31 December 2011

Chills / Winter Chills: roll of honour

Over ten issues and ten years, the contributors to Winter Chills/Chills were:

Allen Ashley, Clive Barker, Roy Bayfield, Peter Bayliss, Debbie Bennett, Gilles Bergal, David F Bischoff, Sydney J Bounds, Ramsey Campbell, Dave Carson, Alan Casey, R Chetwynd-Hayes, Mike Chinn, Richard Coady, Bob Covington, Ken Cowley, Charles Dougherty, Phil Emery, Frank Forte, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Gallagher, Dallas Goffin, Jim Garrison, Phoenix Hitch, Mark Hockley, Peter A Hough, Tony Hough, Alan Hunter, Ian Hunter, Stephen Jones, Andrew S Jordan, Rick Kennett, Rick Kleffel, Allen Koszowski, Arke Kriske, Joel Lane, Alan W Lear, Ben Leech, DF Lewis, Thomas Ligotti, Steve Lines, Brian Lumley, Martin McKenna, Mark McLaughlin, Brian Maycock, MB, Chris Morgan, Russell Morgan, Russ Nicholson, Raymond Nickford, Jeffrey Osier, Norman Partridge, Nigel Pennington, Jim Pitts, Stephen Player, Martin Plumbridge, Andrew Pye, Mark Rainey, Paul Roland, Nicholas Royle, Jeff Salmon, Guy N Smith, Michael Marshall Smith, Sylvia Starshine, John Stewart, David Sutton, Stephen Skwarek, Steve Rasnic Tem, Tia Travis, Peter Tremayne, Lisa Tuttle, Ian Watson, William Thomas Webb, Conrad Williams…

…and of course my fellow editor Simon McCulloch.

My sincere thanks and appreciation to all of you, without whom the series wouldn’t have been such a success.

Chills: the end of an era

The penultimate issue of Chills (number 9) was published by the BFS in 1996, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch. Cover price was £3.00 / $6.00. By this time I had invested in a better inkjet printer; at least the text (single column again) is much cleaner and clearer. Poetry was once again featured. The contents were:

“Better Late” (verse) by Chris Morgan
“The Terrible Lizards” by Rick Kleffel
“Noh Mask” by Anke Kriske
“The Bottom Line” by Ben Leech
“Plague Etiquette” (verse) by Brian Maycock
“Things in Boxes” by “M B”
“The Dark Hem” by D F Lewis
“The Sixth Magician” by Allen Ashley
“One Footfall” (verse) by Andrew Pye

The front cover was by Jim Pitts. Additional artwork came from Alan Casey, Frank Forte, Tony Hough and Martin McKenna, but for the first time we were unable to include artwork illustrating specific stories.

The final Chills, issue 10, once more edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1996 (£3.00 / $6.00). The cover illustration by Russell Morgan depicted a bearded gent reading a tome of some dubious ancient lore. Some people assumed it was a picture of your equally bearded editor; I assure you it’s not – besides, gent’s nose is too large.

Again, sadly, we had no artwork illustrating specific stories. In fact, artwork is only represented by the fabulous cover and one spot piece by Martin McKenna. The contents were:

“How the Buckie Was Saved” by David Sutton
“A Musical Calling” by Raymond Nickford
“Beal’s Scrapyard” by Peter Bayliss
“A Cry For Help” by Martin Plumbridge
“Carousel” by Debbie Bennett
“Someone Else’s Problem” by Michael Marshall Smith
“The Lady With Little Friends in Her Hair” (verse) by Mark McLaughlin

So why did Chills end with its tenth issue? Ten issues covered a decade, more-or-less, and I felt that it was time to give the magazine a rest, and pursue some other activities. In the end I joined the editorial team on the BFS’s elder journal Dark Horizons. More on this in a later post.

Very quickly BFS and other UK small presses were upping the ante as far as production values were concerned – all down to access to home computers and DTP programs. In comparison, Chills looked a little quaint. But the magazine, along with others of that era, was part of the evolutionary process. I look back on it with fond memories.

