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Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes

PLEASE NOTE: This contest is now closed and the winner has been chosen and awarded their prize.


In the dark lurk horrible secrets. Long buried and hidden from prying eyes are the twilight tales of the living and the dead – and those that are neither. The stink of a Paris morgue, the curve of a devil’s footprint, forbidden pages torn from an infernal tome, madness in a dead woman’s stare, a lost voice from beneath the waves and the cold indifference of an insect’s feeding all hold cryptic clues. From the comfort of the Seine to the chill blast of arctic winds, from candlelit monasteries to the callous and uncaring streets of Las Vegas are found arcane stories of men, monsters and their evil…

Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes includes works by:

Stephen Volk, Christopher Fowler, Kim Newman, Paul Kane, Simon K. Unsworth, Tom English, Tony Richards, William Meikle, Fred Saberhagen, Kevin Cockle, Lawrence C. Connolly, and Simon Clark.

BBB: Welcome editors Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell, and the many authors from “Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes who have joined us today. Our authors are joining us from a variety of places from around the world. Where in the world are you from originally? Where are you currently writing from (as of the day of the event)?

Paul Kane: Derbyshire, UK

Lawrence C. Connolly: Southwestern Pennsylvania

Stephen Volk: Great Britain. Born in South Wales. I’m writing from my home in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire in the West Country of England.

Christopher Fowler: King’s Cross, London, England. Currently writing my tenth murder mystery ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’.

Kevin Cockle: Calgary, participating in the online chat from Calgary.

Tony Richards: I’m from, and live in, Sherlock Holmes home city, London, England.

Simon Kurt Unsworth: I’m from Manchester, England (which is a suburb of America), but am currently based about 60 miles north of there in a city called Lancaster

Joan Spicci Saberhagen: My name is Joan Spicci Saberhagen. I am managing the literary estate of Fred Saberhagen. Fred passed away in 2007. Originally Fred and I are from Chicago. Since 1975 New Mexico has been home. I am writing from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Tom English: I’m from Hampton, Virginia, USA; I currently reside in (and am now writing from) my home in the woods of New Kent, Virginia.

Simon Clark: Doncaster, England

Willie Meikle: I’m originally from Ayrshire in Scotland, since 2007 I’ve lived up on the Eastern shore of Newfoundland.
Currently just finishing off THE ISLAND OF TERROR, a Professor Challenger novella. (40,000 words)
BBB: Without providing a spoiler, could you please give us a summary of your story in Gaslight Arcanum?

Paul Kane: In ‘The Greatest Mystery’, a young woman comes to Holmes and Watson for help when her cousin is accused of a murder he says he didn’t commit – though all the evidence points to him; he was even found with the murder weapon in his hand. After encountering more of these mysterious killings, where the person who committed them swears they didn’t – Holmes finds himself struggling to solve the crimes. Until, finally, he realises exactly who he is facing: his greatest ever enemy!

Lawrence C. Connolly: In ‘The Executioner’, Holmes wakes to find himself in a gigantic mansion filled with oversized furniture and works of art. The mystery centers on where he is, how he got there, and a terrible bit of unfinished business that waits for him in a secret chamber on the first floor.

Stephen Volk: In ‘The Comfort of the Seine’, Sherlock Holmes recounts a strange story from his youth, of a weird encounter in Paris which ultimately leads him on the path to becoming a great detective.

Christopher Fowler: In ‘The Adventure of Lucifer’s Footprints’, Holmes is summoned to Devon to discover why the prints of horses’ hooves are appearing in a field where there are no horses.

Kevin Cockle: ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Great Game’: What if the stories of Holmes that we know, are actually a kind of age-of-enlightenment myth meant to disguise his true nature…or super-nature. It’s Watson’s job to translate their weird adventures into the rationalistic discourse of the times, for reasons known only to Holmes himself. It’s a great game alright…between Holmes and Watson; Holmes and the problem in the story…and between the story and the reader.

Tony Richards: In ‘The House of Blood’, Sherlock Holmes did not die at the Reichenback Falls — he turned out to be immortal, and is still with us to this very day, touring the world and solving cases. Currently, he is in the United States. A series of grisly murders is taking place around Las Vegas. Bodies of both sexes and all ages are being found in the surrounding desert. They both share two characteristics. One, they recently won big in the city’s casinos. And, two, they have been drained of all their blood. The local law enforcement are calling them ‘The Vampire Killings,’ but Holmes, knowing such creatures do not exist, suspects something else.

Simon Kurt Unsworth: ‘A Country Death’ : It’s about the investigation of the death of an old man – he’s found, his body swollen and covered in tiny wounds, so it’s about discovering how he died and trying to stop it happening again.

Joan Spicci Saberhagen: In ‘From The Tree Of Time’, when a Victorian lady’s happiness and honor are threatened she calls upon the great detective. The mysterious details cause Holmes to call in a consultant, Dr. Corday, better known as Dracula.

Tom English: (A summary is more difficult to give. It’s akin to presenting one’s infant child to a bunch of strangers: Isn’t my new baby absolutely adorable? But here goes.)

In ‘The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes’, Holmes and Watson investigate the mystery surrounding an occult artifact which may be responsible for a string of ghastly crimes: an enigmatic tome which has been in the safekeeping of the Holy Church for hundreds of years — until its sudden, inexplicable disappearance — and which the Church appears overly anxious to recover.

(Actually, I love the way Charles described the story in his Introduction “I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere…” and I can’t state it any better:

“A ghastly grimoire, written in the blood of a madman, is stolen from the monks who have guarded its secrets for centuries. To stop a string of terrible and inexplicable murders they turn to Sherlock Holmes, but can even the Great Detective withstand the pull of these cursed pages? Find out in ‘The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes’ by Tom English.”

(Absolutely marvelous copy which makes ME want to re-read it!)

Simon Clark: In ‘Sherlock Holmes and the Diving Bell’, a diving bell was lost years ago. When a salvage team reconnect the phone cable the voice of what should be the long-dead crew member comes ghosting up the line.

William Meikle: In ‘The Colour that came to Chiswick’, something green has got into the beer in the Fullers Brewery in Chiswick, and Holmes is called in to see if it is sabotage… or something a bit more esoteric.

BBB: What do you like the most about this collection?

Paul Kane: I love the mixture of genre elements with the traditional Holmes type of tales. I’ve always loved the darker side of Holmes’ universe.

Lawrence C. Connolly: Sharing the book with eleven of my favorite writers.

Stephen Volk: I like the wide diversity of some of my favourite modern genre writers bringing their talents to bear on brand new Sherlock Holmes stories.

Christopher Fowler: It draws out and gives voice to a side that was always in Holmes, especially in the later stories; a sinister Victorian aura of bereavement and sadness.

Kevin Cockle: I love the premise – Sherlock vs the supernatural. It works on the level of image because it’s vaguely steam-punky; it’s got that tinge of Victorian mysticism always in the background; it’s got a brand name character being re-imagined in unfamiliar settings…it’s just a really evocative milieu in which to place the very symbol of rationality. And on a more personal note, I’m digging the illustrations (including the cover!)

Tony Richards: It’s a genuinely imaginative new addition to the Holmes cannon, with some brilliant writers of dark fantasy making contributions.

Simon Kurt Unsworth: Practically, being in it! It’s always great to be published, particularly in a book that got so many great authors in it. I like writing these stories because they aren’t quite what I normally do, so this is a good chance to spread my wings and little and experiment. I also like that there I’m in this with friends, but also with people I’ve never met so reading it is a real treat, finding new authors and revisiting ones whose work I already know I love.

Joan Spicci Saberhagen: The stories are unusual, entertaining and thought provoking.

Tom English: I love the character of Holmes, and I love to read and write atmospheric tales of the supernatural; so it’s the unapologetic pairing of these two great passions — by a couple of editors who themselves share and understand these loves.

Simon Clark: Sherlock Holmes v the supernatural. A stable of wonderful writers all contained by the coolest of covers. Brilliant.

William Meikle: The variety of voices and approaches that allow us all to put our own twist on these famous characters
BBB: Please send a question for the other authors to answer.

Paul Kane: How easy or hard did you find it working on a Holmes story?

Lawrence C. Connolly: What’s your current project?

Stephen Volk: To Simon Unsworth – how much research did you do into bee-keeping, and how? To Kim Newman – what were Moriarty and Moran doing during the crimes of Jack the Ripper in 1888 and did they know his true identity? To Simon Clark – where did your wonderfully creepy idea of the diving bell come from?

Christopher Fowler: Why don’t the long Conan Doyle stories work as well as the short ones?

Kevin Cockle: How much of a Sherlock-geek are you? Did you think going in that it was essential to have some grasp of the original source material? Do you HAVE expertise when it comes to the originals?

Tony Richards: What attracts you to writing Holmes fiction in the first place?

Simon Kurt Unsworth: What was the hardest thing, for you, in writing these stories?

Joan Spicci Saberhagen: What aspect of the original Holmes’ character do you find most fascinating?

Tom English: Doyle’s tales are filled with lean but wonderfully descriptive passages, and Holmes has some killer lines (such as “‘No crime,’ said Sherlock Holmes, laughing. ‘Only one of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have four million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles. Amid the action and reaction of so dense a swarm of humanity, every possible combination of events may be expected to take place, and many a little problem will be presented which may be striking and bizarre without being criminal.'” (from “The Blue Carbuncle”) To each of the writers: Is there a passage or line(s) of dialogue in your story of which you’re particularly fond?

Simon Clark: Why does Sherlock Holmes endure when other literary heroes fade away?

William Meikle: Do you fall into the voice for these stories naturally, or do you have to work harder at it than you would writing for completely new characters?
BBB: Please send a question for the readers to answer.

Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?

Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?

Stephen Volk: Do you want more adventures of Holmes and Watson versus the supernatural – and what monsters or beings would you like them up against that you haven’t read in the series so far?

Christopher Fowler: What would be the ultimate Homes short story?

Kevin Cockle: How mad do you get when authors mess with a beloved brand like Sherlock Holmes (or Dracula; Bond – whoever)? Do you need a certain “familiarity experience” when you read a story about one of your favourite characters, or do you enjoy so-called “re-imaginings”?

Tony Richards: There’s been the Robert Downey Junior movie. There’s been the TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch. Both wildly successful. Why, after all this time, is Sherlock still so amazingly popular?

Simon Kurt Unsworth: Are there any other literary characters or worlds that would benefit from having horror stories written about them?

Joan Spicci Saberhagen: What pleases you most about Holmes stories (consider both the original and the derivatives): the Holmes & Watson characters, the Victorian setting, or the nature of the mysteries?

Tom English: What do you as a reader find most important in any pastiche? What do you find intolerable (if anything) in a pastiche?

Simon Clark: Why does Sherlock Holmes endure when other literary heroes fade away?

William Meikle: What keeps drawing you back to Holmes?
BBB: Thanks everyone for joining us!

Gaslight Arcanum authors, and editors: Thanks Rachel for having us!
Directions for both Authors and Guests to Play

1. Select one of the questions above.
2. Answer in the comments section below.
3. If you are answering someone’s question below, please answer it directly under the question.
4. Post a question below as well, for someone else to answer.

Guests will receive 25 entries into the $50 Amazon gift card draw for the first question asked/answered. Additional questions/Answers are worth 5 entries each!

