is an independent last-gasp publisher of book-length manuscripts in paperback, printed hardcover, and clothbound with dust jacket. Printing and distribution by Barnes & Noble Press.
Released year round for writers at their wits end are novels, novellas, story and novelette and poetry collections, screenplays, memoirs, histories, manuals and guides, hagiographies, plays, and experimental works.
Twelve House considers all writings that find the beautiful and hopeful in the quirky, fantastic, uncanny, macabre, and infandous.
Twelve House will consider your book as long as there is agreement on all of the following:
It is at least 30K words. There is no word limit.
It carries strong literary elements, even if it is pulp fiction.
It is well-written and as perfectly edited as you can get it.
No simultaneous submissions. This means other publishers can’t be looking at it while Twelve House looks at it.
Multiple submissions are fine. You have a novel, a story collection, and a book of poetry? Send them all.
Yes, Twelve House will consider reprints as long as you hold the copyright to the work.
No e-books are published. Twelve House publishes paperbacks as well as hardbound books and clothbound books.
Royalties are paid after book production costs are covered, per the contract.
No pre-orders are required for interest from Twelve House.
Have a look at the catalog to the right as well as the forthcoming books section to get a good idea of what Twelve House publishes.
Twelve House will not consider any subject or idea that promotes or supports concepts or lifestyles which are antagonistic to our most ancient oral and written wisdom. If you are uncertain, just ask.
Twelve House will almost always reply within one week of your proposal, if not sooner. If you are offered a contract, all book production and royalty details are found there.
Send to editor Scáth Beorh a proposal with a short synopsis and your entiremanuscript in .docx, .doc or .rtf to:
Supernatural Horror in Literature (by H.P. Lovecraft)
Dreams of Flying
Vintage Morality Tales
The Vampires of Dreach Fola
A Thieving Primer
In the Valley
The Holy Alphabet RSV
The Lightning Rod Traveling Freakshow Revue
All Work and No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy (by Jack Torrance)
From Page To Page (by Ron Yungul)
Forthcoming from Twelve House
Watcher at the Gate
October House Garden
Ghosts of Saint Augustine
The Witch of West Cork
Tales To Be Read Betwixt Midnight & Three
Children & Other Odd Things
Concerning a Night in a Dream
I see no dilapidation. I know that the place is haunted by some kind of malevolent force, but I discern not what sort, or if there is more than one. In what country am I traveling? No known place to me. Only a country of mind.
Dark trees surround this house which resembles a Norman castle yet also carries features of later styles, especially at its face surrounding a high arched doorway with a scalloped window. Four long panes of glass, each fifteen feet in length, and colored an opaque cobalt blue, are set into grey stone—two in each round-tower, each of these attached to both sides of the main house. These windows remind me of something I cannot think of, but know with intimacy. I feel a warm pleasure, as if I have stepped backward into my idyllic early childhood.
The immense oaken front door is ajar, creaking in a wind picking up and beginning to moan. I am both frightened and amazed by the energy emanating from the eldritch mansion. The essence, though, is not like that which issues forth from the murderous house of a recurring dream which I will now tell you of—a house eventually destroyed or burned for its shocking horror. It is an abode which exudes a foul spirit of murder—holding the soul of a vile man. That house seeks to exterminate anyone nearing it, or, God forbid, entering. It is of modern ranch design—one spacious story surely built by a raging alcoholic. I awoke in it once, and at other times have gazed upon it in late afternoon when the Sun burns fierce and red in a muggy sky. Great torment of mind haunts me. The land is soured, the atmosphere flat and beckoning suicide or utter madness. I am aware that I am dead, that all is dead around me, and that we share a place where love has never been.
On another night in a dream of that gangrenous place, an old and heavyset woman took me into a dismal alley behind her own home built in what I sensed was a well-populated Victorian neighborhood. She then pointed to an empty lot. ‘There,’ she said in a murmur, ‘once sat the most haunted house in the world. Be glad it is gone.’ She then wiped her hands on her apron and brushed back a trailing strand of grey hair. The look in her eyes was one of an never-diminishing horror steadied by time.
In another dream, very vague now in my memory, I watched this murder house from its sandy front yard as screaming poured from it— shrieks, cries of agony as a woman was being tortured—maybe slaughtered there—or maybe women and men together. As I gazed in, captivated in an engulfing dread pushing me toward shock, the profane place seemed to take on a reddish glow, but only in my inner eye. Anyone else might have run away. I stood fixed, unable to move, though I wanted to flee. It was midnight. This time the house was built with two ominous stories, and was painted black—an immense black box alive with hatred. It raged, possessed with unclean spirits of wanton butchery.
