Coming Soon! Horror Writing Workshops for Kids at the Center for Fiction

Illustration of a castle at night background for HalloweenI’m thrilled to be leading a new series of horror workshops for young writers at The Center for Fiction next month, kicking off the Halloween season *AND* the CFF’s KidsWriting program!

We’re going to have a lot of fun exploring some of the genre’s most popular branches and playing around with its most infamous tropes. Halloween is my very favorite holiday and even though I know this year will be different, I’m still all-in for celebrating the spooky season, and, IMHO, this is a perfect way to do that safely and creatively.

We’ll be meeting via Zoom beginning on October 10th, with the first of three sessions (detailed below), which can be bundled or taken individually. Registration is open now, but attendance is limited, so please don’t wait.

Additional info from the CFF event page:

Designed for young writers, ages 9-12, these writing workshops will focus on fostering creativity in a fun, encouraging environment. Each session breaks down a different branch of horror and will include writing sprints, interactive discussions of story structure and common tropes, and opportunities to share and review our work. Parents are encouraged to register for individual sessions based on their child’s interests or for multiple sessions at a discount.

Saturday, October 10, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Haunted Places & Ghostly Faces
In this workshop, we’ll be writing ghost stories, urban legends, and crafting original “local lore” about hauntings, cursed places, and other spooky, unexplained phenomena. Poltergeists welcome!

Saturday, October 17, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Movie Monsters & Creepy Creatures
From vampires, werewolves, and zombies, to shape-shifters, ghouls, and mummies–and everything in between–in this workshop, we’ll be writing stories about the terrifying things that go bump in the night (or in your closet)!

Saturday, October 24, 11:30am – 1pm ET
Scary Science & Techie Terrors
Whether it’s extraterrestrial invasions or evil scientists, destructive blobs or sentient computers—in this workshop we’ll be writing Sci-Fi Horror about the places where science and technology meet the unknown and the unexpected.

 

Out Today! Don’t Turn Out the Lights

Don’t Turn Out the Lights is here! Edited by New York Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, with illustrations by Iris Compiet and cover design by Laura Mock, Don’t Turn Out the Lights is a tribute to the middle grade horror classics, Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

I can’t overstate how influential the Scary Stories books were in developing my reading and writing tastes as a kid (or how influential Stephen Gammell’s original art was in developing my nightmares). So, if it’s not obvious, I’m beyond thrilled to be part of this tribute.

In Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Iris Compiet does an amazing job capturing the spirit (PUN!) of the original books, while creating a whole new canon of nightmare fodder with her illustrations, just as my fellow contributors do with their fantastically creepy stories.

Title page for "Tag, You're It" featuring black and whit illustration (by Iris Compiet) of a creepy baby doll.

Art by Iris Compiet; design by Laura Mock.

Speaking of the authors, it doesn’t get better than this line-up: Linda D. Addison, Courtney Alameda, Jonathan Auxier, Gary A. Braunbeck, Z Brewer, Aric Cushing, John Dixon, Tananarive Due, Jamie Ford, Kami Garcia, Christopher Golden, Tonya Hurley, Catherine Jordan, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, N.R. Lambert, Laurent Linn, Amy Lukavics, Barry Lyga, D.J. MacHale, Josh Malerman, James A. Moore, Michael Northrop, Micol Ostow, Joanna Parypinksi, Brendan Reichs, Madeleine Roux, R.L. Stine, Margaret Stohl, Gaby Triana, Luis Alberto Urrea, Rosario Urrea, Kim Ventrella, Sheri White, T.J. Wooldridge, and Brenna Yovanoff.

To celebrate the release of Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Jonathan Maberry has organized a series of panels with the authors featured in this anthology. I’ll be joining him today, September 1st, for an event hosted by Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, register here! The full list of events is up on Jonathan Maberry’s site and the previous panels will be posted on his Facebook page.

[UPDATE: Our panel is up on YouTube!]

If you didn’t preorder your copy of Don’t Turn Out the Lights, not to fear! Mysterious Galaxy is selling copies signed* by Jonathan Maberry;  my local bookshops, Kew & Willow Books and Astoria Bookshop, will ship most places; and it’s also available at bookstores and online retailers everywhere, including:
HarperCollins
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
B&N
Amazon

UPDATE: I AM NOT GREAT AT THE “NEW” WP EDITOR AND SOMEHOW DELETED MY THANK YOU BOX:
Huge THANK YOU to the Draft Zero writing group (line-up at the time: Frances Rowat, Beth Tanner, Asha Bardon, David Bruns, and Shannon Fay–go read their stuff!), Allison Escoto, Lorraine Escoto, and Doug Peyton for their excellent feedback while I was working on this story. Also, shout outs to everyone at HarperCollins Children’s (especially Alyssa Miele), and the Horror Writers Association** for making this anthology happen. Biggest thank you of all to Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell for scaring the crap out of us.

