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.

Member Publication News (April 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 story “Serpents and Toads” is included in Gluttony: An inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires (Seven Deadly Sins Book 6), which was published by Black Hare Press.

This retelling of the fairy tale “Diamonds and Toads” was originally published at Enchanted Conversations.

“Sign here.” Painted a lurid scarlet, the dark-haired woman’s lips spread into a thick smile. She tapped a red fingernail on the paper she pushed in front of me.

“That’s it?” Now that the promise sat in front of me, I was hesitant to take the next step. What if this was like all of the other false miracles I’d tried? But then again, what if it actually worked? What if I could be as thin as the women I envied? “That’s all I have to do? Just sign this paper?”

M. H. Boroson recently completed the screenplay for his award-winning novel The Girl with the Ghost Eyes.

“A fun, fun read. Martial arts and Asian magic set in Old San Francisco make for a fresh take on urban fantasy, a wonderful story that kept me up late to finish.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs

“An impressive first novel set in a beautifully realized world of Daoism and martial arts… One of those books you can’t wait to get back to.” —Lian Hearn, author of the international bestselling Tales of the Otori series

“A brilliant tale of magic, monsters, and kung fu in the San Francisco Chinatown of 1898… This fantastic tale smoothly mixes Hong Kong cinema with urban fantasy, and Li-lin is a splendid protagonist whose cleverness and bravura will leave readers eager for her future adventures.”–Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Travis Heermann is pleased to announce the arrival of Tokyo Monster Mash, his newest novel. A yakuza warlock butchered his family, but that was just the beginning…

When Django Wong discovers the Black Lotus Clan murdered his family, he vows to destroy them, but the Council of Five Elders forbids it.

But then the Black Lotus starts a gang war in Tokyo, wielding terrifying new magical powers. Django must team up with three witches—and a snarky alley cat who’s not really a cat at all—to find the source of the Black Lotus Clan’s power. If they can prove the Black Lotus Clan is behind the plague of soul sucking vampires, the Council might just let him have what his honor demands.

Perfect for fans of Bleach or Fullmetal Alchemist, Tokyo Monster Mash brings you mind-bending magic, femme fatales, savage monsters, martial arts action, and powerful cultivation.

Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem: Murder & Mispronunciations Galore (Mar. 3), A Little Morphine & A Little Monster (Mar. 10), Harbingers & Hags (Mar. 17), Missing & Murdered Moms (Mar. 24), and Flying Under the Radar (Mar. 31).

Angela Sylvaine is excited to announce the release of her debut novella, CHOPPING SPREE, #27 in the Rewind or Die series from Unnerving Books.

Eden Hills, Minnesota is famous for one thing—its ’80s inspired Fashion Mall. When high school junior, Penny, lands a job at one of its trendy stores, she notices her teen coworkers all wear a strange symbol they won’t explain. Suspicious but wanting to belong, she agrees to stay after closing for a party in the closed store. Her fun turns to terror when Penny discovers a mortally wounded boy and learns there is a killer loose in the mall. Soon the teens are running for their lives. Will Penny discover the truth behind the mall cabal and survive to slay another day, or will she fall victim to the galleria of gore?

Member Publication News (March 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 story “The Certainty of Silence” is included in Twisted Anatomy: A Body Horror Anthology.

“The locksmith has examined every piece he’s removed from my form, so I’m not surprised when he opens my blighted voice box with surgical precision. The first notes creep out to tempt my bridegroom. The net is cast. I smile.”

This piece is a Bluebeard/Little Mermaid mash-up written as a protest against domestic violence. Proceeds from this anthology benefit the Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Dakota Brown is pleased to announce the release of The Price of Possession: A Reverse Harem Tale (Pizza Shop Exorcist Book 1).

“Darius was the only guy I couldn’t say no to, the one who dragged me into the world of the occult in the first place. When he shows up and begs me to assist with an exorcism, I reluctantly agree. Before I know it, I’ve got an incubus in the living room, a hellhound marking around my yard, and a demon prince who can’t decide if he wants to kill me or… you know. Normally I wouldn’t work with the supernatural, but we all have a common goal. Prevent the crime syndicate from summoning a demon prince and becoming more powerful than we can hope to handle. If I can keep my cool, it will be a miracle. If I can hold on to my soul it’ll be an even bigger one.”

This book is intended for mature audiences.

J. A. Campbell is a contributor to Crash Philosophy: Third Collision.

From Nerdy Things Publishing, Crash Philosophy collides unusual characters and settings to bring you one-of-a-kind reading experience. If you want to gain the entire set of choices, be sure to grab the First Collision and Second Collision, too!

The third installment in the Crash Philosophy series brings you 32 new stories from 17 authors. You never know what style of storytelling you’ll get, what genre you’ll enter, or what adventure you’ll take on when you choose from the new entries. The world is in your hands, what combinations will you choose?

Shannon Lawrence and her co-host M.B. Partlow added new episodes to the series podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem: The Fights for Civil Rights (Feb. 3), Of Love & Lunacy (Feb. 10), Freaky Florida: Apparitions & Alcoholics (Feb. 17), and Mama Bears Gone Terribly Wrong (Feb. 24).

Several of our members are featured in StokerCon 2021 Souvenir Anthology: The Phantom Denver Edition.

A dying star is a beautiful and petulant thing, lashing out at the great, unfeeling chill of the Universe. Behold, the Devourer of Stars. — “The Devourer” by Josh Viola

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

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

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

Other HWA COS content contributors include Carina Bissett, who interviewed past HWA president Lisa Morton, Hillary Dodge, who wrote about the history of the Colorado chapters including the formation of the Colorado Springs Chapter (HWA COS), and Dean Wyant interviewed Joe R. Lansdale and also composed an essay on the history of Hex Publishers.

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.”