Horror Writers Association 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Dennis Etchison and Thomas F. Monteleone are the Horror Writers Association’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award winners.

Etchison, a former President of HWA, said “It’s a great honor to be recognized by my peers.” Monteleone responded, “I am humbled and honored to receive such recognition.”

Dennis Etchison

Etchison is the author of 12 novels and 7 collections, and has edited 9 anthologies. He won the World Fantasy Award three times, for his short story “The Dark Country” (1982) and for the anthologies MetaHorror (1993) and The Museum of Horrors (2002). He has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award four times. He has won the British Fantasy Award three times for his short fiction “The Dark Country,” “The Olympic Runner” (1987) and “The Dog Park” (1994).

Thomas F. Monteleone in the 1990s.

Thomas F. Monteleone has written over 24 novels, more than 100 short stories, and has edited the Borderlands anthologies with his wife Elizabeth Monteleone. Their Borderlands Press won the HWA Specialty Press Award in 2016.

His non-fiction column “The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association (MAFIA),” featured over the decades in Knights, Horrorstruck, The Horror Show, Mystery Scene, Cemetery Dance, Gaunlet, and Dancing with the Dark, and the award citation says it “has earned him a reputation of honesty and bluntness unsurpassed.”

He is the winner of four Bram Stoker Awards for the novelette “Looking for Mr. Flip” (1996), his collected columns The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association (2004), the anthology Borderlands 5 (2004), and his fiction collection Fearful Symmetries (2005). He is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel.

Both authors will be present to receive their awards at StokerCon (April 27-30) in Long Beach, CA.

Update: I have undone an earlier correction to the award title so I can follow the organization’s own usage. In an answer to my email they explained: “HWA presents a number of awards each year that are not considered part of the Bram Stoker Award categories. The Lifetime Achievement Award is not a Stoker Award, but rather a Horror Writers Association award, similar to the Specialty Press Award and Mentor of the Year Award.”

HWA Silver Hammer, Mentor of the Year Winners

The Horror Writers Association announced a pair of honors today.

SILVER HAMMER AWARD. James Chambers is the recipient of the 2016 Silver Hammer Award, given by the HWA Board of trustees in “recognition of extraordinary volunteerism by a member who dedicates valuable time and effort to the organization.”

As chair of the Horror Writers Association membership committee, he has the honor of helping new members join the organization and former members return. He also coordinates the New York chapter of the HWA, which holds nights of readings, represents the HWA at local events such as the Brooklyn Book Festival and the New York Comic Con, and provides networking for local authors. His other volunteer efforts have included coordinating Halloween Haunts, the HWA’s Annual Halloween blog celebration, and he serves on the conference committee.

James Chambers is the author of The Engines of Sacrifice, a collection of four Lovecraftian novellas described by Publisher’s Weekly in a starred-review as “…chillingly evocative….” He has also written the story collection Resurrection House, the dark, urban fantasy novella, Three Chords of Chaos, and the original graphic novel Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe, which is a Bram Stoker Award Finalist this year.

MENTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD. Linda Addison is HWA’s 2016 Mentor of the Year. HWA presents the Mentor of the Year Award “in recognition of a member who distinguishes herself in helping mentees, while serving in the HWA’s Mentor Program.”

Linda D. Addison is an American poet and writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Addison is the first African-American winner of the Bram Stoker Award, which she has won four times. The first two awards were for her poetry collections Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes (2001), and Being Full of Light, Insubstantial (2007). Her poetry and fiction collection How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend won the 2011 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection. She received a fourth Stoker for the collection The Four Elements, written with Marge Simon, Rain Graves, and Charlee Jacob.

Addison is a member of the Horror Writers Association and annually attends StokerCon and the Northeastern Writers’ Conference. She has participated in panels with Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum, and L. A. Banks. She was “Poet Guest of Honor” at The World Horror Convention in 2005. Her writing has been featured in Essence Magazine, and she is currently poetry editor for Space and Time Magazine. Addison has also participated in Ellen Datlow’s Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at KGB Bar in NYC. And she is a founding member of the CITH (Circles in the Hair) writing group.

HWA Celebrates Women in Horror – Part 4

Every day in February the Horror Writers Association observed Women in Horror Month by running a Q&A with an award-winning woman member. Here are the highlights from the final week.

Sandra Kasturi – February 25

Sandra Kasturi in 2000.