How to gain bonus entries in the draw for the $50 Amazon gift card…

1. Join the “EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing” Facebook page (10 extra draw slips)

2. Buy a copy (or more) of “Gaslight Arcanum: Uncanny Tales of Sherlock Holmes“. Send proof of purchase to For every e-copy that you purchase you will have 50 extra chances in the draw. For every trade paperback copy you will receive 100 extra chances! Wahoo!

3. Help get the word out. Tweet, blog, facebook, phone a friend and get them to come to the interview. Let us know that you have “shared” by posting it below. We believe you. You will have another 10 draw slips entered.

4. Tally your own points 1 extra draw slip.

The draw will be made tomorrow, December 1, 2011 at Noon central at the end of the event, and will be posted on the site, as to who the winner is. The gift card will be sent out tomorrow. The prize has been donated by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

About Site Hostess


  1. Welcome everyone. With as many authors joining us from the UK, we are starting one hour earlier than normal. We are delighted that you are all here. We look forward to seeing your answers. I will be with you on and off during the day. To all who are responding to people’s posts, please answer by hitting the reply button under the post, or if you are responding to the questions above, just put an @symbol in front of the name, for example, @Tom English

    • Hello, Janice! Thanks so much for putting this together. Glad I finally made it. My day was crazier than usual, and then I had to deal with my Comcast connection. No matter. I’m here now. Great to see everyone. Where’s the bar?

      • It is so nice to see you. I am handing you a virtual Guinness, I hope you enjoy it…one of the tales that I hear again and again is what a wonderful job you did doing your reading at WFC. So congrats. If you ever make an audio of it, or a video, please send it to me, and we will post it. You know where to find me. 🙂

        • Hello, Janice: I’ll be glad to do a recording of “The Executioner” for you. I’m finishing up some big projects and should be able to spend some time in the studio in December. Look for an audio file toward the end of next month. By the way, while at World Fantasy, I joined a number of EDGE writers on a podcast interview session with Moses Siregar at Adventures in SciFi Publishing. It seemed to go well. Have you heard when that interview is going to be posted?

    • Cheers, Janice, it’s great to have a book launch party where all entire world can drop by

  2. Hi, folks. Let

    • I didn’t try to capture Doyle’s voice with my narrative (or write as John H Watson, MD) because I knew I would fall short. What is important to me is to capture Doyle’s characters — and how they would “speak” — so the reader will immediately recognize them as Sherlock and Watson.
      However, that said, I tried to write a narrative that would capture gaslight London.

    • Howdy Chris! How important is the Doyle voice? The time and mood of the original stories? For me, particularly in Arcanum, we were trying to put the familiar character of Sherlock Holmes – a true Holmes, one the reader recognizes by more than name- into unfamilar surroundings. That was the goal. We weren’t looking for straight pastiche – we wanted a blending of familiar and unfamiliar.

    • Simon Kurt Unsworth

      @Chris: I can’t do Doyle’s voice, so I didn’t try in either of my Edge Sherlock stories – so my stuff isn’t pastiche!

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Christopher: (re: elements of authenticity) – Capturing Doyle’s narrative voice wasn’t a prime consideration (although I tried to capture a sense of the dialogue). I deliberately wrote in third person to differentiate my story from what I assumed would be a bunch of first-person submissions – so it was never going to sound like Doyle. The period details and character-specific history was important though, even though my story sort of plays with the whole notion of authenticity itself.

    • The other thing about my story in Arcanum (“The Comfort of the Seine”) is that I was also going for the flavour of a different author to infect the Doyle style, too: (if you’ve read it you’ll know who I mean, but I won’t give a spoiler if you haven’t!).

    • Hello, Chris! I gave a good deal of thought to trying to capture the time and voice of the original stories. In addition to trying to evoke Watson

    • For me, I think it’s important to capture Conan-Doyle’s style the best I can and for my story to be in keeping with the Holmes tales, otherwise as you rightly say we might as well give the detective another name entirely.

  3. I was about to respond to Christopher Roden before we got redirected here. Chris, btw, is a Sherlockian of the 1st order and has written or edited several works on SH.

  4. Janice: Already got my eBook from weeks ago. Do I still qualify??

    • Hi there. It is a pleasure to see you! What I have been doing with the contest above is having everyone email their proof of purchase to me at

      Since you already have your e-book, just do the same thing, and then you will get the extra entries into the draw. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      For anyone else reading this, if you already have purchased your e-book previously from Amazon, just send me your proof of purchase, or if you wish to help support Bitten by Books hosting this event, purchase it again!

      Looking forward to the conversation!

  5. Found my way here too… now, which to answer first?

    Easy one first: Lawrence C. Connolly asked “What

  6. Oh look,we’re starting offically! I can’t beleive Kevin used the phrase Sherlock-geek. Chris will know better than me but I thought on this side of the Atlantic it was Sherlockian. Lord knows what they call it back in Oldfoundland.

  7. Christopher: I try as well as I am able to capture the voice.

    I have at times found myself writing for Jeremy Brett to say the lines, and I try to back away from using that particular voice too much.

    I also enjoy the research in getting the details right. A bit too much if truth be told. It’s a wonderful time waster.

  8. Answer to Lawrence: Reading books mostly unrelated to Holmes these days. Thoroughly enjoying Elizabeth George right now. I did get a review copy of HOUSE OF SILK a few days ago, but found some comments in the Prologue off-putting, and still trying to decide whether I want the experience of the book itself, or whether I shall become too irritated reading it.

    to Tony: True, both SHERLOCK and the Downey films have been successful, but don’t you think that SHERLOCK is the one of the two that actually has something to offer . . . something original? The first Downey seemed to me little more than over-the-top Hollywood pyrotechnics; and I can’t work up enthusiasm to see the new one.

    Tom: What pleases is me most is when a pastiche is actually a pastiche. Far too few recognise that pastiche is a work written in the style of, and an emulation of, the author. To me, if it doesn’t do that, it’s just another story with Sherlock Holmes tacked on for convenience.

    Simon: I think Holmes endures because the originality of the stories is lasting, and – let’s face it – he was the best of what was around at that time (I don’t, for example, think that Martin Hewitt comes close, decent enough though the stories are). But there’s also the Victorian aspect, and for some reason readers do seem to hanker after a time when sewage ran in the streets, and there were piles of horse manure to be negotiated when crossing the road. Why? Go figure . . .

  9. @Paul Kane: Intimidating! I researched for weeks, re-reading many of the original tales and several works of SH scholarship.

    @Lawrence: Doing final corrections on a non-fiction book and plotting a weird western. Also working on a ghost story called “Black Bean”.

  10. @ Christopher: I’m looking forward to the next 3 segments of SHERLOCK (BBC). But I enjoy the Downey movies as an alternate universe Holmes. Which actor is your favorite Holmes on film?

    Also, comments scroll pretty quickly here, so I’ll paste a reply that probably got lost:
    I didn

  11. @Tom: Favourite character on film? Tough. If I said Peter Cook I’d be hounded out of here, wouldn’t I? Favourite Holmes film is likely MURDER BY DECREE, though I don’t know whether I’d say Plummer was my favourite Holmes on film. I’d go so far, however, as to say that James Mason must be my favourite Watson. If you’ll let me go to TV, I’d say that I still think Jeremy Brett turned in the most successful Holmes performance of all time.

  12. I read Nick Meyer’s THE CANARY TRAINER about a decade ago. I’m currently reading THE SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION and enjoying it. I like to play the game and I think Meyer comes pretty close to convincing me it’s a Watson document, but I still feel there are several jarring things in the novel. Probably the nature of “playing the game” in new fiction.

  13. @ Christopher: I agree with you regarding Brett. He’s my favorite. My favorite Watson is David Burke.

  14. @ Christopher: I used some of your Sherlockian research. Many thanks! Looking forward to your BN collection of Holmes.

  15. As the authors were getting ready for the main Gaslight Arcanum online launch party to open, they had a pretty chat conversation. For those of you who did not see it, here it is…

    Willie Meikle – Gaslight Arcanum (and Gaslight Grotesque) says:
    November 30, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Well, I

  16. @ Simon K: “Are there any other literary characters or worlds that would benefit from having horror stories written about them?”

    Professor Challenger, definitely. And we all know our editors have a Challenger antho in the works!!!!!!!

  17. @Tom: Meyer’s Seven-per-cent Solution and The West End Horror were both much better than The Canary Trainer, though both were ‘commercial’, if you know what I mean. My own favourites are John Gardner’s first two Moriarty novels (Holmes is there, too, of course), and Robert Lee Hall’s EXIT SHERLOCK HOLMES. Canadian L. B. (Beth) Greenwood’s Holmes novels are worth seeking out, too.

    • Hi Christopher: for me it’s important that the prose feels like Doyle in order to carry off the exercise, and not contain obvious “howlers” unless you mean to – but the fun is to introduce elements and preoccupations of yourself as a writer as well. The clash or friction between the two is what is fruitful, hopefully.

  18. Excuse me everyone… in the post above I meant a PRE-chat conversation, not a pretty chat conversation! I just hit the post comment button earlier than I intended to. (I am blushing deeply in embarrassment)

  19. And Janice blushes a lot, too . . . so this is nothing new.

  20. @ Christopher: I have The West End Horror on my shelf and will read it next. I was not crazy about Nicol Williamson’s Holmes in the film version of Seven Percent Solution — a bit TOO neurotic, I thought. What do you think?

  21. Ah Chris, when I read your comments about pastiche part of me nods in argeement- I do love pastiche -but I can’t agree 100% Part of the pastiche problem, for me at least, is the way in which DOyle’s original voice evolved over the years. For example,the style in Speckled Band seems so wilding different from anything in the Casebook. It’s not as if the original Doyle voice is unchanging. While I certainly think pastiche projects are worthwhile, I beleive there is room for non-pastiche SherlockHolmes projects as well. I know I won’t change your mind about this but someday it would be a great conversion to be had face to face.

  22. Just popping in to catch up on the conversation – which sounds strange as this event is supposed to start in fifteen minutes from now! Good on you all.

  23. @Jeff: I agree there’s room for non-pastiche projects. It’s the mis-labelling, or mis-identification, of them that irks.

    The other side of the argument, of course – and it’s one that the late Dame Jean Conan Doyle always used when arguing against other writers using the Holmes character – is that it does less credit to a writer to use the successful character(s) of another author than it would do to them were they to create their own characters. The insistence being that a non-pastiche including Holmes . . . well, I don’t really need to spell it out, I guess.

  24. @ Simon Clark (“Why does Sherlock Holmes endure when other literary heroes fade away?”)

    ACD managed to make Holmes REAL. He’s so fully imagined. I believe he captures the imagination of so many writers because most writers have a melancholy temperament. We understand the character. We like him. And it’s the writers who have helped keep him alive. I don’t mean the pastiche writers — I mean those who write about such obscurities as “where was Watson really wounded?”

  25. @Tom: so you have the answer? Which foot was Watson wounded in?

  26. I’ll get off the pastiche thing, and ask whether the panellists think that Holmes actually works well at novel length. He didn’t work particularly well for Conan Doyle outside of the short story format. Why do you think others feel he works well for them in a novel?

