‘All new tales of Cumbrian horror inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's legendary Cthulhu mythos’
Information regarding the Cumbrian Cthulhu charity project and the upcoming release of anthology volumes one and two
The cover art of Cumbrian Cthulhu Volumes one and two
Cumbrian Cthulhu aims to encourage and publish stories by amateur horror writers, celebrating the mystical beauty of Cumbria and the timeless horror of H.P. Lovecraft.
We will donate 100% of sales profits from each volume produced to The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA).
Both books are available NOW from LULU.COM, our publishing site. They will be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks, however we urge everyone to buy from LULU.COM, where the profit (and therefore charity donation) is substantially higher.
Okay, so what on earth is a Cthulhu?
Cthulhu is an ancient monster created by legendary horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Cthulhu lies in a deathly sleep in a sunken city, sending madness to the dreams of mankind. His cultists on earth seek to expedite the prophecy that when the stars are correctly aligned, Cthulhu will rise from the ocean to reclaim and destroy the earth.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937) was an American author whose guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed ‘cosmic horror.’
Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century.
During his life Lovecraft encouraged other writers to use his created worlds and monsters in their own stories. This tradition continues today, with regular books being published every year. His stories continue to inspire writers and artists today, with influences found in music, film and graphic novels. It is our great hope that our ‘Cumbrian Cthulhu’ books will eventually become a part of the Lovecraftian fiction legacy.
Where did the idea for Cumbrian Cthulhu come from?
My name is Andrew McGuigan and I began the Cumbrian Cthulhu project in 2009. I am a proud Cumbrian myself, born in Beckermet in 1975 before moving to the North East of England when I was a small child.
When growing up I was lucky enough to return every year during holidays. With caravan and awning my family toured the Lake District, climbing hills, paddling in lakes and finding pubs for me that served my favourite chicken in a basket (often the Britannia at Elterwater.)
Today my parents are retired and living in the beautiful west coast town Maryport. It was during a visit in 2009 that I read about the excavation of the local Roman fort site at Senhouse. At the time I was re-reading a Lovecraft anthology which included the classic ‘Shadows over Innsmouth’ and it gave me the inspiration to try some writing. The proposed excavations seemed like an interesting situation around which to base a horror story. By borrowing some local history books from my parents I constructed a three part horror story set in 1950’s Maryport, using the geographical references of the time, and bringing in some of Lovecraft’s better known monsters. I have been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft for several years and I admire the way that he encouraged his fellow writers to base their stories on the particular creatures and worlds he had invented. It took a few months, but finally I finished what would be my first Cumbrian Cthulhu story, ‘The Chamber in the hillside.’
The story takes the form of three warning letters written by an elderly archaeologist after he reads of proposed plans to excavate the Roman fort site at Senhouse, Maryport. He states that contrary to popular belief the area has been dug before, back in 1954 by a team he himself assembled. The three letters describe the horrors that were found, and the writer’s subsequent descent into madness.
Having written the story, I started an online blog so I could publish it there for friends to easily read. It then occurred to me that other amateur writers might wish to contribute stories in a similar theme and it may be possible to gather together a small collection of new Cumbrian Lovecraft fiction.
And so cumbriancthulhu.blogspot was born.
How did the other writers, artists and contributors come to the project?
Once my first story was online I sent out paper copies to several writers groups in Cumbria and also the Times & Star newspaper. All of the letters included a card advertising the blog site and an invitation to contribute stories. We were lucky enough to be featured on the Yog-Sothoth website, which was encouraging to see in those early days! Take up was very slow at first, but a big change occurred six months later when I was joined by our resident artist Andy Paciorek who not only wrote stories, but also expressed a desire to illustrate each Cumbrian Cthulhu tale. Right from the beginning I have always been very impressed by Andy’s work. There is no doubt he has brought a much valued extra dimension to the stories and elevated them from simple text to a solid unified collection.
