Monthly Archives: March 2022

The Future Is Fierce: Part Four of Our 2022 Women in Horror Month Roundtable

We’ve nearly reached the end of March, which means Women in Horror Month is sadly almost over. But before this awesome annual celebration is done, let’s check in once more with our fabulous roundtable about their hopes for the future of women in horror as well as their own writing plans!

What’s your hope for the future of women in horror?

GABY TRIANA: That we will continue to kick ass. Stories by women show another side of humanity. It’s not just about having different body parts. It’s a whole alternative worldview that’s just as important as the mainstream white, male POV, and we are not all the same. My hope is also that women don’t have to fake writing in the style of men anymore to be taken seriously. They can be whoever they are—feminine, masculine, in-your-face, subtle, romantic, jarring, suggestive, intellectual, weird… whoever they happen to be—and still command the literary stage.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: That books and stories and poems and scripts with new ideas and angles keep coming for us to enjoy (and analyze)! As an educator, I also hope we can keep sharing the stories of women in the past who got the ball rolling, so to speak, and whose names may have been forgotten.

LISA KRÖGER: I hope that women in horror find so much success that we don’t need a special month to highlight our work.

HYSOP MULERO: I kind of hope that women in the genre do some sort of crazy takeover, even if just for a season or week or a day. It would be amazing to see us collectively or even singularly transcend or kind of push horror into our overall literary landscape. In short, I want to see us create magnificent storms story by story and book by book.

EVE HARMS: I hope to see more BIPOC women in horror read and celebrated.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: My hope for the future of women in horror is the inclusion of women from all demographics, especially Black and Hispanic women. I mean a full embrace and lifting up of those stories. I loved how Black Cranes won the Stoker last year. I would love to see works by Black women and trans women also find that level of recognition.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: My hope is that women continue to do what they’re doing by creating great work in the genre. There really is an incredible wealth of brilliant art to be read and watched. I’d love to see horror by women become increasingly recognized. I’d love to see as many women in positions of leadership as possible, publishing horror books and producing, writing, and directing horror film and TV. Some of the most supportive, fascinating, and thoughtful people in my life are other women horror writers and I hope we’re all able to keep writing and achieve a broad audience. The future of women in horror feels very bright, indeed.

LEE MURRAY: What I hope, Gwendolyn, is that one day we shouldn’t need a Women in Horror month, that we won’t need to band together and scream, “Hey, we’re over here and we’re writing lovely horror” because we’ll already be visible. Because there will be a healthy coven of undead women writers who come to mind whenever the word ‘horror’ is whispered. A host of articulate women writers who are making a living writing horror and talking about horror. When, instead of being a subversive act, women writing horror becomes the norm and we are a welcome part of the horror landscape. I can’t wait for the moment when I’ll scroll to one of a myriad of horror sites on social media where the question “Who is your favourite horror writer?” is posted on a near-daily basis, and see women writers listed in the top ten comments, and not simply as an afterthought. In October 2019, Jeff VanderMeer (author of Annihilation and former co-editor of Weird Tales) wrote [this] post on social media.

Hear, hear, Jeff. I agree. Let’s have future top tens loaded with fabulous women writers of horror. How about Alma Katsu, Kaaron Warren, Gwendolyn Kiste, EV Knight, Kate Jonez, Thersa Matsura, Lee Franklin, or Kate Maruyama, for example? I could go on and on…

What’s next for you? What projects are you currently working on, and what work do you have coming out soon?

GABY TRIANA: The first part of 2022, I’ll be finishing my 5-book paranormal women’s fiction series, which I write under the name Gabrielle Keyes. After that, I have a new horror novel in the works. 1950s Havana, Cuba, haunted house on a hill, palm trees, family secrets, ghosts, a woman fighting societal expectations, a family of mobsters and sugar kings fighting for control, the Catholic church, witchcraft, those who dabble in both, history, psychological horror, and a monster or two terrorizing the island. Can’t wait to get started.

HYSOP MULERO: I’m currently going through another round of edits for a dark/horror middle grade manuscript that I’ve completed. I’m also in the process of finishing my second short story collection that will include the “This Is You” series and a few other pieces that I’m really excited about! Not to mention my thrill for “This is You on Lust” to be included in Pluto In Furs Volume 2 from Plutonian Press. I have a few other TBAs, and WIP’s for 2022! I plan on attending Necronomicon in Rhode Island this year, along with a few other cons and events. I’m active on both Instagram as, and my website should you want to check out my events and daily musings.

EVE HARMS: A lot of projects are in the works, but I’m trying to avoid talking about them in order to bottle up the excitement to propel me forward. I did recently have a short story published in the Monstroddities anthology by Sliced Up Press that is available on all of the major bookstores.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: I’m writing the next Kingdom of Aves story. Mocha Memoirs Press is releasing two new novellas for Women in Horror Month. Sumiko Saulson’s Happiness and Other Diseases and L. Marie Wood’s The Black Hole.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: I’m working on another project with my co-author and podcast co-host Lisa Kröger. And on the academic side, I recently finished up an essay for a forthcoming collection on Edgar Allan Poe. It’s about how contemporary women writing horror are revising Poe’s nineteenth-century take on the haunted house.