    • I’m not certain the Sherlock Holmes novels are born of a writers’ belief that Holmes will work well in a novel as much as the publisher’s belief that novels are easier to sell. As someone who enjoys short stories I find that a shame. I’m not terribly well read in the novels, I’ve not read the Seven Percent Solution and I feel guilty about that. Guy Adams’ new book is on the to be read pile as well. My favorite non-Doyle novel to date was Steve Hockensmith’s Holmes on the Range, which I found to be great fun even if Holmes isn’t in it. Any novel length recommendations from you?

      • I think the new BBC Holmes series should be 60 mins not 90. It’s difficult to maintain a mystery for 90. You have to build a mystery within a mystery. THE GREAT GAME was about 25 mysteries! I don’t know why they didn’t do them at 60s.

      • It’s Doyle and not Holmes, but I love Mark Frost’s THE LIST OF SEVEN, which reminds me, it must be time for a re-read.

        • Well, the editors have already given a nod to Fred’s novels, but why not mention them again. Seance For A Vampire is available from Titan in their Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. The Holmes-Dracula File was reprinted by Tor last year and is available electronically. Fred was a serious Holmes fan. I saw hints of Holmes in the The Third Book Of Lost Swords where an oriental detective Wen Chang (perhaps based on Charlie Chan?) and his physician sidekick hunt down a stolen Sword. Doyle’s obsession with spiritualism fascinated Fred, especially the seemingly contradictory stands on the subject by Doyle and his friend the magician Harry Hudini. Think Fred would have liked to have done something with that. Maybe one of the contributors will take up the idea.

  27. Shoulder, Tom. I think it depends on the day of the week Watson was writing.

  28. Simon Kurt Unsworth

    @Stephen Volk: I did some research about bees, but nothing too in depth. I’m not a big fan of research and usually write stories that mean I don’t have to do any! For this one, however, I had to put some stuff about bees in the story, so I did a basic read around and used what I needed.

    @ Lawrence: I’m fighting a novel, which is about a third done, and also I have some short stories to complete.

    @Jeff: I thought The Hand Delivered Letter would work as an out loud story because it’s in letter form, but it didn’t really. As for A Country Death, I could – but I don’t really like doing pieces of things, only full stories, so I don’t know if I will.

    @ Tom: there’s a single line I really like in my story, but I can’t say which one because it’d give away a major spoiler in the story!

  29. @ Christopher: short novels work, novellas, I think. But writers like to publish novels because they sell better than collections. Hence, I believe, they want to stretch the universe to make it fit.

  30. Howdy folks. Just popped in briefly to advise that I’m having serious computer issues and won’t be able to take part until very late this evening. Have fun and I’ll try to catch up when I can.

    • I’d also add that’s there’s an energy with Holmes. He (hardly ever) waits for a solution to come to him, he chases them down. Keeping that energy level going for a whole novel would be exhausting for both the writer and the reader.

  31. What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?

    I love seeing the world through the eyes of Sherlock Holmes, which is mysterious and exciting but at the same time very analytical and concise. The unusual mixture of extreme and in some cases insane with controlled and logical is always entertaining.

    • There are good detective stories, great detective stories then there is Sherlock Holmes. For some reason the ingredients of mystery, character, and Conan Doyle’s razor sharp writing make it all work so marvellously. I suspect Doyle didn’t even know how it all worked so well, considering he never equalled the Holmes series, for some miraculous reason it simply works so well. Perhaps there should be a Sherlock Holmes story where he investigates the reasons why the stories are so successful.

      Hmm, maybe I should pitch the idea to Edge….

  32. @Joan Spicci Saberhagen asked What pleases you most about Holmes stories (consider both the original and the derivatives): the Holmes & Watson characters, the Victorian setting, or the nature of the mysteries?

    It has to be the characters first and foremost. As others has said, Doyle brought Holmes to life. He is instantly recognizable all over the world and has been for over 100 years. Few other writers have managed that trick.

    It’s also the setting for me. I was raised on Doyle, Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson and I love that historical period they covered in their work. It’s also the time period I’ve come to prefer for my own writing and I can see me settling in there for a long time to come.

  33. What pleases you most about Holmes stories (consider both the original and the derivatives): the Holmes & Watson characters, the Victorian setting, or the nature of the mysteries?
    The interaction between the characters and the nature of the mysteries. After all, for instance in the mini series by the BBC (Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freemanthe as Watson) Sherlock and Watson have been moved in 21st Century London and whole thing works, even without the Victorian setting.

    • Character, far and away. I think that the BBC Sherlock has proven that the characters are the heart of the stories, you can change everything else about the setting, the crimes, details regarding his methods and it will still be a Sherlock Holmes story if you get the characters right.
      Of course I do love the Victorian setting

      • Are we forgetting perhaps the STORIES? Character + Setting + STORY.

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          It’s funny, with Holmes, the “story” IS such a signature component – I mean, the way the plot unfolds is so much a distinctive part of the experience that you have to say its critical. And yet, the procedural aspect is the least attractive thing (to me at least) of any Sherlock Holmes project. But that’s just a matter of taste of course – I’m just more entertained when he’s baffling a house-guest with his deductive powers, or being a jerk to Lestrade, than when he’s out on the trail piecing together clues.

      • I thought that SHERLOCK worked so well because they took away the Victorian setting and distilled the characters down to their essence. Sherlock Holmes is captivating as a calculating machine. However, for me, how the characters relate and interact with each other is just as important, no matter where or when they are.

    • There are lots of reasons. Just one could be that the Holmes stories take place on the bridge between the occult past and the rational present. The Victorian setting is both familiar yet otherworldly, which makes it so tantalizing.

  34. @ Jocelyn:
    Me too. I love to observe people and see how they respond to things. People do the oddest things! And that’s what Holmes did best: watch and connect the dots.

  35. @ Minna: I agree. Strip away the Victorian stuff and it’s easier to view Holmes through fresh eyes. And the BBC nailed the relationship between our heroes.

  36. @Lawrence C. Connolly asked “What are you reading?”

    Working my way through the collected works of H P Lovecraft in ebook on my KOBO. Just re-read THE RATS IN THE WALLS. Had forgotten what an impact it had on me back in about 1971 when I first read it.

  37. Hi everyone! I am truly swamped with bloggishness this week but I thought I’d pop by really quick and read as much of this as I can and answer some of your questions for readers. 🙂

    Is it shameful I haven’t read anything related to Holmes since middle school? *facepalm* Perhaps y’all can bring me back. 😉

    For the sake of ease of reading I’ll just post my answers in seperate posts then put my points in at the end.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      I don’t think it’s shameful: with an iconic character like Holmes, you can still have an attraction to the character without really knowing the original source material. The stories have a pretty big cultural footprint – even “House” the TV show is based on Holmes…pretty hard to avoid exposure to Sherlock on some level.

      • Hello again Kevin! 🙂

        You’re very right. Some characters become so iconic they bleed into everything. House is very much a Holmes… he even has a bit of his own Watson in Wilson. Makes one wonder how intentional that is eh?

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          Hi R: I’ve read an interview with the show-runner who says it’s absolutely intentional – Watson included. “House” is even supposed to be a direct pun on “Holmes”!

          • 😀 I’m going to have to bug my husband about that. Maybe it’ll get him to read some Holmes. He’s a rabid House fan. Not that I dislike the show… I find medical shows frustrating with all the terminology I don’t understand.

    • @Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?

      At the moment I’m actually juggling an anthology called A Clockwork Christmas, a young adult sequel I’ve long awaited set in Romania, and an erotic novella featuring werewolves. One could say my tastes are a bit… random. But then all of my reading are titles for review from the author or publisher… lol

    • @Stephen Volk: Do you want more adventures of Holmes and Watson versus the supernatural

    • @Kevin Cockle: How mad do you get when authors mess with a beloved brand like Sherlock Holmes (or Dracula; Bond

    • @Tony Richards: There

    • @Simon Kurt Unsworth: Are there any other literary characters or worlds that would benefit from having horror stories written about them?

      I’ve actually seen the Mash-Up trend as a bit of this. A Jane Eyre retelling of sorts came out earlier this year that I’ve been looking forward to reading when I ever find the time. I’m not an Austen fan but I did read an anthology where four writers took four of her books and retold them with supernatural (& spooky) elements and it worked so well I can see why they’ve become popular for horror retellings.

    • @Joan Spicci Saberhagen: What pleases you most about Holmes stories (consider both the original and the derivatives): the Holmes & Watson characters, the Victorian setting, or the nature of the mysteries?

      While I love the Victorian setting (and would love to see a steampunked Holmes) for me I really derive the most pleasure of being surprised. As a reader I have a bad habit of figuring things out so far in advance I’m not as excited when a mystery unfolds but the nature of these mysteries, as you put it, always manage to stump me. Sure, it’s fun being right but I love that ‘ah-ha!’ moment.

    • @Tom English: What do you as a reader find most important in any pastiche? What do you find intolerable (if anything) in a pastiche?

      I think to a point I hit it with my answer to Kevin’s question but let me elaborate a little more…

      You can mix it up a lot but whatever character or world you’re mucking about it there has to be the ONE element most commonly associated with the character that remains a constant. James Bond can have a different beautiful girl in each film but he must ALWAYS get the girl. Romeo and Juliet can have a happy ending but their families must have been enemies.

      The only thing I personally find intolerable is the writer not being intimately familiar enough with the source work for it to come out feeling like passionate fanfiction (for lack of a better word). Afterall, why would you write about something you don’t love enough to do the research?

    • Alright I’ve got to book it for now but thanks everyone for being here today. I’m looking forward to finding time to read your stories. Have a lovely …I was going to say afternoon and then realized it must be getting on to be into the wee hours across the pond. I’ll go with the vague “have a good one” then. 😉

      Hopefully I’ll get my work done and can drop in to read more later.


      +25 First Question
      +35 Additional Questions
      +10 Facebook (Rhianna Walker)
      +50 Ebook purchase
      +10 Shared on Twitter (!/Rhiviews/status/141950520184160257 & more tweets!)
      +25 RSVP
      +1 Tally
      Total = 156

  38. @ Jocelyn: Have you seen the new BBC SHERLOCK and what do you think of Holmes w/o Victorian trappings?

  39. @Simon Kurt Unsworth asked “Are there any other literary characters or worlds that would benefit from having horror stories written about them?”

    Having recently written about Holmes, Challenger and Carnacki, I want more.

    Allan Quartermain, Tarzan, Captain Nemo, Harry Flashman, Sexton Blake, Raffles, Biggles and forward to Doc Savage, The Shadow etc. I’d love to do any of them.

    The one I’d most like to have a go at though is Quatermass.

  40. @Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?

    For me it was the back and forth between Holmes and Watson. How they balance one another as characters. As a woman I’ve always been a bit fascinated with male friendships/partnerships and considering the Victorian society they traditionally muck about it’s an even more interesting dynamic.

    • The two characters seem to complete each other. This is immediately apparent in the BBC SHERLOCK series.

      • Can we stop wanging on about the BBC series? I much preferred the Downey film. Simply more fun! 🙂

        • Quite right. I love the Downey films as well.

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          Hah! You know, I didn’t like the Downey film in the theatre, but when I watched it on DVD it did definitely grow on me. I like the physicality of the guy – even as that’s very much a hollywood action-movie trope, it still sort of worked for me. Plus: big Kelly Reilly fan (Eden Lake)…wasn’t expecting to see her in a blockbuster.

