ALA Editions Webinar

Slides are here.

RA for All...The Road Show!

I can come to your library, book club meeting, or conference to talk about how to help your readers find their next good read. Click here for more information.

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 24: Free Horror Webinar for Librarians with ME!

 ALA Store

Today's post is to tell you about the FREE webinar I am doing in conjunction with my publisher, ALA Editions on Thursday, October 30th.  Click here for all of the details and to sign up for FREE!

I have reposted the important info with links below.  But here's what you are going to get:

30 minutes of me doing a prepared talk on WHY people love horror with a few author examples.
30 minutes of live questions from any of you asking me about specific books or horror related issues at your library.

Remember, this is sponsored by my publisher, so I am going to be pushing the hundreds of title suggestions available in my book, and on this blog, which is your FREE update to the book.

In fact, to get you excited for signing up and possibly buying the book, click here to get a preview of my slides which includes a coupon on slide 2!

I hope to "see" you there next week. It can be your lunch break! Well, only if you can handle talking horror while eating.  I can, but I know I am weird that way.


Horror Readers' Advisory for Halloween!
with Becky Spratford
Thursday, October 30, 2014
1:00pm ET | 12:00pm CT
11:00am MT | 10:00am PT 

60 Minutes
Halloween is right around the corner, and the demand for horror books is peaking! In this free webinar, horror expert Becky Spratford will teach you the basics of providing great readers'- advisory services for students and patrons of all ages.
You'll learn how to provide age- and community-appropriate resources for your readers as well as how to avoid potential problem areas. Don't miss this opportunity to learn! Becky Spratford has been a Readers' Advisor for patrons ages 13 and up for over 14 years at the Berwyn Public Library (IL). She has taught at the graduate level and trains librarians all over the world. Spratford runs two popular and critically acclaimed blogs, RA for All ( and RA for All: Horror ( and writes content for EBSCO's NoveList database. She is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Horror (ALA Editions, 2012) and is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 23: Library Journal’s Reader’s Shelf Horror List

Library Journal posted my horror list yesterday.  You can enjoy it now in print or online.


