• Editorial

10 Queer Horror Writers/Anthologies to Support - Yvonne Miller

June is an incredibly significant month for the LGBTQA+ community with Pride celebrations in full swing around the world. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to lift the voices of queer authors by creating a top 10 list of my personal favourites. It is important that we read queer authors' work and support their fiction, art and content all year round. This list features some of my personal favourites and contains a wide range of sub-genres from short stories, psychological horror and cosmic horror. These novels are close to my heart and it is obvious from the starting pistol that these writers can convey emotion and raw fear like a sledgehammer hitting you between the eyes.

1. Dark Words: Stories of Urban Legends and Folk-Lore by Various Authors

Horror hides everywhere! That abandoned house down your street, the woods nearby, even your own home. They all have old stories and legends of ghouls, demons and monsters. Throughout time, their stories were handed down around campfires and during sleepovers. Today, those stories will have a fresh take, but with the same Dark Words.

2. Itzá by Rios de la Luz

In her debut novella, Rios de la Luz examines the lives a small family of water witches living near the US-Mexico border. Exploring issues of race and trauma along with beauty and magic, Itzá is a powerful reclamation of body and identity.

3. Unboxed by Briana Morgan

Greg Zipper is a paranormal vlogger whose livelihood relies on his online popularity. When a fight between him and his girlfriend goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Greg purchases a dark web mystery box in hopes of restoring his audience's faith in him and hitting one million subscribers. But when Greg opens the box, he gets much more than he bargained for, including a Boxer who’s determined to stop him from taking his loved ones for granted. Now Greg must do all he can to stop the Boxer, or else he'll lose his livelihood - along with the woman he loves.

4. The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper

New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace. Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumours. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark. Donna isn’t missing. She was taken. To save the woman she loves, Monique must descend deeper than the known underground, into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures. But what she finds looms beyond her wildest fears—a darkness that stretches from the dawn of time and across the stars.

5. Saltblood by T.C. Parker

A remote island. A group of prisoners. And an evil as old as time. Robin didn’t mean to break the law. Didn’t know at first what law she’d broken. And now she’s on her way to Salt Rock — a new-model prison for a new kind of criminal, way out in the remote Northern Isles of Scotland. On Salt Rock, she'll meet other prisoners like her — men and women from all over the world, spirited away from the lives they knew for crimes they didn’t know they were committing. She'll uncover the complex web of conspiracy that connects them all, confronting some of the darkness of her own past in the process. And she'll come face to face, finally, with an evil as old as the land itself. It’s hell in those waters.

6. Starving Ghosts in Every Thread by Eric LaRocca

Teddy has a secret. She's so consumed with guilt that it compels her body to literally unravel unless she feeds off the emotions of others. Teddy’s parasitic condition is usually tempered easily and is invisible to most, unless she feeds from them. However, her insatiable hunger has already begun to threaten her safety. Trapped in her tiny Connecticut hometown thanks to a careless mistake which cost her a prestigious scholarship, Teddy grieves her father’s death and cares for her neurotic mother, Mercy, who is convinced scorpion venom is the only remedy for her own peculiar skin ailment linked to her daughter’s sadness. Once an aspiring songwriter, Teddy now merely alternates between shifts at the local market and visits the house of her eccentric neighbour, Mr. Ridley, for fresh scorpions to bring to her mother. It’s during one of her routine visits to Mr. Ridley’s subterranean grotto of exotic animals that Teddy meets an unusual young girl named Kiiara. Immediately enamoured with one another, Teddy soon discovers that Kiiara is hiding a gruesome secret, too – a secret that will threaten to undo everything Teddy has ever known and loved, and violently touch all those who cross their path with disaster.

7. The Diner by J.C. Robinson

The world is a pit of bile and garbage spewed forth by humankind, and no one knows this better than Babs McDayle. When unbearable loss enters Babs’ life and leaves her with nothing but a roadside diner in the middle of Southern California’s high desert, Babs realizes something that changes her life, and seriously affects the lives of many around her. The realization? Rats don’t deserve the good life. Rats deserve to choke on their own blood and faeces. Rats make life a living hell for everyone else. In this tale of loss, terror, kidnapping, and moral dilemmas, Babs defends her diner against the rats of this world, and works each and every day to teach a little lesson to rats who dare to cross her. But when Babs gets exposed by Sawyer, a customer who is nothing but kind and helpful, and her own employee and good friend, Amanda, chaos ensues. She doesn’t want to hurt them because they are not rats; they are good, caring people. But can she risk letting them go, risk allowing them to turn her in? Her work would come to an end, and there is so much more to accomplish... Perhaps there is another option that can save Sawyer and Amanda. Perhaps there isn’t. Come into ‘The Diner’ and find out.

8. Unburied: A Collection of Queer Dark Fiction by Various Authors

In a bloody twist on the antiquated trope of "burying the gays,” the newest anthology from Dark Ink Books boasts brand new short stories spotlighting LGBTQ+ characters. Presenting the darkest of themes as explored by sixteen established and award-winning genre fiction scribes from around the globe, Unburied contains creature features and paranormal hauntings, shadow fables and dreadful delusions. This twisted box of curiosities serves the readers a cornucopia of chilling horror, sci-fi terror, and dark fantasy. Prepare to unearth your deepest nightmares. Featuring brand new fiction from Felice Picano, Greg Herren, Daniel M. Jaffe, J. Askew, Laramie Dean, Laura DeHaan, Christina Delia, Sarah Lyn Eaton, Thomas Kearnes, Veronica Kirin, George Daniel Lea, Azzurra Nox, Elin Olausson, Robert P. Ottone, Louis Stephenson, M.C. St. John

9. Nightmare Yearnings by Eric Raglin

A thrill-seeker studies a language learned through close encounters with death. A flock of extinct birds haunt a grieving woman for reasons unknown. A boy participates in a public access cannibal cooking show to win his family's love. A couple panics when Mothman shows up to their slice of rural paradise with omens in tow. In his debut short story collection, Eric Raglin presents sixteen queer and weird horror stories.

10. Things We Say in The Dark by Kirsty Logan

A shocking collection of dark stories, ranging from chilling contemporary fairy tales to disturbing supernatural fiction, by a talented writer who has been compared to Angela Carter. So here we go, into the dark. Some things can’t be spoken about in the light of day. But we can visit our fears at night, in the dark. We can turn them over and weigh them in our hands and maybe that will protect us from them. But maybe not. The characters in this collection find their aspirations for happy homes, happy families and happy memories dissected and imbued with shimmering menace. Alone in a remote house in Iceland a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child’s day out is undercut by chilling footnotes. These dark tales explore women’s fears with electrifying honesty and invention and speak to one another about female bodies, domestic claustrophobia, desire and violence. From a talented writer who has been compared to Angela Carter, Things We Say in the Dark is a powerful contemporary collection of feminist stories, ranging from vicious fairy tales to disturbing horror and tender ghost stories. KIRSTY LOGAN WAS SELECTED AS ONE OF BRITAIN'S TEN MOST OUTSTANDING LGBTQ WRITERS by Val McDermid for the International Literature Showcase in 2019

Yvonne Miller is a book fanatic with a passion for promoting indie and diverse writers. Can be found reviewing books at thecoycaterpillarreads.blog and on Twitter @coycaterpillar