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, June 15, 2018

Vote For Your Favorite Horror Novels and New Reviews Added to Index

This yer the NPR Sumer Reading theme is Horror. Click here to see all the details. You can vote for 5 of your favorite horror tiles and then follow along with the coverage all summer. There will be expert commentary and many many lists.  Yay.

I have also added four new reviews to the horror index:
Finally, now is the time that horror coverage starts to ramp up in preparation for Fall. I have a bunch of larger deadlines between now and the end of August, plus I have a few larger things coming soon. And, I have already begun recruiting posts for the October blog-a-thon. 

So get ready.

You can start by voting in the NPR poll.
 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees!!!

Yes triple exclamation points. This is my favorite award for me. I don’ even care who wins because I use it as a reading list. This year I have a read a few already but I put a few others on hold this morning.

I wrote about this year’s nominees, why it is a great list to use to make displays, and explained why you should use it as a readalike list [one of the only awards you can do that with], here.

Click through to read more.

Also don’t forget I have a Horror Awards archive, a one stop shop with the links to all of the horror and horror-esque awards.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My 2018 Halfway to Halloween Column in Library Journal

Twice a year I am invited to take over Neal Wyatt’s Reader’s Shelf column in Library Journal. [You can see all of my past lists in my Original Content Archive here. There are 11 now!] Every April I use it as an opportunity to celebrate “Halfway to Halloween.” Yes, I am still trying to make this a thing.

For the April list, I am allowed to pick any topic [for October, I have to do debuts]. This year I wanted to talk about books by some of the authors who joined me for Librarians’ Day at StokerCon 2018 as a thank you to them for freely giving their time.

Interestingly, this list was due two weeks before I left for the conference and I simply picked books I had read and enjoyed by six of the authors who joined me, but in the time between turning this list in and it being published, Christopher Golden won the Stoker for Best Novel for Ararat  and Grady Hendrix won best Nonfiction. Also Hematophages was nominated for a Splatterpunk Award in the category of Best Novel. So I think I chose well.

All of these titles are an excellent choice for public library collections.

Why not put out some horror books this week to celebrate Halfway to Halloween at your library?


