Author Archives: gwendolynkiste

New Year, New Fiction: Submission Roundup for January 2022

Welcome back, and welcome 2022! To start off this new year, there are plenty of fabulous writing opportunities this month!

As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets. I’m merely spreading the word! Please direct your questions to their respective editors. And now onward with the debut Submission Roundup of 2022!

Submission Roundup

Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy series
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; .06/word for reprints
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: January 9th, 2022
What They Want: Flame Tree’s Gothic Fantasy series is currently seeking fiction with the themes of Christmas Gothic Short Stories and Compelling Science Fiction.
Find the details here.

The Reinvented Detective
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: January 15th, 2022
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of detective stories updated for modern and futuristic settings.
Find the details here.

Deep in the Woods
Payment: $10-$25/flat, depending on length
Length: Up to 8,000 words
Deadline: January 31st, 2022
What They Want: This anthology from Sirens Call is seeking horror stories set in the forest.
Find the details here.

The Cellar Door
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: January 31st, 2022
What They Want: The latest issue of The Cellar Door from Dark Peninsula Press is seeking stories about forbidden magic.
Find the details here.

Horror that Represents You Anthology
Payment: .11/word
Length: 1,000 to 7,000 words
Deadline: January 31st, 2022
What They Want: Open to horror short stories from a wide range of marginalized authors.
Find the details here.

Nowhere Fast
Payment: .06/word
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 28th, 2022
What They Want: This Clash Books anthology is open to coming-of-age horror inspired by 80s and 90s movies.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

The Horror Is Upon Us: 2021 Award Eligibility Post

2021 is almost over, so I figure it’s a good time to do my annual award eligibility post here at the old blog. As always, if you’re recommending for awards and would like a copy of any of these works, please let me know, and I would be happy to send it over to you!

And now onward with what I’ve been up to in 2021!

Sister Glitter Blood” (Violent Vixens, Dark Peninsula Press, August 2021)
Two lonely sisters discover a strange board game called “Sister Glitter Blood.” As they begin to play in their dusty attic, they soon realize this game is watching them closer than they could have ever imagined. Framed through the board game’s instructions, the story tracks the sisters as they try desperately to outpace the ghosts they’ve conjured, only to find themselves back in the attic years later with nothing to protect them besides the roll of the dice and each other. This has probably been my best-received work of the year with Reading Vicariously calling it “Genuinely creepy” and Rebecca Rowland of Ginger Nuts of Horror saying “it’s worth buying the collection for this tale alone.”

The Mad Monk of the Motor City” (There Is No Death, There Are No Dead, Crystal Lake Publishing, August 2021)
The ghost of Rasputin descends on a broken-down apartment building in modern-day Detroit, and soon nearly all the tenants are under his preternatural sway. Only one withdrawn woman finds herself resisting his thrall as she does her best to solve the mystery of why he’s returned and how to stop him. This anthology of occult horror has a fabulous table of contents and was the first time I got to work with editor Jess Landry since The Rust Maidens, so this one holds a special place in my heart.

The Haunted Houses She Calls Her Own” (Liminal Spaces, Cemetery Gates Media, September 2021)
The famed Black Dahlia finds herself living and reliving different versions of her own death, all while demanding for her own voice to be heard and also searching for a way out of the purgatory the world has created for her. I’ve long been fascinated and horrified by the real-life murder of Elizabeth Short, and this story is my ode to her and her memory. Writing about actual people is always tricky, but I hope I did her some semblance of justice in this story.

Things to Do in Playland When You’re Dead” (Shadow Atlas, Hex Publishers, November 2021)
An ethereal patron visits an amusement park called Playland-at-the-Beach on the final night before it closes for good, meeting a variety of strange specters along the way. San Francisco’s now-defunct Playland at the Beach is such a fascinating piece of Americana, and it was so much fun to craft this short story around it. This is also another amazing table of contents—truly all of these books have incredible tables of contents—so it was an honor to be part of this one.

The 9 Ghosts You’ll Find at Mayfair Estate” (Nine, Editions du Chat Noir, July 2021)
So this one actually marks a first for my writing career: this story made its debut in French! A tour of a vast and haunted property slowly starts to unravel in increasingly horrifying ways, as one by one, a group of unusual phantoms introduces themselves.

