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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Second Half of 2019 Horror Preview is Now Live and Summer Scares Updates!

For the second year in a row, Library Journal asked me to write a horror genre spotlight for the second half of the year.

You can access that article as well as the handy table of titles with isbn's to make ordering easier for you to add these titles and a list of the best podcasts for horror fiction and nonfiction, here.

Just so you know, every single title in this article is appropriate for a general public library collection. This is your chance to add "reviewed" titles to your collections [if that is a requirement for your collections].

The piece also has a companion piece I recruited author and reviewer Gabino Iglesias to write, entitled "Don't Call It a Comeback!" here.

Please also click here for more about and by Iglesias here on the horror blog.

Finally, Library Journal is one of the partners in Summer Scares, an initiative I am leading for the Horror Writers Association with a wonderful committee of librarians and author Grady Hendrix. Our entire goal is to provide lists of horror titles that you can confidently suggest to all ages of horror readers, all year long. The focus is on summer because that is when we have the highest number of leisure readers looking for books. But horror is a great option all year long.

In case you have missed it, here is the Summer Scares Resource and FAQ page. It is filled with ideas for displays, reading lists, podcasts and so much more.

Today I have added a brand new guide/annotated reading list  by Grady Hendrix entitled Using Horror to Hide From The Heat and an appearance by Grady Hendrix and me talking about horror and Summer Scares on the Circulating Ideas podcast, recorded live at the Penguin Random House booth during ALA Annual. Click here to access that episode [#161].

No matter how you yourself feel about horror, please remember, you need to help all of your readers at the library. I am here with all of the resources you need.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Why Does Horror Matter?: A Podcast Featuring Me To Help You Understand the Appeal of Horror

This holiday week I am going to be talking about horror a bunch. Why? Well first of all it is a great escapist read and pretty much everyone reading this will have at least 1 day off this week for the 4th of July.

Second, this is the week my Horror Preview piece for the second half of 2019 will be published in Library Journal [more on that later this week]. That means many of you will be thinking about horror this week too when you read the piece.

[2.5- I also invited Gabino Iglesias to be a part of the LJ piece and he is part of #3 below]

Third, I spent much of my time at StokerCon 2019 [when I wasn't running Librarians' Day] tracking down authors and editors to ask them "Why Horror Matters" both for the LJ article [and there are some great quotes in that piece] and because I was asked to be on a live podcast taping/panel for Ladies of the Fright with the title of the episode being- "Why Does Horror Matter?" And that podcast recording went live late last week. And it is very good.

We had standing room only to record which was a little terrifying, but all of us on the panel were prepared and had great insight to share. Much of what we talked about will help you to understand the appeal of horror better. So listen and learn. Click here [or see below] to listen and see the full episode notes including information about the books and authors that were mentioned.


It's difficult to put into words what a rewarding experience it was to host the panel "Why Does Horror Matter? An Exploration of the Relevance and—Dare We Say—Necessity of Horror in a Tumultuous World" featuring panelists Stephen Graham Jones, Kathryn E. McGee, Becky Spratford, and Gabino Iglesias this past May at Stoker Con 2019. It was incredibly rewarding and definitely one of the highlights of the con for us. This topic is one we've been thinking a lot about lately, but we had no idea if it was one that would resonate with others. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at our panel room to find it was standing room only. Not only did we feel the podcast love, but we also felt that this is a topic that's heavy on many people's hearts. 

Our panelists added a richness and depth to the conversation that we could have never anticipated. Our panelist table was smaller than what was featured in some of the other rooms, but it added such a feeling of intimacy to our discussion that wouldn't have been captured otherwise. The subject matter has a tendency to become heavy and intense, but our panelists sprinkled in moments of humor and lightness to balance it all out. We're incredibly honored to share this conversation with you, and we hope it sparks continued ideas, inspiration, encouragement—and most of all, reckless hope. 

Show Notes

Panelist book recommendations:
Find Our Panelists:

Be sure to check out the Ladies of the Fright patreon!

Special thank you to our patrons: S.M., Bob, Eli, Nathan, Jessie, Michael, Emily, and Kev!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Diverse Horror Resources

For a few years now, the Horror Writers Association's Diverse Works Inclusion Committee has worked very hard to create monthly lists of horror authors and creators who are NOT white males.

The monthly column is called The Seers Table and you can access the archive of every list here.

Recently, Linda Addison, one of the founders of this committee told me that she is starting to see a lot of tangible results form the committee's work. Providing an introduction to new, own voices authors to the membership, specifically, has increased awareness of non white male authors and led to more of these titles being read and then subsequently recommended for the Bram Stoker Awards. This year in particular, the final ballot of the Stoker Awards was more diverse than ever, and while Linda has noted there is still a long way to go, the fact that in just a few short years we are seeing real results is amazing.

