I’m excited to have four pieces of fiction published in The Sirens Call eZine #43. This issue celebrates the tenth Women in Horror Month, so it’s an all woman issue. Always free to read, there are 204 pieces of lit inside. That’s a lot of poetry, flash and fiction for FREE!
Many thanks to the Sirens Call staff of Nina D’Arcangela, Erin Lydia Prime, Gloria Bobrowicz, and Lee A. Forman for their hard work bringing this publication to life every month. Calls for submissions open up soon—I’ll be sharing that call here as soon as I see it.
I was standing in the kitchen when my phone notified me that I had new mail. I could tell from the subject line that it was important—the preliminary ballot for the annual Stoker awards announcement.
“Oh yea! Time to see who this year’s horror contenders are,” I said to my son as I moved in to intercept the last cup of coffee in the pot.
I opened my email with one hand as I poured with the other. Scrolling through, I saw familiar names. Many of my friends and colleagues made the cut. It’s exciting to see people you enjoy reading get recognition.
Then I came to the Superior Achievement in Long Fiction category and almost dropped my coffee. There was Bitter Suites, and my name, alongside some highly respectable authors.
This is my first time to have made the preliminary ballot, and I’m beyond excited. For me, this means I will be unable to sleep or eat until February 5 when the final ballot is announced. Bitter Suites has some crazy competition to make it to the next level. Regardless if I see myself on the final ballot or not, I feel like I have achieved a major milestone in my career.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read Bitter Suites, recommend it, give feedback, edit it, share posts, review and everything else. It means a lot. But now it’s back to Earth for me as I return to the glamorous real world of a writer—back in my closet to work harder, produce more and be grateful for what I’ve been given.
If you aren’t familiar with the Stokers award, it’s presented each year by the Horror Writer’s Association for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker. The awards have been presented since 1987. Read more about the Bram Stoker Award here.
Congratulations to everyone who made the preliminary ballot. This list should be recommended reading for everyone interested in horror. This is the best in the genre… and I am giddy to be included.
The 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot Announced
The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to announce the Preliminary Ballot for the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®. The HWA (seehttp://www.horror.org/) is the premier writers organization in the horror and dark fiction genre, with over 1,400 members. We have presented the Bram Stoker Awards in various categories since 1987 (seehttp://www.thebramstokerawards.com/).
Works on this ballot are not referred to as “nominees” or “finalists”. Only works appearing on the Final Ballot may be referred to as “nominated works” and their authors as “finalists”.
The HWA Board and the Bram Stoker Awards® Committee congratulate all those appearing on the Preliminary Ballot. Notes about the voting process will appear after the ballot listing.
2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot
Superior Achievement in a Novel
del Toro, Guillermo and Kraus, Daniel –The Shape of Water(Feiwel & Friends)
Di Orazio, Paolo –Dark Mary(Independent Legions Publishing)
Alex, the teenage protagonist from “A Clockwork Orange,” a dystopian novel by English writer Anthony Burgess.
People often assume horror writers must be psychopaths that keep bodies in the basement. The truth is, horror writers are too busy writing to worry about real bodies. Case in point—what books have you read by Norman Bates and Dexter lately?
In reality, horror writers tend to be some of the more emotionally stable people in our society. Anyone that says they don’t have negative thoughts and emotions sometimes is lying. We all go through dark times. Rather than bottle it up, writers of the dark arts express, deal and then transform that negative energy into something positive.
Writing is a form of therapy that can pay if you have the talent. Many writers capitalize on personal negative experiences by mining them for inspiration. I can’t think of any other line of work that pays for your emotional baggage.
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the fictional character created by Robert Bloch.
Personally, I’m often told that I have an upbeat, positive personality. People are surprised when they read some of my darker work, but it is because I write about terrible things that I can be so happy.
If I get mad at someone, including myself, I kill them with ink. There is nothing like a violent fictional bloodletting to put me in a good mood.
But rather than have me convince you, let science decide. The Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised is the industry standard for identifying psychopathic individuals. At £400 for the complete test kit, the official text would be outside of the Bates’ budget and mine as well.
Fortunately, for those of us without government backed funding, we can take a test based on the Hare version. It’s free, fast and available online here. I invite everyone I know—fellow writers, friends and fans—to take the test and share results. I scored an 18, so you are safe with me in a dark alley. Scores above 30 indicate psychopathy.
Michael C. Hall as Dexter, the mild mannered serial killer that targets other killers.
As a bonus, I invite writers to take the test from the mindset of a psychopath and try to score high. To write a compelling perspective we have to be able to slip into the skin of others. See how well you do when you test from a different mindset. As a psycho, I scored 32, so I made it.
What are your scores?
Note:This test is just for fun. Only a professional, which this test is not, can make a true assessment. Please don’t take this as anything more than an exercise in creativity and self assessment.
Mr. Smith and I attended the gala Bram Stokers Award Banquet. Photo courtesy of S. Kay Nash.
