Now It Can Be Told: Victorians Gets Nod for Chilling Ghost Stories
“With a new foreword by Dr Dale Townsend, this is a chilling selection of brand new stories, and essential ghostly shorts from the infamous pens of Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), Algernon Blackwood, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hope Hodgson (The Gateway of the Monster), M.R. James, Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost), and other phantasmagoric authors. . . This powerful new book is a dazzling collection of the most gripping tales, vividly told.” So says UK art and music and art calendar, as well as illustrated Gothic and fantasy book publisher, Flame Tree Publishing’s blog, but that’s not all. From a shortened version received in middish-May, concerning perhaps those “other phantasmagoric authors,” came the call, but with a deadline of May 25: “We need new, or recent short stories. We do not require exclusivity. You retain copyright. We don’t mind if the story has been published online or in magazines before. As long as you have the right to license your story for an anthology, then we’re happy to read it.”
Such is the exciting life of a writer. “Stories between 2000 and 4000 words are the perfect pitch. Anything outside this range will be considered, but will be disadvantaged,” the call went on, and with a SFWA-defined pro pay rate to boot. But less than a week to decide and submit!
So submit I did, with a 4000-word tale originally published in Charlie Grant and Wendy Webb’s GOTHIC GHOSTS (Tor Books, 1997; also reprinted in 2001 in my first prose collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE), “Victorians,” a psychological examination of memories repressed and Queen Anne mansions. And Thursday the word came back, but with this proviso, that “[w]e ask for your confidentiality on this matter for the next two days because we have to disappoint many other authors this time. We wanted to inform you first though.” But now the two days is up, and more, so at last it can be told: “Victorians” has been accepted for the above-described deluxe anthology (“. . . covers will be embossed, gold foiled and printed on silver, a sumptuous offer in a crowded marketplace. The current print run is set at a minimum of 3000 copies”), CHILLING GHOST SHORT STORIES.
Thus Friday the contract was signed, with an invoice, and both put into the mail to England, with publication set if all goes well for August 15.