Tag Archives: horror

The Sirens Call eZine #43—FREE READS

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!

Besides my four pieces, some of the best names in feminine horror are included—Nina D’ArcangelaErin Lydia PrimeNaching T. KassaAshley Davis, Mary Genevieve Fortier, A.F. StewartErin Sweet-Al MehairiTracie McbrideStephanie AyersMelissa R. MendelsonSheri WhiteLoren Rhoads, Sonora Taylor, E.A. Black, Tawny KipphornMercedes Murdock Yardley…  out of 204 pieces of work I know I’ve missed someone. Best way to find out is go have a read yourself. Did I mention it’s free?

Visit Siren’s Call Publications to download this issue,
or download the issue here.

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.

Bitter Suites Makes Stoker Preliminary Ballot

The view from my phone…

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 (see http://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 (see http://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)

Katsu, Alma – The Hunger (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

King, Stephen – The Outsider (Scribner)

Maberry, Jonathan – Glimpse (St. Martin’s Press)

Malerman, Josh – Unbury Carol (Del Rey)

Manzetti, Alessandro – Naraka (Independent Legions Publishing)

Oates, Joyce Carol – Hazards of Time Travel (Ecco)

Reid, Iain – Foe (Gallery/Scout Press)

Saadawi, Ahmed – Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel (Penguin Books)

Stoker, Dacre and Barker, J.D. – Dracul (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Barsa, Michael – The Garden of Blue Roses (Underland Press)

Fine, Julia – What Should Be Wild (Harper)

Gordon, Jerry – Breaking the World (Apex Book Company)

Grau, T.E. – I Am the River (Lethe Press)

Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Rust Maidens (Trepidatio Publishing)

Lieske, Ryan – Fiction (Burning Willow Press, LLC)

Lye, Harriet Alida – The Honey Farm: A Novel (Liveright)

Setchfield, Nick – The War in the Dark (Titan Books)

Sorensen, Chris – The Nightmare Room (Harmful Monkey Press)

Stage, Zoje – Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press)

Tremblay, Tony – The Moore House (Twisted Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Alameda, Courtney – Pitch Dark (Feiwel & Friends)

Ernshaw, Shea – The Wicked Deep (Simon Pulse-Simon & Schuster)

Heidicker, Christian McKay – Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Ireland, Justina – Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray)

Kane, Dani – Wormholes: Book One of Axles and Allies (Barking Deer Press)

Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books)

Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster)

Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver (Gigi Publishing)

Watson, Mary – The Wren Hunt (Bloomsbury Publishing)

White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Ahmed, Saladin – Abbott (BOOM! Studios)

Antone, Alex and Wielgosz, Dave James – Cursed Comics Cavalcade (DC Comics)

Azzarello, Brian – Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train (Image Comics)

Bellaire, Jordie – Redlands Volume 1: Sisters by Blood (Image Comics)

Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios)

Hammond, Warren and Viola, Joshua – Denver Moon: Metamorphosis (Hex Publishers LLC)

LaValle, Victor – Victor LaValle’sDestroyer (BOOM! Studios)

Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Volume 1: The Black Barn (Image Comics)

Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 3: Haven (Image Comics)

Pichetshote, Pornsak – Infidel (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Bailey, Michael – Our Children, Our Teachers (Written Backwards)

Feldman, Stephanie – The Barrens (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2018)

Fracassi, Philip – Shiloh (Lovecraft eZine Press)

Hill, Joe – You Are Released (Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales) (Scribner)

Kelley, Brent Michael – Cruce Roosters (Omnium Gatherum)

Kurtz, Ed – Black’s Red Gold (At the Mercy of Beasts) (JournalStone)

Malik, Usman T. – Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung (Nightmare Magazine Issue #74)

Mason, Rena – The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) (Adrenaline Press)

Matthews, Mark – Body of Christ (Wicked Run Press)

Smith, Angela Yuriko – Bitter Suites (Createspace)

Sullivan, Todd – Shape Shifting Priestess of the 1,000 Year War (Schlock! Horror!) (HellBound Books Publishing LLC)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

Deady, Tom – “All Summers End” (Unnerving Magazine, Issue #8) (Unnerving)

Eldridge, Tori – “Life After Breath”(Running Wild Anthology of Stories Volume 2) (Running Wild Press)

English, Kary – “Cold, Silent, and Dark” (Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath) (WordFire Press)

Fawver, Kurt – “The Gods in Their Seats, Unblinking” (The Dissolution of Small Worlds) (Lethe Press)

Herrman, Heather – “The Woman in the Blue Dress” (Dark Screams: Volume Ten) (Hydra)

Landry, Jess – “Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Murray, Lee – “Dead End Town”(Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2) (IFWG Publishing International)

Neugebauer, Annie – “Glove Box” (The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine Volume 3, Issue 4-July 2018)

Power, Kit – “Fish Hooks” (New Fears 2) (Titan Books)

Robertson, Andrew – “Her Royal Counsel”(Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland) (Exile Editions)