How can I possibly express what it was like to be at StokerCon 2016?
The best of the horror community walked the halls, mingling with the up-and-comers. It was a blur of friends, new and old. There were workshops teeming with more information than could possibly be absorbed in the time allotted. The panels were full of audience participation, demonstrating what a close knit community of writers and authors the Horror Writers Association remains.
Set all this collaboration and cooperation into the glittering Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The result was a singular experience–exhausting, invigorating, thrilling–and nothing will ever compare.
There will be other StokerCons. The next one is already set to take place in 2017 aboard the Queen Mary in California, but this one will always remain at the top of the list. Mostly, it’s because it was the first StokerCon and must, by the mysterious powers of numbers, remain in the number one spot. It will also remain in the top because the horror community demonstrated that, despite growing pains, we remain together.
Words are my livelihood, but sometimes a picture can express things an exhausted writer can’t. Tonight, I take the easy route and share the images I caught over the past week. Please enjoy while I go finish unpacking.
The Horror Writers Association is proud to announce we have entered into a partnership with the United for Libraries’ (part of the American Library Association) as part of the Authors for Libraries program. This is an unprecedented opportunity for the HWA to expand its Literacy/Library programming. What does it mean for membership? A lot.
Over the next several months, every dues paying member of the HWA will be enrolled in the United for Libraries database, which is used by libraries nationwide when they are looking for writers to do presentations, readings, or instructional classes. Libraries will be able to search by location and will also have the capability to contact writers outside their geographic area for Skype or other multi-media presentations. There is normally a $49 annual fee for any writer who joins the Authors for Libraries program, but enrollment is now a perk of being an HWA member.
In addition, throughout 2016 our Administrator, Brad Hodson, and the Library Committee will be working with United for Libraries to not only merge our databases but also post author profiles and book covers on the UfL webpage, share information about conferences, special events, literacy programs, and reading lists, while joining together to increase the visibility and funding of library programs and the special place horror has when it comes to getting people to read.
“This partnership isn’t just an exciting opportunity for HWA and its members, it’s also a major leap forward for the entire organization,” said HWA President Lisa Morton. “For years, HWA has engaged in library outreach and urged members to work more with their local libraries, so this is a perfect way to realize those goals. We look forward to working more closely with libraries to expand public awareness of, and appreciation for, horror literature.”
The HWA will also be participating in a special Horror panel at the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Finally, this will enable greater reach for the recommended reading list and new releases list that are located on the HWA website.
A quick note for those who like their writing and reading dark: now is the perfect time to join the Horror Writer’s Association! Because of the pro-rated dues schedule, membership just prices dropped—$37 as an Active/Affiliate/Academic/Associate member or $27 as a Supporting member for the rest of the year.
HWA is the best thing I ever did for myself as an author. It’s like a non-dysfunctional family—the more experienced authors are happy to guide the newbies. There is a strong sense within the HWA community that the stronger the parts, the stronger the whole.
In the short time since I’ve joined I’ve benefitted: I’ve had the honor of having one of my poems selected for publication in an upcoming electronic chapbook featuring poets from the second HWA Horror Poetry Showcase, great exposure. I’ve taken advantage of the mentor program, which is worth the pittance of a fee alone, but with so many great advantages of joining I still find the most valuable benefit is the community.
Having a large group of like minded people like HWA behind you, pushing you to to do your best and enjoying your efforts is an amazing experience. If you love the horror genre, either creating or absorbing it, I advise you to join this community and meet me in Las Vegas next May for the first ever StokerCon 🙂
From Lisa Morton, HWA President: (If you) haven’t yet joined HWA, today’s a great day to do it because our pro-rated dues schedule means prices dropped today – just $37 as an Active/Affiliate/Academic/Associate member or $27 as a Supporting member for the rest of 2015. Remember, you get access to our monthly Newsletter, our Mentor Program (which is now ready to take new writers!), our book promotional opportunities, local chapter events, our Grievance Committee, our discounts page, and so much more.
UPDATE: StokerCon tickets are now for sale and the official website is LIVE! Tickets are just $99 until June 5th. I predict StokerCon will sell out. Details at StokerCon2016.org!
Remember when I talked about the stunning news of the first ever StokerCon coming next year? Today it was announced on the Horror Writer’s Association Facebook page that registration will begin this weekend! From the page:
For those who missed the announcement, our Guest of Honor Authors so far for StokerCon2016 are: Jack Ketchum, Daniel Knauf, R.L. Stine, Leslie S Klinger, and our toastmaster is Stephen Jones-Editor. Expect Q&As with these guests, as well as readings, workshops, contests, critiques, pitch sessions, parties and the annual Bram Stoker Awards banquet! All of Vegas to entertain you and 500 of your closest friends in the horror business! Mark your calendars now: May 12th-15th, 2016 at The Flamingo!
Watch the StokerCon page for details, save your money and pack your bags – we’re going to Vegas!