Summer Scares 2019 Resources

Click here to immediately access the Summer Scares FAQ and Resource page so that you can add some professionally vetted horror titles into your reading suggestions and fiction collections for all age levels.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WiHM: Shirley Jackson's Legacy and Award

Women writing horror today have much to owe to Shirley Jackson.  When "The Lottery" was written in 1948, she jolted America into the reality of the sinister actions lurking just under the surface of bucolic, small town America.  She was not the first person to set a scary tale in a small town, but she was doing it as a woman, which in and of itself was shocking.

In order to honor Jackson's legacy and importance, her estate has set up an award:
In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards have been established for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic. 
Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery.” Her work continues to be a major influence on writers of every kind of fiction, from the most traditional genre offerings to the most innovative literary work. National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem has called Jackson “one of this century’s most luminous and strange American writers,” and multiple generations of authors would agree.
One of the nice side effects of this award is that while it is not officially only bestowed upon female writers, it is conscious of the contribution of women in a way no other major dark fiction award is.

As a result, the lists of past nominees and winners includes a ton of female writers of dark fiction!  This is an excellent resource to use to identify Women in Horror, specially those on the edges of pure horror, which tends to be very male dominated both in readers and critically acclaimed writers.

But as we all know, there are plenty of women who love horror.

So, while WiHM may be winding down this week, you can identify excellent women who are writing terrifying tomes all year long with a quick click here.

And as a special help to us librarians, these are going to be among the most mainstream options.  These are titles you probably already have in your collections.  Now you have no excuse not to suggest some great scary titles.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This Is Horror Winners and Bram Stoker Nominees

Here is the link to the winners of the This is Horror Awards announced this morning, including Horror Novel of the Year and one of my favs of 2014 hands down, Bird Box.

I have also posted all of the winners below.

Yesterday, the final Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards was also released. Hint, Bird Box is on there too [why haven't you read it yet?!?!]. Click through to see the full final ballot.

This Is Horror Awards 2014: Winners

It’s that time again. We’re announcing the winners of the This Is Horror Awards 2014. Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who voted, it’s your participation that makes the This Is Horror Awards such a special occasion. Now to the winners.

This Is Horror Awards 2014: Winners

Novel of the Year

Bird Box
You write because you love reading, and you write horror because you believe in the monsters, you believe in the imagination, you believe in the dark. I BELIEVE IN THE DARK. Maybe you start with poems, unrelated chunks, paragraphs. This may lead to short, freaky stories. Then you’re finally writing books and (holy cow) now you’re publishing books. And then you receive a notice that your book, your scary book, has won the best novel prize from a great website, a purity in the field. Nobody does it better than “This is Horror” and so not only is this a glorious chain of events for me, it’s also a magnificent HONOR. Thank you, This is Horror, and may I always maintain my end of the bargain, that when a reader reads a book of mine they will think, ‘THIS is horror.’

Film of the Year

Winner: SnowpiercerRunner-up: The Babadook

TV Series of the Year

Short Story Collection of the Year

After The People Lights Have Gone Off Stephen Graham Jones

I feel like the Hamburglar: I tiptoed in theatrically behind all those other excellent collections and stole this one away. Thanks to Richard Thomas and Dark House Press for making After the People Lights Have Gone Off such a pretty book, and getting it out in the world, and thanks to all the editors and magazines and anthologies I wrote most of these stories for, and thanks to everybody who read and voted on it. And thanks to horror, for always being there each time I turn the lights off.

Anthology of the Year

Burnt Tongues Chuck Palahniuk

I know I can speak for Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer when I say that we’re honored to win this award. It’s been a long journey from the original workshops and nominations, to the final selections, to putting this out into the world. Chuck says, “We return to troubling films and books because they don’t pander to us—their style and subject matter challenge, but to embrace them is to win something worth having for the rest of our lives,” and I couldn’t agree more. Medallion Press has been extremely supportive, as have the authors, some going on tour and reading with Chuck, the overall reaction from readers somewhere between thrilled and scarred for life. It’s really been a group effort, working with Dennis and Chuck, as well as all of the talented authors to bring this eclectic collection of transgressive stories out into the light. Medallion had this to say, as well: “It’s been a privilege to join Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer on their mission to bring the remarkable work of twenty authors to a wider audience, and we’re grateful to This Is Horror for honoring each of them with this award.”

