Unless otherwise stated the narrator is Toni
Hi and welcome to the very first episode of the Ladies of horror fiction bi-weekly podcast. My name is Toni and I blog at The Misadventures of a Reader.
Today’s episode is going to be a little bit different. As this is the inaugural episode of the LOHF podcast I am going to talk about what the ladies of horror fiction is and our aims for the wider horror community. Basically, what we can do to help woman authors, publishers and women horror reviewers.
There is a quote from Bela Lugosi that I believe encapsulates women’s place in horror “It is women who love horror. Gloat over it. Feed on it. Are nourished by it. Shudder and cling and cry out- and come back for more.”
The amazing Grady Hendrix in Paperbacks from Hell noted “horror is a woman’s genre”. I think Grady Hendrix and Bela Lugosi would be welcome additions to the LOHF family.
The Ladies of Horror Fiction podcast is part of the larger ladies of horror fiction organization. The LOHF was founded to help promote women in the larger horror community. The organization started out as a group of 4 independent horror fiction reviewers who wanted to work together and give back to the greater horror community. We have since grown our organization to include 9 horror reviewers who each review horror fiction across various social media platforms: Instagram, good reads and our own personal blogs. The one thing all 9 of us have in common is our deep love and appreciation of the dark and scary.
We feel that women in the horror genre are underrepresented. In an informal study performed in 2013 by Lisa Morton found that only 9.33% of published horror authors were woman. Granted this an unscientific study and was performed in 2013. Do we think that we are doing any better 5 years down the road? In doing my research for this episode I came across an HWA roundtable performed in 2014 entitled Sexism in horror. A few of the reasons why there were fewer published woman horror authors were: Woman aren’t submitting, woman’s horror is being lumped in with urban fantasy or paranormal romance. I am not sure if that is the case. However; there is an interesting idea that has been floated around which is women don’t tend to promote their work as much as men do. This was one of the main reasons why we founded the Ladies of Horror Fiction.
Our mission is to not only put a spotlight on the amazing women writing within our genre, but to also highlight women publishers, editors, reviewers.
As an organization, we hope to be a resource for horror lovers to discover new works by the women authors they love and discover a new author they haven’t heard of before. This happens to me every day.
The overall aim of the organization is to promote women in horror. Via Twitter , with book birthday cards and tweeting about all things Ladies in Horror Fiction. Via Instagram, with our yearly Ladies of Horror fiction #bookstagram challenge, book photos, and stories. Via the Ladies of Horror Fiction web site, with Book and Author spotlights, reviews, and the true labor of love that is the LOHF directory. The LOHF directory is an ever-growing listing of over 400 woman who identify as horror authors. One of our goals is to create a profile for each woman in the directory with bios and links to buy their works.
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has commented on the directory with corrections or additions. I would also like to thank everyone who has taken the time to review the profiles of the authors as we get them finished.
My goal for this podcast to dive even deeper into the horror genre. Every other week I am planning to tailor my topics around the works of women in horror. I’ll discuss the books I’m currently reading as well as any new releases within the horror community.
I will also have guest hosts and interviews. We will also keep you up to date with what’s happening in the horror community with news and announcements as well as future events hosted by the Ladies of Horror Fiction. I do have an event to talk about a little later in the episode.
Now on to the fun stuff!
I want to talk a little about the horror genre overall. What actually is horror? Lit rector’s Annie Neugebauer in February put together a handy dandy info-graphic on Horror. I used this as a base to start to look into what defines a work as horror. According to the Webster’s dictionary (yes I still use a paper dictionary). The definition of horror: a literary or film genre concerned with arousing feelings of horror. Webster’s defines feelings of horror as an intense feeling of fear, shock or disgust. What defines a book as horror? A book is defined as horror if “horror” feelings are the main emphasis of the story. There are many horror sub genres and they will be covered in other episodes. But for now, we will stick with the dictionary definition of horror.
Now that we have established what horror actually is let’s talk a little about the origins of the Horror literary Genre. The roots of the genre that we currently know as horror stem from the folklore and the religious traditions of ancient peoples surrounding death, the afterlife and the morals of the time. Much of the folklore was orally handed down until the historical period where they were put down on paper.
