Horror Writers Association

2023 Horror Writers Association Elections for Officers and Trustees


The HWA’s annual elections will soon be upon us. 

Up this year are four Trustee positions, as well as the offices of Vice President and Treasurer. 

Please read the statements of the following candidates carefully. Links to the ballot will be sent out on or around September 7, 2023 to our Active and Lifetime members, with a due date of September 16, 2023. 

The elected officers shall hold their respective offices for terms of two years, beginning on November 1 and ending on October 31.

Candidate Statement for Horror Writers Association VICE PRESIDENT

Lisa Wood (L. Marie Wood)

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to run for the office of Vice President of the Horror Writers Association. I am invigorated by the prospect of helping the organization continue to grow. I have been a member of the HWA since the early 2000s but have been writing psychological horror longer than that (publishing since the late 1990s; writing since the 1970s). A lover of the genre, I have been compelled to not only craft my own stories, screenplays, and poems, but to help others find their voices as well. I had a teacher in high school who consistently encouraged me to turn in the dark things I wrote for a grade—at the time he was only one of a handful of people who even knew I was a writer. He impacted my life more than I realized at the time; the encouragement and feedback he provided reinforced the idea that horror is a genre that I could be involved in and that there was nothing wrong with that. As a woman, it was important to me to be seen as a competent contributor to the literary canon. As a person of color being seen by another (this teacher was Southeast Asian), I felt the validation that my words could touch people who were different from me. These concepts still resonate with me today. 

My service has included the roles of editor (CyberPulp in the early 2000s, where I was lucky enough to share fresh voices with the horror community), mentor (in the HWA and in SFWA), sensitivity reader, course creator (I am the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, an online school dedicated to helping creatives hone their skills), and educator. My road to the last distinction I listed was interesting because I determined, after a number of years in the workforce, that I wanted to teach creative writing full time instead… but I didn’t have a degree that would support that effort. I worked as an IT Project Manager while earning an MFA and, subsequently, a Ph.D. in Creative Writing so that I could fulfill my dream of helping aspiring writers find their voices. My experiences in project management, where I managed lifecycle installations and acted as a customer liaison in a 24/7 capacity, as well as my work with students from all walks of life (I once taught a class with a 16-year-old and an 86-year-old enrolled!) in the postsecondary space has equipped me with the tools necessary to find a clear path, prioritize concerns, and communicate effectively and with compassion. 

I provide my bio below, as well as the detail above in the hopes that they show my passion for and dedication to the craft and the genre we love. I am and will always be a storyteller, one with a desire to help others tell their own stories. Serving as Vice President of the HWA would allow me to work in the capacity for which I am best suited—bringing institutional knowledge, as well as relationship building and organizational skills to bear on the professional organization that means so much to the horror community.


My bio: 

  1. Marie Wood is a Golden Stake Award-winning author, a MICO Award-winning screenwriter, a two-time Bram Stoker Award® Finalist, a Rhysling nominated poet, and an accomplished essayist. She writes high concept fiction that includes elements of psychological horror, mystery, dark fantasy, and romance. Wood has won Best Horror, Best Action, Best Afrofuturism/Horror/Sci-Fi, and Best Short Screenplay awards in both national and international film festivals. Wood has penned short fiction that has been published in groundbreaking works, including the anthologies Sycorax’s Daughters and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. She is also part of the 2022 Bookfest Book Award winning poetry anthology, Under Her Skin. Her nonfiction has been published in Nightmare Magazine and academic textbooks such as the cross-curricular, Conjuring Worlds: An Afrofuturist Textbook. Wood is the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, an English and Creative Writing professor, a horror scholar, and a frequent contributor to the conversation around the evolution of genre fiction. 


My website: www.lmariewood.com


Candidate Statement for Horror Writers Association TREASURER

Michael Knost

Michael Knost Candidate Statement for Horror Writers Association Treasurer

I’ve been an active member of the HWA for many years now and have had the honor of serving as trustee for the organization in the past. I have also served as the organization’s chair for the mentorship program. In fact, I was awarded the organization’s Silver Hammer Award in 2016 for recognition of my work in the role.

I am a two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning editor, author, and mentor. I was awarded the organization’s Mentor of the Year Award in 2021, and I was the recipient of the West Virginia Writers J.U.G. (Just Uncommonly Good) Award in 2017—the organization’s recognition for lifetime achievement. 

I come from a broadcasting background, where I managed radio stations as well as holding executive positions for broadcast radio and television companies and organizations. Yes, a lifetime of budgets and management.

I hope to be able to bring my years of corporate experience to help our expanding organization so as to prepare for upcoming growing pains.

Thank you for your consideration.

