2021 Recap

Okay, I totally failed in getting this posted yesterday, but I was working on a story all day, so I think that’s a reasonable excuse.

Anyway, happy new year (I hope)! I’m going into 2022 with very little expectations, but I really do hope this new year is a little less anxiety-inducing, globally.

Luckily, I did a Mid-Year Recap that covers January-June, so this post will focus on the latter months. I liked breaking the recap up this year, it’s definitely helped keep me organized. It was also nice to look back on because I kind of forgot what happened during those earlier months, but I did some cool things 🙂 Here’s a very brief recap for this quieter half of the year:


*I very much enjoyed being on the Visited by Voices Author Roundtable alongside Sarah Read, Cullen Bunn, and Gary Braunbeck, and hosted by Lorne Dixon

*Equally enjoyed participating in Galactic Terrors hosted by Jim Chambers and Carol Gyzander!


*Chromophobia submissions opened! Again, I want to say how much I enjoyed reading those submissions and how hard those decisions were to make. I am a very lucky editor, and I can’t wait to tell you more about this anthology VERY soon!


*Southwest Review releases with my poem “Deliria Dreams of the Universe”
*Release of WereTales: A Shapeshifter Anthology, which has my poem “The Rattling Howl”
*Interview over on Entertainment Network Live
*I toured an abandoned prison! This was a really interesting adventure, and I had a lot of fun taking photos

*My short story “With Radium on Her Lips” was released in Deadly Love. I drew loose inspiration from the heartbreaking real life tales of the Radium Girls, but made sure the girls got a little vengeance in this version…
*I found out Cradleland of Parasites was nominated for a Wonderland Book Award! This was completely unexpected and exceptionally cool to have happen — my congratulations to all of the nominees and winners!
*I did my first live reading event since…2019? Goodness. I had a blast with fellow HWA Pittsburgh Chapter members at a delightful and spooky gathering at Chatham University
*My short story “Hexenmeister” was released in the charity anthology Diabolica Americana. I also did a brief reading from the story on Brad Proctor’s wonderful 31 Days of Horror series
*I’m honored to have an interview on H.H. Holmes included in The Science of Serial Killers by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence
*I went to the Finger Lakes and loved it with my whole heart; I’m not sure when I will travel again, definitely feeling iffy about it all right now, so I am glad I got this trip in

*One of my favorite stories I wrote this year, “As Humans Burn Beneath Us” was released in Field Notes From A Nightmare
*Our HWA Pittsburgh Chapter was able to meet at the Archives & Special Collections, which hosts the George A. Romero Archival Collection. We were treated to some awesome, rare sights including a short film nearly no one has seen before, so that was beyond neat to be a part of.
*This month I had an incredibly cool chat with some people about *a thing* that I desperately hope I get to share in 2022 (winks furiously, especially if you’ve read the recap this far!)

*I made the final decisions for Chromophobia, and we will be sharing that table of contents very soon!
*My poem “Anthropophagus” appeared in Vastarien, Vol 4. Issue 2. — which is a huge honor and will forever be one of my favorite poetry sales. The term anthropophagus is a bit of an archaic word often referring to cannibals in legends. I love a good archaic term, so it was really fun creating a piece inspired by those ideas.

Horror for the Holidays

The following list consists of mostly small businesses with a few exceptions, and a diverse group of creators! I know shopping is tight, so remember that even just sharing shops you love helps support these artists, shop-owners, and creators.

And since I live near the area, some great places to check out in Pittsburgh:

The Weeping Glass

Trundle Manor — When I visited, I gave the owners a copy of my H.H. Holmes book and they showed me their jar of dirt from Holmes’ grave!

10 Oddity Places in Pittsburgh

Witchcraft, Soaps, Body & Spirit

The Naked Wytch made by Brooke Warra, who also wrote the Shirley Jackson Award-winning novella Luminous Body

Belladonna’s Botanicals: “Belladonna’s Botanicals (formerly Restorative Aromatics) was started in 2018 by Jennifer Vatza, a Left Hand Path Witch, certified aromatherapist, herbalist, perfumer, skincare formulator, and incense crafter.”

Witch Baby Soap — Body butters, oils, bath products, and lots of witchy goodness

Witchy Washy Bath Co: “All products are handcrafted by Taylor and are vegan/cruelty-free.”

Mystical Blossoms: “We are two sisters from Southern New Jersey — We make natural products from nature for the mind, body and soul. We are herbalists and artists.”

