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By Robert Brouhard

When you are asked who your favorite horror authors are, who do you mention? Think about it for a minute. Stephen King? Robert McCammon? Clive Barker? Edgar Allan Poe? Kealan Patrick Burke? Sure.  They are all great and talented authors. The rest of your list is probably dominated by men, too.  Did you mention Shirley Jackson or Mary Shelley in your list? Bravo to you if you did. They are both great women horror authors.  Oh, why did I say “Bravo?” Well, as you may have heard, February is Women in Horror Month.  For me, this is an exciting month because I get to hear more about some great authors that I may have missed who happen to be women.

Seeking out excellent women horror writers

Of course, seeking out excellent women writers can be difficult… at first.  With social media (like Facebook) and horror-related message boards readily available on the Internet, I am sure you can ask for some recommendations pretty quickly. If you subscribe to horror-related magazines like Apex Magazine, Cemetery Dance, Shroud, etc., you have a leg-up on this already.  Go through your back issues and look at the table of contents.  I’m pretty sure you’ll find that some of your favorite stories in those magazines happen to be written by women.

Cemetery Dance issue 68Cemetery Dance Publications, for example, publishes great stories regardless of who the writer is (or their sex), but since the first issue of Cemetery Dance magazine—which featured a short fiction piece by female author Anke Kriske—they’ve been aware of the impact a woman’s voice can have in a horror tale.  Women writers can often bring a fresh spin in their stories, and they frequently have a stronger impact and more surprises than their male counterparts. Maybe this is just a feeling I get because women horror authors aren’t published enough, and I’m just not exposed to their perspective very often.  When reading Cemetery Dance magazine, I often read it cover-to-cover and I love discovering new-to-me authors in their pages.  I always take note of the names of the authors that really grasp me, and the women authors that Cemetery Dance has published continuously make the list.

In their eBook line, Cemetery Dance recently released multiple-award-winner Lisa Morton’s The Castle of Los Angeles.  If you feel like reaching out and celebrating Women in Horror Month with a great read, or if you haven’t tried Lisa Morton’s delicious quiet horror, I can’t recommend The Castle of Los Angeles any higher.  I also recommend her short story collection Monsters of L.A. (Crossroad Press / Bad Moon Books) which features re-imaginings of all of your favorite monsters.

The Castle of Los Angeles by Lisa MortonI’d also love to take this opportunity to mention something I’m thrilled about. Cemetery Dance has recently acquired the rights to some of Patricia Wallace’s back catalog for their eBook line. Patricia Wallace was a popular 1980s and ’90s Zebra paperback author, and I’m excited that a fresh new generation will be able to enjoy her brand of horror (including her medical thrillers).  I also hope that people who missed her the first time will try her now.  They probably won’t be out this month, but they will start coming out soon.  Keep your eyes peeled.

A checklist of fantastic women authors who happen to write horror

Some of the great women authors that Cemetery Dance has published outstanding horror writing from include (in random order): Daphne Du Maurier, Rain Graves, Gemma Files, Julianna Baggott, Nancy A. Collins, Lucy Taylor, Lisa Morton, Elizabeth Voss, Sarah Langan, Melanie Tem, Nancy Holder, Barb Hendee, Anke Kriske, Lisa W. Cantrell, Janet Fox, Kim Antieau, Lisa Lepovetsky, Holly Newstein, Elizabeth Voss, Sophie Littlefield, Lisa Tuttle, Elizabeth Massie, Karen Heuler, Sarah Monette, Charlee Jacob, Loren Rhodes, Michelle Scalise, Sèphra Girón, Sherry Decker, Nancy Kilpatrick, Yvonne Navarro, and Elizabeth Engstrom.  There are plenty of others that I could list, but I just wanted to mention some of these great names from my list… so you can have a list like mine.  Please try some of these great women authors out today!  Not just because it is Women in Horror Month, but because they are great writers (who happen to be women).

Robert Brouhard is a freelance writer and Assistant Editor for Cemetery Dance’s eBook line. His poetry has appeared in Death in Common: Poems from Unlikely Victims edited by Rich Ristow, and he has additional poetry and short stories scheduled to appear in other anthologies in the future. You can catch him writing reviews at Mark Sieber’s Horror Drive-In, and he also tries to keep a blog about (mostly children’s) books going called Book ‘em Bob.

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2 Comments

  1. Nice checklist. Thanks for the post. One of my very favorite horror authors is Poppy Z. Brite who considers himself a man, but was born in a woman’s body, don’t know if this counts.

  2. One author I didn’t see there was Anne Rivers Siddon, who deviated from her usual Southern prose with a truly creepy novel called “The House Next Door.” Very literary, very knock-out story and ending. I am writing horror, having retired from 40 years as an award-winning journalist, and when I get stuck, “The House Next Door” gets re-read and re-read and re-read again.

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