The Seers Table originally was a part of the members only resources from the HWA, but now they are easily archived here. You can not only use these introductions to the authors to help you to add more own voices horror to your collections, but also, the entries are written in a way that you can book talk the author and their works right from the resource itself. [Reminder: Using the Words of Others is one of my 10 Rules of RA Service]

I have added the Seers Table to my Horror Resources main page here. [It is a bullet point under the HWA entry.]

While this is an ongoing, monthly project and some of the authors you might not be as familiar with, earlier this week Book Riot published a list of 20 Horror Books by Authors of Color. I am sure you have some of these at your libraries right now and the rest would be super easy to add. Why not do it now, before the Halloween rush so you have them when you will really need them. And, you can also promote them as part of Summer Scares, two of the books are even by two of our selected adult authors. Different titles but just as awesome.

Click here for the Summer Scares Resource page which is filled with lists and recommendations for all ages of horror readers.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Upcoming Book About Horror and its Appeal-- Horror Literature from Gothic to Post-Modern

Today I have a press release about an upcoming book that is great for all public library collections AND I wrote the afterward. Specifically my afterward is about the importance of libraries in cultivating horror collections both the literature and the books about horror. It's titled, "Guardians of the Damned: Horror Scholarship and the Library." That afterward will not be reprinted here on the blog. It is ONLY in the book. 

Here are all the details via the Horror Writers Association press release:

Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy, announces a new release in the Fall 2019 from McFarland Books.

Horror Literature from Gothic to Post-Modernism: Critical Essays.

Click here to pre-order

These essays were initially presented at Ann Radcliffe Academic Conferences during StokerCon® events. All scholars and academics were invited to submit presentation abstracts related to Horror Studies for consideration.

The book is edited by Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak, with a Foreword by Lisa Morton, six-time Bram Stoker award-winning author and former President of HWA, and an Afterword by Becky Spratford. From the back cover:
“This collection of new essays explores a gamut of topics ranging from historic works such as Ann Radcliffe’s Gaston de Blondeville to contemporary novels, including Max Brooks’ World War Z, as well as essays on weird fiction, Stephen King, Richard Laymon, Australian-Indigenous monster mythology, and horror in picture books for young children.”
The Ann Radcliffe Academic Conferences have been a tremendous success, with many presentations covering a wide range of Horror studies. The co-chairs, Michele Brittany and Nicholas Diak, are looking for completed research or works-in-progress: art, cinema, comics, literature, music, poetry, television, and video games.

The next conference will be held during StokerCon® 2020 at the Royal and Grand Hotels in Scarborough, United Kingdom.

Michele Britany is an independent popular culture scholar. She is the editor of the Bram Stoker Award® nominated Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre, and James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy, both published by McFarland Books. Michele is the book review editor for the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, and she is the co-chair of the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference held in tandem with the Horror Writers Association’s annual conference, StokerCon®. In addition, she is the editorial manager and contributing writer for Fanbase Press, and she is a regular guest on the “Voice of Olympus” podcast series. She has presented at the SWPACA annual conference and at Wondercon Anaheim as part of the Comic Arts Conference series. Michele often moderates panels at conventions held in Southern California where she resides.

Nicholas Diak is the editor of The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Scandal Films and Television Programs Since the 1990s (McFarland Books). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from DeVry University. Later, he returned to school at the University of Washington (Tacoma) and earned a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, where he did his thesis on Italian genre director, Antonio Margheriti and his film Castle of Blood. Currently, he resides in Orange, CA and has been working to establish himself as a scholar in different fields of pop culture, including Italian genre films, post-industrial music, synthwave music and outrun culture, and H. P. Lovecraft studies. He has contributed essays, chapters, and reviews to various academic anthology and pop culture websites.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and award-winning prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening”. She is the author of four novels and more than 130 short stories, a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, and a world-class Halloween expert. She co-edited (with Ellen Datlow) the anthology Haunted Nights; other recent releases include Ghosts: A Haunted History and the collection The Samhanach and other Halloween Treats. Lisa lives in Los Angeles.

Becky Spratford is a Readers’ Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library. She runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All, and is on the Steering Committee of the Adult Reading Round Table. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist. Becky is also known for her work with horror readers as the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Second Edition [ALA Editions, 2012] and is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association. You can follow Becky on Twitter @RAforAll.

The Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference is part of HWA’s Outreach Program. Membership to the HWA is not required to submit or present. If interested in applying to the Horror Writer’s Association as an academic member, please see

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Updates to Summer Scares Resources

Great news, we have added even more resources to help you to confidently suggest horror to all age groups this summer. In general you should be using the Summer Scares Resource and FAQ page to find the titles, suggested reading lists, and details about how you can use our program to get more scary titles into more hungry readers' hands.

But here are the most recent updates.

First we have completed the podcast series and now there is an episode for each age level of titles. Each episode provides a discussion of each title with a sample book talk on how to hand sell it to patrons and information about the appeal of horror for adults, teens, and kids. The final episode in particular, with Kiera Parrott, has in depth information about how to work with the parents of middle grade readers when suggesting horror.

Here are all of the links from the Summer Scares Resources page pertaining to our podcasting partners.
In the author interview section, another Summer Scares author, Micol Ostow, has answered Grady Hendrix's interview questions here.

Also as part of Librarians' Day at StokerCon 2019 we had three Summer Scares authors join us on a panel where they talked about their work, their inspiration, and titles that they wish more people would read. The link to the notes from that specific panel are here. But you can also click here for the resource sheet for the entire Librarians' Day slate of programs.

That's what is new, but there is so much more for you to use at your library today, tomorrow, and all year long. Just click here for one-stop shopping.

Coming soon we will have official Summer Scares readalikes-- 3 readalike titles for each of the 9 titles. This means you will have even more horror to confidently suggest at every age level/

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

StokerCon Librarians' Day Resource Sheet Now Available for All

On Friday May 10th I hosted Librarians' Day at StokerCon in Grand Rapids Michigan.

For all, whether you were in attendance or not, I created this resource sheet.

You can click here to access it.

I would also like to thank our sponsors: LibraryReads and NoveList

But I wanted to leave a comment here that didn't make the resource sheet. During the Summer Scares panel Grady Hendrix, friend to libraries everywhere and our Summer Scares celebrity spokesperson shared a story about his childhood librarian, who had recently died. There was a book that little Grady loved and checked out every time he came to the library. But this book was out of print and the librarian was worried that it would be lost one day or it wouldn't be there when Grady came in or it would break, so she scoured the used book outlets [much harder without the internet] and made sure there was a copy behind the desk always, just for Grady. He was tearing up as he told the story and then he told the group of library workers that we have no idea how much we do. We are superheroes. We are there to take care of people's souls. We see the best part in everyone and people need that.

Thank you Grady, even if you did make everyone cry.

Now click here for all the details and resources.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This is Horror Awards Announced

Today the This is Horror Awards in 8 categories were announced. You can always find the current and past award winners in my Horror Awards Index. Also the post for this year's award winners has easy links to get to all past winners [at the end of the post].

These awards are voted on by the public and interestingly, this year's novel winner and runner up won the Bram Stoker Awards for First Novel and Novel respectively this past weekend. So, the professional writers and the fans are clearly on the same page. That is very nice to see.

Below I have reposted the Novel category announcement, but click through to read them all including 2 podcast categories. And of course, don't forget the importance of Using Awards Lists as a RA Tool.

The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn KisteNovel of the Year

“This news is such a surprise and such an honor. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read and supported The Rust Maidens. It means the world to me. Thank you to my fellow nominees for being the kind of writers that inspire all of us, day after day. And incredible thanks to This Is Horror. Michael, Bob and their fantastic team of writers do so much for the genre, and I can’t express my gratitude enough for all they’ve done over the years. Congrats to all the nominees and winners this year, and I can’t wait to see all the great new horror that 2019 has in store for us!”
—Gwendolyn Kiste, author of The Rust Maidens

Monday, May 13, 2019

StokerCon Notes Info and Stoker Awards Recap

I am freshly back from Stoker Con and I will have a much longer post here on the blog about everything, all of the details, and information you can use to help patrons right now. I went to many panels and took copious notes.

I also ran Librarians' Day and I have started the resource sheet here. I am still adding to it, including notes from the presentations themselves.  I will make sure that in the next 7-10 days everything is clearly posted and accessible through a post and in my various indexes here on the horror blog.

The Bram Stoker Awards were also announced on Saturday night. Here is the direct link to the announcement of the winners and here is the link to the RA for All post about the awards and using them as a RA tool.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

New Reviews Added and Summer Scares FAQ Update

The following books have been added to the Horror Review Index

Another episode of the Ladies of the Fright covering Summer Scares went live recently. It was added to the FAQ page also.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Summer Scares Updates More Interviews and First Podcast

I realize that this blog is turning into all Summer Scares all the time, but it is the biggest thing in libraries and horror right now and since this is a blog where those two things meet, well....... [sorry, not sorry]

Again a reminder that ever library can and should be suggesting horror all year long. We are targeting summer because that is when we get the highest number of leisure readers into the library. You can use our suggestions and resources anytime of year though.

