Stokercon 2018 was a triumph!


There is one fundamental truth in life. It is a whole heck of a lot more difficult to go through it alone. Good friends will always be by your side!


Last weekend a whole bunch of HWA-VA members made our way north and descended upon the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. The event was Stokercon 2018 and the reason was to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and learn as much as possible about the horror genere.

This was my first year going, but I know several people make the yearly pilgrimage to participate in the convention. I have to tell you, I am a bit of a convert. I am looking forward to the next one.

The convention featured more panel discussions than you can shake a stick at. I think my personal favorite was a discussion on Pulp Fiction. I also greatly enjoyed the discussion on Outlining versus Pantsing, which was moderated by our very own Pamela K. Kinney.

But there was literally so many different panels, it would be impossible to see them all. At one point I was so tired from all the activity, I had to relax. I did so at the bar in the hotel and was quickly joined by almost everyone in the HWA-VA crew. It was a fun evening.

For me personally, my favorite non-panel thing was having breakfast with Dacre Stoker who is the Great-Grand Nephew of Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. It was a chance meeting and a great time to learn more about his efforts to bring that part of his family’s history to life.



We enjoyed the Third Annual Final Frame Horror Short Film Competition, where we saw some amazing short films. My personal favorite did not win, but it was hard to pick. At the reception afterward, the VA group had a terrific conversation with Z-Nation creator, and the recently announced GM of Shudder at AMC Networks, Craig Engler. I think we may have inadvertently surrounded him, but he had some great insights into how to learn scriptwriting. And, he should know! He couldn’t know that he was surrounded by the best and brightest Virginia has to offer in the world of horror!

Both Pamlea K. Kinney and myself did readings of our works and I know several members took time out to watch the other authors read from their works as well.

At the end of the day, we changed some of our acquaintances into friends and some of our friends into family. And who was there, you might ask? Well, I am sure I am missing someone, but here is a partial list.

HWA and Ramsey Campbell

HWA-VA with the legend, Ramsey Campbell

Dee South, Pamela K. Kinney, Cathleen “Cat” Marshall, Querus Abuttu, Randy D. Rubin, Charles Fuller, Anne Fuller, James Ebersole, and Theresa Matsuura.

I think we can safely say the HWA-VA crowd won the award for most members of a chapter showing up! If they had an award for that kind of thing.

For those of you not members of the HWA, come on over and join us! For those of you who are members, consider participating in your local chapter. It is a ton of fun and you will be rewarded by being introduced to many different people from all walks of life. Most importantly, get involved!

-Bryan the Writer; Blogger/Northern Ghoul!


Get ready for some great events!


All that glistens is blood and we have some terrorizing events coming up! As the old saying goes, there is no way we can keep doing what we do without the support of our fans. Writing is a solitary pursuit where we spend a lot of time in our own minds. So, when we get the opportunity to meet our fans, it makes our day, week, and even month! But the missing ingredient is you. Come on out and see us.

Lucky for you, we have a ton of great events coming up soon. You can come on out and see your favorite authors and maybe meet a couple of new ones that will soon become a favorite.

Finding yourself in Providence, RI in early March? Horror’s premier event is taking place on the East Coast this year at the lovely, and very haunted, Biltmore Hotel. It’s called Stokercon and will have some amazing people presenting various things this year. I will be doing a reading and I know a few of our members will be sitting panels. It takes place March 1-4 and all the information can be found at their website.


As the HWA-VA crowd is prone to do, we will be descending on Ravencon 2018. This annual show will feature all kinds of wonderful panel discussions, readings, and other things. A few of our HWA-VA members will be appearing as guests this year and we are going to have a table. Stop on by and meet us. We do not bite. Well, not all the time.

Ravencon 18

There are tons of other wonderful things coming up, so stay tuned. I invite you to come out and see us and all our wonderful members! And, who knows, maybe we can entice you to join us.

-Bryan the Writer; Blogger/Northern Ghoul!

Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA; Kari Kilgore


The horror world (not horrible world) is full of talented writers who swim the waters of the horror writing trade. Most people know of the big names in the business, but there are so many wonderfully talented people out there who have stories to tell, chills to give, and buckets of blood to spill. In that vein, I have the wonderfully talented Kari Kilgore with me today.

Bryan: So Kari, tell our horror fans a little about yourself!

Kari: I live and work in my native Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. From that solid home base, my husband and I find adventures all over the world to bring to life in fiction. Exploring local legends and mythologies.

I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and am happiest when I can scare myself. I live at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the woods with my husband, Jason, four cats, and wildlife they’re better off not knowing more about.

Bryan: So, instead of just simply writing horror, you have pretty much done everything to try and bring the horror to yourself! I love it. Someday I am looking for find a similar plot of land that backs up to the woods and nothing else. I know you have some novels out, why don’t you tell us a little more about those?

Kari: I have two novels and one novella published so far. My debut, Until Death, made the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for first novel last year. The Dream Thief is a steampunk dark fantasy, and my novella Songs in the Mountain is an Appalachian ghost story set here in coal country that’s actually pretty romantic despite the high body count!

Bryan: I like high body counts. Something about the idea of a pile of bodies intrigues my soul! How long have you been with the HWA and what were your primary drivers for joining our happily terrified band?

Kari: I joined in 2014 after the first gathering I attended. It was the first time I was around a bunch of writers who were as strange as I am! Not only were all of them into horror and speculative fiction, but most were either pros or actively pursuing a real career. After years of being around people who preferred talking about writing to actually writing, that was a great thrill and inspiration.

Bryan: I love those events! I know I look forward to Scares that Care and Ravencon every year and every year it seems to get better and better. So, building on what you so eloquently said, what would you say is the greatest benefit to being a member of the HWA?

Kari: The horror community does sometimes have its share of drama just like any other group of humans, but the vast majority of the people I’ve met have been warm and welcoming. Horror writers are some of the friendliest, funniest, smartest people you’ll ever meet. I figure we get most of our stress and anxiety out on the page.

Bryan: I think you are probably right. I love the people I meet who work in the horror genera. A lovelier group of people you will never find. We are really about helping those around us. I know I spend quite a bit of time giving advice where I can, and soliciting it as well. So, what is the best advice you can give anyone starting out in the horror and paranormal thriller genera?

Kari: I’d say the same to someone starting out in any genre. Read, read, read! Not only does it give us a break from the craziness in the real world, but it also feeds the story engines in our heads. Branch out a bit into other genres, sure, but find the things you love.

After that, my advice is always to write the next thing. Nothing works better at getting through the stress and worry over hearing back from a submission or putting one of your stories out into the world yourself. By the time you start hearing back, you’ll be deep into the next story and happy! Remember, this writing thing is fun! 🙂

Bryan: Reading is always solid advice. So, tell me what is your favorite story and why?

Kari: That’s so hard to answer! I feel like my favorite novel changes year by year. A short story that’s stayed with me for decades is Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut by Stephen King. I love everything about that one, and not just because I’m a real lead-foot driver myself. I love the way Homer finds himself a bit of an outsider in the town he’s always lived in, and the way he’s drawn to Mrs. Todd even though she scares him. King is wonderful at the short form, especially novellas.

Bryan: We could talk forever and ever, but we have to say goodbye soon. Those novels don’t write themselves. Speaking of that, before we go, give the reader’s an idea of what you are working on right now.

Kari: I’ve been in a science fiction phase lately, though I do wonder where the line between science fiction and horror falls with certain stories. I’ll have a bunch of novellas coming out next year that are all speculative. They’re magic realism or science fiction, yes, but everything I write seems to turn out decidedly dark around the edges. Next out of the gate will be an urban fantasy novella called Legacy of the Land, hopefully out in the world before the end of December.

Well, that does have to wrap things up for this installment of Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA. If you want to find out more about Kari or see her books, you can find her at or her amazon page at

Kari, thank you so much for spending time with me, at least virtually, and I look forward to seeing you at some of our events coming up this year.

-Bryan the Writer; Blogger/Northern Ghoul!

Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA!


