Member Publication News (October 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, Hillary Dodge, and Joshua Viola are pleased to announce that Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the America is available for pre-order (ebook). Hardcover copies will also be available. Hex PublishersShadow Atlas is scheduled for release November 30, 2021. Cover and interior art by Aaron Lovett.

With Fiction and Poetry by: Mario Acevedo • Colleen Anderson • Kay Chronister • Sara Cleto • David Davies • Sean Eads • Anastasia Garcia • Owl Goingback • Maxwell I. Gold • Warren Hammond • Angie Hodapp • Jimena Jurado • Starlene Justice • Gwendolyn Kiste • Gerri Leen • Josh Malerman • Juliana Spink Mills • Tiffany Morris • Lee Murray • Annie Neugebauer • Gerardo Horacio Porcayo • Cameron E. Quinn • Sarah Read • Kathryn Reilly • Julia Rios • Betty Rocksteady • Marge Simon • Angela Yuriko Smith • Christina Sng • Jeanne C. Stein • Tim Waggoner • Brittany Warman • Christa Wojciechowski • Stephanie M. Wytovich • Mercedes M. Yardley • Jane Yolen • E. Lily Yu • Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

Dakota Brown recently released The Price of Magic: A Reverse Harem Tale (Book 3 in the Pizza Shop Exorcist series). This book is intended for mature audiences.

Demons aren’t supposed to be allies, let alone lovers, but here I am. Know that expression to hell and back? Been there, done that, just to save one of them. Sure, it was terrifying, but it beats meeting the in-laws. Aaron, my half-angel boyfriend, is just dying to take me home to dear old mom and dad, but I’m worried about walking into their home trailing brimstone.
Meanwhile, in the struggle to avert the apocalypse, Lucifer himself has taken an interest in me and graces my pizza parlor to give me a warning. I’m in danger from his rival, Mammon, who is trying to take over hell, but that’s old hat for me. Exorcism doesn’t make you the friend of demons, but I never expected to end up on the angelic hit list, too. Good times.
When my men find out, they’re never going to let me out of their sight. I’ll have to talk my way out of their protective bubble. With my hellhound and nightstallion to protect me, I should be safe, and the pizza parlor is warded against heaven and hell. Surely, I can go to work alone.
Or maybe not.

J.A. Campbell’s flash story “Bound at the Crossroads” was recently released in Dark Dispatch Issue #2: Deadly Love.  

This anthology features deadly romances that cross-examine the nature and meaning of love.

One story examines emotions through an extraterrestrial’s eyes as an alien meets humans for the first time. The darkest aspects of humanity are revealed when the fantasy of their love is threatened. In contrast, we witness a man haunted by the memory of his flame, yearning to connect with her—even if it’s only a delusion. We also discover a woman who is prepared to die over and over again for an immature infatuation, but is her lover devoted enough to follow?

Let your mind wander to the dark places and share your horror love stories about relationships gone wrong.

*Includes trigger warnings.

Sam Knight’s short story “The Darkest Thoughts” can now be read online in Love Letters to Poe. The story (Issue 1: A Toast to Edgar Allan Poe) is also available as a free podcast or in print form at Amazon.

Raise a glass in a toast to Edgar Allan Poe with this jam-packed gothic anthology, including 12 themed issues containing 48 short stories and 7 poems from 55 masterful weavers of gothic fiction.

Take a tour through Poe’s Baltimore home, experience “The Tell-Tale Heart” through the old man’s eyes, go corporate at Raven Corp., witness “The Fall of the House of Usher” from the perspective of a hidden Usher sibling, and much more.

Over at the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem, Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series: Crazy is as Crazy Does with guest John H. Mudgett (September 29) and Mostly Mayhem (October 6).

Angela Sylvaine is pleased to announce the publication of her short story “Blood is Thicker,” about sisters who experiment with the occult to save their failing art gallery, in What One Wouldn’t Do:  An Anthology on the Lengths One Might Go To.

What One Wouldn’t Do for…what?

Power? Safety? Love? Revenge?

Here’s to the lengths one might go to for everything.

With dark fiction from J.A.W. McCarthy, Avra Margariti, Marisca Pichette, Stephanie Ellis, Christina Wilder, Donna Lynch, Katie Young, Scott J. Moses, Angela Sylvaine, tom reed, Cheri Kamei, Shane Douglas Keene, J.V. Gachs, Tim McGregor, Emma E. Murray, Nick Younker, Jennifer Crow, Joanna Koch, Lex Vranick, Laurel Hightower, Eric Raglin, Eric LaRocca, Daniel Barnett, Bob Johnson, Simone le Roux, Hailey Piper, Bryson Richard, Jena Brown, and Christi Nogle.

Special Event

Join Carina Bissett and Shannon Lawrence (along with Clay McLeod Chapman and Sumiko Saulson) in a discussion about horror and all things spooky at the Pikes Peak Writers (PPW) October event Horror Authors Panel to DIE For.