Beautiful Carcass — Another great name. *From their website: “Pleasantly Grim & Handcrafted Skincare Products”

Scent From Hell: “Horror-inspired candles by writer Kristi DeMeester”

Greywick Lane: Horror candles & wax melts

Houss Freya: Intention candles, smudge sprays, and more

The Witch’s Bath: Gorgeous products

Jewelry & Apparel

Handmade jewelry at The Peculiarity Shop: “The Peculiarity Shop started as two queer folks (Hillary and Becky) adopting a hobby.” As you can see from their gorgeous shop, it has morphed into so much more!

Probably the most stunning jewelry you will ever see is found at Sofia Zakia’s shop. A fine jewelry selection made from what looks to me to be actual magic.

Die With Your Boots On — Horror Christmas sweaters and more! *Clothing, patches, pins, and more

Goods and Evil — From their website: “If you could mix together all the things that make you happy and those things were Sci-Fi, being Vegan, Horror movies, Pop Culture, Art and Punk Rock, you would get Goods And Evil.” *Shirts, hates, decals and more

Antisocial Jewelry: Also check out their very cool Instagram

Toxic Femme 666: “Shirts, patches and bags for queer and trans people.”

Crooked Teeth Keys: Personalized vintage key or a human tooth necklace? This shop has you covered.

Death Couture: Seller note since there are real animal skulls and bones used, “Cruelty Free! Everything I use is ethically sourced from USA!”

Red Hot Gals Boutique: From the shop — “handmade accessories, jewelry, vinyl decals & T-shirts inspired by my love of vintage, pop culture and horror!”

Wickedland Jewelry and Redbubble Shop: “Handmade Jewelry Craft for Werewolves, Witches, and those who have fallen through the Looking Glass”

Lenore and Co

Team Manticore: So many amazing things! Frightdorables are a must-see; apparel, decor, and so much more!

PlusHiiKawaii: “Plus Size Kawaii Fashion and accessories” — great for pastel goth lovers!

Melty Chocolate Moon: Another dream for pastel goths!

Badmouthed Bruja: Horror inspired enamel pins and more!

Crow Treasures Co: Jewelry, dishes, trinkets, etc…

Artwork, Crafts, and Decor

Fiyah Lit Mag: Bookish things, art, and apparel

Let’s Get Galactic — Cassie Daley combines rainbows and horror! She’s added so much new stuff since last year, such as coasters, books, and resin coffins!

A Stranger Dream — Bookmarks, prints, and more 

Elegant Gore (I love this name) and Wes Brooks. These links are for their beautiful Instagrams, but check out the respective websites at Elegant Gore’s Etsy and Undead Speed Equipment! *Stickers, prints, shirts, art, and more

7Fetishes — Artwork, original drawings and paintings

Velvet Hand Designs — Gorgeous artwork, original illustrations

Forest Noir: You may have seen Alyssa’s stunning work around Instagram; I have her Autumn Eternal photo book and few other small pieces and am obsessed. The work is truly gorgeous.

Claire L. Smith, author of the novella Helena, has gorgeous artwork available here!

Fright Night Sketches: Zombies, monsters, famous horror icons, and more!

Imaginarium Arts: Custom art pieces, handcrafted jewelry, and so much more! You may recognize Ellen from being a reviewer at Divination Hollow Reviews and more within the horror community!

Death Positive Art: Jody Monochrome Art

Destiny Kelly’s Etsy shop can be found here, and her amazing art portfolio here

Vicki Be Wicked: “Kawaii Afro, Pastel, Fun and Geeky Original Art Shop”

Tales from the Stitch: Crochet horror dolls! Twitter: https://twitter.com/thestitchkeeper

Art, ornaments, candles, and other unique items: Me and Annabel Lee (who could resist that shop name?)

Shayna J. Feinstein Arts

Dark Delicacies — Books, clothes, collectibles, and more

Abigail Larson: “Hugo Award winning illustrator Abigail Larson specializes in macabre and gothic illustration using a unique mix of traditional and digital media.”

Molly Violence Art

Bat Factory: Creepy and cute custom creations

Lost Graves: Real bone and art jewelry

Glitter Thread Designs: Glitter Halloween and spooky tumblers

Our Dark Days: Handcrafted gothic accessories and décor

The Creep Boutique

Retech_org: Sci-fi sculptures (can DM for customs)

Horror Decor — Home decor

Ghost Girl Greetings

South Street Mart


Hot Pink Black Ink

The Art Experiment — Kevin Simpson Illustration

Scott Bokma: “Morbidly tasty twisted goodness”

Little Spooky Studio on Etsy and Society 6

Lovely Landfill

Classy Creeps

The Haunted Bouncy Castle: First of all, I just love that name. Great art, products, stickers, mugs, and more!