UPDATE: HarperCollins Children’s talented marketing/PR team posted this awesome trailer gif on Twitter this morning:


*Mysterious Galaxy’s instructions on how to order a signed/personalized Don’t Turn Out the Lights (books will be signed by Jonathan Maberry only, not the other contributing authors): At checkout under “Order Comments” write if you would like a signed or personalized book and to whom it should be personalized. Personalization requests are due one week after the event.

 

Coming Soon! Events for Don’t Turn Out the Lights!

It’s heeeeeeeere…almost!

As you may have heard me mention, I’m EXTREMELY excited about Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which includes stories from a staggering number of my horror writing heroes and–to my eternal glee–one of my stories. It releases on September 1 and we’re doing a bunch of stuff to celebrate that!

Edited by New York Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, with illustrations by Iris Compiet, and cover design  by Laura Mock, Don’t Turn Out the Lights releases NEXT WEEK. But it’s not too late to preorder! If you want to be terrorized in a timely manner, I highly recommend reaching out to your local bookshop or library and requesting Don’t Turn Out the Lights, or preordering it from one of these bookstores:
HarperCollins
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
B&N
Amazon

To celebrate the release of Don’t Turn Out the Lights, Jonathan Maberry has organized a series of panels with the authors featured in this anthology. I’ll be joining him on September 1st for an event hosted by Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego! The full list of events is being updated as we speak, but keep an eye on Jonathan’s Facebook and Twitter pages for details up on Jonathan Maberry’s site!

Coming Soon! Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection

Exciting news! My story, “Let It Stand,” will be included in Flame Tree Publishing‘s upcoming cosmic horror* anthology, Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection, available in Fall 2020. The folks at Flame Tree recently announced the full TOC and…whoa! I’m seriously thrilled to be part of this roster. The details, from their release:

We’re delighted to announce the line-up of authors for our upcoming book Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection! Due for publication in October 2020 (November in the US/Canada), this anthology features a foreword by Ramsey Campbell and acts as a companion volume to our earlier collection: Lovecraft Short Stories.

Along with a few key Lovecraft tales and early influences, this latest anthology includes work from a number of authors who have emulated or expanded on the Mythos since Lovecraft, among his contemporaries and also our own. See below for the selection of tales by modern authors chosen for inclusion…

Lovecraft Mythos

Cthulhu-Seltzer by Hal Bodner

Offspring by Evey Brett

The Franklyn Paragraphs by Ramsey Campbell

Foxfire Future by Helen E. Davis

Grave Secrets by JG Faherty

He Opens a Window by Cody Goodfellow

The Innsmouth of the South by Rachael K. Jones

The Damage by Scott R. Jones

Black Ships Seen South of Heaven by Caitlín R. Kiernan

Always a Castle? by Nancy Kilpatrick

Let It Stand by N.R. Lambert

Up from Slavery by Victor LaValle

The Whisper of Stars by Thana Niveau

My First Abomination by John Possidente

By Any Other Name by John Llewellyn Probert

A Gentleman from Mexico by Mark Samuels

Usurped by William Browning Spencer

Entirely Surrounded by Water by R.S. Stefoff

Shed a Tear for Asenath by Jonathan Thomas

Cloaca Maxima by Donald Tyson

Tracking the Black Book by Douglas Wynne

New, recent and classic work by these authors will appear alongside stories by H.P. Lovecraft and the following: Ambrose Bierce, Robert Bloch, Robert W. Chambers, August W. Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, Frank Belknap Long, Zealia Bishop, Hazel Heald, Arthur Machen, Clark Ashton Smith.

Lovecraft Mythos: New & Classic Collection is scheduled for release in October 2020 (UK) and November 2020 (US & Canada) and is available for preorder now at:

Bookshop.org
B&N
Indiebound
Amazon


* I’m a big fan of the movement within the horror community for using “cosmic horror” to describe this branch (tentacle?) of the genre. It feels increasingly unnecessary (and inaccurate) to tie it to a known racist and bigot when–with every new voice and story–cosmic horror continues to expand far beyond the constraints of its early foundations.
UPDATED (8/5/2020): Adding a link to this excellent piece on the subject from Tor Nightfire.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

New Story at Fireside: “The Words I Starved For”

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

Wow…and I thought publishing a story during an inauguration was difficult! In all seriousness, I hope you and yours are safe and well and that you’re doing everything in your power to flatten the curve. If you can spare money or supplies, please consider helping others in your community. As I mentioned in a previous post, local food banks need money, food, and household basics, find one here, here, or here; or support World Central Kitchen in their relief efforts.

