Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Appearance on Matters of Faith

Hey, everybody!  I had a delightful conversation a few weeks ago with the legendary Jay Wilburn over on his "Matters of Faith" podcast.  It was really quite enjoyable.  Check it out!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Batman vs. God (redirect)

Want to read a post that I clearly thought was going to be more clever than it turned out to be?  Well, never fret, friendos!  That's what the group blog is for.

Monday, July 1, 2019

New Release Announcement: HUNTER OF THE DEAD Limited Edition

Hey, everybody!  I'm very excited to announce the release of the limited edition of HUNTER OF THE DEAD from Thunderstorm Books, featuring a foreword from the legendary Jonathan Janz!  There are only 52 copies, so make sure to grab yours before they're all gone!

Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Quintessential SKINWRAPPER Post

Image may contain: one or more people and text
English-language version

Italian-language edition

The English-language edition of SKINWRAPPER is now available for pre-order at:


The Italian-language edition of SKINWRAPPER is now available on:

Amazon Italy
Google Play

It also has a page on Goodreads.

Italian-language edition:

Monday, June 17, 2019

New Release: ARACHNE'S WEB by Elizabeth Corrigan

Hey, all!  I'm very pleased to bring you a new release announcement for one of my best friends, Elizabeth Corrigan.  I've had the pleasure of seeing ARACHNE'S WEB grow from the single germ of an idea into a full novel now available to you all.  I hope you'll grab a copy!

Seven Strangers.

Three Students: Bliss Bhanushali feels an instant connection to her roommate Lexi and Lexi's boyfriend Will, though both girls can't help but feel Will is keeping something from them.

Two Scoundrels: Jack and Cobalt Zhao find themselves on the run after their foolproof plan to rob a space train goes inexplicably awry.

A Soldier: Gavin Ibori must fight for his very survival in a challenge designed to test the mettle of the most promising new warriors.

A Servant: Roslyn Turin wants nothing more than her freedom, but her dreams of another life send her into psychiatric care instead.

One History

By day, they are seven strangers from different moons. At night, they dream of their interconnected lives twenty years ago. Their visions send them to the mysterious moon of Arachne, where an archaeological dig turns up strange alien artifacts.

Then the dreams get darker, filled with images of glowing symbols and spattered blood.

In their last lives, they were murdered. And if they don't find out why, history is doomed to repeat itself.

Monday, June 10, 2019

How I Edit (Redirect)

Hey, everybody!  I did a rather extensive breakdown of how I edit over on the group blog today.  I took a look at the novella I'm building out of "The Thing Under the Bed."  If you're into that sort of thing, or just suffer from insomnia, I hope you'll check it out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

New Release Announcement: SKINWRAPPER (Italian-Language Edition)

Ciao a tutti!  I was very pleased this week to release SKINWRAPPER, an Italian-language exclusive (for now) novella.  The only way to get it is to subscribe to the newsletter for my Italian publisher, Dunwich Edizioni.
Watch this space (ha!) for more on the English-language version, if that's more your thing. In the meantime, here's the back cover copy:

A single word strikes fear into the hearts of even the most experienced starship crews…

Aboard the freighter 
Blue Whale, a young girl’s day begins like any other: texting her friends while her parents bicker about breakfast. Then, with a loud, sickening pop, their domestic tranquility is shattered.

A single word goes out over the emergency warning system…

The galaxy’s shipping lanes are plagued by a gang of vicious pirates. Suffering from all manner of terminal diseases, they require zero gravity to live. They also need a constant influx of fresh blood and organs, so their victims also become their unwilling donors. The band is so ruthless, so violent, that its very name has become a synonym for terror.

A single word that chills the blood, even in the utter cold of space…

The little girl finds herself alone, lost, and trapped aboard the vessel she called home, praying it won’t also become her tomb. She is about to learn there is nothing in the universe worse than being hunted by a SKINWRAPPER.


This prequel novella shoves you screaming back into the world of “space horror masterpiece” (Daily Dead) THE HEMATOPHAGES.

Friday, May 31, 2019

In Memoriam: Frank Michaels Errington

Frank and I at the York Emporium, Horrible Saturday 2016
I recall vividly when Richard Nixon died.  I asked my father, "Aren't we happy about this?  Wasn't he a bad guy?"  My father told me, "No, you should never be happy that someone died."  And I've taken that to heart.  Never speak ill of the dead, they say, and I think that's important.  It's what makes us human and not ghouls.  Still, It's always struck me that there are different kinds of grief.  It's one thing when a beloved family member dies, another thing entirely when a celebrity who touched your life passes, and yet another when a childhood enemy dies.  All grief of a sort, but all different.

For the most part, when someone in the horror industry dies, I take note, but that's about the long and short of it.  When I hear that the key grip for "Friday the 13: Part II" passes away, I usually think, "Oh, that's a shame.  I'm sure his family will miss him, and the world is a bit less vivid without him."  But that's about it.  Occasionally, a titan like George Romero or Jack Ketchum passes, and I feel a different, perhaps stronger sense of grief.  These are people who have affected my life and work, even if I've never met them.

Today is something else entirely.  Today a man passed who I counted as a friend and a kindred spirit.  Frank Michaels Errington was, of course, most importantly a husband and a family man.  But to horror authors he was one of a handful of truly prolific reviewers.  I count him among the top tier of horror reviewers, alongside Christine Morgan, Sharon Stevenson, Nick Cato, and C.T. Phipps.

Frank read every single one of my books.  He certainly didn't care for them all, but I never felt, as I sometimes do, stung by his negative reviews.  Fundamentally, Frank was a decent person, and I think he understood that authors are people, and that slinging shit across the internet might be fun in a perverse way, but it doesn't help anyone improve their craft, and it doesn't do readers any good.

