We Have Winners

Photo by Stephanie Massaro

Happy Halloween!!

We have winners for the All Hallows Read giveaway. Drawn at random, the three winners are:

Cynthia Robertson
Ian McMillan
Nina Badzin

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you three shortly to find out which book you’d like. You can choose between The Shining, the collected works of Poe, or House of Leaves. (Or a different recommendation as needed.)

Thanks so much to all who read, commented, shared, and entered. I’ve had a blast sharing October with you. Have a fantastically spooky Halloween,


Posted in Updates & Announcements | Tagged | 6 Comments

Listen to Jack and the Bad Man at Pseudopod

Hi everyone,

I’m super excited to share the audio recording (podcast) of my Halloween short story “Jack and the Bad Man” at Pseudopod! The story just went up. You can listen to it for free right from the Pseudopod website by pushing the play button at the bottom of the post there.

Art by Ken Lamug. Click to enlarge.

Custom art by the talented Ken Lamug. Click to enlarge.

This was the first short story I ever had published, and I’m still really proud of it. Rikki LaCoste did a superb job narrating this tale. (He also happens to be a very nice guy who worked with me to pronounce my last name right, so if you’ve ever wondered, now’s your chance.) There are sound effects and everything – just the right amount. All together it makes for a pretty special podcast. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.

Back when “Jack and the Bad Man” appeared in Underneath the Juniper Tree, artist Ken Lamug illustrated the tale. I’ve put one image above, but you can visit the October Issue to see all four of his exquisite illustrations. (I recommend listening first, since some of Ken’s art contains spoilers.) Art and audio? Boy am I one lucky writer.

The podcast is only ten minutes long, and it’s bound to get you into the Halloween spirit. I really hope you’ll go listen to it, and if you enjoy it, please share!

Because Pseudopod doesn’t have comments – and my All Hallow’s Read book giveaway is still going on – feel free to come back here to comment. You can be entered to win once per blog post up through the 30th, including this one. (This will be the last post before the giveaway results are announced on Halloween.)

I hope you enjoy listening to “Jack and the Bad Man” as much as I have. (Have I mentioned that I’m excited? I’m excited.) Happy, happy October to you all,


Posted in My Works | Tagged | 25 Comments

October Links Roundup

October has grown ripe. We’re less than two weeks away from Halloween! I always like to do a collection of my favorite blog posts from October, but I’m doing it a bit early this year so you have time to browse before actual Halloween. Because really, what better way to get into the spirit than reading about others who are doing the same? Enjoy!

Treats from Me

The intro to my giveaway, my hashtag game, and a link to my horror selfie: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” It’s not too late to enter! Comment on any/all posts this month (including this links roundup) up through the 30th. The winners will be announced on Halloween.

3 Amazing Horror Authors and Why You Should Read Them” <– In which I give you the lowdown on why you might want to win this giveaway.

It’s the best time of year for spookin! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my very own creepy stories and poems.

These are all available for free online:
A horror story: “Something You Don’t Want to Find,” Buzzy Mag
An eerie poem: “Dragging the Waters,” Phantom Kangaroo, Issue no. 7
A short poem: “Marionette
A scary sonnet: “Scarcely Caged
Atmospheric free verse: “Shades of Blue,” Hello Horror, June 2013
Gleeful macabre: “Still, It Pulls me,” New Myths, June 2014
Rhyme for kiddos: “The Centipede,” Underneath the Juniper Tree, September 201
Free verse with bite: “The Lurking,” L.M. Stull’s blog
A wee poem for wee ones: “The Skeleton,” Spaceports & Spidersilk, September 2011
A haunting poem: “To Walk Again
Coming soon: “Jack and the Bad Man” audio from Pseudopod!

Tricks and Thrills from Other Bloggers

A good reminder, especially for those with a prejudice against the horror genre. “Writing Horror Without the Blood” by Max Booth III at LitReactor. Sample: “Fear can be a beautiful drug if you take the right amount.”

