Skull on a tombstone
"I wanted to make the sorts of books that I would want to own. So my notes answer the questions I would want to know the answers to: as a teenager reading Lovecraft for the first time, as a college student trying to get what 'The Great God Pan' was really about, as an adult kicking back with M. R. James and wondering what inspired his nightmares...
"Reading the classics should feel like an adventure, not homework. So I make books that arm people and inspire them and transform their experience of a masterpiece..."
                                                                                                              -- M. Grant Kellermeyer       

Michael Grant Kellermeyer -- OTP's founder and chief editor -- is an English professor, bibliographer, illustrator, editor, critic, and author based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from Anderson University and his Master of Arts in Literature from Ball State University. He teaches college writing in Indiana where he enjoys playing violin, painting, hiking, and cooking.


Ever since watching Bing Crosby's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as a three year old, Michael has been enraptured by the ghastly, ghoulish, and the unknown. Reading Great Illustrated Classics' abridged versions of classic horrors as a first grader, he quickly became enthralled with the horrific, and began accumulating a collection of unabridged classics; Edgar Allan Poe's Forgotten Tales and a copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with an introduction by Charles L. Grant are among his most cherished  possessions. Frequenting the occult section of the Berne Public Library, he scoured through anthologies and copendiums on ghostly lore.


It was here that he found two books which would be more influential to his tastes than any other: Henry Mazzeo's Hauntings (illustrated by the unparalleled Edward Gorey), and Barry Moser's Great Ghost Stories. It was while reading through these two collections during the Hallowe'en season of 2012 that Michael was inspired to honor the writers, tales, and mythologies he revered the most.


Oldstyle Tales Press was the result of that impulse. Its first title, The Best Victorian Ghost Stories, was published in September 2013, followed shortly by editions of Frankenstein and The Annotated and Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe.


In his free time, Michael enjoys straight razors, briarwood pipes, Classical music, jazz standards from the '20s to '60s, sea shanties, lemon wedges in his water, the films of Vincent Price, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stanley Kubrick, sandalwood shaving cream, freshly-laundered sheets, gin tonics, and mint tea.


Our hallmark "Candle-Shine" illustrations are composed of pencil sketches done on 6 x 9 paper; the pictures are drawn like photograph negatives, then scanned, the color is digitally inverted, and the image is touched up and edited. They strive for a chiaroscuro feeling - that is to say a composition largely composed of deep shadows interspersed with glowing swathes of light, and gleaming highlights. Edward Gorey, Gustave Dore, Barry Moser, Heinrich Fuseli, Arthur Rackham, Harry Clarke, W. Graham Robertson, Godfried Schalcken, Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and John Atkinson Grimshaw are influences to the mood, tone, and style of our illustrations.


Here's a side-by-side "before and after" of H. G. Wells' "Pollock and the Porroh Man," a Christmas story of a man haunted by a witch doctor's severed head. On the left is the pencil drawing I made; on the right it has been inverted and touched up with Pixlr editor.


The greatest care is made to ensure that accurate, detailed, and helpful critical material accompanies the fiction included in this volume. Annotations and introductory notes are created using peer-reviewed scholarly articles accessed from JSTOR, Project MUSE, EBSCO Host, and bound collections of criticism accessed at Indiana University, Ball State University, Purdue University, and through interlibrary loans. Definitions and references are informed by the Oxford English Dictionary, the Dictionary of English Nautical Language, the Encyclopædia Britannica, Grolier Online, and credible online databases. Foreign translations are only released after comparing the results of several books of grammar pertaining to the source language. Biographical, critical, and contextual information regarding the writer, their work, and their world are generated after consulting peer-reviewed biographies, reference works, compendiums, collected correspondences, histories, and literary criticism.


In spite of the disastrous plummet of the book market since the Great Recession of 2008, there has been a boom in affordable classics. Corporate publishing companies have rushed to produce cheaply priced and cheaply produced editions of foundational novels like The Great Gatsby, A Tale of Two Cities, Robinson Crusoe, and The Scarlet Letter. Oldstyle Tales aspires to fill the gap between the high-cost academic editions and the flimsy-but-affordable mass productions thrown together on a word processor and jacketted with a photoshopped cover.


While we note the need for quality editions of all classic literature, we hope to specialize in a misunderstood, underrepresented, and marginalized genre: literary horror. While some novels have achieved notoriety enough to be mass-produced and sold in thrift packages (Frankenstein, Dracula, and Tales of Poe, this means you), the works of masterful writers of the genre have often been disregarded. Arthur Machen, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, and Algernon Blackwood - among others - speak to a deep and universal realm of psychologies and social imaginations - one as deep and universal as those woven by Dickens, Cervantes, and Dante.


Classic ghost stories, horror, and weird fiction deserve the delicate and involved attention that they cannot find in copy/pasted discount editions, at a better price and with more intimate editorial hand than they receive in the excellent, if dry academic publications in university bookstores. While we may create an editorial wing to address non-horror masterpieces of literature, at this moment in time our concern is for the supernatural and weird - the classic ghost story. With care, precision, interest, and passion, we pledge to provide affordable, informative, and intriguing volumes of the most sublimely crafted members of the supernatural canon.

two versions of a pencil drawing