Okay, so today’s the day! My story, “The Words I Starved For” is out on Fireside Fiction. Even though this is technically a ghost story, at heart, it’s also a deeply personal one. So writing it, submitting it, and publishing it, all felt slightly-to-entirely terrifying at times. But I was lucky to have the supportive company of many fine people (including my wonderful therapist!) along the way…

First up, big thanks to the Draft Zero writing group, which at the time included Frances Rowat, Beth Tanner, Asha Bardon, and Shannon Fay, who are all incredible writers and you should read their work immediately.

Also, special shout-outs to Allison Escoto, Karen Bischer (preorder her book!), and Richard Shealy who lent their years of professional experience to me while working on this story.

Of course, last but not least, heaps of gratitude to Fireside’s Pablo Defendini and Chelle Parker (and everyone at Team Fireside), to Daniela Acitelli who narrated the audio version (available on podcast apps and libsyn), to Winter 2020 issue artists Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani, to Julia Rios who acquired this story, and especially to Dominik Parisien, who edited it. Thank you, all!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to read (and share) “The Words I Starved For.” Also, please consider supporting another very cool project from Fireside, Puestes pa’l Futuro on Kickstarter. Even if you can’t back this project, you can help by spreading the word!

Be well and be kind, all!


If you’d like the Winter 2020 print edition of Fireside Quarterly, I believe you can still get one by subscribing here. To purchase the digital edition of Issue 77, click here.

Cover Reveal: Don’t Turn Out the Lights

I started this post 18 years ago, i.e., Wednesday. Things here in the U.S. (and abroad) have changed dramatically since then, so before we talk about this awesome cover, a brief message:

If you are in an area affected by COVID-19 (and even if you’re not…yet), please actively practice social distancing to the best of your ability. Also, if you can spare money, food, or household basics, please consider donating to a local food bank (find one here, here, or here) or to World Central Kitchen.

Okay, back to our previously scheduled programming:

I’m super excited to share the cover reveal for Don’t Turn Out the Lights: A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, edited by New York Times bestselling author, Jonathan Maberry, with illustrations by Iris Compiet, and (a creepy AF) cover design (and hand lettering!) by Laura Mock. Obviously, it’s completely perfect…and wait till you see the interior illustrations! Last week, I got a sneak peek at the art Iris Compiet did for my story, “Tag, You’re It” and it is terrifying in the best possible way–I can’t wait for it to give you all nightmares!

That’s all for now–thank you for taking a moment to share this little spot of joy with me! Please be safe and be well.

If you’d like to pre-order* Don’t Turn Out the Lights, take your pick: 
HarperCollins
Books-A-Million
IndieBound
B&N
Amazon

*and/or “preorder;” it seems the world hasn’t landed on a preferred spelling for this redundant phrase.

Art by Kristine Scheiner.

Women in Horror Month Reading at KGB Bar

I know I’m taking a risk calling this early–what with an extra day in the month an all–but the absolute highlight of my February was the opportunity to read at KGB Bar with the New York Chapter of the Horror Writers Association to celebrate Women in Horror Month.

Photo credit: Jim Freund

Photo credit: Jim Freund

I was thrilled to join Randee Dawn, Amy Grech, Carol Gyzander, Barbara Krasnoff, and K.E. Scheiner at the KGB podium on February 12th. [Updated to add…] I wrote more about the evening over on the HWA-NY site (in a post that includes lots of additional pictures) so be sure to check that out.

Photo credit: Lorraine M. Escoto

Photo credit: Lorraine M. Escoto

But before you go, please enjoy the (impressive af) talents of artist Kristine Scheiner, who sketched all the readers (and our emcees, Carol Gyzander and James Chambers) that night. Also, be sure to check out Kristine’s shop on etsy.

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Sneak Peek at Fireside Quarterly Winter 2020

Cover art by Carlota Suarez

Cover art by Carlota Suarez.

The Winter 2020 issue of Fireside Quarterly, which includes my story, “The Words I Starved For,” begins shipping soon! It’s not too late to subscribe for Winter 2020, plus a whole year’s worth of incredible writing and art from Fireside.

This issue, edited by Dominik Parisien, with stories acquired by Julia Rios, also features cover art by Carlota Suarez and work from Taimur Ahmad, Annika Barranti Klein, Amy Griswold, Veronica Brush, Vajra Chandrasekera, Sam Kyung Yoo, nwaobiala, H. Pueyo, Michael Robertson, LH Moore, Mike Loniewski, Hal Y. Zhang, and Nibedita Sen, as well as illustrations from Kieu Vo, Carlota Suarez, and Omar Gilani.

I’m delighted to be included among all these talented authors, poets, and artists. As for my contribution to this issue…”The Words I Starved For” is, in many ways, a story that has taken me years to tell. It’s a ghost story that also happens to be some of my most personal, belly-baring writing, and I am hella excited about it being out in the world. I hope you will subscribe, read, and enjoy!