In addition to my short stories, I also had four nonfiction pieces published this year, all of them featured at Tor Nightfire. My articles ran the gamut from fiction based on true-crime tales and the best witchy books to re-imagined fairy tales and the creepiest cats of horror. I think I say this every year, but I’m very hopeful that I’ll have even more short nonfiction out next year. That’s definitely the goal anyhow.

Beyond my new fiction and nonfiction, it was a busy year overall. The Invention of Ghosts was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award as well as a Ladies of Horror Fiction Award. The Spanish translation of The Rust Maidens was nominated for both an Ignotus and a Kelvin Award. Additionally, the Spanish translation of my Lucy Westenra story from Crononauta was also nominated at the Ignotus Awards. The French translation of Boneset & Feathers made its debut from Editions du Chat Noir, and the German translation of The Rust Maidens was released from Festa Verlag. I’ve made a number of sales for next year, including a new nonfiction article on Terrence Malick and the uncanny to Vastarien, and a new weird horror story, “To the Progeny Forsaken,” to Dim Shores’ Looming Low, Volume 2. My work will also have new translations in French, Spanish, and Italian next year and beyond.

Also, in what is truly a dream come true, my personal writing archive is now housed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Horror Studies Collection. The drafts of my short stories and novels are now living in the same space as work from George Romero, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Linda Addison, Kathe Koja, and so many other horror luminaries. I used to daydream about being a writer who had their archive at a major university, and now I am a writer who can say that. It’s surreal and thrilling and I still can’t believe it’s really happened.

And of course, even more big news from the year: my third novel, Reluctant Immortals, had its cover reveal and release date announced: August 23rd, 2022! In case you haven’t already heard me screaming from the rooftops about it, Reluctant Immortals follows Lucy Westenra from Dracula and Bertha Antoinetta Mason from Jane Eyre as they navigate 1967 California while trying to stop the toxic men from their past who have returned suddenly to their lives. You can find out more and read an excerpt at the Tor Nightfire blog.

All right, so that’s more than enough for one year. I’m doing my best to stay hopeful overall for what 2022 holds, but with the current state of the world, hope is all I’ve got. Fingers crossed that next year will be much better than this one.

At any rate, happy reading, and happy New Year!

Fiction for the Holidays: Submission Roundup for December 2021

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Plenty of fabulous opportunities, so if you’re looking for a home for one of your stories, maybe there’s the perfect one on this list!

As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct any questions to their respective editors. And now onward with December’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Apex Magazine
Payment: .08/word
Length: up to 7,500 words
Deadline: Opens on January 1st, 2022
What They Want: Open to a wide range of horror fiction.
Find the details here.

Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga
Payment: .06/word
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: Open to women authors, this anthology from Black Spot Books is seeking stories about and inspired by Baba Yaga.
Find the details here.

Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: A fat-positive anthology, Diet Riot is open to horror short stories that feature and celebrate fat protagonists.
Find the details here.

Allegory
Payment: $15/flat
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: Open to science, fantasy, horror, and “quirky” fiction.
Find the details here.

The Reinvented Detective
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: January 15th, 2022
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of detective stories updated for modern and futuristic settings.
Find the details here.

Nowhere Fast
Payment: .06/word
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 28th, 2022
What They Want: This Clash Books anthology is open to coming-of-age horror inspired by 80s and 90s movies.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

Reluctant Immortals and Other News: Writing Updates for Fall 2021

Welcome back, and happy end of November! Over here at my perpetually quarantined corner of the world, we’re playing the dutiful role of hermits. I’m currently at work on my next novel, which is truly the best way to spend these darker days of fall and impending winter. Because really, what’s cozier than the blood and guts of horror?

At any rate, I’ve had some writing updates in the last few months, which means it’s about time to use my blog for another round of “if you haven’t heard it yet on my social media, allow me to chatter on about it now.” So let’s get down to it, shall we?

Cover reveal and release date for Reluctant Immortals

First and foremost, I’m beyond thrilled that the cover of my third novel, Reluctant Immortals, has been unveiled. Behold its 1960s-themed beauty…

The cover is by artist Kelli McAdams, and needless to say, I absolutely adore it. It’s gorgeous and strange and psychedelic, and it fits the mood of the novel perfectly.

