New anthology The Year needs you!

The Year - coverNoose & Gibbet and Screaming Dreams are proud to announce a joint project, simply called The Year. It will be published in 2013 and edited by Johnny Mains and Steve Upham. This will be an anthology which will showcase the very best writings of Crime, Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy. 52 stories, one for each week of the year...

Payment will be £10 and a copy of the finished book, and we're accepting submissions now! Stories should be no more than 3,000 words in length. All submissions and enquiries should be sent to In the subject box put your name, the title of your story and its genre.

The deadline is July 1st 2012. Sorry, but no multiple submissions are allowed. The 52 successful entrants will be informed by Sept 1st 2012. The date for all authors to sign off their individual stories will be February 1st 2013 with the book being published at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton Oct 31st – Nov 3rd 2013. Due to prohibitive postage costs iqoption in sending contributor copies, story submissions will only be accepted from authors residing in the UK. Payment and contributor copies will be sent out the week of Monday 13th November, 2013 unless authors are in attendance at the convention.

For more information, go to The Year.

So if you’re a horror writer but have always wanted to write a crime tale, give it a shot – if you’re a die-hard sci-fi scribe, why not jump into the land of orcs and magic talismans. Get writing!

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Back From The Dead wins 'Best Anthology' in the British Fantasy Awards 2011!

British Fantasy Awards winnerNoose & Gibbet are thrilled and delighted that Back From The Dead: The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories won 'Best Anthology' in the British Fantasy Society's 2011 British Fantasy Awards, announced at FantasyCon on Sunday 2nd October 2011!

This book was a three-year labour of love, and we'd like to once again thank all the authors, contributors and artist who made the final result so special. And thank you, too, to everyone who bought, reviewed and voted, as well as the other fantastic IQ Malaysia nominees. Thank you!

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Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares - coming soon!

Exciting news from fellow small press publisher Screaming Dreams. Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares, a biography of Herbert van Thal by Johnny Mains, is almost ready to go to print.

Cover of Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares
The cover of Lest You Should Suffer Nightmares

The book, with a cover by renowned horror artist Les Edwards, contains a revised and extended biography of the enigmatic and influential editor (an earlier version of this biography appeared in Back From The Dead - The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories published by Noose & Gibbet in 2010). In addition there is a complete van Thal bibliography, interviews with authors from the Pan Book of Horror Stories and reproductions of letters from van Thal to Pan Horror authors.

The book is limited to 100 hardback copies, each of which will be signed by both Johnny Mains and Les Edwards. It will be launched at FantasyCon in October and is likely to sell fast. For information on how to get hold of a copy of this must-have volume for horror afficionados, contact Screaming Dreams.

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The Mask And Other Stories - now available!

Herbert van Thal is remembered best for his editorship of the seminal Pan Book of Horror Stories series. But as well as a renowned editor he was also a writer himself. Originally published as Child Performer by The White Owl Press in 1933, The Mask And Other Stories is a collection of short tales, written when he was in his twenties, as well as A Recipe For Reading, his informative and witty essay written for his godsons.

Cover of The Mask and Other Stories
The cover of The Mask & Other Stories

The Mask And Other Stories gives us a tantalising glimpse into this mysterious and enigmatic editor, and Noose and Gibbet Publishing is proud to offer this book to a new audience for the first time in nearly eighty years.

The duty of an enthusiast about a forgotten author is constantly to bring his name before the public, in hope that such forgotten writers and the treasures of their work may be rescued from undeserved oblivion."

Herbert van Thal.

The book is limited to 100 hardback copies at £12 each plus £2 p&p and is selling fast. Copies can be obtained by sending an email to

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Party Pieces: The Horror Fiction Of Mary Danby

Noose & Gibbet are now taking pre-orders on their third publication. Party Pieces, The Horror Fiction Of Mary Danby showcases the stories Mary wrote for The Fontana Book of Horror Stories, The Armada Ghost Book, Nightmares and, last but not least, the adaptation that she did for Supernatural. There will also be a brand new story written specially for the book and an in-depth biography by editor Johnny Mains.

The cover of Party Pieces
The cover of Party Pieces - The Stories Of Mary Danby

Collected together for the very first time, the stories include:

Never Drink and Drive

"I didn't know you could catch death. But I can see my hand now, and it's very white and stiff, and if I can hold it up I can - I can smell decay on it..."

Dare You Visit Blackwood Hall?

"It was Bill who screamed first. He realised, before it happened, that the thing in the sheet was going to walk right through him."

Snails Taste Better...

"Slugs are all right, they are. You can grow quite fond of them. Mind you, baked is better than boiled. The skin's more crispy, like."

The book will be limited to 150 hardback copies, will be signed by Mary herself, and will be priced at £20.

Noose & Gibbet believe it's high time that this highly influential editor, author and all round brilliant lady took her rightful place among the greats of her day. Incidentally, Mary is the great, great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens!

This highly collectable and much-anticipated book will be available in late 2011. To pre-order, or to get onto the mailing list, please contact or use the contact form on our Contact us page.

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Sold out!

Apologies to anyone who may have missed out, but Back From The Dead - The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories has now sold out!

Disappointed? Why not cheer yourself up by pre-ordering the re-issue of the first ever Pan Book Of Horror Stories! Available October 2010!

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Don't miss out!

