A Bloody Valentine Presents Claire L. Fishback

“The Doll Room” by Claire L. Fishback.

Claire L. Fishback adds to the line-up of featured writers celebrating Women in Horror Month and the second annual Bloody Valentine with a reading of the title story from her short story collection The Doll Room and Other Stories.

Hi! I’m Claire L. Fishback, author of horror and more-er!

I’ve been writing since I was around six years old but started writing horror when I was around eleven. Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books inspired me. I also didn’t really like my 6th grade teacher, so in my daily journal I wrote scary stories to scare her. *evil grin*

I dabble in other genres, too, hence the “more-er” above. Fantasy, a little science fiction, and supernatural suspense to name a few.

In the video above, I’m going to share with you the title story from my second short story collection, The Doll Room.

The stories in The Doll Room were mostly written in 2020 after I suffered a traumatic brain injury. I talk a little more about in the book’s introduction. “The Doll Room” was the first story I wrote after suffering this mild head injury, so I thought it would be a good one to share with you, again, to give you a taste of what to expect in the rest of the book.

All my books are available from online book retailers world-wide in print and eBook formats. I recommend using an independent book seller for print copies, such as IndieBound.org or Bookshop.org to help support small and local book sellers.

This year, I’m working on the sequel to my novel, The Blood of Seven (a finalist for the Colorado Book Award in 2020), due out in the last quarter of 2021. I’m also working on a few shorter pieces to offer as bonus content.

You can find more about Claire L. Fishback at her website: https://clairelfishback.com/.

Sign up at my website above to stay in the loop!

I hope you enjoy the video!

A Bloody Valentine Presents J. A. Campbell

Jada of the Raptors by J. A. Campbell.

J. A. Campbell adds to the celebration of Women in Horror Month and the second annual Bloody Valentine with a reading from her novella, Jada of the Raptors. “This novella is loosely based on one of my favorite books as a child, Julie of the Wolves, combined with my love of dinosaurs and my enjoyment of future dystopian stories, says Campbell. “I chose to read it for my selection this year because I feel it combines hope with escaping a bad situation, something that I think most people can connect with this year. Also, dinosaurs.”

Fleeing forced marriage and subjugation to the man who murdered her husband, Jada escapes into the wilderness – even though she’s ill-prepared to survive on her own. Jada knows she needs help, but refuses to go back to humanity, so she turns to the wilderness’ greatest survivors: a pack of Utahraptors. Genetically engineered, then freed during the war that destroyed civilization, the dinosaurs are her only hope. If they don’t kill her first.

You can buy a copy of Jada of the Raptors HERE.

Campbell writes horror and dark fantasy because it’s what she enjoys reading. In addition to writing her own books, Campbell also cowrites a series with Rebecca McFarland Kyle. “We take the dark fantasy route to explore things like acceptance of self, acceptance of others, and fighting for what is right.”

“I write quite a bit of different genres,” says Campbell. “I have a young adult fantasy series I’m hoping to continue working on this summer, along with another of my dark fantasy books with my coauthor. I also have a couple of short stories I’d like to write.”

In addition to her work as J. A. Campbell, she also writes paranormal romance under a pen name.

You can find more about J. A. Campbell at her website: https://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/.

A Virtual Bloody Valentine

Last year, HWA COS held its first annual event on Valentine’s Day. In 2020, A Bloody Valentine was an evening event celebrating Women in Horror Month at Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It featured an all-star cast of female-identifying creatives, who shared their words with guests both in-person and virtually.

A year later, and a year deep into a global pandemic, we are moving this event to a virtual format. Each week, we’ve been sharing a fresh video recording of a local Colorado horror author reading from their work. In addition, thanks to some very generous women, we are pleased to be able to again offer the entire virtual salon from the 2020 lineup presented at A Bloody Valentine! Click the links below and enjoy readings from: Linda D. Addison, L.C. Barlow, Andrea Blythe, Kate Jonez, Gwendolyn Kiste, Sarah Read, Marge Simon, and Mercedes M. Yardley.

Linda D. Addison is an award-winning author of five collections, including The Place of Broken Things written with Alessandro Manzetti& How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, recipient of the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award, HWA Mentor of the Year and SFPA Grand Master. Addison has published over 360 poems, stories and articles. 

