There's nothing quite like the feeling that you're not alone. The cold fingers of fear that brush your insides when you hear a long, wounded creak in the dead of night, or the ripple of laughter in the dark when you know you're home alone or when you feel the breath on the back of your neck on a perfectly still summer's evening.
But you know there's no such thing as ghosts -- don't you?
Shadows at the Door is an illustrated anthology of short horror stories from around the world that aims to take that tingling prickle of dread, and bind it, for your enjoyment, into a stunning, illustrated book. (One you can close and temporarily trap in the fridge, if necessary*.)
We want these incredible stories to be enjoyed in as many mediums, by as many people as possible, so the anthology will be a multimedia project; as well as a beautifully presented, illustrated hardback, we will also be publishing an eBook, and an audio-book complete with an original score.
No matter where you are in the world, there is a story that everyone knows. In every town, every village, there is a house no one sets foot in; a specter in the woods that parents warn their children of; a local landmark whose history is stained with death. Shadows at the Door brings the whispered, hand-me-down horrors of thirteen such places together, to entertain and unsettle.
The anthology will immerse you in the eerie locales of Durham, Norfolk, Derbyshire, Rugby, Scottish Highlands, Toronto, Pittsburgh, New York, Rural Yorkshire, Lake Superior, Canterbury and Kent, so you can be scared all around the globe.
Shadows at the Door started -- and continues -- as a free online collection of ghost stories. Anthology editor Mark Nixon, moved by a love of M.R. James, H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King and lamenting the lack of traditional, truly frightening ghost stories in the ether, started the collection to offer short, original narratives to those who crave the standing-up of hairs.
What began as a dark, murky corner of the internet soon grew, creeping slowly outwards like a fog in a graveyard. The site now harbors over thirty seven ghostly tales, and has become a haven for lovers of the macabre; both readers and writers alike.
The success of the website proved that love for ghost stories is far from dead and gone, and has inspired us to put some of the best stories we could find to the page. Although the internet helped Shadows at the Door materialise in our initial, wraith-like form, through the generous financial leg-ups of our faithful fellow spooks of the world, we can finally take corporeal shape, and acquire the dusty, old-book smell that these chilling stories truly deserve. (Dust not included. Unfortunately you'll have to accumulate that yourself.)
The stories in the anthology will be exclusive to the book, unavailable anywhere else but between its two lusciously-designed covers.
The stories have been written, the cover designed, and backer rewards established - all we need now is you.
*The publishers take no responsibility for any books that might sinisterly reappear on your bedside table of their own accord.
Pete Alex Harris is from Glasgow. In addition to short-form horror and weird stories, he writes fantasy and sci-fi , and has written two novels: The Silk Mind and Miasma. He is currently working on a moderately horrific sci-fi project.
Pete’s story Under Shiel Croft is an almost Lovecraftian nightmare, in which a troubled Scot witnesses unspeakable horrors unleashed by fracking on her property.
Helen Grant writes thrillers for young adults, and ghost stories. Her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and won an ALA Alex Award in the US. Since then she has produced five other novels, the most recent of which is Urban Legends, and a collection of short supernatural fiction, The Sea Change & Other Stories. Helen's work is strongly influenced by place. She has lived in Spain, Germany and Flanders, and currently lives in Scotland. Her novels and stories are largely inspired by these and other intriguing locations she has visited.
Helen's story The Watchmaker is inspired by M.R.James' A View From A Hill, which is set in an unspecified part of south west England. One side of Helen's family originally came from the West Country, and she still has relatives living there, so the location has a special significance for her.
Caitlin Marceau is an author and professional editor living and working in Montreal. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing, is a member of the Horror Writers Association, and spends most of her time working as a freelance journalist for an array of publications.
When she’s not busy hunting down stories, she prefers to focus her time on publishing works of horror and experimental fiction. She has also spoken about horror literature at several Canadian conventions. Her workshop "Bikinis, Brains and Boogeymen: How To Write Realistic Women in Horror", was acclaimed by Yell Magazine.
Caitlin’s story showcases a local French-Canadian legend of a child whose remains were unclaimed.
