My Schedule for StokerCon 2024

So StokerCon is only a week away, and I seriously couldn’t be more excited for it! It’s in San Diego this year, and this will be my first time back in California since my husband and I were married there back in 2008. So needless to say, we’re very happy to be returning to The Golden State!

I’ll be super busy on Friday and Saturday, so if you’re looking for where to find me, here’s my full schedule for the weekend!

“I Go Both Ways”: Liminality and Depictions of Bisexuality in Turn-of-the-Century Horror Cinema on Friday, May 31st at 11am
Once again, I’ll be presenting at the fabulous Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference! Last year, it was bisexual vampires; this year, I’m all about liminality and bisexuality, in particular in movies from the 1990s and 2000s. Basically, this gives me an opportunity to share my love for Basic Instinct, Mulholland Drive, and Jennifer’s Body. <insert bi screams of joy> And if that wasn’t all cool enough, I’m in the same presenting block as the wonderful Rocky Colavito and Kevin Wetmore, Jr., so it’s sure to be a fabulous time!

The Rising Popularity of Folklore and Fairy Tales in Modern Horror on Friday, May 31st at 2pm
Moderated by the always awesome Ben Rubin of the Horror Studies Collection at the University of Pittsburgh, we’ll be discussing one of my favorite topics: folklore and fairy tales. This one is part of the Librarian’s Day event, and I’ll be joining panelists Cynthia Pelayo, Yaika Sabat, Tanya Pell, and Lee Murray. I can’t wait to see where this discussion goes, and I hope you’ll join us to find out!

Exploring Queerness as “Otherness” in Horror on Friday, May 31st at 3pm
I’m beyond thrilled to be moderating this one! I believe this is the only programming at the convention that focuses on queer horror, so I’m incredibly honored to be at the helm! The panel will include Chad Stroup, Norman Prentiss, Sofia Ajram, Lindsay King-Miller, and Ridley Harker, so with a lineup like that, you know it’s going to be an incredible discussion!

Purrfect Terrors: Cats in Horror on Saturday, June 1st at 2pm
Cats in horror! Is there anything better? Sarah Faxon will be moderating this one alongside panelists Sara Tantlinger, John Palisano, and Ashley (A.E.) Santana. No doubt I’ll be bringing up two of my favorite fearsome felines from cinema: Blanche from Hausu and Jezebel from The Sentinel! Hooray for creepy cats!

Witchcraft and Spiritualism in Horror on Saturday, June 1st at 5pm
Sarah Read is the dynamite moderator, and I seriously couldn’t be more excited. As a practicing witch myself, I’ve got plenty to say on the subject, and I’m very eager to hear everyone else’s thoughts as well. I’ll be joining panelists Christa Carmen, Johnny Worthen, Marie Whittaker, and Todd Keisling, and since this is my last programming of the weekend, it’s a perfect way to go out with a bang.

So those are all the places I’ll be on Friday and Saturday! And FYI: I decided to opt out of an author reading and the mass author signing, mostly because I have plenty to do already, and I don’t want to overtax myself at the convention. (This is me trying to practice better self-care after a lifetime of asking “What’s self-care?”) Also, if you can’t make it to any of the panels or my talk on bisexuality and horror, then just find me hanging around the convention and say hello! I’m fairly friendly when I’m not lurking in shadowy corners!

Happy reading, and happy StokerCon!

Fictional Favorites: Submission Roundup for May 2024

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! There are some great opportunities this month, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, hopefully you’ll find the perfect market below!

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

Submission Roundup

Gamut
Payment: .10/word for original fiction; .03/word for reprint fiction; $50/flat for original poetry; $25/flat for reprint poetry
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; open for poetry
Deadline: Ongoing (though the submission portal fills up quickly)
What They Want: Open to dark speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Arkham Institutions
Payment: .06/word
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: May 30th, 2024
What They Want: Dragon’s Roost Press is seeking cosmic horror stories set in Lovecraft’s Arkham that feature a public or private institution.
Find the details here.