Linda Addison reads “When You Forgive Me” from The Place of Broken Things (2019); “Forever Dead” and “In this Strange Place” from “How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend (2018).

L.C. Barlow is a writer and professor working primarily in the field of speculative fiction.  She has an MA in English from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program.  She has studied with popular writers, including Nancy Holder, Elizabeth Hand, Ted Deppe, James Patrick Kelly, Elizabeth Searle, David Anthony Durham, and Theodora Goss.  Her work has been published in Oak Bend Review, Flash Fiction World, Linguistic Erosion, Flashes in the Dark, Separate Worlds, Every Day Fiction, and Popular Culture Review. 

 Barlow’s fiction has reached over sixty-five thousand readers and garnered praise, including a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Awards, a winner of the Indie Reader Discovery Awards, a winner of the eLit Awards, and IndieReader’s Best Books of 2014.  On Quora, her posts have received over 1.7 million content views. Barlow’s horror trilogy – PivotPerish, and Peak – was picked up in 2018 by California Coldblood Books, an imprint of Rare Bird Books.  The first of the trilogy, Pivot, was released in October of 2019.  Perish was released in October of 2020.  Peak will be released in October of 2021. Barlow lives in Dallas, TX with her two cats, Smaug and Dusty.

L. C. Barlow reads an excerpt from her novel Pivot, the first book in The Jack Harper Trilogy.

Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (2018) a collection of erasure poems created from the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, and coauthor of Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), a collaborative chapbook written with Laura Madeline Wiseman. She is a cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and the Horror Writers Association. Find her online at andreablythe.com or on Twitter and Instagram @AndreaBlythe.

Andrea Blythe reads selections from her book TWELVE (2020).

Stories by Kate Jonez have been nominated three times for the Bram Stoker Award and once for the Shirley Jackson. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Pseudopod, Gamut and Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton.

Kate is also the chief editor at the Bram Stoker Award winning small press Omnium Gatherum which is dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror.

Kate Jonez reads “Carnivores” from her collection Lady Bits.

Gwendolyn Kiste is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust MaidensBoneset & FeathersAnd Her Smile Will Untether the UniversePretty Marys All in a Row, and The Invention of Ghosts. Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vastarien, Tor’s Nightfire, Black Static, The Dark, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, and LampLight, among others. Originally from Ohio, she now resides on an abandoned horse farm outside of Pittsburgh with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts. Find her online at gwendolynkiste.com

Gwendolyn Kiste reads “In the Belly of the Wolf,” which was originally published in Kaleidotrope, and “The Twelve Rules of Etiquette at Miss Firebird’s School for Girls,” which was originally published in Mithila Review.

Sarah Read is a dark fiction writer. Her short stories can be found in various places, including Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year vols 10 and 12. A collection of her short fiction called Out of Water is available from Trepidatio Publishing, as is her debut novel The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, both nominated for the Bram Stoker, This is Horror, and Ladies of Horror Fiction Awards. The Bone Weaver’s Orchard won the Stoker for Superior Achievement in a First Novel and the This Is Horror Award for Novel of the Year. You can find her online on Instagram or Twitter @inkwellmonster.

Sarah Read shares her short story “Still Life with Natalie” from her short story collection Out of Water.

Marge Simon is an award-winning poet/writer. Her works have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, Polu Texni and numerous pro anthologies. She is a multiple Stoker winner and Grand Master Poet of the SF & F Poetry Association. She attends the ICFA annually, and is on the board of the HWA.

Marge Simon reads “The Substance of Belief” from Sweet Poison (2014); “The Castrato’s Parade” and “The Southern Lady” from War: Dark Poems (2018); “When Again I Feel My Hands” from Unearthly Delights (2011); and “Armageddon at the Clinic” from Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet (2007).

Mercedes M. Yardley is a whimsical dark fantasist who wears stilettos, red lipstick, and poisonous flowers in her hair. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, Detritus in Love, and Nameless. She recently won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red and was a Bram Stoker Award nominee for her short story “Loving You Darkly.” Mercedes lives and creates in Las Vegas.

Mercedes M. Yardley reads her short story “Black Mary” from her short story collection Beautiful Sorrows (2017).

A Bloody Valentine Presents Shannon Lawrence

“Blind Date” by Shannon Lawrence.

