Sunday, September 30, 2018

Halloween Reading Recommendations


Fall is one of our favorite times of the year around the LOHF. The leaves changing color from the green of spring and summer to the yellow and amber of fall. The smell of bon fires and for some ladies around here football. But lets not forget the best holiday all year round…the holiday that any horror fan starts a count down for as soon as there is even a hint of Autumn. Halloween!!!

There are tons of lists floating around for spooky books to read during October. Some have Ladies of Horror Fiction and others don’t but we decided to put together our own list. Comprising just the ladies…The list is in no particular order.


Bad thingsBad Things By Tamara Thorne

The Piper clan emigrated from Scotland and founded the town of Santo Verde, California. The Gothic Victorian estate built there has housed the family for generations, and has also become home to an ancient evil forever linked to the Piper name…

As a boy, Rick Piper discovered he had “the sight.” It was supposed to be a family myth, but Rick could see the greenjacks—the tiny mischievous demons who taunted him throughout his childhood—and who stole the soul of his twin brother Robin one Halloween night.

Now a widower with two children of his own, Rick has returned home to build a new life. He wants to believe the greenjacks don’t exist, that they were a figment of his own childish fears and the vicious torment he suffered at the hands of his brother. But he can still see and hear them, and they haven’t forgotten that Rick escaped them so long ago. And this time, they don’t just want Rick. This time they want his children

Sorrow's pointSorrow’s Point by Danielle DeVor

When defrocked ex-priest, Jimmy Holiday, agrees to help an old friend with his sick daughter, he doesn’t expect the horrors that await him. Blackmoor, his friend’s new residence, rests upon the outskirts of the town of Sorrow’s Point. The mansion’s history of magic, mayhem, and death makes it almost a living thing – a haunted mansion straight out of a Stephen King novel. Jimmy must decide if the young girl, Lucy, is only ill, or if the haunting of the house and her apparent possession are real.

After the house appears to affect him as well with colors of magic dancing before his eyes, rooms warded by a witch, and a ring of power in his voice, Jimmy is met by a transient who tells him he has “the Mark.” Whatever being “marked” means, Jimmy doesn’t care. All he wants to do is help Lucy. But, helping Lucy means performing an exorcism.

Everything that’s Underneath by Kristi DeMeester

Everything that's UnderneathEverything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester’s debut powerful horror collection, is full of weird, unsettling tales that recalls the styles of such accomplished storytellers as Laird Barron and Tom Piccirilli.

Crawl across the earth and dig in the dirt. Feel it. Tearing at your nails, gritty between your teeth, filling your nostrils. Consume it until it has consumed you. For there you will find the voices that have called from the shadows, the ones that promise to cherish you only to rip your body to shreds.

In Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester explores the dark places most people avoid. A hole in an abandoned lot, an illness twisting your loved one into someone you don’t recognize, lust that pushes you farther and farther until no one can hear yours cry for help. In these 18 stories the characters cannot escape the evil that is haunting them. They must make a choice: accept it and become part of what terrifies them the most or allow it to consume them and live in fear forever.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We have always lived in the castleMerricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.


The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee

The Making of Gabriel DavenportIn a house built on truth something lays hidden.

Beth and Stu Davenport moved to Meadowford Bridge to give their young son, Gabriel, an idyllic childhood. But one night, their dream is shattered by a hidden, ancient darkness– and their lives are forever changed.

Years later, Gabriel goes looking for answers about his mysterious past. Soon, his life begins to unravel as he discovers that the people he loves and trusts most are harboring sinister secrets of their own. As the line blurs between darkness and light, Gabriel must confront the terrible events that destroyed his family all those years ago.

His choice: continue living a lie in blissful oblivion, or give himself over to a terrifying new reality. The darkness awaits.

The Haunting of Hill House By Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of HIll HouseFirst published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

I Call Upon Thee by Ania Ahlborn

I Call Upon TheeA terrifying e-novella from the bestselling author of The Devil Crept In, Brother, and Within These Walls.

Maggie Olsen had a pretty ordinary childhood—swimming and sleepovers, movie nights and dad jokes. And then there were the other things…the darker things…the shadow that followed her home from the cemetery and settled into the corners of her home, refusing to let her grow up in peace.