Allegory
Payment: $15/flat
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: June 30th, 2024
What They Want: Open to science, fantasy, horror, and “quirky” fiction.
Find the details here.

The Green Sheaf
Payment: .10/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: up to 500 words for fiction; up to 25 lines for poetry
Deadline: Opens June 20th, 2024
What They Want: Open to Black female-identifying authors and Black gender-fluid authors, this new publication inspired by the work of Pamela Colman Smith is seeking stories with the theme of Anansi.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

The Haunting of Velkwood is one month old!

Welcome back! So last Friday was a pretty cool milestone: The Haunting of Velkwood officially turned one month old!

*spectral screams of joy*

Seriously, though, this book–both writing it and promoting it–has definitely been a unique experience and quite a journey to be honest. I know I’ve certainly been loquacious about Velkwood on social media, so you’ve probably heard plenty of my updates already. But honestly, this book is a really big deal to me, so I’m just going to go ahead and share some of the news again! Because really, what else is a blog for anyhow?

There have been so many incredible reviews of The Haunting of Velkwood, and it makes me so happy to see my ghosts making their way in the world and finding readers! Here are a few of the pull quotes from reviews, just in case you need a bit of incentive to pick up a copy of the book!

Prediction: this makes not only many year’s best in horror lists, but lists for the best books overall in 2024. Highly recommended.” — Cemetery Dance

“The Haunting of Velkwood shimmers with the uncanny… the most unique haunt story in years.” — Fangoria

“Kiste’s expert storytelling and engaging prose ensure that readers will have difficulty putting the book down. This is a must-read for 2024.” — Ginger Nuts of Horror

“Sure to be one of the most original and riveting horror novels of 2024.” — Booklist (Starred Review)

“Kiste kept her page-turner relatable. She made it fun. And memorable. It hints at lies and secrets… Kiste is a damn good story teller!” – Horror Tree

“Breathtakingly original modern ghost story laden with humanity and heartache.” – Library Journal

Another big highlight: The Haunting of Velkwood has been featured in Fangoria… not once, but twice! First up, there was a fantastic review in Issue #22! So many thanks to Ahlissa Eichhorn of The Nightmare Library column for all her support! Then last month, the amazing Leticia Lopez interviewed me for the site where we talked horror, ghosts, and more! Truly, being featured in Fangoria twice is so unbelievably awesome and special! Eeeeee!!!

I’ve also made numerous appearances on some very fabulous podcasts, including Talking Scared, This Is Horror, Lovecraft eZine, Night Time Logic, The Ghostly Gallery, and Sley House Presents. In addition to those podcasts, I’ve been interviewed at a number of others sites such as Rue Morgue and The Nerd Daily. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have so many places come out to support this book, so please head on over to my recently revamped interviews page for all the details!

The major leg of my book tour is now over, and seriously, what an amazing experience it was! I’m so grateful for the bookstores that hosted me, including Riverstone Books in Pittsburgh, Loganberry Books in Cleveland, Charis Books & More in Atlanta, and the virtual event at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. These are all wonderful places, so please consider stopping by if they’re in your area, or ordering online if they’re too far to visit in person!

However, if you missed out on my Velkwood events, fear not! I’m still making a few more appearances, both on podcasts and in person! In particular, I’ll be at Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg on Saturday, April 27th for Independent Bookstore Day! Then on Saturday, May 11th, I’ll be at the Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books for a very awesome horror panel. And last but not least, I’ll be at StokerCon in San Diego from May 30th to June 2nd! I most certainly hope to see some of you there!

As the coming months roll by, I’ll of course keep sharing news about the book, as my ghosts continue to haunt the world! Needless to say, thank you so much to everyone who’s supported The Haunting of Velkwood so far! It truly means the world to me!

Happy reading, and happy ghostly adventures!

