Scary Out There: A Collection of Stories & Poems Edited by Jonathan Maberry


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Multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author Jonathan Maberry compiles more than twenty stories and poems—written by members of the Horror Writers Association—in this terrifying collection about worst fears.

What scares you? Things that go bump in the night? Being irreversibly different? A brutal early death? The unknown?

This collection contains stories and poetry by renowned writers such as R. L. Stine, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Ellen Hopkins—all members of the Horror Writers Association—about what they fear most. The stories include mermaids, ghosts, and personal demons, and are edited by Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker award winner and author of the Rot & Ruin series.
LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this book. I’m a huge horror and scary story fan. I asked Jonathan Maberry what his top ten horror authors are, and I have to say I  really love his selection. There are a few authors that are new to me and I can’t wait to read their books. I hope you enjoy his choices as much as I did. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end for a chance at one of THREE copies of Scary Out There!

Top Ten Horror Authors
By Jonathan Maberry

New York Times bestselling author, five-time Bram Stoker Award Winner, and editor of Scary Out There, a brand new anthology of original horror stories and poems by some of today’s top writers.

  1. Bram Stoker is well-known as the author of Dracula, one of the most important and influential horror novels ever written, and one of the most important novels of all time. It was not the first vampire story written or even the best, but it sank its teeth into the public consciousness and has never quite released that hold. I first read it when I was eleven, and at first could not square the epistolary structure of a story told in letters and journal entries with what I saw in movie adaptations. However as I read the book I saw what Stoker was doing, how he was allowing the reader to get into the head of each of his characters so that they were fully human, which made it much easier to relate to them as people, and fear for their safety. I’ve since re-read the book many times, and have taught classes on it; and I gave a series of lectures at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, where all of Stoker’s research notes from that book are on display. However Stoker wrote other horror stories, and some of them are quite entertaining. Two of my favorites are The Jewel of Seven Stars and The Lair of the White Worm. Definitely worth reading. His grand nephew, Dacre Stoker, is a friend, and he wrote the introduction to the first volume of my vampire apocalypse shared-world anthologies, V-Wars.