Now, after three years away from the place she’s convinced she inadvertently haunted, and after yet another family tragedy strikes, Maggie is forced to return to the sweltering heat of a Savannah summer to come to terms with her past. All along, she’s been telling herself, it was just in your head, and she nearly convinces herself that she’d imagined it all. But the moment Maggie steps into the foyer of her family home, she knows. The darkness is still here. And it’s been waiting for Maggie’s return

Beneath By Kristi DeMeester

BeneathWhen 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.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Winter PeopleWest Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton

Trick or TreatEvery year, children and adults alike take to the streets dressed as witches, demons, animals, celebrities, and more. They carve pumpkins and play pranks, and the braver ones watch scary movies and go on ghost tours. There are parades, fireworks displays, cornfield mazes, and haunted houses—and, most important, copious amounts of bite-sized candy. The popularity of Halloween has spread around the globe to places as diverse as Russia, China, and Japan, but its association with death and the supernatural and its inevitable commercialization has made it one of our most misunderstood holidays. How did it become what it is today? In Trick or Treat, Halloween aficionado Lisa Morton provides a thorough history of this spooky day. She begins by looking at how holidays like the Celtic Samhain, a Gaelic harvest festival, have blended with the British Guy Fawkes Day and the Catholic All Souls’ Day to produce the modern Halloween, and she explains how the holiday was reborn in America, where costumes and trick-or-treat rituals have become new customs. Morton takes into account the influence of related but independent holidays, especially the Mexican Day of the Dead, as well as the explosion in popularity of haunted attractions and the impact of such events as 9/11 and the economic recession on the celebration today. Trick or Treat also examines the effect Halloween has had on popular culture through the literary works of Washington Irving and Ray Bradbury, films like Halloween and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayerand The Simpsons. Considering the holiday in the context of its worldwide popularity for the first time, this book will be a treat for any Halloween lover.

The Samhanach and Other Halloween Treats By Lisa Morton

The SamhanacchOn one magical night of the year—when the breeze is scented with dead leaves and pumpkin, when the days have grown shorter and winter’s first touch prickles your skin—the barrier between worlds is at its thinnest, and dark magic abounds. Whether it’s the legendary trickster Jack about to acquire his first lantern, a teenage girl beginning to discover her own alluring power, or a fallen angel seeking redemption, Halloween’s sinister spell enchants all.


White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

white is for witchingIn a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly –

Slipping away from them –

And when one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story.

“Miri I conjure you “

This is a spine-tingling tale that has Gothic roots but an utterly modern sensibility. Told by a quartet of crystalline voices, it is electrifying in its expression of myth and memory, loss and magic, fear and love.

How to Recognize a Demon has Become Your Friend By Linda Addison

How to recognizeWho doesn’t need to know How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend? From the first African-American to receive the HWA Bram Stoker award, this collection of both horror and science fiction short stories and poetry reveals demons in the most likely people (like a jealous ghost across the street) or in unlikely places (like the dimension-shifting dreams of an American Indian). Recognition is the first step, what you do with your friends/demons after that is up to you.

The Between by Tananarive Due

The betweenWhen Hilton was just a boy, his aged grandmother saved him from drowning by pulling him out of a treacherous ocean current, sacrificing her life for his. Now, thirty years later, Hilton begins to think his borrowed time is running out. His wife, the only elected African–American judge in Dade County, Florida, has begun receiving racist hate mail from a man she once prosecuted, and Hilton’s sleep is plagued by nightmares more horrible than any he has ever experienced.

As he battles both the psychotic stalking of his family and the unseen enemy that haunts his sleep, Hilton’s sense of reality is slipping away.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Dark MatterJanuary 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely, and desperate to change his life, so when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year, Gruhuken, but the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice: stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return–when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The devil crept inYoung Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.

That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen…the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.

Pretty Marys All in a Row By Gwendolyn Kiste

Pretty MarysYou’ll find her on a lonely highway, hitchhiking at midnight. She calls herself Rhee, but everyone else knows her by another name: Resurrection Mary. And when she’s transported home each night to a decrepit mansion on a lane to nowhere, she’s not alone.

In the antique mirror, call her name three times, and Bloody Mary will appear. Outside, wandering through a garden of poisonous flowers is Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, a nursery rhyme come to gruesome life. Downstairs is another jump-rope rhyme—Mary Mack, forever conscripted to build her own coffin. And brooding in the corner with her horse skull is the restless Mari Lwyd.

They are the Marys, the embodiment of urban legend and what goes bump in the night. Every evening, they gather around the table and share nightmares like fine wine, savoring the flavors of those they’ve terrified.

But other than these brief moments together, the Marys are alone, haunting a solitary gloom that knows them better than they know themselves. That’s because they don’t remember who they were before—or even if there was a before. And worst of all, they don’t know how to escape this fate.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

ShutterMicheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain.

As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

The last harvestThose were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad’s throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely Cattle Ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest.

Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma slaughter, the whole town’s looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won’t leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends.

Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity…or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

If you are interested in some atmospheric and spooky reads for October you can click on any of the covers and you will be taken to either Better World Books or the publisher. If you want to find out more about the authors please click on the authors names.

Which Ladies of Horror Fiction will you be reading this October? Let us know in the comments section or via twitter or instagram!!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Spotlight on Stephanie M. Wytovich

Headshot of Stephanie M. Wytovich


Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others.

Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press.

Follow Wytovich at and on twitter @SWytovich​.


LOHF: How old were you when you wrote your first story? What was it about?

