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, April 28, 2017

Readers' Shelf: Halfway to Halloween- Horror Stories for All

On top of my article on helping horror readers in the May 1, 2017 issue of Library Journal, the April 15, 2017 issue saw the publication of my semiannual take over of Neal Wyatt’s Readers Shelf column. Every April 15th issue, she allows me to promote “Halfway to Halloween,” a holiday I am desperately trying to get to stick. For this issue, I can provide a list of suggested horror titles on any topic.  

This year, I decided to highlight short stories. These six titles range from literary fiction to science fiction to straight out horror.

Click here for the column on the Library Journal site, or read it below.

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Early Scares: Halfway to Halloween | The Reader’s Shelf

Short stories are alive and kicking when it comes to tales of terror. Here are some recent anthologies that will deliver just the right amount of chills and thrills. From household names to fresh voices, from psychologically terrifying to blood and guts, there is something here for every future Halloween library display.
In the critically acclaimed A Natural History of Hell: Stories(Small Beer. 2016. ISBN 9781618731180. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781618731197), Jeffrey Ford gathers 13 previously published stories into one collection that mixes fantasy and horror and shows his talent for distinctive sagas in which evil lurks just under the surface. Each installment relies on a dark and anxious mood with varying levels of speculative influence, outcast characters, and shocking conclusions. It opens with public exorcisms in the compelling and disquieting “The Blameless.” From there it ventures into vignettes as diverse as the “true” ghost story behind an Emily Dickinson poem and the sinister “Blood Drive,” in which every high school senior is required to carry a gun.
Richard Chizmar is the founder of Cemetery Dance Publications, working with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Justin Cronin, and Stephen King. The 35 stories in A Long ­December (Short, Scary Tales. 2016. ISBN 9781909640887. pap. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781596067943) offer a stand-alone volume of his own. Ranging from crime to dark fantasy to pure horror, the stories here all speak to a normal life turned upside down by terrible circumstances. The way Chizmar combines the dread and fear induced by his plots with a poignancy and kindness of tone makes them memorable. This is best showcased in the eponymous novella, where the protagonist is awoken one morning with the news that his best friend is a serial killer.
Laird Barron’s Swift to Chase (JournalStone. 2016. ISBN 9781945373053. pap. $18.95) perfectly encapsulates today’s literary genre-blend landscape. While terror is always at the center, cosmic horror, adventure, and even noir find their way into his writing. What sets Barron apart from the pack is how he crafts a wonderful sense of place—in this case, the beauty and menace of Alaska—and fills his settings with an oppressive atmosphere, great characters, original plots, and beautiful language. This anthology will play with readers’ minds in enjoyable ways, dragging them along for a satisfyingly scary ride and leaving them ­begging for more.
Editor Robert Silverberg gathers 21 works by a wide range of well-known authors, both living and dead, in This Way to the End Times: Classic Tales of the Apocalypse (Three Rooms. 2016. ISBN 9781941110478. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781941110485). He further enhances the volume with a preface to each story, providing context on the time period in which it was written and how it may resonate with audiences today. See how writers such as Jules Verne and Connie Willis have embraced the apocalypse and used it to tell chillingly prescient narratives that reach across time and space. Silverberg reminds us that while the end of the world seems to be a hot trend today, it is actually only a blip in a long tradition of dystopian storytelling.
What the #@&% Is That? The Saga Anthology of the Monstrous and the Macabre (Saga: S. & S. 2016. ISBN 9781481434935. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781481435000), edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, is among the best titles to focus on H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937). Contributors were asked to write about a monster of their choosing, with only one rule: something must happen to make a character cry, “What the #@&% is that?” Accepting the challenge are 20 wordsmiths ranging from best-selling authors to up-and-comers, providing reading experiences from the utterly fearsome to the ­macabrely humorous. Playing along to see how the exclamation is employed gets more enjoyable the deeper one plunges into this ­Lovecraftian-inspired world.
The reigning sovereign of horror editing is Ellen Datlow, who is an acknowledged master of identifying and amassing the very best frights. Case in point is Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror (Tachyon. 2016. ISBN 9781616962326. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616962333). Beginning where her ­essential Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror ends and spanning up to 2015, Datlow has compiled 24 of the finest stories written over the last ten years. By arranging them in chronological order, she illustrates the evolution and breadth of the genre, while spotlighting its brilliant new voices. Read this to see what you have been missing and to identify important titles to add to your collection before ­Halloween hits.
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
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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

RA Ready: Making Horror Less Scary via Library Journal

Library Journal contacted me to participate in their May 1, 2017 print cover story about how to help genre readers. I wrote about the entire series on the main blog here. They cover many genres and each article is 100% worth your time.