This week we are deeply honored to learn more about HWA member, Susan Schwartz. She is not only an active member in the Virginia Chapter of the Horror Writer’s Association, but she has a fascinating full-time job as an operating room nurse.

I first met Susan during an event where the HWA-VA Chapter worked a booth. I have had the honor of coming down and speaking at one her events in Richmond, which she hosted for another writing organization.

Bryan: Let’s get right into it, shall we? Susan, I have the luxury of already knowing a little of your background. However, there are tons of people out there who might be reading this and have no idea who you are. So, let’s start with a little bit about you.

Susan: I began writing in 2006 with freelance articles. I wrote on all sorts of topics and researched these pieces thoroughly. I made a little money, but I was more interested in fiction writing.

Bryan: I mentioned that I came down to Richmond and presented at an event you held. It wasn’t for the HWA though. I think it was for another group you first became a member of before joining us in the HWA. Tell us a little about that.

Susan: That event was in support of the Virginia Writers Club. In the VWC, I found good mentors and people who wanted to help me succeed and improve my writing. I took over leadership of the club for two years giving back to the writing community and helping to mentor a few new writers.

Susan and Me

Susan and I taking a selfie!

Bryan: I know we talked about this before, but my mother has been a nurse for over forty years. A noble profession, I don’t think the nurses get anywhere near the amount of credit they deserve. Tell us a little about your nursing career.

Susan: I have been an Operating Room Nurse for 17 years. As you can imagine, I see many interesting and gory things while working. I channel many of those sights and sounds into my stories. I love blood and guts, and I tend to write stories where people are getting killed or maimed in some fashion. I try to write them with a twist making you wonder what hit you at the end. I have enjoyed this genre immensely because of its ability to lead the reader into something completely unexpected.

Bryan: I love the idea of the sights and sounds of the operating room informing your writing. I was on the fire department for a few years and I know my experiences certainly inform my own writing. What have you written? Where can we see the work of Susan Schwartz and all of those lovely sights and sounds you bring to life with your words?

Susan: I have three short stories published at present in the Nightmares & Echoes series. They are “The Sparkling Floor,” “I Thought You Did,” and “Blurred Line.” My non-fiction piece in the Virginia Writers Club Centennial Anthology is titled “Using my Karate Chops in Nursing.” I also have a non-fiction book coming in the Fall of 2018 titled Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties. I am quite excited about my stories and especially, my Haunted book.

Bryan: Many things drive us to become members of the HWA. I know, for me, it was a way to improve my craft and find a better way to access to horror readers. What drove you to join the organization?

Susan: I joined because I saw much potential in networking and getting to know some frightening authors in my own genre. I met you through this great organization, and we have traded some useful advice. I have been a member for 2 years, and I have enjoyed the camaraderie and education I have gotten from everyone. Shout out to Dee South, she is simply awesome.

Bryan: I think some people just see our work and forget that behind every key stroke is the need to associate with like-minded professionals to trade notes from time to time. I know I am better off for our friendship. I see benefits daily from being associated with HWA. How about yourself? What do you feel is the greatest benefit?

Susan: The greatest benefit for me is the networking. I love to meet authors from a genre that many do not fathom writing because it can be too far out there. It is nice to have friends and colleagues who can brainstorm on a plot twist or storyline and not look at you funny for asking the question. Who else could you ask the best way to kill or poison someone and get a straight faced answer?

Bryan: I am reasonably certain that if anyone were to look at my Google searches, they would be pretty sure that I am a serial killer myself. It’s true though, we can sit around and discuss the finer details of killing, murder, and mayhem and have a truly serious discussion about those topics.

I know you love working with new authors, so I am curious what do you think is your best advice to anyone starting out in the genera?

Susan: The best advice given to me by many authors in different genres is to read that which you are trying to write. The greats in this genre, such as Stephen King, Bentley Little, and Richard Laymon, have shown me how to write and what people are looking for when they read this genre. Stephen King also wrote a book, On Writing, which has helped me a great deal as well.