Toil and Trouble: Spooky Halloween Reads | The Reader’s Shelf

It’s Halloween—time to get ready for the hordes of patrons who will begin to haunt the library and are in the mood for a good scare. From the hard-core enthusiast to the more timid bibliophile looking for a taste of terror, this list will help librarians arm themselves with some bloody-good suggestions.
            amity102214 Toil and Trouble: Spooky Halloween Reads | The Readers Shelf   thenewblack102214 Toil and Trouble: Spooky Halloween Reads | The Readers Shelf
Josh Malerman’s terrifying debut, Bird Box (Ecco: HarperCollins. 2014. ISBN 9780062259653. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062259677), immerses readers in a claustrophobic world in which the only way to survive an unknown threat is never to open your eyes. A young mother and her two children brave these strange horrors, piloting a boat downriver to a possible place of salvation and keeping their eyes shut. Told both in the present and via flashbacks to four years before when the known world ceased to exist, Malerman’s novel presents a deep and oppressive sense of dread.
On an isolated, uninhabited island a few miles off the mainland, a group of Boy Scouts and their leader embark on a survival excursion in Nick Cutter’s The Troop (Pocket. 2014. ISBN 9781476717722. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781476717753). The outing is interrupted by the appearance of a stranger, the Hungry Man, who is completely consumed physically and mentally by hunger. Now the scouts’ fight to stay alive really begins, and they are forced to face monsters both of this world and unearthly. The distress never stops, the panic keeps escalating, and the gore is bountiful in this fluidly shifting plot. However, there is more than just visceral fear at work here; there is also the desperation of these characters knowing that they are trapped, contagious, and doomed.
Haunted house lovers who find popular adult writers a little too intense can try the recent YA offering Amity (EgmontUSA. 2014. ISBN 9781606841563. $18.99; ebk. ISBN 9781606843802) by Micol Ostow. It purposely plays off the anxiety and trepidation associated with the infamous town of Amityville, NY, but do not mistake the homage of the title as a sign of a copycat story. Instead, Ostow weaves a distinct and unsettling tale of two families, living in a house called Amity, on two different time lines, ten years apart. As the evil of the house slowly reveals itself, people are corrupted, frightening events take place, and no one is left unscathed. Or is it all in their heads? Once inside Ostow’s dark, distinctive world, it is hard to be sure what is real.
What is a list of Halloween stories without some vampires? Lauren Owen’s debut, The Quick(Random. 2014. ISBN 9780812993271. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780679645054), introduces James Norbury, a shy young Victorian poet who accidentally gets wrapped up in the complicated and secretive Aegolius Club. Owen’s narrative has the leisurely pace of the gothic novels from the era in which it is set, but those who settle in and let the well-drawn characters, intrigue, and intricate plot sweep them away are in for a great ride. Think Dickens meets Dracula for a sense of what Owen’s textured novel has to offer.
Short stories are often a great bet during the season because they allow the casual horror fan to indulge in snippets of creepy fun. A superb and recent collection is The New Black (Dark Horse. 2014. ISBN 9781940430041. pap. $15.95; ebk. ISBN 9781940430126), edited by Richard Thomas and with an introduction by Bram Stoker Award–winning author Laird Barron. Featuring tense, atmospheric, and twisted stories by acclaimed authors Benjamin Percy, Roxane Gay, Craig Davidson (who published The Troop under the pseudonym Nick Cutter), and more, these neonoir tales merge literary fiction with any combination of dark genres from crime and horror to fantasy and Southern gothic, with touches of the grotesque along the way. Those who are looking to dip their toes into the forbidden depths of chills and thrills should start here for a sampling of the best.
Finally, try one of the traditional titles of horror. The 40th anniversary edition of James Herbert’s iconic The Rats (Pan Macmillan. 2015. ISBN 9781447264521. $32.95; ebk. ISBN 9780330469203), which will feature a new foreword by Neil Gaiman, is set to be released in January 2015. But why wait? Most libraries likely already have an older copy of this backlist gem lurking on their shelves. Herbert’s grisly novel takes the ubiquitous, urban menace—rats—and unleashes a more intelligent and predatory version onto the populace of London with gruesomely petrifying results. You think zombies are scary? At least they don’t actually exist. (Right?) Get patrons in on the buzz that will certainly follow Gaiman’s contribution by recommending this disturbing classic.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 22: Prizes for Libraries Who Celebrate Halloween Haunts

The Horror Writers Association is running a contest for libraries.  You can win prizes just for using their resources to make you look better.

Back at the beginning of this marathon month, I had this post about the HWA’s Halloween Haunts program.  But to recap, there is at least 1 post every day by a member of the organization talking about horror, halloween, or their work.  There is a wealth of information here, and all of it makes you look more responsive and better prepared to your patrons seeking frightening reads.

So you should already be checking Halloween Haunts at least once a week during this month.

But just in case you were not, I wanted to point out this wonderful opportunity.  See below for details or click here.  You still have time to email your entries to

Good luck!

Halloween Haunts: Horror Writers Association Goes to the Library

This year, for the first time, the Horror Writers Association invited libraries to get involved with Halloween Haunts and help promote the event to their patrons. Libraries were asked to post HH announcements to their online sites, in their libraries, or to involve HH in their teen reads and literacy programs–and then submit photos of screenshots of their efforts.
All libraries that participate are entered in a raffle to win one of the following prizes:
  • Grand Prize: $100 for an in-library Halloween party or event or to support in-library literacy or creative writing programs
  • First Prize: $50 for an in-library Halloween party or event or to support in-library literacy or creative writing programs
  • Second Prize: A basket of horror books donated by members of the HWA.
  • Third Prize: An in-library Skype visit from a horror writer for a creative writing discussion and/or reading of scary stories.
Here are the entries received as of October 19. Many thanks to the folks at these libraries for participating in Halloween Haunts and for showing their support for the horror genre and the Horror Writers Association. The winners of the raffle will be announced on November 1. Until then, there’s still time to help spread the word and enter the drawing. Entries may be sent to

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 21-- Just in Time Horror Reading Links

It is 10 days until Halloween, and while I could have a long, witty and/or analytical  post, I know, from working the adult fiction desk myself, that right now you need quick links and ideas.