        • I liked that movie too. Havnt been able to get the nw series from the library yet but eveybody seems to like it. One of the things I like best abut the stories though is the victorian setting. that language & sense of place is so cool!

          • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

            Well, I was certainly blown away by the BBC series. True – you lose the period stuff – but it’s amazing how the feel transfers to the modern context regardless.

    • Thanks for that, Rhianna 🙂 I’ve always found the banter between the two characters one of the attractions as well. It’s something I think they get totally right in the new movies, there’s chemistry there you just can’t manufacture.

  41. question for Tom English: I know you best from Dead Leter press and Bound foe Evil which I rlly love. Did putting that book together make you think of this story, or did yu put the book together & write the sotry cuz you love stories about evil books? Which is harder, writing or publishing? Which do you wish you culd do more?

    • Both editing/publishing and writing are tough! But I want to write more. Running a private press is rewarding (you get to publish worthy projects such as Rhys Hughes’ ENGLEBRECHT AGAIN! but it’s also a financial drain. Small presses rarely make money — so, it’s definitely for the love of books. “The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes” evolved from an idea I’d jotted in my notebook. When I started thinking up ideas for Gaslight Arcanum that idea came back and started growing/evolving. But yes, I love tales about books and writers, etc. Words influence every facet of our lives!

  42. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    @ Simon Kurt Unsworth (re: literary characters/horror treatment). I’d love to see a Travis McGee horror. Don’t want to try writing it, but I’d like to see what the attempt would look like. Something nautical – probably Lovecraft-tinged…that might work.

  43. gonna answer a couple of questions to the readers: Im not as much of a Sherlock fan as I am a horror fan, but it still seems important to me to get the VOICE right & to try to get the way characters speak and relate. i was really sorry to see there wasnt a story by Barbra Roden in the last book, as she always makes me feel like I was reading one of the original stories. Still I guess shes been working on her own book wich is cool. Got that for my kindle!! Sometimes stories based on somebodys elses charachters seem a little like anybody could be the detcetive and that doesnt seem right. Thats when I dont like people messing with a BELOVED BRAND. I do get a lot moer out of a spinoff when I know the original stories. Otherwise I feel like I miss a lot of the jokes or references.

    • True. It’s always a double-edged sword: the references are usually lost on those unfamiliar with the original source material BUT those familiar with it seem to expect references and in-jokes that tie in with the originals. Again, the perils of playing in someone else’s sandbox.

  44. I have to depart for a couple hours but look forward to returning. Bye for now.

  45. I have heard various authors mentioning that there is a distinctive structure to a pastiche. Can you tell us more about what makes a pastiche a pastiche? Thanks!

  46. The main difference is pastiche must echo the original writer’s voice. For pastiche it’s not enough to write a Sherlock Holmes story, you need to write it as Doyle would have written it. It is fascinating exercise, one I think every writer should try at least once. If you’ve wondered how your writing is different from Doyle’s, this exercise will answer the question for you. Of course, if you are writing a Sherlock Holmes pastiche you cannot include the supernatural, that’s out of bounds.

    • Jeff: You trying to convince me that there is nothing supernatural about the LEGEND of The Hound of the Baskervilles?

      • Doyle was a superb horror story writer – one of my favourite ever stories is “Playing With Fire” – and I think the tropes of horror and the uncanny infiltrate the Holmes stories at times – which is certainly part of why I love the canon.

        • There is a perfectly good reason why The Hound of the Baskervilles is the single best known and most often dramatized story…it is a cornerstone piece in the gothic vein and is largely a ghost story. A rationalized ghost story, but a ghost story all the same. It is that connection between the rational and the irrational that makes it resonate with so many readers (and viewers.)

          • Maybe my perspection of Hounds is colored by the fact that I was so young when I first read it and while I agree that it’s a cornerstone of gothic fiction and contains many elements of horror fiction it still seems Sherlock’s role was to dispell the supernatural elements of the story. While it’s those gothic elements that make the book a classis, I can’t bring myself to agree that it’s a ghost story.

      • Uh, yes. There’s certainly elements of great supernatural fiction in there. A sense of dread, very skillfully presented, but in the end Holmes guts that out. I’d like for there to be a supernatural element there that endures to the end, as there was in Barbara’s excellent story, but as Doyle wrote it – I just don’t see it. When Holmes finishes peeling away the layers the supernatural seems to be cut out.

  47. Congratulations to my friends at EDGE and to all the authors of Gaslight Arcanum. Nothing like a new book to get the juices flowing!

  48. That…was a lot of information to absorb. And yet, my mind is stuck on the excercising half naked nuns. Go figure.

    Also I don’t think that I have ever seen the word pastiche used so many times in my entire life. That just makes these posts all the more priceless.

    So many questions! Where to start. Well first of all before I answer the questions I have to say that I find it so weird that I know where both Doncaster and Derbyshire are.

    Since it’s the topic of the moment…

    @Tom English: What do you as a reader find most important in any pastiche? What do you find intolerable (if anything) in a pastiche?

    For me, I’m pretty liberal when it comes to work like this. As long as the feel and essence of the character are there I’m alright with it. Sherlock Holmes, Watson and even the stories have definitive characteritics that define them.
    I feel that enough of the author voice is represented in the qualities of the characters themselves that an exact replica in new stories isn’t always a must.
    I don’t want to see the characters taken out of their element so much that they could simply be a new character. But as long as some of the pieces are present in the new representation, I’m game for changes.

    • I think there’s no point in doing a Holmes story if you shoe-horn in Holmes or it could equally suit a different protagonist. However outlandish – and my stories in Grotesque and Arcanum *are* outlandish! – they can only exist if the character is Holmes.

      • Simon Kurt Unsworth

        …but if you don’t have the confidence to write in Holmes’ )or, more accurately, I suppose, Watson’s) voice, then you have to improvise! Or, as it may be more specifically described, cheat…

        • There’s nothing wrong with a non-Watson prespective, it’s just hard to pull off. As readers we’re just so accustomed to seeing Holmes through the Watson lens. I beleive it should be possible to pull off a fresh prespective of Holmes using a different point of view, it’s just so damn hard. I will say that’s one of the delights of the new film projects, ever since the Brett series the Watson character is finally getting the respect he deserves.

          • Simon Kurt Unsworth

            I think, if I’d thought about it too much, I’d never have written either story – I’d have panicked about getting the voice write, even though I ended up not ‘doing’ Watson or Holmes!

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          That’s a good point about overthinking the voice, and maybe talking yourself out of writing the story. It’s not our job to avoid writing stories: we just write them, submit them, and let editors decide if they fit the projects.

    • @Tony Richards: There

  49. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    @all – For me, I think there’s probably room in the Sherlock space for technical pastiches, as well as books that have a less rigid adherence to canon. In practical, project-specific terms though, Arcanum is the third in the Gaslight series: even if they HAD been trying for true pastiche from the start, you’d be risking monotony for the wider readership after three anthos, and narrowing your focus to the true die-hard Sherlockians alone. So, the definition of pastiche is beside the point for this anthology, I think: it would have been poor marketing to emphasize fidelity to Doyle over fun and entertainment value. The supernatural audience wants actual monsters, real magic – not “Scooby Doo” scenarios where it’s always some guy behind a curtain doing everything. Arcanum is a “big tent” book to me – with a wide degree of latitude when it comes to capturing Doyle’s discourse: pure pastiche projects should be hard-copy specialist efforts with a much higher price-point, devoted to satisfying a small, but very motivated and particular audience.

  50. So a question for any of the authors, when you first started writing, did you start with a character or a plot? And how long did it take for you to write these particular stories?

    Rae M. USA

    RSVP’d +25
    Questions +35
    Bought Gaslight Arcanum +50
    Tally Point +1
    Total = 111

    • For most of my writing, it starts with an image, like a photograph of a particular point in a story. Then, if it starts running in my head like a movie, I know there’s usually going to be a story in it. (Sometimes I have to rewind or fast forward to find the right place to start.)

      With THE COLOUR THAT CAME TO CHISWICK it started with Holmes in his study, in dim light, with a green sickly glow coming from his hands and everything that he had touched.

    • Simon Kurt Unsworth

      For both of my Sherlock stories, I started with an idea – zombies and bees, repsectively. Given that i knew I wouldn’t write in Watson’s voice, I then needed to find who needed to tell the story, and plot came last of all. As Mr Volk will confirm, A Country Death’s plot fought me every step of the damned way and I needed a lot of support and encouragement to get the damn thing finished – I’m not used to structuring thrillers, so had to do a lot of writing and rewriting to get it to ‘work’ properly.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Rae: when I first started writing, I’d say I had a theme, or idea that I wanted to dramatize: plot and character developed from there. For this Sherlock story, I had in mind developing an idea I got from a casual mention in a Lovecraft story (think it was Call of Cthulhu) of a “degenerate” inuit tribe in the far north that worshipped a hideous idol. But also, I deliberately “gamed” the anthology – thinking maybe they might need a third-person viewpoint for texture; thinking I could stretch the supernatural mystery concept; thinking I could angle the characters in a fresh way by deliberately playing with and subverting their iconic status…these sorts of meta-fictional considerations played a bigger part than usual in my process for this story.

    • I started with an idea (something uncanny) that I had jotted down a year earlier. It popped back in my mind while I was trying to decide what problem I would present Holmes with. Had several ideas but this one stuck in my head. And started evolving. I soon had mental images (while showering — something about the curvature of shower stalls is conducive to thought) of Holmes grappling with this enigma. After that I tried to allow the characters to respond in a way I think Doyle would approve of.

    • I wrote “The Comfort of the Seine” over several months. What came first was the idea, then the structure. (Not to mention the research!) The first draft was about 18,000 words. It took me days, painstakingly, page by page, to cut it down to about 11,000 words. In fact I worked on it partly over a writers’ weekend and Tim Lebbon said to me: “I’d never put as much work into a story as you’re doing!” Still, you set a task for yourself and however hard it gets, you’re determined to pull it off. I loved the concept I’d come up with and wanted to really do it justice. I hope I did.

    • I started each story with a concept and built from there. I don’t recall exactly how long each took to write, but I recall that I worked pretty close to the deadline on each of them. Deadlines are good things. Left on my own, I’ll work on a story forever.

    • I grew up daydreaming about monsters, ghosts and so on. What came first for me was the story. When I first started writing I’d hurl my character into a dramatic situation, being chased by demons, say, and focus on the excitement.

  51. Why Sherlock Holmes in particular & why this genre is general?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Mary: if you’re a professional writer, and you have a chance to sell a Sherlock Holmes story – you go ahead and try. Now, the horror-genre aspect of this particular anthology put me in the picture: I wouldn’t be able to write a classic Holmes piece, or even a clue-based procedural mystery – but there was enough scope here for me to be able to do my thing. In a way, I kind of made “writing a Sherlock Holmes story” the premise of the story itself.

    • I’m a big Holmes fan. Couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write for Holmes and Watson, who “live” in my head anyway. But I’m a relatively new writer, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I needed to please myself, first and foremost (– but then, one never truly knows if the story works as well for others).

    • For me, the answer to ‘Why Sherlock?’ is because he works so well in the short format. As for the popularity of the genre, I’m not entirely convinced we’re really a popular genre. There have been a number of Sherlock Holmes horror novels, some collections and antholgies but when you list them by publication date they are pretty spread out.