The main boost to our writing force came when I had a small article about the Cumbrian Cthulhu website published in ‘Pulse’ an internal Civil Service magazine. Several enthusiastic amateur writers made contact, and our total number of stories went from eight to twenty within a year, all illustrated by Andy.
It was mid 2011 that I decided to move forward with an actual printed anthology of our stories and art. All of our contributors agreed that it would be in line with the spirit of our project to donate any book sales profits to a Cumbrian charity and we quickly decided on the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association. The horrors of our Cumbrian Cthulhu protagonists are nothing but pure fiction, written for fun. The volunteers of LDSAMRA selflessly assist those with real injury and placate real fear everyday. They save lives each year and do their best to ensure that Lakeland walkers are well informed regarding safety precautions and the potential hazards of the high fells and elements.
I have never published a book before and I realized that in order to make the production as professional as possible I would need further help. I contacted my old University at Northumbria to see if any creative writing students would be interested in gaining experience as a proof readers and editors.
Creative Writing Programme Leader David Stewart was a great help, pleased to pass on our information and to encourage the involvement of Northumbria students. I received a reply on the same day of asking and we were pleased to welcome recent graduate Lucy Collier to the Cumbrian Cthulhu team as our new editor. We were also fortunate enough to recruit Kate Taylor and Matt Walby giving us much needed help managing the research of media contacts and social network promotion respectively. Ben Powell-Jones, a university friend of mine came aboard as our book cover artist and was able to produce fantastic digital art and titles to the exact designs I imagined, designs that were frustratingly well beyond my own ability to realise!
As Cumbrian Cthulhu has grown, I have been constantly impressed by the generosity of those giving their time and help freely either for fun, career experience or just to be a part of a creative project alongside others. Without their enthusiasm and hard work there would be no Cumbrian Cthulhu book, promotion, illustrations or stories at all.
Tell me about the Cumbrian Cthulhu stories
The stories are a tribute to both the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft and the awesome beauty and rich history of the Cumbrian Lake District. You don’t have to be a Lovecraft fan to understand the stories as each one is self contained with no requirement for additional knowledge. Although the stories feature traditional themes of horror, they do not contain explicit language or sexual content, instead following Lovecraft’s themes of fear of the unknown mixed with discoveries of insanity causing otherworldly creatures and gods. We believe the stories would be of interest to fans of horror in general and fans of Lovecraft specifically, as well as those interested in Cumbrian folklore.
All of our stories are fiction, but set within the recognised landmarks and history of Cumbria. Two local tales of Cumbrian folklore have been adapted to fit the Lovecraft Mythos. We have a version of the famous ‘Croglin Vampire’ story and also ‘The Treasure of the Moresby Swan.’
Our writers research Cumbrian history back through the ages, and tales take place in many eras: from Roman soldiers building forts along the Solway Firth and turning back invading creatures from the Maryport sea, to cultist villagers living in then wooded fells of Blencathra during the building of Christian Furness Abbey. There are detective tales from the 1950’s, treasure seeking crypt robbers in the 1970’s and a modern Bed and Breakfast that serves some very strange sausages.
Why give the sales profits to charity? Why choose LDSAMRA?
As a group of amateur writers and artists completing our first project, we are fully aware that our impact on the wide world of literature may be very small! If we accomplish nothing else, this is an opportunity to draw some attention to a good cause in Cumbria and give something back to a place we all love. While sales will be unpredictable, we would much prefer to give any and all of our profits to LDSAMRA, with the relative increased readership being sufficient reward in itself..
We hope that by promoting LDSAMRA alongside the book at every opportunity, we can at least do our very best to raise awareness and help to increase donations to a very worthy cause.
Could I write for Cumbrian Cthulhu?
Yes, please do so! cumbriancthulhu.blogspot.com is a home for budding horror writers who wish to have their short stories published online. We will also publish physical collections of stories as regularly as we have enough content and spare time!