Publisher of the Year

Severed Press

Winner: Severed PressRunner-up: ChiZine Publications

On behalf of all the editors, cover artists and of course authors, I would like to say a huge thank you for voting Severed Press Publisher of the Year 2014. To have all their hard work recognised this way means a great deal to us.

Magazine of the Year

Nightmare Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams February 2015
Winner: Nightmare MagazineRunner-up: Fangoria
Wow, thank you so much! It’s quite an honor to be selected as ‘Magazine of the Year,’ especially amongst such stiff competition! Thanks so much too to all of the writers and editors who work on Nightmare with me–without them, of course, it wouldn’t exist.

UK Event of the Year

dead by dawn logo
Winner: Dead by DawnRunner-up: FrightFest

Book Cover of the Year

Last Projector

It’s an absolute thrill to win Best Book Cover of the Year. Thanks to the voters, This Is Horror, and to David James Keaton and the folks at Broken River Books for bringing me on board. You have all made this an incredible journey.


Tattoo Artist of the Year

Ollie Tye This Is Horror Tattoo Artist of the Year
A huge thank you to all who voted and support me in doing what I love. Lots more sexy monsters coming your way soon.

Podcast of the Year

Booked podcast
Winner: Booked. PodcastRunner-up: The Last Knock
I’m ridiculously excited to be selected for this award again. Thanks to This Is Horror and to the listeners who voted for making this possible. Clearly, you have excellent taste and solid decision making skills. See ya next year!
I’m truly honored to be named the podcast of the year. Thanks to This is Horror and to everyone that voted. This award is the fire that I’ll hold to our feet when we get lazy. Here’s to another year of horror excellence!

Friday, February 20, 2015

WiHM 6 Author Spotlight by Ginger Nuts of Horror

Today, I wanted to point out this list of 6 Female Authors You Should Pay Attention To by Ginger Nuts of Horror.

Click here to read the article and learn more about Ginger Nuts of Horror.

So, while I usually only spotlight 1 author in these posts, today, thanks to Ginger Nuts of Horror, I am giving you 6x the horror fun.

You just need to click through to see it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WiHM: Kelli Owen Interviewed by Brian Keene

At the end of January, horror "Pulp King" (as I call him in my book), Brian Keene started an excellent new podcast called Horror Show with Brian Keene.

From the About page:
THE HORROR SHOW is a weekly podcast hosted by best-selling, Grandmaster Award-winning writer Brian Keene as part of the Project iRadio network. Each week, Brian, occasional co-host Dave “Meteornotes” Thomas, and their guests discuss the latest news in horror fiction, films, comic books, games, and more, along with in-depth interviews, historical perspectives on the genre, and much more.
I have subscribed, and what I love about the podcast is its focus on horror fiction.  There are many horror related podcasts out there, but not enough with a focus on the written word form of the genre.

And, for Women in Horror Month, Brian invited horror author Kelli Owen on to the podcast:
In this episode, author Kelli Owen joins Brian and Dave to discuss Women In Horror Month, her career, and whether or not the horror genre is more diverse than other genres. Plus: the Amish attack, book recommendations, Melanie Tem, Borderlands Books, The Walking Dead, Magic Vaginas, Fifty Shades of Grey, the Monroeville Mall shooting, and whether or not Brian is writing a vampire novel.
Kelli is definitely a rising talent in horror, so highlighting her during WiHM just makes sense. If Brian Keene is willing to promote her, she is worth your time. To read reviews of Kelli’s work and to see another interview with her, head on over to The Word Zombie.

Friday, February 13, 2015

WiHM: Haunting TV and Y: The Last Man

As part of my personal celebration of Women in Horror Month, I am going out of my way to connect with other women who work in horror, but are not necessarily writing horror novels, like me.

