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Author Spotlights

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sarah Langan

I typically thought every piece of advice I got from writing professors was terrible, or at least, not applicable to my goals. But in college, a professor announced to the class that you should never have a twist ending. If you know something, reveal it sooner. This is great advice. Twist endings are stupid. As a writer, if I know something and hold back, I also hold my story back. It can’t evolve because I’m depending on a very static ending (Soylent Green is people!). But if I tell you from the outset what’s happening, then suddenly my characters can grow.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Maria Dahvana Headley

Shortly after I started writing this story, I flukily moved into a house with actual cellar doors, and a speakeasy behind them. (There’s another nice 1919 reference as to why the words cellar door were considered beautiful — they led to speakeasies, and Prohibition was on!) I’d like to tell you that there’s nothing awful beneath my cellar, but I live in NYC. 1827 was the year that the last slaves were freed in NYC, but New Amsterdam had cellar doors opening onto evil beginning in 1626.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Stephen Graham Jones

I think kids don’t necessarily have the shame involved with being afraid that we’ve all been conditioned to have. I mean, we’re supposed to be all rational and adult, we’re supposed to be able to leave the monsters in playland. For kids, though, the whole world’s playland. So being afraid of monsters, it’s just the rational response, as far they’re concerned. And it’s not at all bad to believe in monsters, either. Because cracking that door open, it doesn’t just spill monsters. It can spill some beautiful stuff into the world too.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Sandra McDonald

Everyone in the industry knows Robert McKee’s book about story and plot. One of my bosses at CBS Television (he later went on to produce Desperate Housewives) had taken McKee’s intensive boot camp class and carried his book around like a bible. William Goldman and Joseph Campbell were popular as well, especially in my screenwriting classes at Ithaca College. I won a Rod Serling writing scholarship there as an undergraduate, and his work has been a huge inspiration.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kaaron Warren

Like most of my stories, “Mountain” came from a few different inspirations. It is set geographically close to where I live, and we travel over the mountain I describe, The Clyde, every couple of months or so. This mountain is very windy. It’s beautiful by day, but by night, or in the mist, it becomes quite a scary place. There really was an accident where a truck carrying cat food lost its load, and people really did steal it all. At the time I was struck be the greed of this and wondered if the mountain played a role in the temptation.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Kealan Patrick Burke

The story was inspired by a number of things, primarily the fact that it seems every Internet comment section, no matter what the article, observation, video, post, or meme, attracts people who seem dedicated to offending, insulting, or bullying others. How such things sometimes graduate to real-life violence is something that interested me, particularly in light of perennial news stories which detail how young people are often driven to suicide by troll attacks.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Nancy Kilpatrick

In some genres, particularly horror, females are not popular protagonists unless they are either helpless victims or ball-breaking, kick-ass kung fu masters. Most of the women I know are like me, they get the job — whatever it is that has to be done — done, and they live their lives as women, for whom menstruation, menopause and sometimes childbirth are natural physical and psychological and emotive occurrences, and part of being female. Women take these experiences for granted.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Charles Payseur

This story is basically my Wisconsin spring story. Spring normally hits here in May. For the last two years we’ve had snow well into May, and last year was the worst winter in a long time. We had something like a foot and a half of snow on the ground for three months. It was . . . not fun. So the moment it was warm enough to go outside my partner and I were biking on the trails around town. And the first thing you notice here in the spring is the deer corpses.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Usman T. Malik

The word “ishq” means “passionate love.” However, in Urdu, Arabic, and Farsi at least, it has mystical connotations. In Sufi circles, some writers in the Naqshbandi tradition have written that the word is derived from “ashiqa,” which is a creeping vine. When the vine of Ishq takes root in the heart of a lover, all other-than-God is effaced. The epitome of Love is when the Lover is annihilated unto the Beloved and the drop returns to the Ocean. That pain and longing for one’s beloved, whether human or divine, is part of its meaning.

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Desirina Boskovich

I remembered what it felt like to be four or five or six years old, when everything about the world is as garbled and surreal and strange as it will ever be. Historic events unfold around you and feel mundane, while mundane events take on historic proportions. Adults argue in hushed tones above your head or explode into screaming fights you can’t understand. Everything is insane and magical and terrifying.