Wednesday, July 31, 2019

YA/MG Horror Spotlight July 2019

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is putting a spotlight on Young Adult and Middle Grade horror each month. Below we are featuring the books that were released in July as well as what our team has been reading and reviewing.

New Releases

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Published July 9th 2019 by Delacorte Press | Goodreads | Amazon

Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan

It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life – attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.

Now time is running out on her every day, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires in a big way.

Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?

Published July 9th 2019 by Scholastic Inc. | Goodreads | Amazon

Young Adult Books Reviewed

Team members Jen and Emily both read and loved Wilder Girls by Rory Power. Be sure to check out both Jen’s review ( If you enjoy body horror, I think you will really dig Wilder Girls. It’s going to end up on my favorites list for the year. ) and Emily’s review ( If you’re looking for an awesome coming-of-age horror story that is actually focused on girls for once (and on queer girls especially), I highly recommend picking this one up! )

Toni enjoyed both The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab and Last Things by Jacqueline West this month. Be sure to read her review of The Near Witch (For me this book was like falling down a rabbit hole. The language and the character and all the little nuances that are written into the story. ) as well as her review of Last Things (As a reader I really appreciated the thought that West puts into the details for her characters.)

Middle Grade Books Reviewed

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Toni also read and loved Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. You can read her full review here (Many of the feelings and emotions that the main character are going through are relatable. The creep factor is there for children and there is a major Halloween vibe through the story which I really loved.)

Upcoming Reviews

Toni and Jen both read House of Furies by Madeleine Roux this month. House of Furies is the first book in Roux’s House of Furies trilogy. Stay tuned for our upcoming reviews!

Currently Reading

Toni is currently reading Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace. Shallow Graves is one of Jen’s favorite YA horror novels. Stay tuned for Toni’s review of this one as well!

Thank you for joining us for our first YA/MG Horror Spotlight! Have you read any of the books we read or reviewed this month? Let us know what YA or MG books you have read recently!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

LOHF Present Stories of Horror: Jungle Harvest by Chris Chesler

Welcome to part 2 of the Ladies of Horror Fiction Presents Stories of Horror: Creatures. Tonight it is my great privilege to present Jungle Harvest by Chris Chesler. 

I want to thank everyone for their submissions for Creature. There were truly some fantastic stories. Before we get started with Jungle Harvest I want to let you know a bit about Chris Chesler.

About Chris Chesler

Author image of Chris Chelser

Chris has been writing dark fiction with a silver lining for some 20 years now, but has worked as a financial and legal business consultant before becoming a fulltime writer. 

She lives in a study somewhere in the Netherlands where she writes unless coaxed out by her husband and son.

As an aside Chris gives her ebooks away for free and I have it on great authority her Kalbrandt Institute series is truly fantastic.  

Thank you for joining us this month for Creature!!!! Thank you again to the author’s that submitted their stories!! Next month is Body Horror. Ladies make sure you get your submissions in!! 

If you would like to reach out to the LOHFpodcast, our email address is We would love to hear about new releases, news in the community, and suggestions for the podcast. You can find out more about the members of the Ladies of Horror Fiction via our website at

The music for this episode is from Nicolas Gasparini at 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Guest Post: Be Careful What You Wish For: The Legend of the Wendigo by Renee Miller

Horror writers have many options when it comes to “scaring” our readers. We can take the real, the surreal, and the totally impossible and (if we’re lucky) use any or all of it to make a reader feel mild discomfort or outright never-turning-the-lights-off-again terror. I think the combination of physical and psychological horror can be pretty effective in keeping a reader off-kilter, which is why I love monsters. They give a “face” to the unknown. The difficulty is in making that face scary. It’s not real, and we all know it, so how do we get the reader to believe in it enough to scare them? 

For me, the first hurdle is to use a monster that suits the story. In doing so, I make its existence possible within the world I’ve created. In STRANDED, for example, the players of a reality show game are carried off to an uncharted, unexplored region of the Arctic, where something sinister hunts them down, one by one. The location is mysterious, the weather is unpredictable and the predators are unknown. For some, it’s not even the mysterious creature or the harsh environment that they should be afraid of; the real monster is inside them. 

Of course, that’s not quite enough, so I needed a monster that intensified the horrific elements of the story (isolation, hunger and extreme cold). The wendigo (a modified version) was perfect. Why? Let’s imagine you’re alone. You’re in a new place or you’re lost, or maybe you’ve just wandered off the beaten path for some quality alone time. Could be you’re camping or just out for a run or a drive along a quiet road somewhere. The point is, you’ve left your “community” where you feel safe. 

Imagine that you’re hungry, maybe it’s a little cold out there by yourself, and it’s quiet. There’s nothing to stop your mind from wandering. Maybe you start to think about all the things you wish you did or didn’t do, or don’t have but really want. We all do this now and then. It’s human to wish things were different or to imagine that grass on the other side. For example, if we had more money, we’d take time off work. See the world or just spend time with our families and friends. Or maybe we’d buy all the dogs, cats, or whatever it is you wish you could afford to buy. If it wasn’t for that asshole so-and-so or if not for this event or that, something you had zero control over, you might be in a different place. You might be happy with what you have, or at least rich enough to fake it. 