I’ve Created a Monstah by Jose Souza: Unique sculptures & original artwork

Night Worms — Horror will be your happy place here with exclusive book club packages and extra goodies in store!

A place I hope to visit in a post-pandemic world, The Mutter Museum! Their online medical gift store has an array of the strange and macabre, including museum exclusives.

Tooth and Veil: Oddities and Macabre Shop (everything from upcycled art, to taxidermy, to home furnishings!)

Glam Goth Beauty: “a creepy chic vegan and cruelty-free indie brand. We pride ourselves on having a glamorous combination of a deadly and luxurious aesthetic.”

Antique and vintage garments: Black Cat Clothiers

GrindHaus Podcast — For my podcast lovers out there, this one covers a lot of horror and cinema from a filmmaker perspective!

Brain Fever Artwork and Taxidermy

Cabinet of Curious Clay: “Curious Ceramics for Unconventional Individuals”

Dark Rain Designs: Clockwork critters, oddities, and darksome market finds

Rex Boucher: Gothic glass (stained glass artist)

Fanbase Press: Bookish gifts

Small and Indie Horror Presses:

*Just to name a few, will happily add more to this — let me know your faves.

Strangehouse Books & Rooster Republic Press Design Services

Scary Dairy Press

Raw Dog Screaming Press


Crystal Lake Publishing 


Cemetery Dance

Death’s Head Press

Independent Legions

Off Limits Press

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

Sinister Horror Company

Neon Books

Clash Books

Author Stephanie Rabig has a great Queer Horror Database found here

The Ladies of Horror Fiction have an amazing directory here for book buying needs!

Lynne Hansen Art: amazing book covers and art!

Delicious Horror: Tiffany Michelle Brown

It’s been a little while, but I am delighted to share a new post today that I think you are going to love. Plus, it’s the first of October, and what better way to kick off spooky season than with some horror and tasty treats?

Thank you so much to Tiffany for sending this my way!

About Tiffany:

Tiffany Michelle Brown is a California-based writer who once had a conversation with a ghost over a pumpkin beer. Her fiction has been featured by Sliced Up Press, Fright Girl Summer, Cemetery Gates Media, Ghost Orchid Press, D&T Publishing, Frost Zone Press, and the NoSleep Podcast. She is the author of Easy as Pie, a Southern Gothic short story about love, death, and the consequences of holding on too tightly to memories (available in ebook format via Amazon). She lives in San Diego with her husband, Bryan, and their pups, Biscuit and Zen, and is working on her first short story collection.

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

I chose Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca, a novella I greedily consumed in a single sitting on my birthday earlier this year. It was a wild, nostalgic, gross ride, and it’s one of those books that stays with you, in part because it evokes such potent and terrifying imagery.

I’m also a sucker for a story that begins with something innocuous – like a vintage apple peeler – and transforms it into something you’ll never look at the same way again in real life. I recently spotted a vintage apple peeler on a TV show and did a double take. It was this cute scene where a couple was making an apple pie, and I basically started screaming at the screen, telling them they needed to get that devil contraption out of their home as soon as possible.

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

There are three things that immediately come to mind when I think about this book: eyeballs, apples, and tapeworms. So, my dark little heart decided it wanted to make caramel-apple butter “eyeball” truffles and crispy, crunchy “tapeworm” baklava. Yummy!

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

A little foreword before we get into all the baking shenanigans! There are two main components involved in this bake – the truffles and the baklava. One is pretty dang hard and the other is fairly easy.

The eyeball truffles were my first attempt at any kind of chocolate work, and let me tell you, it was difficult! I have a newfound respect for folks who specialize in chocolate. Like, whoa.

If you enjoy a challenge, you’re cool with things not always turning out just right, and/or you’re a baking masochist (this is very on brand for Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke), make those truffles! If you’re not into complicated bakes, buy some white chocolate truffles, decorate them to look like eyeballs, and voila, you’re halfway done!

On the other side of the spectrum, I found the baklava very accessible and delicious, so let’s dive into that recipe first.

Crispy, Crunchy “Tapeworm” Baklava

This was my first time making baklava, so my goal with this portion of the bake was to find the simplest, most accessible recipe possible. Y’all, I did, and it’s a great one!