LISA KRÖGER: I’ve got another nonfiction book, called Toil and Trouble, coming out with Quirk Books in late 2022. Like Monster, She Wrote, this book is co-written with Dr. Melanie R. Anderson, who may be the best co-author around. I’m working with NYX this year to get out our second film festival, and we recently announced a partnership with Stowe Story Labs for a fellowship for women screenwriters who are writing horror and who are age 40 or over. I’m hoping to get a few other personal projects out into the world too. I’d love to do more fiction, or even write for a different audience, like Middle Grade or Young Adult.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: I recently had a story, “Golden Hour,” accepted for publication in the forthcoming Chromophobia anthology, edited by Sara Tantlinger, which will be coming out later this year. The stories in the anthology all deal with the horror of color in different ways and are authored by women. I’m beyond thrilled to be part of this excellent group of writers. I also recently finished a draft of a haunted house novel I’ve been working on for several years that I’m hoping to publish soon. Otherwise, I’m writing a collection of horror short stories as well as a middle-grade horror-comedy novel.

LEE MURRAY: Thank you so much for asking, Gwendolyn. 2022 is looking set to be a busy year! I have a small (and hopefully helpful) workbook on Literary Goal Setting coming from Brain Jar Press, and Asian Ghost Stories (Flame Tree Press) for which I was Associate Editor will be published in February 2022; this comprehensive volume of ghost tales includes many of my favourite horror writers of Asian descent. I have stories coming in numerous anthologies, including “Thrall” a seafaring tale of supernatural and superstition in Grimdark’s The King Must Fall (edited by Adrian Collins), “Mooncake” a generational tale of cultural tension in Bad Hand Books’ The Hideous Book of Hidden Horrors, Hothouse Crush, a re-envisioning of Dracula as a demon fae in 1980’s girls’ boarding school for IFWG’s Dracula Unfanged (edited by Christopher Sequiera), and “Kupara and Tekoteko” a Kiwi retelling of Wilde’s The Happy Prince in Clan Destine Press’s Clamour and Mischief (edited by Narelle Harris). My novella “Despatches” will appear with novellas by Angela Yuriko Smith and Maxwell Ian Gold, in Someday, a volume in Crystal Lake Publishing’s Dark Tide series. The themes of Someday are war and mystery, and “Despatches” follows the observations of a war correspondent sent to Gallipoli in the Great War in a supernatural epistolatory tale. Also with Angela Yuriko Smith, I’ll be editing a collection of poetry and flash fiction by HWA members mental health and trauma for the upcoming HWA Wellness page—a rare honour which I’m looking forward to immensely. Angela and I are also excited to be editing Unquiet Spirits, a collection of essays by horror writers of Southeast Asian descent, with a focus on the influence monsters and spirits on perspectives of cultural identity. A follow up to both Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (co-edited with Geneve Flynn) and poetry collection Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken (Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray & Geneve Flynn), the line-up for Unquiet Spirits looks equally stupendous and includes a foreword by Monster She Wrote co-author Lisa Kröger. The book will be published by Black Spot Books in 2023. And I’ll also be delivering the first of three fiction collections for Silver Shamrock publishing towards the end of 2022. I’m expecting the German language translation of my supernatural military horror Into the Sounds will be released in 2022, as will the Spanish version of my middle grade adventure Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse. I also have a handful of exciting film projects on the go, which sadly I am unable to talk about yet. Aargh! In any case, it looks set to be a busy year…

Huge thanks to our eight fantastic authors for this year’s roundtable! It was so amazing talking with all of them!

Happy reading, and happy Women in Horror Month!

Terrifying Advice: Part Three of Our 2022 Women in Horror Month Roundtable

March is nearly over, which means once again, Women in Horror Month is getting ready to wind to a close. As I always say, it’s over way too quick!

But before the month slips away completely, let’s return for part three in our Women in Horror roundtable!

The last few years in the world have been challenging to say the least. How do you motivate yourself to keep writing despite the terrors and challenges of everyday life?

GABY TRIANA: Writing is actually how I think, so if I want to sort out thoughts or feelings, I write. This happens every day, whether it’s writing fiction or journaling or making lists that help me organize my brain. Either way, I write daily.

HYSOP MULERO: Overcoming the mental chatter between my ears combined with daily errands and responsibilities can make writing challenging on the best of days. I am a personal, albeit reluctant consumer of procrastination, and with that type of maladaptive behavior I utilize the “least is better than none” method. Sure, I have great writing days where the sun shines enthusiastically through my window and my coffee is prepared just right, and words are pulsating through my fingers, but more days than not I have to treat writing as yet another errand or task that must be done. So, I put away my grand notions of how this process should look or feel or how hot my coffee has to be and make myself put words on the page. Many many words. And the days that I do get to have the sun grace me with its light, and everything in the universe aligns for me to have a perfect writing day, well, those are the beautiful bonuses.