Shannon Lawrence adds to the line-up of featured writers celebrating Women in Horror Month and the second annual Bloody Valentine with a reading of her Valentine’s/Lupercalia story “Blind Date.” “If you’ve never heard of Lupercalia, I recommend looking it up. Quite the naughty holiday,” says Lawrence.

Readers can find “Blind Date” in the holiday collection Happy Ghoulidays, which features stories ranging from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s, and everything in between. Lawrence also recommend her Yule story “In Flames Reborn” or her sorority power, Christmas story “Deck the Halls with Guts and Madness.” Both are included in Happy Ghoulidays.

When asked why she writes horror, Lawrence says, “I love it, and I take great pleasure in freaking people out. You can ask my younger siblings. Or my children. Or my husband. Just ask anyone, really. After a lifetime of reading horror, it’s only natural I’d write in that genre.

“As a pre-teen, it was all ghosts all the time, devouring books on the ghosts of D.C. and the Civil War (I lived in Maryland at the time). As a teen, it was all about true crime and trying to understand how abominations like serial killers came to be (I still can’t say I understand them, but maybe I’m a little closer). Mixed in there somewhere was a fascination with cryptids and mythological creatures. After having survived both a serial killer’s attempt to get my mother while I was in the car and several kidnapping attempts, there’s something cathartic to seeing what could have happened and knowing that instead I survived, both because my mom was savvy and because I was. It’s all downhill on the adrenaline train after it happens in real life.”

In 2020, Lawrence released Happy Ghoulidays and Bruised Souls & Other Torments. In 2021, she is planning to finish her horror comedy novel about killer squirrels, as well as a couple nonfiction books she currently working on. In addition, publishers are looking at her Myth Stalker series, so fingers crossed! In addition, readers can sign up for the newsletter on her website: www.thewarriormuse.com.

You can find more about Shannon Lawrence at her website: http://thewarriormuse.com/.

A few of her stories can also be found online including “Dearest” and “The Rejection.”

Member Publication News (Feb. 2021)

Welcome to the HWA COS chapter’s monthly round-up of member news. We invite you to scroll through our publication announcements and see what our members are up to this month: new releases, book signings, readings, conventions, and more!

Dakota Brown adds a new Audible book to her Magic Mountain series with the publication of Demon’s Touch: A Reverse Harem Tale.

“The only thing more dangerous than being a mage is other people knowing that you have supernatural abilities. And here I am, untrained, untried, and ripe for the picking…. Trapped between parents, powers, and passion, I’m doing my best to survive, keep my loved ones safe, oh, and I still have to pass exams.” (This book is intended for mature audiences.)

Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow add a few new episodes to the series podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem: Narcosatanicos & Sink Holes, Oh My! (Jan. 6), Terrorizing the Seas & Skies (Jan. 13), Modern Missteps & Moldering Mansions (Jan. 20), and This Episode Has a High Body Count (Jan. 27).

Angela Sylvaine’s story “The Beautiful People” is featured in Dark Moon Digest Issue #42.

A small town faces a peculiar seaside problem; two teens discover an unexpected connection; a woman attempts to understand people better; a person comes to terms with their true identity; an office worker finds his own face on a milk carton; a daughter confronts a strange woman haunting her father’s grave; rival embalmers go against each other in an unusual competition; a man fails to avoid late-night construction; and an island becomes isolated from the rest of civilization.

A Bloody Valentine Presents Angela Sylvaine

Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine.

Angela Sylvaine starts off our celebration of Women in Horror Month and the second annual Bloody Valentine with a reading from her forthcoming novella, Chopping Spree. This novella is an homage to 1980s slashers and mall culture, and it is scheduled to be released by Unnerving Books, as part of their Rewind or Die series, in early April 2021.

“I’ve always loved spooky things and describe myself as a cheerful goth,” says Sylvaine. “I remember remember reading ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson in about 5th gray and being blown away. From there, I voraciously read Christopher Pike before moving on to Stephen King. When I first began writing, I tried many genre’s, but my plots always took a dark turn. I ultimately realized horror was where I belonged as a writer, as well as a reader.”

Chopping Spree is only one of Sylvaine’s first publications of 2021. Readers can also look forward to reading short story “The Bride,” which will be coming out in a Women of Horror anthology from Kandisha Press (publication date TBD). On top of that, she’s hard at work on a post-apocalyptic death roller-derby novella and her first young adult horror novel.

