Delicious Horror: Jessica Guess & Angela Sylvaine

Happy Friday! To kick off the weekend, Jessica Guess and Angela Sylvaine are here with some excellent drink recipes and horror reading recommendations. I recently read Jessica’s novella Cirque Berserk and had such a blast! And Angela has a fantastic short story, “Antifreeze and Sweet Peas” coming soon in the Not All Monsters anthology, which will be released on Halloween! Thank you so much to both of these amazing writers, and find out how to submit a Delicious Horror post of your own here!

Jessica Guess

Jessica Guess is a writer and English teacher who hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She earned her Creative Writing MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2018 and is the founder of the website Black Girl’s Guide to Horror where she examines horror movies in terms of quality and intersectionality. Her creative work has been featured in Luna Station Quarterly and Mused BellaOnline Literary Review. Her debut novella, Cirque Berserk, is available for purchase on Amazon.

Her story “Mama Tulu” is now available on Come Join Us by the Fire Season 2 via Nightfire.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I’ve talked about The Book of Night Women by Marlon James before, but I don’t think this book is talked about enough, so I’m going to again. The Book of Night Women tells the story of Lillith, a young girl born into slavery in 18th century Jamaica. On the day that she is sent to work in the fields for the first time, Lillith must defend herself from a would-be rapist and ends up killing him. That’s when she meets the Night Women. A group of female slaves who come to her aid and reveal that they are planning a revolt.

This book is violent, disturbing, and at some points hard to stomach, but reading it changed me. In Lillith and the Night Women, I found characters that were intelligent, determined, strong, and vengeful in a time where Black women couldn’t be any of those things. Before reading this book, I had a limited view of slaves and slavery. I thought of it only in terms of brutality and hopelessness. I didn’t think of the acts of defiance, both small and large, the hopes and dreams that women of this time had, the yearning for love and attention. Make no mistake, this book is brutal. It’s one of the most frightening things I’ve ever read and stayed with me for weeks after reading it, but it also awakened in me a sense of pride and adoration for my ancestors who survived the most brutal aspects of history.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

I’m pairing Sorrel with this book. Sorrel is a drink Jamaicans usually have during Christmas time. You can make it with or without alcohol and it’s super tasty. It starts with using the sorrel flower that you steep in boiling water as you would tea. Then you add the other ingredients and get a flavorful drink that packs a punch. 

I’m paring it with The Book of Night Women because not only is the drink a staple in Jamaica, but because it’s usually enjoyed in the Christmas season, it reminded me of a section of the book. Basically, Christmas was one of the few good times for slaves on the islands because you would get extra food and a day free from work. If memory serves, something pretty momentous happens during Christmas in the book, though I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

This is the closest recipe I found to how my aunt makes it but this person didn’t mention that in addition to white rum (which by the way, you need to use Wray and Nephew rum) you also need to add Red Label wine to it. Everything else is on point with the recipe though.

Angela Sylvaine

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 three creepy cats on the front range of the Rockies. You can find her online at angelasylvaine.com.

Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:

I chose Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy by Mercedes M. Yardley, a perfectly creepy fairy tale that I totally devoured. The writing is gorgeous and the theme of women being seen as prey really resonated with me. The tagline, Bryony Adams is destined to be murdered, hooked me immediately. The entire time I read this book I felt utterly hopeless for Bryony, while nursing a secret hope she would be able to escape the inevitability of death.

What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?

My cocktail is a Sour Cherry Pie Martini, because the fairy tale and Bryony Adams herself are utterly sweet, but the story is tainted by the sour mark of death.

Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?

1 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Vanilla Vodka

2 oz. Tart Cherry Juice

A splash of grenadine

A splash of lemon juice

Cherry pie filling

Finely crushed graham crackers

Maraschino Cherries

Spoon cherry pie filling in a wide bowl that will fit the mouth of the martini glass. Dip the glass in the filling.

Spread the crushed graham crackers on a plate, dip the pie filling coated glass in the graham crackers.

Combine vodka, vanilla vodka, cherry juice, grenadine, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the rimmed martini glass.

Cut a slice in the bottom of a maraschino cherry and place on the rim of the glass

Bonus recipe- Use the leftover pie filling to make turnovers! Cut puff pastry into squares, spoon pie filling into the center, seal the edges with egg, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

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