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

SK: Women everywhere face more difficulties than their male peers in just about every arena–unless it’s something that is considered “women’s work.” Sadly, those biases continue to exist. Although I did see a funny sketch on Saturday Night Live the other night, where a woman was interviewing actresses who were talking about the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated field like film. Kate McKinnon was playing an ancient actress who calmly (and hilariously) talked about “tickling FDR’s pickle” when she was invited to the White House. Jennifer Aniston talked about being a director, and Kate McKinnon said, “Did your husband sneak in and stand behind a plant and tell you what to do?” And the other actresses talked about current difficulties . . . oh my GOD, I am making this sound so dull. But it was pretty funny. And the point being, I suppose, that while things still suck in many ways, some things have gotten better. We’ve come a long way, baby. (Did I just quote a Virginia Slims ad?) Anyway, it’s good to remember that, when you’re frustrated because yet another table of contents in an anthology is 95% men. I say that, but I don’t want to be coddled and have things handed to me either. Because then it’s meaningless. I look forward to a time when if the ToC is 95% men, no one bats an eye because things are so equal that only the best stories were chosen–and the fact that it was mostly men that one time is no longer statistically meaningful–it’s just random chance. Will that happen in my lifetime? No. So we keep fighting the good fight.

I will say, though, that I’m not a fan of some of this new wave of feminism, which I sometimes find frightening. And sometimes absurd. There seems to be a kind of current climate which suggests that women can do no wrong simply because they are women, and that, of course, is ridiculous. You’re not sacred because you have a vagina. You’re not a good person because you have boobs. Men aren’t wrong simply because they are men. Assholedom is an equal opportunity employer.

Sarah Langan – February 26

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

SL: Yes. We face more difficulty in every field. I’m always reluctant to fill out these interviews during February because it’s also Black History month, and there’s something discomfiting about taking the light from people pulled from cars and shot by cops on a disturbingly regular basis. But time has taught me that women aren’t fairing all that well, either, and it’s exactly my reluctance that defines the insidiousness of problem. I mean, crash test dummies are only tested for the average man, video game avatars are based on male-movements, and when we ladies get sick, the medical books only devise treatments based on trials on men, from symptoms of illness measured only in men. So, we’re not only making less money, but we’re dying more often, too, and unnecessarily.

That’s such a rant, and I know it. But I’m finally feeling like women in horror month makes sense to me and the above is why. Before, I’d always felt like I was being thrown a bone I didn’t need. But (1) what’s wrong with a bone? (2) why says I don’t need it (3) it’ not about me, at all. It’s about women in horror.

Beth Gwinn – February 27

Beth Gwinn

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

BG: At the time of creating the book, it took over 10 years to have produced. Being the photographer for Locus helped me to be taken seriously.

Charlee Jacob – February 28

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

Yes, they say that women can’t even write horror, especially using more graphic elements. I’ve been to conventions and panels, and all the time people would say that women can’t even begin to write extreme horror, because it’s so violent. You also get reactions from people reading the works thinking that women don’t write very good horror: well, some of the biggest writers out there are the women for horror! Women are still stuck in the Victim Category.

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

Don’t use your real name! That was right from the guts! Just kidding, but seriously, most of the time I actually wish to had not let people right away know that I’m a woman, just because of the reactions. The name Charlee helped me in these situations. We’re a bit weird here, in the United States, and elsewhere, but not enough to believe that women could write good horror.

 

Hanten Wins HWA’s 2016 Richard Laymon Award

The Horror Writers Association announced the 2016 Richard Laymon President’s Award will be presented to Caren Hanten. She will receive the award for her “extraordinary volunteerism and dedication to HWA at StokerCon 2017.”

Ms. Hanten (a/k/a C.W. LaSart) is an established writer who joined HWA in 2011, and became the Assistant Verifier in 2012. She assumed the position of Head Verifier in 2013 and has held this post ever since. Her position can be summed up in many terms: Rules, Patience, Discretion, and Thousands of Emails per year. She credits her title for the many contacts and countless friendships that she has made in the writing and publishing industry over the years. Though always a writer, she tried her hand at publication in 2011 and sold her first story to Dark Moon Digest. Since then her short stories have been published by Cemetery Dance Publications, Dark Moon Books, Eirelander Press and many more. Managing an Irish Pub by day, she spends countless hours shuttling her family to ball games and caring for a menagerie of rescue pets. If you are conversing with her about the eligibility of your work, she wants you to know that there is a good chance she has a rodent in her pocket.

