Friday, March 22, 2024

Horror Writers Association announces 2023 Bram Stoker Award Nominees

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to announce the Final Ballot for the 2023 Bram Stoker Awards®. The HWA is the premier writers’ organization in the horror and dark fiction genre, with more than 2,000 members. They have presented the  Bram Stoker Awards in various categories since 1987.

The 2023 Bram Stoker Awards will be announced during the Annual Bram Stoker Awards Banquet held during StokerCon™ 2024 in San Diego, California. Bookings and information for StokerCon are available at

Note: Banquet Tickets (during which the awards are presented) are separate from the Convention Membership and should be purchased directly from  Eventbrite.

Learn more about membership in HWA—there are categories for supporters of the genre, so you don’t have to be an author.

Click on the links below to learn more about the nominated authors! 

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Gemma Files – Blood from the Air (Grimscribe Press)
  • Todd Keisling – Cold, Black, and Infinite (Cemetery Dance)
  • Josh Malerman – Spin A Black Yarn (Del Rey)
  • Christi Nogle – The Best of Our Past, the Worst of Our Future (Flame Tree Press)
  • Sarah Read – Root Rot & Other Grim Tales (Bad Hand Books)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Christa Carmen – The Daughters of Block Island (Thomas & Mercer)
  • Johnny Compton – The Spite House (Tor Nightfire/Macmillan)
  • Eric LaRocca – Everything the Darkness Eats (CLASH Books/Titan)
  • CJ Leede – Maeve Fly (Tor Nightfire/Macmillan/Titan)
  • Sam Rebelein – Edenville (William Morrow/Titan)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Cullen Bunn and Leomacs (artist) – Ghostlore Vol. 1 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Adam Cesare and David Stoll (artist) – Dead Mall (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Amy Chu and Soo Lee (artist) –  Carmila: The First Vampire (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Junji Ito (author & artist) – Tombs (Viz Media)
  • Gou Tanabe (author & artist) – H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth (Dark Horse Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

Superior Achievement in Long Non-Fiction

Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror (Black Spot Books)

Superior Achievement in a Middle Grade Novel

  • Sarah Henning –  Monster Camp (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
  • Diana López – Los Monstruos: Felice & the Wailing Woman (Kokila)
  • Lora Senf – The Nighthouse Keeper (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  • Refe Tuma – Frances & the Werewolves of the Black Forest (HarperCollins)
  • Suzanne Young – What Stays Buried (HarperCollins)

 Superior Achievement in a Novel

Superior Achievement in Poetry

 Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Charlie Brooker – Black Mirror: Beyond the Sea {Ep. 3, S6} (Zeppotron, Babieka, Banijay Entertainment, Broke & Bones, House of Tomorrow)
  • Michelle Garza Cervera and Abia Castillo – Huesera: The Bone Woman (Disruptiva Films, Machete Producciones, Maligno Gorehouse)
  • Brian Duffield – No One Will Save You (20th Century Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment)
  • Demián Rugna – When Evil Lurks (Machaco Films, Aramos Cine, Shudder)
  • Takashi Yamazaki – Godzilla Minus One (Robot Communications, Toho Studios)

 Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • L.E. Daniels –  “Silk” (Hush, Don’t Wake the Monster: Stories Inspired by Stephen King, Twisted Wing Productions)
  • Rachael K. Jones –  “Sound of Children Screaming” (Nightmare Magazine)
  • Sam J. Miller – If Someone You Love Has Become a Vurdalak (The Dark)
  • Cindy O’Quinn –  “Quondam” (The Nightmare Never Ends, Exploding Head Fiction)
  • Nadine Aurora Tabing –  “An Inherited Taste” (No Trouble At All, Cursed Morsels Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • Carina Bissett –  “Words Wielded by Women” (Apex Magazine)
  • Nadia Bulkin –  “Becoming Ungovernable: Latah, Amok, & Disorder in Indonesia” (Unique Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror, Black Spot Books)
  • K.P. Kulski –  “100 Livers” (Unique Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror, Black Spot Books)
  • Lee Murray –  “Displaced Spirits” (Unique Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror, Black Spot Books)
  • Kevin Wetmore Jr. –  “A Theatre of Ghosts, A Haunted Cinema: The Japanese Gothic as Theatrical Tradition in Gurozuka” (The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture: Special Issue on Asian Gothic)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Friday, March 15, 2024

Screenplay wins Best TV Pilot!

Colossus Film Festival My screenplay "Bound by Blood," adapted from Dark Time, the first book of the Mortal Path book series, is the winner of the BEST TV PILOT award for the first 2024 cycle of the Colossus Film Festival! I move on to the yearly program now, and I have high hopes there.
Colossus Film Festival Poster


Monday, March 11, 2024

International Thriller Writers Announces Finalists for Thriller Awards!

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2024 Thriller Awards! Learn more about the finalists by clicking the LINKS to their websites below.

ITW is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas.

ITW’s mission is “To bestow recognition and promote the thriller genre at an innovative and superior level for and through our Active members; to provide opportunities for mentoring, education and collegiality among thriller authors and industry professionals; and to grant awards for excellence in the thriller genre.” 

