everyone except Kim Kardashian. If you can buy just one book, it will mean these hardworking people will be able to continue publishing wonderful fiction. Ask someone to order one for you as a birthday present instead of them buying you a pack of socks (unless you need a pack of socks). Socks get holes in them. Books are forever.

NEW FEARS 1 is still available and you can pre-order NEW FEARS 2 now (links below).


New Fears 2

Preorder New Fears 2 on AmazonUK or AmazonUS

New Fears

Order New Fears on AmazonUK or AmazonUS




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This is Horror Awards 2017


This is Horror Awards 2017 is open for public voting. More information is here.

Voting closes at 12:01am GMT on Monday 26 February 2018.

Novel of the Year

  1. Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
  2. I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski
  3. In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
  4. The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  5. The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

Novella of the Year

  1. Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  2. In the River by Jeremy Robert Johnson
  3. Mapping The Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
  4. Quiet Places by Jasper Bark
  5. The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Short Story Collection of the Year

  1. Behold the Void by Philip Fracassi
  2. Everything That’s Underneath by Kristi DeMeester
  3. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
  4. She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin
  5. 13 Views of the Suicide Woods by Bracken MacLeod

Anthology of the Year

  1. Last Podcast on the Left
  2. Lore Podcast
  3. Lovecraft eZine Podcast
  4. Post Mortem with Mick Garris
  5. The Horror Show with Brian Keene
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New Fears 2


Mark Morris has announced the line-up for New Fears 2, out later this year from Titan. Many thanks to Mark for including me in this.

New Fears, which was released in 2017, is still available.

Table of Contents:

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Halloween Reads

One great thing about visiting the dealers’ room at British Fantasy Con (FCon) is that it reminds me how passionate people are who dedicate their time and energy to the small press and how much people still love the printed page.

I’m proud to have had work in TTA Press–  I love it because there’s nothing quite like it publishing short genre fiction in the UK.  Andy Cox, the editor, has an eclectic eye for work and high production values. Interzone, Black Static and Crime Wave win awards, as do the stories that Andy chooses.

As a horror fan, Black Static has contained some amazing stories that have stayed with me, such as “White Rabbit” by Georgina Bruce (British Fantasy Award Winner in the short story category) , “Shark! Shark!” by Ray Cluley (BFA Winner short story) , “When the Moon Man Knocks” by Cate Gardner  (BFA nominated), “Sunshine” by Nina Allan (BFA nominated), “Lullaby” by Steve Rasnic Tem, “Prespective” by Steve. J. Dines,  just to name a few.  It features work by a plethora of talent like Simon Bestwick, Stephen Bacon, Stephen Hardagon, Laura Mauro, Damien Angelica Walters, Kristi Demeester, Helen Marshall, Andrew Hook, Ralph Robert Moore, Gary McMahon, Stephen Graham Jones…

Black Static Issue 60The 60th issue is now out and contains excellent work by Ray Cluley, Stephen Hargadon and Tim Lees.  It also contains the tremendous “Skyshine (or Death by Scotland)” by Carole Johnstone. I become a fangirl after reading her BFA winning story “Signs of the Times”, which was also first published in Black Static. There was a real buzz around “Skyshine” at the conference and I read it when I got home. It’s early to start talking about next year’s awards but I think it would be criminal if this wasn’t nominated. It’s inventive, clever and wry. Oh, and new subscribers can get Issue 60 free by using “B60 FREE” as their Shopper Reference during the checkout.


I read “The Beauty” by Aliya Whiteley, published by Unsung Stories last year. It was a stunning bit of work about men in a post-woman society, that manages to be both body horror and an exploration of gender roles. I wanted to buy everything on the stand at FCon. In fact, I was deeply put out to find Malcom Devlin’s debut collection, “You Will Grow Into Them”, was sold out by the time I got there. It’s already garnering praise – see James Lovegrove’s review in the Financial Times, no less.

Did I also mention their books are also extremely handsome?


Daniele Serra won a British Fantasy Award this year for his artwork. I came home with a copy of “Five Feathered Tales” by Alison Littlewood, which Daniele illustrated. It truly is a thing of beauty and Alison’s stories are delicate and dark. Incidentally, I also bought her new novel “The Crow Garden” after I enjoyed “The Hidden People”.


Black Shuck Books is a relatively new venture from Steve Shaw that launched an HB-Cover-400anthology at FCon called “The Dark Satanic Mills”. It’s the second in his annual collection showcasing British writers (plus an international one), containing original work by Cate Gardner, Charlotte Bond, Paul Finch, Andrew Freudenberg, Gary Fry, Carole Johnstone, Penny Jones, Gary McMahon, Marie O’Regan, John Llewellyn Probert and Angela Slatter. Steve also launched John Lllewellyn Probert’s collection “Made for the Dark”.

Black Shuck’s catalogue is interesting. I’m thinking of Black Shuck Shadows, micro-collections by Thana Niveau, Paul Kane and Joseph D’Lacey.  “A Suggestion of Ghosts: Supernatural Fiction by Women 1826-1897”   is curated by the very knowledgeable Johnny Mains, who has scoured periodicals, archives and collections for work that hasn’t been republished since it was first released.


Another launch that I attended was Titan Books’ New Fears, edited by Mark Morris. It’s a stellar line-up with writers like Ramsey Campbell, Nina Allan, Conrad Williams, A.K. Benedict, Alison Littlewood and Stephen Laws, to name a few.

For an alternative Halloween read, I’d suggest Simon Bestwick’s “The Feast of All Souls”, which pulls off the trick of being a haunted house story, a Victorian gothic novel, flirts with quantum physics and is a study of loss. Another recommendation would be Laura Mauro’s novella “Naming the Bones”. I’ve watched her career with interest as she’s a fine writer.

While at FCon I saw James Everington read from his novel “The Quarantined City”, in which the protagonist’s search for an author takes him deep into the man’s short stories. James Everington’s fiction is quiet and unsettling, having drawn very favorable attention from The Guardian reviewer Eric Brown. I have to mention Kit Power at this point too, who has a very different (set of) voices, all of them convincing, and who is the only person at the convention who could carry off a reading with a hammer in his hand. His collection will be out next year.

“The Doll’s Alphabet” by Camilla Grudova is a truly weird collection, repeating motifs
and ideas. Even the stories that non-plussed me left me pondering their meaning long afterwards. Her dystopic short story “Waxy” was nominated in the short story category of the BFAs this year and was a strong contender. Read The Guardian review which draws comparison with Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood and David Lynch.
I’m going to sneak in a mainstream author here. I’m a big fan of Sarah Hall.  Her new collection “Madame Zero” is pure genre. It contains “Mrs Fox” which won the BBC National Short Story Award, in which a woman is tranformed by pregnancy into a vixen. Elsewhere she explores a wind drenched world, the liberation of sexual appetites and an era where a change in antenatal priorties mean to chose a woman’s life over that of her unborn child is illegal.
She’s been twice nominated for the Booker prize and this book reveals the poet at her heart in the concise beauty of her writing.
Last but not least is Undertow Publications, a Canadian venture run by Mike Kelly. It’s fast gained an excellent reputation for its Year’s Best Weird Fiction and Shadows and Tall Trees, as well as its single author collections, being nominated for Shirley Jackson Awards, World Fantasy Awards and British Fantasy Awards.
Mike Kelly is releasing the range in both hardback (below) and paperback.
I think they’re good looking books too, with as much style as substance. Does that mean I’m shallow?


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