I became obsessed with vampires at a pretty young age—probably too young, now that I look back on it—but when I got to middle school, I wrote my first vampire story, which was a piece about a traveling vampire clan who slaughtered a young girl’s family. My teachers thought it was way too dark, and I got sent to the guidance counselor for a chat. After that, I wrote dark paranormal romance stories with vamps and other monsters in them to keep me out of trouble. In fact, I still have a copy of one of my earlier stories, and it’s titled “With This Kiss,” and yes, it’s about as cliché and emo as it sounds!

LOHF: What got you hooked on horror?

For me, this is a who rather than a what. My mother is a huge horror fan, and Halloween has always been our Christmas in the Wytovich household. Pretty much everything was scary or spooky for me from day one, from the I, Spy books I read, to the games we played, to the bedtime stories my parents came up with at night, so in a lot of ways, I didn’t really have a chance, ha! I do remember watching Salem’s Lot and Interview with a Vampire fairly young though, and they obviously left quite the impression on me. In fact, I slept with my blankets tight against my neck for longer than I care to admit.

LOHF: What kind of writer are you? The type the plots everything out ahead of time, the type that lets the story go as it goes, or something else?

This has kind of changed for me over the years because when I first started out, I hated outlining my work, and to an extent, I still kind of do. If I had pick, I would say I’m somewhere in the middle now. I have a general idea of where I’m starting and where I want to end up, but most of the time, I’m going on the journey with my characters. Where this starts to become a lie is when we’re talking about novels. I heavily outlined The Eighth, and I’m still using my notes and a pretty extensive outline to write its sequel.  

LOHF: You have had a lot of pieces featured in anthologies. How do you find out about the open calls? Has anyone came specifically to you asking for a submission yet?

For most of these, I was lucky enough to have editors reach out to me with a particular story/theme in mind. When that wasn’t/isn’t the case though, I usually find out about submissions through social media—I follow all my favorite presses and dream journals/magazines—or through

LOHF: What is it like knowing in books like Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders, your work is right there with some of horror’s biggest names?

It’s very surreal, to be honest. Sometimes I still can’t really believe it happened. Needless to say, it’s a beautiful honor and it inspires me every day to keep working and improving on my art.

LOHF: You have five poetry collections that have been published. Obviously, each of them is special to you, but do you have one that you are particularly proud of? Why/Why not?

Oh! This is a hard one, and I feel like I give a different answer every time someone asks me this, ha. For me, Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare was a big step because it wove together memoir and horror. As you can imagine, a lot of the poems in there are very personal and tragic, and even now as I’m in the midst of recording the audiobook for it, I’m finding it difficult to revisit some of those memories and pieces.  

Having said that, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness and Brothel are up there for me, too, because the research that I did for Hysteria—all those nights sleeping in asylums and abandoned hospitals—was unforgettable, and then Brothel was the book I always wanted to write but the one that everyone told me not to. I don’t usually follow directions well, and in this case, I’m glad I didn’t because it brought me home the Stoker while simultaneously showing genre readers that strong female characters do exist in the horror genre. 

LOHF: Recently there was a bit of stupid fussing in the horror community regarding what types of horror we should all like. But there are no prizes given for reading the most disgusting works, and not everyone likes the same type of horror., what are your favorite types of horror as a reader?

Honestly, I’m kind of all over the place with the type of horror I like to read. I love body horror and erotic horror—Clive Barker is one of my favorites writers—but I also live for psychological horror, too, but like I said, I’m not picky. If you can scare me, I’m in. 

LOHF: Are there any horror tropes you refuse to write about in your work?

There’s nothing that I wouldn’t tackle, per say, but how I go about writing something might differ depending on the topic, for example something in regard to animal violence. I have a huge heart for animals, specifically for dogs, so there won’t a whole lot of graphic violence in that respect, and honestly, I really do try to avoid it at all costs.

LOHF:  Your debut novel, The Eighth, is close to having its two-year publishing birthday. Congratulations there! Always, the main character in your book is Paimon. This is a demon that I first heard in a recently released movie. Before that, I’d never heard of him. How did you first learn of Paimon?

Thank you! It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I’ve sent Paimon out into the world.

Him and I first ran into each other when I was in graduate school reading about demons, you know, as one does. Specifically, I needed a demon who was obedient to Lucifer, but also highly ranked and even king-like. When I stumbled upon him, I knew he was perfect for the journey I wanted to send this character on, and I’ll be exited to see what readers think when they catch up with him again in book 2.

LOHF: Tell us a bit about your WIP, please!

As usual, I have a couple irons in the fire. I’m finishing up my next poetry collection, an apocalyptic science fiction book titled, The Apocalyptic Mannequin. I’m also putting out a weird, horror novelette this Fall titled, The Dangers of Surviving a Split Throat. As those projects wrap up, I’ll be strictly focusing on getting back into the sequel to The Eighth.

LOHF: What is the best horror movie you’ve seen in the past couple of years?

Ah, the hardest question of the bunch! Over the past years, I’ve really been a massive A24 films fan, and my top choice last year was The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I’ve also really enjoyed A Ghost Story, Mother, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and The Witch.