EVE HARMS: My priority is to keep writing enjoyable. I actually love every part of the process—researching, drafting, and editing—so if I’m not feeling motivated to write, I don’t. I’ve found if I let myself feel guilt around not writing, I rob myself of the joy of remembering how good it feels to write. This does mean that there will be months where I don’t put any words on the page, but that’s okay. And besides, the creative process requires rest to operate at its fullest. Even if I’m not writing, I’m usually still spending time in the worlds I’m creating and occasionally taking down notes about ideas I have for various projects.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: I haven’t been as successful at this as I would like. I struggle every. single. day. One of the things I have found is listening to BTS and Tomorrow by Together (K-pop bands). Both groups offer songs of loving myself and how to handle the pandemic and its effects. They’re encouraging and uplifting, which helps repeal some of the darkness enough for me to find enough light to work.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: When the pandemic started, my job became unpredictable, as happened for everyone. I had previous experience teaching a couple online courses, but shifting formats for all my classes midsemester was chaotic. Keeping a routine has remained difficult. And I had to limit my news consumption. I needed deadline extensions on a couple of academic projects. But, I think one thing that helped keep me researching and writing was that it was something I could keep doing, barring pandemic-related issues with getting resources. Another was that I had some control over that work, as opposed to everything else.

LISA KRÖGER: I’m not going to lie: it’s been hard. Writing is cathartic to me, so even when I don’t feel motivated, I often find that the act of writing helped me to manage my stress and anxiety. Plus, writing is a practice; it’s a muscle to exercise. I try to keep doing it, every day, even if I don’t feel particularly excited about it or inspired. I don’t try to hit certain word counts or write for any specific length of time, though. There’s too much stress in that, and we don’t need more stress on our lives right now. Sometimes, the act of rest can be the best remedy to writer’s block, so I’ve learned that at times, it’s okay to give ourselves some time and space to breathe and let our imaginations run wild. In times of high stress, one of the best things to do for your writing is not to set unrealistic goals. Take small steps towards your goals—those add up over time.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: Writing has always been a way I deal with difficult emotions. Examining why I’m anxious, angry, or scared by putting a character in a fictional situation dealing with the same feelings helps me cope. When I’m caught up in crafting the plot, character, and technical aspects of storytelling, my worries become something else entirely and are not so overwhelming to me anymore. The pandemic has been a challenge, though. In some ways, I’ve used the daily horrors to fuel writing. I did publish one story, “Mondays Are for Meat,” that deals directly with the anxieties of the pandemic. However, now two years into this, the weight of it all is heavy. There have been periods of time when creating has felt impossible. Recently more than ever. While I usually write intensely, I’ve had to give myself permission to not write and just watch movies or go for walks. Some balance between a butt-in-chair mentality and being kind to myself and resting seems essential, right now, for creativity.

LEE MURRAY: See question 1.

For the past six months, I’ve spent a lot of time online in a zoom chat with my New Zealand colleague Grace Bridges, author of the Earthcore series. As well as being invalided to her room since June, Grace lives in Auckland, a city which has spent more than 121 days in lockdown in 2021 and most of that time from August. To help cope with the isolation, Grace and I have been working online together most working days. There really is something in that adage misery loves company. It’s like having a virtual office mate, although her afternoon teas, carried upstairs by her mum and her flatmate, look a lot yummier than mine! I also like to take walks with my darling, soak in our spa pool, read, cuddle my happy-zoomy dog, and watch movies with my grown-up kids (currently at home). Plus, I’m a baby painter of watercolours and, more recently, of acrylics. With the painting, unlike my writing, I try not to put too much pressure on myself to produce something; it’s more about the process than the product. Nevertheless, there is a lot to be said for the arts, and creativity in general, and horror especially, in providing solace in these stressful times.

What advice do you have for female horror writers who are just starting out in the industry?

GABY TRIANA: Make a name for yourself. Fight to be seen. The horror industry is very kind and inclusive, but it still takes a while for readers to get to know you and your work. Submit to anthologies; it’s a good way of introducing yourself in small bites to the community. Don’t be afraid of advocating for yourself if nobody else will. If people ask “what’s a good horror book by a woman author you’ve read lately,” and nobody mentions you, make suggestions but also mention yourself. At the same time, show a love and respect for the other women in horror, because they’re in the same boat as you.

HYSOP MULERO: Two things: Write about that monster that lives in your core. Whatever it is, regardless of the changes it may go through on the page, nothing will serve you better as a writer than to write about that ‘thing’ that has been placed inside of your belly. No one else has the ability to birth it. Further, keep submitting and falling and failing and reaching and grasping. The universe, the industry, and life are going to look at you and say: “Dammit, we have no choice but to help her now.”

EVE HARMS: Don’t listen to anyone’s advice. If someone says something that resonates with you, try it out and see how it feels. All of the rules about the writing process and industry simple don’t apply to every writer and piece. Engage with the community authentically and only work on projects that you are excited about.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: Write what you want! Persevere. Publishing is difficult and challenging regardless of the genre.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: I’m coming at this from an academic/nonfiction writing perspective–and I’m not a veteran in this space–but I’ll take a stab at it. I’m a big believer in how much reading all sorts of stuff can help with writing. And I think working on projects you want to work on is important. It’s really difficult to write about something you’re not curious about and invested in, especially if it’s a long project that you’ll be with for a while. I’m also grateful that I’ve found a few people who are willing to read and comment on drafts for me. Academics sometimes shy away from collaboration, but I’ve enjoyed co-editing and co-authoring. I think having that conversation going opens up creative possibilities.