Bryan: On Writing is one of my favorites. You certainly mentioned some high-powered names there. I am curious what is your favorite novel and why does it speak to you?

Susan: My favorite horror story will probably always be Pet Sematary by Stephen King. I even have a black cat that travels with me to every book signing named Church. As to why this is my favorite, it was the first Stephen King novel I read, and I was hooked on the genre. His writing just pulled me in and made me want to write my own. I loved his style and his suspense. I still read everything he publishes.

Bryan: We discussed some of the greats of the past, let’s discuss one of the up and coming stars of today. What is Susan Schwartz working on right now?

Susan: I am currently working on a graveyard story for another anthology as well as working on promoting my new book coming out in the Fall of 2018, Haunted Charlottesville and Surrounding Counties. I also have two novels I am writing, a paranormal romance and a medical thriller. I am also researching for another haunted book toward western Virginia.

Bryan: So, where can we go to find out more information about you?

Susan: My website went live in January of 2017 and has information on future happenings and new books coming out soon. Check it out at

Susan Schwartz PageBryan: Very cool! So, is there anything else you would like to say to the readers out there, as we wrap this up?

Susan: Thanks for your support to all of us who try to put printed word on paper. Without you, we would have no platform to share our deepest and strangest ideas.

Bryan: No truer words have been spoken. Without our readers, none of the characters or plots would ever see the light of day.

I want to thank you all for hanging out with us! From the Virginia Chapter of the Horror Writer’s Association, I want to remind everyone to stay spooky!

-Bryan the Writer; Blogger/Northern Ghoul!

Meet the VA Chapter of the HWA!


There are probably three people in the state of Virginia involved in the horror writing industry that haven’t heard the name Pamela Kinney, and I am pretty sure those people live in a cave somewhere along the border of West Virginia and lack access to the internet and running water. To say the least, Pamela Kinney is an institution. Not only is she a published author, she’s also a well-known paranormal investigator, and if that isn’t enough she’s also an actress. Pamela has an amazing career and we are thrilled to feature her in our first ever, Meet the HWA of Virginia.

I have to admit up front, I am a big fan. Pamela is one of those people that I met early on in my career. She doesn’t seem to know how to go any slower than her top speed and the best part about it is that she brings everybody else along with her for the ride.

Bryan: So Pamela, I know your story, but those reading this blog might not. So why don’t you tell us about yourself?

Pamela: I’ve been writing since I was 8. But I was first published (and paid) at age 17 in 1972, three poems in a poetry magazine, Hyacinths and Biscuits Poetry Magazine, based in Los Angeles. These were “Sands of Time,” “The Leopard,” and “The Horse.” A few months later, they accepted three more poems. Over the years, I had more poetry published, though in 1987, I wrote an article about a friend that True Story Magazine accepted.  Around that time, I sent off a horror flash fiction piece, “Werewolf for Hire,” to a horror magazine. I originally wrote it when I was 15. It got a rejection slip. A couple days later though, I received something in the mail from the same magazine. I thought, “But they already sent me the rejection.” This letter though, said they had loved my story, but were going through a transition of merging with another magazine. They wanted me to contact them later. Sadly, I lost that letter and envelope with the address on it. It wasn’t many years later when accepted the flash fiction that it saw publication. Years later, it became part of my collection, Spectre Nightmares and Visitations, published by Under the Moon. Not bad for a story of 395 words that I first wrote by long hand in 1970.

I’ve been married for forty years to a man who encourages my writing, and though our son is on his own and married, we do have a ‘fur’ child, a black cat named Shade. I write horror, fantasy, science fiction, and nonfiction ghost books as Pamela K. Kinney (the name I was born with), but also under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan, for paranormal romance. I do paranormal investigations and am even the co-producer of Paranormal World Seekers reality show, filmed by AVA Productions. I also have acted on stage and film.

Bryan: That’s awesome! Where can we find your your books or more information in general?

Pamela: To learn more about my books, check out my website for Pamela K. Kinney at and for Sapphire Phelan at

Bryan: I know you mainly as a writer, but where can we look if we want to find out more about you as an actress?