Frank's reviews were always excellent and, perhaps more importantly, correct, in the sense that any review can be "correct."  As I said, he never felt the need to slam an author, even if he didn't like his or her work.  He was fair and detailed and his thoughts rang true.

What I think people don't necessarily know about book reviewers is that they're generous.  Generous with their time, generous with their thoughts, and generous with their money.  But Frank was a special case.  He was a fixture in the central Pennsylvania horror community, which is quite a feat, considering he hailed from Norristown, my hometown.  I know that drive well.  That's a two hour plus drive along a toll road. 

But I can't recall ever attending a signing, film debut, convention, or event in this area without Frank appearing at some point.  And never once did I see Frank when he didn't buy one of my books.  That streak, sadly, will remain unbroken.  The last time I saw Frank, at the White Rose Comic Con, he told me he had all of my books (obviously) but was still going to buy one of my re-releases because he like to support authors.

He liked to support authors.  Perhaps that's all that needs to be said about Frank.

But there's more, of course.  Frank led a great, rich, and full life.  He was thoughtful.  And kind.  He was a gentleman, in every meaningful sense of that word.  He was warm and kind and inviting, and, as I said, he was there.  Always there.  Always supportive.  He was beloved and recognized by everyone in the community (you need only glance at your Facebook feed this morning to feel that in full force.)  And yet I always found his humility striking, if striking is the right word for someone so humble.  People always recognized him and embraced him warmly, but he always affected an "Aw, shucks" sensibility, like he was nobody very important.

But he was important.  To all of us.  One of the greats, as I said earlier, in the community of reviewers.  And one of the greats in the community of mankind.  We are diminished by his loss.  But most diminished, of course, is his family, and I wish them great strength in facing the grief ahead.  If it means anything to you, know that Frank was recognized by his adopted horror family, that we will miss him.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased, in conjunction with our good friends at BookBub, to announce that BRAINEATER JONES is on sale for only $0.99 across all platforms in the United States.  I hope you'll pick up a copy.

Barnes and Noble
Google Play

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Free Audiobooks!

Hey Splatter fans, I've got a free audiobook (or three) for each of you:

- BRAINEATER JONES (available in the US only)

As you may have heard, Audible promo codes are expiring in November. So if I don't get rid of them now they'll just go to waste. So e-mail me (skozeniewski at yahoo) for one, two, or, hell, all three. Hope to hear from you!

Click on the covers below to learn more!

Monday, May 13, 2019

ASOIAWTF (Redirect)

Hey, everybody!  Hope you all enjoyed the penultimate "Game of Thrones" last night.  I wrote about it a bit over on the group blog.  Check it out!

Friday, May 10, 2019

My Appearance on Necrocasticon!

Hey everybody!  I was delighted to be featured as the guest on the season premiere of Necrocasticon.  Click on the banner below to check it out!

Monday, April 15, 2019

White Rose Comic Con Autopsy (Redirect)

Hey, everybody! 

I know I promised this for last Wednesday, but I just have not been able to get my mind right lately.  Anyway, the lowdown on last month's WRCC is up now over on my group blog, Across the Board.

Oh, and regarding that first paragraph...

Monday, April 8, 2019

New Release Announcement: BRAINEATER JONES (Authors Preferred Edition)

Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased to announce the re-release of my debut novel, BRAINEATER JONES under my personal imprint French Press!  I haven't exactly been advertising it, but some of you have no doubt noticed the novel has been unavailable for the past few weeks.  That's because rights reverted from my publisher to me and I was going through the laborious process of formatting, finding an illustrator, and publishing.  But the final result is well worth the wait, and the novel is now available in more stores than ever before.  And if you've purchased it before, I think you'll also be pleased to find some bonus content in the form of a short story.  I hope you'll check it out!

Barnes and Noble
Google Play

Monday, April 1, 2019

Last Chance to Own! (Three Original Novels)

Hey, all!  White Rose Comic Con was very good to me last weekend.  (More on that on Wednesday, hopefully.) 

It was so good, in fact, that I am almost out of the original versions of BRAINEATER JONES, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS.  The rights for all three of these novels have reverted to me and I have republished them all.  That means shiny new covers for the future...

...but that also means that the original covers are now collector's items.  No one can ever publish another one again, not even me.  Only about twenty of them still exist, and all in my personal collection.

So, I wanted to offer this last opportunity to you, my fans, before it goes away forever.  I suspect after Scares That Care in August these books will all be gone.  So reach out to me now, utilizing the info in this link, and I will send you your very own autographed copy of one or more of these novels.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Horror Metal Cast Interview!

Hey, everybody!  I need to take a minute to write about White Rose Comic Con soon, as well as what may be your last opportunity to purchase the original versions of BRAINEATER JONES, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS.  But, instead of unpacking either of those complicated dealios right now, I've got a special treat for you all today.  On Monday this week I had a great interview with the crew over at Horror Metal Sounds, including metal drummer Joe Moore and my good friend and co-author Stevie Kopas.  We take a deep dive on writing SLASHVIVOR!, plus breaking news on BRAINEATER JONES and an exclusive on an upcoming novella of mine.  I think you're going to love it.  Check it out!

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Post-Nigh World (redirect)

Hey, everybody.  I know I've been scarce about the blog lately.  It's mostly been custodial work and interviews.  Not a lot of fresh thoughts.  The reason for that is that I've been in an existential funk lately and I knew that my next blogpost would have to address that, or else I'd just be dodging the issue.  So I've been avoiding writing it.  But now that it's my turn over at the group blog Across the Board, I finally addressed my nagging, apocalyptic concerns.  I hope you'll check it out.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

White Rose Comic Con or Bust!