LISA KRÖGER: Hone your skills. Don’t worry about publishing right away. Just write and write more. Have trusted people read what you write and get feedback. I recommend practicing with short stories (even micro shorts, under 1000 words) to sharpen your skills. Get comfortable with failure, and use each one as a moment to learn. Then, start trying to publish those better stories in the paying markets. It’s competitive, but I always find it helpful to keep me motivated to write more. If I get a rejection, I just try to write a better story the next time. It took me ten years to get a book contract, and it never gets easier…but I can’t imagine doing anything else. Don’t stop, keep going, and don’t give up before success comes.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: I think it’s the same advice I’d give anyone starting out. Finish what you’re working on. Share it with people you trust. Get feedback. Take classes if you can. Read books on craft. Be open to learning and growing. Be open to changing your work to make it better. Read horror books all the time. Watch horror movies and TV shows. Immerse yourself in the genre so you know what it’s capable of. Perhaps most importantly, get involved in the writing community and support other authors as much as you can!

LEE MURRAY: Here’s the advice I gave in Tim Waggoner’s Bram Stoker Award®-winning book, Writing in the Dark (RDSP):

“Think of it like a Mad Hatter’s tea party. No room at the literature table? Sit down anyway. Take the rabbit hole to the underworld. Conjure shrink-grow monsters, evil queens, the perfidy of time, and lonely, spiralling madness. Choose chaos as a ruling principle. Ask the hard questions. Say what you mean. Talk when you want to. Debate the intricacies of language. Hide the bodies of your friends in teapots. Cut off their heads. Reference Poe. And drink more of the beverage of your choice.”

And that’s part three in our Women in Horror Roundtable! Join us again next week for the final installment of this year’s celebration of Women in Horror Month!

Happy reading, and happy Women in Horror Month!

Favorite Frights: Part Two of Our 2022 Women in Horror Month Roundtable

Welcome back for part two in our Women in Horror Month roundtable! I’m once again talking with these eight amazing female horror authors about their love of the genre.

So let’s hand the proverbial microphone over to them!

What does Women in Horror Month mean to you personally?

GABY TRIANA: I have a love-hate relationship with month-long celebrations. On one hand, it’s a fantastic way to highlight and introduce people to marginalized groups and authors that need more limelight, but on the other, we shouldn’t ever have to do it. Women are people just like anyone else—authors, artists, actors, directors, creatives who should be seen, read, examined, and celebrated at any time of year, just like our non-women counterparts. Same with Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month and Women in History Month. It’s a step in the right direction, but for me, the goal is to always be included. THAT SAID, I’m honored to be included and recognized alongside my talented peers.

HYSOP MULERO: Women continuously feed horror in ways unimaginable. It’s great to have a month that not only showcases and celebrates that accomplishment, but reminds us of both how far we’ve come and the road ahead. Personally, this is so necessary as I have a tendency to consume books and anthologies (I can’t get enough of those bite size stories!) whilst unintentionally being oblivious to the authors who, what, when and otherwise. Which is fine, right? I’ll answer that. It’s okay to fall in love with a story, but it would be unwise for me to simply enjoy and buy and read without acknowledging at the very least the responsibility I have as an author, writer, and woman. To be conscious of the space I inhabit and share; To notice the beautiful progressions and the very real deficits in the horror culture and community.

EVE HARMS: There are so many badass women in horror, and it’s a lot of fun to celebrate them and be reminded of their contributions. I’m proud to be among all of these incredible ladies.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: Women in Horror Month fits in perfectly with my on-going mission to amplify marginalized voices in speculative fiction, particularly horror! From Mary Shelley to Tananarive Due, women have been writing terrific horror and we continue to do so. This month puts the spotlight on us, and I love it.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: I think it’s great to have a month to amplify the work of all of the women creating in the horror genre now and to look at the history of women’s work in the genre, because they’ve always been there. Having a fixed time for readings and events brings awareness and can help diversify readers’ to-be-read piles. I always hope that the emphasis on women’s work during that month doesn’t go away as the next month begins. It continues for me, since much of my academic writing is on fiction by women, and I’m constantly reading for The Monster, She Wrote Podcast.

LISA KRÖGER: Women in Horror Month is a wonderful time to shine a light on women who are writing horror, but it also highlights the disparity in the genre space. Events and interviews, like this one, help readers to find their new favorite (female) writer. Unfortunately, I think the horror genre is still dominated by male creators. It’s not that the women aren’t out there—we are. It’s just that we don’t always get the attention in the public sphere. This month is a time when most horror websites and social media accounts are actively looking for and highlighting women writers—it’s wonderful.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: Women in Horror Month is a great opportunity to acknowledge the awesome work by women horror writers. I think this month matters to me personally because I’m aware it hasn’t always been accessible for women to publish in the category of horror fiction. Even now, horror fiction by women may be called something else, relegated to other genres like dark fantasy or women’s fiction. Bringing the work of women horror writers to the forefront for a month helps raise awareness of all the fabulous creators and gives us more opportunities to grow individually and as a community. I find it inspiring every year to be able to celebrate the critical role women play in defining the genre.

