Who Are…Gabriel Grub and the Goblins?

Gabriel-Grub-Cvr“Short tales to appease your monstrous hunger for suspense” is how we describe SWC Horror Bites, a series of digest-sized done-in-one stories and short-story collections that will be available in print and e-book formats exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore, and at the conventions we’ll be attending next year.

The series, a mix of new and classic horror stories, kicked off this past February with Clemence Annie Housman’s White Fell—The Werewolf. And, as I told you a couple of days ago, the second title will be Tales to Sorta Tremble By, a 13-story collection available in time for Halloween.

In December, StarWarp Concepts will be releasing a third Horror Bite: Gabriel Grub and the Goblins, a yuletide tale by Charles Dickens, the legendary author of A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield (among others).

“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” (also known as “The Goblins and the Sexton”) was first published in 1836 as a chapter of Dickens’s first serialized novel, The Pickwick Papers. It’s not nearly as famous as A Christmas Carol, but it does share the same theme of a bad-tempered loner being forced by supernatural intervention to learn the meaning of Christmas. Scrooge gets the spirits of Christmases past, present, and yet to come (plus the ghost of his old business partner, Marley); Grub gets the goblin king and his subjects.

As for our title change…well, there are three reasons. First, there was something about the triple-G alliterative quality—Gabriel, Grub, Goblins—that appealed to my inner Stan Lee (the real-life Mr. Lee having given us such character names as Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Reed Richards, Betty Brant, and J. Jonah Jameson). On another level, I thought it had a Harry Potter–esque fantasy vibe that would catch the eye of potential readers. And lastly, most people today would probably have no idea what a sexton is, and might think it was either sextant—the nautical tool used for charting courses—or something related to intercourse.

Here’s the back-cover copy:

Ghosts aren’t the only supernatural creatures with the holiday spirit…

Gabriel Grub hates absolutely everything about Christmas—chestnuts roasting on open fires, yuletide carols being sung by a choir, the tidings of comfort and joy, the belief in peace on Earth and good will toward all men, even the figgy pudding. It’s all…well, if not humbug, then something pretty close to it.

What Gabriel Grub does enjoy, however, is digging graves—it’s not just one of his duties as a church sexton, it’s something that actually brings him a small measure of joy. So with a shovel in one hand and a bottle of gin in the other, he sets out one Christmas Eve to catch up on some work.

But as he will soon discover, the king of the goblins takes an extremely dim view of those who refuse to get into the holiday spirit.

It’s about to become a very memorable Christmas Eve for Gabriel Grub…

Gabriel Grub and the Goblins goes on sale on December 13 exclusively through the StarWarp Concepts webstore, and will be available in print and digital formats.

StarWarp Concepts’ Classics Collection

King-Kong-Final-FrontCvrThis past Tuesday saw the release of King Kong, an e-book-exclusive release that’s the latest entry in StarWarp Concepts’ growing collection of classic dark-fantasy titles. Written by Delos W. Lovelace, based on the story by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper and the screenplay by James A. Creelman and Ruth Rose, it’s the novelization of the original 1933 film that introduced monster-movie fans to a version of “Beauty and the Beast” like no other. The SWC edition features scenes that didn’t appear in the final cut of the film—including the notorious “spider pit” sequence in which Kong’s human pursuers are attacked by horrific arachnids and insects. The SWC version also features six original black-and-white illustrations by comics artist Paul Tuma.

King Kong, however, isn’t the only title that Panatics might find interesting—just check out the following:

Carmilla_CoverCarmilla is J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 19th-century classic vampiric tale of love gone wrong. Laura is so desperate for a friend that when a young woman named Carmilla practically turns up on the doorstep of the castle owned by Laura’s father, she thinks her prayers for companionship have been answered. But as she comes to realize, Carmilla isn’t as interested in making friends as she is in spilling blood. Regarded as the one of the earliest female vampire tales—if not the first—Carmilla was an influence on author Bram Stoker in the creation of the vampire brides in his seminal novel, Dracula, and remains a popular character in fiction to this day. Just like with A Princess of Mars, our edition contains six original illustrations done especially for StarWarp Concepts by the super-talented Eliseu Gouveia (The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Annual #1).

SWC_SnowWhiteSnow White is the classic story by the Brothers Grimm, and was the first of our e-book-exclusive titles. You know the tale: A wicked queen, jealous of her stepdaughter’s beauty, plots to kill the girl so that the queen can become “the fairest of them all.” But standing in her way are seven dwarves who’ve taken quite a liking to the young lady—and they’re not about to let the queen win this particular beauty title. Featuring lush full-color illustrations first published in 1883, it’s always on sale for the wickedly low price of just 99¢!

whitefell-werewolf-cvrWhite Fell—The Werewolf: Originally published in 1896 as The Were-wolf, the launch title in the new SWC Horror Bites line was written by renowned author, artist, and suffragette Clemence Annie Housman, and is regarded by scholars as perhaps the first feminist werewolf story. In it, a beautiful woman named White Fell wanders into a snowbound village—and into the hearts of twin brothers, one of whom immediately becomes smitten by her. The other brother, however, soon grows suspicious of the enigmatic White Fell. Where did she come from? Why does she always carry an ax? And is her sudden appearance somehow related to the recent sightings of a bloodthirsty wolf in the area? He may come to regret being so inquisitive…

Carmilla and White Fell—The Werewolf are available in both print and digital formats; King Kong and Snow White are digital exclusives. Visit their respective product pages at StarWarp Concepts for ordering information.