5 Contemporary Women Horror Writers You May Not Know But Should!

It is a great time to read horror.  There are so many inventive, creative and interesting voices out there and in honor of Women in Horror Month I am bringing you 5 names you may not have heard of.  These women are predominantly from small indie publishing houses.  Don’t let that deter you though.  These are heavy hitters and the indie publishers are often where the most interesting voices are coming from.  With a nice mix of The New Weird, torture porn, horror poetry and gothic horror there is something for everyone in this list.  

At times too raw for some Seeing Double is excellent.

​​ Karen Runge-  This author from Grey Matters Press is my Princess of Pain.  If you like your fiction shocking and gritty this is the writer for you. Her latest book Seeing Double is an amazing tour through the minds of a very sick trio of killers.  Read my review of Seeing Double here.  She has also written Death’s Realm: Where the Here and Hearafter Collide and Savage Beasts.  All of these books can be found on Grey Matter Press and Amazon.  In additional she contributed to a horror short anthology published by Pint Bottle Press titled Double Barrel Project.  It’s an excellent grouping of shorts and a great place to get acquainted with her style.  Up next for her will be a short in Suspended in Dusk II scheduled to drop later this year edited by the formidable Simon Dewar and Published by Grey Matter Press.
The time of dusk is that time between times, the time between the light and the dark. It’s the grey area we all find ourselves in now and again. It’s the fulcrum. The tipping point. The penultimate moment of change where things either come good, or go very, very wrong. And the stories in Suspended in Dusk II swing the pendulum to the dark side where it stops until the last page is turned.It was three years ago that the first volume of editor Simon Dewar’s “Suspended in Dusk” franchise was published, and dark fiction fans worldwide responded with their terrified screams,  In 2018, the second installment arrives from Grey Matter Press.  And it’s about to turn up the darkness and usher in far more change.

Kristi DeMeester is the leader of the new weird.

​​ Kristi DeMeester- Her recent book Everything That’s Underneath published by Apex Publications is an incredible example of The New Weird genre.   For those fans of the Southern Reach Trilogy this is the author you have been waiting for.  This collection of New Weird short fiction is a quick and enjoyable read.
In Everything That’s Underneath, Kristi DeMeester explores the dark places most people avoid.  A hole in an abandoned lot, an illness twisting your loved one into someone you don’t recognize, lust that pushed you further and further until no one can hear your cries for help.  In these 18 stories the characters cannot escape the evil that is haunting them.  They must make a choice, accept it and become part of what terrifies them the most or allow it to consume them and live in fear forever. 
I’m currently reading this and loving every heart pounding moment.  Watch for my review soon.  This book can be purchased on Amazon or through Apex Publications.  She is a writer of unsettling short fiction that sticks with you.  She’s been featured on Psuedopad Episode 568 The Room in the Other House.This is hands down my favorite short of all time, it’s downright chilling.  She has a great blog with some truly insightful posts including one titled What Horror Taught Me About Being a Woman that is very timely.   Her debut novel Beneath published by Word Horde is available now on amazon and the publishers website.  It is as amazing as her shorts.

Pretty Little Dead Girls is horror fiction at its best

​​ Mercedes M. Yardley-  This Bram Stoker Award Nominee has several books out now from Crystal Lake Publishing including Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, Nameless: The Darkness Comes and Little Dead Red for which she was nominated.  Her writing is emotional horror.  It is a moral roller coaster of what would you do’s.  These are raw stories that leave you stunned and exhausted.   Her novels are relatable in the most horrific ways.  Look for my review of Pretty Little Dead Things in the weeks to come.  
Bryony Adams is destined to be murdered, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny. 

Wytovich is a leader in Dark Poetry

​​ Stephanie Wytovich– Her horror poetry is as majestic as it is horrifying.  Equal parts beauty and grotesque this poetry is certainly not Longfellow.  Her latest, and perhaps best poetry anthology Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare published by Raw Dog Screaming Press came out December 2017.  This was on every horror poetry lovers Christmas list.   
Roll the windows down, wipe the blood off your cheek, and turn the music up. Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare by Stephanie M. Wytovich is a collection spattered with dirt and blood, sage and corpses. The poems inside are confessionals and dirges, their stories the careful banter of ghosts and sinners over tequila at the bar.
These pages hold the lyrics to the beautiful grotesque that Wytovich is known for, but here she writes with a raw honesty that we haven’t seen from her before. This new direction takes readers to hospital rooms and death beds, shows the mask that was skinned off her face time and time again. There’s a brutality to her lines that cuts with the same knife she fantasized about it, her blood and tears mixed in with stanzas as she talks about suicide and abuse, heartbreak and falling in love.
Written during a time when the road was her home, these poems were sung under the stars and screamed in the woods, carved into trees. They are broken bottles and cigarette butts, stale coffee and smeared lipstick, each its own warning, a tale of caution.
Listen to them carefully.
They very well might save your life.

Her collection of horror poetry has all won Bram Stoker Awards and can be found on Amazon or Raw Dog Screaming Press.  She is also a writer of novels and her debut novel The Eight published by Dark Regions Press is similar in tone to her poetry.  This is the thinking man’s literature.  Her story telling ability is very real and visceral and not to be missed.

Dead Lake is already a classic

​​ Darcy Coates–  Her novels, Craven Manor, The Haunting of Rookward House, The Folcroft Ghosts, The House Next Door, The Haunting of Ashburn House, The Haunting of Blackwood House, The Haunting of Gillespie House, Dead Lake and Ghost Camera are perfect old school ghost stories.  Lovers of the classic supernatural stories will love these books.  She is a USA bestselling author and one not to be missed.  Her books can be found on Amazon, Darcycoates.com and Black Owl Books.
I sincerely hope you give these less known literally voices a try.  They are hidden gems that will leave you wanting more.  Let me know who I should include in my next list.  Let me know who you are reading now with #SHBooklists.