Here’s the text-based recipe: https://www.dimitrasdishes.com/baklava-spirals/

And there’s a video, too: Baklava Spirals: Dainty & Delicious!

I found the video extremely helpful. It’s short, direct, and gave me the confidence I needed to work with store-bought phyllo dough.

Pro tip, if you buy frozen phyllo dough, you’ll need to defrost it in the refrigerator first and then allow it to come up to room temperature before you work with it. Both of these steps take hours, so plan your baking accordingly!

Another tip: This recipe doesn’t call for any salt, so I added some to the nut mixture to give the filling a little more depth and to take the edge off the inherent sweetness.

I wound up with an excess of the nut mixture, but if this happens to you, fear not. It is delicious sprinkled over the top of the final baklava. In the future, I’d make extra just to have this to top the pastries. It’s a nice textural component and adds flavor, too!

Lastly, this recipe makes a lot of baklava – about 24 pieces! If you don’t plan on sharing with friends, family, or neighbors, you could half the recipe and have plenty of treats for a couple or small household. 

Caramel-Apple Butter “Eyeball” Truffles

First, I made the filling. I melted ¼ cup caramel, added in equal parts warmed apple butter, mixed vigorously to combine, and let the mixture cool completely in the fridge.

If you want to make your own apple butter, here’s a great Instant Pot recipe:  https://easyweeknightrecipes.com/instant-pot-apple-butter/. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can absolutely make apple butter on your stovetop. You’re essentially cooking down apples with warm, wonderful spices and then whizzing the mixture up until it’s smooth. (And any leftover apple butter you have can be used on PB&J sandwiches, pancakes, ice cream, etc.)

For truffle assembly, I used these instructions: https://fatdaddios.com/inspiration/how-make-chocolate-truffles

Can we take a moment to read that warning at the top of this webpage? “If you have never worked with chocolate before I wouldn’t recommend starting with molded truffles. It would be like tackling a wedding cake for your first cake decorating experience.” Um, oops. Haha! I’m in this picture, and I don’t like it. But also, challenge accepted!

I used silicone molds that I bought on Amazon, and I love them. Easy to use, easy to clean, cheap. Highly recommend.

I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips to create the chocolate shells for these truffles, and I found the tempering method outlined on the Fat Daddio’s website above really helpful. For my first batch, I melted ¾ cup of chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second increments and stirring in between) and then added another ¼ cup of chocolate and stirred, stirred, stirred for about seven minutes to get the chocolate to the right temperature and consistency (see the details on the Fat Daddio’s webpage). If you’re going to pipe the melted chocolate into your silicone molds, work fast! Halfway through, my chocolate started hardening, and it was no longer pipeable. But it was still soft enough to work with, so I started pressing the chocolate into the molds with a spoon, and that worked out just fine! If, like me, these are your first truffles, don’t be afraid to create thicker chocolate shells. They’ll be easier to work with, and you can always finesse your chocolate work and get fancy down the line.

After I added the chocolate into my molds, the freezer became my best friend! The cold set the chocolate beautifully, and it made it really easy to remove the shells from the silicone molds.

After the chocolate hardened, I added cold caramel-apple butter filling to the chocolate molds with a small spoon, and then popped them right back into the freezer. When everything was nice and frozen, I donned some nitrile gloves (to reduce the amount of body heat I transferred to the chocolate while handling it), popped the chocolate out of the molds, and poured some hot water into a mug. Then, I pressed a truffle half to the cup for a few seconds to melt the edge of the chocolate and joined two truffle halves together to create a sphere. Be careful not to over-melt the chocolate on your mug. You really only need a couple seconds of heat and a soft press to join the truffle halves. When all the halves are joined, pop the spheres back in the freezer to set.

When the truffles were set, I got gloved up again and used food-safe, edible-ink markers (also purchased on Amazon) to decorate them with pupils and irises. The markers work best on dry surfaces, so you may need to pat your chocolates dry before you draw. Only decorate the truffles you plan to serve immediately as any kind of moisture will likely result in the ink running (though maybe runny eyeballs would add an extra level of terror!).

The apple butter-caramel mixture has a good amount of liquid in it, so I’d recommend storing these truffles in your fridge or freezer. Of course, you can fill these bad boys with whatever filling you’d like – jam, chocolate ganache, buttercream, etc., so have fun!

Thank you so much again to Tiffany! This was such a delightful walkthrough to read of how she made this terrifying and tasty treat. If you want to submit your own Delicious Horror post, read how to do that right here!