At this time BFS membership was still a mere £15.00 a year. FantasyCon XX was scheduled for 4-6 October 1996, at the International Hotel in London. The Guests of Honour were Christopher Fowler and Tom Holt, with Kim Newman acting as the Master of Ceremonies. The convention’s organisers included yours truly. FCXX was the trial run for the following year’s World Fantasy Convention. The 1997 WFC took place in the same Dockland’s hotel, over the weekend 30 October-2 November. This was the second time this event was held in London.

Originally published on the Alchemy Press blog -- revised for this post.

More Chills...

Chills 7, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1993. The cover price was £2.50 / $6.00. We had a bit of a coup with this issue: we included a Clive Barker story (which had originally appeared in the Guardian on 31 October 1992). This issue’s contents:

“A Date With the Hangman’s Daughter” by Tia Travis. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“The Departed” by Clive Barker. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“Desktop Priapism With Your PCW” by Mike Chinn. Illustrated by Mike Chinn
“The Goalkeeper’s Fear Of the Crowd” by Nicholas Royle. Illustrated by Bob Covington.
“The Exhibit” by Martn Plumbridge. Illustrated by Steve Lines

The front cover was by Martin McKenna and the back cover (illustrating “The Shambler From the Stars”) was by Jim Pitts. Additional artwork came from Alan Hunter and Jim Pitts.

Chills 8, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the BFS in 1994. The cover price was £2.75 / $6.00. For the first time, Chills included poetry. We also used a two-column design for the stories which, bearing in mind the small fonts we used (too small, I now reckon), made it easier to read. The contents were:

“The Outer Districts” (verse) by Joel Lane
“Save the Last Dance For Me” by Norman Partridge. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“The Parchment Recipes” by Raymond Nickford. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Pieces of Silence” by Joel Lane
“The Stone Dog” by Peter Bayliss
“The Lady Of Situations” by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Steve Lines
“Getting Through” by Phoenix Hitch
“Snakebite” by Allen Ashley. Illustrated by Russ Nicholson
“Scaredy & Whitemouth” by D F Lewis

The front cover illustration was by Bob Covington. Additional artwork was by Dallas Goffin and Jim Pitts. In 1994 the cost of BFS membership was now £15.00.

This post is revised from that which was first published on the Alchemy Press website.

30 December 2011

Winter Chills becomes Chills

With issue five the word "Winter" had been dropped from the title. And, more importantly, Simon MacCulloch joined me on the editorial team. We dropped "Winter" because the magazine started to appear in the other seasons and hence was deemed inappropriate. Also, Chills was / still is a snappier title (and the abbreviation no longer sounded like a London postcode or for the rest room).

Chills 5, edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch, was published by the British Fantasy Society in 1991. The cover price was £1.80 / $4.00. Eight stories appeared in this issue:

"Black Leather Kites" by Norman Partridge. Illustrated by Bob Covington
"Uncle E and Uncle T" by Roy Bayfield. Illustrated by Nigel Pennington
"Twilight Shifts" by Phil Emery
"Out of His Mind" by Ken Cowley. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
"In the Arcade" by Lisa Tuttle. Illustrated by Bob Covington
"Come With Me" by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
"My Giddy Aunt" by D F Lewis. Illustrated by Sylvia Starshine
"The Real Wolf" by Thomas Ligotti. Illustrated by Jim Pitts

The cover illustration was by Charles Dougherty and designed by Nigel Pennington (who also designed the logo). Additional artwork was by Alan Hunter and Nigel Pennington. The back cover illustration was for H P Lovecraft's "The Haunter of the Dark" by Jim Pitts. "In the Arcade" originally appeared in Amazing Science Fiction (1978). "The Real Wolf" first appeared in Nocturne 1 (1988).

Issue 6 of Chills was published by the BFS in 1992, and again edited by Peter Coleborn and Simon MacCulloch. The cover price was £2.00 / $4.00. The chapbook contained seven stories:

“The Big Ol’ Clown Lady” by Jeffrey Osier. Illustrated by Jeffrey Osier *
“Out Of the Storm” by Rick Kennett. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Junctions” by Conrad Williams. Illustrated by Martin McKenna
“Spiritual Radio” by Mark Rainey. Illustrated by Bob Covington
“Lost Child” by D F Lewis
“Shadows” by Richard Coady. Illustrated by Dave Carson
“The Pet Peeve” by Rick Kleffel. Illustrated by Jim Pitts

The cover was by Allen Koszowski and the back cover (illustrating Robert Bloch’s “The Shadow From the Steeple”) was by Jim Pitts. Additional artwork came from Dallas Goffin, Allen Koszowski and Martin McKenna. Jeffrey Osier’s story was originally published in Grue 11.

We featured a competition this issue, sponsored by Grafton Books, to win copies of Shadows in the Watchgate by Mike Jefferies and a T-shirt designed by Jefferies. The question was: In which sporting event did Mike Jefferies represent Britain in 1980? In these days of the Internet, I suspect answering it is so much easier than back then.

Once again, a version of this originally appeared on the Alchemy Press website.

29 December 2011

Winter Chills continues...

Winter Chills 3 and 4, published by the British Fantasy Society, were once again edited and produced by yours truly.

WC3 appeared in January 1989 and by now the title was no longer included as part of the BFS booklet series. The cover price for WC3 was £1.50 / $3.00, and contained:

"Samathiel’s Summons” by Ian Watson. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“Safe House” by Steve Rasnic Tem. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“The Authors of Prendergoth” by William Thomas Webb. Illustrated by Martin McKenna
“The Earth Wire” by Joel Lane. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
“When the Bucket Stilled” by Stephen Player. Illustrated by Stephen Player
“We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Sylvia Starshine.

The front cover illustration was by John Stewart, with additional artwork by Dave Carson, Dallas Goffin, Allen Koszowski and Martin McKenna. “Samathiel’s Summons” first appeared in Fantasy Book (1984) and “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” first appeared in Knave (1986)

Winter Chills 4 appeared in 1990, with a cover price of £1.50 / $3.00. The magazine included seven stories:

"Copyright Infringement" by David F Bischoff. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
"Flossie Fraser" by D F Lewis
"The Boat of Sighs" by Allen Ashley. Illustrated by Allen Koszowski
"The Law of the Land" by Mark Hockley. Illustrated by Stephen Skwarek
"The Portrait" by Ian Hunter
"Silver" by Andrew S Jordan. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
"Approved to Scrap" by Rick Kennett. Illustrated by Jeff Salmon

The cover was by Martin McKenna, with additional artwork by Dallas Goffin and Martin McKenna. "Copyright Infringement" originally appeared in RAM (aka Micro Worlds) edited by Thomas F Monteleone (1984). "Approved to Scrap" first appeared in The Cygnus Chronicle, volume 5, number 3 (1983).

A version of this post originally appeared on the Alchemy Press blog.

Winter Chills begins...

Before the Alchemy Press I edited / produced a number of titles for the BritishFantasy Society. Way back in 1986 the BFS’s journal Dark Horizons was failing to appear regularly. I pitched to the then Society chairs (Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher) an all-fiction, complementary magazine. They gave me the go ahead and so I contacted a number of authors and artists. And in January 1987 Winter Chills debuted. Originally, I aimed for a magazine of ghost stories to appear in time for Christmas ’86, but WC1 was just a month late. The publication very quickly spread its coverage over the horror field. I remain very grateful to everyone who supported me in getting the series up and running.

So, Winter Chills 1 was my first venture into editing a fiction magazine. I originally hoped that WC would become a series published annually; but even so, calling this publication issue one was perhaps presumptive. In fact, the run lasted ten issues over ten years.

Winter Chills 1 was published by the BFS; the cover price was 90p / $3.00, and BFS membership was just £8.00 a year:

“The Hanging Tree” by R Chetwynd-Hayes. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“A New Life” by Ramsey Campbell. Illustrated by Dave Carson
“Something Old, Something Evil” by Sydney J Bounds. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Deathstone” by Peter Tremayne
“Lady Megalith” by David Sutton. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Late Shopping” by Brian Lumley

The front cover illustration was by Dallas Goffin. “The Hanging Tree” originally appeared in A Quiver of Ghosts by R Chetwynd-Hayes (1984). “Late Shopping” originally appeared in Weirdbook 18, edited by W Paul Ganley (1983)

The second issue of Winter Chills also appeared in 1987 – this time just before Christmas. WC2 was listed as number 12 in the BFS booklet series. The cover price was £1.00 / $3.00. And meanwhile, the Stephen Jones & David Sutton produced Fantasy Tales was seeing its tenth anniversary.

By this time I was using a daisy wheel electronic typewriter. It had no internal memory, no cut and paste with clicks of a mouse, no easy layouts. And again, the titles were all created with Letraset; and the whole thing was put together with scissors and glue (but no longer that foul-smelling cow gum).

Winter Chills 2, published by the British Fantasy Society:

“The Wishing Ball” by Stephen Gallagher. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“Call to Me, Call to Me” by Alan W Lear. Illustrated by Stephen Jones
“Thanksgiving Dinner” by Mike Chinn. Illustrated by Dallas Goffin
“The Void Within His Head” by Peter A Hough. Illustrated by Allen Koszowski
“A Man Between Two Worlds” by Gilles Bergal. Illustrated by Alan Hunter
“The Doll” by Guy N Smith. Illustrated by Jim Pitts
“The Miracle Man” by Paul Roland. Illustrated by Martin McKenna

The front cover illustration was by Dave Carson. Additional artwork was by Peter Coleborn, Jim Garrison and Dallas Goffin. “A Man Between Two Worlds” was translated from the French by Stephen Gallagher. It was originally published in Creatures des Tenebres by Gilles Bergal (1985).

A version of this post originally appeared on the Alchemy Press blog.

28 December 2011

Masters of Fantasy #2

My first attempt at producing a small press chapbook came in 1984 when the postman delivered a large envelope containing articles by Nic Howard about August Derleth, creator of Arkham House and an author in his own right. Also contained within that package was a piece by Ramsey Campbell plus dozens of illustrations by Allen Koszowski. This was to be the basis for my first publication for the British Fantasy Society.

Over several weeks I typed up and collated the articles and artwork, which was duly published as the BFS’ Masters of Fantasy 2: August Derleth. Producing the chapbook was time-consuming; and yet it was educational, intriguing and rewarding. In those days I had to use an electric typewriter, sheets of Letraset for the titles, and cow gum to paste it together. No DTP.

The booklet contained the following by Nic Howard: "Derleth: An American Life in Literature", "Dark Glory: Derleth's Achievements", and a foreword, notes and bibliographical information. Ramsey Campbell's "Derleth as I Knew Him", the introduction, was excerpted from a longer article. The booklet was just 24 pages in length (plus covers) and looks rather quaint when compared with today's proliferation of small press publications.

Masters of Fantasy 2 was the seventh in the ongoing BFS Booklet series. Its cover price was 50p ($1.50). Nowadays, can you buy anything worthy for a mere fifty pence? 
After Masters of Fantasy 2 I found myself ensnared by the bug and I edited / produced for the BFS several titles, including the Newsletter, Fantasy Bookshelf, Chills and Dark Horizons

This post, slightly revised for this blog, was initially published on the Alchemy Press website..

End of year round up

Just recently I ended a stint as BFS Journal editor (incorporating Dark Horizons). My final issue was published just before Christmas 2011 (as previously blogged). I edited four issues of DH during the year. It was mostly a rewarding experience – sadly tainted by the struggle for control of the BFS. I have no intention of raking over this sorry episode here. Suffice it to say, the Society has experienced similar events in the past and rose above the squabbles; in fact it is doing so as I type these words.

In 2011 I revived the Alchemy Press. In conjunction with Airgedlámh Productions, the press published a signed, limited edition of tales by the inimitable Peter Atkins: Rumours of the Marvellous. I was thrilled to publish this book. Not only is Pete Atkins an affable, charming chap (with a lovely wife), these are some of the best short stories I’ve read in many a long year. The publishing “job” included several long, long-distance, trans-Atlantic phone calls (Pete lives in Los Angeles, I in the West Midlands, UK) – a major plus in my opinion. Pete was a GoH at FantasyCon 2011, at which the book was launched. Also on hand at the convention to personally dedicate the book was the cover artist, the wonderful Les Edwards. For more details on this collection, pop over to the Alchemy Press blog.