Spooky Springtime: Submission Roundup for April 2024

Welcome back for April’s Submission Roundup! As usual, there are so many great writing opportunities, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then maybe you’ll find the perfect place from the list below!

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

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: April 7th, 2024
What They Want: The editors are seeking short stories for two different submission calls: one that focuses on folklore, myth, and the supernatural regarding the moon and one that focuses on science fiction, fantasy, folklore, and myth involving the sun.
Find the details here and here.

Flash Fiction Online
Payment: $100/flat
Length: 500 to 1,000 words
Deadline: April 21st, 2024
What They Want: Open to weird horror flash fiction.
Find the details here.

Nonbinary Review
Payment: $10/flat for poetry; .01/word for prose
Length: Up to 3,000 words
Deadline: April 30th, 2024
What They Want: Open to unique interpretations of the theme of hereditary.
Find the details here.

Cursed Cooking: A Horror Community Cookbook and Food Horror Anthology
Payment: .05/word for original fiction and .01/word for reprints; $5/flat for recipes
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Deadline: April 30th, 2024 for general submissions; May 10th, 2024 for underrepresented groups
What They Want: Open to food-related horror fiction and recipes.
Find the details here.

HWA Horror Poetry Showcase
Payment: $35/flat
Length: Up to 35 lines
Deadline: May 1st, 2024
What They Want: Open to HWA members, this annual anthology features horror poetry of all subgenres.
Find the details here.

The Green Sheaf
Payment: .10/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: up to 500 words for fiction; up to 25 lines for poetry
Deadline: Opens June 20th, 2024
What They Want: Open to Black female-identifying authors and Black gender-fluid authors, this new publication inspired by the work of Pamela Colman Smith is seeking stories with the theme of Anansi.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

March Fiction Madness: Submission Roundup for March 2024

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! As always, there are plenty of great opportunities, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then maybe you’ll find the perfect place from the list below!

As usual, 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 March’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Gamut
Payment: .10/word for original fiction; .03/word for reprint fiction; $50/flat for original poetry; $25/flat for reprint poetry
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; open for poetry
Deadline: Ongoing (though the submission portal fills up quickly)
What They Want: Open to dark speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Ghoulish
Payment: .10/word
Length: up to 5,000 words (short fiction); up to 2,000 words (nonfiction)
Deadline: March 29th, 2024
What They Want: Open to short fiction and nonfiction that falls under the category of “fun horror that aims to celebrate all things spooky.”
Find the details here.

Under the Pink: Music Inspired by Tori Amos
Payment: $100/flat
Length: 3,000 to 5,000 words
Deadline: March 31st, 2024
What They Want: Open to adult horror fiction inspired by the music of Tori Amos.
Find the details here.

Fear of Clowns: A Horror Anthology
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: April 1st, 2024
What They Want: Open to horror fiction with the theme of clowns.
Find the details here.

Flash Fiction Online
Payment: $100/flat
Length: 500 to 1,000 words
Deadline: April 21st, 2024
What They Want: Open to weird horror flash fiction.
Find the details here.

The Green Sheaf
Payment: .10/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: up to 500 words for fiction; up to 25 lines for poetry
Deadline: Opens June 20th, 2024
What They Want: Open to Black female-identifying authors and Black gender-fluid authors, this new publication inspired by the work of Pamela Colman Smith is seeking stories with the theme of Anansi.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

RELEASE DAY: The Haunting of Velkwood is now available!

So the big day has finally arrived: The Haunting of Velkwood has made its way into the world!

*screeches merrily into the ghostly void*

Seriously, though, I’m beyond thrilled that this book is officially hitting bookshelves today! This is a tale that took a lot out of me to write, and I’m so glad that it belongs to readers now!

There’s been some amazing early reviews of Velkwood. It’s received a starred review from Booklist as well as been featured in Gizmodo, Yahoo, Men’s Health, CrimeReads, and more! Plus, it’s received great reviews from Cemetery Dance, Ginger Nuts of Horror, Horror Tree, The Fandomentals, and FanFiAddict, among others. Here are a few of the pull quotes and blurbs so far!