 

 

All Kinds of Updates: Spring 2019

There is much to discuss and I keep intending to do individual posts, but work-work has been intensely busy this year and there just hasn’t been time. (In addition to writing fiction, I also run a freelance copywriting and work-for-hire business–so get in touch if you have an upcoming project you’d like to discuss! Yay, self-promotion-within-self-promotion! Incepromotion??? Probably!)

In order to get to everything before it is covered in the ash and brimstone of this dark and relentless timeline, I’m trying something of a round-up/newsletter¹ format.  Let’s see how it goes…

In case you missed it, I have a story coming out next year in NEW SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK! It’s a tribute anthology to the classic series by Alvin Schwartz (which featured those incredibly iconic and nightmare-inducing illustrations by Stephen Gammell), and is edited by Jonathan Maberry (who has been delightful to work with). I don’t have an exact pub date yet, but it will be out sometime in 2020 from HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Speaking of horror-related things, I’ll be at StokerCon again this year! I’m doing a reading and a couple of panels, both involving the intersection of horror and the YA reader/horror fan. Please stop by and say hello if you’ll be there too.

Looking further ahead, I’m thrilled to be a 2019 National Park Service Artist-in-Residence this summer. As an AIR, I’ll have two glorious unplugged, uninterrupted weeks of writing at Fire Island National Seashore in New York. For those unfamiliar with New York’s geography, Fire Island National Seashore is a gorgeous, coastal park on a section of Fire Island, which–according to the Native Land app, (support them here)–occupies the traditional territory of the Unkechaug. (If you’d like to learn more about the Unkechaug, check out this recent episode of WSHU’s “The Full Story,” in which Unkechaug Indian Nation chief, Harry Wallace, discusses efforts to preserve Native American culture.)² I love our national parks system–they were formative for me growing up and I’ll be writing lots more about this incredible opportunity as my residency draws closer.

Even further ahead–as in, sometime in 2020–Fireside Magazine, one of my very favorite fiction magazines, will be publishing my story, “The Words I Starved For,” and I don’t think I could be more excited. Fireside recently announced some editorial changes, so there’ll be more news and a longer post to come, including details on the issue and editor, but for now a deep and heartfelt thank you to departing editor, Julia Rios, for believing in this story–all the heart emojis!

What else is new(ish) and of note, you might ask? Or not. I’ll still tell you!

  • I recently taught a writing workshop for kids at the Center For Fiction‘s gorgeous new space. We had a lot of fun and I hope to host similar workshops in the future, so stay tuned…
  • Check me out on Curious Fictions, a site which features short fiction (mostly reprints) and posts from some of your favorite authors. If you love short stories, definitely take a look around.
  • I’ll be reading at Summer Dark, on Friday, June 28th at 6:00 p.m.

² For additional reading, check out (and support!) Jeremy Dennis’s excellent resource, On This Site.

¹ Back in olden times (the mid-naughts), when I worked in online marketing, newsletters were all the rage. “Newsletter! Newsletter! Newsletter!” the people cried in joy. Then Twitter and Facebook stomped in, newsletters lost traction, and in the new world of social mediocrity, the people just cried. But now, in the toxic wake of those sites, it seems like newsletters are staging a comeback–just in time for the apocalypse and possibly thanks to the Patreon model, which may also be floundering I hear? idk. I didn’t board that particular train, not having that kind of platform at the time (or really ever) and now it seems like there isn’t any point and–to complete the metaphor–that maybe the Patreon train has left the station. I should probably join Patreon. We’ll see. Maybe we can all try this app called Real Life. But it would have to be spelled without vowels, right? RLLYF? Is this app’ening? Where’s my hoodie and TED Talk and IPO?

³ I know these footnotes are out of order, but honestly, an ambling tangent about newsletters doesn’t deserve top billing.

My StokerCon 2019 Schedule

I’m excited to be attending StokerCon again this year. The organizers have outdone themselves with programming options and I’m delighted to be a part of the following events:

READING
Saturday, May 11th
11:00 a.m.
Winchester Room
It is my extreme pleasure to be reading with Shirley Jackson Award Winner and StokerCon 2019 Guest of Honor Kaaron Warren. She has a fantastic line-up for StokerCon, so be sure to check it out.


PANELS
Coming-Of-Age Horror In The Era Of Netflix
Thursday, May 9th
6:00 p.m.
Berkey Room
with Kyla Lee Ward and Tom Deady.

Writing Horror For Kids and Teens
Friday, May 10th
2:00 p.m.
Grand View Room B-C
with Lucy Snyder, Josh Malerman, Jonathan Maberry, Daniel Kraus, and Gaby Triana.


Also, be sure to check out the other wonderful and talented members of the Horror Writers Association’s New York Chapter, who will be representing our fine state (and chapter) all weekend long.