Monthly Archives: November 2020

Appalachian Horror: Interview with Timothy G. Huguenin

Welcome back for this week’s author interview! Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight author Timothy G. Huguenin. Timothy is the author of Unknowing, I Sink and the forthcoming Schafer.

Recently, he and I discussed his inspiration as an author as well as how his home state of West Virginia inspires his work.

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

Writing is the one thing that I can almost always remember wanting to do. In first grade, I got in trouble for Xeroxing all the pages of a Nate the Great book because I wanted to “make my own book”. That was my first lesson from my parents on copyright protection! Mom told me then, if I wanted to make my own books, I would have to write them. In second grade, I wrote and illustrated my first short story called “Tom and the One-eyed Dragon”. Dad kept it and we both forgot about it until our family moved when I was in high school and he had to clean out his office. To read it now, it’s pretty hilarious.

Stephen King is, of course, one of my favorite authors. And it’s not just his scary stuff—my favorite of his books is 11/22/63, which isn’t even a horror novel. Edgar Allan Poe introduced me to the genre when I was a teenager, and he continues to be an inspiration to me. I’m very interested in Appalachian literature, especially writers from my home state of West Virginia, which has produced some truly phenomenal writers who don’t get enough attention today. I’m thinking primarily of Davis Grubb (author of Night of the Hunter, among others) and Denise Giardina (her book set during the Mine Wars, Storming Heaven, is one of my favorite books of all time). Over the last few years, I’ve really been digging into the weirder side of the horror genre. In my opinion, Thomas Ligotti is one of the most innovative and unique horror writers of our time. I also really like Robert Aickman, though I haven’t read as much of him as I would like. Michael Wehunt has the perfect combo of weird horror and lyrical Appalachian prose. I love Greener Pastures, and I can’t wait for his next book.

Congrats on the recent release of your new novella, Unknowing, I Sink. What was your inspiration in writing this book?

Thank you! And congrats to you on Boneset and Feathers and your deal with Saga Press!

You know what, I can’t for the life of me remember where I first got the idea for Unknowing, I Sink. But I reckon the novella shows some influence from Ligotti and Aickman. I started it at the beginning of last year as a short story, but then it just kept going. And it took me quite a while to write, only making progress in fits and starts for most of the year. I was going through some pretty hard bouts of depression that year, which slowed me down a lot. But that dark season also informed a lot of the story and character development. It certainly wouldn’t have turned out the same if I was in perfect mental health the whole time. Still, I wasn’t able to make serious progress and finish the story until after I had rearranged my life and got a bit of a grip on my depression and anxiety.

Your book, Schafer, is due out in 2021 with Bloodshot Books. What can you tell us about your process in writing this one? How is it different from (or the same as) your previous work?

The idea for Schafer came to me while I was re-reading Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains.” Though I ain’t sure Poe meant it that way, I found the concept of a personal hypnotist/physician very insidious, giving yourself completely to someone’s control like that. Nearly immediately, the character of Doctor Wolfgang M. Schafer entered my head, and I sat down and wrote the prologue. I don’t think a passage has ever come to me as fluidly, quickly, and completely as the opening of Schafer. Even after revising the novel several times, I probably changed at most two or three words of that prologue. In fact, I posted it on my blog soon after writing it, if anyone wants a taste:

The rest of it wasn’t nearly as effortless, but still a lot of fun. I found out that Poe had a strong fascination with the then new “science” of mesmerism and animal magnetism, so I read the other stuff he wrote in that vein and incorporated more of his ideas into my book. None of the hypnotism in Schafer is scientifically accurate, far as I know; I purposefully wrote it as if the quackery rampant at Poe’s time was somehow true. As I wrote, I realized it was becoming something of a vampire novel, though without any literal vampires. I kept that in mind and leaned into it some as it developed.

Like almost all of my other work, Schafer is set in West Virginia—Augustus Valley, in fact, which is a fictional town that has shown up in some of my shorter works, including Unknowing, I Sink. Though I generally set my novels and short stories in the present, or some nondescript time period, Schafer is set in the early 1990s. It has a bit of a Stranger Things vibe, in fact, as the main characters are in high school at the time.

You’re located in West Virginia. How, if at all, does the area inspire your writing?

I grew up in Davis, West Virginia, and I’ve lived in several different parts of this state. WV is an extremely unique place, misunderstood and often neglected place by many people—you wouldn’t believe how many times we have to tell others we’re not a part of Virginia. We’ve been our own state since 1863, thank you very much. There is a particular sense of place here, an identity and loyalty West Virginians bear which I have not found to the same degree in most other places. I love these old hills and the people. That is a big reason I continue to set my fiction here. There are enough outsiders writing about WV who don’t understand us. I want folks to see my own take on horror and West Virginia, kind of like Stephen King with Maine. Also, West Virginia just drips with natural beauty, in every season. So description of the natural setting really shows up in my stories a lot.