“Sure to be one of the most original and riveting horror novels of 2024.” – Booklist (Starred Review)

“Breathtakingly original modern ghost story laden with humanity and heartache.” – Library Journal

“Kiste kept her page-turner relatable. She made it fun. And memorable. It hints at lies and secrets… Kiste is a damn good story teller!” – Horror Tree

“One of the most original ghost stories you will ever read. Phenomenal.” – Rachel Harrison, national bestselling author of Cackle and Black Sheep

“A totally original ghost story, filled with chills… I absolutely loved it.” – Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Road of Bones and All Hallows

“A spellbinding accomplishment in modern literature not to be missed… you won’t be able to shake the ghosts of Velkwood for a long, long time.” – Jess Landry, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Mother Wound

“Heartbreaking and hopeful. Kiste’s The Haunting of Velkwood is as compelling as it is chilling. A perfect modern ghost story.” – Angela Slatter, award-winning author of The Path of Thorns

“A disturbing new stroke on the canvas of horror, and a reminder that no matter how far we run, the past knows just where to find us.” – Eden Royce, Walter Award Honoree and Shirley Jackson Award Finalist

So just where can you find my ghosts? As it happens, here are a couple links where you can pick up a copy!

The Haunting of Velkwood at Riverstone Books

The Haunting of Velkwood at Amazon

Thank you so much to everyone who’s already preordered the book as well as all the amazing reviewers and interviewers out there who have been spreading the word about The Haunting of Velkwood! Truly, it means the absolute world to me!

Happy reading, and happy Velkwood release day!

Book Tour for THE HAUNTING OF VELKWOOD

Welcome back! We are now just one week away from the official release of my latest novel, The Haunting of Velkwood!

*insert screams of joy*

Seriously, though, I’m so excited for this book to make its debut in the world. It’s one of my favorite and most personal things I’ve ever written, and I’m so glad that it will be out on bookshelves soon.

Another thing I’m super excited about: I’m doing a book tour! And this one has even more in-person events than my last tour for Reluctant Immortals!

And where will I be appearing? Well, I just so happen to have this awesome graphic with all of my upcoming events!

First up, there’s the launch party for The Haunting of Velkwood! That will be on the book’s release day, which is Tuesday, March 5th! The launch party will be held at Riverstone Books in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh at 7pm ET! I’ll be in conversation with the awesome Ben Rubin of the Horror Studies Archive at the University of Pittsburgh, and it’s sure to be lots of fun, so please join us for a night of ghostly terror!

(Also, this is a perfect time to remind everyone that you can still pre-order The Haunting of Velkwood from Riverstone Books, and receive not only a personalized copy of the book but also an exclusive vinyl sticker welcoming you to the Velkwood Vicinity!)

Then on Wednesday, March 13th at 7pm, I’ll be heading back to my original home state of Ohio to do an event at Loganberry Books in Cleveland! I’ll be in conversation with K.P. Kulski, the author of Fairest Flesh as well as a recent Bram Stoker Award nominee! Another event that’s going to be a total blast, so it would be great to see some Ohio folks in attendance for this one!

The following week, I’ll be heading down to Atlanta to appear at Charis Books on Wednesday, March 20th at 7:30pm! This event is called Queer Horror Across Time and features Lee Mandelo and me in conversation about The Haunting of Velkwood and Lee’s new book, The Woods All Black. This one is a hybrid event, so you can catch us in person or as a virtual event through Charis Books’ YouTube page.

Next up, I’ll be doing a virtual event at Mysterious Galaxy on Tuesday, March 26th at 9pm ET. A few of the details on this one are still forthcoming, so please stay tuned for the link as well as my in-conversation partner! I had such a blast at the Mysterious Galaxy event for Reluctant Immortals, so I’m so thrilled about coming back for Velkwood!