Michael Knost



Candidate Statements for Horror Writers Association BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Marc L Abbott

Photo: John F. Sheehan Photography (www.jfsheehanphoto.com)

June 22, 2023

I have been an active member of the HWA for 9 years. Since I joined the New York Chapter in 2014 and have been afforded opportunities to participate in many of the local chapter’s events such as readings, and volunteering to help run the table at several local conventions including NY Comic Con. I have been published in several anthologies including the most recent 2022 collection Even in the Grave. I donated my work to The Empire State of Fright anthology which raised money for the organization Girls Write Now. My participation in the HWA extends to the mentorship program and the annual Stokercon where I have moderated and taken part in panel discussions, read my work, and volunteered at the sign-in table. Most recently I ran a workshop for the first time for Horror University at this year’s Stokercon in Pittsburgh.

I took part in the HWA Mentorship Program as a mentor which was a rewarding experience. 

The reason I am running for Trustee is so that I can continue to contribute my time and talent to this organization on another tier. Last year I joined the HWA publication committee to help with the publications of new anthologies under the HWA. I feel this is just the beginning of furthering my time with the HWA and I want to do more. This organization has opened a lot of doors for me that I struggled to get through for a long time.  Many of the writers I have come to know in this community have been supportive of my work, encouraged me to take many leaps of faith, and offered their time to answer any questions I have. 

If I am chosen, I pledge to continue to make the Horror Writers Association a positive, influential, and productive organization for writers in the horror genre. I’ll listen to and assess all business matters, as well as participate in decision-making processes, with an open mind. Working together with the other elected bodies and committee chairs on ways that will make the HWA better as time goes on and be an advocate to all those within the HWA community.    

Since receiving my MFA in Creative Writing last fall, I have begun my teaching career in ELA and Creative writing to high school students at the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Charter School in the Bronx. Next year I will be working with students to create and run a speculative fiction book club to further introduce them to diverse forms of fiction. I am also continuing my workshop, Beyond the Tropes, with The Center for Fiction this fall. My most recent work can be found in the new anthology, Blackened Roots, that launched this month as well as the new magazine Soul Scream. You can read more about me and my work at www.whoismarclabbott.com.   


Patrick Barb

I am Patrick Barb. I’m a writer and reader of weird, dark, and spooky things. I am also a husband, a father of two boys (8 and 5), and a pet dad to a large pup who thinks she’s a lap dog. Finally, I’m a candidate for one of the Trustee positions.

As long I can remember (and maybe longer than that!) reading, writing, and storytelling from the darker side have all been important parts of my life. From being terrified of the witch in the Little Golden Book edition of Hansel & Gretel to the present where I have my first short-story collection coming in September and my first novel slated for 2024. While the frights have been a constant presence, it wasn’t until 2021 when I joined the HWA that I found a community and family with which to share my passion for all things morbid and macabre.

I’m running for one of the Trustee positions this election cycle because I believe in the power inherent in telling horror stories and sharing them with the world. As an organization, the HWA can and should be a welcoming and inclusive presence in the horror community and the wider speculative fiction world. My goal is to promote this idea in and through our esteemed organization.

Though I’ve been a member for a shorter time than many, I’ve worked to utilize the opportunities and resources provided by the organization from Day One. I’ve done so by attending StokerCons (both in-person and virtual), sitting in for town halls and general meetings and learning from those already in leadership and service positions, and by simply relishing time spent with my fellow writers. From our veterans to newer writers and allies, we have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and joy in the darkness, emanating from every person who joins the HWA.

In addition, I’ve participated in the mentorship program as a mentor for its last 3 sessions, with an earlier stint as a mentee when I joined the organization. Paying it forward to other writers and lovers of horror has been one of the most satisfying experiences in my professional writing career. Reading the stories and world views of others and helping them improve, to better share their voices is a joyful experience.

As Trustee, I’d collaborate with the Board to continue helping all our members to share their voices, to ensure everyone feels as though they have a seat at the table and a place on the bookshelf. Whether it’s making our long-standing members feel welcome and included (and never forgotten) or opening the doors and our arms wider to usher in and embrace new talent, I believe the work is good and necessary. Celebrating the success of one should feel like a celebration for us all.

In addition to my writing experience and time as an HWA member, I’d also bring 17+ years of editorial and book publishing experience, working in academic and trade publishing to acquire and develop projects with new authors, to the Trustee role. I’ve been on both sides of the table and will use that experience to advocate fiercely and effectively for members.