But of course, they wanted me to address those of you out there who are a bit afraid of helping horror readers.

I think it is fitting that they released this series a few days early because today, I will be speaking at Librarians' Day at StokerCon 2017. Usually, I am helping library workers like the ones I am addressing in the article below-- those of you who are afraid of horror. But today, I am anticipating being among my fellow horror loving librarians.

While this will be a huge change for me, I do not think they are ready for what I am going to tell them, and that is this: It is actually much harder to help readers when you are a fan of a genre yourself.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but in the meantime, all of you horror newbies out there should rest easy. I’ve got you covered. Here is the direct link to the article, but also, since this blog is used as a reference source, I don't want a future broken link to get in the way of this article helping you to help readers, so below, you can also find the full text.

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Making Horror Less Scary | Readers’ Advisory


Welcome to the world of horror fiction, where monsters roam the streets, vampires attack at night, ghosts haunt every home, and mayhem is the norm. For many library workers, just the idea of helping a horror reader, let alone reading a horror novel, is a frightening proposition. Yet you can’t hide under the covers every time someone asks for a tale of terror. Readers of all persuasions are picking up scary books in mass quantities, enough to have multiple authors other than Stephen King regularly hit the best sellers lists.
It’s time to brush up your skills and step over to the dark side. But where to begin? The hardest thing for non-horror-loving library folk to understand is that horror readers want to be scared. More than any other type of literature, the horror novel’s ultimate objective is to scare by manipulating the reader’s emotions. It gives a voice to our fears, delivering feelings of panic, chaos, destruction, aversion, and disgust that we horror readers find uncompromisingly intriguing.
Your next step is to educate yourself as to how today’s horror novels elicit these bleak sentiments, moving from the page into the minds of readers. The best horror novels create an uneasy atmosphere that follows the reader off the page. This intense sense of dread starts immediately—something is slightly anxious or gloomy as these novels open. The story might pull back after the first few pages and try to mollify the reader for a few minutes, lure them back from the edge, but that sinister edge is still there, lurking in the background. This also directly affects pacing. While there is no standard pacing to a horror novel, the one constant is that as the anxiety and terror steadily build throughout so, too, does the pace. By the end, it becomes relentless, and readers can’t stop turning the pages to see what will happen.
Horror readers also want characters about which they can care. If we don’t like the protagonist, we will not care that he or she is being chased or stalked by an evil force. The main characters need to be relatable and sympathetic. That being said, we also can’t have only relentlessly building dread and constant horrific things happening to our main characters. That is why horror generally features flashbacks—both to serve as a break in the hopelessness of the current story line and to help underscore the grim tone by going back to a time when things were happier.
ljx170501webRAhorror
BEYOND THE BEST SELLERS
That’s a quick primer on how the best horror novels ply their trade, but who are the authors you should be reading and or handing out to patrons? I assume you already know about King, Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, and Peter Straub. In fact, I hope you have those authors on your automatic buy lists, but if you want to help more horror readers, here are authors whom you should also be adding to your collections and actively suggesting to patrons who want to feel the fear: Joe Hill, Jonathan Maberry, Christopher Golden, and Brian Keene. You’d be wise as well to recommend ­Stephen ­Graham Jones, Nick Cutter, Mary SanGiovanni, Ania ­Ahlborn, Kaaron Warren, Tananarive Due, and Victor LaValle, all of whom provide well-crafted tales of terror.
Here are five newer “sure bet” single titles that have proven appeal to a wide range of horror fans, from hard-core genre readers to patrons just looking for a good fright: Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes, Thomas Olde Heuvelt’s HEX, Jonathan Janz’s Children of the Dark, and Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.
FURTHER READING
Now that you have some key authors and titles in your arsenal, check out some additional resources to help you stay current and find even more great suggestions. My own book, The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror, 2d edition, and its online home, RA for All: Horror (raforallhorror.blogspot.com) are filled with hundreds of lists, reviews, resources, and more. Twice a year (in the October 1 and April 15 issues), I take over Neal Wyatt’s long-running Reader’s Shelf column here in LJ, providing comprehensive, library-specific horror information for adult readers.
Any story collection edited by Ellen Datlow, who is universally considered the best horror editor, is worth your time. I use her collections to identify new authors of note.
The Horror Writers Association has an entire page of resources for libraries (horror.org/libraries), which includes a member-created reading list and easy access to current and past lists of Bram Stoker Award winners and nominees.
For more regular horror and dark fiction reviews of titles that are a good fit for collections, try LitReactor (litreactor.com/tags/bookshots) and This Is Horror (www.thisishorror.co.uk/category/reviews).
Now get out there, and use this road map to chart your own path down the not-so-scary road of assisting horror readers. Maybe you will even be brave enough to try one for yourself.
Becky Spratford is a Readers’ Advisory Specialist 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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Updates to Blog- Including a TOP 5 List of Resources