LEE MURRAY: Let me start by quoting from my foreword in Daughters of Darkness, a collection of horror fiction by Aly Faye, Stephanie Ellis, Ruschelle Dillon and Theresa Derwin, which was released for Women in Horror Month 2021, and was the first ever title from Dark Angel Press, a small house dedicated solely to publishing horror women writers…

“Each February, when the horror community’s Women in Horror month rolls around, my social media feed erupts with a smorgasbord of excellent dark fiction from women authors writing gripping, suspenseful, entertaining, ground-breaking horror fiction—works like Daughters of Darkness. Yet, every year, those same posts are populated with the inevitable laments from readers who don’t see the relevance, the what-about-men folks, the why do we even need to celebrate women-in-horror people. The reason is quite simple: despite its quality, fiction written by women receives only a fraction of the attention of our male colleagues.

Danuta Kean, author of British study The Emilia Report (2019), found that women “aren’t provided with an equal platform to men upon which their work can be judged,” claiming that this is because social structures are “created in a way that militates against women being able to be recognised for their creativity.” From its very outset, the horror genre is no exception to this phenomenon, with Mary Shelley’s seminal work, Frankenstein, arguably the novel which spawned the modern horror genre, first published anonymously, albeit with a foreword by her more-famous poet husband.

This side-lining of women’s horror fiction is a trend that continues. For example, googling a ranker site for their latest results, I discovered that of the top 100 horror writers listed, only ten are women, and of those, only four are living writers [*checked again and nothing has changed]. If women horror writers aren’t rated, if they aren’t discoverable in the ‘noise’ of creative work clamouring for attention, then how are readers expected to find and enjoy their work? By extension, it seems clear that Terrence Rafferty’s observation holds true: “What can be said with certainty, though, is that women writers, even the best of them, have rarely made a career of horror, as the male luminaries of the genre mostly have.” (New York Times, 2008).

Nevertheless, women horror writers have persisted because horror writing is, in and of itself, an act of subversion. In the introduction to their Bram Stoker Award®-winning title Monster, She Wrote: The Women who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kröger and Melanie R. Anderson make the claim: “Women are accustomed to entering unfamiliar spaces, including territory they have been told not to enter. When writing is an off-limits act, writing one’s story becomes a form of rebellion and taking back power.” Hayleigh Donaldson highlights the barriers in her 2019 SyFy Wire article, Women Love Horror: Why Does This Surprise So Many Dudes? She writes: “So many things in life that [women] deal with daily are pretty horrifying when you think about it: the perpetual struggle against misogyny, the gaslighting by the patriarchy, menstruation and fights over reproductive control, questions over relationships, sex and marriage, the fears of child-rearing, and the smothering trappings of society-mandated femininity. Talking about any of these issues in public can be near impossible as the judgement and scorn can shut down the discourse before it’s even started. Which brings us back to Women and Horror Month…”

… a chance for me to blow kisses to all the fabulous horror sisters whose work I admire and adore, the subversive women who roll up their sleeves and create wonderful horror despite the odds being against them from the get-go. And to those wonderful souls who have kindly signal-boosted and supported my own small contribution to the genre. Women in Horror Month is a chance to applaud a dedicated sisterhood of talented creatives that has too long languished in the shadows.

What are some of your favorite horror books from the past year or two that were written by women?

GABY TRIANA: To be honest, I’ve had difficulty reading over the last year. I don’t know if it’s the pandemic, the fact that we’ve lost a few people we love, or that I don’t want to read anymore lately after a long day of writing, but my books-read count went way down in 2021. I did, however, love Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro, Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, Children of Chicago by Cynthia Pelayo, and In Darkness, Shadows Breathe, by Catherine Cavendish. When a book can make my imposter syndrome flare up and make me question my own stylistic choices as an author, that’s a well-written book. 🙂

HYSOP MULERO: I’ve read so much this past year, to include a few favorites such as It Will Just Be Us by Jo Kaplan, Revelation by J.W. Munro and K.P. Kulski’s Fairest Flesh. I was first introduced to Kaplan by way of her short story “Wick’s End” published in the Haunted Nights anthology, and similarly J.W. Munro’s work, “I Speak For The Trees” published in It Calls From The Forest Volume 2. The beautiful audacity of Fairest Flesh blew me away, and as a result K.P. Kulski now resides on my “favorites” bookshelf.

EVE HARMS: Cirque Berserk by Jessica Guess, Lakewood by Megan Giddings, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper, to name a few.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: Some of my favorites from the last two years have been, Lakewood by Megan Giddings, Telecommuting by L. Marie Wood, Reenn-You by Michele Tracy Berger, Root Magic by Eden Royce.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: A few of my favorites by women that I’ve read in the past year or two are Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, Darcie Little Badger’s Elatsoe, Quan Barry’s We Ride Upon Sticks, T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones, and Louise Erdrich’s The Sentence, which is about a haunted bookstore and so much more.