One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide a way for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and midlist authors advance their careers. To that end, ITW has designed numerous, effective programs and events which promote debut and midlist writers and their work, sometimes in partnership with bestselling authors. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, gives money to worthy organizations, supports libraries, and advances the genre. Finally, it brings together almost a thousand writers, readers, publishers,  editors and agents at its annual conference, ThrillerFest, as well as at CraftFest, a writing workshop program, and PitchFest, where aspiring authors can meet and pitch top literary agents.

Interested in joining ITW? I've been a member for years! Read about membership qualifications and find out how to apply. 

Best Hardcover Novel

Best Audiobook

  • I.S. Berry – THE PEACOCK AND THE SPARROW (Simon & Schuster Audio)
    Narrated by Pete Simonelli
  • Gregg Hurwitz – THE LAST ORPHAN (Macmillan)
    Narrated by Scott Brick
  • Freida McFadden – THE HOUSEMAID’S SECRET (Bookouture)
    Narrated by Lauryn Allman
  • James PattersonMike Lupica – THE HOUSE OF WOLVES (Hachette Audio)
    Narrated by Ellen Archer
  • Emma Rosenblum – BAD SUMMER PEOPLE (Macmillan)
    Narrated by January LaVoy

Best 1st Novel

Best Paperback Original Novel

Best Short Story

Best Young Adult Novel

Best E-Book Original Novel

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Mystery Writers of America Announces Nominees for the 78th Annual Edgar® Awards

Hello everyone! Mystery Writers of America (MWA) announced the nominees for the 2024 Edgar Allan Poe Award, which will be celebrated on May 1, 2024, at the New York Marriot Marquis in Times Square. This year's Edgar Awards Banquet will be in honor of the 215th birthday of one of the most famous mystery writers in literary history, Edgar Allan Poe. Purchase banquet tickets here

MWA is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. I'm an Active member. Some 3,000 members who are fiction and non-fiction writers, screen and television writers, publishers, editors, and literary agents have joined MWA. You can join, too - no need to be published, just a supporter of the genre. See Membership Information

Here is your chance to get to know each of the nominees in their respective categories!

Best Novel

Best Paperback Original

Best Fact Crime

  • Kim Cross (In Light of All Darkness: Inside the Polly Klaas Kidnapping and the Search for America’s Child)
  • Zeke Faux (Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall)
  • John Glatt (Tangled Vines: Power, Privilege, and the Murdaugh Family Murders)
  • Nathan Masters (Crooked: The Roaring '20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal)
  • Barbara Rae-Venter (I Know Who You Are: How an Amateur DNA Sleuth Unmasked the Golden State Killer and Changed Crime Fighting Forever)
  • Joe Sexton (The Lost Sons of Omaha: Two Young Men in an American Tragedy)

 Best Critical/Biographical

 Best Short Story

Best Juvenile

Best Young Adult

Best Television Episode Teleplay

Additional Awards to be Presented by MWA

Robert L. Fish Memorial Award

  • Bill Bassman (“Errand for a Neighbor” - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Jan-Feb 2023)
  • Kate Hohl (“The Body in Cell Two” - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May-June 2023)
  • Sean McCluskey (“The Soiled Dove of Shallow Hollow” - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Jan-Feb 2023)
  • Meghan Leigh Paulk (“It’s Half Your Fault” - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, July-Aug 2023)
  • Gabriela Stiteler (“Two Hours West of Nothing” - Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Setp-Oct 2023)

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award

The G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award

The Lilian Jackson Braun Memorial Award

Special Awards

Grand Masters

Ellery Queen Award

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bound by Blood Teleplay Scores Again

Notching another contest win for Bound by Blood, the Mortal Path series pilot teleplay that covers the first part of BOOK ONE: DARK TIME. An especially fun festival that I was invited to attend. Great people! 😍 

Logline: A Colonial woman unjustly burned as a witch struggles to reclaim her soul from the ancient Sumerian demon who saved her and used her as his Ageless assassin for over 300 years.

ThrillerFest XVIII - International Thriller Writers Annual Conference

 Ongoing now! Walk-in Registration and conference information. Panels, signings, Awards dinner.

ThrillerFestXVIII - 2023

Mortal Path Teleplay Bound by Blood

 Dakota is pleased to announce the latest contest win for the pilot script for the first book in the Mortal Path series, Bound by Blood. 😀

Toronto Indie Filmmakers Festival

Monday, October 18, 2021

Bound by Blood Teleplay Official Selection

The Big Apple Film Festival and Screenplay Competition chose the teleplay Bound by Blood, adapted from the first book of the Mortal Path series, as an official selection! 😊😊😊

Bound by Blood is an action-thriller TV Pilot with strong mythological elements 
in which a Colonial woman unjustly burned as a witch struggles to reclaim 
her soul from the Sumerian demon who saved her from the flames and used 
her as his Ageless assassin for over 300 years. Adapted from an award-winning
 book series by the same author.