You know you can’t do much about it, and it’s wrong to care about such things, but when it’s just you like this, alone with your thoughts, it’s okay to be angry about the unfairness of these things and to wish your life was different, if only for a little while. It’s okay to be jealous of what your friends have. It’s even okay to think they don’t deserve it as much as you do. As I said, we all do it.

What if you let your thoughts linger in that negative space too long? Darkness invites darkness. I read that somewhere, but at the moment, that source eludes me. The point is you are not alone anymore. You feel a cold breeze and you know something is there somewhere, waiting… watching… Its foul breath fills the air with the stench of rot. Its stiff bones creak as it circles you, waiting for its chance to feed. 

It’s in quiet moments, when you feel the most desperate and alone, that a wendigo attacks. It’s too late to do anything about it once you invite it in. By the time you’re aware of its presence, this monster has already invaded your body and devoured your soul. What’s left is a creature that will look like you, although you’re probably long gone by then, and that feeds off of the greed and isolation of those around you until it has devoured every ounce of happiness inside you, and then it finds another host to carry it to its next meal. 

So, you see, I chose a wendigo as inspiration for my monster, because it is terrifying on more than just a “oh my god it’s gonna eat me” level. It is a reflection of our worst selves and a reminder that self-indulgent feelings like envy, greed and lust can ruin our lives if we’re not careful. Since my characters are isolated and alone on their island, and because reality game shows are all about winning the big prize, and usually get pretty ugly in the process, the greed-hungry wendigo was the ideal monster for a story like Stranded. 

For those unfamiliar with this creature, wendigo legends are often cautionary tales that are usually about loneliness, self-interest, and the importance of community. The physical description of the monster varies with each version of the legend. In some stories, a wendigo is a giant man-beast that grows larger as it feeds, and in others, it’s painfully thin, with ashen skin that literally hangs from its bones. Some describe it as having horns or antlers, with sunken and/or glowing eyes and sharp teeth. Like a wolf, it has exceptional hearing and smell, and can easily move over deep snow or open water, making it almost impossible for its victim to escape. 

In some legends, wendigos get stronger with age, and can eventually control weather and other predators. They can bring on early sunset, for example, or summon an animal to attack at will. 

In the real world, greed, envy and all of those negative things that this monster craves are commonplace. None of us can say we’ve never felt such things, so if Wendigos were real, then no one would be safe.

“But they’re not real,” you might say. “So we have nothing to fear.” 

No? Well, some might argue that the wendigo isn’t a myth designed to scare small children at all. It is real in that it’s a reflection of our ugly bits. It’s a magnifying glass that brings the parts we hide from others into focus. So, the most disturbing thing about the wendigo’s legend is that the wendigo isn’t just a myth. It is us.

About Renee Miller

Author photo of Renee Miller

I’d like to say I hate talking about myself, but that would be a lie. I don’t mind in the least. Will it be interesting? Meh.

I grew up in Tweed, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto for all of you wondering where the heck that is. Once the home of Elvis’s ghost and not much else. Last we counted, we’ve got three dogs, two cats, and a couple of kids.

I write speculative fiction (mostly horror), comedy and erotica, sometimes all at once. HWA member, published independently and traditionally with publications such as UnnervingMagazine, Broadswords and Blasters, DarkFuse Magazine, Deadman’s TomeCwtch Press and Hindered Souls Press.

Friday, July 26, 2019

2019 LOHF Writers Grant

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is proud to announce our new partnership with Steve Stred and the LOHF Writers Grant.

Letter from Steve Stred

Hey, gang! Hope all is well!

My name is Steve Stred, and I’m an indie author. You may have seen me kicking around, either from my releases, my guest posts on Sci-Fi & Scary, Ink Heist, Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews, or over at my usual haunt, Kendall Reviews. Heck, you may even recognize me from pictures on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook of my super large behind trying to frequently ride/fit in small objects as me and my son goofily play!

Whatever the reason, hello again, and I’m really excited for what this thing I’m writing today, is all about.

To cut to the chase – I’ve partnered up with the superb team behind LOHF to announce the first annual LOHF Writers Grant! Look – I write and release for the joy of writing and releasing. At the end of the day I want my books to inspire my son or my nieces and nephews to use their imagination, and know they can accomplish anything. But I also like to try and use my writing as a way to give back. And what’s a better way to give back than to reward a fellow author a grant that they can use to aid their writing career! Maybe they can use it to pay for a cover for their book, or for editing or to buy some paper for their printer, or heck, even use it to help pay for a class or whatever it be. Or maybe it’s just used to pay their internet bill or buy their kids some clothes, it’s a grant to help, and that’s what us authors should work and strive to do – promote each other and help where we can.

So here’s a little background about how I got to this point and to announce some of the details.

In mid-2018 I read a book from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi called ‘Breathe… Breathe.’ It was outstanding, and totally kicked me back to thinking about writing poetry. So I worked on some poetry stuff, and then realized I had enough for a little mini-collection which I called ‘Dim the Sun.’ As I prepped to surprise release ‘Dim the Sun,’ I had lunch with a friend of mine, Rob Derman. Rob and I had been connected through my prior athletic life when I was a bobsledder. When we met for lunch, and I heard Rob’s plan to try and qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics, I knew I needed to help. So I launched ‘Dim the Sun’ with all proceeds from the pre-orders going to Rob and his goals.

