Horror Writers Association

Mental Health Initiative

HOLISTIC HORRORS: An interview with Dave Jeffery

Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health.

An interview with Dave Jeffery

Today on Holistic Horrors I have the privilege to interview my HWA Wellness Committee co-chair, Dave Jeffery, about his short story, “A Latent Lament for Heather Menzies”, which appears in Strange Tales of Terror (editor Eugene Johnson from Independent Legions). In the story the protagonist suffers from late-stage dementia, including aphasia and immobility. It’s a tough topic, and one Dave treats with sensitivity and poignancy.

Thanks for joining us, Dave.


REVIEW: The Children of Red Peak by Craig Dilouie

Novel Review by Sheri White

Plot Summary:

David, Deacon, and Beth were friends as children, all three living on a compound. Although run by a man of strong faith and a belief in God, the kids lead a relatively normal life. Then the leader, Jeremiah Peele, goes to check out the scene of a miracle he heard about. He takes the miracle as a sign the apocalypse is imminent. The commune moves to the mountain, now becoming an apocalypse cult. The children’s lives change drastically for the worse. They live in shacks, half starving, no school, no playing. Just praying …

REVIEW: Whalefall by Daniel Kraus

cover art for the novel WHALEFALLUpon receiving the highest recommendation from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Daniel Kraus’ novel, WHALEFALL, was reviewed by the HWA’s Mental Health Initiative Notable Works readers.

On its surface, WHALEFALL is a story of Jay Gardiner, a young man swallowed by a sperm whale. His determination to escape the whale is charted on one timeline, while the backstory of significant life events is traced on another. Jay is Jonah, his old self annihilated in the belly of the beast, and his biblical journey becomes something deeply personal. The dive is not just into the ocean, but into the unexplored …


Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health.

Henry Corrigan is a bestselling author, husband, father, and bisexual creative who loves to write every kind of story. His debut horror novel, A Man in Pieces, won the Silver Medal from Literary Titan and went to #1 in U.S. Horror Fiction on Amazon. Always an avid reader, Henry started writing poetry in middle school, but it wasn’t until he started writing erotica in high school that he really learned the mechanics of writing. What started out as private stories and love letters, soon became publications in anthologies. As a member of the …

Notable Works from the Mental Health Initiative


There is an established link between mental health stigma and poor recovery from mental illness. Stigma is hurtful and demeaning, and drives those who experience it to isolate themselves and deters them from talking about their issues. This, in turn, fosters a climate of deterioration and impedes recovery. Therefore, it is important that, as writers of horror, we recognise this when depicting mental illness in our work.

The primary purpose of the Notable Books initiative is to provide the HWA membership with examples of genre literature that balance high quality storytelling with sensitivity and understanding when depicting mental illness …

REVIEW: Riptide by Dan Rabarts

Short story review by Lee Murray

A multiple winner of the Australian Shadows and Sir Julius Vogel Awards, Kiwi Dan Rabarts (Ngāti Porou) is well known in Antipodean horror circles, his body of work comprising novels, novellas, short fiction, screenplays, and poetry. Of these, his short story, “Riptide”, which appears in Simon Dewar’s anthology Suspended in Dusk II (2018, Grey Matter Press), is arguably his most powerful work and my personal favourite. Perhaps the story appeals to me because it is set on a nameless beach in Aotearoa, somewhere that I might have walked myself, or …

REVIEW: Serpent’s Wake by L.E. Daniels

Novel review by Dave Jeffery

After twelve years trapped in the throat of a serpent, a girl escapes. She returns to her village naked with a monstrous snakeskin trailing behind her. One decision at a time, she reclaims her life. Each character she encounters by land and sea—brute, healer, orphan, mystic, lover—reflects an unhealed aspect of herself and plots her recovery through symbolic milestones. Serpent’s Wake is intended for adults and young adults exploring how, once fractured, we may mend.

As a reader there comes a time when you become so mesmerised in a story, …


Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health.


Cindy O’Quinn is a four-time HWA Bram Stoker Award-nominated writer. Born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, now living and writing on the old Tessier Homestead in northern Maine.


Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health

An interview with L.E Daniels

This month on Holistic Horrors, the Wellness Committee is pleased to welcome author-editor L.E. Daniels (Lauren Elise) to talk about her novel Serpent’s Wake: A Tale for the Bitten, a beautiful and powerful novel which addresses themes of mental illness and recovery.

A Rhode Islander living in Australia, Lauren Elise Daniels earned her MFA in Creative Writing with Emerson College in the 1990s. Her novel, Serpent’s Wake: A Tale for the Bitten was published in 2018. With Geneve Flynn, she co-edited Aiki Flinthart’s legacy anthology, Relics, Wrecks


Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health.

By Maria Alexander

February 14, 2005

That was the day it first happened. I only remember it because it was Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t dating anyone. I hadn’t yet met the man who would someday become my husband, but I would in a week. I hadn’t yet even met the Frenchman I would date for three years who would take me to France for a year. That would happen in a couple of weeks.

No, something far more hellish happened first.

I was driving to work that morning from my …

MHI: Why Mental Health representation in SFFH matters

Trigger Warning: This article addresses mental health.

Why Mental Health representation in SFFH matters
By Penny Jones

Recently, I had the privilege of moderating the Fantasycon 2022 panel on mental health in SFFH with my panellists David Green and Tej Turner. And although I was both hung over and nervous as hell, my panellists at least were erudite and insightful, talking at length about both their personal and professional experiences of mental health in genre fiction. As always with these panels, an hour never seems long enough and I probably only managed to get through half of the questions I …

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