Horror Writers Association Blog

Officer Election Statements 2019


Our next election takes place August 1st, 2019, with the ballots closing August 15th, 2019. We have a diverse and strong list of candidates for our open Trustee positions. Vice President and Treasurer positions are running unopposed and will continue in their roles officially for the next two years. Candidate statements follow.

Thank you all,

John Palisano
President, Horror Writers Association


Vice President

Meghan Arcuri

Meghan Arcuri

My name is Meghan Arcuri, and I’m running for Vice President of the Horror Writers Association.

Let’s start with some straight talk: I didn’t start writing until eight years ago, and I didn’t start writing horror until seven and a half years ago. My path simply didn’t take me that way. Although I had double-majored in math and English, my job choices after graduation leaned toward the math side. I started out in marketing, then happily moved to teaching high school math. I got married, had kids, and became a stay-at-home parent. It’s a job as challenging as it is rewarding. But it offered me the kind of time I needed to read and read and read, and at some point eight years ago, I thought, “I could totally write a book.” And after six months of trying, I thought, “Can I really write a book?”

That was when I first attended Borderlands Boot Camp. Not only did I learn how to wrangle my prose, I also met a group of truly amazing people. Horror people.

At the Boot Camp, Tom Monteleone, Paul Wilson, and Doug Winter teach you many things, including aim high and there’s enough pie for everyone and pick a better verb.

To me, aiming high speaks of education, there’s enough pie for everyone speaks of inclusivity, and picking a better verb speaks of the passion and determination of writers. If I am lucky enough to be elected Vice President, these three ideas will be my priorities.

Already Aiming High
I have been a member of the HWA since December 2013. During that time, I have watched the leadership—which has included people like Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton, and John Palisano—aim high for our organization and its members. They have offered us various scholarship opportunities and the Mentorship Program. They introduced StokerCon. Just recently, with the help of the board, Lisa and John have overseen spectacular initiatives, including Summer Scares, The Seers’ Table, and the Mental Health Awareness Month blogs.

One theme in these initiatives is education. The HWA offers its members many opportunities to learn and grow as writers.

Education has always been important to me. My father taught high school for forty years; my mother ran for the school board a number of times. Even after I stopped teaching, I couldn’t stay away from it: I have done multiple scary story workshops at my children’s school. I love teaching. To be able to convey information in a concise and easy manner, to watch understanding dawn on a student’s face, and to help him/her grow as a person are some of the highlights.

Education is a big part of aiming high. As Vice President, I would use my background in education to bolster the programs we have and advance new ones that will add to this solid foundation.

Cherry Pie? Apple Pie? All the pie! For all the people!
For the past two years, I have volunteered for StokerCon (Providence and Grand Rapids) as both the social media coordinator and the sponsorship coordinator.

Both positions allowed me to interact with many different people in the horror community on many different levels. Those interactions were a pleasure. When people work together toward a common goal—in our case, advancing horror and dark literature—positive energy is created. That energy bled into just about every aspect of both conventions, including the programming, the readings, Horror University, and Final Frame. (Having two calm, intelligent people at the helm—Jim Chambers and Brian Matthews, respectively—doesn’t hurt, either.) As a result, the feedback was tremendous. Inclusivity seemed to be a common thread. People of all different walks of life said they felt welcome at StokerCon, they felt happy, they felt like they belonged.

I got chills reading this feedback. To have had even a small part in making people feel this way was uplifting and energizing.

When Tom, Paul, and Doug say there’s enough pie for everyone, they’re talking about checking your ego and jealousy at the door. They’re talking about supporting other people and bringing everyone along. Because other people’s successes are good for everyone, and because we are stronger together.

Like education, inclusivity has always been important to me. I genuinely enjoy making people feel welcome and lifting them up. As the social media coordinator for StokerCon, I was able to do this on a weekly basis.

As Vice President, I will be mindful of inclusivity, using what I’ve learned while volunteering for StokerCon and applying it to my decisions and actions.

It’s the Words. And the People.

I love writing. I can think of nothing quite like creating an entire story around a word or a painting or a song lyric; or struggling with an idea all day only to have it pop into your mind two minutes after you’ve put your head on the pillow; or, well, searching for that better verb. I know what it takes to be a writer. I know the thrills. I know the struggles. I will use that knowledge to advocate for writers and continue to advance this amazing organization.