In yet a different dream, I slept in this undead, static house—though I don’t remember entering it. To my terror I realized that I was actually inside; the mere notion of this happening always setting up a nauseating revulsion in me—a terror I could not have uttered. As I lay in a nondescript bed, iniquitous voices hissed vulgar words and phrases to me as they flitted around the dim room, spitting blasphemies and spewing disgusting ideas, words, things. These words awoke me. I lay there stricken with apoplexy, unable to fight the spirits as they pummeled me with their hellish ideas.
The somber castle which I have come upon in my new dream, wrapped in languid trees weeping around its edges, is not like the corrosive house I have described which, at times, is single-storied and threatening, and at times towering and filled with screams, vibrating with death in an undead state, sucking me toward it though I stand or kneel sick with anxiety, riveted solid with fear of it—of what is occurring inside it. I never went inside that soured place, until I awoke in one of its small, boxy bedrooms with untoward sick words of hatred cackled and coughed into my ears by hundreds of infected voices.
Behind the sturdy front door of this dreary stone mansion lies a spacious room over which is suspended from a high ceiling a giant unlit candelabrum. Beyond this lies a second-story corridor leading into obscurity. I presume the usual: spacious bedrooms, an elaborately equipped art studio, servants’ quarters, several cozy studies and libraries, a large children’s playroom for inclement days, a conservatory perhaps. I see to my right, through a grey haze which I realize is there because I am asleep, three leather chairs arranged at a hearth for a host and two guests. I sense that in this house lies also a boardroom adorned with heraldry shields, tapestries depicting wild hunts, and weapons of archaic wars—a room bringing to mind’s eye the inspiring heroics of an era long passed.
Before me, and to the left of a claw-foot table pushed closely to a wall dropping down from a second-story balustrade, hangs a swinging door carved with peaceable scenes of courtly love and chivalry. A roomy kitchen is suggested beyond. On both sides of a spiral stairwell designed to be inviting, high shelves of books and bound manuscripts can be seen. I wonder where the ballroom might be. Two Persian rugs of differing but complementary tones of blue, very clean, are lain across the immense flagstone floor, their white tassels combed. I then spy a tassel-rake leaning against the left bookshelf, and I consider that I have interrupted the work as it was being completed.
A chill wracks me to the bone. My feet and hands turn to ice. Without warning I take in a draft of undiluted ammonia, and become sick to my stomach. I then breath in chlorine bleach, and my animal instinct readies to escape— but the two chemicals dissipate before causing me harm, and then are gone altogether. I run back to the front door to catch my breath. I then turn to re-enter.
To my right in the spacious front room I see again the three comfortable chairs with their coverings of shiny oxblood leather. These rest before a massive, cold fireplace decorated with what appears to be an oak mantel populated by carvings of stags, wolves, and catamounts. Above the hearth is mounted the head of a sixteen-point buck. Two iron-tipped arrows that I presume slew it are displayed, crossing each other at the neck of the animal. A brass plaque below the weapons simply reads:
Críost ó Bás
An equally large area to the left of the stairs holds a petite ball-and-claw roundtable upon which sits an expensive Cheffeur oil lamp, not burning. Two Versailles reading chairs have been placed around the table. The semicircular wall to my left, which is the inside wall of the left round-tower, has been made a portrait gallery of dejected lords and ladies and bored, pretty children with their pet puppies and rabbits. Oak ceiling rafters traverse from one side of the room to the other, dissecting the two towers on either side of the house. This arrangement causes me to imagine coiling stairs above leading to eerie belfries; locked rooms. The beams give the room a crucified appearance. The place is old. I know somehow that no ancient rites have been observed here. I allowed the possibility, however, but discern that the only black magic occurring here has been that created by human greed mixed with desire for acceptance. In a word, Society.
Behind the little roundtable is set a large picture window framed by royal-blue velvet drapes. When would this have been put in? I can barely discern through it a flourishing rose garden. The grounds are hidden by weeping willows growing next to the tower. I take in a breath. I am standing in a drawing room greeting the visitor with volume upon volume of poetry, chronicle, literary critique, archaic grimoire. To my right and a little behind me lies a plain door, and I somehow know that behind it dwells a cloakroom, and a dissipating evil. Something indecent.
Beyond the hearth, in a dim corner where two walls meet, lies another door, and I feel that other rooms lay behind it. Certainly beyond this has been constructed secret passageways to the cellar and underground passageways. I know also that rooms of ill repute are readied for cohorts in unseemly crimes, gambling, seditions and other debaucheries socially unbecoming to the whitewashed aristocracy that must have once dwelt here. Unbecoming acts, but encouraged nonetheless.
