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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

New Site, New Merch, New Anthology! — Rooster Republic Press

After about two straight weeks of 24/7 work, telephone conversations, and troubleshooting… the website redesign and re-launch is complete! Talk about a Sisyphean task. And while there were days were we wanted to pull our hair out, we have to say that we are very happy with the results. We hope you take time to…

New Site, New Merch, New Anthology! — Rooster Republic Press

Announcing CHROMOPHOBIA: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women in Horror. More submission guidelines forthcoming! I’ll be seeking horror stories inspired by colors! Get those ideas brewing, ladies, and we’ll chat more soon!

The use of color in literature is something that has been studied, analyzed, and written about for decades. Think of classics like “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe. Descriptions of color can entirely change a story’s atmosphere and tone; the imagery can lull us into safety or sickness. I’m looking for stories that use color in creative, unconventional ways. Terrify me with pastels. Use watercolors to invoke dread. Take a classic trope and redye it into something unique. I also welcome stories of chromophobia, stories with characters who have never seen color or who are color blind, or who deal with visual disabilities. You do not have to use the color in your title — I don’t want a hundred stories titled ‘Red’ in my inbox 🙂 Feel free to run wild with these guidelines; the interpretation of the theme is yours, just make sure it’s horror/speculative fiction.

National Poetry Month: Open Markets!

Happy National Poetry Month! To help celebrate, I put together a list of paying poetry markets that you can find below. Make sure to always read the guidelines carefully as some issues are seeking pieces about certain themes and have specific rules — and also read the issues and zines before submitting so you can understand what the editors are looking for!

Also, ICYMI, the absolutely wonderful Ladies of Horror Fiction hosted a guest post of mine on their website where I talked about poetry, what April means to me, some inspiring women in poetry, and I created a list of poetry prompts. Check it out!

Genre: (Horror, Speculative Fiction, Fantasy, Myth, Fairytale)

Under Her Skin, a Black Spot Books Women in Horror Poetry Showcase –Deadline, May 31st

http://www.liminalitypoetry.com/submission-guidelines/ –Deadline, May 31st

HWA Poetry Showcase (only open to HWA members of all levels) –Deadline, May 31st

http://departuremirror.com/guidelines/ –Deadline, April 30th

https://cosmicrootsandeldritchshores.com/submissions/ –Open the first and second day of every month (read guidelines for specific times and such)

https://www.lastgirlsclub.com/submit — Submissions will be accepted from Jan 1-Feb 1, April 1-May 1, July 1-Aug 1, Oct 1-Nov 1. (make sure to check the themes for each issue)

Brigids Gate — Seeking Greek myths from HER POV; deadline August 31st

https://www.fairytalemagazine.com/p/submissions.html#.YGyL_C2ZPOR –Submissions window opens during very specific times, make sure to read the guidelines

Fantasy Magazine –typically opens the 1st-7th of each month

The Needle Drops –Temporarily closed but expected to open again before May1st (read here)

Black Telephone Magazine –Submissions open from June 1st – June 30th

Black Cat Magazine –A new zine, not to be confused with the well-known mystery magazine of the same name. Theme: Revolution; deadline May 3rd

Eye to the TelescopeEye to the Telescope 41, Indigenous Futurisms, will be edited by Tiffany Morris. “This call is intended for Indigenous writers worldwide.” Deadline June 15th

Sanitarium Magazine –Deadline May 30th

Literary:

https://arcpoetry.ca/submit/ Arc has two reading periods: submissions received from April 1 to July 31 will be read for the Winter issue and submissions received from September 1 to December 31 will be read for the Summer issue

https://pleaseseeme.com/submissions/ –The theme for Summer 2021 Issue #8 is Rest & Recovery; Deadline May 15, 2021

https://www.jewishbookcouncil.org/paper-brigade/submissions –“The pub­li­ca­tion is com­prised of arti­cles, inter­views, per­son­al essays, fic­tion, poet­ry, pho­tog­ra­phy, and illus­tra­tions that, togeth­er, high­light the breadth and diver­si­ty of Jew­ish books today.” For poetry, deadline is April 30th

https://greenbottlepress.com/submission-guidelines/ –Deadline April 30th “Green Bottle Press is looking for work by poets who write in English and who have not yet published a pamphlet or full collection, though we occasionally consider new work by more established poets.”

https://funicularmagazine.submittable.com/submit — “We are a Canadian magazine and we want to publish Canadian voices, but don’t be shy if you aren’t Canadian. We love sharing international writers with our readers too.” Free submissions end on April 14th

http://www.scum-mag.com/submit-to-scum/ — “Submissions to Scum are open the first week (from the 1st to the 7th) of every month. The rest of the month, submissions are closed.”