LOHF: What book by a female horror author do you feel needs to be adapted immediately?

I would love to see Angela Carter or Charlotte Perkins Gilman get an adaptation, or a contemporary one at that. I think their stories are so frightfully tarrying that I would love to watch them play out on screen. Novel wise though, I’m rooting for Caroline Kepnes. I know that You is being adapted into a Netflix series, but I think Providence would play out great on film, too.

LOHF: Who are some up-and-coming ladies of horror fiction that we should be on the lookout for?

There are so many talented women working in the horror genre right now, and a few who I think everyone should be reading are: Christa Carmen (Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked), Cynthia Pelayo (Poems of My Night), Gwendolyn Kiste (Rust Maidens), and Zoje Stage (Baby Teeth).


The Eighth 

The eigthAfter Paimon, Lucifer’s top soul collector, falls in love with a mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, he desperately tries everything in his power to save her from the Devil’s grasp. But what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when he has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help? Can Paimon survive the consequences of working with the Seven Deadly Sins-sins who have their own agenda with the Devil—or will he fall into a deeper, darker kind of hell?



BrothelWytovich plays madam in a collection of erotic horror that challenges the philosophical connection between death and orgasm. There’s a striptease that happens in Brothel that is neither fact nor fiction, fantasy nor memory. It is a dance of eroticism, of death and decay. The human body becomes a service station for pain, for pleasure, for the lonely, the confused. Sexuality is hung on the door, and the act of love is far from anything that’s decent. Her women spread their legs to violence then smoke a cigarette and get on all fours. They use their bodies as weapons and learn to find themselves in the climax of the boundaries they cross in order to define their humanity…or lack thereof.

Wytovich shows us that the definition of the feminine is not associated with the word victim. Her characters resurrect themselves over and over again, fighting stereotypes, killing expectations. She shows us that sex isn’t about love; it’s about control. And when the control is disproportionate to the fantasy, she shows us the true meaning of femme fatale.

An Exorcism of Angels

An exorcism of AngelsLove is an exorcism of angels…

Heaven and Hell are not places, nor times, but rather shared experiences. It’s a love whether dark or light, a passion whether of pleasure or pain, and there’s a beauty to the ugliness, a smile hidden amongst the tears. Heaven is often defined as paradise; Hell as damnation. The two, while opposites, more often than not, end up being one in the same, especially when it comes to falling in love.

So what happens when our Heaven falls in love with our Hell? When the very person who brings us every happiness and every joy, stabs and beats at our hearts, bruising our fantasy of “happily ever after”? What happens when we can’t walk away because the pain of love is better than no love at all? When we’d rather die every death again and again, than spend one moment away from our heart’s true content? Wytovich plays Virgil in a collection of celestial horror that challenges the definition of angels and demons, of love and hate. She weaves through tales of heartbreak and sorrow, through poems depicting lust and greed, as her words prove testament that Heaven and Hell can be one in the same, a paradise and an inferno. Her women, some innocent, some not, walk through the circles, fall off of clouds, deny their wings, and expose their hearts to demons and devils, to imps and to fiends. They turn their backs on everything they know, question their morals and their faith, all in the name of love, and together, the good help the bad, and the bad, help the good. Not every angel has wings just as not every demon has claws.

Wytovich shows us that love isn’t always the saving grace that we expect it to be. To her, there is no balance of darkness to light, no line between what one desires and what one gets. There’s no choosing who we fall in love with, and just as love is often Heaven, it can as easily be Hell.

Stephanie is the author of three more novels and a contributor to over 29 anthologies and magazines. If you want a full listing of her bibliography head on over to her blog by clicking the link her bio. If You would like to purchase the books listed above click on the photos to be taken to either Better World Books or the publishers site.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc Review



The Grip of It

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.

Laurie’s LOHF Review

I’m not going to sugar coat things. This book was work and it was not a quick read. Not by a long shot. The chapters were super short so you would think the pages would fly, right? No. They absolutely do not fly. The writing style was literary, I knew that going in, and the language was lovely and often gutting in its honesty but what I didn’t anticipate were the alternating POV’s of the married couple who are haunted by their new house (or were they?). Every single time a new chapter began with the other’s POV it would throw me out of the groove of the story and take me several moments to get back into it. And since many of the chapters were only 2 – 3 pages long there was a lot of mental jostling going on here. Perhaps you won’t have this issue and this much of a struggle but I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to it.

With that said, the book was a treasure trove of eerie atmosphere and emotional turmoil. The writing was truly striking and the crushing and stifling dread closing in on the couple? Phew, I’m still feeling the remnants of those claustrophobic, paranoid feelings days later. Their struggle, their worry, and their confusion? That stuff was so amazingly well done. I LOVE that sort of writing thus I was determined to see this book through to the very end. Were they going mad together? Was the house haunted? Or was it something more sinister and grounded in the real world? And what was up with the weirdo neighbor? I’m not telling you any of these things because I am not 100% sure of the answers even after finishing it. I had to get this book back to the library so I’ll have to do a reread on audio someday to see if I can find all of my answers to all of my pesky questions.