Special October Event: Horror Authors Panel to DIE For

Saturday (Oct. 16, 2021 — 12:30 to 3:30 pm) Via Zoom

A horror panel to die for! Join PPW in a conversation with Carina Bissett, Clay McLeod Chapman, Sumiko Saulson, and Shannon Lawrence. Topics include insight on the impact of the pandemic on the horror genre, the ways writers can balance suspense and plot; horror archetypes and tropes (for better or worse). Bring your questions and a notebook. This panel will be offered online via Zoom. The meeting window opens at 12:30 pm and the panel begins at 1 pm. There will be a Q&A session at the end. Tickets are $20.

In other news, Shannon Lawrence was awarded the 2021 Horror Writers Association Scholarship. A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her three solo horror short story collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other AbominationsBruised Souls & Other Torments, and Happy Ghoulidays are available now. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com.

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

Today we’re featuring a craft that is close to my heart: cross-stitch! Before my soul blackened and turned brittle, I stitched many cutesy flowers and frolicking animals. These days my needlework tends toward the dark and creepy. If repeatedly stabbing things with a tiny needle sounds appealing, this column is for you. Today we welcome Sonora Taylor to inspire us to stitch.

Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

My name is Sonora Taylor. I write both novels and short stories. Some of my works include Little Paranoias: Stories and Seeing Things. My latest short story collection, Someone to Share My Nightmares, will be out October 19, 2021. You can learn more about me at sonorawrites.com. You can also find me on Twitter (@sonorawrites), Instagram (@sonorataylor), and Facebook (/sonorawrites).

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today?

I love doing cross-stitch! I’ve created several pieces over the years and the attached piece took literal years to complete. It’s from a book my husband bought me called Twisted Stitches. Right now I’m working on a trio of poisonous flowers from the same book.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

If you have no experience with cross-stitch before, start with either a stamped pattern (where the design is printed on the embroidery cloth and stitched over) or a very simple counted pattern (counted means the embroidery cloth is blank and you follow a pattern in a book or on a piece of paper by counting where the stitches are). Take breaks because it can hurt your arm and shoulder to stitch for too long. And check Etsy for lots of fun patterns from independent artists!

Thank you so much for sharing your work with us, Sonora! I have also been getting back into cross-stitch lately and have found some amazing low-cost patterns available on Etsy that can be purchased and downloaded in a snap. I’ve also recently discovered black cross-stitch cloth, and I am in love with the look of white thread stitched on this dark background. Here is my latest work in progress, which will ultimately be a tribute to Wednesday Addams (thank you to WitchyCraftStitch on Etsy for this lovely pattern). Stay tuned to “Creepy Craft Corner” for the finished product!

Thank you so much for joining us, Sonora, and thank you to all of you for reading. Until next month, keep it crafty.

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams (abramstheauthor.com).

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for “Creepy Craft Corner.” I will post here in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions.

Member Publication News (September 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’s poem “Fairy Tale Prohibition” is included in NonBinary Review Issue #25: Prohibition. This piece explores cautionary themes in familiar fairy tales and the consequences that come from breaking the rules.

In other news, Carina’s poem “Radiant” has been nominated for Best of the Net. This piece is a tribute to the radium girls, female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials (1917-1926). Several of these women joined forces to file a lawsuit against the factory. Their eventual win paved the way for labor rights in America and the institution of industrial safety standards. “Radiant” is included in NonBinary Review Issue # 24: Industrial Revolution.

Sam Knight’s story “The Darkest Thoughts” was recently released in Love Letters to Poe: Vol. 1, Issue 12 (Don’t Look Behind You), with the podcast version releasing at the end of the month, and will also be included in Love Letters to Poe, Volume 1: A Toast to Edgar Allan Poe, set to be released on September 20th.

Over at the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem, Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series: Shadows, Demons, & Redheads (September 1), For the Sake of the Children (September 8), Houses From Hell with guest Patrick Hester (September 15), and Cult of Ignorance (September 22).

Join Claire L. Fishback at The Filling Station Taphouse (September 21 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm) to celebrate the release of The Gorging of Souls, Claire’s sequel to her debut The Blood of Seven, drops August 19, and Bring your copy to the event for signing, or buy them onsite!

Eight and a half months after Detective Ann Logan and seven-year-old Maggie Hart prevented Yaldabaoth from unleashing terror upon the world, all is quiet in Harmony, Colorado. But when Teresa Hart escapes from Mountain View Mental Hospital, Maggie’s perpetual nightmares intensify, and the mysterious marks that link Maggie and Ann burn to life, signaling the presence of a new evil—or the return of an old one. The ancient war between the servants of darkness and the servants of light is far from over. Once again Maggie and Ann, bound together by destiny, hold the space between the delicate balance of life as we know it and eternal horror. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

Several of our members will be at MileHiCon 53 (October 1-3). Come join us!