Finally, I love writers. Especially horror writers. One of the biggest joys of the past seven years has been getting to know horror writers. You are truly some of the kindest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met. So supportive and so, so funny.

I would be honored to be your Vice President.



Les Klinger

I have been honored to serve the HWA as a Board member and subsequently as Treasurer, taking over the latter job from the indefatigable Lisa Morton. Rocky Wood and I joined at about the same time and attended our first conference—in Salt Lake City—together, feeling a little shy as nonfiction writers. Soon he and I were “volunteering” to be on the Board (with a little pushing from Deborah Blanc).

Along the way, I found myself becoming informal legal counsel to the HWA, trying to bring to bear many years of experience as a lawyer representing nonprofit organizations. In that role, I’m proud to have led the way to making the HWA a tax-exempt educational institution qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and establishing a trademark for the Bram Stoker Awards®. I was also involved also in crafting significant parts of our Bylaws and Stoker rules.

None of this makes me qualified to serve as Treasurer, but “Treasurering” is not in itself a burdensome or highly-skilled job, thanks to the groundwork of Lisa and the extensive work done daily by our Mr. Hodson. I would say that my principal qualifications for the job are my firm belief that the HWA is a vital and dynamic organization speaking for a generation of writers and my commitment to do what I can to help it along its course. I am proud to be an officer and a member.

Best regards,

Leslie S. Klinger, Editor



Sèphera Girón

Sèphera Girón

Hello HWA members!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been the Ontario/Canadian Chapter Head since the nineties. I was the one who decided that HWA should have a presence at our Toronto book fair, The Word on the Street, and from those humble beginnings, our chapter has gone on to have a presence at dozens of events over the years from Fan Expo to library presentations and more.

We try to hold monthly meetings and now and again take a month or two off. We’ve been experimenting with online meetings as well over the years.

In our chapter, one of our members, Andrew Robertson, asked why we didn’t have a podcast or an anthology and under his guidance, we created The Great Lakes Horror Company which has now published three anthologies with our chapter members and other horror writers/artists and we had a podcast for a couple of years which is currently dormant until a fresh new crop of volunteers take up the mantel.

Our chapter is a great way to network both in-person and online in our private Facebook group. I’m a big believer in helping new writers which has always been my mandate for this chapter since I took it over from Edo Van Belkom in the early nineties.

I’ve received a Silver Hammer Award for my volunteer efforts with the Horror Writers Association and this chapter.

I’m also almost always the one who contributes to The Canadian Content Corner in the HWA newsletter which I named long ago as a joke and a nod towards our Canadian content laws in entertainment. There have been a couple of other newsletter columnists over the years but for the most part, it’s me.

In my own career, I published four books with Leisure, three books with Samhain Horror Publishing, other books, dozens of stories, and now I’m reviving my Witch Upon a Star series with Riverdale Avenue Books. I create monthly horoscopes for Romance Daily News. I have a YouTube channel where I dole out writer advice, astrology forecasts, and observations on pop culture. I’ve edited over 1000 books, many for members of the HWA. On my Twitch channel, I give free tarot card readings and writer advice and recently, started playing around with Twitch Sings! I have a Patreon with hundreds of posts reflecting the life of a full-time author and, of course, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I bring up my online experiences to show that I’m in tune with what is going on in the world and I’m an entertainer, which is what most writers aspire to be.

My platform for Trustee is to listen to your concerns and to bring them to the attention of the appropriate officers. I want to help writers enhance their careers which can range from basic networking to dealing with contracts, chasing payments, and learning the best places to be published.

I’ve been a member of HWA since shortly after it was HOWL. I was a member in the GEnie days, back when the HWA stood for Horror Writers of America. I was one of the first ones to make a fuss about the name, pointing out that there are members from around the world in the organization. After some voting, the HWA became Horror Writers Association.

I’ve been a squeaky wheel in the HWA about several things over the years, and most of the time, the situation gets resolved.

My experience with the HWA ranges over decades both as an active member and a chapter head so I think it’s time that I step up to another level of service for my fellow authors.