I am doing some spring cleaning here on the horror blog and have updated every page.

Please remember that this site, unlike RA for All which publishes every day, is more of a portal for horror information geared toward you, the library worker. I don’t update it every day because it is not that kind of blog. I am compiling information for you to have at your finger tips when you need it, but I am also making sure it is current and easy to access.

I take my responsibility as your most trusted source for horror info seriously. I understand that there are thousands of points of entry into the world of horror fiction and that most are not useful to your work in a public library setting.

So in the right gutter I have a series of archives and pages that have things like my reviews, lists of publishers, and even old lists I have created. But today I want to draw your attention to my newly overhauled Resources page.

I have not only gone through and weeded out the dead links, but due to popular demand, I designated a top 5 to make your job easier.  Here they are in alphabetical order:
  • Ginger Nuts of Horror: One of the best independent places for all things horror. UK based. 
  • The Horror Writer's Association and specifically their page for Librarians.
  • Matt Molgaard's Horror Novel Reviews: reviews and interviews, but also great feature articles with useful lists. Good for both collection development and displays.
  • This is Horror: My favorite overall horror resource- podcast, reviews, features. Just go and look for yourself.
  • Tor.com: The online home for the Speculative Fiction publisher. This site is full of information about horror and not just from the authors they publish.
You can see a longer list of resources, including some print ones anytime on the Resources page.

Look though all of the pages and let me know how I can make those more useful for you too. You can leave a comment on the page or contact me.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

StokerCon Special Guest Interviews

As I have mentioned before, the Horror Writers Association has been making a concerted effort to work with libraries more. Back in 2015, they partnered with United for Libraries to promote  bringing horror authors to your library. Click here to read more about that program. They have also had a presence at the last few ALA Conferences. I know for a fact that they will be at this year’s in Chicago as they have asked me to help and I am working on setting up a few special events with them.

And this year, along with making ME the first ever Librarian Guest of Honor, they are also having an entire day just for us:

Click here for details
I realize that most of you cannot make it out to Long Beach later this month, but even if you cannot make it, there is a great resource I want to connect you with that will help you to help patrons right now. It’s the HWA’s YouTube channel featuring interviews with all of the special guest, including ME.

Yes, you can click here to see me explaining what RA is to horror writers. It was quite fun, and after we finished up I learned how “cool and interesting” all of the writers are going to think I am.

I am used to going to Library Conferences where we all know, basically, what each other’s jobs entail, but as I prepare to enter this world of the writers’ conference I am realizing that while I understand their world, they have no idea what we actually do. It will be an interesting 5 days, that is for sure. I am not only speaking to librarians at the conference, but I have also been asked to be on a panel for the writers about how to work with libraries.

I will be blogging a lot while I am there to share the experience with all of you.  In the meantime, I suggest you look at the interviews with some of the author special guests to learn more about their work and horror in general. Maybe make a display of the books of all of these writers along with the Bram Stoker finalists and put it up in honor of the Con at your library later this month.