Carina Bissett: Tales of the Fae (reading); Who Should get a Villain Origin Story Next?; Not So Happily After

Travis Heermann: How I Write; Weird Westerns (reading); The Reading Game; Blind Slush Panel; So You Want to Do a Kickstarter?; Kaffeeklatsch

Sam Knight: Flash Fiction Chopped; Stop Fridging Me!; Blind Slush Panel; Galaxy Spanning SF (reading)

Shannon Lawrence: Revisiting Childhood Favorites; SF&F & Horror Tropes We Want to Disappear, The Art of Short Story Writing; Utopian Futures (reading)

Creepy Craft Corner

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome again to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

If you’re like me, you experimented with today’s craft as a child in a genuine attempt to communicate with the dead. We all know those store bought articles are unlikely to work in the calling of demons and ghosts, but this homemade version might well finally open that long sought portal to hell. Today we welcome Lindy Ryan, who is going to talk with us about Spirit Boards!

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner, Lindy. 

Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote:

Having grown up cutting my teeth on series like Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? before discovering my mother’s Hitchcock collection, it’s fair to say horror has always been my first love. I am terribly obsessed with spooky history, monsters, and all-things hauntings, so most of my writing tends to incorporate these three elements. I’ve just finished collaborating as the lead author on a book-to-film horror franchise with a top veteran Hollywood director and an award-winning screenwriter as well as a couple of very cool monster projects currently being shopped by my agent, and am now getting to work on a new body horror novel. When I’m not writing, I’m editing—currently I’m working on Black Spot Book’s inaugural women-in-horror poetry collection, Under Her Skin, which will release in April 2022 and features poems over eighty poems from an incredible array of women—including several Stoker-winning poets, new voices (many in the HWA community), and even a poet laureate! 

www.glitterandgravedust.com (Don’t be alarmed: I also write sweet books and films.)

Twitter @lindyryanwrites

Facebook @lindyryanwrites

Instagram @lindyryanwrites

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjjHpq0lGpVfd4meBMxzXbw

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

I’m not a terribly crafty, but I enjoy celebrating Halloween all year round, and that lends to a certain level of time spent wandering the aisle of hobby stores, trying to figure out what to do with random spooky craft supplies. The craft I’m sharing is a homemade spirit board I made for a divination-themed party a few years ago. I don’t make these to sell, but they do tend to be an item that gets a lot of “how to” inquiries. Luckily, they’re pretty simple to make—it just takes a little time, some patience, and a willingness to burn a finger (or four).

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

Making the board is fairly simple, but it is a little labor intensive and requires some special tools. Here’s what you need:

  • A solid piece of board, which you can find at any craft store. I chose 8.5×11.
  • A spirit board stencil, to help with etching on the alphabet. (This is the one I bought, or you can also make your own with a sheet of stencil stock and a fixed razor but frankly that sounds a little too dangerous for my taste.)
  • Painters tape, to hold your stencil in place.
  • A pencil, or fine tip Sharpie, to trace out your stencil.
  • A wood burning tool.
  • A small pot of wood stain. (Stain only; you don’t want the tackiness of a poly/stain two-in-one.)
  • Sand paper, finishing grain.
  • Polyurethane (I prefer spray).
  • A planchette of choice.
  • Spirits of the dearly departed and/or a demonic entity, willing to communicate.

Instructions:

  • Make sure your wood is clean and dry. No need to sand beforehand.
  • Tape your stencil in place, then trace/hand draw on your lettering, etc.
  • Starting at the top right, work your way across and down to burn out the letters, etc. This takes time. I do mine kind of rough and intentionally uneven just to give the thing a more authentic vibe, but you do you.
  • Once you’ve burned everything, you can sand down as desired just to rough out any edges.
  • Put on one to two coats of stain, wiping off excess and sanding lightly between.
  • When you’re satisfied with your color, apply one to two coats of poly to achieve your desired level of shine (note: sliding planchettes across the board is easier the slicker it is). Sand as desired to finish.
  • Place on candle lit table and commence communion with the dead.

Thank you so much for joining us, Lindy! I can’t wait to try this craft for myself. Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner!

By Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Creepy Craft Corner, which will feature HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. We hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new! This column will appear exclusively in the HWA Newsletter for one month before being reposted on the HWA Colorado Springs Blog.

Special thanks to Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com for the creation of our beautiful new logo.

Today we welcome Ben Monroe, who is going to talk with us about Monster Models

Welcome to Creepy Craft Corner, Ben. Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

Hi! I’ve been working on a new novel over the past two years and getting it ready to shop around soon. I’ve also written a few short stories in the same time, many of which have already been published, and a few more are coming out in the near future. Most of my stories feature normal people in reasonably normal places, who suddenly have an encounter with the unnatural, and we get to watch as they deal with it. Sometimes things just go slightly off-kilter for them. But more often, everything goes completely off the rails. 

For example, two stories I’ve got coming out soon: “the Devil in the Details” will be in Attack From the 80s, and is about a college student in the 80s who falls afoul of devil worshippers in the Hollywood hills. Then there’s “Darkness Peering” in the forthcoming Were Tales, which is about a woman trying to escape her abusive boyfriend, and finding an ally in a strange shopkeeper. For anyone interested, I keep a running list of my publications at benmonroe.com/fiction, and am pretty active on twitter.com/_BenMonroe_

What craft or creation have you decided to share with us today?

