Tag Archive: Megalithica Books


I have a lot planned for this coming year – 2019 is poised to be as busy as 2018 was.

First up – new books I’m working on.

I’m currently writing a Wraeththu novel called ‘Breathe, my Shadow’, which is based on ‘The Emptiness Next Door’ a short story I wrote for the ‘Paraspectral’ anthology last year. As can happen with a short, this piece wanted desperately to be longer. I had hoped to finish it in time for Yule 2018, but because I was so busy with other projects, I wasn’t able to meet that deadline. I’m not going to specify exactly when this year I hope to publish ‘Breathe’ but will get to work on it in earnest once I have a few important short stories out of the way. I’ve been researching a lot for this novel, some of which explores the lore of bees, honey and bee-keeping. This isn’t the main focus of the story but is still important as it’s an interest of one of the characters that has bearing on the plot.

Two of the stories I’m working on are for the next ‘Para’ anthology, which is ‘Para Mort’, a study of love and death in the world of Wraeththu. The idea for this theme grew from suggestions given to me by Mythos writers Martina Bellovičová and Maria Leel. I want to go for an outright Gothic feel for this one – doomed love, tragic desire and so on. I did specify in the brief I sent to the Mythos writers that the stories don’t have to be total downers – they can have upbeat endings. I’ve just finished the first draft of a tale called ‘The Shade of Q’orlenn’ but need to go back through it, adding in scene details and fleshing out some of the interactions between the characters. But that one’s almost there. I’ve a choice of two others to write for my second story for the anthology and haven’t yet made a decision about which to go with. The third piece I need to work on before turning to longer projects is my story for ‘Shadows on the Hillside’, the weird fiction anthology I’m editing for NewCon Press. I’ve an idea for that and have written a few pages. Research for this involves studying old maps and a particular kind of folklore, which I won’t reveal, as it would be a terrible spoiler for the story. I’ve also been looking into Middle English and the ancient meanings of some modern words.

One of the most interesting things I discovered yesterday is that English in the Middle Ages had a gender-neutral pronoun ‘hit’, but also that ‘he’ could be used instead. So I wasn’t so wrong about using ‘he’ for Wraeththu as some might claim! I’m not interested in the fuss around the politics of gender and pronouns, and in fact am uncomfortable with the way extremes of certain politics are infesting – and at worst stifling – creative media nowadays, but I am interested in presenting my androgynous characters as they are – beings who are both male and female, greater than the sum of their parts and endowed with faculties and abilities beyond human experience. I was writing about hara when I was a teenager, (and had met them in my imagination years prior to that), long before modern ideas about identity politics arose. I wrote from the heart, not trying to invest my fantasy world with any one agenda. Wraeththu are what they are – in the way they evolved in my imagination very early in my life. They owe more to mythology and folklore than anything else. And that’s the nearest I’ll get to talking about my personal opinions in a public place!

Anyway, back to book news after that little diversion. I aim to get ‘Para Mort’ out this year, probably with a Yule release and accompanying launch party, which is becoming traditional now. It’s down to whether the writers can get their work to me in time. I’ve already had one in from E. S. Wynn so maybe that will spur the others into action! ‘Shadows on the Hillside’ should also be released this year. I’m still waiting on a few stories to come in for that one.

I’ll also be working on a new non-fiction book this year. Around 15 years ago, I wrote a correspondence course on Egyptian Magic, back when people were more inclined to get involved in correspondence courses. Once this trend tailed off in favour of other forms of learning, the course gathered dust in isolated chambers on my computer. It was only when someone mailed me a couple of years ago to enquire whether that course was still available that it was brought once more to my attention. I didn’t feel I wanted to run the course again, as it requires quite a lot of input from me, discussing the work with students, and reading and responding in depth to their coursework, for which I no longer have time. I offered to let the person have the course as one PDF at a very cut price, for them to work through how they wanted, but I couldn’t act as mentor for it anymore. The person concerned was happy with this, so I transformed all the separate modules into one document to send to them. As I was doing this, I realised the modules could actually be a book. A lot of the material would have to go, because it wouldn’t be suitable for a non-interactive project, but I could add new chapters to replace what I’d take out.

I’m writing this book under the very unimaginative ‘Egyptian Magic’ working title, but intend to come up with something more colourful for the finished work. It won’t be a quick project by any means, as I’m having to change the entire structure and come up with a lot of new pathworkings for it. A proportion of what was in the correspondence course was based on material in ‘Bast and Sekhmet: Eyes of Ra’ which I co-wrote with Louise Coquio in the late 90s. I don’t want to rehash that, or just focus upon feline deities, so there’s a lot to be written for it. At the moment, I’m looking into the creation myths of Ancient Egypt, and creating workings based upon them. That will be the starting point of the work, after an introductory section discussing the beliefs and practices of the Egyptians and how we can reinterpret them for a modern practice of magic. Again, I intend to get the book out this year, but as with the novel it depends on how much time I get to finish it.