Halfway to Halloween | The Reader’s Shelf

While spring breaks forth and gardening books take center stage, keep in mind that Halloween is coming. For collections that need some weeding and reseeding, here are titles worth adding. They range from a second look at a classic to voices fresh and familiar.
Many of today’s best horror writers ply their trade through short stories. Bram Stoker Award–winning author and editor Eric J. Guignard helps readers find these gems with a new series. The first installment is Exploring Dark Short Fiction: A Primer to Steve Rasnic Tem (Dark Moon. 2017. ISBN 9780998827520. pap. $13.95; ebk. ISBN 9780998827537), a fascinating study for fans seeking new reads and for librarians developing wide-ranging collections. The endeavor also includes expert commentary, critical essays, and original artwork. Volumes focused on Kaaron Warren, Nisi Shawl, and Jeffrey Ford are forthcoming.
Best-selling author Grady Hendrix contemplates the position of classic horror in the critically acclaimed Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction(Quirk. 2017. ISBN 9781594749810. pap. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781594749827). With chapters that address such beloved concepts as vampires, demonic possession, and creepy kids, the heavily illustrated book is packed with image after image of zany, pulp-y book covers from the era. Hendrix offers thoughtful and compelling discussions of these novels and articulates their enduring appeal. Biographies of authors (some still famous and some lost to the decades) are also provided. While serving as a fine resource for readers—especially those searching for the books of their youth or wanting to pick up ones they missed—this guide is also a joy owing to Hendrix’s infectious enthusiasm.
Stephen Kozeniewski’s skillful sf and horror blend The Hematophages (Sinister Grin. 2017. ISBN 9781944044558. pap. $15.99) chronicles the world of Paige Ambroziak. An academic who has never left her space outpost, Paige joins a team sent to find a lost ship that has been adrift for hundreds of years. Discovering more than that, the crew stumble upon the deadly hematophages, beings that feast upon the insides of their victims and have acquired an acute taste for human brains. Immediate and acerbic first-person narration mixes with terrifying scenes, strong science, and excellent worldbuilding, which all enhance the fast pace of this gross and great read.
A rising star of the weird fiction subgenre, Nadia Bulkin intrigues with her debut story compilation, She Said Destroy (Word Horde. 2017. ISBN 9781939905338. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781939905345). It features tales in which supernatural frights and real-world dread collide with power-hungry dictators, haunted hotels, cursed children, murderous monsters, bullies, “the final girl” trope, and much more. The author’s international upbringing and studies play out on the page; her stories weigh differing perspectives, give powerful voice to the forgotten, and find horror in experiences both extraordinary and mundane. In her hands, terror comes from the underlying truth that these stories are firmly rooted in the circumstances of our current society. Already the winner of Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy awards, Bulkin is an author not to be missed.
Savage Woods (Lyrical Underground. 2017. ISBN 9781601837516. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781601837509) by Mary SanGiovanni takes place in the forest of the eerie and haunted Pine Barrens of New Jersey. The landscape offers little sanctuary, but when Julia Russo’s raging ex forces her off the road, she must flee into the trees—an action that sends the police in after her. A master of cosmic horror, SanGiovanni evokes a Lovecraftian sensibility in this action-filled story in which ancient spirits rule the woods where Julia must now survive. Scary, suspenseful, smart, and gory, the novel is also beautifully set and described, with the forest becoming something of a second character.
The haunted mythology behind the deep, dark woods is a well-mined idea, but author Christopher Golden takes the fear even deeper—and into an icy cave—with Ararat (St. Martin’s. 2017. ISBN 9781250117052. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250117069), a story rooted in the Old Testament. Suspecting that they have at last found the remains of Noah’s Ark, a team of researchers climb to the top of a frosty mountain to extract its possible religious and historical treasures. They instead provoke a creature that has been waiting for centuries for new prey to arrive. The highly effective thrills of the narrative fuse with rapid plotting, plenty of tension, and high stakes. The result is a novel that will hook readers cold.
Neal Wyatt compiles LJ’s online feature Wyatt’s World and is the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers’ advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader’s Shelf should contact her directly at Readers_Shelf@comcast.net
This column was contributed by Becky Spratford, a Readers’ Advisor in Illinois. She is the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror (2d ed. ALA Editions, 2012) and a proud member of the Horror Writers Association. Learn more about her at raforall.blogspot.com

Thursday, April 19, 2018

This is Horror Award Winners 2017

Click here to see the all winners. I have also posted it below and linked, where applicable, to my reviews. Also, don’t forget I have this permanent page which archives all the horror and horror-esque awards. Use that page to find backlist winners too. They all make great sure bet horror suggestions.

Every book listed here is a great option to add to any public library collection. I have read all or part of every single title listed here [except Looming Low].

Finally, check out my popular post Using Awards Lists As A RA Tool for more advice.

I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski -cover

Novel of the Year

“I’m honored, and surprised. Thanks to everyone who voted. Thanks to my publisher, JournalStone. This Is Horror sets a high standard for inquiry and discussion without a hint of elitism or pretentiousness. The site’s reviews, articles, and interviews are offered in the best spirit of horror, which is (after all) a leveler, an admission of vulnerability. Horror embodies the knowledge that we may be smart and pretty and popular and well-off but at four a.m., alone with our worst fears and suspicions, we are all scared animals waiting for daybreak. I’ll try to live up to the honor of the award by staying true to that spirit. Thank you!”
—S.P. Miskowski, author of I Wish I Was Like You
THIS IS HORROR NOVEL OF THE YEAR

Novella of the Year

MappingTheInterior
“This is amazing, I’m floored, thank you thank you, voters, thank you, This is Horror, and thank you, Ellen Datlow, for getting me to write this one, and to the Tor.com team for, first, making it such a beautiful little book, and second, for getting it out into everybody’s hands and heads and hearts. This is a serious honor. Long live the form of the novella.”
—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mapping The Interior
THIS IS HORROR NOVELLA OF THE YEAR