Here are the direct links to a few of my favorites to get you started. All are short and worth your time. These are authors that you can find in most public library collections:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Horror on Audio is HOT

Most of you know that Audiobooks are one of the fastest growing segments in the book world, but the way you can tell it is really catching fire is when genre fiction starts seeing a huge surge in audiobook production.

Recently, I heard from Christopher Payne, the President of JournalStone publications and he wanted me to know that they were ramping up production of their own line of audiobooks. He is investing heavily in it, and along with their current stable of audiobooks you can find here, they are currently working on 7 titles by NYT Bestselling author Christopher Golden, some titles by Richard Chizmar including his new novella with Stephen King [review of the print coming to the blog soon], among others.

Brian Keene is also seeing a renewed interest in audio, and as he reported here, the backlist of some of his most popular books are being turned into brand new audio books as I write this.

The trend is gathering momentum when you see the smaller, independent presses investing money in producing their own titles. As Payne told me, it is surprising how expensive starting up a serious audio catalog can be.

But, since he is not the only one doing it, for right now, it appears to be a worthwhile investment.

You don’t have to wait to start being a part of this trend at your library though.

Click here to see what audio is available on Audible.

And click here to look at an general overview of the almost 1,000 titles Overdrive has available for horror in audio.

And don’t forget to check Baker and Taylor and Ingram. JournalStone distributes through both directly.

This is not a trend you want to be left out of. Order some horror on audio for your libraries right now. You won’t need much help getting the titles into patrons’ hands either. Readers are clamoring for it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

This is Horror 2016 Award Winners

The winners were announced today. Click through to read all of the winners, but I have posted the novel and novella of the year winners with the author reactions below.

In general, the This is Horror Awards, both winners and long lists, make for a great collection development tool for libraries. These are all titles, especially the winners and runners up each year, that you should own and promote in a public library collection. See for yourself with this link that brings up all of the awards info in reverse chronological order.


This Is Horror Awards 2016: The Winners

This Is Horror Awards

Novel of the Year

The Fisherman John Langan
“I’m thrilled and humbled that the voters have selected The Fisherman as Novel of the Year. To have been nominated alongside the other novels in this category was already an honor, and the ballot as a whole is a reminder of the talent flourishing in the horror field. I’m grateful to everyone who sat down with my book and gave it a chance, and I’m thankful to everyone who cast a vote for it. The Fisherman owes its publication to Ross Lockhart, for which, many, many thanks. It owes its composition to my lovely wife, Fiona, for which all, all of my love.”
—John Langan, author of The Fisherman
THIS IS HORROR NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2016

Novella of the Year

The Ballad of Black Tom Victor LaValle
“Holy shit! I’m honored to get this news and to get such love from the This Is Horror community. I knew The Ballad of Black Tom was a bit of a risky proposition—throwing shots at an icon like Lovecraft could make a lot of people defensive. Instead this book has been warmly received by the horror community and as a lifelong horror head I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom
THIS IS HORROR NOVELLA OF THE YEAR 2016

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Horror Writers Association Announces Bram Stoker Finalists


Click here for the press release.
Today the Horror Writers Association announced the final ballot for the prestigious Stoker Awards. Please click here for the full press release, but below I did cut and paste the most relevant categories for libraries.

You will note many books and author who I talk about as great for libraries here.

This is a list you should be using both to help readers find good reads AND to for collection development.

Another reason to care even more about this list...I can personally vouch for the process. At least for the second category- Superior Achievement in a First Novel. I was on the jury to create the long list for that category and I am happy to say that the five nominees that made it through voting are all very deserving. I know the multi-tiered process worked because I was a part of it from day one.

As an Active Member of the HWA, I also get to vote. I wonder who will win?

Oh yeah, that's the second reason you should care. I will be at the banquet where the winners will be announced. From the press release:
The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur during the second annualStokerCon aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on the evening of April 29,2017. Tickets to the banquet and the convention are on sale to the public atwww.stokercon2017.org. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website.

I will be live Tweeting the entire banquet that night both because I love you all and because I don't have a date [he will be back in Chicago with the kids].

Can you tell that I am excited? Why not join the fun and try one of these novels, stories, or collections out for yourself. At the very least, hand a few out to patrons or make a display.

Bram Stoker Finalists

Note: This is a partial list. Please click here for the full details.]