Here are some of the updates to the resource page to help you as you work with potential horror readers:
This is just what is new. You can access all of the information on the Summer Scares Resource and FAQ page at anytime here. It is also listed in the right gutter of the blog for easy access from any page.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Summer Scares Updates Just in Time for Us to Open in Wide Release

Summer Scares is going strong. Starting soon we will have 3 episodes on the Ladies of the Fright podcast featuring committee members discussing the program and the specific titles by age group category. You should subscribe now to have these episodes show up automatically in your podcast feed. And while you are waiting for the first Summer Scares episode to drop, listen to their last episode- a conversation with Victor LaValle.

For general Summer Scares info I have this very detailed resource page available at all times here, but basically, Summer Scares is all about reminding library workers that horror makes a good read all year long-- not just in October and/or not just for weirdos.

The program is all about a panel of library experts suggesting titles that are excellent reads for a wide range of leisure readers from middle grade to adult. We have included suggested titles that range from literary to pulp to novels to short stories to graphic novels. We literally have it all!

We also know that once you give out the suggested titles [click here for those], we are confident you will have people clamoring for more, so we are creating more lists of recommended reads all of the time. Enough to keep you filled up with horror suggestions all year long. And trust me, you will need them starting today when all of your patrons come in looking for more books like Us.

Our focus is on "Summer" because that is when we see the biggest uptick in leisure reading among all of our patrons. So we will have lists you can turn into book marks, interviews with authors for your websites and social media [see below for the first 2], and lists upon lists upon lists. Again, there is already a lot of information on the resource page.

But the second component of the Summer Scares program is that for those libraries that want programming, we will help to facilitate an author visit to your library. Because we have the support of the entire Horror Writers Association behind us, we can help with programming as well as reading suggestions.

So watch this blog for more updates of resources, and start using them today. Don't wait for Summer. Your patrons aren't waiting. They are lining up to see a horror movie this very weekend.

And always remember, as I always say-- your horror readers aren't monsters, they just like to read about them.

Newly added to the Resources Page:
  • Committee member Grady Hendrix gave our selected authors the same 6 questions. See their answers to get a sense of the personalities behind the books. Feel free to use these interviews on your websites, social media, and with patrons to supplement the Summer Scares Program:

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Roundtable Interview with Women In Horror Including ME!

Lisa Morton, horror author and editor extraordinaire asked me to be a part of her Women in Horror Roundtable Interview for Nightmare Magazine's February Issue. The web version went live yesterday. Side note, for those of you who don't know Nightmare Magazine, I have talked about it before, but quickly, it is run by John Joseph Adams, speculative fiction editor superstar.

I want to thank Lisa for including the library perspective in this article. She has a great mix of awesome people here, and I am very proud of the product we have created together.

From the intro:
To celebrate Women in Horror Month 2019, I asked four excellent female writers and horror experts to join me for a roundtable discussion. Given how the genre seems to be expanding rapidly to include more women at all levels of experience and publishing, I tried to gather a group of women with a range of talents and experience. 
Linda Addison is an accomplished short story writer and editor, but she is probably known primarily as a poet. She is a recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the only author with fiction in three landmark anthologies that celebrate African-American speculative writers: the award-winning anthology Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction, Dark Dreams I and II, and Dark Thirst. 
Joanna Parypinski made her first professional sale in 2011, and her short fiction has since appeared in the magazines NightmareBlack Static, and Vastarien, and anthologies including Haunted NightsThe Beauty of Death 2: Death by Water, and The War on Christmas. Forthcoming in 2019 is her novel Dark Carnival, and a middle grade tale in New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. She also teaches English at Glendale Community College. 
Becky Spratford is the public library world’s most visible horror expert. She is the author of the American Library Association’s Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror (published in a second edition in 2012), and maintains the acclaimed blog RA for All: Horror at, as well as the original RA for All blog at She was a Guest of Honor at StokerCon 2017, and she travels throughout the year talking to librarians about broadening their horror collections. 
Kaaron Warren is an Australian author whose work extends through four novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, and The Grief Hole) and six short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her novella “Sky” from that collection won the Shirley Jackson Award and was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. It went on to win all three of the Australian genre awards, while The Grief Hole did the same thing in 2017. She has also taught writing workshops and mentored newer writers.

Click here to read the entire piece. We do not pull any punches here.