Short Story Collection of the Year

Behold the Void Philip Fracassi - cover
“Wow. This is crazy. Thank you so very much to everyone who voted for Behold the Void. I was honored to be included as a nominee and am stunned to have my book voted ‘Best Story Collection of the Year.’ I have been deeply moved by the reception my debut story collection has received from readers and reviewers, and to now get this award leaves me speechless with gratitude. Thanks also to Michael Wilson and Bob Pastorella at This Is Horror, amazing advocates of this fantastic, weird and horrifying industry.”
—Philip Fracassi, author of Behold The Void
THIS IS HORROR SHORT STORY COLLECTION OF THE YEAR

Anthology of the Year

Looming Low, edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan - cover
“Wow! Thanks to everyone who voted for Looming Low Volume I. I’m absolutely thrilled that it has won a This Is Horror award, especially against such stiff competition. Justin and I received a number of great submissions and it was tough to choose the final table of contents but we were both very satisfied with how it turned out. Justin did the lion’s share of the editing, including the story order, and deserves a lot of credit for the final book. And another big thank you to everyone who shared social media posts, left reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, and helped promote the book in general. Cheers!”
—Sam Cowan, editor of Looming Low Volume I
THIS IS HORROR ANTHOLOGY OF THE YEAR
“Whoa, this sure is flattering! Looming Low was quite a large project with many people involved. I’m really proud with how it turned out, the authors did an excellent job, and the cover artists gave us some gorgeous art. I’d like to thank them all, and thank all the people who took the time to read the book. Cheers!”
—Justin Steele, editor of Looming Low Volume I
THIS IS HORROR ANTHOLOGY OF THE YEAR

Fiction Magazine of the Year

Black Static 62 March April 2018
Winner: Black Static
Runner-up: Apex Magazine
“This is a wonderful surprise. On behalf of all Black Static staff and contributors many thanks to everybody who voted for us.”
—Andy Cox, editor of Black StaticTHIS IS HORROR FICTION MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR

Publisher of the Year

“First I’d like to thank This Is Horror and the fans who voted for us. It’s such an honour. Then I’d also like to thank everyone who supports small presses and authors. I’ve been in this business now for about six years, and it’s a tough one. I’ve seen publishers come and go for various reasons, and I’ve learned from each one. So if you find a small press with quality products you enjoy, that supports authors and fellow creators and treats them with respect and loyalty, please continue supporting them by buying their books and telling others about them. Most publishers I know do this out of love and passion, but without your continued support, no matter how little, that passion will eventually die. ”
—Joe Mynhardt, CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing
THIS IS HORROR PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR

Fiction Podcast of the Year

PseudoPod Podcast
“The Editors would like to thank the This Is Horror Podcast and their audience for bestowing on us this honor for a second time. It is both humbling and heartening to know that our work means so much to so many, and that the quality we strive for is appreciated. Please spread the word—we have so many more things to show you in the dark.”
—Shawn Garrett and Alex Hofelich, co-editors of Pseudopod
THIS IS HORROR FICTION PODCAST OF THE YEAR
“We’re amazed and grateful to This is Horror readers and listeners for voting us the Best Fiction podcast for a second year! Massive thanks to all our writers, narrators and staff. And massive thanks too to the other finalists. This is an amazing time to be working in horror podcasting and it’s an honor to stand with them. And as ever, we’ll have more true stories for you this week.”
—Alasdair Stuart, host of Pseudopod
THIS IS HORROR FICTION PODCAST OF THE YEAR

Nonfiction Podcast of the Year

https://i2.wp.com/projectentertainmentnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/horror-show-2.jpg?w=400&ssl=1
“I’m honored and humbled. Our goal has always been to teach about horror’s past, its present, and its future, and it is wonderful to see the support for that endeavor. On behalf of myself, Dave Thomas, Mary SanGiovanni, Mike Lombardo, Coop, Phoebe, and Dungeonmaster 77.1, thank you!”
—Brian Keene, host of The Horror Show with Brian Keene
THIS IS HORROR NONFICTION PODCAST OF THE YEAR

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Top 20 Horror Book Blogs and Websites via Feedspot

Recently Feedspot released its list of the top 20 Horror Book Blogs and Websites here:
Horror Book Review Blogs List.The Best Horror Book Review blogs selected from thousands of Horror blogs and Book blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.These blogs are ranked based on following criteria
  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review
While RA for All: Horror made the list at #13 [not bad for my second, occasional blog], I am really posting this to let you see the other 19 options since you have already landed here on your own. This is a good list of places you can go to read more about he horror book world. I know, trust and visit many of the sites in this list myself. They feature essays, information, and reviews you can use to help patrons.