CHROMOPHOBIA Subs Roll In! QUEEN OF TEETH Trade Paperback Has Begun Shipping! News For 2022! News For 2023! So Much Headline! — Rooster Republic Press

We just dipped into the “strangehouseanthologies” Gmail account and are happy to report that the stories are rolling in. They aren’t an insurmountable mountain… YET. But submissions are open until the end of the month, so there’s plenty of time for us to have a minor anxiety attack. Keep ’em coming, folks! Break our will!…

CHROMOPHOBIA Subs Roll In! QUEEN OF TEETH Trade Paperback Has Begun Shipping! News For 2022! News For 2023! So Much Headline! — Rooster Republic Press

LOHF Award Nominees for Best Poetry Collection — Ladies of Horror Fiction

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is pleased to present the 2020 Ladies of Horror Fiction Award Nominees for Best Poetry Collection. The nominees are: Burials, Jessica Drake-ThomasA Collection of Dreamscapes, Christina SngA Complex Accident of Life, Jessica McHughCradleland of Parasites, Sara TantlingerInto the Forest and All the Way Through, Cynthia Pelayo Burials by Jessica…

LOHF Award Nominees for Best Poetry Collection — Ladies of Horror Fiction

Mid-Year Recap 2021

End-of-year recaps stress me the hell out, but I enjoy having them completed and posted on my blog. They’re like a time capsule that can also be used for reflection, not just at the end of that year, but any future years, too. Taking the time to reflect on our goals and plans as writers, for me at least, has been quite helpful in realizing where I want my focus to be in upcoming years.

This year, I decided to try a mid-year recap instead to make the inevitable year-long review in December a little easier on myself. I also thought this would be a great time to talk about the upcoming women in horror anthology, Chromophobia, and what I am hoping to see from those submissions! Before I get into it all, I want to say thank you as always to the horror community for your support, the constant inspiration you provide, and for all the amazing material you keep writing, even if my wallet doesn’t thank you, but it’s a good problem to have to keep buying all of your books!

Social media is…sometimes a firestorm of heartbreak, confusion, and anger. It is often a tough place for conversation since intent and tone can get muddled in tweets. However, I hope our community continues to come together and lead with kindness and patience, and on the other hand, remember you don’t owe that kindness to anyone who has abused your trust or friendship, or who has proven their one-time apologies were not sincere. Social media drama is not worth your exhaustion. As a writer or reviewer or any creator within horror, you determine your own value. No one can take that from you, and you do not need to be validated by anyone, especially anyone who would rather shout hot takes on social media for the sake of stirring people up.

Of course, it’s important to be informed. Do I want to know when a writer or publisher or reviewer is spouting off hate speech? Absolutely. That’s not someone I ever want to work with. At the same time, you don’t have to spend hours sifting through confusing threads and guessing who people are talking about and never even knowing for sure. I’ve tried. I want to be informed. I don’t want to interact with abusers, but when the whisper network rules and half of us don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes, you can’t take all your anger out on people who have tried to know and are simply remaining in the dark because they cannot find the information. I’m pretty done with it. I’m here to write, and I’ll avoid harmful people to the best of my knowledge, but like all of you, I don’t know everything about every single person in this industry. So, I’ll write, I’ll support and encourage others, and I’ll continue to celebrate the amazing world of horror fiction.

Speak out when you need to and feel comfortable doing so, but also don’t beat yourself up for removing yourself from the situations, either. There’s a whole real world out there, and while social media is important to help get our work out into that world and support each other, it is so far from being the most important thing in anyone’s life. Seek out your peace and your joy. Hold onto it, cherish it; life is too short to do otherwise.

Mid-Year Recap 2021


2021 was off to a good start! I was a guest on Visited by Voices and my flash fiction piece “Dewdrops and Blood” was published in Campfire Macabre. I also started my third semester as a mentor for the HWA Mentorship Program! Working with mentees this whole year has been such a joy.


February saw the release of the Spanish translation for To Be Devoured (Ser Devorado). Working with Dilatando Mentes Editorial has been an exceptional experience. They did such beautiful work with the translation, and I am forever grateful.

I participated on a really fun women in horror month panel hosted by the HWA and moderated by the wonderful Gwendolyn Kiste!

I posted some Horrormance recommendations over on my blog!

My interview with This Is Horror was released. Doing this interview was a huge career highlight for me. I had such a blast! The interview is in two parts below.