Instituted in 2000, the Richard Laymon President’s Award is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who passed away in 2000 while serving as HWA’s president. The honor is awarded by the current President of the HWA, Lisa Morton, and is presented to a member who has served HWA in an exemplary manner and shown exceptional dedication to the organization.

Horror Writers Association’s 2016 Specialty Press Award

The Horror Writers Association has named Omnium Gatherum as the winner of its 2016 Specialty Press Award. The award brings recognition to an outstanding publisher of horror, dark fantasy, and weird fiction.

Omnium Gatherum means “this” and “that” in Latin. The publisher released its first four titles in 2011. Since that time, it has grown from a one-person operation to a robust small press, employing many talented and creative people. This press is dedicated to bringing unique voices to publication, and working hard to produce excellent stories that explore the dark recesses of genre fiction. Kate Jonez, the editor-in-chief of Omnium Gatherum hopes the publisher’s success inspires others, especially woman and underrepresented individuals, to take the leap and make things happen, even when facing insurmountable odds. Great things can happen from honest efforts.

Kate Jonez is quoted as saying, “I am thrilled and honored for Omnium Gatherum to be recognized by the HWA. The organization has been essential to the growth of the company. We couldn’t have done it without the advice and support we’ve received from so many wonderful members.”

The award will be presented during StokerCon2017 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, from April 27-30.

HWA Celebrates Women in Horror – Part 3

February is Women in Horror Month and every day the Horror Writers Association blog is running a Q&A with an award-winning woman member. Here are the highlights of the third week.

Rain Graves –February 15

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

RG: I’ve never been a member of the HWA, so it’s always funny when people try to argue that they play favorites when giving the awards. They argue that people who campaign for the award – sending mass emails to friends and members offering free copies so that people will read it and recommend it for the Stoker – is a soul killing disease that paints the writer into that picture of favorite or pimp, depending on their involvement with the HWA. That hasn’t been my experience in terms of my work. I have never once campaigned. I have never once asked anyone to read it. I just do the work, and put it out there. My publishers offer free downloads or hard copies to reviewers. I think Roy may have offered a free download to HWA members when TFE made the final ballot. So I am always surprised to see my name on the preliminary ballot, and final ballot. Definitely surprised to ever win.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – February 16

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Photo by Charles Lucke.

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

CQY: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket — write in more than one genre. That way, if one market collapses, you have a fall-back position.

Lisa Morton – February 17

Lisa Morton

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

LM: I’ve won six times now, in five different categories (twice in Non-fiction, once each in First Novel, Graphic Novel, Long Fiction, and Short Fiction). However, I’m actually proudest of one loss – for my novel Malediction. That novel held significant personal meaning for me, it was a jury selection, and it lost out to Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep – overall it felt like the biggest win!

I have to confess that I’m disappointed I couldn’t put my last non-fiction book Ghosts: A Haunted History in the running for the award, but when I took over as HWA’s President in 2014 I removed all my solo works from consideration as long as I’m in office.

Allyson Bird – February 18

Allyson Bird with daughter Sarah.

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

AB: Yes. I’ve had much support from some great male writers but there are always a few who will try to bring you down if you do something they don’t agree with. That time I outed the fascist/racist David A. Riley caused me some problems. A few writers tried to cause trouble for me but it backfired on them. Speaking up is important as America faces the terrible years ahead with Trump dedicated to dividing the country. If you see hatred and racism, inequality regarding LGBTQ and women’s rights, discrimination against any minority ….SPEAK OUT…if you don’t who will? My advice to women is do what your conscience tells you to do. Write what you want to write not what you think others might want to read. If you ask yourself how will this affect your career….that is the wrong question to ask. Whether it is fiction or fact write it and those who are meant to be with you will support you.

Yvonne Navarro – February 19

Yvonne Navarro

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

YN: I said it up there. Write like a writer. Don’t write like a woman, don’t write like a man. Write like a writer, like you. Write the absolute best that you can. And what I tell every writer trying to break into any genre: Read your stuff aloud, like you were an actor on the stage. If you’re self-conscious, then do it when no one else is home or lock the door. That’s the way you’ll get around your brain telling your eyes everything is good. That’s how you’ll find the weird wording, bad punctuation, too-long sentences, misspellings. Reading aloud is golden.