    • I’m not in the least interested in detective stories – in fact I don’t think I can do ’em – but I’ve loved the Holmes story since I was a child and I love the idea of a rational character facing the irrational (i.e. supernatural) which is what I’ve dealt with in my TV series Afterlife and the recent film I wrote, The Awakening. I think it’s scary for us writers to see brainy folks get the smile wiped off their faces! I also grew up on the BBC TV series in the sixties starring Douglas Wilmer and (later) Peter Cushing. When the request came to think about a scary Holmes story, how could I resist?

    • I’m mostly a writer of supernatural fiction anyway, although I do sometimes write sf and even mystery stories. And I was at first astonished, and then finally delighted, to be asked to write about the Great Detective (see my fuller answers later on).

    • I like Sherlock Holmes stories and I like horror so when I was invited to combine the two in Gaslight Arcanum I shouted YES!

  52. That’s interesting, I’ve heard a lot writers talk about the central image of their stories but it’s never worked that way for me. I don’t have a story in Arcanum, I’m just here as an editor, but I did have stories in the previous collection so I’m going to answer anyway. For me there’s a cloud of plots and a seperate cloud of character, the writing doesn’t really take off until the lighting passes between the two. It need not be a visual insight, just a realization of how a particular character would view the proposed events. I’ve always envied those who see their stories though.

  53. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    Gotta go for a coffee break, but I’ll be back soon!

  54. Hi everyone! It sounds like a great diverse group from all over the world. Some of these place I want to visit one day such as Scotland and England. To answer some of the questions:

    (+25) @Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?
    I have a curious nature and appreciate that he is a detective in an era where he really needed his wits about. He utilizes his surroundings and the smallest of clues in his investigations.

    (+5) @Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?
    I recently finished a historical fiction, Mine Is the Night where I really liked the heroine. It looks like I’ll be reading a thriller with a cold case next.

    (+5) @Stephen Volk: Do you want more adventures of Holmes and Watson versus the supernatural

    • All this higher math makes me think of Moriarty! 😉

      • Simon Kurt Unsworth

        I’d leave Sherlock without special powers – that’s part of the fun! Personally, I’ve never actually been that interested in writing other people’s characters, although there are a couple of minor ones whose stories I’d like to try telling one day…not saying who though!

        I think sherlock would be dismissed as unrealistic now – far too know-it-all and smart. Preston and Child have a character called Pendergast that’s always struck me as a modern version of Holmes, and he’s damn near insufferable!

    • “If you could give Sherlock Holmes any supernatural power, what would it be and why?”

      The last thing I would want is for Holmes to be telepathic: that would eliminate all those brilliant deductions based on observation — he’d simply read their minds instead. And now that I think about it, I wouldn’t want Holmes to have any powers beyond what he’s demonstrated in the ACD tales. He’s a hero but he’s flawed; human but capable of extraordinary feats of mental prowess; his skills appear incredible but remain possible. I like that about SH and wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Na: Great questions!
      1.) Funny you should ask about the special powers…my story actually posits that Holmes uses supernatural powers to detect clues. The nature of the magic is a little mysterious – but I still like the idea that Holmes is just pretending to use reason, with Watson complicit in that portrayal.
      2.) I’ve done zombies and vampires – iconic “types” if not specific characters perhaps. I guess I’d like a shot at the big comic book names: X-men; Iron Man; Spidey – all the Marvel heroes – even though they’ve already had a “twist” or two. Conan – I’d like to get that contract, but he’s already got a supernatural slant.
      3.) The Sherlock concept is constantly being re-worked in modern times. “House” is purportedly a straight homage. “The Mentalist” seems like a Holmes style of character. The guy who reads facial ticks to see if you’re lying…it’s all the same dynamic, and it always seems to do well.

      • I’m probably in the minority here but I have been meaning to watch House and The Mentalist for awhile now. Now it makes me more curious and I do see the Sherlock Holmes connection thinking about it now.

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          Hi Na: “House” is starting to run out of steam I guess, but if you start at the beginning, you just might enjoy it. “Mentalist” is much more reliant upon the Holmes-like character: without him, it’s strictly a by-the-numbers procedural. Still, Simon Baker is so engaging, you may overlook the show’s flaws for a while.

    • “If you could give Sherlock Holmes any supernatural power, what would it be and why?”

      What a great question! Erm… I think I

  55. “How do you think Sherlock would fare as a modern character (same person but different time), completely fresh, provided no one knew of his literary history?”

    SH is timeless and the new BBC version (which modernizes the characters) is proof of that. SH is a household name but there are millions who have never read the original A C Doyle stories. Same for Dickens, Shakespeare, etc., ect.

  56. Is there going to be an audiobook available?

    • Hi Shona,

      The previous message that I posted to you, for some reason did not post – anyways, to start off with, thanks for dropping by. None of the EDGE titles are currently on audio books, but Brian is always looking at alternate ways of getting our authors works out.

      Actually, we just converted a bunch of our titles over to kindle and other electronic forms. To see what is now available, please visit

      Thanks! Janice

    • I’d love to do an audiobook. Would love to hear Larry read the Executioner, all I’ve heard since the World Fantasy Convention is how great a reader Larry is. Nothing offical yet on the audiobook front but stay tuned.

  57. Shona’s question inspired one of my own. If you could choose any actor to read your story from Gaslight Arcanum as part of an audio book, or a stand alone reading of your story – who would you choose?

  58. Wow, so many comments already!

    My question is to all of the writers:

    Holmes is such an established character, and has been portrayed in so many different ways in films, television, and, of course, the written word.

    Which image of Holmes did you have in your head while you composed your story?

  59. I too haven’t read Sherlock Holmes since…erhm…um…well, a long time! But I love the movies, tv shows, etc. SO I’m thinking perhaps I really must read Gaslight Arcanum. Especially since you all having so much and answering (and asking) such interesting questions. Hee. 🙂

    @Lawrence C. Connolly I’m reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, and a passel of review books ranging from urban fantasy to historical fiction. And I have about 17 half-started digibooks on my Kindle…

    @Stephen Volk: I need to read this collection! Because the idea sounds really, really fun to me. Holmes and Watson (remember, I’m focusing more on movie/tv versions since haven’t read the actual books in years) are great characters for classic reasons, and I adore the concept of them mixing it up with supernatural elements. Fun. What I like most is the thinking outside the box, the overall idea of the supernatural (which can take so many forms in so many writers’ minds) that really lets the writers get creative with their storyline. That seems like the ultimate in intriguing to me as a reader.

    Julie T, USA
    +25 First Question
    +5 Additional Question
    +25 RSVP
    +1 Tally
    Total = 56

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Julie: it sounds as though you are the ideal reader for this collection! Somebody who’s familiar with Holmes, but willing to go on different journeys with the character.

    • Julie T: Interesting comment about those 17 half-started digibooks on your Kindle. Do you find that you are more inclined to finish a print book than an e-edition? That is proving to be the case with me.

  60. I am off to bed now – will tune in again tomorrow!

  61. Personally I’d like to see Sherlock put in the reality show I’M A CELEBRITY (DETECTIVE) GET ME OUT OF HERE. Does anybody have any ideas for other TV shows he could guest-appear in? For fun.

  62. I’ve just come on, and so I’m going to do as it says at the start of this page and answer one of the other author’s questions first. Simon Clark asks why Sherlock has endured when so many other heroes fade away. That’s easy … he’s that rare creature known as a ‘literary archetype.’ He’s not simply a character, but is representative of something fundamental in human nature, in this case the triumph of intellect and reason. Other literary archetypes include Tarzan and, I’d guess, Superman.

    • Hey Tony

      Thanks for coming on. What time is it where you are right now?

    • The point is that we relate to him far more than to ordinary characters because he says something about ourselves. Or is ‘relate’ the right word? I can imagine some people not actually liking the guy much. But we are fascinated by him — he’s a vital part of what humanity is, that constant quest for knowledge and the truth.

      • Howdy Tony! I’m not sure ‘relate’ is the right word either but I can’t think of a better one. Funny how a character can be someone you wouldn’t like in reality but is so much fun to read about. Certainly Holmes is one of the worst room mates in history. I wonder how much of Holmes appeal reflects ourpersonal fascination with crime and the evil men do. Certainly I got a sense of that from your House of Blood story. Holmes came across as sort of world weary in it, but still fascinated by crime.

        • I think the other fascinating thing about him, and the quality that makes him a true and lasting hero, is the fact that he’s unstoppable. He’ll break a case no matter what, however long it takes. You get the sense he’d spend the whole rest of his life trying to solve a case if he had to. That earns our admiration and engrosses us.

  63. Hello All!
    This book is a rare and wonderful thing an anthology where every single author is new to me. I love finding new authors. I must admit the above chat and comments has me a bit lost.

    What are you reading?

    I am currently reading Maia by Richard Adams

    How mad do you get when authors mess with a beloved brand like Sherlock Holmes (or Dracula; Bond

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Koren: Hope you enjoy the book (or hope you enjoyed it, if you’ve read it already). Can’t speak for the other authors, but it was a real thrill for me to work on a Sherlock Holmes story.

    • I’d love to see Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade revisited, but those guys are probably stillunder copyright. But how about Captain Nemo? Or Alan Quartermaine?

  64. Okay, let’s answer another author’s question. Paul Kane asks how easy or hard it was to do a Holmes story. Well, qhen Charles Prepolec approached me, at the World Fantasy Con in Calgary, I nearly jumped out of my boots. Much though I love Holmes, I’d never once considered writing about him before. The main part of the problem is I do not generally write period fiction. I spent about two months mulling over it, before coming up with the notion of making him immortal and setting the story in the present day. It came easily, and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve now written a whole extra bunch of modern day Holmes stories that I’ve put out in 3 (so far) small collections on Kindle.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Funny…I met Charles and Jeff at a book signing, and though I wasn’t invited to submit a story in so many words, Charles DID give me his card. Months later, when sorting cards, I noticed an email address on the back of the card: a de-facto invitation! I didn’t have guidelines, which made writing the story a bit of a shot-in-the-dark, but I did have the first two anthos, and felt I more or less had a sense of what could be done. There was also, by then, something of a time-squeeze, which also made the story difficult to write. Finally, though a fan of Holmes, I’m by no means a Sherlockian: wrote the story with wikipedia up in the background, which was also a bit tricky (though my premise attempts to turn ignorance into, if not a strength, then somewhat less of a liability). In the end though – wrote the story; crashed the party; rest is history.

    • You surprised with that answer. I was sure you’d written Holmes before.

      • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

        Nope. And like I’ve said – I’m not equipped to write a traditional Holmes story or pastiche at all. But with the other anthologies as guides – and a general background in military history – I thought I could pull something together. And there were tactical choices to be made as well – Arcanum being the third in the series, I thought you might be looking for ways to push the envelope. My plan was to write something different than the other stories in Gaslight 1&2, and hope you were looking for different. I love it when a plan comes together!

        • Kevin, I thought your plan came together very well. I got this great Hammer “Lost Continent” vibe from it straight away, which, being a massive Hammer fan, worked a treat for me. As I said somewhere else along this wall, different is good!

          • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

            Hi Charles…yeah, I’m a Hammer fan too, so it was just lucky to be on that same wavelength. That’s the thing – a lot of editors might not have bought the story, but if you’ve got a shared sensibility (Hammer films; 30s pulp; whatever) things will click. And that sensibility runs through the other Gaslights as well, so if I’m reading that and responding to it, chances are I’m on the right track with my writing instincts.

  65. What do you do to reward yourself when you reach your goals?

    • A rest. My fiction goes through a lot of drafts, and is hard work. Thinking about it, a drink out with my closest friends in one of London’s good pubs is a pretty good reward, and counts as a rest too.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Koren: Well – I’m not much of a goal-setter. All I want to do now is generate a bunch of published credits; work in a number of different genres; develop my craft to a professional standard. But, when I sell a short story, normally I take someone out to dinner at some place inappropriately pricey. I refuse to save the proceeds of fiction writing: it’s fun from start to finish.

      • What, no one is going to confessto frantically worrying about the next deadline? The next project? Or is that just me?

        • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

          Hah – well…I’m coming from a context (finance) that has an entirely different metric for anxiety. As far as writing goes – I wish I was more prolific and talented, but I’m not losing any sleep over that yet! You’re a little farther along than I am: way more weight on your shoulders.

        • Yeah, it happens sometimes. But after *that* I go for a drink with my friends. The pub beckons, and will not be denied.

      • Hi Koren… I reward myself with a nice evening with Marie and the kids, watching stuff on TV or a film. Spending time with them is one of my favourite things in the world 🙂

  66. Do you keep track of random plot bunnies as they pop up or do you let them run free and grow until you need them?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Koren: When I started – I just assumed I’d have good ideas all the time, and so I never developed any record keeping habits. Now I know differently: I hardly EVER have good ideas, and when I do I MUST write them down. Still don’t do a good enough job at that, but at least I recognize the necessity now. The thing is, you can have a concept, or a scene, or even a line in your head, but you might not stitch it together with other elements until months or even years later. This Sherlock story came together pretty quickly more or less as I needed it, but one of the basic concepts was something I’d probably thought up years ago and never had sufficient reason to develop.

    • All I ever write down when I get an idea — generally — is a possible title, on any scrap of paper that’s available, even tearing one off the corner of a newssheet if need be. Then, unless I decide to write that story straight away, I put that piece of paper in a box in my study. Every so often I go through the box, and if I can still remember (from the title) what the story was about, it’s generally worth writing. If I don’t, it’s not. This may sound kinda weird and random, but it really isn’t. I firmly agree with Graham Greene that the main job of developing a plot goes on in the subconscious, and you have to learn to trust it. Greene said “We do not invent our stories, we remember them.” In other words, it all festers away in the back of your mind until it becomes a full-blown tale.

    • Hi Koren,
      I popped in again and thought I’d give my two cents on this. I am continually jotting ideas that eventually resurface in various of my stories, which is what happened with my Gaslight entry. The plot for that one evolved from a germ of an idea I had in 2008. Fresh ideas are more important to weird fiction, so I don’t want to lose a good one.

    • I jot anythign like that down in a little hardback book. I’ve got tons of them, filled with ideas, random titles, character sketches and names. They’re a great resource if you’re stuck for what to work on next (not that I ever am 🙂 )

  67. Do you have a favorite story world other than your own?

    How do you think your characters would do if they were dropped in it?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      K: If you’re talking in terms of Gaslight Arcanum, the characters would do okay in any of the stories, since they’re always Sherlock and Watson. If you mean in general, one of the great fantasy worlds to my mind is George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I’d like to think that my typical characters would thrive to some extent – at least the villains. Another fictional world I’m enjoying right now is The Walking Dead (comics and TV adaptation). Not sure anybody would be guaranteed to do well there – it’s a crapshoot!

    • I read a lot of fantasy but I’m pretty sure most fantasy realms would burn Holmes at the stake. No one likes their crimes revealed. Recently read a Poul Anderson story – Queen of Air and Darkness(?) – and was surprised to encounter a SherlockHolmes character in it. Different name of course, but Holmes did very well in a sciencefiction setting.

    • I like Simon Green’s Nightside a lot. And I think one of the great things about it is that other people’s characters wouldn’t stand a snowflake’s chance inside it.

    • I’ve been spending quite a lot of time recently in other writers worlds, with Holmes, Carnacki and Challenger. One I’d like to visit is Moorcock’s Eternal Champion multiverse — I’d love to write an Elric of Melnibone or Corum of the Silver Hand story.

    • William Hope Hogson’s occult detective Carnacki is a wonderful invention. Hodgson obviously aimed to create a Holmes type character, who’d then investigate hauntings and so on rather than crimes. I wrote a Carnacki story, Haunter of the Marsh, for the latest SFX special, ‘Paranormal’. In my imagination anyway I’d team up Holmes and Carnacki for an adventure of murder, mystery and the supernatural.

  68. I think part of why I love Sherlock Holmes so much is that he uses his intellect and power of observation to solve mysteries and save the day. I love that he’s a bit nutty, but yet those who are close to him are loyal. And I love how he’s this character that inspires so many writers with their own takes on who he is.

    To the writers: Is there one setting you would never want to see Sherlock Holmes written into?


    Mare S, USA
    RSVP’d ahead +25
    answered question +25
    asked question +5
    tally points +1

    total = 56

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Mare: You’re right about the basic character dynamic…it always seems to work when you see something like “House” or “The Mentalist”…those kinds of characters – even if they aren’t entirely sympathetic – seem to be peculiarly engaging. Not sure there’s a context in which I’d NEVER want to see Holmes…guess I’m not altogether comfortable with him in comedic/slapstick situations, although I do remember laughing at “Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother.” Thing is, with an icon, you can always put the images under a new lens with a good chance of getting something worthwhile out of it. Wouldn’t want to just rule something out to suit my own biases.

    • An actual battlefield. War is such a vicious, animalistic thing that it would be an insult to the man. But I’d love to write — and probably shall write — some stories with Holmes working as an agent for the British Government in World War II.

    • I once read a BATMAN comic in which an aged Sherlock showed up near the end. It worked okay but … some characters just don’t mix well. So I wouldn’t wish to see Holmes dropped into the same universe that contained, let’s say, Spiderman.

  69. I don’t like seeing Holmes in places of power, considering the fate of the Empire in Parliament or likewise. Holmes isn’t a big picture type of guy, his only concern is solving the case and letting the chips fall where they may.

  70. Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?
    My Answer > Never really put much thought to Sherlock Holmes. Of course I heard of his name, kinda hard not to, and what Sherlock was. +5

    Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?
    My Answer > One Deadly Sin by Annie Solomon. It

    • Hi Raonaid,
      I missed your question earlier. What would I change? Probably nothing. However, when writing supernatural tales involving Holmes, I often think how much easier it would be if Holmes were more open to the otherworldly. He could get right into the uncanny situation much more quickly. But then he would be an occult detective like so many who followed him. So, on second thought, he’s fine the way he is.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Raonald. My story in this anthology is definitely about making the characters more “mine” in some sense. In a way, the thing I’ve changed is that they are less Victorian-era stalwart hero types, and more Ellroy-esque, noir types. I mean, in my configuration – Holmes would have no compunction about beating a confession out of a perp (sort of like a brainy Bud White from LA Confidential). Now, I think that’s fun and appropriate for this anthology, but I don’t think you’d really want to see Holmes re-cast along those lines for a whole book.

    • I wouldn’t change a thing about either of them. They’re perfect characters just the way they are and a great pairing, which is another part of the reason Holmes tales have been so enduring. In my story in Gaslight Arcanum, the great detective might be in the present day (and in in two minds about that) but he’s *still* Sherlock Holmes.

  71. Holmes loved justice but I think he enjoyed solving the puzzle more than anything else.

    • @Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?
      I like the way Holmes is always on the cutting edge of modenizing to the 10th
      degree. I like the way Holmes and Watson work together. They have an ability
      to appear as if they have been married for many years and are still finding out new things about each other.
      My question to all is where did every one go to research Holmes?
      @Tom English: I think Holmes did love to solve puzzles but he also he seems to be a frustrated actor because he was always dressing up to be someone else. He totally enjoyed driving Watson crazy with the characters he would
      portray. That is one reason why he is so endearing to me!
      @Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?
      Hiss of Death by Rita Mae Brown and Silver Tonuged Devil by Jaye Wells.
      @Tony Richards: There

  72. other contest stuff…

    Koren C USA
    answered 3
    asked 4 +40
    I “like” EDGE +10
    I “shared” +10
    I RSVP’d +25
    tally own points +1

    total 81

  73. This may be a good time to mention the artwork of GASLIGHT ARCANUM. I love Dave Elsey’s cover. Charles, Jeff, either of you know how he accomplished that image? Looks like a photo manipulation. Is that Elsey himself?

  74. It’s gone 1:30 in the morning here in London, guys, and so I’m signing off. I hope to be back at 11am CST for the final hour of this event.

  75. -) (+35) – Hiya folks! 🙂

    1) In reference to retellings… most of the sequels, retellings, etc that I get are Jane Austen. And even there, some utterly hate anyone messing it up. Me – she only wrote six novels, so any chance to revisit those friends is fine with me. Though, in this case particularly, sure wish people would expand from Pride and Prejudice – I love Darcy and read plenty of those, but do sometimes wish for something with one of the other novels. See, with Holmes, it’s still Holmes and Watson, but many potential mysteries one can invent. It can feel like there are just so many ways to tell P&P from Darcy’s point of view.

    2) And why Holmes for me… I really have no clue, actually. LOL I know pieces — I love things British, he’s utterly brilliant, so how is he going to figure this mystery out… but to look at it as a whole, I just have no idea why I love the whole world. Will have to ask Holmes some time, he’ll know. 😉

    Q) To others, and sure hope it hasn’t been asked (pretty please! LOL)… favorite Holmes, anyone? Either literary, tv, movie versions… for me, yeah, sure, okay, they aren’t really like the literary Holmes and Watson, but Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce are my preferred ones.

    -) other stuff —
    (+25) RSVPed for this one
    (+10) Twitter, OV_099

    -) total should be = 1 + above = 71
    and sure hope I tallied that up correctly… crossing fingers. 🙂

    Lois M., USA

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Lois: Rathbone for me as well…though I’ve always liked Cushing in anything, and this new guy they got for the BBC series is freakishly good.

    • Hi Lois:
      I love Rathbone and Bruce but I prefer Brett and Burke.

      I think most writers stick to Pride & Prejudice because they know it’s likely to be the Austen novel most familiar to readers. (It could be the ONLY Austen most people are familiar with!) Btw, what did you think of the 1995 P&P miniseries version w/ Colin Firth?

      • Oh, of course love the 95P&P… the Olivier version is runner up for me… while it deviated too much from the novel, at the same time, the actors simply were enjoyable. Probably both reasons why I was not thrilled with the latest version… 🙂


  76. Lisa R smalltown USA

    My question- While I definitely love the Victorian setting of SH, do you see the story working in a different time?

    @Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading? Flesh and Blood (House of Comarr

  77. We have had some unique questions, but this may well be the most obscure. Is there any particular pattern of tweed associated with Sherlock? I need the image for a background pattern of a website that I am working on and thought I would ask. What would you envision? (no guarantee that that is what I will use, but I would love to know your opinion)

  78. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    Dinner break, folks: will stop by after for wrap up. Can’t believe a guy stayed up till 1:30 and I’m already winding down for bed!

