Watch “The History of Horror” Now!

On Tuesday this week, I had the honor to participate as a guest on a panel for FanFi Addict’s #TBRCon2022. (You might recall I was also a guest last year.) For the uninitiated TBRCon is a completely free online convention for all manner of speculative fiction—horror to science fiction to fantasy. Once again, I had an absolute blast. I joined the “History of Horror” panel moderated by Mother Horror herself, Sadie Hartmann, featuring a great group of fantastic horror writers, including Adam CesareTim MeyerLaurel Hightower, and Gabino Iglesias. I’ve found that people in the horror community are always excited to welcome and meet fellow writers and fans and this group was no exception. Conversations like this feel like conversations with family and given the chance we could have gone on for hours.

#TBRCon22 – “The History of Horror” w/ Sadie Hartmann, Gabino Iglesias, Laurel Hightower, Adam Cesare, Time Meyer, and me.

Like last year, I’ve embedded the recording above. The whole discussion is a little over an hour, and we delve not just into Horror’s history and origins but also where we think it’s going as a genre in the future. In the end, we all give out a ton of fantastic recommendations of some of our favorite recent or classic horror reads and I’ll link those below.

Big thanks to Sadie for her efforts at wrangling us, and thank you to my fellow panelists for being so welcoming. David Walters of FanFiAddict deserves considerable praise for doing so much of the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Be sure to subscribe to all of FanFi’s social media channels, so you don’t miss out on what he’s up to next.

It ain’t over! #TBRCon2022 continues through Sunday, January 30th! You can find out much more here and tune in for free on YouTubeTwitch, and Facebook. Miss a panel you wanted to see? All recordings of previous discussions are posted on FanFi Addict’s YouTube page. Be sure to go back and check out the panels you might have missed. There are a ton of great content to peruse at your leisure.


“History of Horror” Panel Recommendations

At the end of the panel, we all talked about what we were working on and shared some recommendations. I’ve tried to list them all and include any specific books that were mentioned. Links go to the author’s webpage or blog, and most book links will go to Indiebound.(Support your local bookstore!)

Sadie HartmannNightworms

Tim MeyerMalignant Summer

Adam CesareClown in a Cornfield

Gabino IglesiasThe Devil Takes You Home: A Novel

K. M. Alexander – Gleam Upon the Waves

Laurel HightowerCrossroads

Come See Me at TBRcon 2022!

FanFiAddict’s streaming speculative fiction convention TBRcon is coming back next year, and once again, I’m going to be a part of it! Join Moderator Sadie Hartmann (aka Mother Horror) along with Adam Cesare, Laurel Hightower, Gabino Iglesias, Tim Meyer, and myself as we discuss The History of Horror on Tuesday, January 25th, at 10 A.M. PST. Horror panels are always a fun time, and this is a fantastic crew of people. I’m really excited.

The convention will stream online from January 23rd through the 30th and feature live panels and live gaming sessions. I had a great time last year. (Check out my recap here.) Also, be sure to check out the official TBRcon 2022 page for details about the other panels this year, as well as schedules, sponsors, times, where-to-steam, and much more. (I’ll announce details as we get closer to the convention.)

TBRcon is free to stream. So mark your calendars and join us!

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2021

I can’t remember the last time it hasn’t rained on Halloween in Seattle. But right now it’s cold and crisp and the sky is clear and the sun is out. It’s a pretty incredible fall day. Should be good weather for tonight’s trick-or-treaters. But we’re not here to talk about Seattle weather, we’re here to talk horror books! It’s now become a tradition for me to recommend three horror novels to spook up your Halloween season.

This is the third year I’ve done this, if you want to see my previous recommendations check out my selections from 2019 or from 2020. All the links below will go to IndieBound (Support your local indie book store!), and author links will go to their website or blog.

So, what are my choices for this year? Well, I am glad you asked…


Whispers in the Dark

by Laurel Hightower

What begins as a police procedural quickly reveals itself to be much more. Part ghost story, part urban fantasy, yet somehow grounded in a pulse-pounding realism. An engaging tale that subverts standard tropes while also exploring the ramifications of abuse and how the echoes of its trauma that can extend through generations. After finishing I immediately went and picked up Hightower’s latest novel, Crossroads.


The Beauty

by Aliya Whiteley

This was recommended by M. R. Carey during our panel for TBR Con earlier this year and I’m glad I picked it up. The Beauty is a dark thought-provoking heart-of-mankind story about history, myth, and the stories we tell all set in a future world without women. It’s a bit of an allegory which isn’t something I typically enjoy, but it works well here and the story told stuck with me for months. A small but powerful novel that is very much worth your time.


The Worm and His Kings

by Hailey Piper

This novella landed late last year and I was glad I gave it some attention. Set in New York in the 90s when the Freedom Tunnel was an underground homeless encampment Piper weaves a unique cosmic horror story that explores gender identity, personal relationships, and poverty. A fresh and welcome voice that both brings something new to the genre and still sits solidly within the cosmic horror tradition.


So there are three more great horror novels for this year. If you’re looking at spooking up your Fall, I recommend checking one of them out. Now, how about you? What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!


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Come Hang out with Me at #TBRcon

Watch “But, What Scares YOU?” Now!