Monster models! 

So, I used to build these things when I was a kid, and had a lot of fun. When COVID hit, and we were all stuck at home, I started thinking about some kind of hobby to pick up, especially one that didn’t involve sitting in front of a screen. I was watching the 70s version of Salem’s Lot one night, and I got to the part where the kid’s up in his room painting an old Aurora Model Co. kit of the Mummy. It reminded me of how much fun I had with those kits as a kid, and I started looking around to see if anything like that was still available. Turns out, they are! In fact, addition to reproductions of the original Aurora kits, there’s a thriving community of companies making new monster models these days. 

What tips or instructions do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves? 

There are three things I think are important, really:

Sourcing

Some of these kits are old, and can be expensive on the secondary market. But if you look around, and throw in the right keywords, you can find them pretty cheap. Let’s say you start with “Frankenstein model kit” as a keyword search on eBay. You’ll get a ton of options. And the original kits are crazy expensive. Throw in extra keywords like “Recast” or “reissue” and you can narrow the search. Also, while collectors want pristine boxes, if you just want the kit to build, you can drive the price down by finding a crunched box or a kit out of the box.

eBay has been my go-to for finding these kits. But the CultTVMan (culttvmanshop.com) and Monsters In Motion (monstersinmotion.com) websites are also great sources for monsters and other neat Scifi kits. Also check out Escape Hatch Hobbies (escapehatchhobbies.com) who make resin replacement and customizing parts.

Building

The basic construction supplies are pretty simple, and easy to find. You’ll need a pair of clippers or an x-acto-type “hobby knife” to remove the parts from the sprues, and a tube of “plastic model cement” (note, plastic cement only works on styrene plastic models; if you’re building a vinyl kit, use superglue). If you want to paint your model, I find acrylic craft and hobby paints are just fine. You can get all this stuff at a place like Michael’s or Amazon.

A quick tip: I tend to keep my kits only partially built before painting. Sometimes it’s easier to paint the pieces if they’re not completely assembled (like getting the back of Dracula done before attaching the cape, or finishing the base before attaching the figure).

Painting and Finishing

Painting plastic models and miniatures is a whole topic in itself, but here are some basics.

Definitely prime your kit before painting. I use cheap hardware store spray paint for this. Use a flat black paint if the kit’s going to be darkly-colored (EG: Wolfman fur, Dracula’s dark clothing) or flat gray for a lighter color (EG: the Mummy’s wrappings). Primer helps the paint stick to the plastic.

For the paints, I use hobby acrylics. I use a combination of cheap craft paints (“Americana,” or “Apple Barrel” which you can find at Michael’s or other crafting stores) and specialized hobby paints (“the Army Painter” or “Vallejo”). The craft paints I use for large areas, and the hobby paints for small details. Simply, this is because the hobby paints have a finer texture, so they don’t blot out tiny things like eyeballs, fangs, buttons, etc.

And that’s the basics. It’s a fun hobby, and can eat up a few evenings (remember what Norman Bates said, though: “A hobby’s supposed to pass the time, not fill it”.). I find that a single model can take about an hour a day for a few days (pausing to let glue cure, paint dry, etc.).

If you want to learn more, I’d recommend doing some searching for tutorials on Youtube or the greater internet. There are innumerable modeling enthusiasts sharing their knowledge online. 

These are just the basics, of course, but hopefully enough to get people inspired and started. I hope at the very least I’ve piqued people’s interest enough to give it a shot. If anyone does decide to build one of these models, let me know how it goes (and shoot me a line if you need any tips)! 

Thanks for joining us today, Ben! 

Until next month, keep it crafty!

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who still believes in monsters. Her debut novella, Chopping Spree, is available now. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Places We Fear to Tread and Not All Monsters. You can find her online angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Note: Due to an overwhelming response from talented creators, I am not currently accepting new submissions for Creepy Craft Corner. I will post here in the HWA newsletter and on Twitter when I reopen to submissions. 

Member Publication News (July 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 pleased to announce her return to poetry with the publication of “Radiant,” which came out in Nonbinary Review #24 Industrial Revolution. Carina’s research on the radium girls has been mostly cut from her novel-in-progress, so she’s especially pleased to share these women’s story in this issue published by Zoetic Press.

In other news, Carina’s story “A Seed Planted” was issued as a reprint in The Society of Misfit Stories published by Bards & Sages.

Dakota Brown has a new dark fantasy novella in her line-up in her Reverse Harem series. Rose Amongst the Sagebrush was originally published in the anthology Cupid in Love.

Austin, Cassidy, and John Nash are half brothers and mustang shifters working for Harris Abney as his ranch hands. With secrets to keep, and their heritage to protect, they try to keep to themselves. Despite that, they find themselves head over heels for the same woman. Will they be able to answer their hearts and keep their secrets safe?