Hey all!  I'm very pleased to announce that I'll be appearing next weekend, Friday through Saturday March 22, 23, and 24 in York, Pennsylvania for the debut White Rose Comic Con I!

No photo description available.

The convention will take place at the York Fairground:

334 Carlisle Ave
York, PA 17404

I'll also be appearing alongside horror luminaries Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Kelli Owen, Bob Ford, Wesley Southard, Chris Enterline, Somer Canon and many, many more.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 8, 2019

New Release Announcement: THE HEMATOPHAGES (Italian Language Edition)

Ciao, amici!  I am double-plus excited to announce that as of today, my work is now bilingual.  THE HEMATOPHAGES is now available in Italian, courtesy of the redoubtable Dunwich Edizioni.  You can purchase it at Amazon Italy or Amazon US (or any Amazon store, really.)

I want to thank Alessio Linder for the stellar translation.  He's been responsible for translations for friends and horror luminaries such as Mary SanGiovanni and Bill Braddock.  (And speaking of Mary...thanks to her for pointing me toward Dunwich in the first place!)

Just for fun I ran the translated synopsis back through Google, so for a little fun you can check that out below as well.

La dottoranda Paige Ambroziak è una “coniglietta di stazione”: non ha mai messo piede fuori dall’avamposto nello spazio profondo in cui è cresciuta. Ma quando le viene offerta una piccola fortuna per unirsi a una missione di recupero clandestina, coglie l’opportunità per lasciarsi alle spalle lo spietato mondo accademico.

Paige è convinta di essere stata arruolata per trovare la leggendaria Manifest Destiny, una nave semina che è andata perduta in un’epoca antecedente al governo delle corporazioni sulla Terra e sulle colonie. Qualunque cosa stia cercando, però, riposa nei mari simili a sangue di un organismo di dimensioni planetarie chiamato mondo di carne.

I pericoli abbondano per Paige e le sue compagne di viaggio. Volare fuori dallo spazio tracciato significa che le corporazioni concorrenti possono sparare a vista piuttosto che rispettare i diritti di recupero. L’area è anche territorio di caccia delle macabre skinwrapper, corsare note per uccidere chiunque non si sottometta.

Ma la più grande minaccia per la missione di Paige sono i ripugnanti parassiti alieni che infestano il mondo di carne. Queste mostruosità simili a lamprede erano solite nuotare in un oceano di sangue e sono pronte a versarne un altro dalle vene delle straniere che hanno contaminato il loro habitat. Nel giro di poche ore, Paige scoprirà che non ci sono limiti alla depravazione e alla violenza dei grotteschi incubi noti come… ematofagi.

(and the reverse translation:)

PhD student Paige Ambroziak is a "station bunny": she never set foot outside the outpost in the deep space she grew up in. But when she is offered a small fortune to join a clandestine recovery mission, she takes the opportunity to leave behind the ruthless academic world.

Paige is convinced that she was enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny , a sowing ship that was lost in an era prior to the government of corporations on Earth and the colonies. Whatever he is looking for, however, he rests in the blood-like seas of a planetary-sized organism called the world of flesh.

The dangers abound for Paige and her traveling companions. Flying out of the traced space means that competing corporations can shoot at sight rather than respect recovery rights. The area is also hunting territory of the macabre skinwrapper, corsing notes to kill anyone who does not submit.

But the greatest threat to Paige's mission is the disgusting alien parasites infesting the world of flesh. These lamprede-like monstrosities used to swim in an ocean of blood and are ready to pour another from the veins of foreigners who have contaminated their habitat. Within a few hours, Paige will discover that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as...hematophagous.

Monday, March 4, 2019

New Release Spotlight: CATFISH IN THE CRADLE

I am very pleased to share with you all the good news that my dear friend and writing partner Wile E. Young has released his first novel, CATFISH IN THE CRADLE.  I sincerely hope you'll grab a copy.

Grady Pope has hit bottom; his alligator hunting business is failing and his daughter has abandoned him. Nearly giving up, his life is turned upside down when she reappears and dies giving birth to a son. Grady takes in his erstwhile grandson, vowing to raise him. He soon notices that strange events occur around the child, culminating in the revelation that he isn't entirely human. The ancient forces who dwell in the river want their kin back and Grady Pope must decide whether blood does run thicker than water.

Friday, March 1, 2019

New Release Announcement: 100 WORD HORRORS PART 2

Hey, all!  I sincerely hope you enjoyed Women in Horror Month and all the amazing guests who contributed their time and effort.

Now we're back to my (semi-)regular contributions, and I'm very pleased to kick off March with a new release announcement!

The very talented Scottish horror author Kevin J. Kennedy has compiled an impressive collection of drabbles in 100 WORD HORRORS 2.  A drabble is a microfiction piece consisting of exactly 100 words.

Being published in 100 WORD HORRORS 2 is something of a homecoming for me.  After being out of print for nearly six years, my very first published piece ever, "Clockwork Offal," is finding a new home in this collection.  With the re-release of THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO and BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS last year, (not to mention the upcoming re-release of BRAINEATER JONES) I feel like I'm really starting to get back to my roots.

But don't just come for me!  A whole bevy of horror luminaries will also be featured, including Sara Tantlinger, James Newman, Michael A. Arnzen, and my old battle buddy Richard Chizmar.  It's available for pre-order now and will be released on Monday.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Women in Horror Month #13: Nadia Bulkin, Shirley Jackson Award-Nominated Author of SHE SAID DESTROY

Well, folks, thanks for stopping by this month.  I'm very glad to round out 2019's Women in Horror Month interview series with someone I've had the pleasure of meeting and serving on a panel with at Stoker Con 2018.  Let's give a warm welcome to the devilishly talented Nadia Bulkin!