Then on Thursday, March 28th at 7pm ET, I’ll be joining the wonderful Daniel Braum for his Night Time Logic series. We’ll be talking ghosts as well as doing readings from our work! It’s always a pleasure to be part of the Night Time Logic series, so I’m very excited about making my return! Again, the event page for this one should be ready soon, and I’ll be sure to share it far and wide when it is!

Flash forward to the next month, and on Saturday, April 27th at 2pm ET, I’ll be doing a book signing and meet and greet at Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg. This is part of Independent Bookstore Day, which is such a fun celebration. I’ve never done a book event in Pennsylvania outside of the Pittsburgh area, so I’m looking forward to meeting readers from other parts of the state!

And finally, I’ll be circling back home and appearing at The Greater Pittsburgh Festival of Books on Saturday, May 11th. All the details about that appearance are still forthcoming, but suffice it to say that I’m scheduled for a very cool panel with some amazing fellow panelists.

So that’s the schedule for my second-ever book tour! I’m so delighted to be making so many appearances over the next few months. And of course, I’m also doing lots of interviews for fabulous podcasts and websites and guest essays, so there will be plenty of chances to catch me hanging out in person and virtually! Needless to say, I’m beyond thrilled to be sharing The Haunting of Velkwood with the world! I most certainly hope that lots of you enjoy meeting my ghosts very soon!

Happy reading!

Love for Fiction: Submission Roundup for February 2024

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Plenty of awesome submission calls, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then perhaps one of these markets is 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 February’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Gamut
Payment: .10/word for original fiction; .03/word for reprint fiction; $50/flat for original poetry; $25/flat for reprint poetry
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; open for poetry
Deadline: Ongoing (though the submission portal fills up quickly)
What They Want: Open to dark speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Apex Magazine
Payment: $10/flat
Length: up to 250 words
Deadline: February 15th, 2024
What They Want: Open to speculative microfiction in the form of travel brochures and travel guides about strange and dark places.
Find the details here.

Corvid Queen
Payment: $5/flat
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: February 29th, 2024
What They Want: Open to feminist retellings and feminist tales that revolve around fairy tales, myths, and folklore.
Find the details here.

Fear of Clowns: A Horror Anthology
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: April 1st, 2024
What They Want: Open to horror fiction with the theme of clowns.
Find the details here.

Flash Fiction Online
Payment: $100/flat
Length: 500 to 1,000 words
Deadline: April 21st, 2024
What They Want: Open to weird horror flash fiction.
Find the details here.

The Green Sheaf
Payment: .10/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: up to 500 words for fiction; up to 25 lines for poetry
Deadline: Opens June 20th, 2024
What They Want: Open to Black female-identifying authors and Black gender-fluid authors, this new publication inspired by the work of Pamela Colman Smith is seeking stories with the theme of Anansi.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

New Year’s Fiction: Submission Roundup for January 2024

Welcome back for the first Submission Roundup of 2024! Lots of great opportunities this month, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, one of these markets might be the perfect fit.

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

Submission Roundup

Nightmare
Payment: .08/word for fiction; $40/flat for poetry
Length: up to 7,500 words for fiction; up to 5 poems
Deadline: January 21st, 2024 for general submissions; January 28th, 2024 for BIPOC-only
What They Want: Open to a wide range of horror fiction and poetry.
Find the details here.

Fairy Tale Magazine
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words for fiction; up to 500 words for poetry
Deadline: Open from January 22nd to January 29th, 2024
What They Want: Open to fiction and poetry that deals with the theme of classic fairy tales.
Find the details here.

Marshland Horrors: The Cellar Door Issue #5
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 2,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: January 31st, 2024
What They Want: Dark Peninsula Press is seeking short horror fiction that takes place in marshes, bayous, swamps, or similar locales for the fifth issue of The Cellar Door.
Find the details here

Gamut
Payment: .10/word for original fiction; .03/word for reprint fiction; $50/flat for original poetry; $25/flat for reprint poetry
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; open for poetry
Deadline: Ongoing (though the submission portal fills up quickly)
What They Want: Open to dark speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Corvid Queen
Payment: $5/flat
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: Open February 1st to February 29th, 2024
What They Want: Open to feminist retellings and feminist tales that revolve around fairy tales, myths, and folklore.
Find the details here.