Pamela: You can see my actor’s resume at And though I don’t do it as much in the past few years as writing has become my life, I used to make my own costumes and props, and wear them at conventions.

Bryan: When I first met you, it was through the Horror Writers Association. I remember I had just published my first book No Name and was really just trying to figure out which way was up in the writing world. You gave me some of my best advice, and you continue to point me in the right direction. I am eternally grateful for your help. Tell me how long you’ve been with the Horror Writers Association, and what drove you to become part of the organization?


Pamela and Husband

Pamela: I joined in early 2016. I had already been a member of Romance Writers of America and discovered how much I learned the business of writing from them. With me writing horror and fantasy, I knew HWA would be a good organization to join too.

Bryan: Okay well I guess that’s a bit of a leading question I just asked, because you know I’m going to follow up with asking you what would you say is the greatest benefit to being involved in an organization like the Horror Writers Association?

Pamela: Being a member of both RWA and HWA, my shtick is there is so much out there a writer doesn’t know, that joining these organizations helps us navigate the deep waters of being an author. Not just the business, but networking with other authors, publishers, etc…, and most of all, knowing you’re not alone in loving what you write.

Bryan: You get extra style-points for using the word shtick in a sentence. For all the newbies out there, and I consider myself in that category as well. Give us Pamela Kinney’s best advice for someone starting out in the horror and paranormal thriller genre?

Pamela: Write every day, even if it isn’t your WIP. Join a critique group as the other writers in it will help you strengthen your writing. Enroll or take workshops on writing, plus writing horror in particular. You can find these at conferences and conventions, even at your local library or online (there are virtual conferences and conventions these days). One more thing, read in the genre that you are writing and get to know it, see it from the viewpoint of a reader, not just a writer.

Bryan: I don’t know about you, but I get this question a lot, so I’m gonna ask it. What is your favorite novel or story and why?

Pamela: Well, the one book that scared me in the daytime, in a room full of eighth graders at the time was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. My teacher had allowed me to read my book as my science project had been finished. It was when I came to the part where the women had been left alone in a bedroom, the men chasing ‘something’ outside, and whatever it was, had begun to bang on the locked doors, including the one to the room they huddled in, I freaked out. I realized I was in my classroom and sun was shining through the windows. That is the only time any author has scared me like that. Stephen King only did it to me twice (and a few others), but it was at night and alone in my bedroom. The books were his It and Salem’s Lot. I still love to read her ghost story around October-it’s tradition for me. Jackson is one of the few I admit inspire me to write in the genre. One other book I love written by another author hero of mine, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Like her, I still reread his works, especially this novel.


Bryan: Something Wicked This Way Comes ranks up there is one of my favorites. Perhaps it is time for me to reread it? So, what kind of projects are you wor


Pamela representing HWA!

king on now? Is there anything you specifically would like our readers to know about?

Pamela: I am working on a supernatural thriller/horror novel, about a cursed land. It is set in Virginia. The chapters have been shared at a critique group I’m with and I only have a bit more to write to finish it. I like to either pitch it or send queries out to agents/publishers for it. I’ve already been told by the facilitator of the critique group, she thinks this will be the book that will do it for me. We shall see. I am also working on a horror short story for an anthology.

Bryan: well Pamela this is been an honor. I really appreciate you taking the time to hang out with me for a little bit, even if it is virtually. For those of you out there in Internet-land reading this for the first time, I can highly recommend Pamela Kinney as an author and as a friend.

Check out Pamela on Amazon!

Thanks horror fans for spending a little time with us and I look forward to doing more of these in the future so you get a chance to know more about the members of the Virginia Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

-Bryan the Writer, Blogger/Northern Ghoul


Holidays and Horror!


Cowering in fear from the unknown, we kept our eyes glued to the television for some sign that everything was going to be alright. Pulling the blanket up tight, I tried to will it into a shield against the inevitable report of impending doom. Without warning, the doorbell rang and my wife moved to answer it before I could stay her hand. There they were. A ghost, a pirate, and the most adorable princess … all looking for candy.