LISA KRÖGER: I have become an absolute fan of Rachel Harrison and Julia Fine. Harrison’s book The Return is so much fun, and Fine’s The Upstairs House is a weird, terrifying look at the first months of motherhood. I also enjoyed Mona Awad’s Bunny, which is a creepy dark academia novel.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: There are so many! I loved Lisa Quigley’s novel, The Forest, which deals with the challenges of motherhood in a folk horror context. Hailey Piper’s cosmic horror novella, The Worm and His Kings, is fascinating and mind-bending. Mackenzie Kiera’s novella, All You Need is Love and a Strong Electric Current, is an incredibly funny (and sexy) Frankenstein retelling. Tananarive Due’s, The Good House, which isn’t new in the last couple of years, but I read only recently, is an incredibly engrossing haunted house story with a perfect ending. Jessica Leonard’s novel, Antioch, is so deliciously weird and clever and exciting. Jennifer McMahon’s novel, The Drowning Kind, is immensely satisfying. Last but definitely not least, Sarah Langan’s novel, Good Neighbors, is an enthralling read about the horrors of suburbia.

LEE MURRAY: Despite recent global calamities, our sister horror writers have been highly prolific over the past year —a testament to the power of horror to offer solace. In fact, it has been difficult to keep up with all the gorgeous writing on offer. In 2021, I published Tortured Willows, my debut horror poetry collection with Christina Sng, Geneve Flynn and Angela Yuriko Smith, while also working on my poetry collection Fox Spirit on a Distant Cloud, the subject of my Grimshaw Sargeson residency, so poetry has been a key focus of 2021 for me, and that focus has kindled an even greater interest in horror poetry than other years. Our horror sisters did not disappoint. Consider these exquisite 2021 poetry collections, for example: Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe, Strange Nests by Jessica McHugh, Victims by Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo, Kraken Fever by Angela Yuriko Smith and Kyra Starr, and Stark Naked by Silvia Cantón Rondoni. I’ve been lucky enough to have been offered some sneak peeks at collections coming in 2022, so look out for Stephanie Ellis and Cindy O’Quinn’s fabulous Foundlings, a tribute to master poets Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti, and EF Schraeder’s gorgeously sordid Judy Garland is Not a Sunrise, also a tribute, this time to songstress Amy Winehouse. I’m delighted to appear in Black Spot Book’s upcoming Under Her Skin (edited by Lindy Ryan and Toni Miller), a stunning collection of body horror poetry by some of the world’s most acclaimed women horror poets. It’s a work which has been gaining fabulous reviews. Under Her Skin includes my poem “Shameful” which is reproduced here by kind permission of the publisher. Cover art by visual storyteller, Lynne Hansen.

By Lee Murray

he comes at me, my husband, her father
and I let him, too shackled by centuries
of quiet servitude. I am complicit in my demise
such is the resolve of dutiful daughters
my own leaking shameful down my legs
in a yellow sac of aborted hope and histrionics

bloodied organs on concrete leave a stain

I grasp at air for someone. Anyone. Spool
silent supplications into the darkness
with him hissing—you be quiet, woman!
I don’t know how I conjure her, the tree-dwelling ghost-girl
with her whip-dark hair and razored nails
and the tell-tale spike suppurating at her throat
when she steals gruesome from the shadows. I know her
from the waft of sweetly cloying frangipani

bloodied organs on concrete leave a stain

she slits him like a grapefruit with a finger
scoops still seething between her bloodied lips
stomach and spleen seasoned in their salty sauce, she shreds
his tendons. Wreaks vengeance on the pale afterbirth
she comes at me, my sister, my mother
feckless, she devours me, too.

bloodied organs on concrete leave a stain

More picks for must-read titles for 2022 include Joanne Anderton’s fiction collection, The Art of Broken Things (absolutely breath-taking prose), Tori Eldridge’s sweeping dark magic tale Dance Among the Flames, and Dana Fredsti’s fabulous cinematic supernatural romp, Hollywood Monsters. I cannot wait to see these feminist horror works fly off the shelves.

And that’s part two of our Women in Horror Month Roundtable! Join us next week for part three as we discuss these writers’ advice for new authors.

Happy reading, and happy Women in Horror Month!

Genre Geniuses: Part One of Our 2022 Women in Horror Month Roundtable

Happy Women in Horror Month! I’m thrilled to once again be spotlighting my Women in Horror Month roundtable. Every week for the rest of March, I’ll be featuring eight amazing female writers who are creating some of the creepiest and coolest horror in the genre today.

So without further adieu, let’s have them take it away, shall we?

Welcome to our 2022 Women in Horror Roundtable! It’s so wonderful to be talking with all of you! Please tell us about yourself and your work in the horror genre.

GABY TRIANA: Great to be here! My name is Gaby Triana. I write across the young adult, paranormal women’s fiction, and horror genres. I’ve written 22 books, published 19 under different pen names, and I’m also a ghostwriter of more than 50+ books for bestselling authors. In the horror genre, I gravitate towards a gothic, witchy vibe, setting my stories mostly in the less glamorous parts of Florida, exploring themes of religion, witchcraft, old world vs. new world, and haunting family histories.