Tor Nightfire did a fabulous cover reveal earlier this month, which also includes the very first excerpt from the novel! Big thanks to Emily Hughes at Nightfire for hosting the reveal, and big thanks to Saga Press for all their promotion of the book so far. Things are definitely shaping up well for the release next year!

Speaking of release, the official release date is August 23rd, 2022, and the book is already available for pre-order! So feel free to head on over to the official Simon and Schuster page if you want to learn more.

Recap of my fall events & upcoming New York Ghost Story Festival

Over the last couple months, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of numerous panels and readings for the fall season. From the Fox Cities Book Festival and Story Hour to Flame Tree’s Hellish Helter Skelter panel and the Sturgis Library’s Poe panel, it’s definitely been a bustling fall. I was also part of the Spooky Stories II panel, a Halloween event through Editions du Chat Noir, and The Outer Dark’s monster kids roundtable at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Head on over here if you want to catch any of the replays, and big thanks to everyone who invited me to their events. It’s always such an honor to be able to talk about horror!

And in terms of forthcoming events, I’m thrilled to be part of the second year of the New York Ghost Story Festival. Catch me this Saturday, December 4th along with Daniel Braum, Jon Padgett, Venita Coehlo, and Steve Rasnic Tem. The event starts at 7pm EST on YouTube! Hope to see you there!

Italian translation of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe

And finally, I’m excited to announce that Independent Legions Publishing will be releasing the Italian translation of my debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe. It’s been almost five years (!) since that book was released from JournalStone, and it makes me so happy to see that it will soon be reaching new readers. A huge shout-out to editor Alessandro Manzetti for his work at translating my fiction in the past and for choosing my collection for his press. I’m very happy to be working together again!

So those are my updates for the moment! I hope everyone’s doing well and staying safe during these strange times. Here’s to hoping for a positive end to 2021 and to an even better 2022!

Happy reading, and happy holidays!

Autumnal Fiction: Submission Roundup for November 2021

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Lots of great opportunities, so if you’re looking for a home for one of your stories, maybe there’s the perfect one on this list!

As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editor. And now onward with November’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Apex Magazine
Payment: .08/word
Length: up to 7,500 words
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: Open to a wide range of horror fiction.
Find the details here.

Close to Midnight
Payment: .08/word for original fiction
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: November 14th, 2021
What They Want: Part of the new Flame Tree Publishing anthology series, Close to Midnight is seeking unthemed horror fiction.
Find the details here.

The Cellar Door, Issue 1: Woodland Terrors
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 2,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to horror and thriller stories that take place in or near the woods. While the submissions are open to everyone, the editor is specifically seeking submissions from women authors.
Find the details here.

LampLight
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 5,100 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to horror fiction from authors who have never made a pro sale before.
Find the details here

Stories of the Eye
Payment: .02/word
Length: 2,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: November 30th, 2021
What They Want: Weirdpunk Books is currently seeking stories inspired by the relationships between artists and models.
Find the details here

Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga
Payment: .06/word
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: Open to women authors, this anthology from Black Spot Books is seeking stories about and inspired by Baba Yaga.
Find the details here

Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: A fat-positive anthology, Diet Riot is open to horror short stories that feature and celebrate fat protagonists.
Find the details here

Nowhere Fast
Payment: .06/word
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 28th, 2022
What They Want: This Clash Books anthology is open to coming-of-age horror inspired by 80s and 90s movies.
Find the details here.

 Happy submitting!

Spooky Submissions: Submission Roundup for October 2021

Welcome back to this month’s Submission Roundup! Lots of fantastic opportunities, so if you have a story looking for a home, perhaps one of these will be the perfect fit! As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editors.

And with that, onward with October’s Submission Roundup!

Submission RoundupMirror, Mirror
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction with the theme of mirrors and reflections.
Find the details here

Escape Pod
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; $100/flat for reprints
Length: 1,500 to 6,000 words for original fiction; 1,500 to 18,000 words for reprints
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Escape Pod is currently open to science fiction stories with the theme of joy.
Find the details here

It Calls from the Veil
Payment: .01/word CAD (up to $60) for original fiction; $15/flat for reprints
Length: 2,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Eerie River Publishing is seeking supernatural horror fiction.
Find the details here

Negative Space 2: A Return to Survival Horror
Payment: $50/flat
Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Dark Peninsula Press is seeking short stories about survival horror, such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and The Mist.
Find the details here.