Daniel Foytik is a writer and storyteller who explores his love story and storytelling in all its forms through, writing, narration, audio production, and podcasting. Daniel’s production entity, 9th Story Studios, creates The Wicked Library, 9th Story Podcast, Listen, and The Lift. Daniel will also be providing the narration for the Shadows at the Door audiobook.
Dan’s story is set in and around Pittsburgh, and sees a young protagonist stalked by shadows in her childhood home.
Andrea Janes writes for the page and screen: horror, dark comedy, historical slapstick (if that counts as a genre). Her first Young Adult novel Glamour was published by World Weaver Press in 2014, and was recently option by Sixth Avenue Films and is now in development. She is also currently at work on a novel about a haunted condo in Queens.
Andrea is the owner and founder of Boroughs of the Dead LLC, a boutique tour company dedicated to dark and unusual walking tours of New York City.
Andrea’s story is set in New York, and is as Big Apple as a hot dog from a street cart.
Kris Holt is a writer of short stories, political commentary and media articles of local interest. In 2014, Kris' short story, Crowning Glory, was the winner of the International Writing Award at the SMHAFF festival.
Kris is currently writing his first novel, What Comes From the Earth, a thriller set in contemporary South Africa.
He is currently based in Norwich, England's only City of Literature.
Kris' story centres on Black Shuck, a local East-Anglican myth.
Christopher Long is 35 years old and still rather bemused by the fact that he's allowed to write stories and have people read them. Let alone enjoy them. Over the past few years he has discovered what he begrudgingly calls a talent for writing ghost stories and has released 6 novellas, 3 collections and his first horror novel, Something Needs Bleeding.
He is currently writing another two novels to be released through Kensington Gore Publishing and is working very hard on not getting distracted by the numerous ideas which are constantly floating around his head and fighting for his attention.
Chris’ story takes place in Rugby, where a traveler stops for a drink at a very sinister pub.
Mark Cassell lives in a rural part of the UK with his wife and a number of animals. He often dreams of dystopian futures, peculiar creatures, and flitting shadows. Primarily a horror writer, his steampunk, dark fantasy, and SF stories have featured in numerous anthologies and ezines. His 2015 release, Sinister Stitches, is a collection of stories from a mythos that began with his debut novel, The Shadow Fabric, a supernatural horror tale of demons, devices, and deceit. In Mark's story, a photographer is hired to shoot a castle in Rye; a job which turns out to be more challenging than he expected.
K.B. Goddard is a Derbyshire-based writer specialising in Victorian-inspired ghost stories. In 2014 she released her first short story collection, A Spirited Evening and Other Stories. Her second collection, The Haunted Chamber and Other Stories, was released in 2015. Plans for a third collection are in the works.
K.B. Goddard's story is set in Derbyshire, where the sound of a penny whistle is causing concern for a man with a guilty conscience.
Mark Nixon is a horror writer who dwells by a graveyard in County Durham. He is the founder and editor of shadowsatthedoor.com where his short stories of the macabre can be found.
Mark's tale is set in Durham Cathedral, one of the oldest and most intact Norman architectural feats in Europe.
M. Regan has been writing in various capacities for over a decade, with credits ranging from localization work to scholarly reviews, advice columns to short stories. Particularly fascinated by those fears and maladies personified by monsters, she enjoys composing dark fiction and studying supernatural creatures. She currently lives and works in Kyoto, Japan.
M. Regan's contribution is set in Lake Superior, and features Native American mythology.
J. C. Michael is an English horror author who lives in rural North Yorkshire with his wife and son. His debut novel, Discoredia, was published in 2013 by Books of the Dead Press. and since then he has had a number of short stories published including Reasons To Kill in the Amazon bestselling anthology Suspended In Dusk.
J.C. Michael's tale is inspired by the Yorkshire legend of the Gytnash, which was referenced in Jane Eyre.
The cover and illustrations in the book are provided by artist Barney Bodoano.
Barney is an artist and illustrator who lives in London, and has a particular fondness for drawing things at the other-worldly end of the spectrum; many of his original illustrations are inspired by the work of M.R. James.
Barney has been collaborating with Shadows at the Door to produce exclusive illustrations for our stories, and will now be turning his hand to providing stunningly eerie drawings throughout the book.