Fleeing an unwanted and dangerous suitor, Rose Abney heads west from her comfortable city life to spend time on her uncle’s cattle ranch in the shadow of the southern Colorado mountains. What she finds is far more than she bargained for, but will love be enough to protect her when her past chases after her?

Claire L. Fishback is accepting pre-orders for The Gorging of Souls, the second novel in the Origin Codex series.  

 Eight and a half months after Detective Ann Logan and seven-year-old Maggie Hart prevented Yaldabaoth from unleashing terror upon the world, all is quiet in Harmony, Colorado. But when Teresa Hart escapes from Mountain View Mental Hospital, Maggie’s perpetual nightmares intensify, and the mysterious marks that link Maggie and Ann burn to life, signaling the presence of a new evil—or the return of an old one. The ancient war between the servants of darkness and the servants of light is far from over. Once again Maggie and Ann, bound together by destiny, hold the space between the delicate balance of life as we know it and eternal horror. The fate of humanity hangs in the balance.

On the filthy tattered sofa in the abandoned funeral home at the edge of Harmony, something evil has pushed its way into the world. And it is hungry.

Travis Heermann‘s story “Pagliacci’s Joke” can be read in Unmasked: Tales of Risk and Revelation, the newest anthology published by HWA member Kevin J. Anderson at WordFire Press.

Pull back the mask to reveal 21 tales from seasoned and award-winning authors, of magical masks, gas masks, death masks, superheroes, secret identities, disguised robots, alien symbionts, a Napoleonic thief, a swindling demon—even a hidden clown.
Who will take the risk?

Explore the masks we wear, the mysteries they conceal, and the price we pay when they’re stripped away. Join us in our unmasquerade as we revel in—revelation!

Sam Knight’s story “Whoever Writes Monsters” is one of the 23 tales included in the anthology Monsters, Movies, and Mayhem, which just won the 2021 Colorado Book Award. This anthology was published by HWA member Kevin J. Anderson at WordFire Press. Congratulations!

Sometimes you go to the movies. And sometimes, the movies–and their monsters–come to you. At any moment, without notice, monsters once relegated to the screen become a reality. Aliens and demons, dragons and ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies, and seemingly ordinary people who are just plain evil.

Join award-winning authors Jonathan Maberry, Fran Wilde, David Gerrold, Rick Wilber and others for 23 all-new tales of haunted theaters, video gods, formidable demons, alien pizza, and delirious actors. Each story takes you to the silver screen with monstrous results.

Over at the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem, Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series: Witches & What Happened (June 2), Circling the Truth (June 9), Flies, Lies, & Sweet Scams (June 16), Alabama Slammers with guest Laura Hayden (June 23), and Shining a Light (June 30).

Angela Sylvaines story “Cyclone Sisters’ Traveling Circus” was included in Welcome to the Funhouse, an anthology of carnival horror released July 1st. This story is a reprint and originally appeared in Dark Moon Digest.

Welcome to the Funhouse is the fourth anthology from Blood Rites Horror and the first edited by Kelly Brocklehurst and Jamie Stewart. With twelve grisly stories of coming-of-age terror, carnival cruelty and fairground frights, this collection brings together the best and most exciting talents in the horror community.

Joshua Viola is pleased to announce the publication of “The Disciple of Many Faces” in Birdy, Colorado’s premiere arts, comedy, and culture magazine.

“Let there be darkness,” the disciple said. He pierced the wretch’s eyes, and it was good.

Marie Whittaker includes her take on Strong Female Leads with her story “TR.8C.” This story is part of a powerhouse line-up featured in the anthology We Dare: No Man’s Land, edited by Jamie Ibson and Chris Kennedy.

Whether it’s changing an engine on the outside of a spaceship’s hull or chasing SimNACs through the jungle, these heroines have only one goal in mind—to win at all costs! From defending asteroid bases to searching giant space stations, these women get the job done!

What makes female leads great? Does it matter—these women are incredible! Be warned though—they may be referred to as the “fairer” sex, but don’t cross these ladies, or you’re gonna get what you have coming!

Member Publication News (June 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 pleased to announce that her story “Twice in the Telling” is included in the fairy tale mash-up anthology Upon a Twice Time, published by Air and Nothingness Press.

They say I killed my sister, that I pulled her over the railing into the swollen river. They say my sister struggled up until the very end. They say I crushed her bones with my strong brown arms, scalped the shining hair from her skull. Some claim I’m an ogress, a kelpie, a nokken, that I’m no sister at all.

Dakota Brown released The Price of Exorcism: A Reverse Harem Tale (Pizza Shop Exorcist Book 2). This book is intended for mature audiences.