When 2019 dawned, I was prepping the release of my novella ‘The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.’ I had developed my own marketing/promotion plan and had got the eARC’s out to a large group of folks. As the reviews were coming in and word of mouth was spreading, a good buddy of mine announced his mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was a no brainer for me. I launched my pre-orders for ‘The Girl’ early with all proceeds going to their Go Fund Me.

It felt great to use my writing as a way to give back, and if you bought my book because of the pre-order donations, and never plan on reading my work – I still give thanks. You’ve helped somebody else and that’s amazing.

Which brings us to this announcement. I was recently chatting with my friend Miranda about ‘Dim the Sun’, and she asked if I was going to do another poetry collection. I said I was thinking of doing it annually, and doing it purely to have all of the pre-orders go to charity. She said this was an outstanding idea, and she hoped I would do it.

So I am.

Every year, I’ll be releasing a poetry collection, and my hope is to have an annual partnership with LOHF to deliver this grant. When I started to think of where I would want to donate pre-order proceeds towards, I first thought of an autism charity. My nephew Gabe has autism, and I thought it would be great to donate in that direction. But after chatting with my sister, she said it would be tough to make sure the money would actually be used towards something good, so she suggested looking for an after school cause or project. I looked around the area here, and found that most of the community groups were not very receptive towards teaming up. Not sure why, but all I received were standoffish phone calls, or cold email replies.

Then I thought about the writing community, and how I could do something to give back to such a warm, caring and fantastic group of people. I took a look around the various feeds I follow, and one group kept popping up time and time again, working hard to increase visibility for a group of writers who are often overlooked. So I approached the Ladies of Horror Fiction, and it was a go!

So, on August 1st, 2019, my second collection of poetry will be available for pre-order. This one will feature poetry and drabbles (100 word stories) and will be called The Night Crawls In. It will officially be released on September 1st, 2019. The cover art was once again done by my go to cover artist Mason McDonald, and is fantastic! While a month is typically a long time for pre-orders, I want to give it adequate room to breathe and be seen.

The Night Crawls In by Steve Stred

The collection will be priced at $2.99 and proceeds from the pre-orders will go towards the first annual LOHF Writers Grant at a guaranteed amount of $100/USD. That’s right – even if only 10 people pre-order this thing, I’ll still guarantee that it’ll be $100. 

My goal will be to have 50 offerings in the collection; I’m currently at 39, and you can expect the normal bleakness that all of my other writing provides!

As I said previously, I want to make this an annual thing – to provide a LOHF Writers Grant every year, so I’ve already begun plotting next year’s release, and I’ll be reaching out to some other writers to see if they’d like to contribute, and help grow this thing even bigger!

So thanks to the awesome Ladies of Horror Fiction for being so kind to team up, and to all of you out there who will pre-order and help support an author – thank you!

The team behind the Ladies of Horror Fiction will decide who is the lucky recipient, and they will announce the first winner on September 15, 2019!! The lucky winner will also receive a physical copy of the collection!

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the LOHF Writers Grant, you must identify as female, and have reasonably demonstrated your commitment to writing in the horror genre. All grant provided funds must be used in a manner that will help develop the applicant’s career.

Application Process

In order to apply for the LOHF Writers Grant, you must fill out this form by 11:59pm August 31, 2019.

Selection Process

The grant recipient will be selected by members of the LOHF Writers Grant Committee consisting of non-disclosed members of the Ladies of Horror Fiction.

Grant Disbursement

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team will announce the recipient of the LOHF Writers Grant on September 15, 2019. At this time, the LOHF Writers Grant Committee will also notify Steve Stred of the recipient.

Contribute to the LOHF Writers Grant

If you would like to contribute to the annual LOHF Writers Grant, be sure to preorder a copy of The Night Crawls In! Every preorder of The Night Crawls In between August 1 – August 31 will help contribute to the LOHF Writers Grant fund.

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is only involved in assisting with the selection of the LOHF Writers Grant recipient. All funding and disbursement of funds are at the sole discretion of Steve Stred.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Shelf Edition: Audra & Ouija

This month our guests for Shelf Edition are Audra and Ouija, or you may know them as @ouija.doodle.reads! Audra is an avid bookworm and editor who spends the rest of her free time watching horror movies and kickboxing, and Ouija is a goldendoodle with a nose for good fiction, haunted houses, and tennis balls. 

Book title links will bring you to the book page at Goodreads.

Do you have any recent favorite LOHF books? 

My favorite discovery of this year has been The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark. Though it isn’t a new book, it captured me so completely that when I finished reading it, I turned right back to the start and read it again. Chilling, suspenseful, and simply brilliant.

A more recent publication I loved was My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, more of a satirical black comedy, but so, so original and devilishly delightful.

For the writerly readers, I’ll recommend this horror-adjacent read: Bunny by Mona Awad. Another darkly humorous book (I guess I’m going through a phase), this one delves deep into MFA writing programs and how the act of creation can be a type of black magic—literally.

Audra's Shelfie #1

What LOHF books do you have on your TBR?

I keep a pretty good stack of ladies of horror books stacked beside my bed so I can pick one up in between other reads. Kathe Koja and Bari Wood are giants I’ve yet to read, and they are staring me down. Cry Your Way Home is Damien Angelica Walters’s short story collection that I’ve been trying to get to, especially since I adored her story from the Fright into Flight collection. I’m also planning an end of summer re-read of all of Shirley Jackson’s books, and then I want to read Ruth Franklin’s mammoth biography of her I’ve been putting off!

