American Horror Stories: Horror as a Reflection of Our Country’s Ills in Times of Unrest

Thursday August 13th at 7pm

Throughout narrative history, horror has been used to reflect the things we are afraid of or are dealing with as a society. From Frankenstein’s reflected fear of the industrial revolution and meddling with nature, to Dracula’s dealings with Victorian ideas of sexuality, to the zombie’s survivalist fear on a dying planet rife with contagion. Four horror authors and editors talk about what they write and publish, and how to move forward as the world dishes out new horrors daily.

A BookSwell event co-hosted by Kate Maruyama & Cody Sisco, featuring Rena Mason, Kate Jonez, Michael Paul Gonzalez, and Nicole Sconiers.

About the Presenters

Michael Paul Gonzalez is the author of the novels ANGEL FALLS and MISS MASSACRE’S GUIDE TO MURDER AND VENGEANCE and the short story collection CARRY ME HOME: STORIES OF HORROR AND HEARTBREAK. He wrote and produced the serial horror audio drama LARKSPUR UNDERGROUND, available for free on iTunes and Stitcher. A member of the Horror Writers Association, his short stories have appeared in print and online, including Lost Signals, Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Stories, the Booked. Podcast Anthology, Tales from the Crust: A Pizza Horror Anthology,, and the Appalachian Undead Anthology. He resides in Los Angeles, a place full of wonders and monsters far stranger than any that live in the imagination. You can visit him online at

Stories by Kate Jonez have been nominated three times for the Bram Stoker Award and once for the Shirley Jackson. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Pseudopod, Gamut and Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. Kate is also the chief editor at the Bram Stoker Award winning small press Omnium Gatherum which is dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror.

Rena Mason is an American author of Thai-Chinese descent, and the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and The Devil’s Throat, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 /The Blood List Search for New Blood Quarter-Finalist. Her horror and dark speculative fiction has been published in various award-winning anthologies and magazines, and she writes a monthly column. For more information visit her website: www.RenaMason.Ink.

Nicole D. Sconiers is the author of Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage, a speculative fiction short-story collection that has been taught at colleges and universities around the country. Her short story “Kim” was published in Sycorax’s Daughters, a black woman’s horror anthology that was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. The story was recently optioned for a YA TV horror anthology series. Ms. Sconiers was a guest columnist for Nightmare magazine’s The H-Word. Her short story “The Eye of Heaven” appeared in the anthology Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing, published by BLF Press. The anthology received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

About the Co-Hosts

Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia MagazineControlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on SalonDuendeEntropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.

Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer. As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and LiveAltered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in 2020. In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology. Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.