So, do I think you should read it? Perhaps and perhaps not. What I do recommend is maybe grabbing yourself a sample and reading the first 50 -75 pages and see how it works for you personally. The Grip of It isn’t a book that will appeal to everyone but,  damn, that writing was lush and I am sucker for lush writing especially when it’s creepy! I have zero regrets.

Book Links:  IndieBound | BetterWorldBooks | Amazon | Goodreads

About Jac Jemc

Photo Courtesy of Jac

Jac Jemc lives in Chicago. Her story collection False Bingo will be released in 2019 and her novel Total Work of Art will be published in 2021, both from FSG. Her novel The Grip of It was released from FSG Originals (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) in August 2017, receiving starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Library Journal, and recommended in Entertainment Weekly, O: The Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Esquire, W, and Nylon. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming from Guernica, LA Review of Books, Crazyhorse, The Southwest Review, Paper Darts, Puerto Del Sol, and Storyquarterly, among others. Jemc is also the author of My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), named a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award; A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books), named one of Amazon’s Best Story Collections of 2014; and a chapbook of stories, These Strangers She’d Invited In (Greying Ghost Press). Jac received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has completed residencies at the Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Hald: The Danish Center for Writers and Translators, Ragdale, the Vermont Studio Center, Thicket, and VCCA. She has been the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Professional Development Grants. She teaches English and creative writing.

Jac Jemc is represented by Claudia Ballard at William Morris Endeavor:

For publicity queries, contact Brian Gittis at FSG:

Author links:  websitefacebook | instagram | twitter

Monday, September 24, 2018

The "Grave" Recap

Ladies of Horror Fiction Instagram Challenge Weekly Recap banner - Simply states "The LOHF Instagram Challenge Weekly Recap" on a background with a skull atop a stack of books imprinted to the left.

If you missed last week’s “Jewelry” prompt, be sure to check it out. There were some awesome photos posted.

Our prompt for day four of the #LadiesofHorrorFiction Instagram challenge was  “Grave”. It was really interesting to see the directions people went with their photos. From outright digging a grave to toss a book in, to looking at a house as a grave, there were lots of awesome photos to choose from!

Our own barksbooks posted Grave Intent by Deborah Leblanc from her TBR pile.

“In all their years at the funeral home, Janet and Michael Savoy had never seen anything like the viewing for nineteen-year-old Thalia Stevenson. That’s because they had never seen a Gypsy funeral before, complete with rituals, incantations and a very special gold coin placed beneath the dead girl’s hands… — During a chaotic gypsy burial service at the funeral parlor of Michael and Janet Savoy, a ritual gold coin is stolen from the corpse of the teenage daughter of an egomaniacal Roma gypsy chief. The theft unleashes a curse on the Savoys, unwitting unbelievers who come to realize their own five-year-old child is doomed to a gruesome death if they can’t unravel a foreign culture’s arcane mysteries in time to return the coin “before rising of second sun [sic].

Gowsy33 shared The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike, translated by Deborah Boliver Boehm.

“A terrifying tale of a young family who move into an apartment building next to a graveyard and the horrors that are unleashed upon them.

One of the most popular writers working in Japan today, Mariko Koike is a recognized master of detective fiction and horror writing. Known in particular for her hybrid works that blend these styles with elements of romance, The Graveyard Apartment is arguably Koike’s masterpiece. Originally published in Japan in 1986, Koike’s novel is the suspenseful tale of a young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow in to, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that longer they stay, the more trapped they become.

This tale of a young married couple who are harboring a dark secret is packed with dread and terror, as they and their daughter move into a brand new apartment building built next to a graveyard. As strange and terrifying occurrences begin to pile up, people in the building begin to move out one by one, until the young family is left alone with someone… or something… lurking in the basement. The psychological horror builds moment after moment, scene after scene, culminating with a conclusion that will make you think twice before ever going into a basement again.”

Abookisheve shared Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. She loved it so much she’s ready to read it again.

“Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas’s life.”

Readswithdogs shared Hidden Bodies the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’ You.

“Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past ten years, this thirty-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They re-emerge, like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend—he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice…”

Be sure to let us know if you have read or plan on reading any of the “grave” books we featured today! Next week we will be featuring the prompt “favorite color”.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Community Wide Readalong: Rebecca

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is excited to announce our first community wide readalong! This November we will be reading and discussing Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel Rebecca.


So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past the beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten…her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant — the sinister Mrs. Danvers — still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of the evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca…for the secrets of Manderley.

Rebecca Readalong Schedule

The Rebecca readalong will begin on November 4. Each Sunday we will post discussion questions (and our thoughts!) for each section of the readalong.