Audra & Ouija photo with My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Where do you find recommendations? Are there any LOHF books that have been recommended to you that you loved? 

I have been developing a list of women horror writers for quite a while! Reading short story collections is a great way to find new authors. When I read a story I like in a collection, I check to see if that writer has any novels and I’ll add her to my list to keep an eye on. 

Now, I definitely find most of my recs from social media, especially the LOHF team. I read The Between with the LOHF readalong in February and fell in love with Tananarive Due’s writing, so I’ve started collecting more of her books to read; The Good House is up next.

Audra & Oujia photo with Shirley Jackson books

Where do you shop for books?

I love my local indie, Boulder Bookstore, for all new releases. Like most bookworms, I am magnetically attracted to all used bookstores—you just never know what kind of treasure you’re going to find! I recently chanced upon a hardcover first edition of Elizabeth Engstrom’s When Darkness Loves Us at the kookiest used store in New Orleans.

Audra & Ouija with The Rust Maidens

Are there any upcoming LOHF releases you’re excited about? 

  • Ania Ahlborn’s new release, If You See Her is sitting on my bedside table and I can hardly restrain myself from taking a peek before the LOHF readalong for July. 
  • Cherie Priest’s The Toll (Tor, July)I haven’t read any of her books yet, but I’m impressed by her ability to cross genres: from steampunk to ghost stories, bring it on.
  • Nicole Cushing’s A Sick Gray Laugh (Word Horde, August)—I can’t say that I “liked” her previous novel, but I definitely appreciated the gross, dark places it went.
  • Katie Lowe’s The Furies (St. Martin’s, October)—an occult coming-of-age story for girls—that’s all I need to know.
  • Lauren Beukes’s Motherland (Mulholland, May 2020)—I adored The Shining Girls and even though this one is pitched as noir/suspense/sci-fi (can’t wait to see how she pulls all that off) I’m keeping her on my horror ladies list.
Audra & Ouija with a pile of LOHF books

Where can people find you on social media?




Thank you for joining us, Audra & Ouija! Our bookshelves also thank you! If you would like to be featured on a future shelf edition please leave a note in the comments. We’d love to see your shelves!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What We've Been Reading #13

The Ladies of Horror Fiction team have been reading up a storm. Here are a few of our recommended reads.

Skull Nuggets by Amy M. Vaughn Book Cover

Skull Nuggets by Amy M. Vaughn

Forato House is looking for test subjects: Are you between the ages of 21 and 61? Are you depressed, anxious, unfulfilled? Join us at our state of the art residential testing facility where we have perfected trepanation, the ancient art of drilling a hole in the skull to achieve a permanently higher state of consciousness! But that’s not all! We are currently seeking individuals who wish to eradicate their neurophages. Through our proprietary process of injecting hallucinogens directly into the frontal lobe, you can rid yourself of brain mites and experience lasting bliss. Do it for science! Do it for peace of mind! Do it for the people you love!

Goodreads | Amazon | Better World Books

Toni’s Teaser Review

I really enjoyed the story. I LOVED the cover illustration which is by Betty Rocksteady. I really enjoyed Vaughn’s story telling. Skull Nuggets was a great introduction to the bizarro genre. 

Click here to see Toni’s full review at The Misadventures Of A Reader

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon Book Cover

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

West 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. 

Goodreads | Amazon | Better World Books

Jen’s Teaser Review

I had a good time reading it since there was plenty of creepy horror to keep me going.

Click here to see Jen’s full review at Book Den

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

A thrilling, atmospheric debut with the intensive drive of The Martian and Gravity and the creeping dread of Annihilation, in which a caver on a foreign planet finds herself on a terrifying psychological and emotional journey for survival.

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

Goodreads | Amazon | Better World Books

Tracy’s Teaser Review

I will absolutely pick up the next book Starling publishes. Debut novel or not, this book is highly entertaining and one of my favorite summer reads so far. One more thing – someone PLEASE make a movie adaptation of this.  Just exactly how it is. Thanks.  

Click here to Tracy’s full review at Sci-fi & Scary

Share your recent LOHF reads with us in the comments below!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Guest Post: Creatures in Horror: From the Weekly World News' Batboy to Phosphorescent Alien Goop By Betty Rocksteady

Creatures in Horror: From the Weekly World News’ Batboy to Phosphorescent Alien Goop

By Betty Rocksteady

My first introduction to horrific creatures was in The Weekly World News, that tabloid magazine from the 80s and 90s featuring weirdo cryptids and Fortean phenomenon. My papa always referred to the mag as just “the news,” so as a kid I was convinced all these creatures were completely real. Actually, I’m still notcompletelyconvinced that those strange beings don’t lurk in hidden corners of the earth.

There are a few distinct types of creatures that tend to pop up in genre fiction and I think they all highlight different fears. Secret earthly beings that man just hasn’t stumbled across yet, or ones that are only rumored to exist; like giant alligators or cryptids like Mothman.  Then you have science experiments gone wrong, turning what was once a man or another animal into something changed beyond all belief! And of course, my personal favorite is supernatural creatures and/or alien beings. You can really delve into creative madness when you’re working on something horrifying and new.