Lucy Taylor – February 20

Lucy Taylor

About winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

LT: Good question. I wasn’t totally surprised, because I remember having a conversation with Harlan Ellison in which he ‘strongly’ advised me not to miss the World Horror Convention that year, so I admit I had my hopes up. Also very exciting was the fact that Joyce Carol Oates won a Stoker that year in the Best Novel category for ZOMBIE, so it was wonderful meeting her as well as Harlan Ellison.

Nancy Holder – February 21

 

Nancy Holder. Photo by John Urbancik.

What new works from you can we look forward to in the future?

NH: I’m finishing the novelization of the new Wonder Woman film—very excited about that!—and co-writing a new Buffy Encyclopedia to celebrate the 20th anniversary. My co-contributor is my original Buffy editor, Lisa Clancy, so that’s a dream come true. I’m working on a Gothic project I am super excited about but I can’t talk about it much right now. I’m also working on some short stories.

Lucy A. Snyder – February 22

Lucy A. Snyder

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

SL: I do, but these problems are not by any stretch limited to the horror field. While there are sub-genres of horror that employ tropes that are outright misogynistic (using rape as titillation, for instance) as a working professional writer, what I mostly see is an extension of the garden-variety bias you find everywhere. Namely, the perception that women’s work is going to be less vital, less edgy, less interesting than men’s work. And #notallmen, of course; some of my most loyal fans are male readers. But the general trend for a long time has been that female fiction writers are less likely to be published outside of romance, and when they are published, their books are less likely to be reviewed or noticed. Strange Horizons and Vida have gathered statistics on all this.

But a bigger problem for all women artists is being able to preserve their time and energy to get their creative work done. In most communities and families, women are still expected to be the ones who largely take care of the kids, do the cooking, do the cleaning, care for aging parents and sick relatives. Women are still expected to put their husbands’ career aspirations and children’s needs first. The result is that women are often left with less time and energy and support for their writing.

Even just getting ready in the morning — women are expected to sink more time and energy into our appearances, and we are criticized more harshly for looking unkempt or sloppy. I try to be as low-maintenance as I can, but I’m sure I spend a solid half-hour more per day on grooming and dressing than my husband does. That works out to over 180 hours per year! Most women spend a whole lot more time there than I do; I don’t even wear makeup every day. It’s very hard for us to set that time sink aside because we’ll be penalized socially and professionally for it.

More men are pitching in on childcare and household chores than they did in past decades, but the cultural conditioning men and women both receive make it harder for women to preserve the time and energy they need to develop careers as writers and artists. It’s getting better, but there’s still a long way to go.

Donna K. Fitch – February 23

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

DKF: HWA is making great strides in changing the opportunities of women in horror, and I hope a question like this will be outmoded soon. I feel that women writing in horror were seen in the past as “writing outside their genre.” HWA’s scholarships and the amazing Seers’ Table column are encouraging a new generation of women as they see the possibilities.

P.D. Cacek – February 24

P.D. Cacek

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

PDC: I won a Bram Stoker in 1996 for my short story, Metalica: a “touching” story about a woman and her speculum. Yes, you read correctly: speculum. Now, in case you’re not sure what a speculum is, let me explain that it is a medical tool designed to investigate body orifices, most commonly gynecological orifices. I have often described it as a cross between salad tongs and the Jaws of Life. Talk about horror, right?

So, if you ask about inspiration, I guess you can say that I had personal knowledge of the subject matter—but certainly not as well as my character had. And that’s where the horror came in. I took a common, if not pleasant experience may be, and twisted it out of all proportions.

Pun intended, if you read the story.

For me, that’s the secret of horror: take reality and give it a twist.

That’s what I did with Metalica and it apparently worked better than I expected. I was asked by Jeff Gelb (one of the editors for FEAR THE FEVER—The Hot Blood Series, where the story was published) if I could use my gender specific real name.

It seemed that the one of the editors for Pocket Books (a woman editor, I might add) was worried that the story might offend women readers if they thought a man wrote it. I’ve always thought that it was the story that mattered, not really the writer, so I agreed and you’ll notice that that byline reads Patricia D. Cacek.

My dear friend and mentor, Edward Bryant (who just passed) told me I should never have given in, but it seemed like a small concession to me at the time and still does. As I said before, it’s the story that matters.