Fear of Clowns: A Horror Anthology
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: April 1st, 2024
What They Want: Open to horror fiction with the theme of clowns.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

A Year of Horror: 2023 Awards Eligibility Post

Welcome back! So here we are with another year and another awards eligibility post. As I always say every year, these posts are a little strange to do, but it is nice to put together a roundup of the year’s accomplishments.

In terms of published work this year, it’s been all about short fiction! A total of a dozen new short stories of mine came out this year, and I honestly couldn’t be happier with them, especially since they appeared in some truly fabulous publications. Here they are in all their horror glory!

The Hungry Wives of Bleak Street” (American Cannibal, Maenad Press, March 2023)
The women of 1950s Bleak Street have a not-so-secret ingredient they’re expected to add to every meal: a slice of their own skin. That is, until one woman starts to question the status quo. This anthology got such a tremendously positive reception, and I’m so honored editor Rebecca Rowland invited me to be part of it.

Hear, Hearth, Heartbeat” (Forbidden Magic: The Cellar Door, Issue #2, Dark Peninsula Press, April 2023)
A woman returns to her hometown for her class reunion, only to discover that some friendships last far longer than she ever expected. This one’s a little bit witchy and a little bit weird and definitely a lot of creepy fun, especially for anyone who knows what it’s like to find you can’t go home again. After working with Dark Peninsula Press with the Violent Vixens anthology several years back, it was wonderful to work with them again on this anthology.

Melting Point” (Cosmic Horror Monthly, Issue #35, May 2023)
Set at Three Mile Island during the infamous meltdown, two women who are adrift in their lives become inextricably linked, as nuclear fallout seeps through their town and their bodies. This is one of the weirdest body horror stories I’ve ever written and also one of my personal favorites, especially since this tale rattled around my head for a while before I finally got the opportunity to send it to the great Cosmic Horror Monthly.

Welcome to the New You” (No Trouble at All, Cursed Morsels Press, June 2023)
In a dystopic version of reality, everyone has a doppelganger, and once yours shows up, only one of you can continue to exist. At least that’s the story everybody is told. This story is based on my longstanding theory that if I ever met my own doppelganger, we may or may not end up best pals. No Trouble at All is such a fantastic anthology with such fantastic editors, so this one was a joy all the way around.

A Sweet Soiree on the Last Night of the World” (The First Five Minutes of the Apocalypse, Hungry Shadow Press, July 2023)
If the world is ending, why not throw a party to celebrate its demise? That’s the premise of this weird horror story about a woman attending a fete at a graveyard on the last night on earth. However, it turns out the hostess has one final grudge to settle before the world devolves into flames, and our narrator soon realizes that even during an impending apocalypse, there’s still time to pay for the the sins of the past. Hungry Shadow Press is putting together some brilliant books, and it was great to be included in this one.

Ides” (Shakespeare Unleashed, Crystal Lake Publishing, July 2023)
An all-female take on Julius Caesar, a group of cult members at a remote compound realize their leader has apocalyptic longings, so they band together to murder her before she can wreak even more havoc. Her death, however, doesn’t seem to take, and they’re soon trapped in a cycle of violence, death, and rebirth. Weird, mythic, and queer, this is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, so I’m so incredibly happy it found such a wonderful home in the magnificent Shakespeare Unleashed.

Leonora Drive” (Never Wake: An Anthology of Dream Horror, Crystal Lake Publishing, September 2023)
A woman’s nightmares become sentient, terrorizing and isolating a small town, who blames her, even as they overlook their own complicity in her predicament. As the title of the story suggests, this one is a bit of an homage to David Lynch, Leonora Carrington, and the surrealism of the twentieth century. Needless to say, it was a blast to write, and it was so cool to be part of this wonderful table of contents.