Chopping Spree can be pre-ordered and purchased for Kindle and paperback through Amazon.com. There isn’t a preorder link yet but stay tuned for one to be available in the near future.

You can find more about Angela Sylvaine at her website: http://angelasylvaine.com/.

A few of her stories can also be found online including “Be Mine” and “The Beautiful People.”

Celebrate WIHM with a Bloody Valentine!

Last year, Colorado HWA members Carina Bissett, Hillary Dodge, and Shannon Lawrence threw a Valentine’s Day bash to celebrate Women in Horror Month (WIHM). A Bloody Valentine drew a great crowd, and we gave away more than thirty-five signed books by award-winning authors and editors nationwide as door prizes.

In addition to recorded readings by women authors nationwide, the event featured Colorado authors including J. A. Campbell, Hillary Dodge, Angie Hodapp, DeAnna Knippling, Shannon Lawrence, P. L. McMillan, and Angela Sylvaine. It was a smashing success!

This year is a little different. To adjust to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we decided to switch to a virtual celebration. Each week, we will be featuring a member of the Colorado Springs Chapter of the Horror Writers Association. We hope you’ll tune in and enjoy this month’s selections of readings for the second annual Bloody Valentine!


February 3  Angela Sylvaine    

February 10 Shannon Lawrence

February 17  J. A. Campbell

February 24  Claire L. Fishback

The pre-recorded videos will be released on YouTube following the above schedule. Next year, we plan on returning to an in-person event. Until then, we hope you have A Bloody Valentine! –HWA COS co-coordinators Carina Bissett & Hillary Dodge

February 2021: Submission Calls

Each month, we strive to compile submission calls of interest. We are not affiliated with any of these publications, and all inquiries should be directed to the publication’s representatives.

It’s important to get your stories out in the world, and we believe you should be paid for your work.

Ready! Set! Write!

Title: parABnormal
Payment: $25 flat rate for fiction/ $6 for poetry
Length: Short fiction from 3,000 to 6,000 words & poetry from 1 to 15 lines
Deadline: March 31, 2021
About: Editor H. David Blalock is seeking stories and poetry about the paranormal. Potential subjects include ghosts, spectres, haunts, various whisperers, and so forth. It also includes shapeshifters and creatures from various folklores. NOTE: This market does not consider creatures like vampires, werewolves, and zombies as paranormal.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: Midnight from Beyond the Stars
Payment: .06/ word
Length: 2,500 to 6,000 words
Deadline: April 30, 2021
About: The editors at Silver Shamrock Publishing are looking for original alien horror stories in the vein of The Thing/Alien/The Blob/Critters/Night of the Creeps.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: The Jewish Book of Horror
Payment: $30 for the first 3,000 words, then a 1/2 cent per word up to 7,500 words + print contributor’s copy
Length: 3,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: April 30, 2021
About: The Denver Horror Collective is seeking horror fiction focusing on the culture, history, and folklore of the Jewish people. This anthology is scheduled to be published on the first night of Hannukah, 2021. No multiple submissions.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: A Pile of Bodies, A Pile of Heads (Let the Bodies Hit the Floor Series Volumes 1&2)
Payment: $40 flat rate + contributor copy
Length: 5,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: rolling
About: Sinister Smile Press is seeking submissions that fit the theme of slasher, stalker, serial killer crime fiction and must be written in the horror genre. Bo supernatural elements. No graphic sexual or rape scenes. NOTE: Volume 2 submissions must feature a female antagonist.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: The Dark
Payment: .06/ word
Length: 2,000 to 6,000
Deadline: rolling
About: This market accepts horror and dark fantasy. No multiple submissions. No graphic, violent horror.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: Boneyard Soup Magazine 
Payment: .05/ word
Length: 2,000 to 6,000 words
Deadline: rolling
About: This market accepts horror and dark fantasy. The editors are open to almost everything from traditional Gothic to 80s pulp horror and ghost stories to horror comedy. No extreme violence or overt sexual themes.
For more information, click this LINK.

Title: Three-Lobed Burning Eye
Payment: $100 flat rate for short fiction/ $30 for flash fiction
Length: 1,001 to 7,500 words for short fiction/ under 1,000 for flash fiction
Deadline: rolling
What They Want: This market publishes speculative fiction. No simultaneous or multiple submissions.
For more information, click this LINK.

