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

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!

Shannon Lawrence is pleased to announce the release of her holiday-themed short fiction collection Happy Ghoulidays. (Book Launch Nov. 9-19.)

Family time can lead to murder and mayhem, especially during the holidays. A turkey with a tale to tell, elves under attack, sorority sisters putting on a killer party, a woman’s desperation to save her family, and a stranger ringing in the New Year. These and other tales of woe await you beneath the mistletoe.

Be careful who you offer a kiss. It may be your last.

Marie Whittaker is thrilled to announce the release of Betsy and the Time Ship, the third book in the Shadowgate Tales.

Sam isn’t sure what to make of Betsy, the woman from another time, far ahead of his own. But he needs her and her time ship Mabeline to complete his mission. The Order of the Terminers faces unknown terrors, back in 1872, at Shadowgate Stonehenge. To complete their mission, they must exterminate a family of witches. Will Sam be able to complete the task?

Marie Whittaker also published There’s a New Kid, Lola Hopscotch!, book three in The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch—a book series dedicated to helping children fight and overcome bullying.

A favorite wintertime read-out-loud story for kids! Lola Hopscotch makes a new friend at school, and helps the new kid feel comfortable with others in this exciting new book in The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch picture book series for children.

Carina Bissett’s humorous horror story “The Stages of Monster Grief: A Guide for Middle-Aged Vampires” was recently released in Coffin Blossoms. an anthology published by Jolly Horror Press in October 2020. She read this piece at the inaugural Bloody Valentine event in Colorado Springs.

Coffin Blossoms. A reminder that hope does spring eternal. In death itself there is often beauty, life, and on rare occasions even humor. The twenty-four stories in this anthology straddle the line between humor and horror in unique ways.

Claire L. Fishback is pleased to announce that her second short story collection, The Doll Room and Other Stories was published by Dark Doorways Press in October 2020.

A room with many small doors, a dream hitchhiker, furniture that moves by itself. A middle-aged housewife who desperately wants to be noticed. A child who collects macabre items. In these pages you’ll find strange encounters, dolls with secrets, and creepy children. Haunted ears. A long-lost daughter come home. Nightmares come true.

Angela Sylvaine’s short story “Here We Come A Caroling” was released in October in Gothic Blue Book VI: A Krampus Carol.

A collection of short horror stories and poems resurrect the spirit of the Gothic Blue Book. Gothic Blue Books were short Gothic fictions popular in the 18th and 19th century. Burial Day Books presents its sixth Gothic Blue Book, A Krampus Carol — a celebration of folklore and myth around Christmas, Yule, the cold winter months and Santa Claus’ opposite, Krampus.

In other news, Angela Sylvaine‘s story “Antifreeze and Sweet Peas” was included in the highly-anticipated anthology Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror, edited by Sarah Tantlinger.

M. H. Boroson released The Girl with No Face, the second novel in The Daoshi Chronicles. The adventures of Li-lin, a Daoist priestess with the unique ability to see the spirit world, continue in the thrilling follow-up to the critically-acclaimed historical urban fantasy The Girl with Ghost Eyes. The novel won First Prize in the Colorado Authors League Award, Science Fiction and Fantasy Category.

With hard historical realism and meticulously researched depictions of Chinese monsters and magic that have never been written about in the English language, The Girl with No Face draws from the action-packed cinema of Hong Kong to create a compelling and unforgettable tale of historical fantasy and Chinese lore.

Sam Knight’s story “Shattered Piece of Heaven” was recently released in the anthology Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 4: Women Running from Houses.

The theme is Gothic– the horror of Gothic romance. Throughout the mid-century, paperback Gothic romance books dominated the shelves, always featuring a woman running away from a house. Gothic romances tended to tell stories of women coming into conflict with old families, old houses and old traditions. So we’ve asked a bevy of best-selling writers to celebrate the movement with their own horrific takes on gothic. Run from the house with us!

In other news, Sam Knight‘s story “Leaving Dry Gulch on the Midnight Train” was published in the anthology Six Guns Straight From Hell 3: Horror & Dark Fantasy From the Weird Weird West, edited by David R. Riley and J. A. Campbell.

Saddle up for a wild ride through the weird, weird west. As you ride our trails you’ll want to keep one eye on the path ahead and one over your shoulder cause there’s a bushwhacking monster creeping up behind you.

Rick Duffy is thrilled to announce his new novel, The Sigil Masters, a young adult fantasy adventure. The novel won the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold.

Strange magics, a secret history, and new friends await him on his desperate quest to unravel the mystery of his curse. If he’s caught, his mind will be ripped open and corrected, changing how he thinks and feels and remembers. But he’s hunted by a power-hungry madman who believes the curse holds the key to ushering in a new paradise—or plunging the lands into darkness and war.