Elizabeth Monteleone – February 25

Elizabeth Monteleone

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

EM: I feel like I cheated a little. I had as a co-editor the BRILLIANT Thomas F. Monteleone. Thank goodness he saw talent in me. Having been a life-long reader, and lover of books (I wish I could remember who said this but it applies to me “I’m a literary whore, I’ll read anyone.”) I started reading the slush pile and the stories I sent on to Tom seem to have impressed him because he told me I had an unerring instinct for what comprised a good story. High praise indeed!

Winning gave me a confidence I didn’t know I lacked when it came to validating my ability to recognize good writing.

2016 Bram Stoker Shortlist

The Horror Writers Association has announced the nominees for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards®.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Hand, Elizabeth – Hard Light: A Cass Neary Crime Novel (Minotaur Books)
  • Jones, Stephen Graham – Mongrels (William Morrow)
  • Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)
  • MacLeod, Bracken – Stranded: A Novel (Tor Books)
  • Tremblay, Paul – Disappearance at Devil’s Rock (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Barnett, Barbara – The Apothecary’s Curse (Pyr Books)
  • Chapman, Greg – Hollow House (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Garza, Michelle and Lason, Melissa – Mayan Blue (Sinister Grin Press)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie – The Eighth (Dark Regions Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Brozek, Jennifer – Last Days of Salton Academy (Ragnarok Publishing)
  • Cosimano, Elle – Holding Smoke (Hyperion-Disney)
  • Roberts, Jeyn – When They Fade (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Sirowy, Alexandra – The Telling (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Blood Feud (Oni Press)
  • Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)
  • de Campi, Alex – No Mercy, Vol. 2 (Image Comics)
  • Kirkman, Robert – Outcast by Kirkman&Azaceta, Vol 3 This Little Light (Image Comics)
  • Miller, Mark Alan and Lansdale, Joe R. –The Steam Man (Dark Horse Books)
  • Moore, Alan – Providence, Act 1 (Avatar Press)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Cushing, Nicole – The Sadist’s Bible (01Publishing)
  • Edelman, Scott – That Perilous Stuff (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • LaValle, Victor – The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor.com)
  • Malerman, Josh – The Jupiter Drop (You, Human) (Dark Regions Press)
  • Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Bailey, Michael – Time is a Face on the Water (Borderlands 6) (Borderlands Press)
  • Bodner, Hal – A Rift in Reflection (Chiral Mad 3) (Written Backwards)
  • Golden, Christopher – The Bad Hour (What the #@&% is That?) (Saga Press)
  • Mannetti, Lisa – ArbeitMacht Frei (Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Barron, Laird – Swift to Chase (JournalStone)
  • Chizmar, Richard – A Long December (Subterranean Press)
  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)
  • O’Neill, Gene – Lethal Birds (Omnium Gatherum Media)
  • Schwaeble, Hank – American Nocturne (Cohesion Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Campbell, Josh, Chazelle, Damien, and Stuecken, Matthew – 10 Cloverfield Lane (Paramount Pictures)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Vanishing of Will Byers (Episode 01: Chapter One) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: The Upside Down (Episode 01: Chapter Eight) (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
  • Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)
  • Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: A Blade of Grass (Episode 03:04) Showtime Presents in association with SKY, Desert Wolf Productions, Neal Street Productions)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael – Chiral Mad 3 (Written Backwards)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Beauty of Death (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)
  • Mosiman, Billie Sue – Fright Mare-Women Write Horror (DM Publishing)
  • Murano, Doug and Ward, D. Alexander – Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Braudy, Leo – Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural(Yale University Press)
  • Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Olson, Danel P. – Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone” and “Pan’s Labyrinth”: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
  • Poole, W. Scott – In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death and Extraordinary Afterlife of H. P. Lovecraft (Soft Skull Press)
  • Skal, David J. – Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
  • Tibbetts, John – The Gothic Worlds of Peter Straub (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Boston, Bruce and Manzetti, Alessandro – Sacrificial Nights (KippleOfficinaLibraria)
  • Collings, Michael R. – Corona Obscura: Poems Dark and Elemental (self-published)
  • Gailey, Jeannine Hall – Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems (Moon City Press)
  • Simon, Marge – Small Spirits (Midnight Town Media)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Bram Stoker Awards® will be presented at StokerCon on April 29, 2017. The awards ceremonies will be live-streamed online.

HWA Celebrates Women in Horror – Part 2

February is Women in Horror Month and every day the Horror Writers Association blog is running a Q&A with an award-winning woman member. Here are the highlights of the second week.

