The Strange Year That Was: 2022 Award Eligibility Post

So here we are once again at the end of a writing year. That means one thing: it’s time for the annual Award Eligibility Post! I always point out how strange these things are to put together, but hey, it’s also nice to do an inventory of the year’s publications. If nothing else, it reminds me that I was, in fact, busy over the last twelve months.

Let’s start with my biggest release of this year: Reluctant Immortals! There have been so many positive things to happen with this novel. First off, it’s been published in two editions: the American version, which came out through Saga Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, as well as the UK edition, which came out through Titan Books. The novel’s been featured in Harper’s Bazaar and in not one but two featured horror articles on Goodreads. It’s also been named as one of Esquire’s Best Horror Books of 2022, and it’s received lovely reviews in Cemetery Dance, Rue Morgue, Feminist Book Club, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and many more.

So thank you to everyone who’s picked up a copy of Reluctant Immortals! You have no idea how much it means to me!

Moving on to short fiction, it was a sort of funny year, mainly because for the first eight months of 2022, I had absolutely no new short stories published. Then since September, I’ve had eight stories published. Proof positive that the writing world is nothing if not unpredictable. So here they are in all their horror glory.

A Scavenger Hunt When the Veil Is Thin” (Literally Dead: Tales of Halloween Hauntings, Alienhead Entertainment, September 2022)
A woman returns to her old hometown on a rite-of-passage dare, only to uncover a ghostly presence that unravels everything she knows about her town and about herself. This is a truly delightful and festive anthology, and it was such an amazing experience working with editor Gaby Triana.

The Peculiar Seclusion of Molly McMarshall” (Isolation: The Horror Anthology, Titan Books, September 2022)
Molly McMarshall goes into her house one day and doesn’t come back out again. The whole neighborhood becomes obsessed with what happened to her, and soon, they’ll stop at nothing to find out, even if it means tearing the world apart in the process. Editor Dan Coxon put together an incredible anthology with this one, and I’m so honored to be part of it. Ginger Nuts of Horror called my story “one of the most chilling and frankly upsetting short stories I have ever read.”

Seven Myths They Tell You About the Town Beneath the Lake” (That Which Cannot Be Undone: An Ohio Horror Anthology, Cracked Skull Press, October 2022)
A nameless narrator grows up visiting a local lake and hearing legends of the flooded town that exists beneath the waters. She also sees a restless ghost from the town, one that never stops calling out to her. As she grows older and more restless herself, she must decide if she’s going to heed the ghost’s call. It was so much fun returning to Ohio in my fiction, and it was of course wonderful to reunite with Jess Landry, the editor who worked on my debut collection as well as The Rust Maidens.

Things We Need for the Homecoming Seance” (Dark Murmurs: A Compendium of Curiosities, Silent House Press, October 2022)
A jaunty to-do list from a group of magically-inclined teenage girls quickly turns sinister as their true intentions for homecoming—and the reasons for their trauma—become clear. Another stellar table of contents, one that I’m proud to be part of.

Her Skin a Grim Canvas” (Stories of the Eye, Weirdpunk Books, October 2022)
An adrift young woman finds herself the muse of a celebrated designer, only to realize that her own flesh is the price she’ll pay for stardom. A fairy tale set in the world of high fashion, this one takes inspiration from the late, great Angela Carter. Working with editors Sam Richard and Joe Koch was a blast, and the table of contents is out of this world.

Last Tour Into the Hungering Moonlight” (Into the Forest, Black Spot Books, November 2022)
Families keep moving into a strange, yet seemingly perfect neighborhood. But as the whispers from something in the forest grow louder, the housewives on the street find themselves drawn to the possibility of another darker and more magical life. Inspired by the folklore of Baba Yaga, this all-female anthology has been getting rave reviews, so it’s a pleasure to be included in it.

To the Progeny Forsaken” (Looming Low, Volume 2, Dim Shores, November 2022)
An aging rock star is forced to take care of his strange teenage daughter who may or may not be plotting the end of the world. Think Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere meets the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft. Dim Shores has long been a major purveyor of weird fiction in the publishing industry, and it was great to work with them on this anthology.

A Housewife’s Eldritch Guide to Hosting the Perfect Dinner Party” (Tales from Between, December 2022)
A quiet housewife does her best to put together an ideal dinner party, even though she doesn’t know anyone there, including her own husband. But as the evening wears on, she realizes they know her all too well—and they know exactly what they want to do to her. My final short story published this year, it was so much fun being part of this issue of the new Tales from Between, especially with such a great group of authors.

In addition to my short fiction, many of my articles and essays made their way into the world in 2022. This is particularly exciting since last year, I mentioned how I wanted to write more nonfiction. On that front, it’s definitely been mission accomplished: I’ve had twelve nonfiction articles published since January with one more on the horizon later this month. Here are a few of the highlights.

In Defense of Wendy, Barbra, and the Traumatized Women of Horror” (Tor Nightfire, January 2022)
An exploration of The Shining‘s Wendy and Night of the Living Dead‘s Barbra and how we’ve unfairly maligned them over the years. I’m extremely proud of this article, as it charts my own evolving opinion of the way we depict female characters in horror and the real world ramifications of that depiction.

The Devil’s Just Sitting There Laughing: The Uncanny American Landscapes of Terrence Malick’s Badlands and Days of Heaven” (Vastarien, Volume 5, Issue 1, June 2022)
A deep dive into the existential and gothic horror of Terrence Malick’s first two films. Needless to say, it was an absolute honor to work with Jon Padgett of Grimscribe Press again. This essay was also recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I adore Vastarien and recommend that everyone who’s a fan of horror and weird fiction pick up a copy of literally any issue if you haven’t already.

The Gothic Horror of a Post-Roe America” (Literary Hub, August 2022)
So I’m just going to declare this very loudly, because it’s one of my favorite accomplishments of the year: I now have a byline in Lit Hub. Seriously. That’s real. For years, I’ve been reading the essays at Lit Hub, and I can’t believe my work is now on the site too. The essay itself is a painful piece, dealing with the fallout of losing Roe and how the women of gothic horror have a thing or two to teach us about surviving oppressive men.

Something Old, Something Frightening and New: How Horror Retellings Help Us Reclaim Our Lost Narratives” (The Lineup, July 2022)
A discussion of how retellings can help unearth new narratives and why that’s so important for marginalized creators. If nothing else, please read this article and pick up two of the novels I mention: Hooked by A.C. Wise and Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai. I can’t recommend them enough.

So that’s my year of writing. It’s certainly been a busy one. Looking ahead, I have lots of fiction and nonfiction planned for 2023, so here’s to hoping all my big forthcoming goals come to fruition!

Happy reading, and happy end of 2022!