Think you know what Halloween enthusiasm looks like? Think again. Take notes from a true aficionado with “5 Tips for a Proper Haunting” and “5 *More* Tips for a Proper Haunting” by Carie Juettner.

Also from Carie, “No Tricks, Just Treats.”

Origins of Superstitions” by Kathryn Knight is a fun one.

Have little ones who want in on the fun? “My 10 Favorite Horror Books for Kids” by Carie Juettner.

This post by A.B. Davis makes me so happy! “Why I Love Fall” Who doesn’t!?

Stand-Outs from HWA’s Halloween Haunts

Definitely read this beautifully written post by James Chambers: “Sweets in the Darkness.” This really captures my nostalgic impressions of Halloween.

A pretty interesting look at similar holiday traditions around the world, from the perspective of someone who grew up in Britain: “From Soul Cakes to Bones of the Holy–Halloween European Style” by Catherine Cavendish.

A short and sweet interview with “Bram Stoker nominated poet Stephanie Wytovich.” And definitely read the beautiful Sylvia Plath poem in this post: “The Moon And The Yew Tree.”

I enjoyed this nostalgic post that viewed Halloween through the lens of different life phases: “Halloween Changes Through The (My) Ages” by JG Faherty.

Here’s an interesting take on the significance of Halloween in modern culture: “Why Halloween Is the Best Holiday” by Tony Peak. Snippet: “It, like the stock monsters associated with it, will not die.”

This is a truly thoughtful post about death and horror. Sample: “Because death is the ultimate compass for how to live your life.  Think about it long enough and you realize what’s important. It’s only by looking hard into the darkness that we see, and appreciate, the light.” “The Darkness” by J. Lincoln Fenn.

Andrew Cooper shares the coolest Halloween tradition I’ve ever heard of in “Heady Ritual.” Seriously, I might steal this.

Poetry and Fiction (Free)

The Last Night of October” (poem) by Marge Simon at Halloween Haunts

The Highwayman” (flash fiction) by David B. Riley at Halloween Haunts

Night of the Hunter” (short story) by Brian W. Taylor at Pen & Muse

“Harvest Moon” (poem) and a haiku, both in “Pumpkins and Poetry” by Carie Juettner

Horror Selfie Highlights

I adore these lovable weirdos. So of course I joined them. Click here to see yours truly!

The king himself. Stephen King

My CP Alex Langley

Jonathan Maberry I adore this guy!

My buddy A.B. Davis

Peter Straub

My buddy Carie Juettner

Ramsey Campbell

HWA President Rocky Wood

Joe McKinney

One of my favorite editors Ellen Datlow

Fellow horror poet Bryan Thao Worra

Douglas Draa (Nooo! Not the little one!)

Mike Jones

Usman T Malik (or borrow mine)

Loren Rhoads

Matt R Lohr Mwa-ha-ha!

Tony Sarrecchia

Rena Mason It’s true.

Patrick Freivald

Brian Pinkerton Word.

Martin Livings

Robert L. Fleck I do enjoy hugs.


All the links I found have officially been rounded! If you think I missed something great, feel free to share it below (Halloween/horror/autumn themes, please). Have fun browsing, and don’t forget to comment to be entered to win one of my favorite scary books!

Posted in Horror | Tagged | 20 Comments

3 Amazing Horror Authors and Why You Should Read Them

I’m doing a giveaway! To celebrate Halloween, I’m participating in All Hallow’s Read by giving away two of my very favorite scary books: the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King’s The Shining. You can enter by commenting on any/all of my blog posts this month. If we break 50 comments (we’re already almost halfway there!), I’ll throw in a third favorite scary book: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. If you missed the announcement last week, you can view the rules here. So today I thought I’d take some time to talk a little about these books and their authors, both so you know which book to choose if you win and just because I love talking about my favorite books! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Edgar Allan Poe

The Relevant Work

Because Edgar Allan Poe is a short story author and poet, it’s easy to get books that have almost everything he’s written, sometimes even including his literary criticism and essays. He was so prolific that most people will want to start with the highlights. My don’t-miss list includes these poems: “The Raven,” “A Dream Within A Dream,” “The Bells,” and “Annabel Lee.” My don’t-miss short stories are: “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