Sèphera Girón – February 8

Sèphera-Girón

Tell us a little about your experience with the Horror Writers Association and how it has influenced your own writing.

SG: I joined the Horror Writers Association when it was Horror Writers of America back around 1992 or so. I was one of the ones, back when we used to hang out on an online platform called “Genie” through the SFF-NET community, that rallied for a name change and we got it. After all, HWA consists of people outside of the United States. After I was a member for a few years, I took over the Canadian Chapter from Edo Van Belkom. I also created the Canadian Content Corner column in the newsletter, which was a tongue-in-cheek nod to Canadian politics at the time. Julianne Snow is handling the column for me this year while I focus on other areas of our chapter.

I began to host monthly meetings and booked booths at Toronto events such as The Word on the Street. As the HWA has evolved, my ability to book more events for our chapter has grown and we do all kinds of events in the Ontario area including Fan Expo and Toronto Comicon.

Rena Mason – February 9

Rena Mason

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

RM: I wrote The Evolutionist in Olympia, Washington after moving from Las Vegas where I’d lived for nearly a decade. Writing the story was a catharsis of the time I’d spent in Sin City. I kept thinking about how surreal my life there was, and that there had to be some other reason I’d strayed so far from being the person I knew to be me. In my story, I created external forces beyond my main character’s control for the reasons behind the changes, adding horrific elements and then compounding them, causing her to flee. The most humorous part to me about writing the work was that many of the real experiences written in the book had to be toned down to make them more believable for readers. But that’s Las Vegas life, sometimes what happens there is too outlandish to be true, yet is.

Corrine De Winter – February 10

Corrine De Winter

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

CD: It’s hard to answer that definitively. We know that women, even nowadays, are often fluffed off in social situations, but I think in the Horror field there is a huge difference. Women are accepted and treated with respect and I think there are just as many women authors that are outstanding as there are men.

Lisa Mannetti – February 11

Lisa Mannetti

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

LM: The Gentling Box is set in 19th century Hungary and Romania and is the story of Imre, a half-Rom and Hungarian horse trader who is beset by his mother-in-law, a villainous sorceress named Anyeta who relentlessly pursues him and his family (including her own daughter) by working the powers in a vile charm known as “the hand of the dead.” The crux of the novel is Imre’s own horror at employing a technique to tame wild horses known as “gentling,” which involves a crude form of lobotomy; he has never used it because having seen it as a child, he cannot bear observing the staggering horses in so much distress and pain. Thanks to Anyeta’s machinations, he’s forced to decide whether he’ll have to “gentle” his friends, other members of his troupe and his own wife in order to save their young daughter.

I was influenced by many of Coleridge’s so-called demonic poems, Rom lore, occult practices, and a host of 19th century writers, and am very glad to say the novel was well received by the critics.

The most interesting (for me) anecdote about the book is from the very first time I read aloud from it (which was the flashback to Imre’s first experience as a nine-year old boy observing his own father “gentling” horses), people wanted to know if gentling was a real technique used among Rom horse traders and how I learned of it. This question came up over and over. I think it’s safe to finally reveal at this point, it was completely a product of my own imagination and it was one of the most exciting concepts I ever came up with as far as spurring me to tell this story.

Marge Simon – February 12

Marge Simon

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

MS: Read good stuff. Read a lot of old, a lot of new. Keep the ideas flowing. Join the HWA and volunteer. The Horror University offers courses to help you in whatever is your specific area of interest. As for “breaking into horror”, I’m not sure what difference it makes. You are “breaking in to getting your work published and read”. It would be the same for any field of literature (or entertainment).

Maria Alexander – February 13

Maria Alexander

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

MA: I was very surprised. I’ll be honest: people at the World Horror Convention told me to my face I wouldn’t win. It was devastating and demoralizing. I knew I had tough competition. I had no illusions about that, but the insensitivity of some folk was jaw dropping. I’d promised my friend David Gerrold that I’d write an acceptance speech. He’d made me promise at dinner one night about a month previous. I’d planned to pen something in my hotel room the afternoon before the event. Instead, I just went to my room and curled up. I was recovering from major foot surgery. So, I wasn’t feeling well to start with, and then that happened.