Moving on from my own work, there are plans for several books by other writers. Since Taylor Ellwood parted company with the Megalithica Books imprint, releases have inevitably slowed down somewhat for this list. Even last year, when Taylor was still with us, Megalithica Books published only three titles that weren’t co-written by me. I do have books in the pipeline for the list, but in three cases am waiting for news from the respective writers with whom I’ve been talking over the past couple of months. I can say for definite that we’ll have a new book from Cornelia Benavidez, expanding her work on the legacy of Victor H Anderson, and there’s an exciting re-issue of a legendary work that’s currently in production. Only the fact that a contract with an individual connected with the original work has to be sorted out prevents me from talking more about this book. Sometimes, after a lengthy period of time, it’s difficult for people to get back in touch with those they might have worked with in the past. This is in the case in this situation but as soon as it’s OK to talk about this project the author and I will do so wholeheartedly!

On the fiction side, I’ll be publishing a book I’m delighted to have edited. This is ‘Lord of the Looking Glass’, the short stories of Fiona McGavin. Louise Coquio and I met Fiona way back when we were producing the magazine Visionary Tongue. Fiona provided two stories for us and another one for Jamie Spracklen when he took over custodianship of the magazine. Lou and I both loved Fiona’s stories – they were among the best we received. Later, once I started Immanion Press, I brought out the trilogy ‘A Dream and a Lie’ by Fiona, her first full-length works. In hindsight, I wish I’d published this book some years later, after I’d gained more experience as an editor and publisher. Fiona’s were among the first novels Immanion Press published. I’d do things a bit differently now, as I know more about what I’m doing!  It was only when I had to contact Fiona again concerning two of her stories, which I wanted to reprint in the Visionary Tongue anthology I edited for NewCon Press, that I asked whether she had enough stories for a book of her own. She did, and ‘Lord of the Looking Glass’ is the result. These are astounding stories. Fiona, like Tanith Lee, has the gift for taking genre tropes and turning them on their heads. She has a wonderful imagination. I never thought a zombie story could bring tears to my eyes – but ‘The Contraption’ did. Fiona tackles vampires, fairy abduction, ghosts, fairy tales, alternate realities, science fiction and post-apocalyptic worlds, but all in a way you won’t have read before and in a fluid, lyrical style.  I’m happy to report that her story ‘A Tale from the End of the World’ is included in an updated form, (it was always my favourite) as well as a sequel to it, ‘He May Grow Roots’. Fiona has intimated she might write a full-length novel set in the world of these two stories, which I really hope she does. I can’t wait to release ‘Lord of the Looking Glass’ – which should be in late spring – and ask any of you with genre blogs or review sites to help me get Fiona’s work out there. She is a marvellous writer and her work should be better known.  I hope to plan a kind of blog tour for her and am happy to send advance copies of the book’s PDF for review. Please mail me at editorial(at)Immanion-press(dot)com if you’re interested.

Other new fiction publications for 2019 include three more anthologies of Tanith Lee’s stories, which focus upon her uncollected works – stories that appeared briefly in magazines or on web sites and have not yet been included in a printed book. The first of these, ‘Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata and Other Tales’, is scheduled to appear in April, so that Tanith’s husband John Kaiine can promote it at this year’s Eastercon. John will also be creating the cover art for the book. For the majority of readers, most of these stories might as well be newly-written as they won’t have been seen before. Much thanks must go, as has become usual for Tanith collections, to Allison Rich, Tanith’s bibliographer, and also to Jeremy Brett and his staff at the Cushing Library and Archives in Texas, who will provide scans of these often difficult to source stories.

That’s about it for news now. The DVD of the film of one my favourite novels, The Little Stranger, is due to arrive today and tonight I intend to watch it with Lou and our respective males. I saw this at the cinema initially and was impressed with what the director did with it. It’s not very often adaptations are so satisfying!

 

 

 

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It’s been a busy build up to the launch event for new Immanion Press/Megalithica Books publications in December. I’ve been preparing a number of books for a pre-Yule release, one of which is the much-anticipated SHE: Primal Meetings with the Dark Goddess I co-wrote with author and historian Andrew Collins.

Andy and I got to know one another in 1994, when we were both working on books connected with the Nephilim and the fallen angels. In my case, this was the Grigori trilogy (Stalking Tender Prey, Scenting Hallowed Blood and Stealing Sacred Fire). Andy was working on From the Ashes of Angels, which explored the same mythology from an historical and archaeological point of view.  Our mutual friend, Jamie Spracklen, introduced Andy and I to each other, and this resulted in Andy allowing me to use his research material for the Grigori books. We’ve been firm friends and occasional colleagues ever since.