Why It’s Amazing

Poe excels at many things. The atmospheres he creates are unmatched by any other writer, living or dead. I don’t believe you can sit down to read one of Poe’s masterpieces and not become deeply drawn into the mood he’s created. On top of that, his best stories are surprisingly modern in their entertainment value. His prose is more flowery than that of most authors today, but if anything that only serves to heighten the sense of magic when reading. Poe knows how to weave a short story plot like none other, and his poetry shimmers with brilliance. (Convinced yet?)

Who Should Read It

Everyone. Yes, everyone. And no, I won’t say this for all three authors. Every person should read at least some Poe in their life. Even if you don’t like macabre things, Poe has options for you. He has plenty of poetry that is deep and melancholy rather than scary, and his short stories range far beyond horror with mysteries, science fiction, and even humor. Not sure where to start? Tell me your tastes and I’m happy to give you a recommendation!

Stephen King

The Relevant Work

I’m giving away my favorite King novel. The Shining is about a family of three who spend a winter as the off-season caretakers of the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. With a touch of supernatural and a nerve-wracking atmosphere of psychological terror, this is absolutely the scariest novel I’ve ever read. If you’ve already read The Shining, my other favorites by King include ‘Salem’s Lot (vampires), Pet Sematary (the one with the toddler and the cat), and The Tommyknockers (aliens). It (clown) is still on my to-read list, but it’s also popular.

Why It’s Amazing

There’s one thing Stephen King does better than any other author: fear. There have been three scenes so far in my life that have scared me on a physical, visceral level (afraid to get out of bed, stomach churning – that type of thing). Two of those three scenes are in The Shining. Ironically, neither one is in the movie version with Jack Nicholson, so I always encourage people to read the book even if they’ve already seen the movie. If you’re wondering, the third scene that scared me was in ‘Salem’s Lot. See? King’s the master of scary.

Who Should Read It

Anyone who wants to be well and truly scared by a book! Also: brave writers studying commercial fiction craft. King has it down.

Mark Z. Danielewski

The Relevant Work

House of Leeeeaves! I fan-girl pretty hard over this one. It doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with: if someone brings up this book I am going to be entrenched in animated discussion for at least the next half hour. This is a book you could read and re-read for the rest of your life and still find something new every time. The deceptively simple premise: a young family moves into a house that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Why It’s Amazing

I’ve done a full-out rave post about House of Leaves before, but I’ll give you the highlights here. House of Leaves is the most ambitious book I’ve ever read. It’s layers of story mixed together in a clever, thoughtful way that forces the reader to become an active participant in interpreting the text. It’s an assault on the nature of story itself. The dark humor behind this method lends itself to satire, but the complicated maze of structure, narrator, and plot creates a disorienting, claustrophobic effect that becomes unsettling if not downright scary. Add on top of all this moments of bright humor, touching poignancy, chilling fear, and unbelievable originality. You guys, this book changed me. Even though this behemoth is 700 complex pages, I read it in less than a week and I was breathless when I finished. I devoured every word. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I even read the index.

Who Should Read It

I do not recommend this book for everyone. It definitely isn’t for readers who want a fast, easy read. Who it is for: readers who love intellectual, literary fiction that you can really spend time on and become lost in. Readers with ambitious taste who like to be challenged. A taste for horror is probably helpful, although I don’t think this book is “scary” in a way that would put off people who avoid scary movies. It will, however, mess with your mind, so House of Leaves is best suited to those with dark propensities.


There you have it: my three favorite scary books, why they’re amazing, and why should read them. Want a chance to read them for free? Comment below to be entered to win! And don’t forget: the more posts you comment on this month the better chance you have at being drawn.

Now it’s your turn. I am always looking for more books that will well and truly get under my skin. What’s your favorite scary book, and why?

Posted in Authors | 30 Comments