Many of us have felt like this spider, clinging on for dear life during what has been a very challenging year:
But some of us are lucky enough to be emerging from our solitude – for a while, at least! And for that I, for one, am truly thankful. As the veil grows thinner this weekend I’ll be thinking of those I’ve lost to Covid-19, cancer, and old age this year, and finding ways to carry some of their light into the dark corners of the year ahead.
I think it’s very true to say that horror fans take great solace in spooky season. (It’s also true all year round, I know, but October is THE special month for many). And whether it’s an opportunity to party with family/fiends, go trick or treating, or hunker down and watch some scary movies (or all of the above!) I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all Spooky Samhain blessings, a Happy Halloween, a very merry little Goth Xmas, or whatever macabre moniker is the best fit for you!
And by way of a modest treat (or trick?) for this year, I have recorded the first ever reading from my new tie-in novel Damnation: The Gothic Game, with another to follow soon. Check it out below, or over at the Damnation Kickstarter, where you can pick up a copy along with the game.
I hope the extract gives you pleasant nightmares! And if it does, perhaps it is testament to how important it is right now to treat yourselves, and those that you love.
Because if we try, we can also feel like this spider – feasting on the stuff of life – if only for one, perfectly spooky night:
Five years in the making, The Daniel Gates Adventures series of occult horror novellas began with The Lucifer Glass in 2013 and concluded with The Lucifer Gate in 2018.
Samhain Horror, and then Crossroad Press, published the ebooks, but these stories have never been in print—until now.
This handsome hardcover edition, combining all four books in one volume, is strictly limited to only 350 copies worldwide. When they are all sold, the book will be out of print. It’s a handsome tome and features blue cloth binding and a matte finish dust jacket.
My folk horror novel The Jack in the Green is now available in limited edition hardcover with matte finish dust jacket and green cloth. This edition is strictly limited to only 350 copies worldwide. I’ll be honoured if you add one to your shelfie!
Praise for The Jack in the Green: “I have enjoyed all of Frazer Lee’s work, but The Jack in the Green is by far my favorite! Lee strikes the perfect balance between psychological horror…and vicious violence and gore.” (☆☆☆☆☆ The Horror Bookshelf)
About the book: “A nightmare made real.” On Christmas Eve, six year-old Tom McCrae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night. When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life. As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.
I had pitched the book to legendary horror editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester Publishing’s infamous Leisure Books imprint in 2009, and I was excited to receive a full manuscript request from Don by return. I submitted the book and waited anxiously for the outcome.
…and then Dorchester Publishing went under.
It was difficult not to take that as a sign. Ha ha!
But when Don D’Auria became Executive Editor of the new Horror line at Samhain Publishing, my manuscript followed him there. Don told me he loved the book and thought it would be a fine addition to the line.
Contracts were finalised 26th April 2011, and the e-book was published in November of that year, followed by the paperback in February 2012. An audiobook followed in 2016 (now out-of-print).
Things went a little bit crazy from there. The Lamplighters was selected as a Finalist in the Bram Stoker Awards for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’ from all the horror debuts published that year. I enjoyed sitting up at 4:30am in freezing cold England, watching the Stoker Awards webcast broadcast live from the USA. Don had written to me prior to the awards ceremony and asked me for an acceptance speech ‘just in case’. I wrote some waffle about not winning because I knew I wouldn’t, and I didn’t, so that was that. But as I always say to my creative writing students: “Remember, it’s cooler to be nominated. Unless you win and then it’s cooler to win.”
The Lamplighters was a Finalist again, this time in the Book Pipeline Contest for books deemed suitable for film/TV adaptation, one of only 6 from almost 1,000 entries. I wrote a screenplay based on the novel, and that went on to be a Semi-finalist in the Screencraft Horror Screenplay Competition, from over 2,000 entries.
Close, but no close-up this time Mr DeMille.
I still think The Lamplighters would make for an excellent scary movie, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I? (Ha ha #2)
The book became my first translated work, with the Japanese edition published by TakeShobo in 2015. I was really thrilled about that, especially when I learned that the Tokyo-based publisher has Stephen King and the Star Wars books on its roster. Getting my author copy was a surreal experience, and it’s a very beautiful object, that edition. Hey you guys! My other books are available for translation, just sayin’.
And then, just as Dorchester Publishing had during my initial pitching of the book, Samhain Publishing went under. IT’S NOT MY FAULT, OKAY? STOP MAKING OUT LIKE IT’S SOME KIND OF WEIRD CURSE THAT FOLLOWS ME AROUND… (Ha ha #3).