As horror writers, we understand there are monsters in the dark and that we should never split up. I hope you’ll allow me to stand by the firelight, inviting you to come closer, to warm yourselves, and to give us chills with your stories, the ones that you and you alone can tell.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

Brian Keene Candidate Statement

To All HWA Members, 

For the last twenty-five years, I have been blessed to work within our field as a writer, editor, showrunner, and scripter. This industry has introduced me to some of the best friends I have ever known, and to the love of my life — my wife. I have always felt an immense amount of love and gratitude toward our vocation and have done my best to defend it from unscrupulous agents, maleficent publishers, harassers, abusers, and others who mean us harm or are a blight upon our collective community. I have also been blessed with some giants for mentors, and have done my best to pay their generosity forward by mentoring and helping as many new writers as I can. With the last two administrations (John Palisano and John Edward Lawson, both backed by Vice President Meghan Arcuri), the Horror Writers Association has blossomed into the organization I’d always hoped it could be, and I am proud to be a member. As such, I would like to put my talents, my earned wisdom, my historical knowledge, and my fan’s heart to work directly for the HWA membership — and by that, I do mean all members, regardless of their status. It would be my sincere honor to serve you as a Trustee, if you’ll have me.

Lisa Kroger Candidate Statement

With this statement, I am formally announcing that I wish to run for my current trustee position with the HWA. I’ve been an active member in good standing of the HWA since 2019, but I’ve been a member of the organization since 2016. I’ve been a trustee for two years, and in that time, I’ve also acted as head of board. 

The HWA has been an important part of my journey as a horror writer. In 2017, I attended my first StokerCon, held that year on the Queen Mary. As a new writer, I was only able to attend because of an HWA scholarship; without that support, I don’t think I would’ve been able to make that trip. The next year, following the success of the first StokerCon, I went again—this time to Providence. Because of the HWA (and the organized pitch sessions), I was able to pitch to an editor at Quirk Books. That is how I published my first book, Monster, She Wrote, which would go on to win a Bram Stoker Award and a Locus Award. 

Knowing what the HWA can do for writers, I am committed to creating opportunities for writers, as well as promoting the genre that I love. To that end, I am also committed to being a voice for greater parity for women, writers of color, and LGBTQ writers. The HWA has done much for writers of fiction, but I would also like to bring a larger focus to other modes of horror, including nonfiction and film. In the past two years, I am pleased to see the work that the board has done to make diversity and inclusion a priority. It’s the work I am the most proud of–and the work I hope to continue. 

If I am re-elected, I will work hard to support the HWA in an inclusive way for all members. My strengths are positivity, organization, strong listening skills, and empathy, which I have used during my past time on the board and will use to the best of my ability as trustee, if elected.

In addition to my HWA board work, I have previously volunteered for the organization by serving on a jury for the Stoker Awards. I’ve contributed to the genre by editing two essay collections, written two women-in-horror compendiums, and hosted two podcasts dedicated to the horror genre. I also have a PhD in English Literature and Languages, with a focus on the Gothic novel. I taught at the university level for many years before I stepped away to write full time. The horror community is so important to me, and I hope to continue to work to serve the people who make it so wonderful. 

Brian W. Matthews Candidate Statement for Horror Writers Association Board of Trustees

I am running for reelection as a Trustee for the Horror Writers Association. 

I’m an active member of the HWA and have served on the Lifetime Achievement Award committee and as a juror for the Bram Stoker Awards®. I moderate the HWA’s StokerCon® Facebook page and currently serve on the HWA’s Mental Health Wellness Committee, the Crisis Management Committee. I also serve as the Bram Stoker Awards Show Coordinator and the Pitch Session Coordinator for StokerCon. I have acted as Chair or Co-Chair for three StokerCon conventions. In 2021, I received the Silver Hammer Award for outstanding volunteer service in the HWA.

For the past two years, I have work tirelessly to help advance the goals of the HWA, to advocate for inclusiveness among its members, and to promote horror in its most positive light. My background in both clinical psychology and financial planning have aided me in providing valuable insights into the various issues that confront the organization.

In short, I believe I have made a difference and would like to continue making a difference.

I would appreciate your support and your vote.

Angela Yuriko Smith:

Dear members of the Horror Writers Association,

I am submitting my candidacy for re-election to the position of Trustee on our Association’s board. I am driven by a love for our genre and a commitment to the writers who bring it to life.

When I originally ran for this position I expected it to be an uneventful two years of volunteering. Instead, this board has faced some of the most difficult issues I’ve ever been up against in my entire career as a writer which spans two decades of freelance journalism and over a decade in fiction and poetry.

If re-elected, I will continue to stay attuned to the evolving landscape of horror literature and do my part to ensure that our association continues to reflect the industry’s changes, a vital part of the overall mission to promote and protect horror literature, its authors, and its fans. I am excited about the potential for growth, innovation, and even more engaging narratives in the future.

My vision for our association is one of inclusivity, creativity, and shared passion for the genre we love. I will continue to champion our members, assist in creating more opportunities for them, and strive to make our association a powerful platform where horror writers feel seen, heard, and supported.

Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Angela Yuriko Smith

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