Sometimes I tell people West Virginia is almost like another country. It is beautiful and quirky and mysterious and old and crotchety but not without hope for growth. I’m afraid that I could write about WV all my life and still not be able to paint a thorough and appropriately nuanced picture of her. But I’ll probably keep trying.

You’ve written short stories, novellas, and novels. How is your approach the same or different depending on the length? How do you decide whether a work will be short fiction or longer fiction?

Usually when I plan to write a novel, I’ll have maybe a general concept and a character or two and let them stew in my head a while until I think they got enough of their own life for me to start writing something. So far I haven’t  tried to write a novel and had it become a short story or even a novella (though I have abandoned a couple novels). But like I mentioned earlier, I have started some stories I intended to be short and had them turn out much longer than anticipated. I usually take Stephen King’s advice: just let the story decide how long it wants to be.

If forced to choose, what’s your favorite part of the writing process: drafting new ideas, working on a first draft, or polishing up an almost-finished piece?

Probably the polishing part. As much as I love discovering a new story and new people as I write, ain’t nothing like having written something. I find a lot of satisfaction in the sense of completion I get after finishing a first draft, even knowing that I still have revision work ahead of me.

What projects are you currently working on?

Last July I finished another novel called Order of Worms. After that, I felt pretty emptied out for a while. Just this week I finished a new short story, currently titled “The Yellow Carousel”, that’s all I’ve written since Order of Worms. Other than that, mostly I’ve just been trying to get an agent for OoW.

I’m also letting a few bigger project ideas slosh around in my head until one of them gels into something I can work with. I’ve been wanting to try a screenplay for a while. I also want to see if I could write a few middle grade books. But I might play it safe and do another adult horror novel. Who knows?

Where can we find you online?

My website is If you have trouble remembering how to spell that, you can also use I love to connect with readers and writers! There is a contact form on that page that anyone can use to send me a note. I am also on social media, unfortunately. Here are links to all that:

I use those mostly begrudgingly, but I really do love email. If you want a sure way to connect with me, use my website contact form, which goes straight to my inbox. You can also use the address

Thanks so much!

Big thanks to Timothy G. Huguenin for being this week’s featured author!

Happy reading!

Electric Horror: Interview with Mackenzie Kiera

Welcome back! Today, I’m thrilled to feature author Mackenzie Kiera. With Lisa Quigley, she’s the host and creator of the award winning Ladies of the Fright podcast. Mackenzie’s new book, All You Need is Love and a Strong Electric Current, is out now with Unnerving.

Recently, Mackenzie and I discussed her inspiration as an author as well as her favorite parts of the writing process and what she’s got planned next.

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

I don’t remember not wanting to be a writer. Although, it was very important that I wasn’t only going to be a writer. See, I was afraid of people telling me: “you will never make any money as a writer” so I always paired ‘writer’ with ‘paleontologist’ or ‘archeologist’ or whatever science I was reading about. I was never concerned with if being a writer would make me money. My dad worked in advertising as a writer, so I knew it was possible. Just, no one else seemed to think so. Some of my favorite authors? Oh, man. Right now it’s got to be Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Alma Katsu, Grady Hendrix, Stephen Graham Jones, Rebecca Roanhorse, John Scalzi are my new shiny favorites—amazing people, all of them. A couple of books that I think will always sit on my shelf are the GOT series, Catch-22, Swan Song, Nos4A2, The Red Tent, Dante’s Inferno, and the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Congratulations on the release of your debut, All You Need is Love and a Strong Electric Current! What was the inspiration for this story, and how long did it take you to develop it?

Thank you. This happened in a couple of short bursts. I wrote the short story version on a dare in a sitting or two. I made it to the final round of a couple anthologies, but ultimately it was turned down because it was too graphic. I drawered it for a few years until Lisa turned me on to the possibility of sending a pitch to Eddie Generous over at Unnerving Press for the Rewind or Die series. At the time, my son was about five months old and I worked full time from home. I couldn’t imagine taking much else on, so I pitched CURRENT to Eddie, fully expecting for it to get turned down, and then I could at least say I tried, right? When he got back to me, he seemed pretty jazzed on the idea, which means I had to write the novella. I think it took me a couple of months? I drew heavily from some choice slashers Stephen Graham Jones told me to watch as slasher homework, and then, while I wrote, I was listening to the soundtrack to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

What in particular draws you to horror fiction?