My family and I have a tradition. Since my kids are older, and don’t trick-or-treat, we do the rounds to say hello to the neighbors and then sit down to watch a horror movie. This year we watched the 1941 classic, “The Wolf Man”.

I have to be honest with you, fair reader, I love this time of year. Basically anytime between Oct 31st and the 1st of January you will find me at my happiest.


And it’s mine! All mine!

For us in the HWA-VA Chapter it is a time where we slow down a little (some of us never do) since there are less shows to do and we love to spend time with our families. You may find we do less events this time of year. However, it is a great opportunity to read … read … and read!  I, for one, have read a great book by a fellow HWA-VA member. I also intend to listen to a few classics as well as some books that I have accumulated on my shelf, but haven’t gotten back to.

Behind your favorite author is a living breathing human being who loves the same things you might. We all love spending time with our families (no matter how much they annoy us), partaking in the special time we reserve to sit and think about the world around us, and giving to those who need a little more help throughout the year.

HWA-VA members are very giving of ourselves. From participating in Scares that Care, which is truly a great event helping people who are less fortunate, to more personal pursuits. I do talks at schools and donate my time to the high school to help budding writers get their efforts off the ground.

Authors reach down to help those who need direction or some questions answered and that is what makes being part of the writing community so amazing.

Whether you believe the holiday season kicks off at Halloween (like I do) or stick to the traditional idea of it starting on Thanksgiving, it is upon us or soon will. So, I want to recommend you take some time to download, or buy in hard copy, some of your favorite authors (I can recommend a few) and consider ways to give back during the holiday season.

-Bryan the Writer, Blogger/Northern Ghoul!



Don’t just read horror, participate in it!


The pounding of the heart, the chill up your spine, the goosebumps on your arms. It is all there, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why do we love horror? Is it because we love serial killers and monsters? Not at all. You love horror because it makes you feel alive. Watching your favorite villain, or villainess, work their dubious charms reminds you what it is like to be scared.

Think about the first time you ever saw Cruella De Vile in the movie 101 Dalmatians. If you are like most of us, you saw it as a kid. What was she going to do to those puppies? Don’t remember? Well, she was going to make them into a Dalmatian fur coat. Even kid’s movies can have that little something which unnerves us.

It doesn’t matter if you get your thrills from Dracula, The Mummy, Swamp Thing, Friday the 13th, IT, or any other hauntingly dark show. You need it like the crops need rain. But, why not move past just reading and watching horror to actually become one with the horror. Certainly I am not suggesting you go out and get measured for a puppy fur coat, but you can actively contribute to an association dedicated to horror.

The Horror Writers Association is dedicated to all the creepy crawly things that go bump in the night and you can be part of that world as well. Of course you are going to say, “But, Bryan, I am not a writer.” That’s okay with us. We have a supporting level which brings those people in who just really like horror. That gives you the inside scoop into all things HWA related such as new books, movies and a plethora of events we attend every year. You can get the latest information on all things horror related.

Want to know more about the Horror Writers Association? You can contact any member and they will lead you in the right direction. Of course, you can also go to our website


A busy afternoon at the HWA-VA table

The HWA-VA chapter is dedicated to serving Virginia. We have a few big events throughout the year that you can get into at the cost of just pitching in and helping a bit when the call goes out for volunteers. Those include Scares That Care, Ravencon, and a few others.

Plenty of opportunities to get involved exist and I want to make this your personal invitation to get involved. If you don’t know someone who is already a member, feel free to contact any of the local area Ghouls (I am the Northern VA Ghoul) or our administrator. We can all answer your questions and direct you how to get involved.

Don’t just stand there on the sidelines, come on off the bench and get involved. You’ll be glad you did!

-Bryan the Writer, Chapter Blogger and Northern Ghoul

Introducing the new HWA-VA Blog Guy


I strongly believe the following things are true.

1) A good beer is something to treasure.

2) A great organization is only made better if people pitch-in and help.

The second belief listed is why I decided to throw my hat in the ring to support the Horror Writers Association-Virginia Chapter as the new blogger, sometimes dishwasher, and occasional milkman. But it is the blogger thing I want to talk about today.