It makes for an excellent ending to a wonderful month.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Review of Larissa Glasser's F4 [With a Bonus Intro to the Bizarro Genre]

Today I have a lot to say both about the Bizarro genre, trans fiction, and I even have a review. This post will touch on a lot of issues that libraries need to be aware of. I have saved it for Women in Horror Month on the horror blog to highlight the inclusion of trans women in our celebration AND  am cross posting on the general blog because there are also issues of collection development, EDI [equity, inclusion, and diversity], and providing access to popular but non mainstream genres.

I know that is a lot, but it is important and I want you all to pay attention because this post contains information for every library worker, from every size library, anywhere across the country, to use to help patrons.

First, I want to begin with an introduction to the increasingly popular speculative fiction subgenre of Bizarro. Excerpted from the Wikipedia page on the genre:
Bizarro Fiction is a contemporary literary genre which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird and entertaining world., The terms was adopted in 2005 but the independent publishing companies Eraserhead Press, Raw Dog Screaming Press and Afterbirth Books. Much of its community revolves around Eraserhead Press, which is based in Portland, OR and has hosted the BizarroCon yearly since 2008.... Bizarro [is] "literature's equivalent to the cult section at the video store," and a genre that "strives not only to be strange but fascinating, thought-provoking, and above all, fun to read."
...In general Bizarro has more in common with speculative fiction genres (such as science-fiction, fantasy, and horror)....
Please click here to read more about Bizarro and follow the many citations and links for more info, including the lists of Wonderland Book Award winners [Bizarro's well respected award- you can see every final ballot here] and notable titles.

But even just this brief introduction should illustrate that there is a wide audience for these types of books. They are weird yes, but also fun. This is a place for the "weirdos" to have thought provoking conversations through art, find a community to which they can belong, and have a safe space to express themselves. But what I love about Bizarro, and what you will see in my review below, is that the focus on is on fun! These are books people will enjoy reading, if only they could have access to them.

The Bizarro author most likely to be included in library collections is Jeremy Robert Johnson. I also featured Johnson and one of his more recent works on the horror blog here. I would suggest his work as an introduction to the genre, but here's the thing, once people read and like him, where do they go next? We need to offer more. But how?

Look I realize not every library has space, money, and even a collection development policy that would allow for these weird and often raunchy titles. I know some of you can't even buy Erotica. But here is the thing, Bizarro, like Erotica before it, is gaining in popularity among mainstream audiences. We need to find a way to provide access. I have an easy solution though. For any emerging genre, especially those with sex and/or violence, get a Kindle for the genre. So in this case let's say and Erotica one and a Bizarro one. You load them with ebooks of the most popular titles and authors and you catalog them as "Bizarro Kindle." You can change out titles as often as you want. You can get hundreds of titles for a very low price, and still be able to offer emerging genres to your patrons without sacrificing shelf space.

But back to the main point here. This definition of Bizarro and its appeal focuses on the fun, which it is. But it is important to also note that this is a place where people who might not fit into mainstream society can also express themselves, hence my focus on a trans framed title by Larissa Glasser today-- F4.

I am going to explain why I loved this title and think all library workers need to be aware of it below, but I also want to make a stand here and proclaim that I include trans women in celebrations of women in [fill in the blank]. I know there are some in the Women in Horror month world who take issue with including trans women, but I am not one of those. And in fact, I specifically chose Glasser to highlight this month to make my position clear.

But the real reason I am highlighting Glasser today is because she is a great writer. I was first introduced to Glasser when she was on a panel at StokerCon last year. She was sitting next to Victor LaValle. I don't remember the exact question, or her answer, but I remember sitting there watching and listening to Larissa answer a difficult question. I was also watching Victor watching her, nodding along. When Larissa finished, it was Victor's turn. He said something to the effect of--She answered it perfectly. I have nothing to add. He was right and I knew that I needed to meet this smart, fascinating woman and read her book.

And so I did, and the book, it was awesome [more below]. We connected and I also found out that Glasser is one of us, a Librarian too.

I asked Glasser to introduce herself to all of you. Here is what she wrote:
Larissa Glasser is a Librarian-Archivist from New England. She writes dark fiction centered on the lives of trans women, library science, and heavy metal. Her work is available in Transcendent 3: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction [Lethe Press], Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey & Sylvia Plath [Clash Books]. Her debut novel F4 is available from Eraserhead Press. Larissa is a Member at Large of Broad Universe [a not for profit that supports women writers and editors in the speculative genres]. She is on Twitter @larissaeglasser and on Amazon:

Now to my review of F4 which I highly suggest you use to start your own e-Bizarro collection:

First let's begin with the publisher's summary:
A cruise ship on the back of a sleeping kaiju. A transgender bartender trying to come terms with who she is. A rift in dimensions known as The Sway. A cruel captain. A storm of turmoil, insanity and magic is coming together and taking the ship deep into the unknown. What will Carol the bartender learn in this maddening non-place that changes bodies and minds alike into bizarre terrors? What is the sleeping monster who holds up the ship trying to tell her? What do Carol’s fractured sense of self and a community of internet trolls have to do with the sudden pull of The Sway?