What all the types of creatures have in common is they let us explore beyond the veil of everyday life. The effects of the being itself are one thing – maybe it’s a hulking cannibalistic man/hippo hybrid or maybe it’s a pile of snail goop in your backyard that gained sentience, or maybe the sky peels back to reveal glistening meat and we’ve all been trapped in the belly of some beast for centuries. What all these monsters really do is change our view of the world. Even once the creature is vanquished (if it can be), how on earth do you go back to your regular life now that you know that some trees have branches that pluck the eyes out from the skulls of unattended children? And if that’s possible, what else is?

I use creatures in a lot of my work. The supernatural/horrific effects of a story are the speculative element, and the speculative element is the fun part. Even though the monster is the hook, the driving plot point, it really ends up being the window dressing you use to force your characters to tell their story, to act, to become something. When I wrote my novella, THE WRITHING SKIES, it was jam-packed with a variety of goopy aliens, from tiny glowing bugs with an intense curiosity about pain to a hungry gaping maw in the sky. Describing them and coming up with their appearance and abilities was the highlight of my brainstorming, but their real purpose was to torture my protagonist, feed on her pain, and bring her transformation to light.

When I’m writing creatures (or anything), I do a lot of brainstorming before putting anything to paper. Your monster needs character work too, even if it’s so utterly inhuman its motivations will always be unknown to your character. It still needs to have an effect on them, and if you can tailor that effect to your character’s emotional journey it’s going to elevate the writing to another level. 

I like to think about texture a lot – is its flesh runny and sludgy? Sharp and sandpapery? Sensations like texture, smell and taste are often ignored, but can be so successful at evoking a mood in your story.

There’s so many places to take inspiration from and I love seeing brand new monstrosities formed out of the strange dreamspace of writers instead of relying on the same old tropes and monsters we’ve seen over and over. Get weird. Get gross. Get creepy. 

About Betty Rocksteady

Betty Rocksteady writes cosmic sex horror, cat mythos, and surreal, claustrophobic nightmares. 

Her debut novella Arachnophile was part of Eraserhead Press New Bizarro Author Series 2015. Like Jagged Teeth and The Writhing Skies were released by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. The Writhing Skies was voted Novella of the Year by This Is Horror Awards 2018. 

Her collection In Dreams We Rot from Trepidato Publishing is being released October 2019.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What We've Been Reading #12

Check out what titles the Ladies of Horror Fiction team have enjoyed recently!

Bunny by Mona Awad book cover

Bunny by Mona Awad

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Emily’s Review Teaser

I don’t want to say very much about it because you deserve to experience this insanity on its own.

Click here to see Emily’s full review at Goodreads

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Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse by Jane Yolen

A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself…

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Toni’s Review Teaser

The story is heartbreaking but at the same time it isn’t. It is modern and beautiful.

Click here to see Toni’s full review at The Misadventures of a Reader

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The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.

Instead, she got Em.

Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .

As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, Gyre finds her sense of control giving way to paranoia and anger. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.

But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Lilyn’s Review Teaser

The idea for The Luminous Dead is simple yet effective. One particular scene had me grinning with sheer appreciation.

Click here to see Lilyn’s full review at Goodreads

Have you read any of these? Please share your LOHF reads with us!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ladies of Horror Fiction Presents Creatures

A month ago Toni put out the call for Women Horror Authors to send their creature stories. Needless to say it was hard to pick. But pick we did. I hope that everyone enjoys Salty Air, Daisy and Run Ruby Run.

Salty Air By Sonora Taylor

Sonora Taylor is the author of Without ConditionThe Crow’s Gift and Other TalesPlease Give, and Wither and Other Stories. Her short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,’” was published in Camden Park Press’s Quoth the Raven, an anthology of stories and poems that put a contemporary twist on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Taylor’s short stories frequently appear in The Sirens Call, a bi-monthly horror eZine. Her work has also been published in Mercurial Stories, a weekly flash fiction literary journal; and Tales to Terrify, a weekly horror podcast. Her third short story collection, Little Paranoias, will be out October 22, 2019. She lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband.

Daisy by Hailey Piper

The next story is called Daisy by Hailey Piper. Hailey Piper was raised in the creepy woods of New York, Hailey Piper is a long-time writer and editor with a Bachelor’s in Literature and over a decade of experience as a professional proofreader and copy editor.  She is big into spec fiction, but loves horror the most, and she can’t get enough of it.

Run Ruby Run By Alyson Faye

Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, teen son and 4 rescue animals. Her short stories have appeared in print in the anthologies, Women in Horror Annual 2Stories from StoneDeadCades:The Infernal DecimationCoffin Bell Journal 1 and Crackers. Her debut flash fiction collection, Badlands, was published in January 2018 her flash appears frequently on the Horror Tree and in Siren’s call ezines. Her latest supernatural tale from Demain Publishing, Night of the Rider, went into the amazon top 10 best seller charts for horror.

Part 2 of Ladies of Horror Fiction Presents stories of Horror is going to be a short story by Chris Chesler. I hope you all join me.

If you would like to submit a story for next month we are looking for Body Horror stories. Please have a look at our submission page for the requirements. 

