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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.

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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Women in Horror Guest Post- Mary SanGiovanni

Today I am happy to share with you an essay by author, Mary SanGiovanni, author of numerous critically acclaimed horror, suspense and thriller novels and stories. Her most recent novel is Chills and it is perfect for public library collections. From Goodreads:
It begins with a freak snowstorm in May. Hit hardest is the rural town of Colby, Connecticut. Schools and businesses are closed, powerlines are down, and police detective Jack Glazier has found a body in the snow. It appears to be the victim of a bizarre ritual murder. It won't be the last. As the snow piles up, so do the sacrifices. Cut off from the rest of the world, Glazier teams up with an occult crime specialist to uncover a secret society hiding in their midst. 
The gods they worship are unthinkable. The powers they summon are unstoppable. And the things they will do to the good people of Colby are utterly, horribly unspeakable…
Chills is only one of many great horror titles published by Kensington.

But I digress. Mary graciously allowed me to print her essay entitled, "Women in Horror," which will be included in her upcoming nonfiction collection, A Weirdish Wild Space.  In this essay she shares her honest feelings about her place as a woman who writes in the horror genre, and has for a while now.

This is a must read.

Much thanks to Mary for allowing me to share this post with all of you. I hope it helps you to suggest a woman in horror to a reader at your library this month, or any month, all year long.


WOMEN IN HORROR
by Mary SanGiovanni

Well, it’s February, which means it is time once again for Women in Horror month, and I thought I’d lay down some thoughts about being a woman horror writer. Now, I am only speaking of my own personal thoughts and experiences, and do not presume to speak for all women writers. However, I think my experiences are fairly common and I hope this post sheds some light on what I believe women writers ultimately want to accomplish in this field.

I’ve been in this business now for almost fifteen years. People often ask if I’ve ever been a victim of or seen in action the “boys’ club” mentality. Well, I can recall hearing terrible stories of misogyny and harassment suffered by women writers in generations who came before me, stories of unacceptably poor treatment in the business from the '70s on. I myself have been propositioned for publishing, I have been hit on during business meetings, and I’ve had people accuse me of only getting published because of having traded sex or sex acts with the editor, or because of whom I’m dating. I have been put on countless sex and horror panels under some unspoken assumption that because I’m a woman and I write horror, I must be knowledgeable about erotic horror or paranormal romance. I have heard people say I am not capable of writing anything truly meaningful or scary because I’m a woman. I’ve heard of a number of women passed over for anthology invites because women’s work isn’t as widely recognized or not as “sellable,” leading to Tables of Contents that are all or mostly male. And I would venture that a number of women, both new and established, writing in the spec fic genres today, have suffered many similar indignities. 

However, more often I have been delighted to discover so many supportive fellow writers, editors, publishers, and agents, both male and female, who don’t see the sex of the writer as having anything to do with the writer’s talent or business acumen. They find sexist and misogynistic behavior intolerable and will speak out against it. They judge horror literature and other horror media for the quality of the work and not the sex, gender, color, race, or orientation of the creator. And in my observation, this trend of equality thinking is, at least in the horror publishing field, picking up momentum (I can’t speak to film, comic books, or video games, as I am not a regular creator in any of those fields.).

I enjoy being a woman. I enjoy being a “girly” type of woman, wearing makeup and heels and pretty dresses and lacy underthings. I like to look pretty for my partner. And I enjoy it when others tell me I’m beautiful or sexy. I don’t find this offensive in the least – so long as we’re not doing business. I think it’s flattering when people think I’m good-looking; it makes me feel good, as I think it makes most people of either sex feel good to hear nice things. To me, it’s not sexist to compliment someone, so long as you are respecting his or her personal and professional boundaries. 

I also like when people compliment the quality of my writing. I love when people enjoy my books. I love when others tell me my writing is beautiful or scary. I love hearing that one of my stories made someone want to turn a light on before bed. 

These things are, to me, separate aspects of my being. I don’t use my sexuality to try and get published, so I don’t see any reason why I would have to play up or play down my sexuality in my life; sexiness and talent are not mutually exclusive, nor are assertiveness and professionalism. I don’t, after all, type with my sex organs, nor create stories there. My work comes from my heart and my mind, attributes I’m glad to possess regardless of whatever body they are housed in. To assume that physicality compromises creativity is unfair to the woman (or man) in question.