Further Appeal: I know I have said it already but I cannot stress how fun this book is. There is adventure, a steam punk frame, science fiction, great character development, and a compelling plot filled with action, emotion, and interest. Carol is a hero to root for- a trans woman hero to root for. And that is key. This book is both a great genre romp that also features a trans main character. This is key.

Carol is a complete person. Bring trans is part of who she is and while this book talks a bit about her
"hatching," it is more about her and this fun, slightly raunchy, strange adventure. This is so important. We need to read and know about books like this so we can learn about the trans experience. This book taught me so much while I had fun reading it. It opened a window to the trans woman experience, feelings, and even terminology [I had urban dictionary open while reading this book and learned so much]. I am someone who tries to be inclusive and accept people for who they are but until you have a chance to understand them from their experience how can you?

As library workers who want to help people find titles both that reflect their experiences and open them to the experiences of others-- what we call "own voices"-- we need titles like this one; a book that is a great read, has a trans woman hero, and is not solely about coming out.

This book manages to weave an overall theme about how humans transform things to fit their needs in a way the encompasses the entire story not just the transgender portions. It was enlightening and thought provoking. Really. Amidst all the weird, crazy, and sexual action, there was so much to ponder here. Thought provoking issues for all humans to consider. It was eye opening for more than just the "trans education" I received. This was a nice surprise.

Okay but back to the fun again for a second. The set up-- the kaiju ship [it reminded me of Leviathan for grownups] in particular was cool. I liked the world Glasser created here as a speculative fiction fan.

And finally, there is the plain fact that Glasser herself is a writer to watch. I think I made that clear above, but seriously, she has the writing chops. Her stories are being accepted in anthologies from trans themed to general speculative fiction. She is garnering critical acclaim everywhere she goes, and as I mentioned above, Victor LaValle knows how smart and talented she is, and he knows what he is talking about. You don't need to just trust me.

Please do yourself a favor and read this book. It will both open your eyes to trans framed stories AND Bizarro.

Three Words To Describe This Book: Fun, Speculative, Compelling

Readalikes: The great thing about Bizarro is that there are so many places the genre can take you. Please refer to the author list here and especially those who have won the Wonderland Book Award, but here are a few I can suggest from personal experience:

  • Jeremey Robert Johnson [mentioned and linked above]
  • Brian Everson
  • Carlton Mellick III
  • Laura Lee Bahr
  • John Edward Lawson
  • C V Hunt
There are many more to see at this link, but those are a few of the current authors who you should check out.

Also, just look at the Eraserhead Press lineup of authors. I know Rose O'Keefe, the publisher personally, and I know her love for the genre. If she publishes it, the quality is good.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: StokerCon 2019 Has Some Awesome Women Guests of Honor

Going back to Tuesday's post about supporting living women horror authors [plenty of links to find vetted examples], I thought I would highlight 3 specific ones of note today, and they also happen to be among the StokerCon 2019 Guests of Honor. Below is the official info from the StokerCon website with additional information by me added in italics.

But first a quick note-- StokerCon 2019 will be May 9-12 in Grand Rapids, MI. I will be there the entire time. Library workers are welcome at the entire con, but specifically I have planned a wonderful and affordable Librarians' Day on May 10th. It comes with lunch and free books. And GoH Stephanie Wytovich will be appearing on the final panel too. Click here to see the details and to join us. If you are staying overnight, let me know and I will personally bring you around and introduce you to anyone you want.  Friday night's Final Frame Film competition is always a great time and of course, the Stoker Banquet on Saturday night too.

KATHE KOJA is a novelist, playwright, performer, director and independent producer. Her work crosses and combines genres, from horror to historical to YA. Her novels—including The Cipher, Bad Brains, Skin, Strange Angels, Going Under, The Blue Mirror, the Under the Poppy trilogy, and Christopher Wild—have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She creates performative fiction events, both solo and with an ensemble of creative artists, including Drunk on Words, Dracula, The Heights, and Night School. She is based in Detroit USA, along with her husband, artist Rick Lieder, and Dash the cat.

Becky's further comments: Ms Koja is a great example of the breadth of creativity we see from women in horror. Also, her performative fiction events are amazing and she can bring them to libraries. 