Never Whistle at Night
Payment: $1,000/flat
Length: 2,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: November 1st, 2021
What They Want: Open to original fiction from Indigenous horror writers who have no more than two books released.
Find the details here

LampLight
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 5,100 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to horror fiction from authors who have never made a pro sale before.
Find the details here

Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga
Payment: .06/word
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: Open to women authors, this anthology from Black Spot Books is seeking stories about and inspired by Baba Yaga.
Find the details here

Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 4,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2021
What They Want: A fat-positive anthology, Diet Riot is open to horror short stories that feature and celebrate fat protagonists.
Find the details here

And finally, an early warning submission call!

Stories of the Eye
Payment: .02/word
Length: 2,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: Open November 1st to November 30th, 2021
What They Want: Weirdpunk Books is currently seeking stories inspired by the relationships between artists and models.
Find the details here

Happy submitting!

My Schedule of Spooky Fall Events

So the Halloween season is upon us, and I’m super excited that my schedule for the next month is filled with a bunch of very cool events. From panels to lectures to readings, you can catch me all over, celebrating the very best season of the year!

All of these events are online, because I’ve basically committed to the life of a pandemic hermit at this point. In fact, I might never stop being a hermit now. But hey, that also means you can attend, wherever you may roam!

Story Hour on Wednesday, September 29th at 10pm EST

This week kicks off my Halloween season of events with a late-night reading tonight! I’ll be featured alongside the supremely talented Premee Mohamad as part of the fabulous Story Hour event, hosted by Laura Blackwell and Daniel Marcus. This is such an amazing series, and I’m so honored to be part of it. You can find both the Zoom and the Facebook Live reading links here.

From Poe to the Present on Tuesday, October 12th at 6pm EST

Moderated by Corey Farrenkopf, this creepy horror panel is sponsored by the Sturgis Library! We’ll be talking all about Poe and lots of other genre goodies. If you’re interested in attending, be sure to call or email the Sturgis Library to get the Zoom link!

Grimm Tales at Fox Cities Book Festival on Saturday, October 16th at 10:30am EST

With the always amazing Sarah Read as moderator, this panel will be talking all about folklore and fairy tales. I can’t say enough how thrilled I am to be part of two different events this month sponsored by public libraries. I practically grew up at the library, and they’re seriously the best place ever. So if you want to hang out with us as we talk about horrifying fairy tales, register for the Zoom event here!

Horror Writing Lecture at the Massillon Museum on Thursday, October 21st

This lecture on horror writing is pretty exciting for me, because I’ll be lecturing alongside my horror-writing dad, John Kiste! This one is a Members Only event, but I can’t recommend becoming a member of the Massillon Museum enough. They do incredible work for the arts, so head on over to their site to learn more about them.

The Creative Quill on Saturday, October 23rd

And just a few days later, I’ll be doing another talk with my dear old dad, this time all about gothic horror. I don’t have a specific time for this one yet, but it will be sometime in the late afternoon. Feel free to sign up here!

Spooky Stories II on Wednesday, October 27th at 8pm EST

And finally, just a few days before Halloween, I’ve got one more super rad panel! Hosted by Russ Colchamiro, I’ll be joining Daniel Braum and Sarah Read, and the four of us will be talking all about horror! You can register for the panel here!

And those are my events for the next month! I believe there’s still one or two more that haven’t been officially announced yet, so I might be adding to this post down the road. But in the meantime, please check out these events and the awesome people hosting them. It’s such an honor to be involved with all these spooky goings-on!

Happy reading, and happy fall!

Awesome Autumn Fiction: Submission Roundup for September 2021

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Plenty of awesome writing opportunities for the month of September, so if you’ve got a story looking for a home, one of these markets might be a perfect fit.

But first, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editors.

And with that, onward with September’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Pseudopod
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; $100/flat for short story reprints; $20/flat for flash fiction reprints
Length: up to 6,000 words
Deadline: September 13th, 2021
What They Want: Open to a wide range of horror fiction.
Find the details here

Lackington’s
Payment: .01/word CAD ($25 minimum)
Length: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: September 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to stylized speculative fiction on the theme of Botanicals.
Find the details here.