One of those resources I have found and am enjoying is the YouTube channel, Haunting TV.  From their about page:
We love to tell stories, we love horror, and we love to talk about all of the fun and creepy things that inspire us. Alexander is Haunting TVs co-creator. He is also the key writer and director of our shows. Jeanette is the other co-creator of Haunting TV. She is the artistic lead for all of our shows. 
Original Web-Series, Video Game Let's Plays, Author Spotlight Series, Book vs Movie, Movie Reviews, Comic Reviews, Book Reviews, Special Events, SHARK-CAT!!! 
Connect With Us:
Blogspot -
Jeanette and Alexander love horror in many forms, but I particularly like how they spend a lot of time on the channel talking about books.

It is nice to see a horror resource that has a male and female team too.  Yes, we are highlighting Women in Horror all month, but ideally, they would always be equally represented like here on Haunting TV.

For Women in Horror Month, Jeanette is reviewing one of my favorite graphic novel series Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan. Co-created and drawn by a woman, Pia Guerra, this series is all about a post-apocalyptic world where all men, except one, die. Nice choice for WiHM.

Click here to watch the video and see Jeanette review the series in a comic book store-- while it is open to customers.

Back Wednesday with another WiHM post. And Happy Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

WiHM Author Spotlight on Tananarive Due

Today, I want to focus on the compelling pace, deft characterization, and intriguing horror of Tananarive Due.

Back in 2011, I had this post on Due as a a backlist author you should not miss.  In the post I talk about my love for the first book in the African Immortals series, My Soul to Keep.  Here is an excerpt from that post:

Today I want to highlight the work of Tananarive Due.  Due is an author of character driven, suspenseful horror titles that appeal to a wide audience.  The tension is palpable and there is violence in her novels, but as horror goes, it is on the less graphic end of the spectrum.  The fear and terror are invoked through the oppressive atmosphere and the horrific situations into which our characters are placed.
I often take readers who enjoy Stephen KingDean Koontz, and John Saul, but are looking for something new, to the shelf with Due's titles.  I have yet to find a reader who knew about her before I brought them to "DUE."  I also always try to start these readers off with My Soul to Keep (1997).
In this compelling novel, a 500-year-old African immortal man is living in modern times as David, a jazz scholar in a middle-class family.  He has had many lives and loves throughout his long life, but his current situation as husband to Jessica and father to Kira is extremely satisfying.  However, David's original family of immortals asks him to sever all ties with Jessica and Kira in order to save their kind.  It is David, the tough choices he is forced to make, and the fury of his original people that drives the story here.
This novel is one of my tried and true horror suggestions so people looking for a good scary book.  I have given this backlist gem out to at least a dozen readers over the years and have yet to find an unsatisfied patron.  In fact, hand selling this title to people has helped me to forge a deeper relationship with patrons.  They have often returned to express their gratitude; this just happened most recently in November.  Their pleasure with Due's novels lead them to seek out our staff's help more regularly.  It is a win-win situation for us all.

Since January of 2011, when I wrote that post, Due has only continued to prove me right.  Specifically, I have really enjoyed the linked zombie novels Due has published with her husband, Steven Barnes Devil’s Wake (2012) and Domino Falls (2013)

Here’s the Library Journal review of Devil’s Wake [accessed via NoveList]:

When a mysterious epidemic transforms its victims into rage-filled creatures driven to attack and feed on other humans, a few survivors seek refuge in a world driven mad. Teenaged Kendra, set adrift when her family succumbs to the virus, encounters a group of young people in a school bus heading down the West Coast in the hope that they can find one of several rumored safe places before they fall prey to the many roving zombie gangs. The husband-and-wife writing team of Barnes (Great Sky Woman; Shadow Valley ) and Due (My Soul To Keep; The Black Rose ) puts a fresh spin on the zombie plague motif by hinting at an extraterrestrial origin of the phenomenon. VERDICT Gruesome but not overly graphic, this tale of young people struggling to remain human—and humane—in a post-apocalyptic near future features top-notch storytelling and believable characters. --Jackie Cassada (Reviewed July 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 12, p64)

Due also takes her place as an African American and a woman in horror very seriously and is willing to speak about how her work offers a diverse look at the genre.  If you are interested in hearing more from Due herself (and I highly recommend it), please go to the “Interviews” tab on her homepage where she has links to appearances and even the transcript to an interview.