Fleeing the very shadows of death, forced to choose between fate and friendship, can the ill-fated boy find a light to save them all?

In other news, Rick Duffy‘s short story, “Castles in the Sky” was recently released in WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Fearless or feral? Liberating or life-threatening? The wild side of life takes many forms. It seeps through the cracks of our world in the form of stray cats, tenacious weeds, oppressive relationships, and haunting memories. These fourteen stories by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers explore the wildness that lives inside all of us—and what happens when we let it out.

It Came from the Multiplex: 80s Midnight Chillers, edited by Joshua Viola and published by Hex Publishers, contains 14 cinema-inspired stories by such notable writers as Angie Hodapp, Kevin J. Anderson, Stephen Graham Jones, Warren Hammond, and Steve Rasnic Tem.

“The universally well-paced, imaginative selections sizzle with energy, delivering an intoxicating blend of spine-tingling chills and 80s nostalgia.”


In other news, the Hex Publishers’ anthology Psi-Wars: Classified Cases of Psychic Phenomena, also edited by Joshua Viola, has received rave reviews. You can read an excerpt from the story “Cradle to Grave” by Angie Hodapp at

From Atlantis to the Third Reich and beyond, these thirteen original tales of cerebral science fiction and horror explore the evils that abound when humanity wields extraordinary minds as weapons, whether to wage war or prevent it. Steeped in psychic savagery, telekinetic combat, and extrasensory espionage, PSI-WARS imagines corrupt governments and daring operatives, gods and soldiers and hackers and spies. The authors don’t flinch when they peer around the darkest, most violent corners of the human psyche. Will you?

Dakota Brown recently released Siren’s Catch: A Reverse Harem Tale (Ocean Enchantment Book 1).  

Sirens destroyed everything I loved. My family, our offshore fishing business, and my life. I swore revenge and made it my mission to take everything they had taken from me, killing them one by one until there was nothing left but blood in the water. Cue Poseidon, god of the sea, livid that I’d killed off the protectors of his domain.

This book is intended for mature audiences. 18+ readers only! It contains language and sexual situations. This is mermaid themed medium burn reverse harem where the girl gets all the guys. Why Choose?

Writing for a Themed Anthology

In 2019, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) put out a submission call for a then unnamed anthology focusing on the theme WILD. The editors, Natasha Watts and Rachel Craft, accepted all genres—realistic or speculative, contemporary or historical, literary or commercial. The only caveat was that the stories needed to be short fiction (1,500-6,500 words), and writers had to be members of RMFW. The editors received 78 submissions, and eventually narrowed it down, eventually settling on the final stories by how they complemented each other. Interestingly enough, three of the 14 stories selected for the anthology WILD: Uncivilized Tales from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers were written by HWA members: Carina Bissett, Rick Duffy, and Angela Sylvaine. With the current open submission window for the HWA members-only anthology Other Fears – An Anthology of Diverse Terrors, I thought it might be interesting to see how different authors approached the challenge of writing to a specific theme.


I always have good intentions when I see submission calls of interest, but I am an agonizingly slow writer. By the time I fully flesh out an idea, it is usually months, if not years, from the original call that inspired the concept in the first place. In this case, inspiration struck more than a year before the call for WILD was even issued. In August 2018, a massive hail storm wrecked havoc on Colorado Springs and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Softball-sized hail destroyed several structures, hundreds of parked cars, and killed a few of the exhibits’ animals. Luckily, the giraffes were spared serious damage. However, this had me thinking of the purpose of zoos and the fact that giraffes had just quietly slipped on Critically Endangered list. The end result was the story “An Authentic Experience”—a story about a zookeeper and the animals he cares for after Earth had been destroyed by an alien civilization. In all honesty, I just wanted the giraffes to have a chance to fight back, and I worked on the story with the image of a giraffe modified with teeth sharp enough to sever an obnoxious kid’s arm. I never thought this odd sci-fi/horror short would find a home. But then I saw the themed call for “stories of rebellions, escapes, and shattered boundaries,” and decided to submit.  

This is not the first time I’ve written a story that ended up being picked up for a themed anthology. My first professional story was a piece I’d written to a fairy tale prompt in 2015. I never thought this gender-bent, eco-fic, mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter” would see the light of day, but a year later it ended up being the sole story selected from slush for the powerhouse anthology Hath No Fury. The submission called for strong female protagonists defying fantasy stereotypes. I figured “A Seed Planted” was close enough, and it turned out I was right. This piece has since been translated into Japanese and was featured this summer in Night Land Quarterly, Volume 21: “The Fantasy of Sky Realms.”