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)

Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe
(Moonstone)
de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei(Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake
Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the
Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”:
Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Women in Horror: Ania Ahlborn and This is Horror

Again I am pulling double duty with this post. In honor of Women in Horror Month I am letting you know about a female horror author AND also pointing you to a great resource.

This is Horror is a British based horror site. From their About page:
Their podcast and book reviews are particularly helpful to librarians, especially those who are not big fans of horror themselves.  Today, I want to use their current podcast guest, Ania Ahlborn to illustrate why.

Ahlborn’s work is a great example of horror that works very well in public libraries. Her novels are chilling. They drip with dread and terror but do not have graphic violence. She would be a great crossover author for your readers who like intense female driven suspense like Chelsea Cain or Karin Slaughter as long as they don’t mind a supernatural element.

Now you may not have been aware of her before this and that’s okay because This is Horror is. They not only have this review of her most recent book, The Devil Crept In [it also received a star in PW] but they also have her as a guest on their podcast.

In this episode she talks about her work and her path from self publishing to now being under a major publisher. Like all of the This is Horror author interview podcasts, Ahlborn’s episode allows listeners to understand horror and a person who writes it, in the process giving you insight into why fans love it.

So give this podcast episode a try. Read the review of Ahlborn’s latest novel. And consider popping back over to This is Horror throughout the year to learn about more authors and titles that might be just right for your library’s horror collection.

And don’t forget to add some titles by Ahlborn to your collections. Your patrons will thank you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Women In Horror Month: Offerings From Up and Coming Publisher-- Bloodshot Books

I am doing double duty with this post as I am going to highlight three female horror authors you need to know and also alert you to their up and coming micro horror publisher who is worth your attention and time.

I recently worked on a project for the HWA with Pete Kahle, author and owner/editor of Bloodshot Books. Before I go into Pete’s work in the horror field, I do have a funny library related story. I started working with Pete exactly a year ago. Then in March I was in MA for an event and saw my colleague Anna Popp from Mass Library System. I was telling her about some HWA stuff and she started telling me about a childhood friend who was a horror writer and could she pass my name on to him. I said yes.

A few days later I got an email from Pete; a “small world, huh?” email. It really is.

Anyway, our project had nothing to do with him and his books, but after we completed working together, I started talking to him about that part of his life. And I was surprised at how quickly Pete has built Bloodshot Books into a solid publisher of quality horror titles, ones that are worth your library’s dollars.

Exhibit 1, the best horror debut title I read last year was Haven by Tom Deady. Well, Bloodshot Books has just published his follow-up Eternal Darkness. You should go order it right now.

But Exhibit 2 has to do with Women in Horror Month. Bloodshot Books is proud to promote these three awesome titles by female authors that they will be publishing in 2017:

THE BREEZE HORROR by Candace Caponegro (March/April-ish)  It's a reprint of a seriously gory zombie novel from the 80s.  This is one of the earliest examples of sentient zombies that have become so popular in the 21st Century.
ABODE by Morgan Sylvia (Summer) - This is Morgan's debut novel, a story of a haunting that stretches over decades. Prior to this, she has been known for her poetry and short stories.  You can read more about her at https://morgansylvia.wordpress.com/
WHITE DEATH by Christine Morgan (October) - It's set in the 19th century and involves a Native American creature called a wanageeska. Christine's specialty, in my opinion, is historical horror.  She contributed a short story of Meso-American mythology to my first anthology, NOT YOUR AVERAGE MONSTER, and she has a collection of Viking stories called THE RAVEN'S TABLE.  If you haven't read her novel MURDER GIRLS, I highly recommend it. 
What I love about this list is that is spans the full range of horror’s appeal to readers and a full range of writers- from old to brand new to becoming established. Keep an eye out for these books and for everything Pete is publishing over at Bloodshot Books.

I have added Bloodshot Books to my archive of the “Best Independent Horror Publishers for Libraries." This is a selective list. I work very hard to not only make sure that these publishers put out a consistent, high quality product, but also that they fairly compensate their writers for their work. I actively research each on both of those fronts, so you can feel confident about buying from them.