How to Win a Dance Contest During an Apocalypse (In Nine Easy Steps!)” (Pseudopod, September 2023)
A decidedly cosmic horror take on 1980s dance movies like Dirty Dancing and Footloose, a teenage girl hides out with her family at a hidden resort in the mountains while the world falls apart around them. But even as the adults are panicking and the slimy tentacles of otherworldly creatures draw nearer, the girl finds solace with a new friend on an abandoned dance floor and learns that even during the apocalypse, it’s not too late to fall in love and find your place in the world. Always a honor to have a story featured at Pseudopod.

Twin Flames” (October Screams: A Halloween Anthology, Kangas Kahn Publishing, September 2023)
After a long estrangement, two sisters meet up at the family home on Halloween night, only for long-buried ancestral secrets to start emerging from the darkness. Halloween anthologies are always a blast, and that’s certainly true of this one, which was so neat to be part of.

The Sea Witch of the World’s Fair” (Novus Monstrum, Dragon’s Roost Press, October 2023)
Set during the 1939 World’s Fair, an unusual sea creature masquerading as a young woman finds herself as part of Salvador Dali’s infamous the Birth of Venus exhibit. Now if only she and the other girls can survive the NYC vice squad, which ultimately proves more dangerous than all the literal monsters in the world combined. This is one of my strangest and most high-concept stories in a long time, and I’m so glad it found a home in the fabulous Novus Monstrum.

The Eleven Films of Oona Cashford” (Morbidologies, Bleeding Edge Books, October 2023)
Told through the format of a film festival retrospective on fictional filmmaker Oona Cashford, this story explores her unusual life and even more unusual films. A female version of William Castle, her horror movies all had fun gimmicks, or at least they were fun until some of her audience members started to mysteriously disappear. This one lived in my head and my heart for a couple years, so my horror cinema-loving soul was so thrilled to have it find a home in Morbidologies, which is such a cool anthology.

How to Survive a Birthday Party at the Dragonfly Dining Terrace” (Back 2 OmniPark, December 2023)
Set in the shared world of the fictional OmniPark, a middle-aged woman looking for a way out of her dead-end life soon learns that her escape might come with a price as the park’s ominous history comes back to haunt her and her friends in supernatural ways they never expected.

I’m super proud of all of these stories—in fact, I’ve never had a year in my entire career that I’ve been so happy with so many short stories. That being said, in terms of favorites, “Ides” and “The Hungry Wives of Bleak Street” have gotten the most positive feedback from reviewers. Either way, as always, I’d be pleased to send any of these stories to anyone who’s considering for awards.

In other news, I also wrote over two dozen nonfiction articles, the vast majority of which were published at The Lineup. I don’t think any of those are quite long enough to qualify for the short nonfiction categories at any awards, but I’m still super proud of the articles, so if you’d like to read any of them, just head over here to see the full list!

This year also focused quite a bit on my 2022 novel, Reluctant Immortals. It went on to be nominated for three awards—the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction, the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel, and the Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel—and it ultimately won the Lambda Literary Award. Honestly, that still seems so surreal and wonderful to me. What a huge honor for my novel all about forgotten heroines reclaiming their place in the world.

Looking ahead to 2024, next year will be all about my new novel, The Haunting of Velkwood. It’s available now for pre-order, and it makes its official debut in the world on March 5th.

Already, a starred review in Booklist has said that Velkwood is “sure to be one of the most original and riveting horror novels of 2024,” and Library Journal calls it a “breathtakingly original modern ghost story laden with humanity and heartache.” The Haunting of Velkwood is one of my most personal and favorite works to date, so I’m so thrilled that it will soon be making its way into the world.

So that’s it for 2023. It was certainly a year with ups and downs, but there were some truly wonderful moments throughout the year. I’m looking forward to 2024, and I hope all of you are too.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!