I have also added this list to my Horror Resources page so that you can access it anytime with just one click.

Monday, March 12, 2018

StokerCon 2018 Report

Horror legend Ramsey Campbell
and editor Don D'Auria
in the hotel lobby
I spent 2/28-3/4 in Providence at StokerCon 2018 in the Biltmore Hotel. I was the organizer of Librarians’ Day on 3/1, so that took most of my time. In this post I will report in detail about that day and then I have a few other comments about the rest of my time.

However, before I begin, I would like to make an overall comment about StokerCon. This is now my second time attending, but my first as one of the organizers. I have both attended and organized a wide variety of library conferences in my time and I have to say, even though StokerCon is fairly new, they do a wonderful job. The Con is extremely well run but more importantly, the attendees were all happy to be there and excited to be networking and learning with and from each other. For example, I saw huge names like Ramsey Campbell, Victor LaValle, or F Paul Wilson on a panel with new writers and the established authors were not only kind to the newbies, but they also learned from them.

I loved every minute I was at StokerCon and I have these men in the photo to thank. From left to right: Kevin Wetmore, Brad Hodson, Brian Matthews, and Jim Chambers. They were the ones doing the bulk of the organizing of SotkerCon. They did a wonderful job.

On Thursday 3/1 though, I was in charge, and after months of planning, Librarians’ Day went off without a hitch.  I would like to once again thank Kristi Chadwick for all her help coordinating this event with me. Her work with the publishers, doing local promotion [we had an amazing turn out with over 60 people in the room at one point!], and handling any logistical questions from the attendees before the event was invaluable.

Below is a brief overview [with pictures] of what was discussed that day and over the entire weekend.

The day began with Dacre Stoker [pic- right] talking about how his great-granduncle’s masterpiece, Dracula, has remained revelent in pop culture. It was a fascinating and broad look at the influence of the text over time.

He also talked about the October release of the first Stroker estate sanctioned prequel to Dracula entitled Dracul written by Dacre Stoker with J.D. Barker. From Goodreads:
It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey's tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. He is armed with mirrors and crucifixes and holy water and a gun - and is kept company by a bottle of plum brandy. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night - a night that will prove to be the longest of his life. Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point - a childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.  
A riveting novel of Gothic suspense, Dracul reveals not only the true origins of Dracula himself, but also of his creator, Bram Stoker . . . and of the elusive, enigmatic woman who connects them.
Place your orders now. Besides the Dracula connection Barker, the co-author here is becoming a big name in thriller, suspense, and horror himself.

The next panel was moderated by me and was entitled, “Why Horror Matters: A Conversation with Experts on the Genre and Its Practitioners.” It featured Christopher Geissler [the head archivist from the John Hay Library which holds the papers of H.P. Lovecraft among other horror legends], Andy Davidson, Me, Grady Hendrix, Les Klinger and Eric Guignard. A few interning points that came up in our conversation:
  • I talked about how in times of difficulty some people gravitate toward horror to feel better. When things are bad, they look for something worse to help them feel better.
  • Someone mentioned that everyone is scared of something.
  • Grady talked at length about what a large part women have played in horror and its history.
  • Eric talked about his series of printers on writing by short dark fiction, by living authors. Click here for more detail on that.
  • Les talked about what he has learned annotating great works like those by Lovecraft and Shelley.
  • Andy talked about how he mixes genre and why he gravitates to horror as the anchor to his work.
  • Christopher talked about the archive, what they are preserving there, who uses it, and why it is important.
It was a great way to get the real conversation about horror going for the day. Dacre got us excited and then this panel made us focus on purpose.

L to R: Morgan, Stephen, Mary, Nadia
The final morning panel was moderated by Bram Stoker Nominated author Mary SanGiovanni. Entitled, “A Panel of Fresh Voices for Your Collections. This panel gathered newer authors who many library workers may not have heard of before, including Nadia Bulkin, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Morgan Sylvia.