I take my job as your window into the world of horror books very seriously. All I ask is that you consider collecting titles that are worth your horror fan’s time from responsible publishers.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The 16 Most Anticipated Horror Novels of 2017 via LitReactor

Below is a great list of horror titles via LitReactor that you should consider for your library this coming year. Seriously, all of them should be considered.

But I also wanted to specifically point out the 5 female authors in this list, since it is still Women in Horror Month. There is a mix of well known names [Kiernan] and exciting newcomers [see the #1 title!], but what is most heartening is that there are 5 on this list at all. Back when I was working on the first edition of the book [2001] I was struggling to find any female horror authors to include-- and I was trying. But now, they are showing up with regularity [not equality yet, but regularity].

It is also important to note that LitReactor is quickly rising to the top of my resources to identify the best horror for public libraries. Click here to pull up all of their horror content.

Now read on and start pre-ordering...


Do not fear, dear readers, for good ol’ Max has saved the day with the best looking horror titles coming out in 2017. Obviously he couldn’t include the kickass books he’s publishing through his own small press, because then he would be fired, and you would all be sad.
So buy these books also!

16. 'Under a Watchful Eye' by Adam Nevill (January)

I’ve never read Adam Nevill, but people sure love the shit out of this guy. I recently acquired his novel, The Ritual, and it sounds right up my alley and I can’t wait to dig in. Same goes for his latest novel, Under a Watchful Eye, released just yesterday. The synopsis promises a healthy dose of paranoia with supernatural elements that begins with a writer being trolled by fake reviews. That sounds hilarious and potentially very creepy.

15. 'The Twenty Days of Turin' by Giorgio De Maria (February)

This book first caught my eye thanks to Jeff VanderMeer’s blurb:
"The Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio De Maria is a chilling novel that conjures up the creepy claustrophobia of The Tenant and the mind-bending epic horror of House of Leaves―except spread across an entire city. Odd libraries, uncanny monuments, horrific deaths, and terrifying puppet shows…even days later, I’m still flinching at shadows, unable to forget the riveting details of a newly unearthed uncanny classic."
If that doesn’t get you pumped to read this book, I don’t know what will. This was an instant pre-order.

14. 'Universal Harvester' by John Darnielle (February)

Most know John Danielle as the man behind The Mountain Goats. Well, he’s also a great novelist, as he made very clear in his book, Wolf in White Van. His new novel, Universal Harvester, seems to be about a video store clerk in the late ‘90s discovering altered versions of the movies his customers rent.
From the book description:
"In the middle of each movie, the screen blinks dark for a moment and the movie is replaced by a few minutes of jagged, poorly lit home video. The scenes are odd and sometimes violent, dark, and deeply disquieting. There are no identifiable faces, no dialogue or explanation―the first video has just the faint sound of someone breathing― but there are some recognizable landmarks. These have been shot just outside of town."

13. 'The Raven’s Table' by Christine Morgan (February)

Morgan seems to have a short story in just about every decent looking horror anthology these days, and for good reason. This April Word Horde will be releasing a new collection of her Viking-themed stories titled The Raven’s Table. Fair warning: this book may in fact be too badass for us to handle.

12. '13 Views of the Suicide Woods' by Bracken MacLeod (March)

Bracken MacLeod’s debut novel, Mountain Home, completely blew me away. It starts off violent and unforgiving and it doesn’t flinch away. His other novel, Stranded, is also receiving a ton of praise I am sure is justified. So it makes sense that his new story collection looks like an intense addition to his growing library of work. Just the title alone makes me want to own it.

11. 'Black Mad Wheel' by Josh Malerman (March)

I’ve made my love for Josh Malerman no secret on this website. He’s one of my favorite new horror writers and I have high hopes for his future. Everything he releases is refreshing and a genuine delight. His new novel looks fucking great. Here’s what Malerman had to say about it in a recent interview I conducted with him:
"Black Mad Wheel takes place in 1957. Former members of the army band, four guys who are now in a rock band playing all over Detroit, are tapped by the army to go to the Namib Desert in Africa and locate the source of a very frightening sound. Like Bird Box, the narration is split in two...the soldier-musicians hunting this sound...and a hospital in Iowa where one of the musicians is trying to heal from what the sound did to him."