I look forward to working with all of you!
Sèphera Girón


J.G. Faherty

J.G. Faherty

I am running for re-election as a Trustee for the Horror Writers Association. This is a position I’ve held since 2011, during which time I like to think I’ve had a positive impact on the organization of which I’ve been a member of for more than 15 years.

In the short time I’ve had the honor of being a Trustee, I’ve focused my efforts on several distinct, but inter-related, areas:

1. The Library Program
2. Teen Writing Programs
3. Partnerships Outside the Genre
4. Increasing the HWA’s Visibility
5. Mentoring

To date, here is what I, in partnership with the Board, other trustees, and committees made up of dedicated volunteers, have achieved:

The Summer Scares reading program, which, under the direction of a committee led by Becky Spratford, is not only promoting horror to libraries but bringing attention to the HWA and its members through partnerships with United for Libraries, Book Riot, and Library Journal/School Library Journal. The big launch will take place at StokerCon 2019 with some amazing guests.

The formation of the Young Adults Write Now scholarship program, which allocates 5 stipends of $500 each to libraries that have horror-oriented writing programs for teens and tweens.

A Libraries day as part of StokerCon, with panels devoted to library-oriented topics and guest speakers, such as Becky Spratford, from the library world.

A convention funding program which has seen the HWA represented at more than 20 medium- and large-sized events nationwide (and in Europe), including NY ComicCon, to promote our organization and the genre. These event also offer opportunities for member volunteers to get their books out in front of new audiences.

Mentions for the HWA and YA horror writing in various mediums ranging from newscasts to nationally syndicated comic strips.

A partnership with the American Library Association’s United for Libraries program, which includes having all HWA members listed in the UFL’s database, which can be accessed by libraries looking for writers to come in and give presentations. Normally this would be $49 per year for a writer, but it is now a perk of being an HWA member.

Multiple panels at American Library Association annual meetings.

The creation and upgrade (currently in progress) of the HWA’s library database, which members can access in order to get contact information for local libraries interested in horror writers.

The establishment of the HWA’s Young Adult Horror program and committee. I also worked with Angel McCoy and the Board to create a YA Horror page for the HWA’s website, which now features articles and information for both YA readers and YA librarians.

The establishment of the HWA’s presence at New York ComicCon, which has since been managed by the New York City/Long Island chapter of the HWA.

The HWA’s first SOPs for individuals and chapters wishing to host tables at conventions, including new policies, a submission request form, and various pieces of promotional items that can all be found in a single place on our website.

The placement of several articles on the HWA and our YA program in various library and literacy resources, including VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) Magazine.

Working relationships with individuals outside the horror genre, such as artist Ray Billingsley (creator of the CURTIS comic strip), musician Richard Christy, and actress Amber Benson, all of whom have contributed in one way or another to the HWA’s literacy program.

The development of a special page on the HWA website devoted to librarians, which not only provides information about the horror genre, but also includes links to our recommended reading lists, YA page, and past Bram Stoker Award winners and nominees.

The annual placement of HWA brochures and flyers at all the major regional and state library conferences each year in order to increase our name recognition among librarians.

If I am re-elected my goals for the next 2 years will continue in the same vein. I am presently working with Becky Spratford to establish a multi-genre program that will help both authors and readers by combining the resources of the HWA, RWA, SFWA, MWA, and ITW to promote small press works and publishers through reviews and new release blurbs. In conjunction with other board members, I am working on a project to create informational videos on various writing topics and to also record panels at upcoming StokerCons. These videos would then be made available for educational purposes to schools and libraries.

Additional information about me

  • I’ve been a member of the HWA for more than 13 years.
  • I’ve been a Mentor since 2007, during which time I’ve mentored 9 writers (all of them published now).
  • I currently direct the HWA Library & Literacy Committee.
  • I’ve volunteered at nearly every HWA Stoker weekends and StokerCons and moderated several popular panels.
  • I Chaired the Stoker Screenplay Jury for 3 years.
  • I speak regularly at local libraries in my area on topics such as YA horror and Literacy.
  • I am a member of the SFWA, MWA, RWA, and ITW, which, while it might not seem to have a bearing on being an HWA Trustee, it does, because it means exposure to how other organizations do things, and our Board and the boards of these other organizations are working on partnership programs to help each other grow and serve our members in new ways.
  • I occasionally find time to write, with 6 novels, 9 novellas, 2 collections, and more than 60 short stories published since I joined the HWA. (Do I consider that a part of my success story? I do! I had no publications before joining.)