  2. Richard Matheson was one of the most versatile writers of the 20th century and although he wrote horror (I Am Legend, Hell House, etc.) he also wrote across genre lines and turned out science fiction (The Shrinking Man), thrillers (Duel), metaphysical romance (Somewhere in Time), ghost stories (Stir of Echoes), and much more. He was also one of my mentors as a young teen, and he advised me to avoid becoming a one-note writer, and to always explore beyond what I thought I liked. I did that, and my career has been defined in part by its variety. And his 1954 classic I Am Legend is the template for all apocalyptic thrillers and pathogen outbreak stories.
  3. Ray Bradbury was another friend and mentor when I was a teen. He engendered within me a love of fantasy –something that had never interested me much before- and encouraged me to keep a childlike (but never childish) sense of fun and wonder. On a snowy Christmas Eve when I was thirteen, he gave me a signed copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes, one of the truly perfect novels ever written. Scary, thrilling, and altogether great fun. I read it every Halloween. Like Matheson, he wrote more than horror, and left his mark on science fiction with Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, but also wrote fantasy, mystery, and much more.
  4. P. Lovecraft is a difficult man to like, though I love his writing. Lovecraft was very much a man of his time and carried both racist and misogynistic qualities that are impossible to admire. And yet he created a body of work that remains hugely influential to the fiction world as a whole and to me personally. His stories of ‘cosmic horror’ defined a genre that has since come to be know as the Cthulhu Mythos (a term coined by August Derleth, who was both a contemporary and a follower of Lovecraft). And Lovecraft openly invited anyone and everyone to write stories using his characters and set-ups, and more than once those other writers surpassed Lovecraft in storytelling ability. I know of very few writers who have not written Lovecraftian or Cthulhu Mythos stories, and some of the most notable works include those by Stephen King, Robert E. Howard, Mike Mignola, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Ambrose Bierce, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, T.E.D. Klein, David Drake, William S. Burroughs, Poppy Z. Brite, Yvonne Navarro, Caitlin Kiernan, F. Paul Wilson, Thomas Ligotti, Harlan Ellison, Cherie Priest, China Miéville, and…well, the list goes on and on and on. I’ve written Cthuluhu short stories and even used cosmic horror elements in my mainstream action thriller novel Kill Switch. It is an endlessly malleable storytelling trope.
  5. Edgar Allen Poe is inarguably one of the greatest horror and mystery writers ever, and the inventor of the form of each of those stories. His impact on fiction cannot be overstated. And he’s readable, even after nearly 180 years. People are still reading his works, being frightened or amazed or enthralled. I envy anyone who is reading Poe for the first time. My connection with him is through a pair of anthologies in which I presumed to write stories featuring his pre-Sherlock Holmes consulting detective, C. Auguste Dupin, one for a Dupin anthology (Beyond Rue Morgue) and the other, oddly enough, for a Sherlock Holmes anthology (Echoes of Sherlock Holmes, which debuts this October).
  6. Shirley Jackson has, I believe, written at least one perfect novel (The Haunting of Hill House) and one perfect short story (The Lottery), but her genius was not spent on those two works. They’re simply the ones that get all the credit, and they both earn those praises and their places on lists of the most important works of horror of all time. I recommend looking farther, reading deeper. Her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is delightfully creepy and tragic and twisted. However, if I were to pick a single thing to recommend that proves her absolute genius, it would be the opening paragraph of The Haunting of Hill House. Do yourself a favor and go find it. Read it. There are websites devoted to it. Classes have been taught on it. There is so very much to learn about horror in those few words.
  7. Stephen King is indeed the king of the horror genre. Everyone else, including his closest friends and all of the rest of us, are courtiers in that kingdom of the weird. What set King apart was not merely his ability to tell a corking good horror tale and in doing so scare the bejeezus out of people, but his ability to do it so well. He is a master of the craft, not merely the form of horror. He understands language the way a great pianist understands the structure and mechanics of the piano, the science of musical composition and the artistry of performance. King is our grand virtuoso of horror. He would disagree, and has on many occasions. In that thing, though, he is wrong. He’s also a writer who has never let himself be pigeonholed. Sure he writes horror (‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining), but he also writes a lot of science fiction (Tommyknockers, It, Dreamcatcher), epic dark fantasy (The Dark Tower series), young adult adventure (The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon), thrillers (Misery), apocalyptic fantasy (The Shining), nonfiction (On Writing, Danse Macabre), and so much more. He’s productive and it’s very clear he’s having a wicked amount of fun doing it.
  8. Robert Bloch wrote the novel Psycho, which Alfred Hitchcock turned into one of the scariest non-supernatural movies of all time. That novel and the movie defined a genre –the psychotic killer—and did so by drawing on real world murderer Ed Gein. But I knew Bloch as a teenager and what I read of his was mostly his short fiction, which ranged from horror and fantasy to science fiction and crime. And just as Matheson and Bradbury were mentors to me, HP Lovecraft was a mentor to Bloch, who was the youngest member of the legendary Lovecraft Circle.
  9. Robert McCammon is a more contemporary writer than most of these others. He broke onto the scene a few year after King with a book called Baal, but he came onto my personal radar with The Night Boat, released in 1980. It dealt with a derelict World War II submarine filled with murderous undead Nazis. Very scary. With McCammon, though, you could actually watch the process of his going from a solid tradesman in horror storytelling to a true master craftsman. Three books in particular continue to stun me every time I reread them. The first is Mystery Walk, which has a scene with a screaming logging saw that gets me every single time I encounter it. The second is Swan Song, which is a bit like The Stand in structure in that it’s an apocalyptic novel with spiritual overtones. It is not as nihilistic and sad as King’s book and is actually sentimental –or as sentimental as a book about the end of the world can be. The third is Boy’s Life, which touches on the nature of evil in all its many forms; and on the nature of inherent (or acquired) nobility in its many aspects.
  10. Joyce Carol Oates is a somewhat enigmatic choice here. She is not always regarded as a horror writer because many of her countless literary awards are not for writing horror. She has won the O’Henry Award, the L. Rosenthal Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Chicago Tribune Literary Prize, the National Humanities Medal, the Norman Mailer Prize, and the National Book Award, and is a five time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. And, oh yeah, she also writes horror. Won a slew of awards for that, too. Her horror always has a literary quality to it, but it isn’t literary fiction. It’s much more alive and complex and…well…twisted than that. You never know where an Oates story will taken you, but the ride is always, always worth it.


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JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

LINKS: Website | Twitter

3 Finished copies of SCARY OUT THERE! (US Only)

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