Due to overwhelming demand at the World Horror Convention, stocks of Noose & Gibbet's first publication Back From The Dead - The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories are dwindling fast! At the time of writing this, there are just 24 copies left!

So if you don't want to miss out on what has been called "a rare opportunity to add to your shelves a bit of horror history" order your copy NOW! It's first come, first served.

The Back From The Dead signing
The 'Back From The Dead' signing: (back row l to r) Craig Herbertson, Christopher Fowler, Johnny Mains, Tony Richards, David A Riley, (front row l to r) David A Sutton, Annie Copper, Basil Copper, Nicholas Royle, Les Edwards.

The 524-page collector's hardback contains sixteen brand-new stories from writers such as Christopher Fowler, Conrad Hill and Craig Herbertson, as well as five classic reprints from the original series. The book's forward is by Shaun Hutson, and the book also includes an overview of the original series by David A Sutton and a biography of the mysterious Herbert Van Thal by 'Back From The Dead' editor Johnny Mains. The cover art is by Les Edwards.

The book is £20 plus £4 postage and packing for the unsigned version.

Copies signed by all the panel at the WHC2010 (including Les Edwards, Basil Copper, David A. Riley, Christopher Fowler, Nicholas Royle, Tony Richards and Craig Herbertson) are £30 plus £4 post and packing.

Read the reviews

You can order your copy by sending an email to or by using the contact form on our Contact us page. Payment can be taken by cheques only at this point.

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What they say...

The horror equivalent of finding a lost Beatles album, [The Mask & Other Stories] is an important and interesting collection and once more the horror community owes a debt of gratitude to Johnny Mains for bringing it to our attention.

- Colin Leslie at 'The Black Abyss'

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Johnny pops in for a ginger nut

Johnny popped in for a chat with Jon McLeod at the excellent blog Ginger Nuts of Horror where the discussion ranged from Galashiels to travelling the world, from John Ware's Spinalonga to Ladybird Books horror adaptations and the future of the horror genre. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

Bite Size Horror

Cover of Bite Size Horror

Johnny has edited (and has got a story in) Bite Size Horror, the first of Obverse Books' quarterly genre fiction collections. A chewable selection of horror and terror from some of the masters of the field, including Reggie Oliver, David A. Riley and Conrad Williams, you can buy the book for £9.99 here.

Read some reviews here, here and here.

Party Pieces

Cover artwork for Party Pieces hanging on wall

Johnny has acquired the cover artwork for upcoming Noose & Gibbet publication Party Pieces - The Horror Fiction Of Mary Danby. The artist, Jon Dixon, has said that he's very proud and humbled for his work to be hung among the other original works by incredible artists such as Les Edwards and John Holmes.

With Deepest Sympathy

Cover of With Deepest Sympathy

Johnny's first collection has been published by Obverse Books. Consisting of fourteen 'odd and twisted tales', with an introduction by Nicholas Royle and an afterword by John Probert, the book is available in a limited edition hardback and in ePub format for Sony e-readers.

Buy it from Obverse Books here.

Read some reviews here, here and here.


Charlie Higson surrounded by zombies

Johnny was mentioned (at least indirectly) by well-known writer and actor Charlie Higson in the Guardian on 8th September 2010 in a rundown of Charlie's top ten horror books!

In at number six were the Pan Books of Horror Stories - and a special mention was given to the 'superfan' who has been responsible for the upcoming reprint of The First Pan Book Of Hoprror Stories!

Read Charlie's full rundown here in the Guardian.

Or read the shout out to Johnny here.

Darkness, Mist and Shadow

Cover of Volume 1 of Darkness, Mist and Shadow

Johnny Mains has recently reviewed a landmark publication - 'Darkness Mist and Shadow: The Collected Macabre Tales of Basil Copper', edited by Stephen Jones and published by PS Publishing. This two volume set brings together all renowned author Basil Copper’s short stories and is destined to be one of those publishing events which defines the Horror genre.

Johnny's review can be viewed at Colin Leslie's excellent reviews website, Tales From The Black Abyss.

Read the review of Darkness, Mist and Shadows

SFX Horror Special

'Back From The Dead' editor Johnny Mains has a four-page article on the history of the Pan Book Of Horror Stories in February's SFX 'Horror' special.

Cover of the SFX Horror Special

The article gives an in-depth look at the development of the classic horror series over its thirty-year run, as well as the little-known background of its editor for much of that time, Herbert Van Thal, and picks out some of the classic stories that appeared in the well-loved volumes.

Under the slab!

Johnny Mains has become the proud owner of the original artwork to volume 3 of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories (affectionately known to afficionados as 'Under the slab'!)

Original painting with paperback book

A close look reveals where the publishers stuck on the Pan title and logo. The painting, by W. Francis Phillipps, has a hand-written note on the back (undated) which reads thus: 'This cover illustration has travelled (Scotland, Germany, France, USA,) and on each occasion I was paid more than Pan's original fee! So it has earned a long, perhaps permanant resting place!'

Pan Horror #1 to be re-issued!

Cover of volume 1 of the Pan Book Of Horror Stories

The 1st Pan Book of Horror Stories, originally published in 1959, will be re-issued in a 'paperback original format' in October 2010.

Johnny Mains has been asked by Pan Macmillan to come on board as Project Editor and will also supply a short history of the series which will accompany the book to give an introduction to the series for a new audience.