Category: Guest Post

WiHM 2023: Reading for Writing Inspiration

Reading for Writing Inspiration

Some of my fave horror writers disclose their go-to’s for inspiration.

By Shelly Lyons

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. ” ― Raymond Chandler

While deep into the second draft of my first novel, Like Real, I got stuck. Not quite debilitating, but circling that territory, and no amount of brainstorming or power walking could free me from this one-way ticket to complete story paralysis. What I’d written so far had a workable structure, some fine set pieces and good dialogue. The problem had become a seemingly unending debate about whether some details were persnickety versus essential. Was I telling or showing? Were my words stilted and/or derivative? I’d written screenplays before, but screenplays are bare bones critters, and I needed to add some flesh—but not too much—into a story that demanded more interiority, depth and detail.

It was too much! I’d lost control! If you’ve read my essay on the writing of the book, you’ll know my need for personal control is why I failed as a drug user and liquor imbiber, and why my favorite Universal Horror Monster is The Wolfman, who loses control through no fault of his own. I don’t mind zig-zagging through a maze, but I prefer having the end of it in mind as I voyage.


WiHM 2023: The Best Horror Books Written by Women: A List of Must-Read Titles

The Best Horror Books Written by Women: A List of Must-Read Titles

by: Kaaron Warren 


I have a running list in my head and on my bookshelves of must-read (and re-read) horror books. Not all of them are by women, but many are, and for Women in Horror Month, I’ve jotted down just some of the books that have impressed, horrified, delighted, and influenced me.


Horror lends itself to short fiction. The terrifying image, the unbearable ending, the twist you didn’t guess; all of these are served well by short fiction. The novella also works well because you can explore further themes in a slightly longer piece, and add some layering to your plot and to your characters.


WiHM 2023: The Most Chilling Women in Psychological Horror: A Ranking of Most Disturbing Female Characters

The Most Chilling Women in Psychological Horror: A Ranking of Most Disturbing Female Characters

By Yawatta Hosby


How does the saying go? Villains are the misunderstood protagonists in their own heads. I love horror movies so much that I thought it’d be fun to rank the most chilling women in psychological horror.


WiHM 2023: How to Find a Thousand Words in a Picture

A picture’s worth a thousand words.

So the centuries-old idiom goes, implying that a picture is more valuable, more eloquent than words could ever be.

No wonder, then, that so many writers feel intimidated by picture prompts. What on earth should we do with them? What if we choose the wrong approach? Who decides what the right approach is anyway?

Three years ago I felt the same – any writing challenge involving picture prompts reduced me to a state of dread-tinged bewilderment.

The turning point for me was joining the Ladies of Horror Flash Project in May 2020. I was a regular reader and was desperate to join as a writer – the prompts were beautiful, the writing so well-crafted and the ladies themselves seemed so cool. But joining them would mean facing up to picture prompts, as each writer is assigned one of four different prompts every month with a 10-day deadline to produce a flash piece – prose or poetry – up to 750 words.

I was absolutely terrified the first month that I took part. I was daunted by the prompt and overawed by the talent of the other women taking part. But as time progressed, discomfort turned to confidence. I now look forward to the new prompt arriving in my inbox – it kick-starts my writing and shakes off any lingering inertia as I tackle the rest of my writing goals for that month.

I am not a plotter, but I am a thinker. Behind every piece I write is a subconscious process driven by bits of information that I’ve gathered on my writing journey along with a solid foundation of trial and error…lots of errors.

This article brings that subconscious process into the light and explores some of the questions you may want to ask yourself when faced with a picture prompt. But remember, be kind to your brain – this series of questions is not an interrogation – have fun and allow your imagination to free the words locked in the image.


Thorns of Chaos Blog Tour: Writing a Novel? Where to Start.