The truth. I think horror tells the truth in ways other genres can’t. For instance, after the traumatic birth of my son, I had debilitating anxiety and felt like unless I stayed in my son’s nursery that something large and toothy was waiting to eat him around every corner. I didn’t want company. Horror pulled me up. Horror had how I felt, but on the page. I read Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions and felt like I could breathe again. After a healthy dose of slashers, I felt a lot better. To me, horror is brain medicine. It lets me know that I’m not crazy, that monsters are real. But, horror also holds the secret that even though there are monsters in the world, they don’t always win.

You’ve written short fiction, and now with your new novella, you’ve also tackled longer fiction. How is your approach different or the same depending on the length of the work?

I actually truly hate writing short stories. I enjoy writing non-fiction or craft directed essays, but I struggle with the short fiction format. I’ve written novels (unpublished and probably for the better) so the novella form actually felt like a perfect length.

In addition to your fiction writing, you’re also co-host of Ladies of the Fright! How if at all has podcasting changed your approach to storytelling?

Oh, that’s a really good question. Considering I’ve been writing the whole time, I don’t think it has changed much. Our interviewing may change a bit, now that we can interview authors as authors ourselves, but considering the idea is to spotlight our guests, I can’t imagine much changing.

If forced to choose, which of the following is your favorite part of the writing process: developing a character’s voice, establishing mood and setting, or mapping out plot points?

Ha! Oh, the voice and plot points. I enjoy hearing how my characters speak and fine-tuning their quirks and favorite phrases. Plot points are fun too because I tend to map those out with a glass of wine late at night in one of those cheap drugstore composition notebooks.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on a new novella titled: The Attic Man and Madeline. It’s a possession story with a trope flip. Lots of demon sex, some intense black magic, and one crazy bitch. It’s been a fun time writing it, is what I’m saying. We also have some really great plans with the podcast, but that’s a secret!

Where can we find you online?

Best place to find me is on Twitter. I’m Kiera1Mackenzie. My website is (although I’m not sure it’s 100% up to date) and then the podcast is, and LOTFPod. Be sure to check out our blog as well! We have some new stuff happening in those corners.

Thank you! This was so much fun.

Huge thanks to Mackenzie Kiera for being part of this week’s author interview series!

Happy reading!

Withering and Wonderful: Interview with Ashley Dioses

Welcome back! Today I’m thrilled to spotlight author Ashley Dioses. Her brand-new poetry collection, The Withering, is due out soon from Jackanapes Press.

Recently, Ashley and I discussed her inspiration as an author, her awesome new book, and what she’s got planned next!

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

It seems I always wanted to be a writer. I don’t exactly know what triggered the exact moment, but I was writing short stories since elementary school. My dad was a writer and that’s probably where I got it from. I grew up reading J. R. R. Tolkein, Brian Jacques, and then later Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Edgar Allan Poe so those authors will always be some of my favorites. Later on I read Clark Ashton Smith and fell in love with his writing. Favorite contemporary writers include Nicole Cushing, Damien Angelica Walters, Christine Morgan, S. L. Edwards, and many others.

Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your poetry collection, The Withering. What can you share about the book?

Thank you! It is a collection of horror poetry from my teenage years. I wrote a lot of dark stuff during that time and that’s really when I started focusing poetry over other kinds of writing. It has 55 poems broken up into 4 sections. The themes for each section are nature horror, supernatural horror, psychological horror, and body or gore horror. There are ten full-page artworks by Mutartis Boswell, who also did the front and back covers. There’s also an introduction by John Shirley. I also include an afterword, a few notes on various poems, and a chronological list of the poems.

You write both poetry and fiction. How is your approach the same or different for each medium?

For poetry, all I need is an image or a line for me to take off and write a full poem. For fiction, I really need to be organized and have a plan. I need beginning, middle, and ending ideas before I can even start writing a story.

What draws you to horror? Do you remember the first horror film you saw or horror story you read?

My dad was a big fantasy and horror fan. When I was young he started me off by reading me fantasy stories which led me to reading them on my own. It didn’t take long though before he started getting me to read and watch horror. Probably one of the first horror films I saw was probably The Nightmare Before Christmas followed shortly by The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I also remember watching The Crow late at night in my room when I was supposed to be asleep. One of the first horror books I read, that I remember, is The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I was also fascinated with witches at the same time (not that that has changed) so I got my hands on every book about witches I possibly could.

How if at all has living through 2020 shaped your writing?

It really hasn’t changed much except for the fact that I’ve written less this year than previous years. I’ve been focused on reading more to get fresh ideas.

