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.

What Are…Tales to Sorta Tremble By?

“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.

whitefell-werewolf-cvrThe series, a mix of new and classic horror stories, kicked off this past February with White Fell—The Werewolf. If you’re unfamiliar with this story by Clemence Annie Housman—regarded by some literary scholars as perhaps the first feminist werewolf tale—here’s the back-cover copy from our edition:

A beautiful woman 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…

Tales-Sorta-Tremble-CvrIn October, we’ll be releasing our second title: Tales to Sorta Tremble By, a horror anthology of 13 mini tales that first appeared in 1950s comic books. Here’s the back-cover copy:

The Flower of Evil. Jardini’s Jaw. The Living Brain. The Walking Dead.

These, and many others, are the tales you’ve long forgotten—or never even heard of before. They were the text stories, sometimes written anonymously or pseudonymously, that 1950s comic book publishers inserted in each issue of their macabre series to meet postal mailing requirements in order to be considered magazines.

This collection spotlights a baker’s dozen of those time-lost terror shorts, so gather round the jack-o’-lantern and prepare to be a little bit shocked and a tiny bit horrified by these…TALES TO SORTA TREMBLE BY!

The contents of this anthology are: “The Walking Dead” (a zombie tale), “Jardini’s Jaw” (how can a jawbone talk when it doesn’t have the rest of the head attached to it?!), “The Lonely Place” (a haunted house), “Call for Claws” (kids vs. a homeless guy with a spellbook), “The Land of the Dead” (more of those damned zombies!), “Call of the Werewolf” (I think the title kind of says it all), “The Flower of Evil” (well, there’s this flower, and it’s evil—I’ve said too much!), “The Lady in Black” (a private eye tracks down a man for a mysterious woman), “The Living Brain” (mad scientists and brain transplants—never a good mix), “The Shadow in the Moonlight” (I’m not saying it’s vampires…but it’s vampires), “Death and the Maiden” (a woman attends a party and runs into…guess who?), “Just What the Doctor Ordered” (a study in psychological terror), and “The End of the Line” (sometimes those weird urban legends turn out to be true).

Tales to Sorta Tremble By goes on sale on October 13 (Friday the 13th!) exclusively through the StarWarp Concepts webstore, and will be available in print and digital formats.

Monstresses On the Prowl

Hey, horror fans! As you might know, this Friday is the U.S. release date for The Mummy, the latest iteration of Universal Pictures’ classic Egyptian monster first brought to celluloid life by the legendary Boris Karloff in 1932.

This time around, the titular character is a woman—Princess Ahmanet, played by Sofia Boutella, whom you might remember from the popular movies Kingsman: The Secret Service (she was the blade-footed assassin) and Star Trek Beyond. And trying to stop her plans for world domination is none other than megastar Tom Cruise, with some help from Russell Crowe—who’s playing Dr. Henry Jekyll and his notorious counterpart, Mr. Hyde! It’s the kickoff title in Universal’s “Dark Universe” line of movies, to be followed by rebooted versions of The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

whitefell-werewolf-cvrSpeaking of female monsters, are you familiar with the story of White Fell—The Werewolf? Originally published in 1896 as The Were-wolf, it was written by renowned author, artist, and suffragette Clemence Annie Housman, and is regarded by scholars as perhaps the first feminist werewolf story. It’s also the launch title of StarWarp Concepts’ SWC Horror Bites line of chapbooks. Here’s the back-cover copy:

A beautiful woman 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…

Critics have continued to enjoy it, even 121 years after its first publication:

“For Housman, the female werewolf is a vehicle for her to present a strong feminist-inspired female character…. It is possible that Housman was telling the world that women had a hidden strength and that men should beware of their own hidden nature.”—The Nuke Mars Journal of Speculative Fiction

“White Fell is interesting because she subverts many of the tropes of the monstrous woman—i.e without maternal instincts, animalistic, lustful, etc. She is a femme fatale only in the most basic sense that she is a deadly woman.”—International Gothic Association

White Fell—The Werewolf is on sale right now in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for further information and order it today.

SWC Spotlights Author Clemence Annie Housman

whitefell-werewolf-cvrOver at the StarWarp Concepts blog, in honor of February being Women in Horror Month, I shine the spotlight on author and artist Clemence Annie Housman, who was not only the author of the debut SWC Horror Bites title White Fell—The Werewolf, but a leading member of the suffragette movement that led to women obtaining the right to vote in the United Kingdom.

White Fell—The Werewolf, originally published in 1896, concerns a beautiful woman named White Fell who 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…

White Fell—The Werewolf is on sale right now in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for further information and order it today!

SWC Horror Bites: White Fell: The Werewolf Now On Sale!

whitefell-werewolf-cvrHey, Panatics! As you know, February is Women in Horror Month, the annual celebration that shines the spotlight on the contributions of all the female creators—writers, artists, movie directors, producers, special makeup artists, special effects experts, etc.—who’ve brought thrills and chills to generations of fans around the world.