Here are two examples of very early stories that feature some type of horror element:
Pliny the Younger who was a magistrate and writer in Rome wrote a letter to his friend Sura. The second line of the letter stated, “I am extremely desirous therefore to know your sentiments concerning spectres, whether you believe they actually exist and have their own proper shapes and a measure of divinity, or are only the false impressions of a terrified imagination?” Pliny goes on to recite a tale that he had heard of the philosopher Athenodorus Cananites who had bought a very cheap villa. He thought it was a bit odd but proceeded with the sale. One evening as he was doing is philosphsing out in the courtyard he saw a specter rattling his chains. Athenodorus marked the spot where he saw the ghost with some twigs and grass. The next afternoon he went to see the local magistrate who dug the spot up. What they discovered was skeleton which had been intwined with chains. Once the skeleton had been properly buried Athenodorus never saw the ghost again.
Or what about the shapeshifting Father and son duo: Sigmund and Sinfjotlti in The Saga of the Volsungs. They had spent the summer killing men throughout the forest and stealing what little booty they had on them. The father and son came upon a house in the forest where two men were asleep with wolfskins hung over them. The duo stole the wolf skins and put them on. Once they put on the wolfskins the uncle-daddy and nephew-son were instantly transformed into wolves. They ran through the forest doing all the wolf things until Sinfjotli was injured in a fight. Once Sigmund healed him they took off the wolf skins and burned them so no one else would be seduced by their magic.
I am sure there are other examples but those are two of my favorites.
Let skip ahead to the Medieval Era. During this time in history horror was largely tied to the very religious landscape of Europe. This was during a time that the populous of Europe was deeply religious and many of their “horror” stories were tied to religious devotion, temptation from the devil and morality.
During the 12th century we meet our first Lady of Horror Fiction. Marie De France.
Marie was a poetess who wrote the Bisclavert which was a story of an adulterer who was punished by being trapped in his werewolf form.
It is during this same period that we meet our second LOHF Julian of Norwich. In 1393 she wrote of a visitation from the Devil during a period of sickness where he tries to seduce and finally physically harm her. In order to slacken her devotion to god.
The religious fervor of the populous during this period also gave rise to witch hunting. In 1486 the Malleus Maleficarum otherwise known as The Witch’s Hammer was first published as a how to guide for finding and eliminating witches. There were 28 reprints between 1486-1600.
I want to leave the unpleasantness of the Witch trails behind us and start to focus on the Gothic literature of the 18th century. Gothic literature was a departure from physical fright to psychological fear. This shift happens due to the cultural changes of this time period. Gothic literature is characterized by elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom, as well as romantic elements, such as nature, individuality, and very high emotion. These emotions can include fear and suspense.
The first Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto was published in 1764 by Horace Walpole. This novel marked the first known time where supernatural elements where incorporated instead of pure realism.
You may think that I am going to talk about Ann Radcliffe here but SURPRISE, I’m not. Because before there was Radcliffe there was Clara Reeve. Reeve wrote The Old English Baron in 1777. Which according to Oxford Guide to the classics Reeve’s was a major influence in the development of the Gothic novel as we know it.
This is when we meet our third “Known” Lady of Horror fiction Ann Radcliffe, who published The Mysteries of Udolfo in 1794and The Italian in 1796. The Mysteries of Udolfo is Radcliffe’s most widely recognized work. Due to the atmosphere and the Gothic overtones throughout the book it is noted to be the that Radcliffe’s work paved the way for other women horror writers such as Mary Shelley and Shirley Jackson. Both who share Gothic undertones in both their writing.
Moving on to the 19th century where the genre that modern readers would recognize as horror began.
Now, we can say that Ann Radcliffe paved the way for Mary Shelley however, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus was actually published in 1818 anonymously and readers during that time thought that it was published by a man. Shelley went on to publish a post apocalyptic novel titled The Last Man. It was Shelley’s favorite work, but it wasn’t well received by reviewers who stated that it was the work of a diseased mind.