In closing, I would like to say that no single Board member or Trustee achieves anything alone. We operate as a team, developing and sharing ideas, recommending changes or improvements, and doing everything we can to move the organization forward in ways that best meet the needs of our membership. Our successes are truly a team effort.


Jess Landry

Jess Landry

Hello! I’m Jess Landry, and I’m running for one of the open Trustee positions with the Horror Writers Association.

I’ve been the Head Compiler for the Bram Stoker Awards since joining the organization in 2014, have served on multiple juries for the Stokers, and have been in touch with potential new members as the Membership Outreach Coordinator since 2017. Volunteering in these different areas has allowed me a glimpse at how the organization is run and has introduced me to some of the hardworking folks behind the scenes.

As former managing editor for JournalStone and publisher with its imprint, Trepidatio, nothing was more important to me than diversity. In my five years with the company, I acquired and edited dozens of novels and fiction collections (including several that were nominated for Stokers), more than doubled the amount of female authors on the roster, and championed for unrepresented voices. As a writer myself (with over 15 published short stories and a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction), I hope to bring this same attitude of inclusion to the behind-the-scenes of the HWA.

My overall goal, if elected, will be to bring an energetic voice to the organization, using my knowledge as a writer, editor, and publisher (plus my 10+ years in design and communications) to help grow the HWA in any way I can. I hope to pursue initiatives that will increase the HWA’s international presence (I’m Canadian!), suggest new technologies to assist HWA’s online presence, uphold and continue to grow programs that focus on our need for diversity, work to broaden our membership by reaching out to writers of various mediums, and ensure all our members are getting the most for their dues. I will also actively listen to the most important voices of the organization – yours.

The HWA has helped many members at many different stages in their careers (myself included!), but there is always room for improvement. I’ve been a proud member for over five years, and I hope to bring some exciting new changes in the years to come.


Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry

I’ve been an Active Member of the HWA for over a dozen years and have seen the organization grow and mature in many important ways. I like the direction in which it’s going and would like to contribute to that process.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a mentor –officially and unofficially—for several HWA members, and have been pleased to see some of them make sales. Guidance, sharing, and networking are crucial. More recently I had the honor of serving as the emcee for the Stoker Awards in Grand Rapids. I’ve served as a judge for several Stoker Award Juries, most recently the Screenplay Jury.

I’m a New York Times bestselling novelist, comic book writer, and anthology editor. One of my horror books, V-WARS, will be a Netflix series beginning in December. I edited the HWA’s first young adult anthology, Scary Out There; and am currently editing our middle grade anthology, New Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

I’m deeply invested in community-building for writers, both in and out of the HWA. I ran the Writers Room of Bucks County and the Writers Corner, co-founder the philanthropic Liars Club, and launched the free Writers Coffeehouses. Those Coffeehouses are now opening across the country, open to all writers. I’m delighted to say that quite a few HWA members, including Stoker Award winners, join with me in facilitating these free events which benefit writers of all genres and levels of publishing success.

I am a frequent workshop leader, guest of honor, and keynote speaker for writing and genre events around the country and around the world. I am very active in helping emerging writers make their step, as well as aiding my season colleagues move their careers forward. The writing world is tough, we all know that, but cooperation, the free sharing of information, and mutual support will help us all rise.

I’ve been a trustee for a few years now and very much enjoy helping our organization –our family—move toward success and growth.


Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson

First I’d like to share why I’m putting my name forward for one of the HWA Trustee positions. In the years since meeting HWA Ontario Chapter President Sephera Giron, I feel like I’ve become a part of an incredibly supportive and growing global community. Participation in HWA helped me meet like-minded creative renegades, learn about the world of publishing, witness the value of attending conventions and readings, and most importantly it has led to my first professional sales.

I’ve now worked with Exile Editions, Stitched Smile Publications, Grinning Skull Press, Lycan Valley Press and others. I’ve also read at the ChiZine Toronto ChiSeries, Can-Con 2018, appeared at FanExpo and numerous other events- a direct result of my time in the HWA.

