WEIRD FISHES is on Netgalley

Are you on Netgalley? Looking for a charming and challenging underwater novella with an Indigenous worldview? Are mermaids and cephalopods your thing? Check out WEIRD FISHES and get ready to scream about how much you loved it (because you’re gonna love it).

WEIRD FISHES will be on Netgalley for the month of June. If you’re a reviewer or bookseller reading this after the book is archived, please feel free to get in touch about our available review copies.

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House of Drought Reading and Giveaway

We’re thrilled to be giving away three copies of Dennis Mombauer’s upcoming novella, The House of Drought. To get your in a spooky mood, we have a text excerpt along with a video of Mombauer reading from the novella up on Gingernuts of Horror.



The House of Drought: Act 1

“Uncle Ushu!” Jasmit ran down the stairs to the southern entrance hall. Her feet almost slipped on the hardwood steps, and she clutched the railing. “Uncle Ushu!”

The mansion at the edge of the jungle trembled. Bone china clinked in the cupboards, cockroaches scurried across the bathroom tiles. A lorry rolled over the dirt road from Anathakandu, and its trail of dust rose along the treeline.

“They found me.” Uncle Ushu closed the door and secured the bolt. “Someone told them.”

Jasmit raised herself on tiptoes to look out the window. It was evening, and the tropical night fell quickly into darkness. Twilight flooded through the trees and around the house, but no shadow foraged in its lighted halls.

Narun and the twins huddled around Jasmit, their eyes wide and bright with concern.

“Jasmit, akka, who are they? Who is coming?”

Uncle Ushu rushed to the other side of the room to rum­mage through the drawers of a cabinet, his balding head glistening with sweat. Above them, a fan turned slowly, and its hum merged with the engine noises roaring outside.

“They’re thugs,” Narun said, seemingly proud that he knew the word. “That’s what uncle Ushu said. Thugs. They’re here for his money.”

The twins shook their heads as one, nervously shifting from one foot to another. They were almost the same age as Jasmit and Narun’s twelve years, but the twins — both the girl and the boy — were smaller, more delicate, with spindly arms and legs. “Uncle Ushu doesn’t have money,” one of the twins said. “And why should he give to them?”

“He owes them. He told me he had a farm in his village, he took a lot of loans. That means he owes them money, doesn’t it?”

“But why? I don’t get it. If he had a farm, why did he need money?”

“He lost the harvest. He —” Narun fell silent as uncle Ushu walked past them with heavy steps, his frame almost as tall as the doorway.

“What do we do? What if they just want to ask questions?” The twins stared at Jasmit and Narun, but Jasmit had no answer. She was only one year older than them but they looked to her like an elder sister or even an adult. She frowned at them until they cast their eyes to the floor.

“The forest,” Narun said, taking Jasmit’s hand and dragging her toward the hallway. The mansion was big enough to have entrances on its southern and eastern side, and the hallways connected them across both floors. “The Sap Mother will protect us.”

“I told you —” Jasmit broke away, and they all stood pant­ing at the edge of the hall. In twenty minutes, the forest would be pitch black and it was already hard to see through the thick foliage. “The Sap Mother doesn’t exist. If you go into the forest, they will find you. Or a leopard will kill you, or a snake, I don’t know. But you won’t survive.”

“She exists.” Narun curled his lips. “I’ve seen her many times. If you won’t come with me, I’ll go alone.”

“Don’t be a fool,” Jasmit said, turning away from him. She liked Narun, she really did, but he was the most stubborn boy she had ever met.

The steady shine of the mansion’s lamps brimmed the long corridors. Outside the windows, darkness washed over the grounds and through the high grass, fleeing the lorry’s headlights. Car doors slammed shut, and bootsteps clattered over the verandah.

“Children, listen to me.” The glinting chandelier animated uncle Ushu’s cheeks as he paced toward them. “You have to hide upstairs, you understand? Go to the master bathroom and don’t make a noise. Whatever happens, stay until I get you. I will be there soon. Go!”

Jasmit exchanged looks with Narun and the twins. “What about you, uncle?”

“What about me? Are you deaf? Hurry up, get out of here!”

Someone knocked on the door, the sound of knuckles dulled by a covering of leather. Jasmit felt the house shiver, its walls leaning against each other in search of protection. But there was something else too, a feeling of familiarity. The house had known heavy boots and hard knuckles.