Now, I would probably agree that, generally speaking, women tend to factor emotional components into decision-making more often than men. We have women’s intuition, a kind of gut instinct which is part intellectual, part emotional, and hell, sometimes part psychic, that we have come to feel confident relying on. I think in our thought processes, we have more difficulty divorcing obvious emotional factors and their impact from the overall picture. If anything, I think that makes us particularly suited to write in a genre whose existence is based on that which has been defined as one of the oldest and strongest emotions of mankind. Also, women do have potentially different life experiences than men, different fears in the forefront of our existences, and different training in processing and responding to them. Women may sometimes have a unique perspective on fear, given centuries of hyperawareness of and particular adaptations to true bodily terror.

As a horror writer who also happens to be a woman, I don’t think the presence of rape, say, in a story makes it misogynistic. I’ve used rape or allusions to rape in my work before, because it is a horrific and terrifying act and the story called for that particular reference. I like to believe I handled those occasions with dignity and decency. I believe that just because one is a woman shouldn’t automatically make using rape okay; that one tries to handle the subject matter with sensitivity to those who may have experienced it and acknowledgment that it is a brutal act and not a fetish to be giggled over in a prurient and puerile fashion is what should make the difference. To reveal the human significance of an experience, whatever the type, and impart the deeper truth or strength that a reader may get out of it is a crucial cornerstone of horror. That should hold true whether the writer is a man or a woman. If we write horror, it is usually inevitable that a bad thing will happen to a good person. That’s not just horror, and it’s not misogyny; that’s life. However, our intent, our focus in creating, makes all the difference. We strive to write stories with emotional impact, stories to terrify, horrify, or sometimes even to repulse. If we treat horrors against women (or children or minority groups or men, for that matter) with the respect and understanding we should give any aspect of our work, it makes for a better story anyway, and one that is justly written. To simply put horrific acts like rape off limits as if they don’t exist is to deny a work its possible profoundness of impact. I also feel it denies the acknowledgment of the strength and resilience of those who have experienced these acts, and the stance of intolerance of the horrific acts being performed. I have always believed that acknowledgment of these things — human strength and dignity as well as the exemplified abhorrence of hateful violence — are important in quality and lasting horror fiction.

As writers, we create characters we hope will ring true with readers; this means we have a whole host of personalities to choose from when writing men or women. As long as each character is believably realistic and suitable for the tale to be told, I think we can transcend the use of stereotypes of either sex or gender without sacrificing what those types of characters might bring to a story. 

I think sometimes considering the full spectrum of human beings and their capacity for both good and evil, weakness and strength, is something women, who are often full-spectrum, layered thinkers themselves, bring to horror fiction.  Women are multi-taskers even when we imagine, and ever aware of the emotions that permeate every look, act, or word.  

However, I am not saying women are better (or worse) equipped to write horror. I mean that while it may be different, women’s horror work can be equally as powerful, profound, skillful, and terrifying as men’s because of an emotion-based skill set we are innately endowed with. The key word here is “equally.” And that’s what we want: equality thinking from colleagues and readers alike. That we have a month in order to raise awareness of our presence, educate others, and validate our abilities to those who may not understand or believe in them — that’s great. We appreciate the support. But it would be nice if every month accomplished these same goals, and the fact that we are women didn’t have to come before the fact that we are writers.

Which brings me to my thoughts on modern-day feminism, and what, as a writer, I look to achieve in my field. True equalitarian feminists, in my opinion, aren’t looking to beat down opposing ideas with vicious hate or manically rabid force. They aren’t looking to tear down others based on every little individual quirk or idiosyncrasy that could be construed (or misconstrued) as sexist. They aren’t looking for special privilege. Rather, with firm assertion of grace, class, and talent, they strive to produce and keep producing quality work that cannot help but be considered the equal of their male counterparts. They look to build an atmosphere of mutual respect. They assertively and respectfully point out unjust, threatening, and unacceptable behavior, to make others aware of insensitivities to others' situations or conditions. They look to set the example of the climates we’d all like to live and work in, and to be the kind of person others to recognize with respect and maybe even admiration. 

I appreciate the support I have received over the years both personally and professionally, and I hope that my experiences may inform my fiction in such a way that it is emotionally and intellectually meaningful, scary, and moving.


I am a woman, and I am a horror writer. Thank you to all of you who recognize I can be both successfully, without having to be one or the other.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Horror Review Index Update featuring Ellen Datlow and Jeani Rector

I have added my review of Ellen Datlow’s new collection, Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales to the Review Index. But, since it is also Women in Horror Month, posting this review made me think of another female horror editor I enjoy, one you probably know a lot less about.

First let me start by saying, Ellen Datlow is the queen and the king of horror editing. She is without peer in her talent and in her prodigious output, but I have also long admired Jeani Rector.

Her work on The Horror Zine is amazing. She leads a team that publishes short fiction, poetry, art, and reviews of other books. She also has published numerous story collections and even a few novels of her own. Ms. Rector’s work as an editor has received much acclaim. Click here to check out The Horror Zine for yourself.

So, if you like Datlow and buy her collections for your library- which I know you do-- why not give a collection edited by Rector a try too? It would be a good way to celebrate WiHM.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Women in Horror Month: Identifying Female Horror Writers

Library workers are always telling me that they would love to promote female horror authors more but that they don't know about many.

So that is going to be my focus this year as I post about women in horror all month, helping you to find resources to identify women in horror.

Today we will start with the Horror Writers Association.

You can use their "Women in Horror" blog tag to pull up a series of interviews with female horror authors.  They will be adding more all month long.

You can also use "The Seers Table" tag to pull up a list of diverse horror authors which includes many more female authors of all races. Please note, when you use that tag, the website tells you you need to log in. Ignore it. Just click cancel a few times and it will work.

Between all of my previous posts on topic and this post, you already have dozens of female horror writers to start suggesting.

So you can no longer use the excuse that you don't know any good ones.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Locus Magazine Recommended Reads 2016- Horror

Earlier today over on RA for All, I had this post about how much I both love and actually use the annual Local Recommended Reading List to help patrons. But here on the horror blog, I wanted to make sure I posted the Horror novel category here for you in its entirety because making it as easy as possible for you to you help horror readers is what I am here to do:



The entire Recommended Reading List is here. Please make sure you look at it. There is a lot of horror included in the other categories too. Also click through to the longer RA for All post about how to pull up and use previous years’ lists.

But at the very least, make sure you own these current 12 books. You should have most of them, but for what you are missing, go place your orders now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Women in Horror Month 8 Begins Today!

It's here once again...Women in Horror Month... 8!

From their "Get Involved" page here are some ideas on things you can do to promote woman in the horror industry this month at your library:

Click through for the page with live links

Of course I am doing number 7 right now, but public libraries are uniquely suited to do most, if not all of these things. At the very least you can screen a few movies and put up s display.

To help you get started, here are the books by women in horror which I reviewed or included in columns over the last year with links to all the details.


And I would be remiss not to mention one of the last year's most critically acclaimed biographies, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life [which I own but have not read yet.]

You can also use the tag "Women in Horror" from this blog to pull up many more posts from any year.

These are all titles that will work with a public library audience. They range from dark thrillers to historical fiction about horror writers to psychological suspense to paranormal romance and of course, to straight out horror. Women, just like men, create a huge range of "horror" content.

If you need professional support in order to add them to your collections, all of those links are to pieces written by me and published in either Booklist or Library Journal. So they are legit titles that you can back up with professional reviews. No more excuses. Get on it and add them to your collections so readers of all sexes can enjoy them.

Besides keeping up with the ideas and events being compiled on the Women in Horror official page, I hope to have time to post 2x a week this month to point you to some of the best content and authors from a library perspective. So I will be curating it for you if you don't have the time.

I also have a copy of Kaaron Warren's latest novel, The Grief Hole that I will be reviewing soon. Hint she's really good. Oh, and one of her stories was in the Datlow book mentioned above.

Let's start celebrating.