Mirror, Mirror
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: October 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction with the theme of mirrors and reflections.
Find the details here

Escape Pod
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; $100/flat for reprints
Length: 1,500 to 6,000 words for original fiction; 1,500 to 18,000 words for reprints
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Escape Pod is currently open to science fiction stories with the theme of joy.
Find the details here

It Calls from the Veil
Payment: .01/word CAD (up to $60) for original fiction; $15/flat for reprints
Length: 2,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Eerie River Publishing is seeking supernatural horror fiction.
Find the details here

Negative Space 2: A Return to Survival Horror
Payment: $50/flat
Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: October 31st, 2021
What They Want: Dark Peninsula Press is seeking short stories about survival horror, such as Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and The Mist.
Find the details here.

LampLight
Payment: .06/word
Length: up to 5,100 words
Deadline: Open September 15th to November 15th, 2021
What They Want: Open to horror fiction from authors who have never made a pro sale before.
Find the details here

And finally, an early warning submission call!

Stories of the Eye
Payment: .02/word
Length: 2,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: Open November 1st to November 30th, 2021
What They Want: Weirdpunk Books is currently seeking stories inspired by the relationships between artists and models.
Find the details here

Happy submitting!

Dispatches from Quarantine: Writing Updates for Summer 2021

Welcome back, and welcome to the end of summer! Seriously, how have these months gone by so quickly? Even though I’ve been mostly just hanging around the house, it’s still managed to be a busy season in terms of writing updates. In case you missed any of my posts online and are curious what I’m up to (and since you’re at my blog, I suppose you must be at least somewhat curious), here’s all my latest writing news!

My writing archive is now housed at the Horror Studies Collection!

So this is probably the coolest thing to happen so far in my writing career: my personal writing archive is now located at the University of Pittsburgh’s Horror Studies Collection! This is the same archive that holds the George A. Romero collection as well as work from Wes Craven and John Carpenter. Plus, other horror fiction authors who have recently donated their archives include the fabulous Linda D. Addison and Kathe Koja. I truly couldn’t be in better company!

I’ve always been fascinated by archives, ever since I was a kid and learned that creators donate their work to universities for future study. It’s been a total daydream of mine that I would ever be invited to have my work housed in an archive, and it seems so surreal that this has really happened.

Anyhow, here are some pictures of the stuff I sent to the archive. It includes lots and lots of rough drafts, random lists, and scribbled notes from the last seven years as well as convention program books, bookmarks, numerous reviews, and Cassie Daley’s The Big Book of Horror Authors coloring book.

Award nominations

I’ve been really fortunate this year to have my work nominated numerous times for awards. You no doubt already heard me wax jubilantly about my Stoker nomination in Long Fiction for The Invention of Ghosts this spring. Since then, Las Doncellas de Oxido, the Spanish translation of The Rust Maidens, was nominated in the Best Translated Novel category at the Premios Kelvin Awards. Then, at the Ignotus Awards, the Spanish equivalent of the Hugos, Las Doncellas de Oxiodo was nominated in the Translated Novel category. I’m also thrilled that Crononauta’s translation of my Stoker-winning story, “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary),” is also nominated in the Best Translated Story category (alongside none other than Stephen King!). You can see all the Ignotus nominees here.

As if all that isn’t enough, The Invention of Ghosts was nominated in the Novella category for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Award!

The Ignotus Awards will be announced soon, and you can see the winners for the Ladies of Horror Fiction Award and the Premios Kelvin Awards here and here. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for these awards! It’s a true honor to be nominated alongside all of you!

I’m teaching a LitReactor course!

Earlier this month, I started teaching a four-week LitReactor course called Monster Mash, which is all about reinventing familiar horror tropes. The class sold out in just over a week, so I’m pretty stunned and incredibly happy about that. It’s been so much fun discussing monsters with the students and reading their awesome work. We’re already over halfway done with the course, which is just further proof that this summer has gone by way too fast.

New translations of my work!