The 19th century gave rise to serialized works such as The Penny Dreadfuls. As well as publishing novels which are now considered classic horror such as Dr. Jeckal and Mr. Hyde and Dracula. Although these are modern horror works each continue in the Gothic tradition of horror as well as the introduction of the human condition as part of horror.
The early 19th century also saw the rise of the modern ghost story. This was due to the arrival of the Victorian period. The Victorians were concerned with where the spirit went to when you died. Good people went to heaven and if you were a bad person you basically went to purgatory. So the Victorians even though religious had a weird preoccupation with ghosts. There were a number of LOHF’s that were writing ghost stories during the Victorian period:
- The Old Nurses Story by Elizabeth Gaskell published in 1852
- Was it an illusion by Amelia B. Edwards published in 1881
- The Open Door by Charlotte Riddle published in 1882
In the U.S. we had our own LOHF that was writing around the same time. Let me introduce you to Mary Wilkins Freeman who penned Luella Miller in 1903 in Everybody’s Magazine. The story surrounds the mysterious deaths of those that loved Luella Miller. She seemed to suck the life out of everyone that helped her.
Our short tour of the origins of Horror is just about over. We are now firmly in the modern horror era in 1923 the first issue of Weird Tales was published. The magazine first folded after 32 years of publishing but has had several iterations. During it’s hay day it published stories written by the greats of speculative fiction H.P. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury. During the magazine’s long run it published 365 works by women authors: (which was roughly 13.5% of the stories published over the original run of the magazine.)
Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Leah Bodine Drake, Sophie Wenzel Ellis, Frances Garfield, Clare Winger Harris, Hazel Heald, Minna Irving (Minna Odell), Amelia Reynolds Long, Mindret Lord (Mildred Loeb)***, Dorothy (Haynes) Madle, C.L. Moore, Maria Moravsky, Dorothy Quick, Margaret St. Clair, Frances Stevens (Gertrude Barrows Bennett), and Leslie F. Stone.
It wasn’t just Weird Tales that was publishing women authors. During the first world war Daphne du Maurier published The Birds and Don’t Look Now as well as Rebecca which was published in 1938. Du Maurier’s work really laid the way from some of the more prolific women horror writers in during modern times:
-Shirley Jackson who published The lottery in 1948 and we have always lived in the castle in 1962
-Angela Carter who published Heroes and Villains in 1969 and The bloody chamber in 1979
-Anne Rice who published The first in the long line (I believe she is releasing vol 13 this year) of Vampire Chronicles Interview with a Vampire in 1976
-Susan Hill who published The woman in Black in 1983
I’ll be talking more about the modern history of horror written by the ladies in later episodes.
That concludes our extremely quick tour through the origins of horror. With a focus on woman throughout time. There are so many more that have either been forgotten by time or who published under male pen names. I probably forgot a lot of bits and pieces and it doesn’t include woman who are writing horror fiction now.
New Releases – October is a big month for new releases in the horror industry. It is the month that people who may not read a lot of horror tend to pick out some scary reads as Halloween is right around the corner. As I was looking for horror book sales in October I came across an article that was published by The Independent newspaper online which stated that over the last year horror book sales have been up by 14% in the UK. They are attributing this to the rise in popularity of shows like Stranger Things and The release of the remake of IT by Stephen King.
Mind you I am not going to go through the entire list as it is quite long. I am going to talk about three and pick the one I am looking most forward to.
So, we have The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 years edited by Ellen Datlow and this publishes on October 2nd.
And I was correct Anne Rice is publishing a new book called Blood Communion and it is vampire chronicles number 13. It is releasing October, 2nd so make sure you get your pre-orders in for that.
The Purity of Crimson which is part of The Gabriel Davenport Series it is number three I believe that is being published by Beverly Lee on October 9th. She is a really really nice lady, Beverly Lee so make sure to take a look at that.
Now, my personal one that I am ready to read today. It is called Drawn up from Deep Places this is by Gemma Files that is being released October 12th. I want to actually read the synopsis for Drawn Up From Deep Places. So please, please, go check it out and put in your pre-orders .