To do its part for the celebration, the literary researchers at Pan’s publisher, StarWarp Concepts, scoured the classic horror archives to find a title that not only would fit the occasion, but that would also make a fantastic launch title for its newly launched SWC Horror Bites series of chapbooks. And now it’s on sale!

White Fell—The Werewolf, originally published in 1896, was written by renowned author, artist, and suffragette Clemence Annie Housman, and is regarded by scholars as possibly 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…

Critics have consistently enjoyed it, right from its first publication—including a certain writer whose work has inspired generations of horror authors:

“Attains a high degree of gruesome tension.”H. P. Lovecraft

“An elegant, bittersweet story of twin brothers and the beautiful woman who comes between them. Housman effectively creates an atmosphere of dread and horror.”Goodreads

“For Housman, the female werewolf is a vehicle for her to present a strong feminist-inspired female character…. It is possible that Housman was telling the world that women had a hidden strength and that men should beware of their own hidden nature.”
The Nuke Mars Journal of Speculative Fiction

“White Fell is interesting because she subverts many of the tropes of the monstrous woman—i.e without maternal instincts, animalistic, lustful, etc. She is a femme fatale only in the most basic sense that she is a deadly woman.” International Gothic Association

White Fell—The Werewolf is on sale right now in print and digital formats, so visit its product page at StarWarp Concepts for further information and order it today!

SWC Horror Bites Coming from StarWarp Concepts

Hey, horror fans, Pan’s publisher is launching a new chapbook series next week, called SWC Horror Bites. Here’s the official press release, so you’ll know what’s coming this year—it’s some good stuff!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STARWARP CONCEPTS OFFERS READERS SOME TASTY “SWC HORROR BITES”

whitefell-werewolf-cvr“Short tales to appease your monstrous hunger for suspense” is how StarWarp Concepts publisher Steven Roman describes SWC Horror Bites, a new chapbook series that the company will launch on February 7, 2017. The series, a mix of new and classic horror stories, will be available in print and e-book formats exclusively from the SWC webstore, and at the conventions that StarWarp Concepts attends.

The SWC Horror Bites debut title is White Fell—The Werewolf. Originally published in 1896 as The Were-wolf, it 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…

Tales-Sorta-Tremble-CvrThe anthology Tales to Sorta Tremble By, scheduled for release in October and edited by Roman, will be the second Horror Bite. During the 1950s, comic book publishers were required to include text pages in their releases if they wanted their publications to meet U.S. postal requirements as magazines. They solved this problem by running mini prose stories, one to two pages in length, in their comics. Tales to Sorta Tremble By collects thirteen of those stories, with subjects ranging from vampires and werewolves to evil killer plants and mean-tempered zombies.

The third Horror Bite for 2017 is Gabriel Grub and the Goblins. Before miserly Ebenezer Scrooge had a run-in with ghosts in the pages of A Christmas Carol, author Charles Dickens wrote The Pickwick Papers, in which he introduced readers to Gabriel Grub, a foul-tempered gravedigger sorely lacking in the Christmas spirit. But all that changes when he draws the attention—and the ire—of the Goblin King, who sets about teaching Grub the error of his ways.

Gabriel-Grub-CvrWhite Fell—The Werewolf debuts on February 7, 2017, during StarWarp Concepts’ recognition of Women in Horror Month. Tales to Sorta Tremble By rises from the crypt on October 13, 2017 (Friday the 13th). And Gabriel Grub and the Goblins arrives on December 13, 2017.

For more information, please visit www.StarwarpConcepts.com.

About the Books:
White Fell—The Werewolf
by Clemence Annie Housman
Published by StarWarp Concepts
48 pages, chapbook (5.5” x 8.5”)
U.S. $4.00 (print edition) • $1.99 (digital)
On sale February 7, 2017

Tales to Sorta Tremble By
Edited by Steven A. Roman
Published by StarWarp Concepts
52 pages, chapbook (5.5” x 8.5”)
U.S. $4.00 (print edition) • $1.99 (digital)
On sale October 13, 2017

Gabriel Grub and the Goblins
by Charles Dickens
Published by StarWarp Concepts
24 pages, chapbook (5.5” x 8.5”)
U.S. $3.00 (print edition) • $1.50 (digital)
On sale December 13, 2017

SWC Horror Bites: Something You’ll Want to Devour

whitefell-werewolf-cvr“Short tales to appease your monstrous hunger for suspense” is how we describe SWC Horror Bites, a chapbook series that will be available in print and e-book formats exclusively from the StarWarp Concepts webstore, and at the conventions we attend. The series, which launches in February (during the annual celebration of Women in Horror Month), will be a mix of new and classic horror stories.

And if you head over to today’s post at the StarWarp Concepts blog, you’ll see my explanation of what this program holds in store for fans of literary horror this year. A feminist werewolf tale, a classic ghost story from Charles Dickens (but not starring Ebenezer Scrooge), and an anthology of spooky stories that first appeared in 1950s horror comics are just the start of the menu for SWC Horror Bites. Go check them out!