10. 'Dear Sweet Filthy World' by Caitlin R. Kiernan (March)

Most fans of horror fiction only need to hear Kiernan’s name to influence an immediate purchase, and her latest collection offers no exception. If you aren’t reading Kiernan, what the hell are you doing with your life?

09. 'Entropy in Bloom' by Jeremy Robert Johnson (April)

2017 is the year of amazing story collection titles. 13 Views of the Suicide Forest, Dear Sweet Filthy World, and now Entropy in Bloom? Holy crap. You probably know Jeremy Robert Johnson from his mind-fuck of a novel, Skullcrack City. Now you can further get to know him with a collection of his best fiction to date.

08. 'Beneath' by Kristi DeMeester (April)

This is another Word Horde release. Surely another winner from a press I have a massive crush on. Beneath is about a reporter investigating a snake-handling cult in rural Appalachia. Cosmic weirdness ensues. Why haven’t I already read it? Why isn’t it April? WHY CAN’T ALL THESE BOOKS BE IN MY HEAD ALREADY?

07. 'River of Teeth' by Sarah Gailey (May)

Shut your stupid face and pre-order this one immediately. This is a book about man-eating hippos. I don’t care what kind of fiction you like, I don’t see how this won't fail to entertain every single person on the planet. MAN-EATING HIPPOS. ARE YOU SERIOUS. I didn’t even realize how desperately I wanted a book about man-eating hippos until this was announced, but now it’s all I can think about. Read an excerpt here.

06. 'In the Valley of the Sun' by Andy Davidson (June)

Stephen Graham Jones’s blurb for this book made me pre-order it right away, so maybe it’ll work with you, too:
"Turns out there's a middle space between Tender Mercies and Preacher and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It's called In the Valley of the Sun. And if I didn't know Andy Davidson had written it, I'd swear this was some long lost William Gay. I burned through this. It’s got teeth on every page."
Whoa, right? Whoa.

05. 'Mapping the Interior' by Stephen Graham Jones (June)

And speaking of SGJ, did you really think I’d ever write a book list without including something he’s written? Ha-ha, think again, you fool. Announced only yesterday by Tor, Mapping the Interior seems to be about a boy who discovers a secret doorway in his house, late at night, and realizes just how big his house really is. The cover alone is beautiful, and I’m sure the inside will match the exterior.

04. 'An Augmented Fourth' by Tony McMillen (June)

This is the third title from Word Horde I’ve included. I would include more if I knew about them. This press has yet to release a disappointment. All I know about An Augmented Fourth is that it’s “Black Sabbath meets The Thing” and holy shit take my money.

03. 'Meddling Kids' by Edgar Cantero (July)

Once in a while you read about a book and it immediately gets you dancing with joy. A book so perfect for your specific tastes that you can’t even believe it exists. That was my initial reaction when I read about Edgar Cantero’s upcoming Meddling Kids. Out of all the books on this list, I want this one the most. I don’t just want to read it. I want to make love to it. I want to marry it.
Just take a look at the market copy and tell me I’m crazy:
"For fans of John Dies at the End and Welcome to Night Vale comes a tour de force of horror, humor, and H.P. Lovecraft. The surviving members of a forgotten teenage detective club (and their dog) must reunite as broken adults to finally solve the terrifying case that ruined them all…and sent the wrong man to prison. Scooby Doo and the gang never had to do this!"
WHAT? Is this reality? AM I EVEN ALIVE RIGHT NOW?

02. 'The Dark Net' by Benjamin Percy (August)

I admit, when I first read about this book, I laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. But the more I thought about it, the more the possibilities of total creepiness drifted in, and now I can’t wait to get my hands on Percy’s new novel:
From Amazon:
"The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret, far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now, an ancient darkness is gathering there as well."
Let’s just hope the inevitable hacker characters feel more realistic than most of Hollywood’s pathetic attempts.

01. 'Her Body & Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado (October)

I recently discovered Carmen Maria Machado’s short fiction via the kickass story app, Great Jones Street, and my life is all the better for it. Machado’s work is as inventive as it gets, and everything I’ve read by her has been an absolute treat. So hell yeah, you bet I pre-ordered her debut story collection, and so should you. If you’re on the fence, here’s a free story of hers over at Lightspeed.