November 4

We will kickoff the Rebecca readalong with a post on November 4. Drop by and let us know you are joining in!

November 4 – 10

This first week we will be reading chapters 1-8.

November 11

On November 11, we will post some discussion questions for chapters 1-8 along with our personal answers. We would love for you to join in the discussion by posting on your blog, sharing your thoughts on social media (#LOHFRebecca), or answering our questions right here in the comments. You are more than welcome to leave links to your personal posts for others to visit and hear your thoughts!

November 11 – 17

The second week we will read chapters 9-15.

November 18

On November 18, we will post discussion questions and answers about the second section.

November 18 – 24

The third week we will read chapters 16-21.

November 25

We are past the halfway point in Rebecca! On November 25, we will post additional discussion questions and answers.

November 25 – December 1

During the final week we will be reading chapter 22-epilogue.

December 2

We will post our final discussion questions on December 2. If you post a review of Rebecca on your blog, Goodreads, or in social media, we would love for you to leave those links for others to read as well!

Sharing the Rebecca Readalong

Please feel free to grab the Rebecca readalong graphic and share across your platforms to let everyone know you are joining in.


Be sure to use the #LOHFRebecca hashtag so we can find and share your posts!

Join the Readalong

Will you be joining in our first readalong this November? Let us know! We can’t wait to read Rebecca with you.

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Friday, September 21, 2018

Spotlight on Lee Murray

I don’t remember exactly how I found out about Lee Murray’s Into the Mist, but I do remember immediately grabbing it and being absolutely delighted by what I was reading. She did an excellent job on the follow up, Into the Sounds, as well. In the time since reading Into the Mist, Murray has proven herself to be a warm, supported, and always willing to engage. I think you will see that in the interview below.

Thank you, Lee, for joining us!

Headshot of Lee Murray


Lee Murray is a multi award-winning writer and editor of fantasy, science fiction, and horror (Australian Shadows, Sir Julius Vogel). Her titles for adults include the acclaimed Taine McKenna series of military thrillers (Severed Press) and supernatural crime-noir series The Path of Ra co-authored with Dan Rabarts (Raw Dog Screaming Press). Among her titles for children are YA novel Misplaced, and best-loved middle grade adventure Battle of the Birds, listed in the Best Books of the Year 2011 by New Zealand’s Dominion Post. Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, the first book in a series of speculative middle grade antics, is forthcoming from IFWG Australia. An acquiring editor for US boutique press Omnium Gatherum, Lee is a regular speaker at workshops, conferences and schools. She lives with her family in New Zealand where she conjures up stories for readers of all ages from her office overlooking a cow paddock.


LOHF: How old were you when you wrote your first story? What was it about?

I wrote my first dark ghostly murder mystery story when I was eleven. It was based on a clock with a secret compartment that I’d seen during a school trip to the Clapham National Clock Museum in Whangarei. Also that year, 1978, I wrote a courtroom parody entitled The Big Bad Wolf, where various witnesses were called to testify against the alleged repeat offender. Rip Van Winkle was unable to give his testimony because he kept falling asleep. I can’t remember exactly how it ended ‒ a political smear campaign by the PIG consortium, I think. So even as early as eleven, my writing was tending towards dark fiction and fabulism.

Family portrait (1).jpg
This image from my autobiographical title All About Me, written, illustrated, and published by me in 1970 (aged 5). Courtesy Lee Murray

LOHF: What got you hooked on horror?

People say you should “write what you know” so I started my writing career with a chick lit novel about running, having run 25 marathons and a couple of ultras myself. The result was A Dash of Reality a light-hearted look at running, romance, and reality TV. But good stories require conflict and while wardrobe malfunctions and cupcake deprivation can be great fun, they didn’t offer the deeper character development I wanted to explore. I was already a huge reader of dark fiction and horror, so as soon as I understood that conflict and fear were integral to those stories, writing in the genre became a natural progression.

LOHF: You just recently published Into the Sounds, a sequel to the creature feature novel Into the Mist. What is it about giant creatures, fictional or otherwise, that appeals to you?

For storytellers, the minute you introduce anything ‘giant’ to your narrative, especially something giant and sinister, you throw your characters into a situation which requires them to act: how they act becomes the basis of the story. And of course, in kaiju stories, we often discover that the ‘monster’ is the lesser threat when compared to certain individuals.

LOHF: When can we expect Into the Ashes, the next book of the Taine McKenna series, to be released? Can you give us a hint of what he’ll be up against this time?

INTO THE ASHES, the third book in the Taine McKenna series, will appear in late 2018 or early 2019. This time, Taine and his friends won’t be facing down a primordial monster. I can see people throwing up their hands, insisting that I’m breaking my contract with readers of INTO THE MIST and INTO THE SOUNDS by not including that a toothy apex predator, but my beta readers and earlier reviewers assure me that this instalment is just as ‘monstrous’ with a villain that is equally kaiju-esque ‒ lifting the series to a new level. Steeped in New Zealand legend, landscape, and culture, INTO THE ASHES takes place on the Central Plateau. Here is the blurb:

No longer content to rumble in anger, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau, the Kāhui Tupua, are preparing again for battle. At least, that’s how the Māori elders tell it. The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring.