I like to keep my work out there and available and soon after, I signed with Crossroad Press/Macabre Ink for all my Samhain backlist titles. My thanks to the two Davids at Crossroad for keeping my malformed offspring in circulation.
And so, without any further ado, here it is.
Ten years and a day since I became a fully signed-up novelist, a new 10th anniversary paperback edition of The Lamplighters is now available.
The nightmare continues!
And coming soon… There will be a limited edition hardcover, too.
Happy anniversary, old thing. My thanks to Don D’Auria & all at Samhain, to the two Davids at Crossroad Press, and to all my readers (yes, all 3 of you! Ha ha #4) and reviewers for the last ten years.
Here’s to a few more, eh?
About The Lamplighters:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief. Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world—as a “Lamplighter” working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay. Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
To mark Beltane (May eve) and in celebration of this year’s Festival of Fire, my folk horror novel The Jack in the Green is on sale from today through to 6th May for the special price of only $0.99.
Here’s what one reviewer said about the book: “I have enjoyed all of Frazer Lee’s work, but The Jack in the Green is by far my favorite! Lee strikes the perfect balance between psychological horror…and vicious violence and gore.”
(Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, The Horror Bookshelf)
Spread the word like wildfire my f[r]iends – thank you!
On Christmas Eve, six year-old Tom McCrae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night. When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life. As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.
“The Skin Mechanic is destined to become one of the great monsters of modern horror”
(David Brzeski, British Fantasy Society)
Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, ‘The Lamplighters‘ is out now in an audiobook version from Audio Realms, narrated by Susan Saddler (who also narrated ‘The Skintaker‘).
If you love to fill your ears with fears on the go, you can get your copy of The Lamplighters audiobook from:
On Wednesday, i posted a tribute to my editor extraordinaire, Don D’Auria.
I learned (just hours after posting his tribute) direct from Don via email that Samhain had let him go. Perversely, Samhain’s marketing department had asked us authors to make tributes to Don as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations. We were only too happy to do so. But then utterly dismayed and confused by his sudden dismissal. Was the call for tributes an attempt to soften the blow? Or a last ditch effort from those on the inside who disagreed with the decision? I guess we’ll never know.
To put it mildly, the horror-net went quietly ballistic. Samhain authors huddled together in cyberspace and howled at the moon, shared their disbelief, anger, disappointment – and support. An official statement from Samhain followed (Ramsey Campbell posted it in the comments section on my Wednesday blog if you want to take a look), the general gist of which was that Don was dropped as a cost-cutting measure and because he isn’t active on social media. As others have commented, it’s a sad state of affairs that Twittering and Farcebooking should take precedence over curating and editing a multiple award-nominated horror line. The former activities are within the purview of marketeers, not necessarily Executive Editors.
I personally feel for Don and for the many authors who were looking forward to working with him, either for the first time, or the umpteenth time. Tomorrow is Don’s last day at Samhain and at present, the future’s uncertain.
But one thing is for certain.
Don knows horror fiction and i’m sure he will continue his great and nurturing work elsewhere. I wish Don all the very best for the future, and as he’s also a huge Pink Floyd fan (yet another plus point) this song’s for him.
Don D’Auria, shine on you crazy bloody diamond.
Halcyon days – Don D’Auria & Samhain in Famous Monsters magazine (copyright Famous Monsters 2014)
I thought I’d celebrate too, by posting my respects to editor extraordinaire Don D’Auria.
Don was still at Leisure books when I sent my first novel The Lamplighters to him on a wing and a prayer. He was interested in seeing the full manuscript and then…disaster. Leisure books imploded and the shockwave impacted on the genre far and wide. From the ashes, Don went on to build a new horror line at Samhain. I was delighted when he offered me a contract with Samhain for The Lamplighters. The following year was a whirlwind, culminating in the book being nominated as a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for First Novel.
Don was supportive throughout the whole process, and it’s no wonder that I went on to publish four more books with him. I finally got to meet Don in person this year at the World Horror Convention in Atlanta. We sat outside the hotel building and talked ideas, music, Italian giallo classics and publishing industry snobbery about print-on-demand technology. Later we got together with several other Samhain Horror authors and had a few drinks/laughs at the Bram Stoker Awards banquet.
To work with an editor who loves horror as much as I do? That’s not a job, that’s a bloody privilege.
Very roughly translated, with a pinch of poetic license, Don’s name can mean ‘The Priest of Fear’.