  79. @Lawrence: Hi! I just finished the Stieg Larsson series, and am now working through Stephen King’s “Full Dark, No Stars”. I also recently read Ellen Klages’ “Portable Childhoods” and was absolutely captivated by it.

    I have a question for you all: I love to read all kinds of material, in both novel, novella and short story formats. However I do tend to prefer short fiction. I hear all the time, and someone even mentioned it above, that short fiction does not sell (except to me, apparently). Do you think that’s true, and if so, why?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Kris: It’s probably true that short story collections don’t sell as well as novels (depends on the author of course!) I suppose the Novel is a more immersive experience – provides more of an escape. And short stories often entail a slightly different reading-practice…more of a close-reading exercise, as opposed to “reading to find out what happened”. That’s a generalization of course – plenty of novels do require close-reading to really get the most out of them – but I think short-stories tend to rely more upon structure, metaphor and symbolism to achieve their effects, whereas a lot of novels tend to stress the narrative experience.

      • I also think that it’s difficult to develop the same amount of atmosphere and character development in a short story. It’s shows a certain type of skill that I happen to enjoy. IMO there is something to be said for being succint sometimes, especially with horror or supernatural fiction.

        As Mark Twain said “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I’ve written a long one instead… ”

        Thank you to all of the Gaslight authors for being masters of the craft!

    • Well, I’ll take a crack at this one if no one else will. I think there are too many reprint anthologies out there and too much reliance on big name authors to sell them. It’s difficult to market anthologies compared to novels or single author collections. Part of the fun of short stories is reading writers you’ve not encountered before or reading something you didn’t expect from someone you’ve read before.
      All books are purchased because they appeal to what the readers have enjoyed before, be it a setting, a writer or a theme. In an anthology it can be difficult to that blend of familiar and new and package it in a way new readers will recognize. Hopefully Gaslight Arcanum hits that balance with readers. As more magazine fiction markets fade away I think there’s a real opportunity for anthologies to take up the slack. It’s not as easy as slapping a genre label on it, readers are expecting something more these days, but congratulations are certainly due to publishers who are willing to back anthologies in a time when many publishers are afraid to. Thanks Edge!

      • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

        Yep – thanks Edge…and thanks to you guys (Jeff and Charles). So fun to be involved, and a great product overall.

  80. Hi, folks. Did any of you finish your Gaslight Arcanum stories and then think, “Hmmm, I could write a sequel to this”?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Catherine: I hadn’t initially contemplated a sequel…but then Charles mentioned he might like to read more about Sherlock and the Magic Knife, so who knows. It would be tricky though…my story relies on a subversive sleight-of-hand, and it’s sort of about Watson’s writing process to some degree…not sure that trick lends itself to a serial format. But I think if I could come up with a similar dense constellation of images to build with, I’d probably give it a shot.

    • Tony Richards has produced two sequels to House of Blood, his story in Gaslight Arcanum. Willie Meikle had a story in our previous collection, Gaslight Grotesque and is releasing another Sherlock Holmes novella with Dark Regions press. We had one writer promise us a story and then pull it when his word count reached novel length. There’s no doubt that many ourour contributors are keen to produce sequels.

    • Not sure where I’d begin writing a sequel to mine, or if it’s even possible. When you read it, you’ll see what I mean 😉

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Amy. “One where he outwits himself”. Of course you know I’ll be stealing that, right? ANSWERS: 1.) I think I only know Charles and Jeff, the editors. 2.) Not really qualified to comment on the supernatural subtext of Holmes, but it wouldn’t surprise me. 3.) I write in short story format almost exclusively. 4.) Antho editors…Nancy Kilpatrick’s always good (and not just because I glimpsed her name). George RR Martin can sell an antho on his name (to me, anyway). 5.) I doubt that it’s necessary to have been a writer, to be an editor, but I suppose it couldn’t hurt. 6.) Well, too much freedom can actually hurt a project. Sometimes it’s great to have known boundaries: you have to be creative to negotiate your outcomes within a defined framework. 7.) I’m in a couple of zombie-fic anthos that would be sold in Texas…but otherwise, most of my anthology work is available on Amazon.

    • @Amy T. Question 7. Hi Amy. Gee glad you asked about availability of the authors books. Don’t want this to sound like an ad, but you did ask. Many of Fred’s books are available electronically. Lots are out of print, but you might still get them from Amazon or e-bay. An anthology I edited with Robert Vardeman based on and including Fred’s novel Mask Of The Sun will be coming out in paperback in Dec or Jan from Baen Books. Lots of great contributors. The anthology is entitled Golden Reflections.

      • Hi Joan,

        Happy to see you here. As you can see this is definitely a wild and crazy event! Hope you enjoy your time here.


      • Joan,
        I did want to offer a special thanks to you for letting for letting us use ‘From the Tree of Time’. It’s the only reprint we ever used, the only reprint we ever even considered using. It meant a lot to Charles and I to have one of Fred’s Holmes stories in one of the Gaslight books. Thanks too for Nancy for steering us towards this particular story.

    • Do many of you already know each other?
      I’ve been lucky to meet a number of the writers at conventions, mainly the 2008 World Fantasy Convention in Calgary (my hometown). Haven’t met them all yet but as an editor I’ve spoken to everyone.
      Do you agree with some readers that the Sherlock Holmes stories had always hinted at a paranormal origin? (I don

    • 1. Do many of you already know each other?

      “Know” might be a bit strong, but co-editor Jeff Campbell and I go back a good 20 years together. Beyond that it’s a bit scattered, although a good many of our authors certainly know each other. In some cases, such as Peter Calamai (Gaslight Grimoire), David Stuart Davies (Gaslight Grimoire intro), Les Klinger (Gaslight Grotesque intro) and Barbara Roden (Gaslight Grimoire & Gaslight Grotesque) I’ve known them via shared experiences in various Sherlockian circles, online and in-person, others like Bob Madison (Gaslight Grimoire) I’ve known from certain online forums, but in most cases I’ve simply approached authors whose work I’ve read, admire and whom I thought would provide the sort of stories I was after. In other cases stories come along via friends of friends and a healthy dose of serendipity. And then there

    • @Amy asked How easy/difficult is it for me to find your publications here in Texas?

      Amy, most of mine are on Amazon. Try here:

      Or newer ones are at Dark Regions Press




  81. Hello Gaslight authors and editors. Congratulations on a wonderful anthology!

  82. @Lawrence C. Connolly. “What are you reading?” Ray Bradbury’s “Summer Morning, Summer Night,” the anthology “Evolve Two,” and Steve Vernon’s “The Lunenburg Werewolf.” Nova Scotians grow up with ghosts and gremlins, but I didn’t know we had a werewolf legend, too.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      We have a condo complex in Calgary called the “Lunenberg” and it’s only recently that I’ve connected that with the maritimes. And now that I have, “Lunenberg” comes up in something I’m reading every other day!

  83. do you think in character when you write?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Alaina: Sure – sometimes. When I get on a roll, it can feel like being caught up in your own story. For the most part though, I tend to be more methodical than “streaming”. Lots of staring for a few seconds, then typing, then staring again.

    • Absolutely. One hundred percent. How else are you supposed to approach a work of fiction honestly?

  84. We are pleased to announce the birth of a new blog, which we will be using a fair bit over the next 14 Days – The Gaslight Gallery. Today’s event is Day One of A Fortnight On Baker Street, celebrating the launch of Gaslight Arcanum. The Gaslight Gallery is where the news, the interviews and current and past reviews will be posted – plus details about any offline events that are happening. It’s design is simple, and has a whole lot of tweed, but I am sure it will evolve over time. Please feel free to drop by and see my first small post (which actually sends you here…)

    I am looking forward to adding more over the next few weeks. Cheers.

  85. Hi everyone!! I just want to start off by saying this sounds like a great read, I bought it right away. My grandmother loves reading Holmes stories, I wonder how she’d like something off the beaten path like these shorts.

    @Paul Kane: What appeals to you about the world of Sherlock Holmes?
    I love the mystery involved, and trying to figure out the why’s and where’s before I get to the end. (I’m usually wrong)!

    @Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?
    right now I’m reading the green rider series by Kristin Britain.

    @Simon Kurt Unsworth: Are there any other literary characters or worlds that would benefit from having horror stories written about them?
    the first thing that popped into my head was Little House on the Prairie. I don’t know if that world would benefit from adding some horror, but it would sure be a challenge!! 🙂

    That’s all I have time for tonight, congrats all and goodnight!

    bought the book
    tally points=86

  86. Thanks for doing this today. Sounds like an awesome collection of works. Looking forward to reading them.

    What are you reading?
    I am about 1/2 way though 11/22/63. As per usual King books I was drawn in almost immediately, even though I was really unsure when starting as this seems quite a departure at first from his usual work. But as it goes its definitely a King book. Still waiting for The Man in Black to appear though.

    My question –

    What is your least favorite part of being a writer?


    Contest stuff:
    +25 RSVPd
    +25 1st answer above
    +5 new question asked
    +10 joined FB page – Donna S
    +10 tweet –!/DonnaS1/status/142091991801544704
    +1 total – 76

    Donna S

    • Hi Donna,
      I just returned from a long break. For me the worst part about writing is that I have to do it AFTER my day job (the one that pays the bills). So while I could be lounging about reading or watching movies (vegging) I’m trying to get a story right. And writing is a solitary occupation — hence it can get lonely sometimes. (Fortunately for me, my wife is usually sitting across from me quietly writing her non-fiction.)

    • “What is your least favorite part of being a writer?”

      The waiting. You write, you submit then you wait… and wait… and wait.

      I’m a very bad waiter. The trick is to keep writing while you wait. But, for me anyway, it’s always there at the back of my mind.

  87. +5 Additional question –

    If you could witness any historical event past, present or future what would it be and why?

  88. +5 Additional question = Vampires, Shifters, Zombies, Angels – who wins the final ultimate battle? And what would Holmes choose?

    • Scratch zombies — they’re pretty mindless. Vampires? Holmes has a few habits that would go with that lifestyle (nocturnal activity and such) and his disguises make him a type of shifter already. Since I think Holmes is “the best and wisest man I have ever known” I’d have to number him with the angels. (But only Holmes himself would know for sure.)

    • Despite his unhealthy obession with the forces of evil I maintain that Holmes is always on side with the angels. Zombies, lacking as they are in cleverness, would be of no interest to Holmes. I do have to admit, he does seem to spend his time with vampires though.

  89. Why does Sherlock Holmes endure when other literary heroes fade away?
    Because he is awesome. The end. 🙂

    What are you reading?
    Oh! A really fantastic book! Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole 🙂


  90. Good Point! Razor Eddie(my fav) Punk God of the Straight Razor will be watching.

  91. Now that Holmes is enjoying another resurgence of popularity I wonder if we expect 2012 fashions to incorporate deerstalkers and inverness capes? I’m game.

  92. Well folks, I’m afraid that in the pleasure of this conversation I’ve been neglecting matters of importance. Time for me to sign off. Thanks for stopping by!