If you haven’t read Tananarive Due before, you are missing out on a fantastic horror storyteller.

Back Friday with another WiHM post.

Friday, February 6, 2015

WiHM Author Spotlight on Sarah Pinborough

One of my favorite female horror writers is Sarah Pinborough.

In the early 2000s, Pinborough was writing what I would consider the scariest pulp horror of any female writer...anywhere.  Here are two annotations of her books which I included in my book as must reads:

Pinborough, Sarah.  Breeding Ground.    
In a small English town, the women are behaving strangely and no one can figure out why.  Soon our hero learns the truth as he sees his girlfriend give birth to man-eating spiders.  A small band of survivors escapes to a military base where they begin to hear rumors of other invasions all over the world.  Pinborough feeds off of the common human fear of spiders, but takes the terror to a whole new, bloody level.  In the sequel, Feeding Ground (2009), the murderous spiders reach London.  Both are solid choices for fans of animals of terror or apocalyptic horror. 

Pinborough, Sarah.  Tower Hill 
Two criminals, one pretending to be a priest, plot to take over a small Maine town by using the power in the artifacts they have uncovered to slowly possess every resident.  Two college students are wary of the new priest and lead a group who are trying to figure out what is going on.  Pinborough uses an overwhelming sense of dread rather than violence to propel this tale.

I mention Pinborough a few more times in the book, but these two titles are a good example of her work.  During these years she also worked heavily on BBC fantasy and science fiction television shows.

She has also written some very dark and sexy retellings of classic fairy tales in her Tales from the Kingdoms series.

But right now, her newest series is really drawing in readers. It’s known as the Dr. Thomas Bond series.  From the Publisher’s Weekly review (citation included below, accessed via NoveList):
/* Starred Review */ Rather than offer the umpteenth fictional take on Jack the Ripper, Pinborough (The Hidden) cleverly uses the so-called Thames Torso murders, a lesser-known series of crimes in late-1880s London, as the starting point for this terrifying novel. Most of the tale is told from the perspective of Dr. Thomas Bond, a historical figure who assisted the police with both sets of killings. Bond responds to the carnage he sees by ever-more-frequent visits to an opium den. His search for the man leaving parts of women strewn around the city, including in the basement of the new location for Scotland Yard, leads him to team with some unusual allies—and to a truth about the crimes and their connection to a Polish legend that he finds almost impossible to believe. In this chilling exploration of madness and evil, Pinborough excels at summoning up the bleak spirit of Victorian London’s mean streets and those forced to fight for survival there. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (Jan.) --Staff (Reviewed November 11, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 45, p)
 The newest book in the series (#2) is called Murder, and it also got a starred review!

These novels are the perfect blend of history and horror. Pinborough has a macabre masterpiece on her hands. As much as I loved the earlier pulp novels, I think this new series will make her a household name.

Back Wednesday with another Woman in Horror.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2015 Women in Horror Month: Links and Schedule

It's February which means it is time for Women in Horror Month. From the official webpage:
Women in Horror Month (WiHM) assist female genre artists in gaining opportunities, exposure, and education through altruistic events, printed material, articles, interviews, and online support. WiHM seeks to expose and break down social constructs and miscommunication between female professionals while simultaneously educating the public about discrimination and how they can assist the female gender in reaching equality.
As a woman in horror, I am participating with post 2x a week for the entire month focusing on the contributions of women to the genre.

Today, to kick off the event on my blog I wanted to start with some library friendly resources on the topic:

So peruse these links to get you started and I will be back 2x a week all month with posts that spotlight some of the best women in horror.