Night Coffee Lit –No deadline listed, submissions open now

NECTAR — “Writers will receive a $10 reward for publication, or they may elect to donate their winnings to select charities, in which case NECTAR will DOUBLE the contribution!” –Deadline May 31st

Brink LiteraryBrink has two reading periods: February 1 – April 30 and July 1 – September 30. 

Guest Post: Decant Your Chaos—The Power of Poetry by Sara Tantlinger — Ladies of Horror Fiction

The first tattoo I ever had inked on me several years ago ended up being lines from Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night”—a poem that is thought to have been written about his father, so it’s no wonder that I found myself continually drawn back into those lines. I decided to…

Guest Post: Decant Your Chaos—The Power of Poetry by Sara Tantlinger — Ladies of Horror Fiction

Horrormance Recommendations

When I finished my poetry collection Love For Slaughter back in 2016, I had no idea how to send out this collection of what I dubbed “horrormance” to markets. Luckily, my macabre little creation found a home with StrangeHouse Books and was published in 2017, but the term horrormance has stuck with me ever since. To me, a work of horrormance is mainly horror, but with strong romance (or erotica) elements that help drive the plot. I love reading works that combine these elements, and this February I wanted to share some of my favorites with you!

Plus, since it’s my website, I’m allowed to self-promote — so if you haven’t checked out Love For Slaughter yet, come step into my laboratory where kisses bleed and lovers drive each other to madness.

*NOTE: This list is not meant to be conclusive (or gigantic). I just want to highlight a few that I have enjoyed — please feel free to recommend more in the comments! I’m always down for reading more horrormance.

I want to begin with two anticipated reads before I get into the recommendations.

Anticipated Reads:

A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson: As a huge Dracula fan, I absolutely cannot resist this one! Dowry just released at the end of January! I’ll be ordering a copy ASAP, and I cannot wait to read it.

Synopsis: “A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation. Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets. With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.”

Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper — I want to thank Hailey so much because I asked her if she could share a little insight into her forthcoming debut novel and what role horrormance plays. Here’s what Hailey had to say:

“QUEEN OF TEETH chews at horromance when it thrusts together from page 1 Yolanda ‘Yaya’ Betancourt and Docia ‘Doc’ Hall. Shortly after a hookup where Yaya bleeds in Doc’s bed, it seems their paths aren’t again to cross until Yaya’s discovery inside her body sends her running from dangerous authorities. Sex and bloodshed paint hers and Doc’s relationship, and both assert there’s nothing more to it, but as Yaya’s condition takes on startling new elements, both must confront whether they really mean that distance or if maybe their individual troubles and trauma keep them from facing what else might be growing between them. A monster? Love? Or something stranger that’s a little of both?”

WOW. I need this book right now. Thank you for the teaser, Hailey!

Recommendations:

Deathless by Catherynne Valente: One of my favorite books of all time. I adore Valente’s work so much. Deathless combines dark fantasy, Russian folklore, and an intense, twisted relationship between Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless. This gorgeous, wicked book has some of the most beautiful lines that I still think about all the time.

Two of my favorite quotes from Deathless:

“You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut, just that fast.” 

“I do not tolerate a world emptied of you. I have tried. For a year I have called every black tree Marya Morevna; I have looked for your face in the patterns of the ice. In the dark, I have pored over the loss of you like pale gold.” 

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo: What a stunning book. The atmosphere, world-building, character arcs, and overall storytelling were all things I adored. This one contains more quiet horror and darkness, but those moments are nonetheless powerful as we follow Li Lan through historical Malacca, and then through a spirit world ruled in both intrigue and terror.

From the synopsis: “After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever…”

Nightbird by David Busboom: A quick read full of rich prose, elements of the Lilith myth, and a great balance of terror and sexy. Interesting arcs and raw characters who I quickly became invested in. It looks like this book is currently out of print, but maybe the author has a few copies on hand.

Synopsis: “Sixteen-year-old Isaac just wanted to see a midnight movie. He didn’t expect to meet the woman of his dreams: more beautiful, mature, and intelligent than any of Isaac’s high-school crushes, and (best of all) willing to fulfill his fantasies! So what if she didn’t have a computer, a phone, a car, or a job? So what if she shares an isolated farmhouse with a half-dozen insatiable, love-crazed people, all aching for her attention? She was ready and willing.”

You and Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes, with the third book in the series on the way! You Love Me is scheduled to hit shelves in April, and I can’t wait. I absolutely love this series — if you’ve only watched the Netflix show and haven’t read the books yet, trust me, you NEED to read the books! Kepnes’ writing style is addictive, laced with brilliant dark humor as we follow Joe on his twisted journey to manipulate, terrorize, and consume the women who have captured his sick heart.

Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts edited by Louise Zedda-Sampson and Chris Mason: I do have a few poems in this one, but it’s a charity collection for the Red Cross bushfire appeal, and fits so perfectly with the horrormance theme! With both poetry and prose, the anthology offers a little something for everyone, and it’s for such a great cause! I also really love the cover art by Luke Spooner! Featuring work by James Dorr, Michael Arnzen, Erik Hofstatter, Nadja Maril, Kurt Newton, Claire Fitzpatrick and many more.

Cats Like Cream by Renee Miller: This is a wild piece of long fiction that holds nothing back. I love this book — the dark humor, the sick plot, the pacing….Miller is a fabulous writer.

Synopsis: “It’s okay to watch. Watching hurts no one, as long as you don’t touch.
Elwin likes to watch. His position as star employee at a real estate agency gives him plenty of access to the homes of his clients. A camera or two hidden where no one will find it, and he can watch as often as he pleases. No one knows. No one gets hurt. But it’s hard to look without touching. Touching leads to bad things. Elwin knows this, but allows himself a moment of weakness. And then another. Soon, watching isn’t an option anymore. Not if Elwin wants his secrets to remain buried.”

Needless to say, this book goes in directions I was not expecting, and I could not put it down. I don’t want to give too much away since it’s a quick read, but definitely pick it up during this horrormance season!

Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite: This one probably isn’t a shocker since I talk about the book all the time, but it’s pretty hard to forget after you read it. There are certain scenes that have haunted me, and at the same time, have probably helped influence my writing style. I’d recommend looking up the content warnings for this one, because it definitely isn’t for everyone, but I absolutely love this book.

Synopsis: “To serial slayer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the sole ambition of bringing his “art” to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, and drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertently joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his “art” to limits even Compton hadn’t previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim.”

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: Most of you have probably read the book (or watched the movie), but I’m a big fan of all of Flynn’s work, and this sick novel definitely belongs on a horrormance list. From the synopsis: “With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.”

Quote from Gone Girl: “I was told love should be unconditional. That’s the rule, everyone says so. But if love has no boundaries, no limits, no conditions, why should anyone try to do the right thing ever? If I know I am loved no matter what, where is the challenge?”

Sed de Sangre by V. Castro: Three short tales of erotic horror that were such a blast to read. Bloodlust, vampires, clever women who know what they want and how to get it…Castro’s writing is hypnotic, and these sexy tales will lure you deep into their wicked worlds.

Quote from Sed de Sangre: “Two humans, I can’t say what gender, race, or age because they are nearly stripped to the bone. It doesn’t really matter who you are in this state. We are all like this underneath it all and at birth; blind, writhing meat.”

This last one I want to mention before moving on to some poetry recs (keep scrolling to see these!) is likely difficult to find anymore (at least a physical copy) since it was part of a kickstarter, but if you’re familiar with NBC’s Hannibal series, the super-fans who love “Hannigram” (the shipping of Hannibal and Will Graham) created a beautiful anthology. Raw is such a stunning example of the power of fanfiction and fan art — around 50 writers and artists contributed to the book. Don’t ever underestimate the power of Fannibals! I’ve included some photos from my copy below.

Poetry:

Crush by Richard Siken: One of my favorite poetry collections ever. I come back to Siken’s words all the time. They’re stunning.

Synopsis: “Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism.”

Quote from Crush:

“Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.”

The Demeter Diaries by Marge Simon and Bryan D. Dietrich: A striking collection that draws inspiration from Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula’s deadly courtship. Each poem holds its own beautiful tale dotted with blood and danger, yet the poems play off one another perfectly. The collection flows the way a prose story does, which I think heightens its appeal to poetry lovers and those who don’t read as much poetry alike. No matter where you stand, pick up this stunning collection of love, lust, darkness, and macabre beauty. One of my favorite collections of poetry I’ve read in years. Also the artwork included within the collection is gorgeous! 

“I want to sing inside you the way the dead / sing inside the sea, the way the last red / owl glows within the trunk of the last blasted tree” 

If You Died Tomorrow I Would Eat Your Corpse by Wrath James White: Brutal and gorgeous, this collection mostly features erotic horror poems and be warned, it’s not for everyone. But if you’re willing to take a dive into something with no boundaries, something that creatively plays with blood and romance, take a deep breath and wade into White’s gritty, writhing collection.

ForthcomingLost Letters to a Lover’s Carcass by Ronald J. Murray — I had the opportunity to read this one early, and it’s such a beautiful, dark, powerful collection. It truly is a strong followup to Murray’s Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower. Keep this one on your radar! The cover reveal actually just happened two days ago, and it’s quite striking, so go check it out!!

Bonus Things!

*A short story by Kathryn McGee. I love Kathryn’s writing, and this creepy short really delivers. I can’t say too much without giving anything away, but make sure to check out “Any Given Night” over on Kelp Journal. There’s so much about the story that’s deeply unsettling, and it’s just wonderfully written.