“Open up!”

The kids froze in the entrance hall, and uncle Ushu chased them off before he faced the door. “One minute! I’m coming.”

Jasmit gripped the banister and jumped onto the first step, turning to reassure herself that the others were behind her. The twins hurried past, but Narun stood at the landing and didn’t move. Jasmit held her hand out for him and waited. “Will you please come? I don’t want to see a leopard eat your sorry face.”

“There are no leopards. The Sap Mother is everywhere under the forest. It belongs to her. She will protect me, she promised. I can’t come with you.”

The door shook under the force of repeated knocking. “Open now!”

“Fine.” Jasmit withdrew her hand and took several steps. Narun suddenly seemed small with his thin arms and big ears. His dimples showed when he smiled. His hair stood up in all directions. “Please. Come with me, don’t go into the forest.”

“I’m sorry,” Narun said as he turned and ran, soon sprint­ing along the hallway toward the eastern entrance.

Jasmit wanted to grab him, but he was gone and she would not follow him. She cast one last glance at uncle Ushu, then followed the twins to the upper floor.

Loud voices rose behind her as soon as she stepped onto the landing. One of them belonged to uncle Ushu, but the others surrounded him like a pride of lions. What were they saying? Something about money, about repayment, about a debt that uncle Ushu owed to them.

“Jasmit. Hurry.” The twins peeked out from the master bedroom and gestured frantically. “Hurry, please.”

They closed the door and locked out the voices. Goose­bumps bloomed on Jasmit’s skin, and she pressed herself against a wall. It was warm and soft and seemed to react to her touch as if it were alive.

Outside, the night had risen to the canopies of the kata-kela trees. At the window, Jasmit squinted into the forest, trying to find Narun amidst the broad-leafed ferns of the undergrowth. Questions churned in her belly: what would happen to Narun, now unprotected in the dark wood? What would happen to uncle Ushu? Swallowing hard, Jasmit rubbed her arms as she turned back to the twins.

“Uncle said to go to the washroom, Jasmit. Will you come?”

The master bathroom was huge, its tiles decorated with mosaics of tea leaves and water lilies. Small moss-colored lizards retreated before the children, vanishing below the sink and under a dresser. The two mirrors surrounded Jasmit with her own reflection, and she saw herself standing next to the shivering twins wherever she turned.

“Akka, where can we hide? When the men come upstairs, they will spot us, no? Why did uncle send us here? Has he lost his mind?”

Jasmit searched for a hiding place. The bathtub loomed like a porcelain grave, the under-sink cabinet was filled with pipes. There was no space behind the toilet or the shelves, no exit besides the small window.

The sound of heavy boots on the floor outside the master suite made Jasmit’s heart skip a beat. The staircase moaned under the weight of several men, and the tremor from the impact of their footfalls traveled through the mansion’s upper level. Whatever uncle Ushu had said to stall them, it had failed.

“Close the door.” The twins pulled the bathroom door shut and listened for sound in the adjacent room. Jasmit knew why uncle Ushu had sent them here. She remembered that time she had woken up in the night, soon after they’d arrived at the house. She knew it hadn’t been a dream.

She opened all the taps in the room as far as they went, watching water gush into the sink and the bathtub. The Dry House was real, and it would hide them from these men. But what would it want in return?

Post-Giveaway Update

The giveaway is now closed and winners have been contacted. Congratulations to Ashley, Jen, and Shan. Enjoy your spooky summer read!

An image of the cover of The House of Drought, on a background of a foggy forest. Text reads: Congratulations to our giveaway winners: Ashley H, Jen R, Shan P. Enjoy your spooky summer read!
Congratulations to Ashley H, Jen R, and Shan P who have each won a copy of our forthcoming haunted house novella, The House of Drought.
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Stelliform Press Website Update

If you’ve come here linking from our House of Drought cover reveal and you’ve visited us before, you may have noticed that our product displays have changed. If you’ve placed an order, you will have seen that our payment process is more straight-forward and there are more payment options.

We recently updated our site to a new ecommerce system with a lot more functionality. We have four books coming out in 2022 and we wanted to present those titles to you in the most intuitive way possible and make purchasing those titles easy.