I was an exorcist, one of the best. I thought I’d accidentally banished Sabian back to Hell, along with the demonic prince, Ezra, who’d been possessing me at the time. Turns out, the enemy snatched my incubus away from me as leverage in the upcoming war. Mal, my vampire boyfriend, and I try to summon both Sabian and the demon prince, failing at every turn. When we’re at our wits’ end, Prince Ezra shows up in person with an offer I can’t refuse: help him with a small task and he’ll take me to Hell to rescue my incubus. Terrifying? Sure, but what isn’t these days? *This book is intended for mature audiences.

Hillary Dodge takes on the alphabet with her story “N Is for Needlepoint,” which was published in ABC’s of Terror, Volume 3 by D&T Publishing.

A painting that watches you as you walk by. A doll that isn’t quite the way you left it. A music box that continues to play a haunting tune. Inside these pages are 26 stories, from A-Z, about the things that people left behind. Or maybe they left a little piece of themselves behind, as well.

She also contributed writing advice in Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and other Self-editing Tips by Angela Yuriko Smith  and Lee Murray.

Travis Heermann continues his work in the Shinjuku Shadows universe with the publication of his novelette “Heart Magic and Cardboard People,” which was included in the anthology Street Magic, edited by Lyn Worthen.

Heermann is also currently running a fundraiser for his debut film Demon for Hire. For more details, check out the blog post From Author to Screenwriter to Filmmaker.

Over at the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem, Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series: D is for Dangerous  (May 19) and Mommy Issues & Monsters (May 26).

Joshua Viola and co-writer Keith Ferrell are pleased to announce the publication of “Flashpoints” in Birdy, Colorado’s premiere arts, comedy, and culture magazine.

Gothic Horror: A Quick Overview

by Sam Knight

Gothic is a big idea. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. Wait. Sorry. Those were Douglas Adams’s words, talking about Space. But calling Gothic a genre is kind of the same thing. And that means it can be kind of hard to grasp. So, don’t sweat it if you don’t. People argue over what it is—and isn’t. I don’t want to argue, so I will just tell you what I think it is, and you can use that as fodder to build your idea of what it is or isn’t.

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I think of, when I think of Gothic, is The House. I don’t mean that to be a title of a story or a movie, I mean it to be a Major Character in a story that fits my idea of gothic. The building, or house, or estate, or village, or city used as a setting for gothic stories is almost always brought to life as nearly a character in its own right—sometimes literally. But it doesn’t have to be. That’s just what I think of. Probably because my first real exposure was House on Haunted Hill (1959), starring Vincent Price.

Instead of The House, it could easily have been something else that makes me think of Gothic. In fact, as I’ve grown as a storyteller, I’ve realized it should have been something else.

The idea, of what Gothic is, is more complicated and harder to define than you might think. Having little to do with the “goths” of my younger years, it is much, much different than people painting their fingernails black, having pale skin, wearing black clothes, and trying to act like they creepily don’t give a crap about anything not considered “dark.”

But they got those ideas from Gothic. That’s why they are (were?) called goths.

Gothic is as much a feeling as it is anything else, which is why it lends itself so well into horror, but that is also why it can be hard to pin down. The truth is, depending upon how you define the Horror genre, I’m not sure you can have a Gothic story without horror elements. In fact, the Wikipedia page implies Gothic Fiction is synonymous with Gothic Horror. Personally, again, I feel that depends upon how you define Horror. I’ll let you decide that for yourself.  The thing is, there are many elements of Gothic stories that are easily recognizable as Gothic, but then, oddly, you can leave almost all of them out and still manage to have a Gothic story.

To elaborate on that, I’d like to toss around some elements often seen, but that probably can be left out. But how do we figure out what those are? Well, let’s look at the origins of the Gothic Genre.

First, the name. Where does that come from? I am not going to claim anything to be for sure, as I am neither a historian nor an expert (see suggested reading below, regarding The Castle of Otranto), but it seems to come from Gothic architecture. Why? Well, I can’t say for sure, but I suspect because it is overwhelming and fits the feeling I mentioned earlier. I doubt anyone ever saw Gothic architecture and felt overwhelmed with love and contentment. That makes those old castles, monasteries, churches, and such to be the perfect settings for the kinds of stories that created the Gothic genre.

And what kinds of stories were those? Well, depending upon how you research it, Gothic started out as a form of Dark Romanticism (which, again, like Gothic Fiction and Gothic Horror, is often considered to be Gothic, and then argued it is not). As that origin fits well into my ideas, I haven’t tried to disprove it. Basically the idea that Gothic stemmed from was Romanticism was too…well… romantic, I guess. (Remember to consider the definition of romantic to not be “love” so much as appreciation for beauty, intellect, accomplishment, etc.) So, terrible things were added to it. Things like horror or terror. Anguish and torment. Guilt and atonement. The romantic ideals of Good Things were turned upon their heads, and Bad Things trounced upon them, spoiling their happy-go-lucky romance stories and making them…Dark Romanticism.

And it went from there.