Writing a Novel? Where to Start.

by: Jeremiah Cain author of Thorns of Chaos

To begin with, I should note there’s no single way to write a book. Authors, like all artists, should find their own, unique creative path that works for them. However, in finding the path I use, I found (and still find) it helpful to read about how other authors tackle the daunting task of taking those important first steps in the long journey of completing a novel.

That said, I started as a pantster. The novel I wrote in high school and the next two novels I wrote afterward were all made up as I went along. I had a general idea of where they were going, but for the most part, they just flowed without a real plan. For me, it was a good creative exercise, but I don’t plan to publish them. However, the time was not wasted. The pantster—I hate that word—books help me develop the world of Perdinok. A mythology developed as did cultures and various religions. A lot of aspects changed considerably as I worked out all the kinks. However, I found that as the story changed along the way, it caused the need for major revision and complete rewrites. Granted, any method is going to require revision and rewrites, but for me, the pantster method required a lot more.


WiHM 2023: From Scream Queen to Lady Badass: An Evolution of Women in Horror

From Scream Queen to Lady Badass: An Evolution of Women in Horror
by: Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Is there anything more cringeworthy in the horror genre than the unfashionable damsel in distress trope?  It’s a hard sway from today’s horror scene, which has at least given actresses a 50/50 chance of being cast as sexpot butcher bait or given a more motivating assignment of kicking evil’s ass.  Or in the contemporary cases of Toni Collette in Hereditary or Lupita Nyong’o in Us, redefining what women can do to the genre, much less for it.

As long as Betty Crocker and Hoover appliances were bleakly tagged upon the kitchen-bound stereotypes of women in pop culture, devaluation of females in horror was likewise an interminable norm.  Let’s face the facts; horror films of yesteryear were seldom rewarding to their leading ladies, especially being outnumbered for work 3 to 1 by the men.

Bad enough those women lucky enough to be cast into a protagonist position in 1950s and later, Eighties horror, were often disposable eye candy.  Females of the drive-in days of the Fabulous Fifties were scripted to divvy just enough common-sense motherly dialogue to ferry the B-level masculine drivel overruling them.  This, as muscleheads in rubber suits, werewolves the palest shade of Lon Chaney, Jr. and stop-motion clay monsters sent women of the Fifties into extreme closeup mode, shrieking their guts out.  Frozen in place for seconds until they were either rescued by alpha intervention or they disappeared from the story altogether offscreen.  In either scenario, done so without a fight.  You just know the ancient warrior goddesses Sekhmet, Hel, Athena and Freya were face-palming themselves at the hapless (and hopeless) sight of these pin curled, Victory rolled “scream queens.”


Amazon vs. Piracy: Who’s Winning?

Amazon vs. Piracy: Who’s Winning?

by: Michael Clark

My novel Hell on High was pirated this week, one day before launch, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around Amazon’s blunder. Here’s what I think I know:

Brigids Gate Press uploaded the eBook in mid-January for a 99-cent presale. The official launch date was set to March 9. The listing had a nice bright blue thumbnail of what I consider to be a gorgeous cover. Once that was done, we sent out over one hundred advanced reader copies in exchange for reviews and also listed it on NetGalley, which does the same thing. 

For seven weeks, we pushed the sale, not for money, but for the reviews. These are free books, after all—one hundred to two hundred people that won’t have to buy it. I’m a new author, and attention is what I need most.  


AI and the Future of Book Covers

AI and the Future of Book Covers

by: T.L. Bodine

The internet being what it is, it really never feels like a good time to release a new book. You peek your head out like a groundhog to get a vibe-check of Twitter so you can make an announcement, and the coast is clear. Two seconds after you post, someone, somewhere, has been crowned the internet’s main character of the day, and your feed is awash in discourse. 


Or is that just me? 


One of the many hot-button recurring issues of the year so far has been generative AI, both the apps that churn content (ChatGPT) and the ones that spew images (Midjourney, Dall-E). Like a lot of things, this new tech emerged in a slow-building arc: