Grave Warnings

Pencil Tip To Release E-Books

NEWS RELEASE

Pencil Tip Publishing is pleased to announce that we will be releasing select published books in electronic versions effective December 13, 2017.

Our first eBook release is the recently published “The Cuckoo In Winter” by Craig Charlesworth, a gothic ghost story.

When a young doctor endures a family tragedy, he attempts to leave his troubles behind him by taking a job in a remote mansion on the moors. There he finds a dying man, an eccentric servant, and… something else. Followed by a presence who’s nature he can barely guess at, he must unravel the mysteries of Fetch House before he is overcome by them. Or perhaps it’s already too late? Just what is it that knocks on doors of in the middle of the night? Who is the mysterious young girl in rags who creeps around the nearby town? And what secrets are hidden in the walled garden? In the hallways of this monstrous house, something is waking and beginning to stir. And with friends few and far between, it may just claim our hero’s sanity.

This will be followed by eBook versions of the short-story collection “Grave Warnings” and our very first Doctor Who short-story collection, “The Temporal Logbook”. Additional titles will be released over next several weeks.

You can purchase a copy of “The Cuckoo In Winter” by visiting the Pencil Tip Publishing Store on Lulu at this link or via this link.

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REVIEW: Grave Warnings

Review by Daniel Tessier

Grave Warnings is a compact, evocative book of horror stories, with five authors penning short, punchy tales of terror. Although the title and cover to the book would suggest that this is a collection of ghost stories, it’s more varied than that. Although ghost stories do feature, the five tales cover an impressive array of styles and genres between them. If there is one thing that links the stories, it is that the true horror is often not at the hand of something supernatural, but is very human in origin.

The collection opens with “Deceased Estate” by Sarah Parry, a very effective story that sets the grim tone for the book. Parry cleverly shifts the storytelling from light and conversational to desperate and horrific, creating a chilling tale with a hint of a modern Lovecraftian vibe. In spite of the inhuman monstrosities it hints at, “Deceased Estate” is a warning on the perils of unchecked greed.

The theme of avarice continues with Craig Charlesworth’s “The Dumb Show”, the most traditional ghost story in the collection. A fun pastiche of Victorian-era short stories, Charlesworth’s story is a penny dreadful that sees money-hungry men try to use a haunting to their own financial advantage, even as one tries, or claims to try, to turn over a new leaf. The biting final scene proves that it is the living that present the most to fear.

“The Specimen” by Jodie van de Wetering is a brief interlude between the heavier stories, and  introduces a man whose unwholesome pastime leads to his becoming truly lost to nature. It’s the shortest but most immediately potent story, simply and effectively told.

Hannah G. Parry presents “The Citizen”, an unassuming title for a disquieting and powerful story. Although it is a ghost story, “The Citizen” inverts the usual conception of a haunting in order to make her protagonist question his choices. It’s an unsettling tale of cowardice and brutality, emotions so easily entwined, set against the very real, very human horror of revolutionary France, when Paris was, not for nothing, known as the Land of Fear. This story is my personal highlight of the book.

Finally, “Vacancy” by Hamish Crawford brings us back to seemingly ordinary life, with a story that makes us question the protagonist’s sanity as he relates the story of how his life changed when he took in a new lodger. With only a hint at something supernatural, “Vacancy” draws on some of the same concerns as “The Citizen”: that we, as men, can commit acts we never thought we were capable of.

Grave Warnings is a a pleasantly unsettling set of stories, and I look forward to more. 8/10

Reviewed August 2017

Published December 2016
ISBN: 9780995319509
Paperback, 128 Pages. $15.95 CAD

To order your own copy click here.

Grave Warnings Australian Book Launch

16299132_1363400690400193_5466045042545128989_nHey, if any of you reside in Queensland Australia, you may be interested in attending this special event in Rockhampton on Friday February 24th.

Grave Warnings author Jodie van de Wetering is hosting a special launch night at the Red Dahlia Bar in Rockhampton Queensland.  Join us for a spooky night on Friday, February 24 featuring haunting live music, and top storytellers sharing tales of the living and the dead. We’re having a party to celebrate the launch of Grave Warnings, a collection of horror fiction from indie outfit Pencil Tip Publishing.

There’s a $5 cover charge will help cover our operating expenses for the night and pay our artists, contributing to CQ’s arts economy.

Copies of Grave Warnings will be available for purchase.