HYSOP MULERO: I’m thrilled to be taking part in your Women in Horror Month roundtable! My name is Hysop Mulero, and I am a horror fiction author that writes primarily in the subgenre of the Weird. My work has a fancy for subverting normalized perspectives of emotions and moralities, as well as delve more often than not in those liminal spaces also known as the in- between. I’m originally from Manhattan, NYC but love calling Georgia home where I’m free to roam the woods at my leisure. I’ve been writing since I was about 9 or 10 years old. My mother had a tendency to keep me indoors and read me book after book along with copious amounts of fairy tales. I eventually left the house, but I brought the fairy tales with me. I run a modest blog on my website

EVE HARMS: Thank you for having me! I’m Eve Harms, I write horror fiction, of course, and I also make zines. I have a fascination with the occult, esoteric knowledge, folklore and religion that I bring into my work. I also spent a lot of time in online archives researching these subjects and am a big supporter of the public domain.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: I am an author, editor, and publisher. My most recent work, SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire is an anthology of vampire and slayer stories told from the perspective of those of the African diaspora. As an author, I write weird western and typically thriller, mystery speculative fiction. As a publisher, I publish horror works from marginalized voices as Mocha Memoirs Press.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: Thank you for including me! I was born and raised in Kentucky, but I live in Mississippi now, where I’m an assistant professor of English at Delta State University. My research interests are in American Gothic and supernatural fiction. I’m the author of Spectrality in the Novels of Toni Morrison (2013). I have co-edited three collections of academic essays, one on the many ways ghosts can be used in fiction and film and two on the work of Shirley Jackson. I co-authored with Lisa Kröger Monster, She Wrote: The Women who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction (2019). And I also co-host with Lisa two podcasts related to horror: The Know Fear Cast and The Monster, She Wrote Podcast.

LISA KRÖGER: I’m Lisa Kröger, a writer and producer. I work with the NYX horror collective, which works to promote women in the horror genre space. Our 13 Minutes of Horror film festival is for women writing and directing short horror films; it streamed on Shudder. I’ve always had an interest in horror, but my career began when I got my PhD in English, with a focus in Gothic novels. I was very fortunate to be able to write about horror, first in the academic realm and then in fiction and nonfiction. My book Monster, She Wrote, which won a Locus and a Bram Stoker, is a bit of a love letter to the genre.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: Thanks so much for having me! It’s a pleasure to be able to participate. I’ve published horror short stories and am working on a novel. My fiction usually centers on female characters and has a strong psychological element. I’m interested in how the way we think plays into our decision-making and particularly how our sense of logic can become warped by societal norms—especially those regarding the expectations of women. In my day job, I work as an architectural historian, which involves researching and writing building histories. This often bleeds into my fiction, as I enjoy exploring how the history of a place can impact people years or generations later. I’m currently working on a novel that deals with intergenerational trauma manifesting in a creepy ancestral home.

What draws you to the horror genre? Have you been a fan since childhood, or did you find your love for the genre later on?

GABY TRIANA: I’ve always been a fan of horror, ever since I was four when I read Dr. Seuss’s What Was I Afraid Of. In it, the main character encounters an empty pair of pants hovering in the air in the dark woods, and I loved feeling terrified every time I opened it. From there, I fell into Poe and Stephen King pretty early, explored vampire lore in 3rd grade, and became a fan of Anne Rice in the early 90s. What draws me to horror is how darkness, mysteries of death and the afterlife, sexuality, secrets, love, and fear can all exist in the same plane as part of the same symbiotic relationship.

HYSOP MULERO: I can’t recall a time in which I didn’t love horror. Aside from my initial exposure to the lovely 80’s horror, and my personal favorite Wes Craven’s Freddy Krueger, (who still has the ability to disturb my sleep) the author John Saul was my initiator into the genre. The dread and depth and darkness that his work exposed clutched my heart and stomach since youth and has maintained its grip ever since. There’s something very ethereal about horror in all of its facets that is almost too ingrained into the fabric of life that makes it both easy and permissible, better yet obligatory, for exploration and art.

EVE HARMS: My older brother used to work in a video store, and he introduced me to horror through movies like Evil Dead, Dead Alive, and Troma Films at a young age. I was always a reader but my interest in horror fiction specifically didn’t begin until I stumbled upon The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett. I read this shortly after a very traumatic event in my life and I found the sense of dread that the book gave me comforting. It was the only thing that was able to truly change my consciousness at that time, and though the state it put me in was “unpleasant” it was a safe space for me to go through emotions similar to what I was experiencing at the time.

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ: Oh, I’ve been a fan of horror since I read, “Where the Wild Things Are” when I was kid. Max fascinated me, and as an only child at the time, running away to be “king of the wild things” appealed to me at times. My love for the genre grew as I did, being an 80s kid, slasher horror movies were huge as was Stephen King. It is a love that continues to bloom as I do.