Like anything, this idea grew beyond its origins and became its own thing. By doing so, it gained new tropes, new ideas, new elements that, as it moved beyond Dark Romanticism, became recognized as part of the Gothic genre. A genre often considered darker than Dark Romanticism. Elements like ghosts, monsters, and supernatural things that go bump in the dark became ghosts, monsters, and supernatural things that go bump in the dark to ruin you and everything you love. And worse, human things that came bumping for you in the dark were never rescuers or savior, and if they were…God have mercy upon their souls for what was to become of them.

Many credit Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus as being the first Science Fiction novel, others say she created the entire Horror genre with it. I can’t attest to either of those, but nearly everyone agrees her novel was Gothic. All in all, things kept getting added to the Gothic genre until some of those things became their own genres as well. Like Lovecraftian Horror.

Or, to get quite specific, how about, Women Running from Houses. I recently (2020) participated in an anthology based upon this genre. (Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 4: Women Running from Houses). It was based upon a flurry of Gothic novels in the 1960’s and 70’s with cover art all following the formula of…women running from houses. Of course, being the kind of person I am, I had to subvert that idea, and I gave them a story about a woman in a wheelchair. Sorry not sorry.

With all of that in mind, let’s consider why Gothic is so hard to pin down as a genre. It started out as anti-Romanticism, often became an introspection of the dark side of what it means to be human, created not only Science Fiction but the modern Horror genre as well, and influenced nearly all ensuing forms of fiction writing. Then, somehow, probably because it consists of generally scary/creepy stories, it has often come to be considered a sub-genre of Horror.

So, if it is somehow both progenitor and offspring of Horror (fittingly creepy, don’t you think?), then what the heck is it?

It’s okay if you don’t know. Most people don’t. Definitions often don’t match up. Gothic ends up being an “I know it when I see it” kind of thing.

So here are some commonly accepted elements of the genre:

  • Intimidating/menacing/scary setting. This could be the architecture, like the mansion, the castle, the ruins, the graveyard, or it could be the caves hidden in the cliffs, or anything really. Sometimes it’s a whole town. (Think Derry in Stephen King’s novels.)
  • Unknown/sinister/terrible history (of the land, a building, or characters, etc.). Usually, it is some form of a hidden history, slowly revealed in a traumatic or terrifying way.
  • Supernatural happenstance. Bad omens. Bad dreams. Things that go bump in the night. Just generally creepy, unexplainable things. Even if they are only in the character’s mind.
  • A general overall feeling of ominous foreboding. Foreshadowing dropped into the text to let the reader know Bad Things are going to happen. (Even if they aren’t! This could all be in the character’s mind.)
  • Woman running from the house. Not really, but you get the idea. The helpless/defenseless/innocent person caught up in it all. They may or may not be the protagonist. If they are, they are often also an anti-hero. In fact, the main character is often an anti-hero.
  • The Bad Guy. Might be supernatural, might be human. Might be Dad, might be an ancestor who died in 1237AD, might be the gardener. Might be The House. (Might only be in the character’s mind.)
  • Romance of some sort, no matter how tenuous. Can just be friendship or imagined. Mostly it needs to be there because the helpless/defenseless/innocent person needs to have some kind of hope that can eventually be ripped away from them just to make things even worse.

You may have noticed that some, or all, of those things can be elements of stories that are not necessarily of the Gothic genre. Even from this point, you can add and/or subtract quite a few elements and still have what people will consider a Gothic story. That definitely to the confusion about what the Gothic genre is.

Personally, I think there is one thing still missing from the list. It is the thing I mentioned earlier, when I said that, as I’ve grown as a storyteller, I’ve realized it should have been something other than The House that I thought of when I thought of Gothic.

Strangely, I’ve never seen it on any other lists of things that comprise Gothic stories. I’m not saying others haven’t noticed it, just saying I’ve never seen, or heard, anyone else list it. So, with that in mind, feel free to disagree with me. Maybe I’m wrong.

To me, the one element you have to leave in, and lean into, in order to make sure your story is Gothic, is the terrible constraints put upon the main character by their beliefs and societal obligations. Their inability to overcome religious, family, and/or societal expectation and obligations and the like, are what keeps them mired in the terrible situation they find themselves in. Those are the reasons that something an ancestor did 400 years ago is still so terrible and can still ruin the present day. Those are the reasons why actually running from the house and never looking back is not an option, and if it were, it’s not a solution. Those are the reasons why they can’t just bitch-slap the bad guy and yell, “Boo-ya!” Those are the shackles that hold the characters down, make them oppressed, make them subservient and slave to their situation, and prevent them from prevailing.

Keeping that in mind, you may start to see why the Wikipedia page implies Gothic Fiction is synonymous with Gothic Horror. Can you have that kind of a situation and not have horror?

Well, again, I will leave that up to you.

I think a good rule of thumb is that if the character doesn’t know/understand what’s going on, doesn’t know who or what their antagonist is, and isn’t sure if they’ve gone insane, it’s probably Gothic. And then all you need to do is find a way to make them even darker, even more horrific, more helpless, hopeless, and inescapable, and you’ll be on your way to a Gothic Horror story.