LOHF: What kind of writer are you? The type the plots everything out ahead of time, the type that lets the story go as it goes, or something else?

What kind of writer am I? Slooooow. Yes, that is the word that best describes my process. I struggle to write 1000 words daily, and even then, that takes me all day. My inner editor is always switched on, which means I don’t generate the first draft ‘word spew’ followed by a deep ‘editing phase’ that other people ascribe to, because, for me, those processes are one and the same. Nor am I one of these writers who can’t not write or have a story that has to be told. I am none of those things. Not a natural writer, I am the quintessential non-writer writer.

I rarely plot: more often I work from a general idea and a vague end point, and off I go. The characters tear away and it’s my job to keep up. This process usually leads to lots of gnashing of teeth and hair pulling during that saggy middle phase of the novel while I try to ensure the plot points and character motivations connect. About this time, I go into my ‘cycle of doom’ where I run like a hamster until my brain works it all out. My critique group hate me during this period. I become the writer equivalent of a bridezilla. And then suddenly, I’ll have a eureka moment which allows me to weave the threads together, I’ll write the ending, and the angst will be over. The writers’ high, rather like finishing a marathon, and this euphoria lasts for about three days, during which time a lot of chocolate will be consumed. Then the tide of self-doubt will hit me all over again…

LOHF: You have written several books now. Do you feel like your writing style is still changing, or do you feel like you have found your groove?

It’s only now that I’m learning where I’m meant to be. The target is still fuzzy, but it’s coming into focus. I’m working on making my prose sharper and tighter. Faster than a speeding bullet. When I stop looking for ways to move forward, I suspect it will be time to retire.

LOHF: Recently there was a bit of stupid fussing in the horror community regarding what types of horror we should all like. But there are no prizes given for reading the most disgusting works, and not everyone likes the same type of horror. So, what are your favorite types of horror as a reader?

I attended a panel at the first StokerCon, where panelist Stephen Jones (editor) described horror as being a spectrum which could be anything from slight unease all the way to ‘eyeballs on a plate.’ My preferences fall at all places on that spectrum and in all genres and formats, but especially when the imagery is startling, the structure provocative, and the theme is relevant.

LOHF: You are the Programme Director for New Zealand’s national science fiction, fantasy, and horror conference, Geysercon. Can you tell us a bit about Geysercon? What’s the turn-out like? What does being a programme director entail for you?

New Zealand only has one national convention annually and in 2019 it will be held in Rotorua from 13 May through to 3 June. The convention is small ‒ we usually see attendances of around two hundred guests ‒ but less can be more, offering participants a more intimate experience with an opportunity to chat with their writing and fandom heroes. At GeyserCon our Guests of Honour are international superstars Jonathan Maberry and Kaaron Warren, with a third guest still to be confirmed. My role as Programme Director is a little like being the traffic officer in the middle of a busy intersection: I’m just directing the vehicles, where each vehicle has its own licensed driver. We’ll have all the normal activities: panels, workshops, cosplay, gaming, filking, the Sir Julius Vogel Award gala evening and presentations, and our traditional Paul Mannering radio-play based on a popular fandom and performed by conference attendees ‒ always a highlight. It’s my second time as Programme Director ‒ the first time was at Au Contraire III 2016 with my colleague Dan Rabarts ‒ and there’s a great committee behind me so I’m not expecting it to be too arduous. In recent years, in conjunction with youngnzwriters the convention has run a Youth Day Out for New Zealand emerging writers (10 – 17 years) and we plan to reprise that workshop day at GeyserCon, where we expect up to 200 students and their teachers to attend three streams of sessions, with the day culminating in book launches and presentation of Young NZ Writers Youth Laureate Award. Of course, GeyserCon could be considered a precursor to WorldCon – ConNZealand ‒ which will be held in Wellington in 2020.

LOHF: You are also an editor, and I know you are working on an upcoming anthology. Would you mind telling us a little bit about it?

Yes, I’m very excited about that. I expect to be able to make a formal announcement soon. Right now, all I can tell you is that I’m thrilled to be curating an anthology of high action horror fiction comprising 120,000 words of heart-pumping terror, including five fabulous stories from some of the scariest women in horror ‒ Rena Mason, SD Perry, JH Moncrieff, Jessica McHugh, and Kirsten Cross ‒ who lead us into some very dark places where unspeakable horrors lurk…

LOHF: Tell us a bit about your “Lee Murray’s NZ Speculative Fiction Show” please!