Part I

Part II

My flash fiction “Unspooling Screams” was published in Twisted Anatomy and my ghostly short story “Moonflowers” in The Horror Collection: Yellow Edition


I had a blast meeting up (online) with our Pittsburgh HWA Chapter, and I did a really fun interview with The Horror Club!

My poem “Etched in Autumn” was published in a great charity anthology, Like Sunshine After Rain, put out by RDSP and edited by Heidi Ruby Miller.

Cradleland of Parasites received a great review over on Cemetery Dance!


April came with the announcement that I’d be one of the guest judges in this year’s HWA Poetry Showcase! Angela Yuriko Smith and I will be judging the submissions alongside editor Stephanie Wytovich. As I’m writing this, we are all currently reading through the poems, and wow, so many good, gory, gooey stanzas! Some tough decisions ahead for sure. Thank you all for the solid submissions.

For National Poetry Month, I wrote an article hosted by the wonderful Ladies of Horror Fiction in which I talked about what poetry means to me, some inspiring collections, and I created a list of poetry prompts!

I had such a blast with Hailey Piper and the Last Bookstore Horror Book Club as the members read To Be Devoured and Hailey’s The Worm and His Kings. It was a delight to hang out with everyone and discuss our books!

I announced a few poetry acceptances, as well. “The Rattling Howl” will appear in the forthcoming WereTales, and “To Bloom in Blood” and “Shredded Alterations” will appear in Under Her Skin.

I was honored to have a flash fiction piece inspired by Eliot’s “The Waste Land” chosen as one of the winners for April’s issue of Cemetery Gates Society (they do flash fic contests each month, check it out!). My story “To Garden the Bodies” appears alongside wonderful tales by Red Lagoe and Shane Douglas Keene, plus an interview with Jessica Ann York and an article by Gabino Iglesias with publishing tips!

I also got fully vaccinated this month! Hooray!


In May we announced Chromophobia! The next anthology by women in horror published by Strangehouse Books.

Thank you to the wonderful team at Altavoz Cultural for having me as a guest in their first international interview to chat about the To Be Devoured and its translation!

A new Delicious Horror post! Patrick Tumblety chatted with me about Laurel Hightower’s Crossroads novella and made such a great treat to pair with the heartbreaking book.

*Please keep sending me submissions!!!

I chatted with The New Panic Room Radio Show and had so much fun talking with Xtina Marie about all things poetry!

Virtual StokerCon! I was and am still so absolutely honored to have Cradleland of Parasites and Not All Monsters nominated for Stokers. It’s amazing and I’m forever grateful. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! I had a great time at the online event and participated on the Steel City Horror panel, Horror as a Fairy Tale panel, and I read from my Stoker-nominated poetry collection. Thanks to everyone who checked it out and left such kind words!

I was honored to contribute a little advice in Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and Other Self-editing Tips, an excellent guidebook created by Lee Murray and Angela Yuriko Smith.

The Devil’s Dreamland received a great mention on this very fun list by Gwendolyn Kiste of “5 Fictional Horror Books Based on True Crime Stories.”

I did a little traveling for my birthday in May, too. I am now in the last year of my 20’s…I don’t want to talk about it…but I had a great time seeing the beach again 🙂


The Stoker-nominated Not All Monsters is finally going to Kindle! From the publisher: “NOT ALL MONSTERS finally makes the jump to Kindle, and you can pre-order the Halloween release HERE. We are offering the Stoker-nominated anthology for 9.99 but ONLY during the pre-order window. After Halloween, the Kindle price will be raised to its regular retail price.”

Otherwise, June has been packed with the day job, things going on behind the scenes, and just me trying to organize my life, as always. I did, however, venture into Pittsburgh twice — the first time since lockdown! I visited the very cool Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru event and got a new tattoo (pictured above).


Now, let’s talk about the forthcoming Chromophobia: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror. Submissions open August 1st — please read the guidelines carefully here and remember this is a limited demographic (which I mention since I have had a few well-meaning cis men express interest in submitting, I appreciate you guys, but Strangehouse focuses on uplifting the voices of women in horror).

Chromophobia refers to the irrational fear of/aversion to colors, but the stories can really do whatever you want with color. It does not have to exclusively focus on the fear of colors. I want writers to feel free to take the general theme in any direction they want, as long as it’s horror.

I am so excited to read the submissions for this. I love the way color can play such interesting, important parts in stories, especially with horror. Don’t be afraid to get weird here. I’m hoping to be surprised — as horror writers, we might tend to use colors like red and black often, so terrify me with pastels and watercolors, too! (Definitely not opposed to stories where red or black are the focus, though). I’d love to read stories of how colors are seen and used in different cultures and parts of the world. What would a world devoid of color be like? What if one color tried to take over other colors? Keep asking those “what if” questions and come up with something wonderful or horrifying or completely bizarre. Colors laced with poison. Historical horror. What will colors in the future look like?

