Horror Writers Association Blog

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Halloween Haunts: Stoker Spotlight Interview with Joe McKinney

Joe McKinney is the recipient of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Novel for Flesh Eaters.

1. How would you describe Flesh Eaters?

Flesh Eaters is sort of difficult to characterize.  It’s a zombie novel, for example, but it’s also a classic disaster tale and a crime story.  I didn’t intend for it to merge so many different genres, but that’s how it came out.  On another level, Flesh Eaters is part of my Dead World series, which so far includes Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead, Mutated, and a handful …

Halloween Haunts: Setting the Record Straight–The Horror Writer as Truth-Seeker by David Sakmyster

Sometimes horror writers have big egos. It goes with the territory: we are entrusted with the godlike power to instill fear, to make mere mortals quake with terror, or at the very least, be too afraid to sleep without the light on. It’s a noble profession stretching back to ancient days of bedtime tales by firelight while real terrors prowled around in the night. But sometimes, as a writer you find yourself faced with a greater calling. A chance to couple your talents with all those skills you’ve learned at conferences, classes and organizations like the HWA, to promote and …

Halloween Haunts: In a Gulf Coast Graveyard by James Kendley

I found something in a cemetery last Halloween season.

I want to tell you what it is. You know I want to, but we must stroll through this cemetery first.

Don’t worry. It will be nice. It’s a very pleasant spot, right around the corner from my childhood home. It’s quaint and understated, something less than an acre cradling the mortal remains of a few hundred souls.

The whole is bound on the south and west by an eight-foot brick wall and on the north and east by wrought iron fencing painted forest green. The whole is overarched by mature …

Halloween Haunts: The Age of Halloween By Helen Marshall

Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays.

This is an oddity because, growing up, I was a particularly frightened child: the kind of kid who clings to cotton bedsheets at three in the morning as some kind of foolproof protection against the unknown, who would rather make a running leap onto the mattress than place a delicate foot within one meter of the dark space under the bed. The kind of kid who had learned the fine art of rationalizing away the inexplicable noises, the tricks of light and shadow. I couldn’t watch scary movies. Ghost stories left …

Halloween Haunts: The Unknown by Max Booth III

Quick, what is more scary: Freddy Krueger’s burnt, ugly face, or the sound of his knives scrapping against a boiler room wall? Why is it that we are still obsessed over Jack the Ripper, a century after the fact, when we hardly give the Unabomber any thought at all? How come children need to sleep with the light on, when a monster could just as easily eat them without the darkness?

It’s because the unknown will always be more scary than the known. With Freddy’s face, at least we can see him, at least we know what he looks like. …

Halloween Haunts: The Devil’s Path by Douglas Wynne

I grew up in a pretty typical suburban town on Long Island. We didn’t have any haunted houses or creepy graveyards in Smithtown—you had to drive all the way to Amityville for a look at the famous haunted house—so I’m afraid I can’t regale you with a non-fiction story of a spooky Halloween.  But I can tell you about the most enchanted Halloween I’ve witnessed, and that was in upstate New York, when I moved to Woodstock for a couple of years in the late nineties to work at a recording studio there.

Woodstock is well known for weirdness.  The …

Halloween Haunts: My First Horror Book by Teresa Lo

I grew up a shy, homely nerd in a small town in Kansas. There wasn’t a ton of stuff for me to do in my community and my strict Chinese parents wouldn’t let me go out much anyway, so I spent the majority of my childhood sheltered up in my house, reading books or spending hours in front of the television. The few times I was forced outside, I often encountered various degrees of racism, which only further made me not want to interact with the real world.

On the Halloween of the year that I was six, I was …

Halloween Haunts: A Slice of the Southeast Asian Underworld and Spirits of Laos by Bryan Thao Worra

“When the water rises, the fish eat the ants; when the water falls, the ants eat the fish.”- Traditional Lao Proverb

Laos isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to international fear and horror.  But whether your tastes are for the supernatural or otherwise, Laos has many surprises for those willing to look, from secret wars to eerie ghosts and weretigers.

Laos is a country of 6 million people, the size of Great Britain and a little bigger than Minnesota. But from a literary standpoint it is still largely terra incognita. Many readers became familiar with Laos …

Halloween Haunts: Those Damn Horror People by Eric Miller

I’ve been immersed in the horror world since I was a child, from sneaking into movies I was way too young to watch, to staying up on Saturday nights and watching the latest gems from horror host Sammy Terry, to attending conventions when I was a bit older, and moving on to working on a slew of horror films in an twenty-plus year movie career and finally in my latest pastime of horror anthology publisher and editor.

I’ve seen, heard, and read heads being chopped off, limbs ripped from sockets, people being stalked and haunted, sprays of arterial blood splattering …

Halloween Haunts: Beneath the Veil of Flesh and Blood by Greg Chapman

Being from Australia, a land where celebrations centre more on sport than the change of seasons, I never had the pleasure of indulging in trick or treating. I knew of Halloween from seeing it on US television shows growing up, but it just wasn’t practised in Australia. “It was an American thing”.

That’s not to say that no one in Australia celebrates Halloween, but I’d hazard a guess that those that do are in the minority. However, I have over the past few years, seen a return to Halloween, but its re-emergence seems to be sadly rooted in commerciality.

As …

Halloween Haunts: Every Day Is Halloween by Peter Salomon

Little known fact: my due date was Oct. 31, 1967. Unfortunately, I ended up being three days late so even though I do not have a Halloween birthday, I was supposed to and, to be blunt, Nov. 3 is close enough. Growing up, every birthday party was associated with the holiday, whether it was the costumes or the Halloween-themed invitations or even just the ever-present piles of candy collected on the holiday itself. My birthdays were always candy-filled celebrations and I have vivid memories of dumping pillow cases filled with candy into the middle of a ravenous horde of young …

Halloween Haunts: Stoker Spotlight Interview with John Skipp

John Skipp is the recipient of the 2011 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in an Anthology for Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed.

1. How would you describe Demons: Encounters with the Devil and his Minions, Fallen Angels and the Possessed?

JS: I’d describe it as a book with an absurdly long title… (laughs) …which also happens to contain a staggering array of tragic, terrifying, haunting, hilarious, insanely great fiction on the subject at hand, by some of the finest writers ever to tackle the tropes.

Mostly, of course, it’s …

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