Mary talked to them about their writing, what the publishing landscape is like today, how they get the word out about their books, and what they are working on next. I should note, I have featured all of these authors here on the blog [or in Nadia's case I will soon]. These are authors you should know about and add to your collections.

This panel was fascinating  because rarely do we library workers get to hear from the smaller authors, those who are just starting to break in with work that is being noticed. These authors are on small presses now, but they will all be working with larger publishers soon. For example, in the bottom right corner of that picture, feverishly taking notes, is Rick Chillot a senior editor from Quirk Books.

Speaking of Rick...

After a fun lunch where panelists, authors, and attendees all got to mingle and chat with one and other, we had the panel everyone was most excited about-- “Horror Programming at Your Library,” moderated by J.G. Faherty, the Library and Literacy Coordinator for HWA and featuring 2 pairs of people who have worked to do just what the title says. Liz Rieur, librarian from Haverhill [MA] Public Library who organizes the extremely popular Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival with best selling and Bram Stoker Award winning author Christopher Golden, who appeared with her on the panel as well as Grady Hendrix and his editor Rick Chillot from Quirk Books.

As you can imagine, there were many questions from the library workers in the audience, especially for Liz, on how to do programming around horror. Faherty also talked about how the HWA can help connect us with local authors to start planning our own programming.

On a side note, on Saturday I spoke on this same topic to the authors in a program entitled, "Promoting Your Book To Bookstores and Libraries." On the left you can see a picture of our panel featuring [L to R] Jeff Strand, Me, J.H. Moncrieff, and Grady Hendrix. This was also moderated by Faherty. I was very popular. The authors want to know how libraries work and are often surprised when I begin by saying, "The first thing you need to know is that libraries are giant bureaucracies, even the little ones." I am always happy to share how libraries work with authors.

Finally we ended the day with Book Buzzes from publihsers and my Mass Library System book talk on Lovecraft inspired titles from 2016 [when in Rome]. The details and links to the slides were originally posted here on 3/1/18.

That evening, Les Klinger took me on a little a trip up the hill to go to Brown University to visit Christopher Geissler at the Hay where Paul La Farge, author of The Night Ocean, gave a lecture about Lovecraft's friend, the enigmatic [to say the least] Robert Barlow. It was fascinating. Also, in a bit of irony, I read La Farge's novel on my trip to StokerCon 2017.

L to R: Chambers, LaValle, Addison, Weller
That was Thursday. I was still around for 2 more full days, but they went by in a whirlwind. I attended panels, had fun at all three late night events-- A dramatic reading of Lovecraft's only play, the Final Frame Film Festival, and a hilarious battle of monsters, pictured here on the right. There were two teams. The team you see featured Victor LaValle, Linda Addison, and Sam Weller. The teams would each pull a monster out of the pumpkin and then Jim would have someone from the audience pull a location. The authors had to then tell a story of how their monster would beat the other monster in that place. There were judges to the side to comment on their stories, but we the audience had the final say. Some of the monsters who battled were the Blob, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Valdemort, Medusa, Godzilla and more.

Me and Linda
Over the weekend I made new friends with the people behind Raw Dog Screaming Press, Flame Tree Press, and Eraserhead Press. I book talked some of the titles for sale by the Con bookseller so that they got a few extra sales. I got to catch up with many old friends, like Linda Addison who received the Lifetime Achievement Award [an honor I am proud to have played a part in] and meet a whole slew of new and interesting writers, many of whom I have already been in touch with since.

And finally, the Con ended for me with the Stoker Awards Banquet where I got to sit next to horror legend, Ramsey Campbell and his wife during dinner and the ceremony. I am happy to report he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I could chat with him and his wife all day.

Official program for the
awards ceremony
For the second year in a row, I had the honor of presenting the award for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction wit Les Klinger, and we got to give that award to Grady Hendrix for Paperbacks from Hell. It was so great to give the award to a friend and be there when he received it.

Here is the link to my post with all of the nominees and winners.

That's the summary of what happened. I can't wait t start planning Librarians' Day for StokerCon 2019 in Grand Rapids.