If you would like to reach out to the LOHFpodcast, our email address is We would love to hear about new releases, news in the community, and suggestions for the podcast. You can find out more about the members of the Ladies of Horror Fiction via our website at

The music for this episode is from Nicolas Gasparini at 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Guest Post: A Passion for Monsters By Lee Murray

A Passion for Monsters

By Lee Murray

From amorphic blob to prehistoric beasts and rampaging apes, and even the humble rat, the creature feature has become a staple of horror fiction. Just a quick look at recent films provides us with a good snapshot: there was last year’s Rampage, this year’s new Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and creature stories based on reality like Crawl, and the 47 Metres Down sequel. Whether on the screen or on the page, our interest in monsters is strongly ingrained. But where did it start? Why so much interest? Into the Mist author Lee Murray asks some of her creature-feature writer friends for their insights. 

First up is Australian Alan Baxter, co-author of Primordial, and Overlord as well as weird monster fiction like Hidden City. Always fascinated by monsters, Baxter boils our interest in monsters down to its most primal level:

“I’m a fan of creature features because the human fear of being eaten is probably one of the very oldest. It puts us at our most vulnerable.” 

Adrian J Smith writes Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s bestselling Extinction Cycle monster series, his books—Rule of ThreeThe Fourth Phase, and The Five Pillars—all set in New Zealand, a country better known for fat flightless parrots and shy little geckoes than monsters. Like Baxter, Smith also points to fear and human vulnerability as being a key attraction:

“Creature-monster fiction appeals to me because it quite often triggers that primal fear inside. The what ifs? The realisation that we might not be the apex species.”

And it seems Smith’s passion to chase that ‘what if’ emerged at an early age: 

“From the moment I read ‘Day of the Triffids’ at age 12, I knew I wanted to write weird creature fiction. To explore the human psyche. Our reactions and responses to catastrophic events. I just had to. I was obsessed.”

Fans will be pleased to learn that Smith’s obsession means there’ll be more Kiwi monster fiction coming from him soon. Fellow New Zealander Paul Mannering, who has a story in award-winning creature anthology Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror, and who writes horror adventures for Severed Press (Hell’s Teeth, The Trench, and Eat), also discovered monster fiction at an early age. For Mannering, coming from the farm, a fascination for all things monstrous seemed ‘perfectly normal’:

“I read Franz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ way too young. Before I was 10 years old. The simple idea of a man become ‘monster’ was mind-blowing. I went on to read ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, and ‘War of the Worlds’ within a week of my 10th birthday (Yay ‒ books as gifts!). I also grew up with a marine biologist father, and on a farm. So physical monstrosity and body horror was something that I found myself immersed in from a young age, and it all seemed perfectly normal.

This is when I started my love of monster horror. It has continued ever since, and I find the idea of physical transformation and the thrill of discovery in a setting of the natural world to be as exciting as exploring new places and meeting new people (or things).”

Until recently, writing creature feature fiction was something writer and screenwriter Rena Mason described as being outside her comfort zone, but in May of this year she proved her talent for the genre, winning her third Bram Stoker Award for her story The Devil’s Throat, a spine-chilling tale of mutant sea cucumbers, which also appears in Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror. Mason says she too leaned towards monsters from an early age: 

“Very early on in my childhood, the first movie I ever saw was ‘Godzilla’, my favorite show was ‘Ultraman’, and my favorite first book was ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ in which I was disappointed that the monsters didn’t eat Max.”

“I was disappointed that the monsters didn’t eat Max!” chimes in F. Paul Wilson, the bestselling author of the Repairman Jack horror-thriller series, getting right into the swing of this conversation. Wilson and his collaborator, multi-award-winning author Tom Monteleone, have lately turned their hands to corrupting our young people to monsters with their much-loved Nocturnia Chronicles, a series in which two adventuresome kids—Emma and Ryan—discover a parallel world that is the source of all our most well-known monsters, and humans are either slaves or food or both! Wilson suggests that some people are born with a penchant for monsters, at least he was, and that all that’s required to trigger a life-long love of creature feature fiction is a little inspiration…

“I’ve long believed we come out of the womb primed for certain things and I came out primed for beasties. I still remember the moment I opened the Sept. 7, 1953 issue of Life and saw my first T. Rex. I was transfixed, electrified.  All the other dinosaurs in the issue had been merely big lizards, but this…this thing with its glinty red eye was a monster. I was in love.”

Provided by the author

In fact, dinosaurs feature highly amongst the inspiration for today’s best monster-thriller writers. Tim Waggoner, another Bram Stoker winner, and author of chompy horror adventures like Blood Island and Teeth of the Sea, was also inspired by the prehistoric from an early age: 

“I fell in love with dinosaurs as a kid, too. My father would read me nonfiction books about them, and I was able to recognize their names before I could read by memorizing the shape of the words. I was fascinated by the idea that these creatures were real and that they had lived in the same place I lived now, only a long time ago. We might even occupy the same space, just at different times! That made them seem like ghosts ‒ and seeing their skeletons displayed made them seem even more like ghosts!”

All of Matt Betts’ books involve monsters in some form or another, but the only one of his titles that gets his dad’s full respect is his mega-monster horror thriller The Shadow Beneath the Waves, which Monster Dear Monster podcast described as ‘a slow-burning mixture equal parts Pacific Rim and Congo’. I wonder if Betts’ dad played a role in kindling his monstrously overactive imagination:

“The first movie I remember in a theater was Star Wars. There were plenty of fascinating creatures in that to terrify and intrigue me. What was that garbage monster, and did we have one in our trash? The first movie I remember in a drive-in. Jaws. I don’t think I need to explain what that did to my young, impressionable mind, but I will add that we had a pool in our backyard. Swimming was interesting for a few years after that!”