*Horrormance music? I’ve got you covered. Check out the Love For Slaughter playlist I made over on Spotify.

*Movie Rec: Only Lovers Left Alive

*Check out some witchy valentine cards by The Pickety Witch Shop or some cute & spooky pop-up cards and other goodies by Venus Complete

From Venus Complete
From The Pickety Witch Shop

2020 Recap

Usually I enjoy doing end-of-the-year recaps, but as with so much this year, I really had to force myself to do it because my heart just isn’t in it. I’m beyond tired and burned out (hello fellow adjunct instructors out there), but I still had some cool things happen this year, so I want to remember those. I’m not sure what 2021 holds in store, in terms of you know, the world, or for me personally, but I guess all any of us can do is take it one day at a time, be kind to each other, and maintain hope for a better future. Also, a huge thank you to all essential workers and anyone who has to go into work and cannot stay home. You are beyond appreciated.

Before lockdown, I was on a road trip in February and went to see Graffiti Highway in Centralia, PA (which I think is now filled over in dirt?). I had no idea that would be my last road trip of the year besides going to local trails and parks, so I’m grateful I got to have that exploration on the other side of the state. I also spent some time in Jim Thorpe and it was the most whimsical little place. The town filled my brain with all kinds of story ideas, and I really hope to go back there one day.

Writing News Recaps:

  • Both books were featured alongside K.P. Kulski’s amazing debut novel, Fairest Flesh, in the December Night Worms package! It’s been so neat seeing all the photos of the books.
Photo by Ashley (@spookishmommy)
  • I was a guest on one of my favorite podcasts — This Is Horror! I’m not sure when the episode will be out, but I had a lot of fun chatting with Michael David Wilson and Bob Pastorella
  • I sold 12 poems, two flash fictions, and one short story, most of which are hopefully updated on my Publications page. I was particularly excited to have a story narrated on The Wicked Library.
  • I began the Delicious Horror series on my blog and had so much fun with it. Submissions are always open if you have a love for baking/cooking/mixology and horror! Thank you again to everyone who participated and who has submitted
  • I was on a panel titled “The History and Future of Women in Horror” also featuring Gwendolyn Kiste, Kathe Koja, and Michelle Lane, and hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Archives & Special Collections– I loved listening to my fellow panelists and was really inspired by this conversation
  • Earlier in the year, To Be Devoured was nominated for a 2019 Stoker Award in Long Fiction, and won the 2019 Ladies of Horror Fiction Award for Novella! Also, edits for the forthcoming Spanish translation of the book are ongoing with the amazing Dilatando Mentes Editorial!
  • I was so honored to appear on the 10 Weird Writers to Save us All list by Silent Motorist Media alongside so many writers I admire!
  • I co-organize the HWA Pittsburgh Chapter and enjoyed our online meetings this year, but I miss seeing our chapter in person so much! We held a spooky reading in October which was a blast
  • I blurbed a lot of books and wrote a few introductions (and a lot of reviews on Goodreads) — things I very much enjoyed doing, but I’m going to have to cut back on that in 2021 because I really need to catch up on my own projects
  • I appeared in a coloring book of horror authors! This awesome project was done by the very talented Cassie Daley — and you can find the coloring book here
  • I’m positive I’m forgetting a few things, so I’ll just say how grateful I am to my writing friends, whether we’ve met in person yet or not, and everyone else who has helped make this year not so awful
  • I explored a lot of trails around the local area, which was not only fun but really helped keep me sane (some of my pictures below)

What will 2021 be like? Not a clue, but I am quite happy to see 2020 go at any rate. Stay safe everyone, and I so look forward to seeing you all in person again someday!

Cheers,
Sara

Horror for the Holidays 2020

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

I first put together a Horror for the Holidays list last year — check out the creators from last year below since I definitely wanted to include their amazing work again, and then all the additional ones I added (shout-out to everyone who sent me recommendations, too!) below that.

From last year’s list: (check out this link to see photos and more from last year)

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!

7Fetishes — Artwork, original drawings and paintings

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

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

Velvet Hand Designs — Gorgeous artwork, original illustrations

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

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

Dark Delicacies — Books, clothes, collectibles, and more

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

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

Horror Decor — Home decor

A Stranger Dream — Bookmarks, prints, and more 

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

New This Year

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.”

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.”

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 — also featuring a BLM Donation Bath Bomb

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.

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

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?)

Black Nook: Handmade spooky wallets, wristlets, and more

Shayna J. Feinstein Arts

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)

Ghost Girl Greetings

South Street Mart

Ihdar

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!

Misc.

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

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

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:

I created this list last year as well, but have since added to it!

Strangehouse Books & Rooster Republic Press Design Services

Scary Dairy Press

Raw Dog Screaming Press

Journalstone

Crystal Lake Publishing 

Unnerving

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!