I also helped Pete to set up his own website / blog. It's basic -- no flashing images -- but it does its job. Read it here.

I write very few stories – I seem to spend so much of my time editing other people’s. So I was delighted to see my horror tale “Who Wanders in the Mire” appear in the Christmas 2011 edition of Estronomicon, edited and published by Steve Upham’s Screaming Dreams Press. I acquired the title from the “Wassail Song”: “Pray think of us poor children / Who wander in the mire.”

Perhaps the lowest point of the year came about seven weeks ago. I slipped on some wet grass and snapped the tibia and fibula just above the ankle in my right leg -- I also managed to tear the tendons that hold the joints together. I had to wear a non-weight-bearing cast for six weeks, and only this week have I managed to use that leg for support when hobbling around. I was more-or-less restricted to one room for over a month -- it felt as if I was "doing porridge". There is a metal plate in my leg, and a dozen screws, securing the bones as they heal. Not fun.

That’s it for now. I’ll go into more details about the BFS Journal and DH in a later post. In the meantime, I’ll start posting items about my previous exploits as a BFS editor, starting with Masters of Fantasy 2

30 November 2011

Sailors of the Skies

If you pop over to the Alchemy Press blog you see that we've published our first Kindle book -- well, novella: Mike Chinn's Sailors of the SkiesIt mixes “generous dollops of The Scorpion, The Shadow and Dominic Fortune, a taste for 1930s detective fiction, and the simple desire to tell a creepy tale…” How can that not tempt you?

The BFS Journal

My latest editorial extravaganza is coming to an end. As I type these words, Cavan Scott is creating the PDF files of the winter 2011/12 issue of the BFS Journal. Very soon it will be ready for the printers -- in time (I hope) for mailing out before Christmas.

The BFS Journal combines the society's individual magazines Dark Horizons (mainly fiction, edited by me [with poetry edited by Ian Hunter]) and Prism (non-fiction, edited by Lou Morgan). In fact, when the Journal was first introduced in December 2010 it also included New Horizons, edited by Andrew Hook. Andrew stepped down as editor of NH in the summer and it was decided to discontinue that title.

For this issue we abandoned the previous DH and Prism sections, combining the fiction and non-fiction to produce a better balanced publication. The cover artwork is by this year's British Fantasy Award-winning artist Vincent Chong. A list of the Journal's contents can be found on the BFS website.

With this issue I am following in Andrew's footsteps and leaving the editorial chair. The new editor is renowned author Guy Adams.

22 September 2011

Rumours of the Marvellous available for pre-order

The 250 copies of Peter Atkins' limited edition book, Rumours of the Marvellous, have finally arrived here at Oldhaven House, in good time (just) for its official launch at FantasyCon 2011. I know I'm biased, but I have to say, I am very pleased with this book -- looks beautiful.

For details on how to buy this great collection, pop over to the Alchemy Press website.

05 September 2011

Rumours of the Marvellous -- cover artwork

This is the fabulous cover artwork for the forthcoming Peter Atkins collection, Rumours of the Marvellous. The artist is the brilliant Les Edwards.

Rumours of the Marvellous -- promo video

I've posted a promo video for the upcoming Alchemy Press book -- Rumours of the Marvellous by Peter Atkins -- on the Alchemy Press blog.

Rumours (no relation to the Fleetwood Mac one) collects fourteen of Peter Atkins' finest short stories, in a limited edition book (250 copies). It is signed by Peter Atkins, Glen Hirshberg (for the introduction) and Les Edwards (for the cover artwork).

The book is due to be launched at FantasyCon 2011.

10 July 2011

Keeping busy

I seem to be rather busy just lately, tapping away on the PC's keyboard and clicking mouse buttons left, right and centre. Mostly, it seems, I've been editing Dark Horizons or posting news items for the BFS's website. Now I've added a further activity: bringing back to life The Alchemy Press. A new title is due this year.

11 April 2011

The Alchemy Press

Check out one of my other blogs -- for the Alchemy Press. The first book I published was The Paladin Mandates by Mike Chinn. The book , a collection of short stories, boasted a tremendous cover by Bob Covington. Check out the Alchemy Press pages for more information on this and other AP titles.