  93. Hi everybody
    * I was wondering did you like adding paranormal to your stories?
    I always loved paranormal so I think it adds something to the stories but what do you think? +25
    * Too Laurence C. Connolly I’m Reading the Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts it’s got 3 stories in it and it’s a light wait fun read for a paranormal book.
    * I Shared this on twitter and here is the link!/sasluvbooks/status/142155924742737920 +10
    * I RSVPed to be here today with you all +25
    * I Tallied my Points +1=61
    * Stacey S USA
    sasluvbooks(at)yahoo dot com

    • I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal in stories ever since I understood what a story actually is, so it’s enormously difficult to keep the paranormal OUT of my fiction. So I certainly wasn’t unhappy about writing a Holmes story, which featured the supernatural. In fact, I’m incredibly delighted and honoured to be part of Gaslight Arcanum.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Stacey: Love the paranormal. In fact, the effort on my part is probably to make sure I add a little “normal” to my stuff.

  94. By the way, what great posts here from authors and readers alike. If I’ve missed replying to a specific question directed to me: apologies. There’s such a treasure house of conversations that I might have overlooked it.

  95. to the authors and editors of the gaslight arcanum :

    Is the flash short story format an opton for holmes stories – given the genre and perhaps general expections of the genre?

    • @michaegillett asked: Is the flash short story format an opton for holmes stories

    • I’d say no, from a personal point of view. I like to develop the mystery in my Holmes stories slowly and carefully, and so flash fiction is not the right medium. But hey, someone could always surprise me!

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Michaegillet: Interesting question. I know I couldn’t do it, and I’m not sure you could get a whole book out Holmes flash-fic…but I’m sure there’s an intriguing one-off angle to be played there. Not a full mystery, but perhaps Holmes just not turning his observations off during a normal hum-drum day – the things he notices. 1000 words on Sherlock’s random perceptions…there’s probably something there.

  96. Hi,

    ‘What pleases you most about Holmes stories (consider both the original and the derivatives): the Holmes & Watson characters, the Victorian setting, or the nature of the mysteries?’
    Answer- what I like about the stories the most is that Holmes is such an interesting eccentric character and that he is able to solve a case from details that most other people would miss or disregard as unimportant.

    My question: Why do you think Holmes never married?

    Dovile p., Lithuania
    +25 RSVPed for this event
    +25 for the question and answer
    +1 tally
    total: 51

  97. Christopher Roden

    Well done the Edge team for keeping the conversation alive for best part of 24 hours!

  98. Hi all,

    Wow, this is what I get for coming to the party late. Apologies that I’ve only just made it, work intruding on the fun stuff sadly…

    There’s so much on here that I think it’s probably best to start with answering some of the author questions first:

    @ Lawrence: I’m currently working on a couple of non-fiction projects, only one of which I can talk about – a Hellraiser interview book – a couple of short stories and a film adaptation of a bestselling novel.

    @ Chris F: Maybe because it’s harder to sustain the mystery for a longer period of time? Not sure… Baskerville is a longer piece and I love that one 🙂

    @ Kevin: I’m a massive Holmes geek, I don’t mind admitting that. Have several different versions of the books, collected and seperate, and all the TV shows and films. It was a dream come true to be able to work on a Holmes story for this anthology.

    @ Tony: Probably the previous answer answers this one as well. I just love the stories and the characters of Holmes and Watson.

    @ Simon KU: I had a lot of performance anxiety, I was very worried about the story and writing not coming up to scratch. But, in the end, it turned out to the fun and just flowed. I guess when the story’s right, that kind of thing happens.

    @ Joan: The logical deduction, I think. The way Holmes can figure things out and you say ‘how the hell did he work that out?’, then when he explains it all you go, ‘ah, now I get it’. It’s a bit like a magic act being explained.

    @ Tom: In mine, it’s probably when Holmes turns to Watson and says seriously: ‘Tomorrow evening I would ask that you kill me.’ It comes totally out of left field and should have the reader going: what?

    @ Simon C: Just everything about him, the look, the backdrop he works against… Although, having said that, the updating for the BBC is set in modern day London, so maybe it boils down to the character himself, his deducive reasoning and his dogged determination to solve puzzles and mysteries.

    @ William: I found it hard to begin with and put a lot of work into it, more so than any normal story I’ve ever written. But, like I say, when I got going it just seemed to find its own rhythm and stride, then came together quite quickly.

  99. I’m back, and will remain online for the rest of this event.

  100. Apropos of nothing, does anybody remember the Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle TV series in the sixties? It had excellent adaptations of many of his short stories including “Playing With Fire” “Lot ???” (about the mummy) and “Crabbe’s Practice” – the format was based around a group of medical students.

  101. Favourite film Holmes? If we

    • Call me old fashioned, but I’m still a Basil Rathbone fan. Althought I did love Robert Downey’s take. And Benedict Cumberbatch in the TV trilogy managed to capture Holmes’ essential loftiness, but in a different way than other actors had portrayed it. Face it, whichever the actor, it’s just such a great role.

      • I love the Rathbone’s as well. I think the great thing about it all is that, as you say, each actor brings something different to their take on Holmes. I also really enjoyed those BBC TV movies with Richard Roxburgh and then Rupert Everett a little while back.

        I know we have Sherlock now on TV, but I’d really love to see another period Holmes, especially something around the festive season.

    • The first 2 years of the Brett SH series absolutely sparkle. David Burke’s Watson wasn’t given enough to do in these early shows and yet he and Brett seemed to have had a great on-screen chemistry. “The Resident Patient” is a prime example of this chemistry. Or “The Blue Carbuncle” which I re-watch at Christmastime. I was sorry to see Burke depart from the role. His replacement, Edward Hardwicke, imo, was too moody to be Watson.

      • I don’t think I’d agree with you on Ted Hardwicke being too moody, Tom. I think he actually came over as a more light-hearted Watson than David. But they were both excellent.

  102. Lawrence C. Connolly asked

    • I’m finishing Nicholas Meyer’s The Seven Percent Solution. I’d read The Canary Trainer years ago (in which SH meets the Phantom of the Opera). And I’ve started Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (which has nothing to do with Holmes but is a mystery nonetheless). Chabon did write a Holmes novella, however: The Final Solution (definitely NOT a pastiche).

    • @Larry Connolly – I’ve just read the novel Mr Shivers and bloody excellent it is too! Highly recommended in spite of the pulpy title. I’m now reading a book ed. Danel Olson about the movie of The Exorcist – 27 different essays. To quote The Big Lebowski: “A good man – and thorough!” 🙂

  103. Just to remind readers, in the dying minutes of this chat, that if they enjoy ‘The House of Blood’ I’ve more Holmes fiction available in 3 small collections on Amazon Kindle.

  104. Hi everyone! Missed last night, so I am glad you are all here this morning! Here are my questions for you…

    There have been Gaslight Grimoire, Gaslight Grotesque and Gaslight Arcanum in the Gaslight series.

    Do you think there should be a fourth Gaslight anthology?
    What would you call it?

    Do you think it should take the same direction in terms of Sherlock and the supernatural, or a different path (definitely NOT suggesting a different path, but would just like to know what you think!)

    • There definitely should be a fourth one. What to call it? Gaslight Macabre, perhaps? As for the theme, I’d keep it as it is. Paranormal fiction is such a broad definition it allows the different authors’ imaginations to go to some pretty wild and diverse places. If you narrowed down the theme, you might end up with too many alike stories.

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Lavinia: I definitely think there should be another in the series, and if I’m to have any chance of getting in, it would have to retain the supernatural emphasis! One thing I really like about this Gaslight series is it does seem to have a kind of addictive quality to it…I sense momentum building from one book to the next. As for what it might be called, I’d never second guess Charles and Jeff.

    • Hi Lavinia,
      I think there’s sufficient unexplored territory for SEVERAL more Gaslight anthologies.

    • I think it should be Holmes versus Science Fiction and it should be called GASLIGHT ELECTRIC! (With the ! too!)

  105. The chat will remain live for one more hour, until 12 CST when we will do the draw for the $50 Amazon Gift Certificate (actually, I am sure if a conversation was continuing, it would not end off right away…)

  106. Much running about this morning, so just wanted to stop in and say thanks to all of our wonderful authors for joining in this event. Thanks for taking the time guys! Great comments across the board.

    Thanks as well to all the friends, readers and well-wishers who joined us! Kept us on our toes!

  107. Lawrence C. Connolly: What are you reading?
    I am reading V is for Vengeance by Su Grafton. Answered question +25 points
    RSVPd + 25 points

    Tally my own points +1

    Total = 51 points

    Robin D

  108. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    To answer the “What are you reading” question – I’ve just finished a non-fiction binge. Yergin’s “The Commanding Heights”; Lewis’ “Moneyball” and I’m poking around in Calvocoressi and Wint’s “Total War” again because I always seem to find something I missed before. Looking forward to checking out King’s new one when I swing back to fiction.

  109. Okay, I’m reading Sharky’s Machine by William Diehl, which got turned into one of the few good movies that Burt Reynolds ever made. It’s well written, with a vastly heavier, more multi-layered plot than the movie version.

  110. Here’s a last one for the writers… do you ever read your old stories and when you do, what do you think?

    • Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

      Hi Stephen – yeah, all the time. I’m fascinated that they’re in books and magazines – they seem to “read” differently to me. My main reaction is a sense that my story isn’t a “real” story in the way the other stories all are, and I’m always trying to figure out the difference.

    • Ooh, good question Steve! I try not to go into that particulr minefield. Whenever I do, I just want to change things and do them better 🙁

    • I usually re-read my own stories upon publication. Because the time lag between writing a story and seeing it in print can be months and occasionally years, my reaction is often “I wrote that? Yeah, I vaguely remember what was going through my mind at the time.”

  111. Kevin Cockle (author - Gaslight Arcanum)

    I should also like to thank Janice Shoults for herding the cats on this exercise. Must be a long, Jack-Bauer like 24 hour stretch putting these internet-things together.

  112. @Lavinia asked “Do you think there should be a fourth Gaslight anthology?
    What would you call it?”

    There certainly should be another. Gaslight Terror?

    I wouldn’t want them to change focus any — I love these just the way they are.

  113. Okay, I’ve got to go. Thanks to Janice for the invite, and a big thank you to everybody who participated.

  114. Thanks everyone for your kind words. I really appreciate them! Thanks again! In a few minutes here we will be doing the draw for the Amazon $50 gift certificate.

  115. Yep, thanks all – this was fun. We should do it again sometime 😉

    • Maybe if it can’t be arranged as an ‘official’ function, a few of us could get together on Skype once in a while It’d be fun.

  116. The winner of the Amazon $50 Gift Certificate is Julie T. Congratulations Julie!

    We will be sending out the gift certificate later today. Thanks again to all the authors, editors and readers who joined us for the last 24+ hours!

    From now until December 13 we will be featuring different authors, editors and artists from Gaslight Arcanum on our new Gaslight Gallery blog We hope you will join us!


    • Congratulations, Julie. Spend it wisely. And, not to take anything from Edge and the Gaslight series, if you like Holmes/ghost stories, please check out the new line of Ash-Tree Press eBooks ( – they’re all available from!

  117. Thank you again Rachel for giving us such a wonderful place to have our authors from around the world come together to talk, and celebrate the launch of a very fun anthology.


  118. Thank you!!!! Will be spending it wisely indeed. 🙂