Perhaps what really intrigues us most is the possibility that these monsters might one day exist. A long-time scuba diver, Rena Mason’s observations of the seabed over time have convinced her that environmental pressures caused by human activity are creating changes in our fauna, a concern which, as a product of her upbringing, was already deep-set in Mason’s psyche:

I think that growing up in an Asian household/culture, there’s always been a strong focus (mainly from Japanese TV and films) on mutant animals, insects, lizards, etc. post-Hiroshima, so this affected what I viewed growing up and enjoyed into adulthood. That same thought of ‘disrespecting the planet will come back to get us’ holds true today, if not more so, in my opinion.”

But another Hellhole contributor, JH Moncrieff, author of Monsters in Our Wake and Return to Datylov Pass, believes they’re already here…

“I don’t think we’ve discovered everything there is to discover yet, and the sightings of so-called “monsters”—really just creatures we haven’t identified yet—have occurred all over the world, for hundreds of years. I like writing about creatures because I like to keep an open mind. You never know—the truth just could be out there.” 

Contributor sites:

Alan Baxter

Adrian J Smith

Paul Mannering

Rena Mason

F Paul Wilson

Tim Waggoner

Matt Betts

JH Moncrieff

Headshot of Lee Murray

Lee Murray is a double Bram Stoker Award-nominee and multi-award-winning writer and editor (Sir Julius Vogel, Australian Shadows). The author of the Taine McKenna military horror series, and several novels for children, she is co-author of the Path of Ra supernatural crime-noir series (with Dan Rabarts), and the editor of ten anthologies of dark fiction. Lee lives with her family in New Zealand where she conjures up stories from her office overlooking a cow paddock. Read more at tweets @leemurraywriter

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

What We've Been Reading #11

Here’s the latest round-up of our most recent LOHF reads! Have you read any of them yet?

She’s Lost Control edited by Elizabeth Jenike

The female voice is strong, and will not be controlled. 

This book, by its very nature, is doing important work: giving women writers a platform and prioritizing their voices over the cacophony of men that have dominated the field for so long. This is not meant to start an argument over whose voice is more important or stronger or holds more weight—this book is only meant to continue the conversation of why we need diverse mindsets and points of view in the literary community. And as the global conversation continues to both widen and deepen in regards to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our lives, I hope we can maintain that dialogue. This is a good place to start. 

The pieces in this anthology deal with various themes: death, violence, love, rape, motherhood, childhood, family, failure, victory. They are all poignant, emotional, and important. They are all human. I am proud and grateful that these women have entrusted me with their words. I hope you read them and hear what they are saying—what they are screaming.

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Emily’s Teaser Review

She’s Lost Control is an anthology of 28 stories and poems written by women horror writers. I had read a couple of these authors before, but I was introduced to several I hadn’t read before, which was awesome. 

Click here to see Emily’s full review at Goodreads.

Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Laurie’s Teaser Review

If you like stories with a dark fairy-tale feel and horror-ish undertones, I cannot recommend this addictive and creeptastic book highly enough! It is the best of the best, in my opinion. All the stars.

Click here to see Laurie’s full review at her blog Bark At The Ghoul’s.

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

Amazon | Better World Books | Goodreads

Toni’s Teaser Review

I  truly truly enjoyed this collection. There is a story for everyone in Her Body. Machado’s writing style was spot on for me. It was lyrical yet beautiful. The way that Machado handles such heavy topics with such beautiful writing really shows her skill as an author. The stories are terrifying but her writing style makes them beautiful.

Click here to see Toni’s full review at her blog The Misadventures Of A Reader

Share your thoughts on these and any other LOHF titles you’re reading in the comments!

July 2019 LOHF New Releases

Each month the Ladies of Horror Fiction team posts all of the books we are aware of that will be releasing during that month. If you are involved in the process of publishing a horror book written by a female author, please reach out to us and let us know so we can help to spotlight the book’s release!

The Toll by Cherie Priest

The Toll by Cherie Priest

State Road 177 runs along the Suwannee River, between Fargo, Georgia, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Drive that route from east to west, and you’ll cross six bridges. Take it from west to east, and you might find seven.

But you’d better hope not.

Titus and Davina Bell leave their hotel in Fargo for a second honeymoon canoeing the Okefenokee Swamp. But shortly before they reach their destination, they draw up to a halt at the edge of a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car . . .

When, much later, a tow-truck arrives, the driver finds Titus lying in the middle of the road, but Davina is nowhere to be found.

Expected publication: July 9th 2019 by Tor Books

Goodreads | Amazon

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Expected publication: July 9th 2019 by Delacorte Press

Goodreads | Amazon

A Dream to Die for by Susan Z. Ritz

A Dream to Die for by Susan Z. Ritz

In Riverton Falls, a small New England town, globe-trotting bartender Celeste Fortune stands in her kitchen puzzling over last night’s frightening dream–a woman at a window, lilacs blowing in the breeze, someone’s hands tight around her neck. Celeste is sure the dream belongs to someone else. Perhaps she has finally broken through to the collective dreams of Dreamland cult. Hoping her therapist and cult leader will help her untangle it, she heads off into the cold November morning to her final appointment with him–or so she hopes. Her estranged fiancĂ© has delivered an ultimatum: Leave the cult of Dreamers, or end their relationship for good.