What is the Horror Writers Association? The HWA is, at its core, “… a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.” In short, we are an organization dedicated to all the things that make you jump at that strange noise you heard in the middle of the night.


I used to have hair

So, why would the HWA-VA chapter need a blogger? We are a group of truly amazing and talented people. Granted, I may sound like I am tooting our own collective horns here, but we are pretty awesome! In our mix we have some amazing editors, a few publishers, lots of talented authors, and people who just really like horror. Telling our story should be a natural and blogging about it is a great option. Think of our blog as half historian and half promoter. I want this to be something everyone can forward to his or her friends and neighbors who want to know more about our truly great organization.

So … who am I?

My name is Bryan Nowak. I go by the name Bryan the Writer, but you can call me Bryan, Hey You, Blog Dude, Web Dude, Helper Dude, etc. I literally answer to just about anything these days as I have teenager


Come Represent HWA-VA!

s and have learned to be flexible. I am an author myself with three books out and a fourth on the way. I prefer paranormal thriller/horror to other genres. Many of you have probably seen me staffing the HWA-VA table at events like Scares that Care and Ravencon.

So, back to the business at hand. What are we going to feature? Well, it is my sincerest hope that the membership will actually help determine that. However, I have it in my mind that we will do the following.

  • Interview HWA-VA members
  • Write about HWA-VA events
  • Write about HWA-VA members at other events

Really, we could write about anything within reason. However, if you have been looking for a home for that blog you wrote about the love songs of the iguanodons of the mid-Jurassic, please continue looking and seriously consider a new hobby. But, any other horror related ideas might just fit the bill, so let me know. And if no one sends me anything … hey I can always run the iguanodon thing or I have always wanted to try writing articles chronicling my efforts to master knife juggling. Just kidding … maybe not kidding … seriously, send me those ideas!

If you want to reach me, you can drop me a note on my e-mail: Just add “HWA-VA Blog” in the subject line and I will respond as quickly as I can.

-Bryan, HWA-VA Blogger/Northern VA Area Ghoul

Should You Join the HWA? YES!!!!



For folks who are on the fence regarding whether or not to join the Horror Writers Association, today’s blog is full of information.  So let’s get to it…


  1.  World Horror Convention 2015. (website) This is the premiere horror convention. WHC2015 is a 4 day convention that includes the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet, a Costume Ball and various pitch sessions.  The guest of honor include Charlaine Harris (Stookie Stackhouse series), Kami Garcia (The Legion Series)  and Tom Picirilli (4-time winner of the Bram Stoker Awards).

2.  Horror Anthology for Teens. (website).  Some of your favorite horror writers have submitted their demented ideas to “Scary Out There”, an anthology for teenagers.

3.  Rocky Wood Memorial Scholarship (website). Named for the former HWA president, Rocky Wood, who guided the organization to unexpected heights before losing his fight with ALS, this new scholarship provides annual grants to members interested in writing nonfiction.

4.  Changes in Command Structure. The organization has a new president, a new vice president and a new mentor coordinator.   The new structure is:

President:    Lisa Morton                         Vice President:  Nancy Holder
Secretary:    Joe McKinney                        Treasurer:  Leslie Klinger
New Mentor Coordinator:      Michael Knost

Congratulations to the Virginia Chapter members who ‘did their thang’ in the past year. …

 1.   2014 Bram Stoker Preliminary Nominations

The following Virginia Chapter Members published or edited stories that earned a space onto the Preliminary Ballot of the Bram Stoker Awards.  Click on ‘Buy this book’ and you’ll be directed to Amazon purchase page.

Brett J. Talley.   (Buy this book)   Story:  The Reborn (JournalStone)   Category:  Superior Achievement in a Novel.

Kami Garcia.   (Buy this book)      Story:  Unmarked  (The Legion Series Book 2) (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
Category:  Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel.

Brett J. Talley.  (Buy this book)    Story:  Limbus, Inc. Book II (JournalStone).
Category:  Superior Achievement in an Anthology.