I’ve got several really exciting updates on the translation front. After the great success of our collaboration on The Rust Maidens, Dilatando Mentes will be translating three of my books into Spanish! Next year will see the release of Boneset & Feathers, followed by my debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, in 2023 and Pretty Marys All in a Row in 2024. It’s worth noting that this is the very first time my collection or any of its stories have ever been translated, so this is beyond thrilling. I’m also so excited to be working with Dilatando Mentes again; they’re a truly amazing publisher.

Meanwhile, Editions du Chat Noir will be publishing French translations of my novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, as well as my witchy novel, Boneset & Feathers. As seen above, both of those covers have already been revealed, and they’re beyond beautiful. I’m so excited to be working with Editions du Chat Noir again after their fantastic translation of The Rust Maidens, so once again, this is definitely great news all around!

I’m also delighted to be working with Festa Verlag on the German translation of The Rust Maidens. Die Rost Jungfern is available for pre-order and will be available later this year! This is the first time my work has ever been translated into German, and given my own German roots (my last name isn’t Kiste for nothing), this is a really great honor.

And finally, my story, “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary),” will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Molotov Magazine. This will be my work’s first appearance in Italian and my first time working with Independent Legions Publishing!

Reading for the Nighttime Logic Series

Earlier in the summer, I was part of the Nighttime Logic Reading Series, hosted by Daniel Braum. Daniel has long been one of the biggest supporters of my work, and it’s always an honor to be part of the incredible events he puts together. I got to read alongside Mike Allen, Laurel Hightower, and Jeffrey Ford, which was such a lovely experience. If you missed the event live, you can catch the replay here!

Short Fiction Sales

I’ve also made four recent short story sales! “Sister Glitter Blood” is available now in the Violent Vixens: An Homage to Grindhouse Horror anthology from Dark Peninsula Press. This creepy little horror story is told as though you’re reading the directions for a vintage board game, and it follows two sisters desperate to escape their own personal haunted house. An early review is already up thanks to reviewer Rebecca Rowland, and it singles out my story, noting “Kiste’s voice is simply genius here, evoking amusement, heartbreak, and suspense.”

My strange dark fantasy story, “Things to Do in Playland When You’re Dead,” will be out later this year in Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas from Hex Publishers. This tale is set in the waning days of Playland at the Beach, a once beloved amusement park in San Francisco, and follows a bevy of local ghosts as they haunt the derelict rides, searching for new patrons to claim as one of their own.

Next up is “The Haunted Houses She Calls Her Own,” which is told through the point of view of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia. This one will appear as part of Liminal Spaces: An Anthology of Dark Speculative Fiction, which will be out soon from Cemetery Gates Media. Editor Kevin Lucia has been making announcements with new authors from the table of contents, and it’s been so exciting to see everyone who’s on board. This is sure to be a fabulous book, and I’m so thrilled to be part of it.

And finally, my horror story, “The Mad Monk of the Motor City,” which is all about a lonely woman dealing with the ghost of Rasputin in her run-down Detroit tenement building, will appear in There Is No Death, There Are No Dead, which comes out tomorrow from Crystal Lake Publishing. This particular anthology is edited by Aaron J. French as well as Jess Landry, the editor extraordinaire who worked with me on And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and The Rust Maidens. It was so much fun to work with Jess again and definitely felt like old times in the best possible way.

I was a guest on the This Is Horror podcast!

And last but in no way least, I returned as a guest on an episode of This Is Horror in June! We talked all about witches, writing, breakfast foods, and how to stay optimistic even in trying times. It’s always so much fun to talk with Bob Pastorella and Michael David Wilson, so give the episode a listen if you haven’t already!

… so those are the updates in my world! I’m expecting the rest of the year to be a bit quieter in terms of announcements, but either way, I’ll still be here at my laptop, toiling away at my latest fiction and nonfiction. I hope everyone’s staying safe and enjoying what’s left of their summer!

Happy reading!

Cruel Summer: Interview with J.A.W. McCarthy

Welcome back for this week’s author interview! Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight author J.A.W. McCarthy. J.A.W has written numerous short stories which have been featured in publications including Vastarien, Apparition Lit, and LampLight among others. Her debut collection, Sometimes We’re Cruel, was released this week from Cemetery Gates.