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

When it comes to fiction, I love creating characters. My favorite part is to create a believable person and give them ambitions and conflicts and personal demons they have to live with or get through. For poetry, it’s definitely establishing a mood. The atmosphere has to be perfect.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a collection of Gothic and Decadent poetry called Diary of Vampyress. The ‘diary’ belongs to the vampyress, Countess Nadia. The book opens up with a sonnet cycle based around her and her character. It currently has over 60 poems and is divided up into sections by subjects. After the sonnet cycle, the sections are Vampires and Devils, Witches and Werewolves, Daemons and Death, Other Dead, Halloween, Femme Fatales, The Seven Seals sonnet cycle, and Translations.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on various social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, but to really stay up-to-date with what I’m working on you’ll want to check out

Tremendous thanks to Ashley Dioses for being this week’s featured author!

Happy reading!

Falling into Fiction: Submission Roundup for November 2020

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! Lots of great opportunities in November, so if you’re looking for a place to send your work, then one of these markets might be the perfect fit!

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 publisher.

So with that, onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Cemetery Gates Media
Payment: $500 on signing & $500 upon publication; 80/20 author-publisher royalty split
Length: 40,000 words and above
Deadline: Ongoing
What They Want: For their debut horror novel series, the editors are seeking debut horror novels.
Find the details here.

Luna Station Quarterly
Payment: $5/flat
Length: 500 to 7,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction from female-identifying authors.
Find the details here.

New Tales of Fairy Godmothers
Payment: .01/word
Length: 4,000 to 7,500 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: The editor is seeking retellings and new stories about fairy godmothers.
Find the details here.

Payment: .03/word for original fiction ($150 maximum); .01/word for reprints
Length: up to 7,000 words
Deadline: November 15th, 2020 (or until the Submittable portal closes)
What They Want: The editors are seeking dark, literary fiction of the weird, unsettling, and quiet horror variety.  
Find the details here.

In Darkness Delight: Fear the Future
Payment: .03/word ($150 maximum)
Length: 2,500 to 4,500 words preferred (up to 7,500 words will be considered)
Deadline: November 15th, 2020
What They Want: This Corpus Press anthology is seeking horror fiction with futuristic themes.
Find the details here.

Payment: .08/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry
Length: Short fiction from 2,000 to 7,000 words & novelettes up to 15,000 words
Deadline: December 31st, 2020
What They Want: Open to Black authors, FIYAH is currently seeking fiction and poetry for their forthcoming unthemed issue.
Find the details here.

Planet Scumm
Payment: .02/word
Length: 2,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: January 10th, 2021
What They Want: Guest edited by Hailey Piper, this issue of the magazine is seeking speculative fiction stories specifically from cisgender women, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and genderqueer people.
Find the details here.

Happy reading, and happy submitting!

RELEASE DAY: Boneset & Feathers is now available!

So today is the day! Boneset & Feathers has officially made its witchy debut in the world!

So many thanks to the amazing Scott Gable at Broken Eye Books for bringing this book into existence! It was such a wonderful experience working with Broken Eye again after the release of Pretty Marys All in a Row back in 2017. Also, tremendous thanks to gawki for their amazing cover art. Behold the cover in all its vibrant glory!

Pre-orders have started making their arrivals in readers’ homes, which is always an exciting thing for writers. If you ordered the book, please tag me in any pictures you post, as it will do my witchy little heart good to see them!

As for advance reviews, here are a few lovely quotes about the book from reviewers so far!

“Kiste casts a spell with this original and suspenseful horror story, but it holds more than meets the eye.” — Library Journal (starred review)

“A gorgeous book featuring magic, witches, ghosts and revenge turned sour.” — S.J. Budd of Come and Behold My Dark World

“Kiste is a versatile and engaging author making this book definitely one to check out. Recommended for fans of coming of age, witches, and more.” — Sci-Fi & Scary

“By the time you hurtle toward the epic conclusion, you will be wowed and left wanting more from this master storyteller and weaver of magic tales. Buy all of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books if you haven’t already.” — A.E. Siraki at Cemetery Dance

So just where can you find this strange little book with its ghost birds and witches and witchfinders? I’m glad you asked!

Boneset & Feathers at Amazon

Boneset & Feathers at Broken Eye Books

The ebook version is also on its way and will be available shortly as well!

As always, happy reading, and thank you so much to everyone who’s already ordered and supported this novel! I know 2020 has been rife with uncertainty, and today in particular is a very tense day, so for everyone who’s shared in my book’s release, I appreciate it so much more than you know!

Stay safe, and stay witchy!