IF YOU GO DOWN DEEP ENOUGH, YOU FIND ALL SORTS OF THINGS . . . .
In her second collection from Trepidatio Publishing, award-winning author Gemma Files takes her readers on journeys out beyond safe borders—from the trackless depths of the sea, to the empty desert frontiers of the Weird West, even to the edges of cracks between worlds. Here, in these narrow spaces between the known and the unknown, behind the paper-thin curtains of reality, lurk monsters both human and ancient: selkies and avenging revenants, voodoo priestesses and pirate sorcerers, ghosts and vampires, and the most famous murderer of all time. But however strange the things found in these deep places, what draws them up, and calls them back, are forces the human heart knows all too well: grief and vengeance, rage and loss…and, most terrible of all, love.
Published over the past fifteen years—some only available online until now—these fantasies of the darkest kind showcase the breadth and scope of Gemma Files’s imagination, seamlessly blending styles, genres, themes, and atmospheres into a dark and thrilling voice like nothing else in fiction today. Newcomers and old friends both are invited to join her in these journeys…if they dare to look upon what has been—
So, lets talk about what I am currently reading right now. I am reading a book called Black Magic Women edited by Sumik Saulson. It is select authors’ from the 100 black women in horror. It is actually very, very, very good. So, here’s the synopsis:
Imagine horror where black characters aren’t all tropes and the first to die; imagine a world written by black sisters where black women and femmes are in the starring roles. From flesh-eating plants to flesh eating bees; zombies to vampires to vampire-eating vampire hunters; ghosts, revenants, witches and werewolves, this book has it all. Cursed drums, cursed dolls, cursed palms, ancient spirits and goddesses create a nuanced world of Afrocentric and multicultural horror. Terrifying tales by seventeen of the scary sisters profiled in the reference guide “100 Black Women in Horror”.
I’ve read parts of this book it’s amazing. Emily from Book Happy just finished it not too long ago and given it four stars. All the stories where between 3 and 5 stars for her. So, that’s really really good.
I’m also reading another anthology called A World of Horror: New Dark and Speculative Fiction stories from authors around the world it is edited by Eric J. Guignard and it is amazing. It’s got all kind of stories from all kinds of places. I haven’t started it yet. I just got it in the mail. Thank you Eric! I appreciate it! I am really looking forward to this. I was reading the back and I was like OH MY GOSH this is amazing.
So that’s what I am currently reading. I’ve got a couple other books that I am reading for review but yeah these are the ones that I am currently reading for the LOHF.
So let’s talk about some LOHF News shall we….
We want to thank everyone for taking part in the bookstagram challenge in August. We had over 1300 #ladiesofhorrorfiction posts on instagram. And we did do a giveaway and Carissa_Reads won the giveaway. She won, I believe four different LOHF books. Really, really, really good.
Starting on November 4th the Ladies of Horror Fiction will be hosting a read along of the classic gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I am really excited about this.
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
So, the readalong schedule is on the page on the ladies of horror fiction website. The link will be in the show notes for episode one. So, we are going to be doing discussion questions and so much more that goes along with that. We are also going to have a hashtag as well so please, please, please check it out.
So now on to some horror community News ..
Our own Laurie from Barksbooknonsense took on this huge task a couple of weeks ago. She put the call out over twitter for all the horror reviewers. So far Laurie has put together a list and it is on her website of all the horror book reviewers. So, if you are an author looking for a person to review your book on their website, on instagram, on twitter, on goodreads. Head on over to barksbooksnonsence and you will get this ginourmous list.
We, the LOHF will be creating a list of women horror reviewers as well. Keep an eye out on the official ladiesofhorrofiction website for that. That should be coming up in a few weeks. I just haven’t had time to work on it.
Now, here’s a little bit of bad news. This has been kinda a scandal that has been rocking the independent horror world, the last….I want to say last two months because this has been effecting customers for the last few months. But, you know here ya go. So, it is the Nocturnal Readers box dumpster fire. So, as an orginazation, three of the LOHF members where effected by this.