Suggested reading:

 Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, of course. Don’t settle for a movie version. Even the rare faithful versions don’t live up to it if you want to understand why this is Gothic and what Gothic is.

The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. I haven’t read it, but everyone credits it as being the first Gothic novel (though elements of the genre are much older), so I kind of had to recommend it. It is also considered by many to be the first Horror novel. It was originally released as a “found” novel, supposedly written in the 1500’s. When it became popular, Horace Walpole finally took credit and the second edition was re-titled The Castle of Otranto, A Gothic Story. This may be a good indicator of the origin of the term Gothic, in relation to the genre.

Edgar Allan Poe. Any of them. Pick one at random. There is a reason he is considered American Gothic writer. If you can’t pick just one, try The Fall of the House of Usher.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is a reason the Horror Writers Association call their awards the Bram Stoker Awards®

There are tons of others, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, but those are where I would start, if I wanted to understand the real, psychological meanings and expectations behind what comprises Gothic Horror.

The Colorado Springs Chapter is currently working on a Glossary of horror sub-genres. Currently there are live entries on Gothic Horror, Ghosts, Humorous Horror, Occult Horror, and Weird Western. Keep an eye on our page as we continue to add to the offerings. And if you have a suggestion for a sub-genre we might have overlooked, feel free to drop us a line.

Member Publication News (May 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!

Wild: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers edited by Rachel Delaney Craft and Natasha Watts (RMFW Press) is a finalist in the category of anthology for the Colorado Book Awards. This anthology includes stories by three members of the Colorado Springs Chapter of HWA: Carina Bissett, Rick Duffy, and Angela Sylvaine.

Read more about these authors’ creative process in the blog post Writing for a Themed Anthology. An excerpt of Rick Duffy‘s story “Castles in the Sky” can also be read at The Colorado Sun in the feature article “’Wild: Uncivilized Tales’ collected stories from more than a dozen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.”

Travis Heermann’s story “The Avenger” was published in StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology: The Phantom Denver Edition.

A suburban man lives through endless millennia through his strange dream-connection to an eons-old horse deity, only to discover the deity is not what he thought it was. — “The Avenger” by Travis Heermann

Heermann is also on the lineup of authors reading at StokerCon 2021, and he is currently running a fundraiser for his debut film Demon for Hire. For more details, check out the blog post From Author to Screenwriter to Filmmaker.

Angie Hodapp’s story “Collateral Damage” was published at Birdy Magazine online in conjunction with the magazine’s interview with John Palisano and Joshua Viola about StokerCon 2021. “Collateral Damage” is also included StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology: The Phantom Denver Edition.

When drug dealer Marcy lands a real job—thanks to her probation officer—at a kiosk inside Denver International Airport, she discovers one particular souvenir has the power to kill. — “Collateral Damage” by Angie Hodapp

Hodapp will be accepting pitches by appointment at StokerCon 2021 for the Nelson Literary Agency.

Sam Knight’s story “World by the Horn” can be found in anthology Particular Passages. When a woman’s long life comes to an end, she finds herself reunited with a make-believe friend from her childhood who has never forgotten his promise to her. This anthology also features Marie Whittaker’s creative nonfiction essay “Folly,” a stream-of-consciousness reflection from the point-of-view of a child.

Knight is also on the reading line-up at StokerCon 2020, and his story “The Curse of the Dreamcatcher” is included in StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology: The Phantom Denver Edition.

Standing watch over Denver International Airport, the giant Blue Mustang locally known as Blucifer acts as a dreamcatcher, helping people forget their troubles as they journey out into the world. But what happens to those captured dreams, those nightmare troubles? What if they were whispered back…into your ear? — “The Curse of the Dreamcatcher” by Sam Knight

Shannon Lawrence is pleased to announce the inclusion of her short story “Watched” in I Is for Internet (A to Z of Horror Book 9). I is for Internet, the ninth book in an epic series of twenty-six horror anthologies. In this book you will find a collection of thirteen unsettling tales from some of the most imaginative independent horror writers on the scene today. Each story takes a new look at the potential horrors of the online world, from stalkers to cyber-demons, artificial intelligence to predators. I is for Internet will plug you straight into the mainframe and have you desperate to pull the plug.

Over at the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem, Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series: Death Finds us All  (Apr. 7), Murder & Maple Syrup (Apr. 14), Banana Sandwich: Chicken Coops & Vampires (Apr. 21), and Of Towers & Typhoid (Apr. 28).

We are also pleased to feature new releases and information for HWA’s Denver Chapter!

Maria Abrams is thrilled to announce the release of her first novella She Who Rules the Dead. Henry has received a message: he needs to sacrifice five people to the demon that’s been talking to him in his nightmares. He already has four, and number five, Claire, is currently bound in the back of his van. Too bad Claire isn’t exactly human.

Jeamus Wilkes discusses his work with The Horror Writers Association as Co-Chairperson/Denver, his writing, and the upcoming StokerCon in Denver (via ZOOM this year) at the podcast Burial Plot, Episode 1.