Love it!


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Mortal Path Screenplay wins Best TV Script!


 Feedback Excerpts for "Bound by Blood," TV Pilot Episode for the Mortal Path series:

The concept for Mortal Path is refreshingly original in both its idea and execution. The way history and mythology are merged to together to create a unique story is astonishingly intelligent. There is a near limitless possibility of episodes in each of Susannah’s attempts to save souls.

Susannah is a deep, complex protagonist that has a tragic, yet interesting story. The teaser is an effective of way showing her heightened spiritual sensibilities and how that arouses skepticism in those around her. Despite her moral failings, there are a lot of scenes showing that she has a deep desire to do good, which makes her more likable.

Mortal Path is rich with impressively written emotionally poignant dialogue. One of the strongest aspects of Mortal Path is the vivid way a wide variety of emotional scenes are depicted in the script. The strong concept gives it an exciting amount of market potential. The dynamic nature of the story easily lends itself to serialization. The fact that its already based on an established book series inspires more confidence in producers looking to pick up the series.

Final Comments:

Mortal Path ("Bound by Blood" TV Pilot) is an impressively written pilot that sets up an amazing idea for a series. The characters are easy to empathize with and the writing of the script is emotionally poignant. The level of detail that went into the vivid descriptions is highly impressive.

Register for Virtual ThrillerFest XVI - 2021 Now!


An exciting opportunity from International Thriller Writers: Virtual ThrillerFest 2021!

Take advantage of this opportunity to participate in
 MasterClassPitchFestConsultFest, and the brand new X-Treme CraftFest!
June 28 - July 10, 2021
All Online!

There’s no travel, no hotel stay—but you can still hone your craft in small classes taught by ITW bestselling authors, you can learn to pitch your novel with confidence, and get insider details on the business of writing from agents, editors, and marketing professionals.

Spots for pitches to top NY Agents in PitchFest are filling fast! Don't miss this great opportunity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

ITW's Winter Thrills Conference - Register NOW


Virtual Winter Thrills!

ITW is delighted to host an online conference to stoke your writing fires and keep those dreams alive during the winter months. We’re excited to include Master Class, Practice PitchFest, and the brand new Thriller MBA. You’ll learn about the craft of writing and the business of publishing, including the opportunity of breaking down Thriller MBA to focus on your own topics of special interest.

Winter Thrills Master Class - $399

ITW's bestselling thriller writers will meet with you virtually in a small class format to discuss the craft of writing—YOUR writing.

Winter Thrills Master Class will be held via Zoom with one instructor in a private Zoom room with up to 10 attendees. The traditional full-day class will be broken into two four-hour sessions.

You'll need to submit a ten-page writing sample and a completed form to participate in this session. More information will be sent in an email you'll receive after you register.

Questions? Email Jessica Saunders,
Co-Executive Director, ThrillerFest

Dates: Monday, January 11 and Tuesday, January 12, 2021

This year’s instructors are: J.D. Barker,  Allison Brennan, Karen Dionne,  Steven James,  Mary Kubica Gayle Lynds,  Donald Maass, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.




Winter Thrills also includes the following exciting and informative sessions:

Practice PitchFest - $30 each session 
(Zoom) Practice PitchFest offers an opportunity to hone your pitch for either an in-person meeting with an agent or for the creation of a fabulous logline in your query letter. Qualified ITW authors will work with you in a one-on-one virtual meeting that will leave you feeling energized to pitch to agents and editors.
Thriller MBA - $299 (All inclusive; à la carte pricing available)
(Vimeo) The ITW team has created a powerful line-up of authors, agents, editors, and other professionals to teach you about the different elements of publishing. Their insights will be incredibly helpful as you navigate the publishing world, and they will be helpful for aspiring writers as well as established authors.

When you sign up for Thriller MBA (or purchase the individual Query Critiques session), we'll invite you to submit your query letter. A panel consisting of agents and editors will provide immediate and constructive feedback. The moderator will read a query letter out loud and feature the letter on the screen (eliminating any personal information). The expert panelists will raise their hands when they would stop reading if this letter landed on their desk. When all the experts’ hands have been raised, the moderator will initiate a discussion to learn why each agent/editor stopped at their chosen moment. You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of what makes a successful query letter, priceless information for when you are querying.

Click here for a complete list of the
sessions and panelists for Thriller MBA.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Online ThrillerFest 2020 now available!

Virtual ThrillerFest 2020

International Thriller Writers, Inc

Due to the pandemic this year, International Thriller Writers has canceled the in-person ThrillerFest Conference at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The health and safety of attendees is ITW's top priority. 

But we have fantastic news! We are offering a virtual conference so attendees can remain safe in the comfort of their homes yet still participate in the learning and camaraderie that is the hallmark of the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. No travel, no hotel stay, but an even more extensive array of bestselling ITW authors who can help you polish your thrillers and top drawer New York agents and editors to whom you can pitch— along with attractive prices! 

Check out the incredible events ThrillerFest is offering and REGISTER NOW!