About Nadia Bulkin:

Nadia Bulkin writes scary stories about the scary world we live in, thirteen of which appear in her debut collection, SHE SAID DESTROY (Word Horde, 2017). Her short stories have been included in editions of THE YEAR'S BEST WEIRD FICTION, THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR, and THE YEAR'S BEST DARK FANTASY AND HORROR. She has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award five times. She grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, with her Javanese father and American mother, before relocating to Lincoln, Nebraska. She has a B.A. in Political Science, an M.A. in International Affairs, and lives in Washington, D.C.

You can follow her on Twitter, and her website.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

NB:  I write horror stories, mostly (my first collection of said stories, SHE SAID DESTROY, was published by Word Horde in August 2017). I also consider myself just a fan of the genre - since I was a little kid, I've watched an ungodly amount of horror movies, mostly because I enjoy the safe experimentation with danger, and also as a form of therapy. I review them on my Twitter.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

NB:  From a strictly visual, horror media viewpoint, I'm really scared of Japanese yurei-style ghosts, especially once you introduce the broken, insectoid movement of ghosts like Kayako in "Ju-on." I think it pings some primitive nerve ending in me that says, "that is not natural, that is unpredictable, that is unsafe." I literally have to hide behind the couch if someone puts on 
"Ju-on" or "Kairo" ("Pulse"), that's how much it gets to me.

In my waking life, particularly as a woman, I'm mostly scared of physical harm being done to me by others. But I also get the heebie-jeebies when uncanny things happen that I can't explain, something that pings that same nerve of "this is not normal, this is not safe." Something that, even if it looks innocuous and just gets filed under "eerie coincidences," still hints that there are larger forces beyond our comprehension capable of messing with our reality. 

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

NB:  The two biggest challenges for me are: how to grapple with the fact that a lot of horror rests on the destruction and demonization of women and female bodies, and the very interrelated fact that horror is considered to be the domain of male auteurs. On the one hand, horror has a lot of potential as a subversive genre (and that's why I love it); on the other, a lot of horror is actually very retrograde. Even extremely violent, shocking horror usually just enacts the same violence that's been inflicted on women and children in the name of war for millennia. It gets to be suffocating, at times, being the punching bag of every story. Personally, acknowledging that status quo and surviving within it has been a huge focus for me and for my stories. Besides, surely horror shouldn't feel so "been there, done that"? The only solution, really, is to invite more people who aren't straight men into the genre and to let them tell the stories they want to tell, instead of expecting them to play the same game as everyone else in order to be accepted.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

NB:  Katie from "Paranormal Activity." Helen from "Candyman." Eleanor from THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (book, not miniseries).

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

NB:  What I can promote right now is the anthology Ashes and Entropy, which features a ton of talented horror writers (Laird Barron, Damien Angelica Walters, John Langan, Kristi DeMeester, Jon Padgett, et al.). I have a sports-themed horror story in it ("Flesh Without Blood"). On a related note, I'm currently working on a sports-themed memoir that's outside genre confines, but is still extremely dark.


A dictator craves love--and horrifying sacrifice--from his subjects; a mother raised in a decaying warren fights to reclaim her stolen daughter; a ghost haunts a luxury hotel in a bloodstained land; a new babysitter uncovers a family curse; a final girl confronts a broken-winged monster...

Word Horde presents the debut collection from critically-acclaimed Weird Fiction author Nadia Bulkin. Dreamlike, poignant, and unabashedly socio-political, SHE SAID DESTROY includes three stories nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, four included in Year's Best anthologies, and one original tale.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Women in Horror Month #12: Yvonne Navarro, Author of AFTERAGE

Sometimes I'm truly floored by the level of talent I'm able to attract here on the blog simply by asking.  Today we have a truly seminal author, someone whose work in the vampire subgenre has rippled through the years, including deeply influencing my own HUNTER OF THE DEAD.  Let's give a warm welcome to the one, the only, Yvonne Navarro.

About Yvonne Navarro:

Yvonne is the author of twenty-three published novels and a lot of short stories, articles and a reference dictionary. Her most recent published book isSupernatural: The Usual Sacrifices (based in the Supernatural Universe). Her writing has won a bunch of awards and stuff. She lives way down in the southeastern corner of Arizona, about twenty miles from the Mexican border, where there is no need for a wall.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

YN:  Ha! I never thought of myself as “involved” in the world of horror—it’s just that I’ve always loved a good, scary story. I write what I like to read: tales about interesting people trying to do interesting stuff, who then get into deep... uh... trouble. Because monsters and evil people who creep around in the night.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

YN:  I get asked this a lot, and over the years—decades—the answered hasn’t changed: People. Do I believe a vampire will float up to my window like in SALEM'S LOT, or do I think a zombie’s going to jump out of the bushes at me when I take out the garbage? No (at least not yet, but with chemicals and fuddling around with viruses and human DNA, I’m starting to get a little unsure about those zombies). Do I think a couple of crackheads might try a home or car invasion one of these days? Oh, yeah. People scare me, because they’re a whole lot of them who are unpredictable, hate-filled, and psycho... and most of the time you wouldn’t know an insane one from a sane one behind you in the grocery line.

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

YN:  To me it’s always been irrelevant. I never started out thinking or being told that because I was a woman I couldn’t expect the same treatment as anyone else. I was on a convention panel years ago when another panelist said she had to write like a man to be published. That made me furious. I yanked the microphone out of the hands of the person next to me and snapped, “I don’t write like a man. I write like a writer.” I ended up with a standing ovation.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

YN:  Here’s the thing: a lot of the ladies will grab the opportunity to name all their friends here. I appreciate that, but I’m not going to follow suit. I have many, many female friends who write wonderfully. Here, however, I’m going to name a few authors and their books not just because they’re great writers, but because what they wrote haunted me. If a story someone tells does that... wow. Just wow. So:

You know what? I’ll go back on what I just said and put a shout-out to Elizabeth Massie, because I don’t think she’s ever written a story that didn’t stick in my head and think twice about the dark.