Taff, John F.D. – “A Winter’s Tale” (Little Black Spots) (Grey Matter Press)

Ward, Kyla Lee – “And in Her Eyes the City Drowned” (Weirdbook #39) (Wildside Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

Carmen, Christa – Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked (Unnerving)

Files, Gemma – Spectral Evidence (Trepidatio Publishing)

Guignard, Eric J. – That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Iglesias, Gabino – Coyote Songs (Broken River Books)

Niveau, Thana – Octoberland (PS Publishing Ltd)

O’Neill, Gene – Frozen Shadows: And Other Chilling Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Paramaditha, Intan – Apple and Knife (Brow Books)

Smith, John Claude – Occasional Beasts: Tales (Omnium Gatherum)

Snyder, Lucy A. – Garden of Eldritch Delights (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Taff, John F.D. – Little Black Spots (Grey Matter Press)

Waggoner, Tim – Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection (Nightscape Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Aster, Ari – Hereditary (PalmStar Media)

Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)

Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: Screaming Meemies, Episode 01:09 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)

Cosmatos, Panos and Stewart-Ahn, Aaron – Mandy (SpectreVision)

Dyson, Jeremy and Nyman, Andy – Ghost Stories (Warp Films, Altitude Film Entertainment, Catalyst Global Media in association with Lionsgate)

Fradley, Jeff, McBride, Danny and Green, David Gordon – Halloween (Blumhouse Productions, Miramax, Night Blade Holdings, Rough House Pictures, Trancas International Films, Universal Pictures)

Garland, Alex – Annihilation (DNA Films, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Skydance Media)

Heisserer, Eric – Bird Box (Bluegrass Films, Chris Morgan Productions, Universal Pictures)

Ray, Billy and Smith, Mark L. – Overlord (Bad Robot, Paramount Pictures)

Woods, Bryan, Beck, Scott, and Krasinski, John – A Quiet Place (Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Chambers, James, Grey, April, and Masterson, Robert – A New York State of Fright: Horror Stories from the Empire State (Hippocampus Press)

Datlow, Ellen – The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea (Night Shade Books)

Dewar, Simon – Suspended in Dusk II (Grey Matter Press)

Guignard, Eric J. – A World of Horror (Dark Moon Books)

Murano, Doug – Welcome to the Show (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Murray, Lee – Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press)

Neal, David T. and Scott, Christine M. – The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror (Nosetouch Press)

O’Regan, Marie – Phantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the Genre (Titan Books)

Ward, D. Alexander – Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Worthen, Lyn – Quoth the Raven (Camden Park Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Connolly, John – Horror Express (PS Publishing)

Cutchins, Dennis R. and Perry, Dennis R. – Adapting Frankenstein: The Monster’s Eternal Lives in Popular Culture (Manchester University Press)

Gambin, Lee – The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)

Hopton, Sarah Beth – Woman at the Devil’s Door: The Untold True Story of the Hampstead Murderess (Red Lightning Books)

Ingham, Howard David – We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror (Room 207 Press)

Jones, Darryl – Sleeping with the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror (Oxford University Press)

Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life (Crystal Lake Publishing) 

Phillips, Kendall R. – A Place of Darkness: The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema (University of Texas Press)

Poole, W. Scott – Wasteland: The Great Ward and the Origins of Modern Horror(Counterpoint)

Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

Boston, Bruce – Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing)

Clark, G.O. – The Comfort of Screams (Alban Lake Publishing)

Cowen, David E. – Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press)

Fletcher, Joe – The Hatch (Brooklyn Arts Press)

Lynch, Donna – Witches (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Shepard, Oliver – Thirteen Nocturnes (Ikonograph Press)

Simon, Marge and Manzetti, Alessandro – War (Independent Legions Publishing)

Tantlinger, Sara – The Devil’s Dreamland (Strangehouse Books)

West, Jacqueline – Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions (Alban Lake Publishing)

Wren, Twyla – Gwendolyn Witch and Other Macabria (Independently Published)

Please note these works must NOT be referred to as “Bram Stoker Award® Nominees” until the Final Ballot is formally announced on February 5).

Are Horror Writers Psychopaths? Test Yourself

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.

Back from StokerCon 2016


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.

I’ll share more details when I get caught up.

HWA Partners with Authors for Libraries

A message from author JG Faherty on the Horror Writer Association’s Facebook page Sept. 21:

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, hwalogosmallsquarewhich 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.

The Braid: Now Available for Pre-Order!

The Braid weditThe Braid, put on hold due to an upcoming competition, is back on the publishing queue and available now on Amazon for pre-order.

After I studied the judge for the competition I decided something less spooky might be appreciated and changed direction.

The Braid is officially released on July 31. If you’re interested in a copy for review, send me a message with a link to your blog and I’ll be in touch.

It all starts when you tie the knot.

Why HWA?

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 6.48.34 AMA 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.

StokerCon Registration Begins!

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!