INTERVIEW: Sarah Parry

grave-warnings-front-cover-jack-drewell-nov-2016Our series of interviews with the authors of Grave Warnings concludes today with our final interview with Sarah Parry author of ‘Deceased Estate’.

How and when did you get interested in writing?

Some of my earliest memories involve writing with my sister, making up our own stories and publishing them in books which we would illustrate. Everyone loves reading and telling stories – writing them down was just an extension of this.

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?

The word ‘deceased estate’ has always fascinated me. It always made me think about a house being dead. I wrote a horror story based on this idea years ago after a particularly memorable nightmare, so it was great to come back and revisit it. As I was writing, I thought about other things that people call old abandoned houses, like ‘death-traps’, and the story just grew from there.

What was the biggest challenge in writing your story?

Keeping the balance between comedy and horror was difficult. Horror should be enjoyable to read, not depressing, so it was important to keep the characters just likeable, (or cheerfully despicable), enough to keep your interest, but unlikeable enough that their fate doesn’t make you want to cry at the end. I love horror when it’s using the supernatural to represent human evil – all monsters, really, in the end, are human, and people in horror often tend to bring their fates on themselves. I tried to bring this out as well, and hopefully I’ve succeeded in doing this.

Do you have a favorite author, and if so, why?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of the greatest writers who ever lived. His detective stories are world-renowned, but his horror stories and medical fiction have the same brilliant combination of intelligence, humor and detail. Growing up, though, I obsessively read the works of K.A. Applegate, Jude Watson and Emily Rodda who are all geniuses at creating great characters you feel like you know after just a few pages and worlds you can just fall into.

Interview © 2017 Pencil Tip Publishing

INTERVIEW: Hannah Parry

grave-warnings-front-cover-jack-drewell-nov-2016The fourth in our series of interviews with the authors of Grave Warnings continues today as we chat with Hannah Parry, author of “The Citizen”

How and when did you get interested in writing?
There’s no interesting answer to this. Like a lot of people, I’ve written obsessively since I could write (and read obsessively since I could read). It’s just what I do!

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?
Years ago, I’d read about Robert Ledru, a celebrated Parisian police detective in the late nineteenth century. Ledru was investigating a case at the Normandy port of Le Havre, when a man was found murdered on the beach. After careful examination of the evidence, Ledru came to the conclusion that he himself was the murderer, having shot the man whilst sleepwalking the night before. Obviously, this is a terrific story, and I wanted to do something with it, but it was hard to know what, since life had written it first. When I was contacted about this book, I was in the midst of another project that drew heavily on Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I thought about doing a ghost story set in the midst of the French Revolution. And then I thought about Robert Ledru, and the story of a man who suspects he has committed a murder in his sleep. It came to me that this was the perfect story of a man coming to the realization of his own private guilt, through the most chilling means possible. And what if it were taking place in the midst of the ‘Reign of Terror’, in streets haunted by the ghosts of those betrayed by their own revolution and sentenced to death? The two pieces clicked into place, and it was magical.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your story?
I’d never written a ghost story before, or anything that could generously be termed scary (at least, not on purpose!). I’ve never intentionally tried to unsettle a reader, as the best horror writers can do. So that aspect was challenging. Usually I like writing dialogue, but for this story to work, I wanted it to be saturated in atmosphere. I tried to focus on creating a Paris not necessarily true to history, but that reflected the mind of a troubled man living within it. The lovely thing about of this was that while I was working on drawing out the dark, unnerving corners of Jacques’ world – death, blood, the roar of the crowds, the constant fear of betrayal, dark streets, candlelight, silent guilt – I realized I was drawing out the main strands of the plot at the same time. At this point, the story wrote itself. I still don’t know how scary readers may find it, but it turned out to be about a lot of things that scare me.

Do you have a favorite author, and if so, why?
No, because I have about thirty! (I’m an English PhD, so I’ve had far too many excuses to read amazing books over the years.) I grew up on J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Anthony Horowitz, and Douglas Adams. When I went to university, I added Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Peter S. Beagle, Neil Gaiman, Richard Adams, T.H. White, Rosemary Sutcliff, Dodie Smith, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, and many others. When I was writing this, I immersed myself in A Tale of Two Cities, as I said, and also Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which is just an astonishingly powerful, incandescent journey through a guilt-ridden psyche. I steal from the best.

Grave Warnings is out now.

Interview © 2017 Pencil Tip Publishing