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

YN:  I’ve been painting instead of writing for awhile, and really enjoying myself. Still, that story-telling itch has been digging around in my head, so it probably won’t be long until I hit the keyboard again. As to promoting, not too long ago my first novel, AFTERAGE, was reprinted for the first time in sixteen years (in 2002 it came out as a limited edition hardback). The original paperback dates back to 1993, but the reprint is a trade paperback with a stunning new cover. The story is post-apocalyptic, so it never grows old. Folks can pick it up here.


A plague of vampirism has crept across the country, reducing once-thriving cities to ghost towns. In Chicago, a few scattered survivors hide behind the fortified walls of office buildings and museums, raiding deserted stores for dwindling supplies of clothing and food.

Meanwhile a hungry vampire population also struggles for survival as their prey grows scarce, forcing them to capture alive the last remaining humans as breeding stock for the blood farms that will ensure their future.

Now a small band of humans makes a desperate last stand against their vampire masters, fighting back with the only weapon that can kill the dead...

Friday, February 22, 2019

Women in Horror Month #11: Christina Sng, Stoker Award-Winning Poet Behind A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES

Thanks for stopping by, everybody!  I'm very excited about today's guest, a Bram Stoker Award-winning poet.  Let's meet her briefly and then jump right into the interview.

About Christina Sng:

Christina Sng is an award-winning poet, writer, and artist. Her work has appeared in numerous venues worldwide, including "Apex Magazine," "Dreams and Nightmares," "Fantastic Stories of the Imagination," "New Myths," and "Polu Texni." She is the author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2017) and Elgin Award winner ASTROPOETRY (Alban Lake Publishing, 2017). Her poems have received nominations in the Rhysling Awards, the Dwarf Stars, as well as honorable mentions in the YEAR'S BEST HORROR AND FANTASY, and the BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR. Christina is also an avid gardener and an accomplished musician, and can be found most days in a dark corner deadheading her flowers while humming Vivaldi to the swaying branches. Visit her at TwitterFacebook, and her website.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

CS:  I write horror poetry and fiction.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

CS:  The capacity of cruelty in people.

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

CS:  I have long admired women writers such as Linda Addison, Marge Simon, Charlee Jacob, Storm Constantine, and Rain Graves who produce incredible, award-winning work and whose stellar reputations always precede them. Since I began submitting poetry for publication in 2000, I have been buoyed by the support the industry has given me and would like to think that my gender is irrelevant.

In any case, promotion is absolutely necessary, particularly in this information era where even the best work can be lost in the masses. Women in Horror Month is a wonderful source of help, but more importantly, has built a community of writers lifting each other up and supporting each other’s work. To me, that sense of camaraderie and family is everything.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

CS:  Buffy, Ripley, Jeryline, Elvira, Morticia, Michonne, and Death are my favorite female horror icons. 

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

CS:  I’m currently promoting my Bram Stoker Award-winning book of poetry A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES, which features my best published work since 2000.


Hold your screams and enter a world of seasonal creatures, dreams of bones, and confessions modeled from open eyes and endless insomnia. Christina Sng’s A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES is a poetic feast of sleeplessness and shadows, an exquisite exhibition of fear and things better left unsaid. Here are ramblings at the end of the world and a path that leads to a thousand paper cuts at the hands of a skin carver. There are crawlspace whispers, and fresh sheets gently washed with sacrifice and poison, and if you’re careful in this ghost month, these poems will call upon the succubus to tend to your flesh wounds and scars.

These nightmares are sweeping fantasies that electrocute the senses as much as they dull the ache of loneliness by showing you what’s hiding under your bed, in the back of your closet, and inside your head. Sng’s poems dissect and flower, her autopsies are delicate blooms dressed with blood and syntax. Her words are charcoal and cotton, safe yet dressed in an executioner’s garb.

Dream carefully.

You’ve already made your bed.

The nightmares you have now will not be kind.

And you have no one to blame but yourself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Women in Horror Month #10: Kristi DeMeester, Author of BENEATH

Hey, everybody, thanks for stopping by!  I'm very excited about today's guest, so let's waste no time and jump right in!

About Kristi DeMeester:

Kristi DeMeester is the author of BENEATH, a novel published by Word Horde Publications, and EVERYTHING THAT'S UNDERNEATH, a short fiction collection from Apex Books. Her short fiction has appeared in approximately forty magazines, including Ellen Datlow's THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR VOLUME 9, Stephen Jones's BEST NEW HORROR, YEAR'S BEST WEIRD FICTION VOLUMES 1, 3, and 5 in addition to publications such as "Pseudopod," "Black Static," "Fairy Tale Review," and several others. In her spare time, she alternates between telling people how to pronounce her last name and how to spell her first.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

KD:  I have been writing in the horror and weird fiction genre since 2012. I've always loved horror but never allowed myself to write it until I was a bit older. After I started, I couldn't stop. I wake up every day thrilled to know that not only do I get to be a fan but also an active participant. 

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

KD:  I've always preferred feelings of disquiet or unease to what typically feels like "terror." When the normal world tips ever so slightly on its axis and things that should be comforting are no longer recognizable, that is when I am truly terrified. 