Recently, J.A.W. and I discussed her inspiration as a writer and why she loves the horror genre so much.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started writing novels as a kid, always something dark involving ghosts and angsty teens. My mom would read to me and illustrate the stories with her own drawings, so she instilled those interests in me from the start.

I love Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter, of course. Jackson’s Merricat Blackwood in particular has been a big influence on my characters. As for contemporary dark fiction authors, I’ve found inspiration in works by Paul Tremblay, Hailey Piper, Michael Wehunt, Nadia Bulkin, Damien Angelica Walters, Mona Awad, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, to name a few. We’re living in a truly rich time for dark fiction with so many excellent authors working right now. Yourself included! And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe is one of the best collections I’ve ever read.

Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your collection, Sometimes We’re Cruel! What can you share about the book? How did you select the stories, and is there a particular theme that connects them?

Thank you! Sometimes We’re Cruel is my debut collection, out August 17th from Cemetery Gates Media. It’s 6 reprints and 6 new stories that focus on obsession and body horror. The collection covers work from the last three years, each connected by the theme of human cruelty. I didn’t set out with this theme in mind; I realized later, as I was selecting stories, that almost all of my work deals with the terrors humans (and the not-quite-human) inflict on each other, intentionally or not.

Why horror? What in particular makes you love the genre? What are your hopes for the future of horror?

I’ve always loved horror and I can’t even pinpoint how that started. I was a voracious reader as a child and my parents didn’t limit my reading, so eventually I found my way to the darkness. Even when I was trying my hand at writing more traditional lit fic, dark speculative elements crept in. Maybe it’s a way to explore and understand why this world can be so awful. When I’m creating the horror, it’s the only way I have control.

I hope to see more women and BIPOC get recognition. We’re getting there, and I think our progress is best reflected in the indie horror scene.

What draws you to writing short fiction? Did you grow up reading short stories, or did you develop an appreciation for them as an adult? Also, what are a few of your favorite short stories?

Aside from fairytales, I grew up reading mostly long fiction. My first serious writing projects as a kid were novels. In fact, I struggled with short fiction as an adult. I’m long-winded, with a passion for elaborate descriptions. When I started writing again, I didn’t expect that I’d be able to write an effective short story. One day I got an idea I had to run with, not expecting it to be successful… but then it was. Before I knew it, short fiction was all I was writing. My critique partners have really helped me sharpen my prose so that I can not only stay within word count but also write with purpose.

One of my favorite short stories is Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”. It’s a masterclass in using pacing and small details to build tension.

Recent short stories that lit a fire and inspired me:

“A Heart Arrhythmia Creeping Into a Dark Room” by Michael Wehunt
“Resilience” by Christi Nogle
“The Smell of Night in the Basement” by Wendy N. Wagner
“Though Your Heart is Breaking” by Laurel Hightower
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a writer?

I have two: Aim High and This Is Not A Competition. When I first started writing short fiction, I didn’t do my research. I just wanted to see my work in print, even if no one else was likely to read it. Self-doubt told me I wasn’t good enough to get into any major publications, that my work wasn’t worth much money. While my early work was not there yet—I think most of us have to sharpen our skills and work our way up—I sold myself short in the beginning. There are so many indie publishers who are passionate, support their authors, and are doing amazing work on a shoestring budget. There is room for all of us.

If forced to choose, which part of the writing process is your favorite: developing characters, crafting dialogue, or establishing setting/mood?

Characters. I don’t outline and I usually don’t have more than a loose plan when I start a story, so I love developing my characters as I go and seeing where they take me. If I can develop interesting and strong enough characters, they will show me their story.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’ve got two novellas that are both two-thirds of the way finished. Both were shelved for the past seven months while I concentrated on my collection. Now that I’ve got time again, I’m eager to get back to them, particularly the one I’m currently calling “Merch Girl”, which is about a woman who sells merch for a nomadic band and her experiences on the road. She’s a monster, a mother, a caretaker resigned to her role, but then she comes to a crossroads when she finally meets someone like her, a woman who reminds her who she really is.

Where can we find you online?

I’m on Twitter and Instagram @JAWMcCarthy, and at jawmccarthy.com. I’m most active on Twitter, if anyone wants to say hi!

Big thanks to J.A.W. McCarthy for being this week’s featured author!

Happy reading!