 

I’m really excited about SHE, because it heralds a new direction for my non-fiction imprint, Megalithica Books. As I’m now running this imprint alone, I intend to venture into new territory with it, steering towards books that investigate the mythologies and beliefs that inspire magical traditions and offer new systems for readers to discover. I don’t want to have my own writing time curtailed too much, so I’ll most likely be producing fewer books for the list, but every one of them will be a work I’m personally interested in and intrigued by. I’m looking for books that explore (or create) rich and vivid magical systems, including pop culture systems that transform fictional characters and worlds into magical entities and environments.  I’m also seeking books on alternative spirituality, such as LHP, and entertaining studies on how to work with particular entities and deities. I’m after fresh approaches to practices such as meditation, pathworking and ritual, or which reveal personal experiences that are compelling and inspiring.  The key words are: imagination, creativity, depth and integrity. If anyone is interested in submitting to the list, please mail me at editorial(at)Immanion-press(dot)com.

 

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Among the first of the new Megalithica Books titles was Zodiac of the Gods, which I released quite quietly a few months ago, under the author name of Eden Crane. This is a reimagining and retitling of a ‘popular’ book I wrote with Graham Phillips for a mainstream publisher’s New Age list back in the 90s – now it’s very much out of date, written in a style that doesn’t reflect modern culture. Last year, Graham and I revisited the text and changed it to fully represent life as it is today. We also renamed the book to more accurately describe its subject. The original was written for a ‘women’s magazine audience’ with a specific style and content to suit its target demographic at the time it was published. Neither of us want that original still to be available but… We had to bring the heavily revamped and revised version out under a joint pseudonym as the original is still available and the publishers concerned refuse to remove it from print or eBook, even given our strong case for this to be done and the fact it barely sells any copies. Big publishers simply don’t like giving books up nowadays – I assume because ‘just in case’, and because there are no overheads in keeping eBooks available. They weren’t interested in a new edition from us. I shall refrain from further comment as I’m sure anyone reading this will intuitively perceive how Graham and I feel about this situation! Zodiac of the Gods has a light-hearted aspect in that it explores the Dendera Zodiac as an alternative to Western Astrology. But in the new version, we’ve significantly expanded the second half of the book, which presents Egyptian magical workings for each month of the year and the deity, or neter, who presides over it. The book is fully illustrated in a completely different style to the original. It’s sad that the awkwardness about the old version meant we didn’t feel comfortable with doing a big splash release for this much better book under our own names, but now – at least – we want to share its origins.

 

Some examples of Danni’s illustrations for SHE
Babalon, Erzuli Danto and Hecate

SHE is the first new title that I can fully promote to launch the new look Megalithica Books. It explores 30 goddesses, some of whom are well-known in Pagan circles, such as Aphrodite, Lilith and Hecate, but others are more obscure but no less intriguing, such as Akhlys, Agrat bat Mahlat and The Cailleach. Even with the more ‘famous’ goddesses, we’ve delved into their roots to reveal their darker aspects – original facets that have, to some degree, been watered down or removed over time. To us, the original forms are far more fascinating and have more to teach us.  We asked friends to contribute a few articles and pathworkings to the book – Deborah Cartwright, Maggie Jennings, Richard Ward and Caroline Wise. SHE includes an essay about each goddess and also a visualisation to meet and interact with her. Not all of those included were goddesses to begin with but have been shaped into deities by Pagans over the years. Some were originally mythological figures – queens or sorceresses – while others were female spirits or entities who were demonised by patriarchal religions.  I enjoyed working on this book immensely and learned a lot while researching it.  There are illustrations to accompany every goddess, mostly by Danielle Lainton, although I helped out doing a few (there was so much work for one artist!) and we’ve also used one of Ruby’s Sekhmet pictures. The rest were adapted from vintage illustrations. The cover of the paperback features art by Brom, while the hardback has cover art by Danni.

The Collector’s Edition of SHE, limited to 99 hardback, numbered copies, includes a bonus section, investigating a further three goddesses: Lyssa, Melinoe and Kalma.

Andy and I, as well as Danni and a couple of the contributors who are able to come along, will be at the launch event on 13th December at The Shrewsbury Arms in Stafford. We’ll give a short talk and readings, and books will be available for purchase, so guests can buy copies of the paperback or hardback and get them signed. Here’s a link to the Facebook page for it. https://www.facebook.com/events/257889301743853/

Our co-host, Maggie Jennings of Hart Magical Gifts, will have a table at the event, where a selection of her wares will be on sale. We’re also expecting another local indie publisher, Alchemy Press, to bring some of their books along for sale, including The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors, in which I have a story.