When it came time for the awards dinner, I decided to drink and have fun. I wasn’t going to win, right? Unfortunately, I drank a wee bit too much. When my name was called, I was in total shock and unprepared to say anything. I wound up talking too long. But you know what? Everyone survived the experience, and apparently I made a favorable impression on certain editors I spoke with later. But I’d have rather not been devastated and just penned a little speech, you know?

Angel Leigh McCoy – February 14

Angel Leigh McCoy

Tell us a little about your experience with the Horror Writers Association and how it has influenced your own writing.

ALM: I could never express all the ways the HWA has influenced me as a writer. I’m sure there are even ways I’m unaware of. Here’s just a few that come to mind, in no particular order:

I have found mentors who have taught me both directly and by example how to be a better professional writer—not just how to write better, but also how to behave as a professional, how to market my work, and how to find markets.

I’ve found a group of comrades who understand what it’s like to be a writer and specifically a Horror writer, and that sense of community is invaluable. The feeling of belonging and the encouragement have bolstered me throughout my career.

I have met collaborators through the HWA, with whom I’ve worked on some of the most rewarding projects of my career.

I’ve discovered publishing outlets I wouldn’t have otherwise and have published stories as a result.

HWA Celebrates Women in Horror Month

In February the Horror Writers Association blog is posting interviews with award-winning women authors. Here are the highlights of the first week.

Elizabeth Massie – February 7

Elizabeth Massie

What advice would you give to new female authors looking to break into horror?

Read extensively across the genre. AND read extensively outside the genre. Write what you want to write how you want to write it. Don’t write as if your mother is looking over your shoulder; let the stories flow freely. If you need a story to be graphic, go there. And if you want a story to be more subtle and quiet, go there. Don’t feel that you have to write splatter/gore to prove yourself. And don’t feel you can’t write splatter/gore if the story demands it. Meet other writers – both female and male. Attend conventions or conferences if you can. Don’t be arrogant but be bold.

Ellen Datlow – February 6

Ellen Datlow

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

ED: I’ve won twice for original anthologies: Haunted Legends (with Nick Mamatas) and Fearful Symmetries and twice for The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (one of those with Terri Windling and one with Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link).

As an editor I’ve been inspired by three people:

Maxwell Perkins, the mainstream editor of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and other American greats. He inspired me by his relationships with his authors-his nurturing and pushing them to create their best work.

Judith Merril, the great sf/f editor (and writer) inspired me by being generous in her definition of science fiction and her perspicacity in embracing mainstream writers works of the fantastic in her Year’s Best Science Fiction reprint series.

Harlan Ellison (also, a brilliant writer) for his two seminal anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions. They broke boundaries, they smashed taboos and many of the stories in those books have become classics.

Paula Guran – February 5

Paula Guran

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

PG: If you are talking about a woman who writes or edits, I think the challenges are about the same now in publishing as they are for a man. There are areas probably easier for a woman to break into; areas men will have an easier time. For women who write for the screen or direct, I think it is still hard to get a foot in the door.

I feel any woman creative who considers herself only “in horror,” though, may have a lot of difficulties of many kinds. I suppose it depends on what you want, but don’t confuse a very small, insular community for the world. If you want only to write for a limited audience and enjoy feeling you are part of a group of like-minded individuals—if that makes you happy, then that is great. But if you want to become a professional writer, then you need to avoid isolating yourself.

Kathe Koja – February 4

Kathe Koja

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

KK: Mr. Stoker has many friends in many places, so it’s always an honor to be able to say I won a Stoker Award: Dracula is an enduring symbol of the shocks and pleasures of darkness. And of course winning was a lot of fun, and the Dell Abyss list was a marvelous, groundbreaking group of writers.

Linda Addison – February 3

Linda Addison

Do you think women in horror face more difficulties than their male peers?

LA: It’s pretty clear in the wider world that women face more problems in fields where men dominate. I don’t have any personal experiences to point to because no one has treated me badly, but I have heard other women authors tell of having issues as horror writers. I’m glad there is an increase in conversation and attention about the need for inclusiveness on many levels of our field. Part of the challenge is convincing people to read/publish outside the names they are familiar with; this is happening slowly.

The gatekeepers (editors, publishers, agents, etc.) have a lot to do with evolving the horror landscape. Not only is there a need to be more aware of the need for diversity, but they also need to become more diverse.

I’m part of the HWA Diverse Works Inclusion Committee and we’re tasked with introducing the membership to creators in The Seers Table column of the monthly newsletter that they may not know about. It’s a way to put names and work out to members that they wouldn’t necessarily choose. I hope it’s making some impact.

Another project I’m involved in that I hope will introduce interesting new voices to the field is Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of 28 horror stories and 14 poems written by African American women writers, and edited by myself, Kinitra Brooks and Susan Morris from Cedar Grove Publishing. It is currently available for pre-order.

Nancy Etchemendy – February 2

Nancy Etchemendy

Tell us a little about your Bram Stoker Award-winning work(s). Inspirations? Influences? Anecdotes about the writing or critical reaction?

NE: Two of my Stoker-award-winning works, “Bigger than Death” (1998) and “The Power of Un” (2000), won in the “Work for Young Readers” category, which was very broadly defined. “Bigger than Death” is a short story, and “The Power of Un” is a novel. The rules surrounding works for young readers have changed since then. The category no longer exists. I also won the award in the short fiction category in 2004 for “Nimitseahpah.”

People seem particularly curious about where horror writers get their ideas. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked about my sources of inspiration. I do have nightmares, and have had them all my life. They are certainly one source. But my stories more often revolve around the mysterious or inexplicable in everyday life. In “Bigger than Death,” a ghostly mother dog leads two children to her nest of puppies, still very much alive. “The Power of Un” examines questions about how a boy would change his past if he had that power. I wrote “Nimitseahpah” for an anthology about gargoyles. It didn’t make the cut, I think because I strayed pretty far from the usual definition of gargoyle. On the surface, it’s about a supernatural stone figure who guards an abandoned mine where a large number of miners lost their lives. Deeper down, it’s about a human boy who has an uncanny connection with the four traditional elements — air, earth, fire, and water. That story and several others which share the same setting were inspired by the weird desert landscape of Nevada, where I grew up….

Mercedes M. Yardley – February 1

Mercedes M. Yardley

Talk about winning the award – how surprised were you? Did winning pay off in any interesting ways?

MMY: Oh my goodness! I was the dorkiest award winner ever! I was so certain I wasn’t going to win that I wasn’t even paying attention and missed my name being called. I was wearing six inch heels and nearly tripped on my way to the pulpit. I didn’t have a speech prepared. I just grinned like a fool and garbled out a very sincere, heartfelt thank you before staggering back to my seat.

Winning put me on the map in a way that hadn’t happened before. People were interested in doing interviews and that was enjoyable. I had a few agents approach me instead of it happening the other way around. But what was most profound is that the award validated me in a very meaningful way. I had a friend say to me, “You’re a Bram Stoker award winner now. Your time is worthwhile. Work on what is important to you.” They were wise words. It’s almost as if that award gave weight to what I wanted to say. It was a nearly magical totem that gave me the power and courage to say no to some projects and stop stretching myself so thin.

HWA Taking Applications for 2017 Scholarship From Hell

The Horror Writers Association is accepting applications for its Scholarship From Hell until March 15.

The winner of the scholarship will receive a trip to StokerCon 2017 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and  participate in the intensive, hands-on workshop environment of “Horror University.”

Horror University has more than 20 different sessions and other options this year, conducted by these notable authors and editors:

  • Gretchen McNeil: Character-Driven Plotting and the 3-Act Horror Novel
  • Jonathan Maberry: Act Like a Writer
  • Jack Ketchum: Writing from Experience, Writing from the Wound
  • Linda Addison: Scary Forms: The World of Structured Poetry for All Writers
  • Nicole Cushing: How to Give a Great interview
  • Joe Nassise: Story Engines
  • John Skipp: How to Write Like a Scenarist (And Adapting to Stage, Screen and Comics)
  • Josh Finney / Kat Rocha: Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels
  • James Chambers: Picturing Fear: Writing Horror Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Tim Waggoner: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Horror
  • Ace Antonio Hall: Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers
  • Patrick Freivald: Saying More with Less
  • Sèphera Girón: Tarot Cards and Writing 101
  • Hank Schwaeble: Saying More With Less
  • Jason V. Brock: Take Your Writing to Another Level
  • Johnny Worthen: Mistakes Were Made
  • Michael Arnzen: Making Readers Squirm
  • Tom Leveen: How to Write Awesome Dialog
  • Kate Jonez: Editing Intensive

Membership in HWA or StokerCon is not necessary in order to apply. Enter using the form here.

The scholarship winner will be announced March 30.

Everyone else who is interested can purchase admissions to the individual sessions can be here.