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

KD: There is absolutely still a disparity in gender in horror publishing. There's always commentary every year from someone who needs to loudly proclaim that women can't do horror because we are too emotional (we have that pesky, hysteria-inducing womb, after all), or that we just aren't wired to do traditional horror. That we should stick with "dark fantasy." As if those things are truly separate and not two sides of the same coin. There's commentary that TOCs with no or very few women or people of color are only that way because the editor only looks for the best content and can't help if women aren't submitting! To that I say that the editor should advertise more broadly. There are too many women, too many people of color, doing excellent work to have an editor make this claim any longer. There's commentary when women point out this problem of "c'mon...the editor is a really good guy! She really shouldn't have made that comment public but instead gone to the editor directly and asked the question privately." All variations of be quiet, be good, don't cause a scene. These are good guys, these are misinterpretations of the situation, and all of it the woman's fault for just not understanding. What makes situations like these even more frustrating is watching those who claim to be allies talk out of both sides of their mouths: expressing outrage on a woman's page when she's met with this kind of experience but then support and understanding for the man who criticized her. Ask any female horror author her experiences, and you'll hear stories like this one. 

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

KD: Helen Oyeyimi, our fairy godmother Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link, Carmen Maria Machado, Nalo HopkinsonDamien Angelica WaltersLivia Llewellyn, Sarah Langan, Gemma Files, Joyce Carol OatesS.P. Miskowski, Lauren Beukes, Tananarive Due, Toni Morrison. I could go on forever. 

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

KD:  I'm currently working with my agent on edits for my second novel, which is all about girls before their bodies become women's, men that sometimes wear the faces of dogs, abandoned theme parks, and what happens when women try to repress themselves. My novel, BENEATH, an apocalyptic book about a snake handling cult, is available from Word Horde, and my first short fiction collection, EVERYTHING THAT'S UNDERNEATH, is available from Apex Books. If you like quiet horror, body horror, weird fiction, ambiguity, or reading about the world gone just wrong enough to set your teeth on edge, you'll like it. 


Image result for kristi demeester beneath

When reporter Cora Mayburn is assigned to cover a story about a snake-handling cult in rural Appalachia, she is dismayed, for the world of cruel fundamentalist stricture, repression, glossolalia, and abuse is something she has long since put behind her in favor of a more tolerant urban existence. But she accepts the assignment, dredging up long-buried memories as she seeks the truth.

As Cora begins to uncover the secrets concealed by a veneer of faith and tradition, something ancient and long concealed begins to awaken. What secrets do the townsfolk know? What might the handsome young pastor be hiding? What will happen when occulted horrors writhe to the surface, when pallid and forgotten things rise to reclaim the Earth?

Will Cora--and the earth--survive? The answers--and pure terror--can only be found in one place: Beneath.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Women in Horror Month #8: Kelli Owen, Author of TEETH

Hey, everybody!  I'm very pleased I was able to wrangle today's guest into appearing on the blog.  Let's all give a warm Manuscripts Burn welcome to the legendary Kelli Owen!  Oh, and she didn't come empty-handed.  Her novella WAITING OUT WINTER is on sale for only 99¢, so go check it out!

About Kelli Owen:

Kelli Owen is the author of more than a dozen books, including the novels TEETH and FLOATERS, and novellas WILTED LILIES and WAITING OUT WINTER. Her fiction spans the genres from thrillers to psychological horror, with an occasional bloodbath, and an even rarer happy ending. She was an editor and reviewer for over a decade, and has attended countless writing conventions, participated on dozens of panels, and spoken at the CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA regarding both her writing and the field in general. Born and raised in Wisconsin, she now lives in Destination, Pennsylvania.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Patreon, and her website.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

KO:  Some of my earliest memories are horror—be it books, movies, or simply Halloween. While I was working up the guts to submit for publication, I ran a large horror website where I pimped, pushed, and peddled those with thicker skin than myself through reviews, interviews, news, etc. As my skin grew tougher, I began editing for those around me in the genre. Now (skin thickened, guts good to go) I’m the author of over a dozen books of dark fiction, often teetering between thriller and horror, but occasionally landing squarely in the bloody genre.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

KO:  The easiest answer: heights and woodticks. The expected answer: something horrible happening to my children. The truthful answer: the dark. I’m actually, not kidding about this, completely totally absolutely and unabashedly afraid of the dark. In hotels, the bathroom overhead stays on to give just enough light. At home, it was always the hallway or closet or a nightlight. I currently have an awesome moon that glows next to me. I’d rather stare at the shadows cast and come up with crazy scary story ideas, than sit in the dark and wonder what is watching me. 

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

KO:  Unfortunately, issues do exist. A little on the side of editors and publishers, though in a true blind taste test I think it’s absent (read as: they’re aware and getting better). More so, I find it is still a thing with the readers (which affects the business side because if publishers don’t think it’ll sell, they won’t put it out). 

Considering those readers (who believe women can’t write horror), I honestly believe it comes down to semantics. What I call horror and what Joe Schmoe calls horror may be different, because “horror,” as an adjective used for fiction, was nothing more than a lovely marketing move we are now stuck trying to define, redefine and fulfill. There are so many subgenres you can tag on before “-horror” it is both easier to find a niche to survive and thrive in, and harder to break out of the misconception that women can’t possibly know what scares a man. And then we run into the conversation about “scaring” someone with horror rather than disturbing, upsetting, grossing out, etc. It’s as tangled a conversation as it is an issue. 

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

KO:  Icons? Mary Shelley and Emily Dickinson completely molded my pre-pubescent love of writing. V.C. Andrews and Anne Rice made puberty interesting. Since then, I’ve had too many favorites to even fathom an honest answer without the guilt of forgetting someone (many of them are colleagues at this point, which is delightful in and of itself). 

Fictionally, I’ve always adored certain characters. Drusilla from "Buffy"/"Angel" both delights me and terrifies me with her broken mind and innocent psychosis. Cersei Lannaster from "Game of Thrones" (there’s zombies, it’s horror!) is absolutely brilliant—she’s wicked and wonderful and hated for all the wrong reasons. And of course, to wrap back around to childhood, Maleficent will always be my favorite Disney character.  