With a stout candle burning in the dead air of this place, I step up the teakwood stairs twirling right. I wince. Hot wax has dripped onto my cold hand. I become apprehensive in the darkness, and am relieved to find that just beyond the balustrade a hallway opens before me to reveal several shut doors on my left and a few to my right, these seeming to correspond with the front-room wall which was built closest to the hearth.
I pass five shut rooms. It is then that a second stairwell appears to my left—then an alcove with a ticking grandfather clock—then another long, bleak corridor bending to the left, obviously skirting most or all of this great house, but ending where? Perhaps at a rear escape to a secret garden, or a befouling den of iniquity? Why would a house be built with one long second-story corridor circling the entirety of the building?
I come to yet another stair and proceed to climb creaky steps to a third floor of this dank manor. I enter a terribly black passageway, my candle burning with a loudness in the shifting gloom of the place, yet barely driving the murkiness back enough for me to see. This passageway seems abnormally long. I jolt with fear. What am I doing? I tell myself to run back and out into the safe twilight. I do not obey. As I round another corner, passing more shut rooms to my left, I see to my right, over baluster and railing, an expansive ballroom below, on the first floor. I cannot reckon how it is attached to where I think the kitchen or other rooms lie. I then realize that the mansion is eluding me, as if it is alive and puckish.
As I come to the end of the ornate railing overlooking the ballroom, which I have been following with my right hand, I enter again into thick blackness of hallway. Another stairway erupts to my right, and I know without thinking that this leads to an attic, possibly butlers’ quarters and, somehow, to one large room— a sinister place. A child cries out from above me, and my blood runs icy. I can hear my heart; I can see my breath rise and fall as it escapes through a cold apparition suddenly in front of me—a dark grey cloud flecked with muted silver lights. The eyeless thing shifts and rolls before my fatigued body. My candlelight quavers and lilts, flickering with yet a second sharp cry from the anguished child— a little girl of maybe five years. Her weeping after her wail is sustained; haunted. I feel both compassion and repulsion. These mix and form a neutral emotion which numbs me. I become a ghost in the darkness. I want nothing but sleep, or death. I do not care which come, or if both arrive together.
‘No one is here,’ I whisper; and no one answers me as my spine tingles at my own voice, which sounds tinny; hollow. I am relieved that no one responds. I feel something unspeakable has happened in this place. The children had been unsafe, but no one outside the house had known. A sadness pervades the dwelling unlike any I have ever encountered.
I am now weak, not having eaten for half a strenuous day of walking. I move further down the clammy, weeping hallway as it circles interminably to the left. I realize that I have become nearly frozen with fear, and an involuntary shudder races through my frame. I step across a threshold to my right. A bedroom—but only a bed is there. I am so tired. Hoping that sunrise will bring me comforting light through the room’s window, which seems to open to the back of the house, I lie down and cover with the heavy quilt which I find crumpled there. As my eyelids flutter and the orange lights of exhaustion began to glimmer and flash, I smell that familiar scent of musty down. I sleep with quickness, and sound.
Abrupt voices from below shake me awake, speaking as if in intrigue, yet with indiscernible words. As I surface from the deepest sleep that I can remember, I know that these are highwaymen. I can feel them, though I sense they are spectres. Several are speaking in excited tones. Stern tones. Decided tones. Then an Englishman snarls ‘I reckon we’ll have to go up an’ get him!’
I freeze with apprehension, and awakened, I lie there awaiting their distrust of me.
a story by
Bottom Line / Disclaimer:
Twelve House is a micro-publisher which utilizes the print-on-demand (POD) services of Barnes & Noble Press, who distributes all books printed by them. Because the editor has over 40 years experience, and is also a visual designer (book covers, etc.), he pays himself professional rates for all services previous to paying out royalties to authors. Twelve House does not also serve as a publicist, and also takes no active part in title sales, but only passively sells via the Twelve House website once the book is available. Twelve House can provide author copies at wholesale plus shipping, but there are no free copies to authors. Review copies are provided via .pdf files only. Twelve House publishes a book with no cost to the author, who is also not expected to pay up front for production costs. Twelve House is not a subsidy or “vanity” press. No work published by Twelve House is ever nominated for any award. Unless you love what you write far more than becoming a household name during your lifetime, getting rich or even making a living on your books, or being accepted by the perfect literary circle, then Twelve House is not for you.