Consumed: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo

COS HWA Active member Angela Sylvaine is honored to have her story “Starved” included in CONSUMED: TALES INSPIRED BY THE WENDIGO. Angela has been fascinated with the folklore of the Wendigo since first reading Pet Sematary and learning of the creature that inspired Stephen King. Conceptually, the Wendigo represents an infectious and corrosive drive toward what one desires. Angela explores this concept in ”Starved,” which follows the lonely Tessa as she hungers for both food and love. 

The Denver Horror Collective summarizes the collection as follows: Hunger that changes you…consumes you…turning you into a nightmare version of what you once were. From desolate snowy mountains and apocalyptic wastelands to New York’s sex clubs and virtual encounters, Denver Horror Collective brings you, dear reader, visions of horror inspired by the Wendigo.

Join Headliners Steve Rasnic Tem (winner of the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, and British Fantasy Awards) and Dana Fredsti (author of the Plague Town trilogy), along with Colorado dark scribes P.L. McMillan and Christophe Maso, will read excerpts from their CONSUMED stories set to chilling video and unnerving musical backgrounds on Sunday, January 17 at 6 p.m. (MT). Free tickets are available through EVENTBRITE.

Colorado-based CONSUMED contributors J.T. Evans, Ian Neligh, Angela Sylvaine, K.D. Webster and Joy Yehle, as well as Ross Baxter, R. Michael Burns, Elana Gomel, Michael Gore, and Amanda Headlee, will reveal what inspired them to write their stories and answer some fun—and disturbing—questions about consumption…and being consumed.

Member Publication News (Jan. 2021)

Welcome to the HWA COS chapter’s monthly round-up of member news. We invite you to scroll through our publication announcements and see what our members are up to this month: new releases, book signings, readings, conventions, and more!

Carina Bissett is thrilled to announce the appearance of her story “An Embrace of Poisonous Intent” in the anthology Bitter Distillations: An Anthology of Poisonous Tales, published by Egaeus Press.

Bitter Distillations is a collection of disquieting, disorientating and otherwise uncategorizable tales for which poison provides the inspiration. This hardcover edition is limited to 340 copies.

In December, Carina also saw the publication of her linked vignettes created for a shared world in The Lost Citadel Roleplaying Game.

The city is called Redoubt, and as far as anyone knows, it is the last.

Dakota Brown has a new release in her Ocean Enchantment series with the publication of Siren’s Song: A Reverse Harem Tale.

My guys saved me from myself, but we still have a whole boat load of problems we have to deal with. We’ve got a kraken swimming around attacking boats. We have mages called in by the government to deal with the Kraken hot on our tails and the magical black market has us in their sights after we liberated a kelpie child from their cages. To top that off, while my guys got their siren tails right away, I still can’t shift into mine. (This book is intended for mature audiences.)

Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow add a few new episodes to the series podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem: Gunslingers & Shots in the Dark (December 23) and Arsenic & Old Money (December 30).

Gary Robbe is happy to announce that his piece “Poem of the Riverbank” is included in the anthology Todd Sullivan Presents: The Vampire Connoisseur.

These sixteen tales of night creature chaos were collected and edited by Todd Sullivan, the author of the Vampire Series of Extreme Horror.

Angela Sylvaine is pleased to share that her flash piece “Midnight Snack” is included in the section Cemetery Chillers in the anthology Campfire Macabre, published by Cemetery Gates Media.

50+ original flash horror tales organized by five themes: Spook Houses, Slashers, Witchcraft, Within the Woods, and Cemetery Chillers. A book perfect for time spent around the campfire or on a long car trip! Brand new pieces from award-winning storytellers and established authors.

In other news, Angela’s story “Starved” is featured in the anthology Consumed: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo.

Hunger that changes you…consumes you…turning you into a nightmare version of what you once were. From desolate snowy mountains and apocalyptic wastelands to New York’s sex clubs and virtual encounters, Denver Horror Collective brings you, dear reader, visions of horror inspired by the Wendigo.

Josh Viola’sWhen the Trumpet Sounds” was published in Birdy Magazine. This story is a series of vignettes showcasing the lives of five very different people as the Rapture begins.