Need some musical inspiration? I made a Color Theory playlist on Spotify!

Whether color is the main focus or something more subtle, really aim to have fun and tap into a story only you can tell. I want diverse stories from a plethora of writers, whether you have dozens of stories published or you’re seeking your first publication. I’ll be reading every single story to fill the slots — this is not one of those anthologies that’s already pre-filled with just one slot remaining (don’t even get me started on that subject…). While it will take me some time to go through all of the work, please know I read everything, consider it carefully, and really think about how the stories flow and fit together to carefully curate what I hope will be an incredible anthology.

The only thing I don’t like about editing is sending out rejections. Oh my god it’s awful. Sending rejections to people I know and consider friends and sending them out to anyone really is TERRIBLE. I hate it, but it’s part of the process. Please know in advance, my rejections are never personal. So many factors and decisions go into that final selection process, and even if your story doesn’t make it here, I have so much faith in everyone that your story will find a great home.

The only way to fail in writing is to quit altogether. Rejections aren’t fun for anyone, but it never ever means your worth as a writer is devalued. Persist.

Thank you so much for your time, for your trust in me as an editor, and for your support, always. I look forward to what the rest of the year brings!

Take care, friends.


Delicious Horror: StokerCon 2021 Bonus Drinks!

I recently had the fun opportunity to chat with my friends Cynthia Pelayo, Gaby Triana, and Nicholas Diak about making a few drinks worthy of a horror-filled weekend for virtual StokerCon. See what we mixed up below!

The wonderful Gaby Triana has contributed the tasty Bourbon Sour Blood Orange seen below. You can find the recipe she used here! Gaby also put everything together in a video over on her channel The Witch Haunt, you can find it here!


  • 1 oz blood orange juice
  • 2 1/4 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry

The lovely Cina Pelayo has mixed together two of my favorite things, vodka and coffee. I definitely need to try this! Enjoy the recipe below from Cina:

Unofficial StokerCon Coffee Martini Recipe 
2oz vodka of your choice, I used Kettle One
2oz coffee liqueur of your choice, I used Kahlua blonde roast style, rum & coffee liqueur
2-3 oz of chilled espresso
Add ingredients to shaker (with ice)
Add to chilled martini glass”

And next we have the King of Cocktails, Nick Diak! Nick makes some seriously creative drinks, and it’s always so fun to see what he’s up to.

From Nick: “This is, hands down, my favourite tiki drink.

.75 oz Lemon Hart 151 Rum
2 oz Lime Juice
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1.5 oz of Passion fruit syrup
.25 oz of Demerara Sugar Syrup
*.25 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1.5 of Denizen 8 Rum

*Demerara Sugar Syrup is a simple syrup made with Demerara Sugar. Simply dissolve 1 part sugar into 1 part water. Do 2 parts sugar to 1 part water to make Rich Demerara Sugar Syrup. 

Put all ingredients except the Lemon Hart 151 into a cocktail shaker. Add a few pebbles/bits of crushed ice. Shake until ice dissolves. Pour into a double rocks glass. Fill with crushed/pebble ice. Float the 151 rum on top. 
MOST AMAZING DRINK EVER. Dangerous and delicious.”

Oh, and me! I made what I’m calling the Sloe Bleed due to the Sloe Gin + if you spill this, it certainly bleeds everywhere. Not that I know that from experience…

Ingredients for the Sloe Bleed:

1.5 ounces Sloe Gin
.5 ounces Heering Cherry Liqueur
1 tsp lemon juice
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Shake together and then add on club soda and any desired ice — it should be nice and foamy!

If none of these float your boat down into Pennywise’s sewer, check out the other contributions over on Delicious Horror for some more drink and snack ideas that would be perfect for StokerCon weekend!