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

KO:  My next two novels are a coming-of-age thriller and an honest to goodness ghost story, respectfully. Meanwhile, I’m still heavily promoting my latest release TEETH, wherein I’ve completely rewritten the mythos of vampires into a reality that is science-based, but also touches on the horrors of both their nature and a society which is prejudiced against everything. Why should folks check it out? Because I really did reinvent them and it was a daunting terrifying task, but one I believe I pulled off (if the critics are to be believed).  

About TEETH:

Image result for teeth kelli owen

All myths have a kernel of truth. The truth is: vampires are real.

They've always been here, but only came out of hiding in the last century. They are not what Hollywood would have you believe. They are not what is written in lore or whispered by the superstitious.

They look and act like humans. They live and love and die like humans. Puberty is just a bit more stressful for those with the recessive gene. And while some teenagers worry about high school, others dread their next set of teeth.

Vampires are real, but in a social climate still struggling to accept that truth, do teeth alone make them monsters?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Women in Horror Month #7: Ania Ahlborn, Bestselling Author of SEED

Hey, everybody, thanks for stopping by.  I'm very pleased to wish serdecznie witamy to today's guest, Ania Ahlborn!  Let's meet her briefly and then jump right in to the interview.

About Ania Ahlborn:

Horror and thriller author Ania Ahlborn

Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery. She'd spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.

Ania's first novel, SEED, was self-published. It clawed its way up the Amazon charts to the number one horror spot, earning her a multi-book deal and a key to the kingdom of the macabre. Seven years later, her work has been lauded by the likes of "Publishers Weekly," "New York Daily News," and "The New York Times."

She hopes to one day be invited to dinner at Stephen King's place, where she will immediately be crushed beneath the weight of her imposter syndrome.

Want to connect? Follow Ania on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or her website.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

AA:  I've written seven novels and two novellas, all of which can be considered horror. Though, a few of them do tend to lean a bit more toward the category of dark thriller.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

AA:  Not a lot used to terrify me, but now that I'm a new mom, spooky babies have become a bit of a weakness. They're terrible, aren't they? 

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

AA:  I like to say that gender is irrelevant, but to dismiss gender completely would be missing the mark. When it comes to women authors, readers have become much more inclined to seek out a well-balanced to-be-read list. If they realize that, hey, the majority of the books they're consuming have been written by men, they tend to balance that out a bit by looking for female authors they're likely to enjoy. I often see posts on social media asking friends and colleagues for book recommendations by female authors, authors of color, etc. And that's fantastic.

That said, I do still see occasional posts about how women can't write horror. To that, I laugh. I mean, it's all you can do, right? To say that a woman can't write a certain genre effectively is ridiculous. So, sure, there are challenges to being a woman in horror. But is it enough to stop us from keeping you up at night? Don't underestimate our power...

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

AA:  I'd be lying if I didn't drop some pretty heavy-hitting names here. Shirley Jackson is indispensable when it comes to the genre, as are Anne Rice's VAMPIRE CHRONICLES (INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE was my first "adult" horror novel experience). And of course, there's the original woman of horror, Mary Shelley, who wrote a masterpiece in response to a challenge posed to her guessed it, dudes. (Guess who got the last laugh there!) I also always cite Gillian Flynn as a favorite, though she's far more of a dark thriller girl. But even with my work, the label of 'dark thriller' is always lingering. So, really, for me, distinguishing between horror and thrillers that go super-dark is splitting hairs. 

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

AA:  I'm currently revising a novel called IF YOU SEE HER, which I hope to have published mid-2019. I should be promoting it all over the place, but I've got an eight-month-old who thinks otherwise. Consider my mentioning it here a big promotional push. ;) Until then, I've got plenty for horror junkies to check out, from stories of demonic possession to stuff about cults and Ouija boards. Whatever you've got a hankering for, I've probably got something out there that'll satiate your spooky appetite. All my titles can be found on my site. You can also stalk me on Instagram and Facebook. I always keep my readers up-to-date on any new offerings coming their way.

About SEED:


With nothing but the clothes on his back—and something horrific snapping at his heels—Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was still just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever. But years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

When Jack, his wife Aimee, and their two small children survive a violent car crash, it seems like a miracle. But Jack knows what he saw on the road that night, and it wasn’t divine intervention. The profound evil from his past won’t let them die…at least not quickly. It’s back, and it’s hungry; ready to make Jack pay for running, to work its malignant magic on his angelic youngest daughter, and to whisper a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.

Country comfort is no match for spine-tingling Southern gothic suspense in Ania Ahlborn’s tale of an ordinary man with a demon on his back. Seed plants its page-turning terror deep in your soul, and lets it grow wild.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Women in Horror Month #6: Gemma Files, Jackson Award-Winning Author of SPECTRAL EVIDENCE

Welcome back, everybody!  I'm very pleased today to be able to bring you one of the finest horror authors working today.  Let's meet her briefly and then jump right in!

About Gemma Files:

Gemma Files was born in London, England and has lived all her life (thus far) in Toronto, Canada. She has been an award-winning horror author since 1999, as well as a film reviewer, a teacher, a screenwriter, a journalist, a singer and—eventually—a mother. She also makes jewelry. You can find her on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Tumblr. Her ostensible pro site is, but it hasn't been updated in quite a while. She is currently hard at work on her sixth novel. 