Major changes

  • Previously we only accepted payments through Paypal. Now we can accept credit and debit cards as well.
  • We can now do secure automatic ebook downloads! No more waiting to be sent an ebook manually – readers can now access their content immediately after payment.
  • Our product pages are now all 100% uniform. Find all the information you need about our books using the product description tabs.
  • Our books are now categorized by author, year of publication, and genre. If you’re interested in checking out all of our horror or all of our fantasy or science fiction, you can select that category and see all the options.
  • Our product pages now also show linked or related products. As we’ve got titles coming from authors we’ve previously published, this is an important feature. See all of your favourite author’s books in one place!

Shipping Changes

Trade agreements post-Brexit and supply chain issues have affected how we can get books to you. Shipping books to the EU now involves extra fees, and we’ve had packages take months to arrive in Australia and New Zealand, or not arrive at all. With this website upgrade, we have made the decision to ship books only within Canada and the US. For our international customers, our books are still available worldwide through your local independent bookstores, or through most online venues. We provide links to alternative purchase venues on each product page as soon as the book is available to order.

Thank you for your support!

We’ve made these changes to better serve you and ensure that our books get to you as quickly and reliably as possible. Please get in touch if you have any questions or if you can’t find a shop that sells our books. We can often put you in touch with booksellers that can access our titles.

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Cover Reveal: Dennis Mombauer’s THE HOUSE OF DROUGHT

Today we teamed up with Locus Magazine to unveil the cover for our latest title, The House of Drought by Dennis Mombauer. The cover is by Rachel Yu Lobbenberg, the artist who previously did Octavia Cade’s The Impossible Resurrection of Grief. Rachel has once again delivered a gorgeous cover! The House of Drought is now available for pre-order, to be shipped in July.

We also have a delightfully creepy cover reveal trailer for you:

About the Book

Cover of Dennis Mombauer's THE HOUSE OF DROUGHT, featuring a woman in shadow and smoke, holding a sepia-toned house in her outstretched hand. The image is framed with golden rice stalks.
Cover art by Rachel Yu Lobbenberg

A HAUNTED HOUSE FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE ERA. On the island of Sri Lanka, at a colonial mansion between the forest and the paddy fields, a caretaker arrives with four children in tow after pledging to keep them safe. When violent thugs storm the house demanding that Ushu repay his debt, young Jasmit and the other children hide in an upstairs bathroom where a running tap opens a gateway to escape. But the Dry House is not the only force at work in the place where the forest and the estate meet—something else stirs in the trees, something ancient, something that demands retribution.

The Sap Mother bides her time, watching and learning from the house’s inhabitants. She burrows beneath the foundations of the Dry House, hungry for atonement. Pulled between these warring powers, Jasmit must choose between saving those trapped in the mansion’s bulging stomachs and preparing the house for when the Mother emerges again.

About the Author

Dennis Mombauer lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he works as a consultant on climate change and as a writer of weird fiction and textual experiments. He is co-publisher of a German magazine for experimental fiction, “Die Novelle – Magazine for Experimentalism.” His first English novel, “The Fertile Clay,” is scheduled to be published by Nightscape Press in 2022. He has also published a collection of short stories under the title The House of the Dark Whale. Find Dennis on Twitter @DMombauerWriter.

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Post-Open Call Acquisition News

We opened a submission call for unsolicited manuscripts in September 2021. That call closed at the end of the year and our reading team got to work selecting seven manuscripts to be published in 2022, 2023, and 2024.

We’re so excited about these stories, we’ve made some teaser trailers to share the vibes with you all. If you want to watch all seven teaser trailers in a row, a playlist is available on Youtube.

2022 Titles

Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz, August 2022

Arboreality by Rebecca Campbell, September 2022

2023 Titles

Another Life by Sarena Ulibarri, May 2023

Sordidez by E.G. Condé, July 2023

2024 Titles

The Jaguar Mask by Michael J. DeLuca

Carbon Fingerprints by Mehitabel Glenhaber

Untitled Collection by Octavia Cade

Other Forthcoming Books

These new acquisitions will be published in a schedule already stacked with incredible climate fiction titles, including Sim Kern’s debut YA trilogy, which begins with Seeds For the Swarm in November 2022, with the sequel and conclusion to the series published in 2023 and 2024 respectively. We also have a creepy, beautiful, and cutting indictment of colonization in Sri Lanka coming with The House of Drought by Dennis Mombauer in July 2022. In 2023, Arwen Brenneman’s A Murder of Angels examines the earthly effects of a billionaire space cult. We’re so excited about all of these books!

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