2.  HWA Scholarship Winners

Michael Tungenhat                            Story:  For Poe   (Click to read)     Category:  2014 Dark Poetry Scholarship

3.   Book Releases

D. Alexander Ward (Buy this Book)         Book:  Shadows Over Main Street.
Release date:  30 January 2015.  (Already reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Hot New Releases)

Description:  An anthology of Lovecraftian fiction from contemporary authors and edited by D. Alexander Ward (Chapter Ghoul of Central Virginia) and Doug Murano.

4.  HWA Virginia Chapter Convention Attendance 2015.

a.  2015 Scares That Care Horror Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia.  July 24 – 26, 2015.  Website.
b.  RavenCon 2015 in Richmond, Virginia.  April 24 – 26, 2015.  D. Alexander Ward will sit on a panel.   Looking for members willing to vend this location.  Need at least 5 folks willing to man the HWA booth.  Website.

However, the best reason to join the Horror Writers Association is the camaraderie.  Our association is full of members who appreciate the dark and twisted.  If you’re a horror writer frustrated with dodging bottles of holy water – thrown by members in those ‘vanilla’ writing groups – then what are you waiting for?  Join the HWA!!!

You won’t scare us…if you do, we’ll nominate you for an award!!

Until next time…go forth and scare!!!




Welcome to the HWA Virginia Chapter Blog

Thanks for visiting our page.  We’re a new chapter, so expect this page to change as we decide the best method to disperse information.

For now, the goal is to present information that is short, sweet and to the point.  We’d like to encourage you to attain membership status, not bore you to death.

 Each Post will contain at least 2 sections:

Section 1:  Information directly from the Horror Writers Association website (

Section 2:  Information about the Virginia Chapter.

Section 3:  (Optional and situational) Information about specific accomplishments of Virginia members or upcoming events in the state.

That’s it.  Those are the rules.  Feel free to leave comments or suggestions.  Until then, let’s get started.

 Section 1:  HWA Approves Self-Published Works for Membership.

(Posted on  Jul 26, 2014)

The HWA’s referendum on including self-published work in membership qualification for our Active and Affiliate levels closed on July 23. The referendum passed by a significant margin.

The changes apply from July 24, 2014. New By-laws and Membership Qualifications were issued. Apply for membership here:

In effect this means a self-published work will qualify an author if the work earns the same as a non self-published work.

Those earning levels are $200 for Affiliate Status (semi-pro) and $2000 for Active Status (professional).

Note:  To qualify for Active status as a self-published author, you must have proven earnings of $2000 from a single work within two years of publication.  To qualify for Affiliate status, you must have proven earnings of $200.00.

HWA’s President Rocky Wood said, “We are pleased to be leading the way in recognizing self-published authors who earn the same as mainstream, independent and specialty press authors. Self-published authors are an important part of the very vibrant horror and dark fiction community and we welcome them at all levels of the Horror Writers Association.”

Questions to:

 Section 2:  HWA Virginia Chapter created the Beta Reader Program

An invaluable tool for many authors is an experienced Beta Reader.  The job of a Beta Reader is to read a manuscript, then provide feedback in areas like structure and content.

Expect the Betas to find the inconsistencies within the pages: “Hey, Bobby’s eyes are blue on page 50, but they were brown on page 4”.

The members of the Virginia Chapter have agreed to act as Beta Readers for each other.  Imagine a group of horror writers reading a manuscript without negatively judging the content.  Heck, our Beta Reader’s may suggest scenarios to make your manuscript ‘just a wee bit creepier’.  “Hey, Why not take out BOTH of Bobby eyes?”

This program is on a trial basis to shake out the wobbly gears.  First drafts are prohibited and the word count is limited to 5,000 words.  We hope to expand the word count around the beginning of the New Year. Baby steps people…wobbly, zombie-infected baby steps.

We’re Done!!!

That’s all for today: short, sweet and informative.  If you’d like to join the Horror Writers Association, please visit  Once your application is confirmed, contact Dee Southerland at

Until next time,

HWA Virginia