Strangehouse Books Seeks Submissions for Horror Anthology ‘CHROMOPHOBIA: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror’ — Rooster Republic Press

For immediate release. Please, feel free to share far and wide! CHROMOPHOBIA: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror This upcoming anthology will be edited by Bram Stoker Award-winner Sara Tantlinger and released by Strangehouse Books in the fall of 2022. From the editor: “The use of color in literature is something that has been studied, analyzed, and…

Strangehouse Books Seeks Submissions for Horror Anthology ‘CHROMOPHOBIA: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror’ — Rooster Republic Press

Press conference: “To be devoured”, Sara Tantlinger — Altavoz Cultural

with Verónica Cervilla – Sofía Guardiola – José Luis Pascual – José R. Montejano Verónica Cervilla: “For me it was Carrie by Stephen King what dragged me into the horror genre and I realized that was what I wanted to write. What book or short story did it for you? What made you fall into […]

Press conference: “To be devoured”, Sara Tantlinger — Altavoz Cultural

It’s been so lovely to see the reception of the Spanish version of To Be Devoured! Thank you to the amazing team at Altavoz Cultural for having me as a guest in their first international interview to chat about the book!

Delicious Horror: Patrick Tumblety

Welcome back to another amazing submission for Delicious Horror! Today I’m joined by Patrick Tumblety who has chosen to highlight the wonderfully talented Laurel Hightower and her novella, Crossroads. This novella is such a great example of Hightower’s talent and overall power with words. I was excited to see someone submit a post for Crossroads, and just wait until you see what Patrick has created! And if you feel inspired, find out how to submit a Delicious Horror post of your own here!

About Patrick:

“When I’m not baking with my daughter, I’m writing horror, science-fiction, and poetry. I have been featured in a variety of publications, including Tales of Jack The Ripper by Word Horde Press, Gothic Fantasy: Science-Fiction Anthology by Flame Tree Publishing, Fossil Lake, edited by Christine Morgan, and many other anthologies and magazines. My latest publication is in Ghost Orchid Press’s 100 Word Horror: Cosmos, releasing in May 2021. I currently live with my wife, daughter, and cat in Delaware.”

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

Crossroads by Laurel Hightower was the first book I read (listened to) in 2021, and it set the bar for horror (and non-horror) extremely high. I feel bad for every other book I will read this year.

Chris has lost her son to a tragic car accident at a local crossroads. When blood from a small cut on her finger is absorbed by the ground where she has built his memorial, an idea is absorbed into her mind. She knows the legend of the “Crossroads Demon,” where a deal can be made to grant a wish. What does she have left but to find out if the legend is true? She only has her life to trade – a price she’s more than willing to pay to resurrect her son.

There was not one decision Chris makes through her journey (downfall?) that I would make differently. The entire time she (and the reader) knows that her grief is driving her magical thinking, and yet what else does she have to do but take the chance? Laurel Hightower makes you feel just how terrifying it is to have nothing left to lose.

This is the kind of story that scares the HELL out of me. Horror borne from tragedy. Having to live through a world that doesn’t care what it has taken from you. I had trepidation about using this book as the subject for this post, since it’s such a realistic terror. The loss of a child is the most horrifying tragedy that could ever happen. Laurel handles this situation with compassion and honesty, and I by no means want to make light of the subject, rather, I’m using this post to celebrate the book as an incredible piece of horror literature. 

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

The story depicts burial and burrowing into the ground, so I already had an earthy taste on my tongue while reading it. For holiday parties, I like to make “dirt.”

I layer chocolate pudding, grounded up Reese’s cups, and green coconut shavings to make the dish look like a lawn. For Halloween, I include gummy skeletons in the bottom puddling layer and pumpkin-shaped candy corn on top to make a pumpkin patch. For easter, I hide chocolate eggs. For this book, I made the Crossroads. It’s a simple recipe that children have fun putting together, which makes the pairing with this story that much creepier!

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

The recipe for “dirt” is easy, which allows your imagination to be the main ingredient! I use chocolate instant-pudding for the base (dirt), and topped that with coconut shavings dyed green with food coloring. (You can place anything in between those layers as the “crust” – ground up Reese’s cups, pretzel sticks, heath bar, peanuts, etc). It’s that easy!

To make this Crossroads-inspired piece, I used chocolates from my local market that are candy-coated to look like rocks. My daughter and I picked out the brown rocks and then arranged them on top of the pudding to make the crossroads. We filled the rest of the surface in with the coconut shavings to make the grass. I made the memorial by piling rocks around a cross made of pretzel sticks, glued together by melted chocolate.

A dessert created in honor of Laurel Hightower’s Crossroads!

Thanks for reading! I’m always excited to dig into (pun intended) and spread the word about a great book. Hopefully, you too will find Crossroads a terrifying delicious read!

Thank you so much to Patrick for sharing this on Delicious Horror! Until Next time! Stay spooky and go create some tasty treats to honor your favorite authors and books. -Sara