Yesterday, I had the honor of participating in FanFi Addict’s TBRCon21. It was great! I spent some time with M. R. CareyLee C. ConleyAndy DavidsonJonathan Janz, and Tim Meyer talkin’ horror. At first, we stayed close to the topic and discussed what scares us both in general and in light of the pandemic. Still, as panels like these tend to go, we quickly expanded into a broader discussion about horror and horror-theory. It was a great conversation and a wonderful panel—one of the best I’ve been on. As I mentioned on Twitter, much of the time, it felt like a conversation with old friends.

I’ve embedded the recording above, but you’ll need to pop over to YouTube to watch it. The whole discussion is about an hour long. Towards the end, we all give out a ton of fantastic recommendations of some of our favorite horror reads—my own TBR pile grew significantly. If there’s one thing about the horror community I adore, it’s how excited we are to recommend other people’s books. Like, yeah, we all write books, but we’re always excited to talk about someone else’s work. It’s not something I’ve witnessed as much within other speculative-fiction subgenres.

Would happily do it again. I want to thank and say that I appreciate my fellow panelists being so welcome. Thanks again to  David Walters of FanFiAddict for pulling all of this together. He’s the hardest working man in fandom, and his enthusiasm shows through.

#TBRCon21 continues through Saturday. You can find out much more here, and tune in for free on YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook. Miss a panel you really wanted to see? All recordings of previous discussions are being posted on FanFi Addict’s YouTube page.


Panel Recommendations

Toward the end, David asked us for our recommendations. I’ve tried to list them all here and include any books that were mentioned. Links go to the author’s webpage or blog, and most book links will go to Indiebound. (Support your local bookstore!)

Authors:

Directors:

Come Hang out with Me at #TBRcon

Come Hang out with Me at TBRcon

2021 is upon us, so let’s start it off right by hanging out #TBRcon21 talking science fiction, fantasy, and horror at a safely-socially-distant online convention! David Walters of FanFiAddict has assembled an incredible slate of authorial talent for a week’s worth of panels all streamed on Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook. I’m going to be participating!

It’s also totally free! Instead of charging for tickets, TBRcon will be raising money for three great charities Shelter, No Kid Hungry, and the World Wildlife Fund. So make plans to attend. There’ a lot going on. You can check out the full schedule and donate to the charity of your choice over on the TBRcon21 landing page.

What will I be doing?

On Tuesday, January 26th at 1:00 PM (PST), join me, M. R. Carey, Lee C. Conley, Andy Davidson, Jonathan Janz, and Tim Meyer as we discuss writing horror today compared with writing horror in the past, what it takes to scare a reader, and what actually scares us horror writers in the “But, What Scares YOU?” panel.

Tuning in is super simple, just use one of the links below during the convention and enjoy the live stream.


YouTubeTwitchFacebook

See Full Schedule


There’s a lot more than just my panel as well. I’ll absolutely be checking out the “World-building and your place in it,” “Sensory Details in SFF,” “History in SFF,” and I’m stoked to see the panel with all of the recent SPFBO finalists. TBRcon should be a good time. I am looking forward to it. So mark your calendars, dear readers. Synchronize your watches! I’ll see you later this month.


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Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2020

Today is spooky day! Leaves are falling. The full moon peaks out from behind rainclouds. There’s a pandemic raging through communities. Reality sorta sounds like the start of a horror novel these days. Instead of dwelling on our real-life horror, perhaps now is a good time to escape into some fictional horror. (Besides, you should be staying home, and reading is always a good excuse.)

To that end, I thought it’d be a great idea to follow my lead from last year and recommend three great horror reads for your 2020 Halloween. Since I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, I figured I’d limit myself to books I’ve only read in the last few years. You can see my reading list for 2018 and 2019 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2020 over on Goodreads.

What three did I choose? Why let me show you…


In the Valley of the Sun

by Andy Davidson

I just finished this, and I was blown away. A deeply unsettling sun-baked vampire novel set in Texas that has become a new favorite. Tense in unexpected ways. Character focused and driven. Brutal. Anguished. Tormented. Bloody. Lyrical in ways that remind me of Cormac McCarthy without the weight. Davidson has a new book out this year, The Boatman’s Daughter, and after In the Valley of the Sun, it’s rocketed up my TBR list.


The Cipher

By Kathe Koja

It’s hard to categorize this one. But it’s perfect for the spooky season. Part haunted house story, part body horror, part descent into madness tale all told in the style of Transgressive Literature. The Cipher is one of those stories I was shocked I hadn’t read until this year. Koja writes stunningly physical characters and knotted complex relationships that feel eerily familiar to anyone who’s spent time in artist circles. Enjoy the Fun Hole.


The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

At its heart, this is a horror novel about growing up poor and native in western Montana. But The Only Good Indians also a novel about revenge, mistakes, and their extended consequences. I blew through it. I grew up not too far from where this novel is set, and I have yet to find a recent author that captures the behavior and actions of the rural poor quite as well as Jones. You’ll never look at elk the same way again.


So those three books are my picks for 2020’s Halloween reads. Funny enough, I’ve read all three this year. I think any one of them would be perfect for our extended autumn nights and a nice escape from the daily chaos of a pandemic stricken world. (And you just might learn something about humanity. All three have a lot to say about people and our behaviors, both good and bad.)

What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? What would you recommend as a Halloween read? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


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