A similar thing happened with my second professional sale. Pantheon Magazine put out a call seeking short pieces based on the theme of transformation for the anthology Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. I had grand ideas of writing a modern horror story based on the Arachne myth, but simply ran out of time. Instead, I submitted “Burning Bright,” a weird piece of flash about tygers, ladies, and the cycle of violence. Not only was it accepted for the anthology, but it recently received a mention by Ellen Datlow in the opening pages of upcoming release of The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Twelve.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that it’s best to write the stories that call to me, regardless of whether or not I think they might be marketable. I polish those pieces and hoard them like a dragon safekeeping gems. And then, when a submission call comes along that brushes up against the theme or mood in one of those stories, I send it out. No agonizing creative stress. No last minute panic. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s been a winning strategy for me so far.

CARINA BISSETT is a writer, poet, and educator working primarily in the fields of dark fiction and fabulism. Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have been published in multiple journals and anthologies. Her work has been nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize and the Sundress Publications Best of the Net. Links to Carina’s work can be found at


When the call for submissions came for Wild, RMFW used words like fierce, out-of-control, feral and rebellious. Any genre allowed. I’d been working on a cross-genre short story (scifi/horror/disco – I’m not kidding), with robots and explosions and a dash of gore. That sounded like a fit, so I sent it in.

At the same time, I had been stretching my boundaries with a very different short, written from a female PoV in present-tense, both of which I’d never done. It did not contain explosions, and none of the characters get so much as a paper cut. But it did deal with boundaries and personal rebellion and growth. So I sent it in along with the other (Wild allowed multiple submissions.)

To my surprise, they accepted the second over the first. They felt it was a better fit. That’s the thing about anthologies: you can never be sure what a fit is.

My scifi/horror/disco may be the best thing since eggplant parmigiana (or the worst, if you don’t like eggplant) but the editors need to select and arrange a series of stories that don’t just work as individual shorts, but work and flow together. You could send in a fantastic horror short, but if the editors have already gotten two others with the same basic theme, they may reject yours simply because they need more variety.

The moral of the story is if you think you have a story that you can kind of, even if just a little, justify as matching an anthology’s specs, but you’re not sure, considering sending it anyway. If it’s rejected, don’t take it as a stake to the heart. It may have been nudged out because of the overall framework of the anthology and not because of anything about your writing or imagination.

My story is “Castles in the Sky”: A young woman leaves home for the city to follow her dreams—literally. I think its placement gives the anthology a nice contrast from physical wildness to a more abstract take. Since then, I’ve focused on publishing my first novel, The Sigil Masters, a young adult fantasy adventure, and am working on the second book in that series. Maybe anthologies also help bring visibility to your other works and I should submit to more of them. If not, they are good practice in writing different genres and dealing with different markets. In any case, I will always make room for shorts.

RICK DUFFY is a writer of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. His novel, The Sigil Masters, won the 2018 RMFW Gold in the young adult category. He lives in a peaceful Denver suburb opposite the magnificent Rocky Mountains. Connect with Rick at


The theme for the RMFW anthology was an appealing one- Wild. So much can be done with this concept, and I decided to write a new story specifically for the call. I really enjoy writing new work based on story calls and find it’s a great way to get inspiration. A mixed genre anthology can be challenging for a horror writer, and I took the strategy of drawing the reader into a story that may not seem like horror at first. In other words, trick them. I am a big fan of young adult horror, and “Pruned” follows a teen girl growing into her powers over nature. When she loses control and harms someone she loves, she pledges to deny her true self and reject her powers. The addition of a domineering uncle and raging hormones make controlling herself harder than she’d hoped.

Since submitting to this anthology, I’ve continued to focus on short fiction. 2020 has been a challenging year for many writers, and early on in the pandemic I decided to stop working on novel length fiction. The effort was causing me great stress and just wasn’t much fun. This allowed me to be more productive on the short story front, which has been very gratifying. I have several stories upcoming, including “Here We Come A-Caroling” in Gothic Blue Book: A Krampus Carol, “Starved” in Consumed: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo, and “Midnight Snack” in Campfire Macabre. I’m also very proud to have just been upgraded to active status in the HWA. This was a big personal goal of mine, and I’m excited to be able to vote on the Bram Stoker Awards for the first time.

ANGELA SYLVAINE is a self-described cheerful goth that still believes in monsters and always checks under the bed. She holds degrees in psychology and philosophy. Her work has appeared in multiple publications and anthologies, including Dark Moon Digest, Places We Fear to Tread, and Not All Monsters. A North Dakota girl transplanted to Colorado, she lives with her sweetheart and four creepy cats on the front range of the Rockies. Connect with Angela at

Listen to five of the authors (including Carina Bissett and Angela Sylvaine) read from their stories at WILD: Uncivilized Tales – Five Readings.