Barney is currently hard at work on designing the anthology's cover, but in the meantime, more examples of his fantastic work can be seen on his website www.barneybodoano.com.
- Backer Exclusive Updates: We have a lot of fun Backer Exclusive content planned for updates, such as outtakes for the Kickstarter video, author interviews, sneak-peeks of the artwork, and you can witness the editor's descent into madness as he starts to believe the there really are ghouls at his door.
- The E-Book: Your own copy of the book in an easy to use format.
- Acknowledgements Page: Your name will appear in our book, with thanks.
- The Audiobook: A download of the audiobook, with music by Cathedral Sounds. No mere narration, but scored dramatic readings.
- The Hardback: A beautifully presented, illustrated hardback copy of the anthology. With a stitched spine and high quality paper, it'll be the highlight of your bookshelf!
- Signed Hardback: The hardback signed with a note of thanks by editor Mark Nixon.
- The Soundtrack: If we meet our stretch goal, a 60 minute mix of the best tracks will be available to you via download.
- Exclusive Illustration: An A4 print of a macabre illustration by Barney Bodoano (see below).
- M.R. James Illustrations: Various, critically acclaimed illustrations of some of the greatest ghost stories written by M.R. James created by Barney Bodoano.
- Pete Alex Harris E-Books: Downloadable books by one of our celebrated authors.
- Mark Cassell Paperback: A paperback of Mark Cassel's hugely popular debut novel.
- Helen Grant Chapbook: A signed chapbook by award-winning author Helen Grant.
- Haunted Tours of New York: In New York before January 2018? Andrea Janes will take you and a friend on a professional tour of New York's haunted boroughs. Plus a copy of her non-fiction e-book.
- Name Our Characters: Many of our characters can be named after you or a loved one (within reason - sorry Mr Poopypants), ensuring your place in horror history.
- Get Published: Editors Mark Nixon and Kris Holt will help you build your own ghost story, help you edit and if all goes well, you story will reach a huge audience via publication on shadowsatthedoor.com.
- Commission the Artist: Barney will create artwork to your specification, exclusively for you! (Again, within reason. No Sherlock erotic art please. Stop asking... Seriously).
The funds we hope to raise will cover the basics of publishing a professional, high quality book, such as interior Page Design, obtaining an international ISBN code and Cover Design - although we hope through stretch goals to pay writers for their stories, we don't have deep pockets, and this anthology is a labour of love for all involved.
Our proposed stretch goals are designed to enhance the contents and presentation for this multi-media anthology and help us target a much wider audience.
£13,500 - Full Score: Cathedral Sounds are already hard at work creating music to accompany the audiobook, but at this stage they will be able to fully score the entire book, leaving your nerves shredded as you listen to these pleasing terrors.
£14,100 - An Extra Story: At this level, we will be able to cover all the numerous costs of adding an extra story to the anthology by author Cameron Trost. Cameron's story features a couple at a crossroads in their marriage, turning to the darkness may help their situation, or taint their very souls... Cameron Trost is a writer of strange, mysterious, and creepy tales about people just like you. He lives in the subtropical city of Brisbane, Australia. He is the vice-president and Queensland community leader of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, and an Australian Shadows Award-winning editor.
£17,000 - Large Scale Printing: At this stage, we can afford to print huge numbers of the hardback and pay for storage and marketing, allowing us to engage the main bookselling market in the UK and abroad.
£19,000 - Deluxe Printing: If we hit this stretch goal, we will be adding foil stamping to the cover and spine and a ribbon bookmark as well as other elegant touches.
£20,000 - and Beyond: If we hit above £20,000 we can begin to discuss the next stages of our plan. But shush! Spoilers...
Risks and challenges
Of course, a project of this scale carries with it a degree of risk and challenges. A lot of the work has already been done, ready for the final stages of production. And while we have tried to anticipate the unforeseeable, the major concern would be timescales, the editor is working on this project during every second outside of full time work so this proves to be the main obstacle for time.
A release date of November 2016 is generous considering what work remains to be done, however we cannot rule out unforeseeable events that may transpire, try as we might.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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