Since joining the HWA I founded the Great Lakes Horror Company podcast, which is now a part of Library of the Damned. The GLHC podcast includes interviews and roundtables to help shed light on everything from designing an effective cover, diversity in horror, and mentoring new authors, to informative interviews with established and emerging authors. I also founded the Great Lakes Horror Company imprint to publish collections of work by our Chapter members so we always have something ready to go for conventions.

I feel like it’s been a good few years for me and it’s time to pay it forward.

In addition to supporting the organization, as trustee I would like to hear from members about their challenges with platforms like Amazon, and as a representative, try to advocate for our members and work with these large platforms to better understand what authors need and where this type of platform is failing them.

And as a queer horror writer, I would like to work with our LGBTQ2SIA+ membership to see how we can fully support the great diversity in the horror community so everyone feels that they have a voice.


Marge Simon

Marge Simon

These recent years involved with HWA have been a most rewarding experience!

I’ve served on the Board as Chair. We have accomplished more together than any Board ever, in my estimation. Our Trustee group discussion board has greatly facilitated discussions and group decisions –thanks to Lisa Morton for the design.

I’ve contributed news to “From the Trenches”, and maintained my Dark Poets Columns (including other articles pertinent to writing) in the HWA NL. I am one of the regular proofreaders for the HWA Newsletter and worked with our editor, Kathy Ptacek on ideas for future writer-oriented columns including a Women of Dark Fiction feature. I’ve worked to keep members informed and help find resolutions to problems they may have. I believe in responding personally and promptly to our members’ needs and concerns. If you have questions or problems, I’m here to help if I can.

HWA Writers’ and Poets’ scholarships: I have served on both committees and will be happy to continue doing so. In addition, I have served as a judge for the HWA Poetry Showcase and donated my art for three covers.

I’ve continued to stay involved with raising poetry awareness. I’ve found a new editor, David E. Cowen, to take over as editor of the Poetry Page, accessible to members and non-members at our site: www.horror.org.

Future project: I am working with Robert Payne Cabeen on an HWA Cookbook, proceeds to go to HWA projects. Recipes, photos and art will be solicited from HWA members. We’re hoping to see this come to completion by 2020.

I have the time (retired from a day job) and a couple of decades of experience in writing and publishing. I donate it gladly. It seems like we are all energized by one another!

All the folks on our Board are simply great to work with. There is camaraderie; there is support and a positive flow throughout. It is an experience I sincerely treasure. I hope I can continue to serve as a Trustee of the HWA if you will have me.

Andrew Wolter

Andrew Wolter

Hello, fellow colleagues. I am running for a position as one of the Board of Trustees for the Horror Writers Association.

I have been an active member of the HWA for eight years. Since day one, I have chosen to volunteer my time to enrich the organization on many levels. I have (and continue) to volunteer for the HWA as a co-moderator of our Facebook page (which is currently over 11,000 members).

I’ve represented the Horror Writers Association at several conventions (including Context, AnthoCon, and the Northwestern American Library Association Convention). During such conventions, I have educated those (not familiar with the organization) with how the organization could benefit them on several levels.

In 2016, I was honored with the 2015 Richard Laymon President’s Award for Service by the Horror Writers Association. In addition, I run the HWA Seattle Chapter and am a member of the HWA’s Diverse Works Inclusion Committee.

While I have dedicated my years with the HWA as a volunteer, I feel that it is time for me to take the next step into being more involved with this organization for which I have become an ambassador. After eight years, I am ready to start that next chapter with the Horror Writers Association.

As a Trustee for the HWA, I plan to honor and uphold the organization’s current bylaws, while offering fresh ideas to the Board for consideration as we usher in a new generation of members and writers. I will help to bring more diversity (and recognition of such) into our growing organization. In addition, I am open to hearing the voices of all HWA members, and will share and apply that feedback with other Board members to help shape the Horror Writers Association into the best organization it can be.

I kindly thank you for your consideration.


Please refer to Article VI of the Bylaws for details on how the Election Process is conducted: http://horror.org/bylaws.pdf

Comments are closed.

Get a few quick bites from the HWA
(delivered straight to your inbox):

Receive regular updates on our members' new releases, event announcements so you can meet your current and future Horror idols, and much more, just for Horror fans.

(Non-members are especially tasty welcome!)

Close Box

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
Visit Us
Follow Me