MELANIE R. ANDERSON: I realized I was a fan of horror when I was in my 20s in graduate school at the University of Mississippi, but there was a history behind that epiphany. I had an interest in the supernatural and creepy stories since childhood. I read the Bunnicula series and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark when I was young. I loved reading stories by writers like Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe in school. Reading “The Lottery” in middle school and then The Haunting of Hill House in college made me a Shirley Jackson fan, and I’ve since become a scholar of her work. And although my mom was, and still is, a fan of classic creature features, and we would watch them together, I wasn’t a fan of watching most contemporary horror movies. As a result, I didn’t think of myself as a fan of horror until I met friends in grad school who were, and I realized there are sub-categories of the genre that I enjoy. I’m still more into reading horror than watching it.

LISA KRÖGER: I’ve always been a fan of horror. When I was a child, my grandmother would let me stay up and watch old Vincent Price movies. My favorite was House of Wax. Growing up, I mainly read horror (rather than watching it), especially Christopher Pike and Edgar Allan Poe. I can’t tell you how many times I read The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright when I was a kid. For me, horror has always been an escape—I still find it fun to be scared. Even now, it reminds me of being young and telling ghost stories with friends at a sleepover. More than that, though, horror is also cathartic. The world is a terrifying place, and horror allows for a safe space to explore the things that scare us.

KATHRYN E. MCGEE: My dad had an Edgar Allan Poe book on the shelf at home, and I read and loved all of Poe’s stories and poems as a kid and teenager. Otherwise, I mostly read fantasy, science fiction, and dark thrillers into young adulthood. It wasn’t until I was about 25 and going through a particularly hard time that I picked up Stephen King’s novel, It, and everything changed for me. I hadn’t felt so caught up in a story, not in that way, in years. Reading that book made the world around me disappear entirely and things really clicked into place. I’ve been reading horror and watching horror movies and TV shows intensely since then. Finding the genre has been a gift—more transportive for me than anything else.

LEE MURRAY: A child born in the 60s, I was raised on Pinocchio, Grimm’s Tales, and libraries of other allegoric tales meant to keep children on the straight and narrow, so perhaps there was an inevitability about my recent progression down the rutted road to horror, since I have never been the quiet sort, despite all the conditioning.

What draws me to horror is that the genre provides the perfect vehicle for capturing our basest fears and making them manageable. I don’t just mean our universal instinct to avoid disembowelling by rampaging prehistoric mutant monsters, but also those everyday anxieties, the little things that make us uncomfortable, the things that leave us with a “lingering disquiet”, to borrow Ramsey Campbell’s words. As YA writer Alexander Gordon Smith says, “Something weird happens when you write about your worst fears, even if you’re writing fiction. They stop being these unfathomably, impossibly huge things that hide in the shadowy corners of your mind. They become words, they become concrete—or, at least, paper. They lose some of their power, because when they’re laid down like that then you have the control.” As a nervous piglet sort who shoulders lots of anxieties, horror is the perfect foil to help me curb those fears.

And that’s part one of our Women in Horror Month Roundtable! Join us again next week as we discuss favorite book recommendations and what Women in Horror Month means to us!

Happy reading, and happy Women in Horror Month!

Lucky Fiction: Submission Roundup for March 2022

Welcome back to this month’s Submission Roundup! Plenty of amazing submission calls out there right now, so if you’ve got a story looking for a home, then perhaps one of these markets might be a great fit!

As always, a disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; please direct your questions to their respective editors. And with that, onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Human Monsters
Payment: .08/word
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: March 15th, 2022
What They Want: Dark Matter Magazine and Night Worms are teaming up for this new anthology, featuring stories about human monsters.
Find the details here.

Brigids Gate Press
Payment: .08/word for short stories; $50/flat for drabbles and poems
Length: 500 to 1,500 words for short stories; 100 words for drabbles; up to 350 words for poetry
Deadline: March 15th, 2022
What They Want: Brigids Gate Press is seeking horror fiction and poetry inspired by Medusa.
Find the details here.

Payment: Varies depending on submission type
Length: Varies depending on submission type
Deadline: March 13th, 2022 for BIPOC-only submissions; March 20th, 2022 for general submissions
What They Want: Nightmare is seeking horror nonfiction, poetry, and fiction; the first part of the submission period is open to BIPOC authors only with general submissions opening on March 13th.
Find the details here.

Shredded: A Sports and Fitness Body Horror Anthology
Payment: .03/word
Length: 2,000 to 4,500 words
Deadline: March 31st, 2022
What They Want: Editor Eric Raglin is seeking body horror stories about sports and fitness.
Find the details here.

Picnic in the Graveyard
Payment: .07/word
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: April 1st, 2022
What They Want: Cemetery Gates Media is currently seeking short horror fiction set in cemeteries and burial places.
Find the details here.

Rewired: An Anthology of Neurodiverse Horror
Payment: .03/word
Length: 1,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: April 30th, 2022
What They Want: Ghost Orchid Press is seeking horror stories inspired by neurodiverse experiences.
Find the details here.

Planet Scumm
Payment: .05/word
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: May 2nd, 2022
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of speculative fiction.
Find the details here.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Payment: $120/flat
Length: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: May 15th, 2022
What They Want: This anthology is seeking horror fiction inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
Find the details here.

Halloween Ghost Anthology
Payment: .06/word
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: May 31st, 2022
What They Want: Editor Gaby Triana is currently seeking ghost stories set on or around Halloween.
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!