The only requirements are that the stories are set somewhere in the Cumbrian region and are based around the themes of H.P. Lovecraft’s legendary Cthulhu Mythos. There are no grading systems for your submissions, we all amateur writers here. As long as you are happy with your final drafts and as long as they fit the criteria above and have no illegal or libellous content, you are on! Feel free to supply your own original artwork to complement your story. Cumbrian Cthulhu poetry is welcome as well. You may revise your work at any time after publication online. The Cumbrian Cthulhu website will always be a stress free and relaxed project, ideal for new writers to ‘put themselves out there’ without judgment.
Whilst it is our intention to avoid editing and censorship, the only caveat we make is for submissions that contain themes that would be considered deliberately overly extreme or offensive. Remember that these stories are intended to be a representation of H.P. Lovecraft's Mythos and always respectful to Cumbria.
Come up with a story idea. Anthologies of H. P. Lovecraft’s works are available for reference and collections of new Cthulhu Mythos tales appear regularly.
Research your setting and era. Use accurate and interesting source material. There are many books available detailing the history of The Lake District and the North West coast of England. You can find beautiful photographs and personal accounts from the villages, towns and industries as they grew throughout the ages. The region is rich with inspiring vistas and preserved local tradition, fuel for any overactive imagination! Send your submissions as Word document attachments including contact information to: Cumbrian.Cthulhu@gmail.com
A plea for additional sales
If you buy the books, thank you! You have made a group of amateur writers, artists and production staff very happy. We love you.
Everyone involved in this project has kindly given their time and work for free. All profits from Cumbrian Cthulhu sales will be donated directly to LDSAMRA. We would very much like you to assist us in keeping the sales rolling.
Please recommend the books to at least one other person so we can continue to make donations. Why not buy someone a copy as a present, or make them buy you a copy as a present? Nag until a friend or relative gives in. Use the emotions of guilt, shame or the crimes of bribery and blackmail. Sit with your victim until you have witnessed the online book sale transaction completed. If everyone who buys a book gets another person to buy one, we will sell a copy to the entire population of the world. It’s that easy. Unless of course someone breaks the chain. I can only imagine the years of bad luck such a deed would bring upon a person. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Anyway, thanks again for buying the book. Follow our Twitter to check on plans for the next book. We are always looking for new writers.
PS. You should probably buy another copy just for yourself so you can keep it in mint condition. It’s bound to be worth loads in the future, just like those Harry Potter first editions.
Statement of fiction and disclaimer
All stories and characters are completely fictitious; this project was created with a great love and respect for both Cumbria and Lovecraft. We would like to make it very clear that Cumbrian Cthulhu is completely independent and separate from LDSAMRA and they have no connection or involvement with the content of our books or website. As a group of amateur writers and artists we have merely chosen a slightly different way to make donations, mainly due to Andrew McGuigan being too fat to do sponsored fell runs and yet strangely still having no sellable cake or fudge making ability. Neither can he keep his mouth shut long enough for a sponsored silence and the less said about the confusion leading to the naked eating of the bath full of baked beans the better. So if you have any issues with the Cumbrian Cthulhu books, speak to Andrew. It’s really not LDSAMRA’s fault, or anything to do with them.
The Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association is the umbrella body for mountain rescue teams in Cumbria (UK). It covers the Lake District and Cumbria in 12 member teams and is a registered charity solely funded by voluntary contributions. Teams are largely autonomous, but LDSAMRA coordinates the development of operational matters such as radio communications and insurance, as well as the day to day running of an efficient, voluntary rescue service. All the teams rely almost totally on donations received from the public. Charitable gifts are always gratefully received, either to specific teams direct, or to mountain rescue generally.
WHAT HELP DOES CUMBRIAN CTHULHU REQUIRE NOW?
We need as much exposure and promotion as possible please!
Feel free to copy any information from this pack to publish on your website, or in your magazine. Use any of the images provided alongside.
Link to our LULU.COM page on Facebook and mention us on Twitter.
We would particularly appreciate any publication of the poster image advertising the books and the LDSAMRA donation.
Email me with any specific ideas for assistance you would like to provide the project.