Me..being one of them.
So it started off with Missing boxes. So you know, June just basically came. We didn’t get June until August. July, August and September have never been shipped out. Yeah, I mean that is just the way it is.
The customer service for NRB was deplorable. Absolutely horrible. I was one of the lucky ones and I decided to request a refund very early on in August and I did get a refund for that. But I’ve seen screenshots of what this man has said to some of the customers in the horror community and I am disgusted by it. Absolutely disgusted by it.
He lied to his customers. So, the lies are numerous here. He first lied about packing the boxes , DHL losing the pallets, he is reshipping them, July is packed up and ready to go. I mean it’s just…..I mean every single newsletter is a pack of lies. If you want to read the pack of lies all together in chronological order head on over to edwardlorn. On his website has every single newsletter and you can actually see the progression of lies.
The reason why this is very important is that he was using a 3PL to do his packaging and his shipping and everything. So, he was never involved in any of that part. So if you still truly believe that he was doing all these things he wasn’t.
He claimed that he would charge those who disputed the fees with their banks $16 dollars for disputing a fraudulent claim. That is a bunch of BS. That’s all I am saying.
Now, here is the part that really, really bothers me and it should bother everyone out there. There are two things here. Number one Publishers: He owes a total sum of a 100 thousand dollars to multiple small press companies. Now, I don’t know if you know anything about small press, but you know what they don’t have a lot of money to play with. Journalstone is out 31K from the last I heard and that is a make or break for man many small presses. I do think that they are going to be getting some of their stuff back though, so that’s good.
And fan art this is a….people don’t, don’t sell fan art as your own. That is all I’m going to say about that. So bascially Vince was using author’s intellectual property without their knowledge and without their approval. They few that have come out at the moment are Brain Keene, Robert McCammon, Bracken McCloud and Ronald Malfi. The shirts and the pins that came in each box. Unless, you have a contract with that author you are not suppose to sell those things. I know a lot of people do it and it is one of those things that is kinda some people turn a blind eye to it, but yeah. It has come out none of the stuff was licensed .
Here is another thing that is really bothersome, he has come out with a new company it is called Horror Bees. It was first announced back in Feb 2018 in a NRB newsletter. However, it was mentioned in a later newsletter that it was his parents business and to check it out but don’t bring drama to his parents. That is a bunch of shit too. Chris Payne who is the owner of Journalstone has come out publicly stating that that he has proof that the Horror bees company is actually owned and operated by Vince. I know they are in litagation with Vince right now so I know they probably cannot give us that information right now. Just be aware if it has the NRB or Horror Bees on it do not do it please folks. Do not give this man anymore money then we have already given him
This has hit every single facet of the Horror community whether its publishers, artists, consumers and authors. There are artists that he still hasn’t paid for their work. So, there ya go.
Here is some really good news though, that was brought out a few weeks ago on twitter that Sadie Hartman ,who is also known as mother horror , and Ashley Sawyers ,who is known as bookish_mommy, are working on building the #nightworms brand. If you don’t know who the nightworms are there will be some information in the shownotes. The nightworms are going to be offering horror themed packages with books and bookish goodies. They are working closely with publishers and authors to ensure that everything is done above board. They are currently operating in beta mode and boxes will be first come first serve. There will be a reviewing reward system but they are still working out those details.
LOHF wish Sadie and Ashley all the luck in the world on their endeavor and we will keep you posted as to whats happening.
If you would like to reach out to the LOHFpodcast, our email address is LOHFPod@gmail.com. We would love to hear about new releases, news in the community, and suggestions for the podcast. You can find out more about the nine members of the Ladies of Horror Fiction via our website at www.ladiesofhorrorfiction.com.
The music for this episode is from Nicolas Gasparini at thedarkpiano.com Thank you very much. He is amazing go check him out.
The next episode is going to be the Halloween episode and I am pretty excitied about I get to talk to the wonderful GracieKat from Sci-Fi and Scary about the vanishing hitchhiker, weeping widows and the origins of halloween.
So, it’s been fun.
Have fun and I will talk to you later.