Shirley-Jackson Award Winner KAARON WARREN published her first short story in 1993 and has had stories in print every year since. She was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy Convention in 2018 and has been shortlisted for the Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Her stories have appeared in Australia, the US, China, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, and have been selected for both Ellen Datlow’s and Paula Guran’s Best of the Year Anthologies. Kaaron has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She has published five novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole andTide of Stone) and seven short story collections, including the multi-award winning Through Splintered Walls. Her most recent short story collection is A Primer to Kaaron Warren from Dark Moon Books. Kaaron was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy, where she researched prime ministers, artists and serial killers. In 2018 she was Established Artist in Residence at Katharine Susannah Prichard House in Western Australia. She’s taught workshops in haunted asylums, old morgues and second hand clothing shops and she’s mentored several writers through a number of programs. She will be Guest of Honour at Stokercon and New Zealand’s Geysercon in 2019. You can find her at and she Tweets @KaaronWarren

Becky's further comments: If Ms Warren lived in America I am certain she would be a household horror name. Her work is amazing and universally acclaimed. I have talked about her here on the blog, including this guest post where she explained Why I Love Horror to all of you.

STEPHANIE M. WYTOVICH is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others. Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, and An Exorcism of Angels. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press. Follow Wytovich at and on twitter @SWytovich

Becky's further comments: Ms Wytovich is a powerhouse. Her words are lyrical, terrifying and heartbreaking, no matter the story's format. But she is also a brilliant historian of the genre. I saw her "Final Girl" presentation at StokerCon last year and it was one of the best things I did at the Con. She also teaches classes on horror as it is written today. She is a name you need to know. On her website, linked above, she is also running her own series of interviews with Women in Horror.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Support Living Women Horror Authors

One of the most important things we need to remember as we help horror readers in the library is to offer them titles by current, living authors.

Yes, the classics are great. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who likes Shirley Jackson more than me, but in general, library workers tend to suggest classic works of horror in higher numbers than living authors.

Some of this is a familiarity factor. As I have mentioned many times here on the horror blog, library workers in general are "scared" of horror. They aren't familiar with the genre or its current authors and have concerns about how to suggest scary and possibly gory books that they do not enjoy themselves.

Of course helping you to battle this lack of information and help you to help more horror readers is the whole reason I write this blog, but I need a little help from you.

Instead of only suggesting dead authors and their classics to our patrons, let's try to suggest living, working authors. Why?

Well first, even the most horror averse reader knows who Stephen King is and have heard of Dracula. Let's show them that we know about great new titles and authors too. We need to give the patrons titles they wouldn't have figured out about on their own, whether that's by direct suggestions, displays, lists, or just by having them in our collections.

Second, horror is in the middle of an exciting period. Not only is it hot and popular, but the books coming out are very good. Even I am surprised by how good the vast majority of books are these days, and I am a fan.  I review many of the best horror for libraries here on the blog. You can find my reviews always in the Horror Review Index or you can click on the Reviews tag to pull up the most recent reviews first.

Third, those of us who enjoy books, any book not just horror, should consider how we spend our money. When we buy books by living authors we are supporting them financially and allowing them to continue to write more. If we want new books to suggest to our readers, to help them find the joy of discovering a great new read, and to keep them coming back for more help, there need to be new books.

I think Women in Horror Month is the perfect time to discuss this general good rule of thumb for all RA Service, not just horror related, because women are writing some of the best and most interesting horror period, full stop.

To get you started suggesting living women of horror right now, here is a reminder of recent titles by women in horror that I have suggested and of course the Ladies of Horror Fiction have you covered year round.

If you you don't have time to go through it all right this minute, I would suggest you start by handing out HUNGER by Alma Katsu to someone today. Most public libraries own it and it has wide appeal-- imagine the Donner Party but with an evil, supernatural force stalking them too. Hey, it could have happened; it's not like many people survived ed to tell us the truth. Click here for my more detailed review.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Woman Run Horror Publishers

One of things we don't talk about when we talk about underrepresentation in publishing, or any industry, is the lack of representation at the top of the industry.  Interestingly, horror has many women at the helms of some of the best small publishers. Today I wanted to highlight a few of those publishers.

This list is not comprehensive, but rather, it is a list of horror publishers who put out quality titles that are also helmed by [or have top editorial direction by] women.

And, it is not surprising that these publishers also publish some of the best women in the genre. Please take a few moments to look at their websites and consider ordering a title or two. All of these publishers put out a quality product and have published multiple award winning stories. In the case of Apex, for example, they were one of the first to publish Rebecca Roanhorse, with this story in Apex magazine for which she won numerous awards. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Becky's Women in Horror Suggestions

As part of my celebration I thought it would be helpful if I pulled out my reviews of female horror writers into a single post.
Also, here is a list of women whose books I have included in my LJ Annual Columns [if not above] in reverse chronological order:

And of course, my post from back in the early days of this blog on Tananarive Due.

See that's a lot of Becky vetted women in horror for your library.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Lots of Horror Review Index Updates [Not a Women in Horror Celebration Post]

I haven't mentioned my recent updates to the Horror Review Index here on the blog in a while. Why do I double post them? Well, if I don't get the title here in a blog post, they are not as searchable to help you. Yes they are always in the Index, but you can't do a whole blog search for anything that didn't show up in a post.

So here are the horror books that I have reviewed, either for Booklist or myself since my last update on the blog:

Iglesias, Gabino.  Coyote Songs [2018]
Kiernan, Caitlín R.  The Very Best of Caitlin Kiernan (2019)
Davis, Graeme. More Deadly Than Male  (2019)
Tanzer, Molly. Creatures of Want and Ruin (2018)
Carey, M.R. Someone Like Me (2018)

Also books I for some reason never indexed:
Tanzer, Molly.  Creatures of Will and Temper (2017)
Sakuraba, Kazuki.  A Small Charred Face (2017)

Again, all titles that I have formally reviewed can be accessed at anytime on the Horror Review Index  page.

Also, I do have books I have not formally reviewed, but I have written annotations of them for Library Journal. You won't find them in the Review Index, but they are searchable. So if you don't see something that you thought I have read and or mentioned, just use the top left search box to try to find it.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Interviews with Women in Horror

One of the best ways to learn about new authors and their work so that you can figure out which readers to match those authors' titles to is through author interviews.

Since 2016, male horror author Stephen Kozeniewski has turned his personal blog onto a spotlight on women in horror every February, publishing a series of interviews with dozens of women in horror.

You can click here to see every interview, but I would suggest starting with this post which indexes every interview from 2016, 2017, and 2018. Then you can use the Women in Horror tag to pull up all of the posts, with the most recent first, to follow along this year.

You can easily use his index to get yourself a small display going for WiHMX right now.

And thanks to Kozeniewski for doing this great work. You should also read one of his books. Might I suggest Hematophages. It's one of the best horror books I have read recently and appeals to a wide range of readers from those who like SF, the movie Alien, even shows like The Office. I'm not kidding. read my review here.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Women in Horror Month X: Introducing a Year Round Resource

Welcome to Women in Horror Month. It is hard to believe this is the 10th annual celebration.

Over the course of February, I will be posting 2x a month with resources, reviews, and lots of info on women in horror.

But to begin the celebration, I want to point out a wonderful resource that debuted at the end of 2018-- Ladies of Horror Fiction. I have already added it to my Resources page and marked it as one of my favorites.

From their Mission Statement:

Click here to access the page
This resources uses a multi-platform, team approach to dive and conquer. They have news, reviews, a podcast, and most importantly, a Directory of Women in Horror. For each author in the directory they have a link to her website. If they have reviews of specific titles and a spotlight article, they also link to those.

All of the content for each author is clearly indexed and accessible. Use this link to see one of my current favorites, Gwendolyn Kiste's entry.

Looking for a good horror read for a patron anytime of year? Look no further than Ladies of Horror Fiction.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Best YA and Middle Grade Horror of 2018

As part of the Summer Scares Program, I am working with Kelly Jensen from Book Riot and Kiera Parrott of School Library Journal to compile the very best YA and Middle Grade horror reading choices.

While our committee is hard at work finalizing our list of the 9 official Summer Scares titles, we are all also offering more lists of titles you can use with patrons right now. The mission of the program is to promote horror in general, so we are giving you as many resources as possible.

Today, I want to highlight Middle Grade and YA, but all of the lists and resources our committee creates can be found on the Summer Scares FAQ and Resources page. So after you read this post, click here for more.

Since the Summer Scares committee is only considering books that have been out for at least 2 years we thought we would start by reminding you what some of 2018's best horror titles were. These books cannot get our Summer Scares designation this year, but they are probably on your shelf right now and can be given out with confidence to younger horror fans.

First up Kelly Jensen had this great list of 30 Chilling YA Horror Books from 2018 via Summer Scares Partner, Book Riot.

And Kierra Parrot made this list of the best Middle Grade Horror published in 2018 exclusively for the Summer Scares Program:

We have much more for you to use to help horror readers of all ages over on the Summer Scares FAQ and Resources page, including a reading suggestion list in all three age levels by bestselling horror author Grady Hendrix.