So enough intro, here are the goods to help you RIGHT NOW.  Of course if you have time, perusing this blog will also unveil a wealth of info.

If you cannot find a suggestion here, you are truly living in a horror novel.

Good Luck!

Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days of Horror--Day 20: What Do You Need To Survive A Horror Movie?

Today I am running the Monday Discussion on both blogs because it is a good one.

Let me have the person who suggested it set the stage for you:
As Halloween approaches many rituals go into full swing. Costume hunting, pumpkin carving, and of course, scary movie watching. No matter how many times you see the same story, you still get a kick out of it (or still scream at the ghostly scene). While watching these movies I always find myself thinking, you know, if she didn't go into the basement alone she might have made it. Or better yet, if you're gonna go in a dark forest you might want to have fresh batteries in your flashlight first, right?
We are looking for bloggers like you to create a post talking about the things they would want to have if they were stuck in a spooky movie. Whether it's garlic to ward off vampires, a shovel to thump zombies with, or a goofy sidekick who you know you could outrun, we'd love to hear what you'd have in your crate to make it through the entire movie.
What a fun idea from the people at Man Crates.  They even provided a cool graphic which I have embedded below to help get your creative juices flowing.  It is kind of small, so I also uploaded a nice clear pdf that you can read in a larger format by clicking here.

So for today's Monday Discussion... what would you put in your "survive a horror movie" crate?

I'll go first.  I would definitely have extra batteries for everything. The batteries always seem to run out on phones and/or flashlights all of the time in those movies.  In fact, I am going to say 5 extra flashlights and 2 extra cell phones, plus a mess load of extra batteries should do it.  Some granola bars to stave off hunger (they are light to carry and yummy to eat) as well as a wooden spear or bat.  I don't know how to shoot a gun and would probably hurt myself with a knife or sword, but a club or bat made of wood with a sharpened end could do a lot of damage to a wide range of monsters.

Your turn. Leave a comment with what you would put in your Horror Movie Survival Crate.

And thanks to Man Crates for getting in touch.  This will be fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 19: True Crime for Horror Fans

Attention Librarians!  Horror readers are no different than your other genre readers. Although they may prefer horror, it is not the only thing they read. In fact, it is our job as Reader’s Advisors to use our knowledge and resources to help our patrons to identify new books they might enjoy if only they knew these books existed.

In my book, I have an entire chapter on “whole collection” options for horror fans.  You can also find posts on these options by using my “not quite horror” tag her on the blog.

But today, I wanted to highlight one of the most common crossover genres for horror fans...True Crime.  Thankfully, they are easy to find at the library since they are all shelved together under the same Dewey number (364.1523), but the quality in that large section of books ranges widely. 

So, here are my favorite lists and resources to suggest some True Crime to your horror fans:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 Days of Horror-- Day 18: Lots of Becky’s Horror Picks Available With One Click

If you have the October 15, 2014 Library Journal, you will see that I have taken over Neal Wyatt’s Reader’s Shelf Column on the next to last page. I now stage this coup 2x per year (October and April) to suggest horror stories for a public library audience.

I am not allowed to re-post the list here on the blog until it goes live on the website and sometimes they wait until 10/31 to get to that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have many other lists to share with you.

In my permanent page “Becky’s Original Horror Lists,” I have links to the past Reader’s Shelf columns and other lists I have made over the years for the library.

This is the panic point for many librarians during the Halloween season.  We are past the half-way point of the month and you have already given out all of your go-to horror suggestions.  People are going to start coming in faster now, descending upon you wanting a scary book, and your mind is blank....AAAAAAAHHHHH.

Seriously though, that’s why I am am here.  Click on “Becky’s Original Horror Lists” or use my Review Index to find plenty of suggestions to help you fight off the hordes and pacify them with a good read.

Of course, if you have my book, you are on easy street because there are hundreds of annotated suggestions right at your fingertips.  If you need the book now, consider buying the digital copy for your library. You could have it today.

On a final non-horror side note, Neal’s  Reader’s Shelf column whether by her or a guest is an excellent resource to find solid, librarian vetted titles, grouped into interesting categories.  It is not always by genre.  Click here for a rich archive full of suggestions that you can use all year long.