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

GF:  I've been writing professionally for about thirty years at this point—journalism, film criticism, fiction—and what I write, primarily, has always been horror. My first important credit probably came back in 1999, when I won an International Horror Guild Best Short Fiction Award for my story “The Emperor's Old Bones,” beating out both Neil Gaiman and Kim Newman. Since then, I've published five novels, over a hundred short stories, four fiction collections and three books of speculative poetry. I won both the 2015 Shirley Jackson Best Novel Award and the 2016 Sunburst Best Novel Award for my book EXPERIMENTAL FILM. I also teach, currently at LitReactor

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

GF:  I've always been terrified by the morally contortionist lengths people will go to in order to avoid looking at their own capacity for darkness, let alone acknowledging it. Maybe it's just that (as an undiagnosed neuroatypical woman in a neurotypical world, let alone the mother of a son with special needs) I've spent most of my life thus far either wondering exactly what the hell was “wrong” with me or what I must have “wrong” and how to live with it, but the very idea that there's some sort of default standard of acceptable “normalcy” which A) is always the same for everybody and B) can never, ever be questioned or debated on pain of social excision has always stuck me as an intensely dangerous one. We're definitely seeing the results of that particular delusion going unchecked right now, globally: tribalism, “nationalism,” capitalism as cannibalism. For me, horror has always been the one genre that embraces the concept of survival through self-knowledge, bending rather than breaking, looking for light through the cracks of a broken, hollow, unknowable world—accepting that fear, as Gavin de Becker once put it, really is a gift, especially in dangerous times. That perhaps it's worth feeling because it makes you vulnerable, enough so to understand what you really love enough to die for. 

SK:  Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

GF:  There are social challenges to being identified as female, and always have been—that's not debatable, just like there are challenges which come along with being a member of any group not part of the default (not straight, not white, not male, not cis, not “able,” not financially stable, etc.). And those challenges do tend to carry over into horror, the same as they do everywhere else. I think it's useful to realize that if you stick all those non-default groups together, however, we outnumber the default by quite a lot—thus the challenge of intersectionality, of perceiving similarities and rejecting differences, of knowing when to put up and when to shut up. I've been supported by other women for most of my professional life, even back when being “one of the boys” was a badge of honour, and while I certainly don't hate men, I've really learned to value that support.

Similarly, the only place where being identified as female is really irrelevant, I've also learned, is inside your own head—you can write about anything and anyone, from any perspective, while both still holding fast to what makes you you in real life and simultaneously understanding that no one else's identity undermines your own: that no one else's marriage invalidates my marriage just like no one else's basic human rights undermine mine, etc. Where I think you have to be very careful is in understanding that the feelings which drive horror most—fear, dread, existential terror, numinous awe, et al—come most strongly out of the ways in which we are alike (parenthood rather than motherhood or fatherhood, hunger for connection in general rather than hunger for connection with a socially acceptable object of desire, and so on). All of us are selfish, all of us separate the world into things we feel comfortable loving and hating, all of us hope we're doing the right thing; none of us want to die, even when we do. All of us are afraid, when you come right down to it. We're capable of anything—that's the amazement of being human, as well as the awfulness. 

SK:  Who are your favorite female horror icons?

GF:  All the writers who first inspired me back in the day were female-identified: Tanith Lee, Anne Rice, Nancy A. Collins, Kathe Koja, Billy Martin (then writing as Poppy Z. Brite), Caitlín R. Kiernan. I mean, I already knew that there were men out there writing the stuff I was most interested in, from Stephen King and Peter Straub to Clive Barker and Robert Aickman, but these were the people who really showed me that women could go hard, get gruesome, talk honesty and poetically about the full spectrum of horror effects. I wanted jewel-encrusted skulls, dangerous sex of every type, every body as a book of blood, high fucking punk nihilism opera, and I got it. I've been trying to live up to their example ever since, while connecting with a whole generation of new female-identified writers at the same time. These days, my heroes are people like Nadia Bulkin, S.P. Miskowski, Kristi DeMeester, Sunny Moraine, Elizabeth Hand, Livia Llewellyn, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia, just off the top of my head—but more every day, thankfully. It's a great time to be alive.

SK:  What are you working on/promoting currently?

GF:  At the moment, I'm bouncing back and forth between a novel, a book of essays and whatever short work I immediately owe somebody. The two things I have out right now are a pair of short fiction collection from Trepidatio, SPECTRAL EVIDENCE and DRAWN UP FROM DEEP PLACES. The first is fairly straight-up horror with an urban gothic slant, while the second is more dark fantasy-inflected, weaving back and forth between two story-cycles set in different time-periods. Both hopefully bring the creep.

SK:  Why should folks check them out?

GF:  Because they might like them, if this is the sort of thing they like. There's no other reason to read anything, really.


Spectral Evidence Gemma Files-small

For almost thirty years, Shirley Jackson Award-winning horror author Gemma Files has consistently served up tale after tale celebrating monstrosity in all its forms: the imperfect, the broken, the beautifully alien and the sadly familiar. Her characters make their own choices and take their own chances, slipping from darkness into deeper darkness yet never losing their humanity--not even when they're anything but.

An embittered blood-servant plots revenge against the vampires who own him; a little girl's best friend seeks to draw her into an ancient, forbidden realm; two monster-hunting sisters cross paths with an amoral holler-witch again and again, battling both mortal authorities and immortal predators. From the forgotten angels who built the cosmos to the reckless geniuses whose party drug unleashes a plague, madness, monsters and murder await at every turn. And in "The Speed of Pain," sequel to the International Horror Guild award-winning story "The Emperor's Old Bones," we find that even those who can live forever can't outrun their own crimes....

Following in the footsteps of her critically praised KISSING CARRION, THE WORM IN EVERY HEART, and WE WILL ALL GO DOWN TOGETHER, this is the first of two new Gemma Files collections from Trepidatio Publishing, bringing together nine of her best stories from the past ten years. So whether you're returning to Files's dark dreamlands or visiting for the first time, we advise you to get ready to review the--

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