Instead of help, however, Celeste discovers her therapist dying in a pool of blood, skull stove in by his own healing crystal. His computer, containing the intimate dreams and secrets of half the town, is gone. Suspicion immediately falls on Celeste, known to be a rebellious member of his cult. To clear her name, Celeste enlists the help of her old friend, Gloria, and the two women set out to find the real culprit. But in the middle of their hunt, the stolen dreams seemingly come to life, terrifying the town–and Celeste and Gloria become the killer’s next target.

Expected publication: July 16th 2019 by She Writes Press

Goodreads | Amazon

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch

Choking Back the Devil by Donna Lynch is an invocation, an ancient invitation that summons the darkness within and channels those lonely spirits looking for a host. It’s a collection that lives in the realm of ghosts and family curses, witchcraft and urban legends, and if you’re brave enough to peek behind the veil, the hauntings that permeate these pages will break seals and open doorways, cut throats and shatter mirrors.

You see, these poems are small drownings, all those subtle suffocations that live in that place between our ribs that swells with panic, incubates fear. Lynch shows her readers that sometimes our shadow selves–our secrets–are our sharpest weapons, the knives that rip through flesh, suture pacts with demons, cut deals with entities looking for more than a homecoming, something better, more intimate than family.

It’s about the masks we wear and the reflections we choose not to look at, and what’s most terrifying about the spells is these incantations show that we are the possessed, that we are our greatest monster, and if we look out of the corner of our eyes, sometimes–if we’ve damned ourselves enough–we can catch a glimpse of our own burnings, what monstrosities and mockeries we’re to become.

So cross yourselves and say your prayers. Because in this world, you are the witch and the hunter, the girl and the wolf.

Expected publication: July 17th 2019 by Raw Dog Screaming Press

Goodreads | Amazon

The Place of Broken Thingsby Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti

The Place of Broken Things by Linda D. Addison & Alessandro Manzetti

Bram Stoker Award® winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure. 

They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).

Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.

Expected publication: July 19th 2019 by Crystal Lake Publishing


Mr Stoker & I by Becky Wright

Mr Stoker & I by Becky Wright

My name is Miss Lucinda Meredith.Please, come sit with me a while, let me tell you my story.

It was the Summer of 1890.Theatre manager and writer, Mr Bram Stoker,arrived here in Whitby after an arduous theatre tour of Scotland.It was to be a welcome respite before his return to London.What he discovered was far more intriguing.

We met at dawn on the East Cliff, in the shadow ofWhitby Abbey, on a bench overlooking the sea.So at ease in his company, I felt compelled to sharethe events that had haunted my existence.

And after all these years, I wonder, could our chance encounterhave inspired what would become, Bram Stoker’s legacy?

“Death finds us all, it is our finality.I had ached for death for so long, to rid me of the misery, torment—this plague.Yet, when it came, my end only signified a beginning.The creation of something new.”

Expected publication: July 20th 2019 by Platform House

Goodreads | Amazon

Invisible Chains by Michelle Renee Lane

Invisible Chains by Michelle Renee Lane

Jacqueline is a young Creole slave in antebellum New Orleans.  An unusual stranger who has haunted her dreams since childhood comes to stay as a guest in her master’s house. Soon after his arrival, members of the household die mysteriously, and Jacqueline is suspected of murder.  Despite her fear of the stranger, Jacqueline befriends him and he helps her escape. While running from the slave catchers, they meet conjurers, a loup-garou, and a traveling circus of supernatural freaks.  She relies on ancestral magic to guide her and finds strength to conquer her fears on her journey.

Expected publication: July 22nd 2019 by Haverhill House Publishing

Goodreads | Amazon

Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully

Jennifer Strange by Cat Scully

When her father disappears, Jennifer Strange moves in with her estranged sister Liz in Savannah, Georgia, one of the most haunted places in the United States. When the ghosts begin to tear Jennifer and Liz’s lives apart, the sisters must learn to trust each other again if they hope to uncover the truth about their family history. If they can’t sort out their differences, they’ll not only destroy the veil between the living and the dead, but fall into the hands of a rival family that wants them dead.

Cat Scully’s illustrations bring the ghosts and demons of her fictional world to eerie and beautiful life, harkening back to the style of SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK and Ransom Riggs’ MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN.

Expected publication: July 23rd 2019 by Haverhill House Publishing

Goodreads | Amazon

To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

To Be Devoured by Sara Tantlinger

What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts.

Her girlfriend, Luna, tries to help Andi battle her inner darkness and infatuation with the vultures. However, the desire to taste dead flesh, to stitch together wings of her own and become one with the flock sends Andi down a twisted, unforgivable path. Once she understands the secrets the vultures conceal, she must decide between abandoning the birds of prey or risk turning her loved ones into nothing more than meals to be devoured.

Expected publication: July 29th 2019 by Unnerving

Goodreads | Amazon

Have we missed any July 2019 LOHF titles you are excited about? Let us know in the comments!