Transpiration web

The other Megalithica Books title being launched at the event is Transpiration: Poetry and Storytelling as Our Spiritual Portals by Cornelia Benavidez, which has cover art by Peter Hollinghurst. The first half of the book is autobiographical and gives a fascinating glimpse of the author growing up in America in the 1960s and 1970s, her introduction to alternative spirituality and how it grew in the States during those decades. I was intrigued by Cornelia’s stories from her youth – such colourful characters and vivid memories both bitter and sweet. From an early age, she realised she was different, and it was only once she learned about Paganism, through a chance meeting with a witch woman in San Francisco, that she realised what she was – and could be. The second half of the book showcases Cornelia’s poetry – all inspired by her spiritual path. Some of the poems are perfect for ritual purposes – and could be used as invocations or a focus for meditation. The book is illustrated throughout with photos from Cornelia’s life – as fascinating as the text. As Cornelia lives in America, she can’t be with us in person for the launch, but her friend, author Neil Rushton, who wrote the back-cover text for the book, will be there to say a few words about the work and read a short poem of Cornelia’s choosing that she feels is relevant to SHE.

It’s strange how coincidences and connections align. Cornelia’s mentor was Victor H Anderson, who can be seen as an American equivalent of someone like Alex Saunders in the UK, in that he was a salient figure in the flowering and evolution of alternative spirituality in the 60s and 70s. Cornelia’s first book (also published by Megalithica Books) was a study of Victor and his work. Back in the 90s, Victor came upon Andy Collins’s book From the Ashes of Angels and told Cornelia that he felt this author was onto something important. He was a great admirer of Andy’s work. Cornelia had no idea of my connection with Andy when she was originally signed up by Megalithica Books. I didn’t actually ‘meet’ her until Victor H Anderson: an American Shaman came to me for layout and design. Then we discovered the connections between us. One of the epic poems in Transpiration is an adaptation of the Nephilim myth, which of course was examined in Andy’s From the Ashes of Angels and my Grigori trilogy. Now the three of us are sharing a book launch event. Such a shame Cornelia can’t be there in person, but I’m sure she will be in spirit!

Vivia Web

Our latest Tanith Lee re-release will also be published on 13th December. This is Vivia, one of Tanith’s grimmest fantasy novels. As I was editing it, I realised she was writing ‘grimdark’ before it was even a thing. An unsettling and menacing story, it will certainly appeal to all readers who like their fantasy unlit! As with all Tanith’s work, Vivia is written in a lyrical, literary style with lucid attention to detail in a richly-imagined world. The cover art is an evocative portrait of Vivia by John Kaiine.

I’ll also have the new editions of The Wraeththu Histories at the launch – The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure, The Shades of Time and Memory and The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence. In the light of a remark that appeared below my Facebook post about the books, I want to make clear why I bring out these revisions. I don’t want anyone to think it’s a cold-hearted marketing ploy to get more money out of readers. The Wraeththu books are close to my heart, and I want them to be as error free as possible. The original versions of the Histories came out in the early 2000s, when Immanion Press was very new. I’ve always been uncomfortable with the mistakes and typing errors in the books, and always planned to bring out a new, corrected edition of this trilogy. It’s been over fifteen years since the first of these books was published, so I think the time is now right for me to do this. I also wanted the six volumes of the Wraeththu Chronicles and Histories to be published as a matching set of books. I re-released the Chronicles early this year and commissioned six new covers from Ruby to adorn both trilogies that all follow the same design – and beautiful they are too!

I don’t expect everyone who bought and loved the originals to ‘have’ to buy these new editions – the Histories are not that much different to the originals – but I do want new readers coming to the Mythos to have the best-crafted versions of the books I can provide. And – a selfish pleasure I can indulge because I’m a publisher – I want these books for myself too. 😊

Because of new responsibilities within Immanion Press, and the preparation of the two editions of SHE, as well as Transpiration and Vivia, I didn’t get time to finish my next fiction project this year – which is a novel based on the story I had in the Para Spectral Wraeththu anthology. I realised I need more time to develop the book to its full potential. It refused to be a shortish novella. So I’ll take up the reins of that again in the New Year. There are lots of other plans in the pipeline for the Immanion Press/Megalithica Books 2019 list, but I’ll talk more about that nearer to Yule. Thanks to everyone who’s been involved in helping produce the books that will be at the December launch and the readers who’ve preordered copies of the Collector’s Edition of SHE. As always, your invaluable support is much appreciated.