Thank you for asking! Despite our long history of gothic horror, dark fiction based on small town rural isolation, and blockbusters like What We do in the Shadows, speculative and dark fiction struggles for audiences and readership in New Zealand. Funders tend not to notice us, publishers prefer the safety of mainstream titles, and most of our readers are oceans away, which makes it harder for us to interact with readers. For Kiwi speculative writers, it can feel like shouting into the void. But there is no one else telling our stories, no one else with that unique Kiwi perspective on the world. Unless we make some serious noise, our voices will be lost from the literary landscape. I started Lee Murray’s NZ Speculative Fiction Show earlier this year in order to showcase some of New Zealand’s amazingly talented writers and creatives, and to let people know what they’re writing and what inspires them. It’s a place to discover us. The blog has a tiny readership so far, but I’m hoping little by little people will hear about it and stop by to visit, and perhaps one day the blog will garner enough critical mass to launch some of my colleagues into superstardom. That’s a speculative future I’d like to see!

LOHF: I know you’ve got several things in the works right now. What’s got your primary focus, though?

With INTO THE ASHES and the Taine McKenna military fiction series behind me, I’m diving into writing the third and final book of my supernatural crime noir series The Path of Ra, a collaboration with my long-time writing and editing partner, Dan Rabarts. Several years ago, Dan and I set out to write a novella and, like a monster, it morphed into something that is bigger, with the first book HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD awarded New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel earlier this year. We’ve been amazed with the response to Hounds: the book made the Bram Stoker longlist and we even had a nibble from Hollywood ‒ although there’s nothing concrete on that front yet. The second title in the series, TEETH OF THE WOLF, releases in October and we can’t wait. Raw Dog Screaming Press commissioned another gorgeous atmospheric cover from award-winning Italian artist Daniele Serra, whose work graces several Stephen King titles, and we’re excited that they’re as invested in the series as we are. For the latest book, not yet titled, we’re sticking to the he-said, she-said format of the first two books, which involves alternating narratives from dual sibling protagonists where Dan writes the smoldering bad-boy Matiu who has one foot beyond the veil, and I write his uptight scientific consultant sister. Most of the fun in writing this series has been the juxtaposition of these two characters: their beliefs and goals overlaid with ordinary sibling head-to-heads about whether or not to take the stairs and who should do the dishes. In real life, Dan and I have this big-sister little-brother thing going on, so the squabbling, and the affection, comes easily. The plan is for Book 3 to open with a blood bath on Auckland’s Freyberg wharf and things get worse from there. All of the familiar characters are back and of course, there will be a few surprises to reveal. I can’t wait to get into it. Penny and Matiu are in for one hell of ride.

LOHF: Who are some up-and-coming ladies of horror fiction that we should be on the lookout for?

So many. Apart from the writers already listed above, I’ll suggest another four:

For a novelist, please look out for my Kiwi friend and colleague Emma Pullar, author of Skeletal a world-building series which is The Handmaid’s Tale with hints of Wall-E. The second book in the series, Avian, will be released next month.

For non-fiction, I recommend checking out independent pop culture scholar Michele Brittany for her Bram Stoker-nominated essay collection Horror in Space. Michele is currently working on a collection of essays based on Mummies, which will be a fascinating read.

For short fiction, I recommend Angela Yuriko Smith’s The Bitter Suites, a series of shared world tales of recreational suicide. Highly original and gripping reading.

For a poet, please consider checking out work by my young colleague Emma Shi, who I met through the youngnzwriters programme, and who has since become one of our most promising poets. Her debut collection, Elsewhere, has received critical acclaim here in New Zealand.


Book cover for Into the Sounds

Into the Sounds: A Taine McKenna Adventure Sequel to award-winning Into the Mist

On leave, and out of his head with boredom, NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna joins biologist Jules Asher on a Conservation Department deer culling expedition to New Zealand’s southernmost national park, where soaring peaks give way to valleys gouged from clay and rock, and icy rivers bleed into watery canyons too deep to fathom. Despite covering an area the size of the Serengeti, only eighteen people live in the isolated region, so it’s a surprise when the hunters stumble on the nation’s Tūrehu tribe, becoming some of only a handful to ever encounter the elusive ghost people. But a band of mercenaries saw them first, and, hell-bent on exploiting the tribes’ survivors, they’re prepared to kill anyone who gets in their way. A soldier, McKenna is duty-bound to protect all New Zealanders, but after centuries of persecution will the Tūrehu allow him to help them? Besides, there is something else lurking in the sounds, and it has its own agenda. When the waters clear, will anyone be allowed to leave?

Into the Mist book cover

Into the Mist:

Winner Sir Julius Vogel Award, 2017

Finalist Australasian Shadows Award, 2017

Long listed Bram Stoker Award, 2017

When NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army.
Militant Tūhoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter.
Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. Death incarnate.
They backtrack toward civilisation, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival.
Desperate to bring his charges out alive, Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left?

Hounds of the Underworld

Path of Ra: Book One

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Lee has published ten books. We have listed three above. If you want to have a peek at her full bibliography click here. If You would like to purchase the books listed above click on the photos to be taken to either Better World Books or the publishers site.