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A Taste of Darkness – announcing a new YA horror anthology
I always love reading short story anthologies. They’re perfect for just dipping into when you have a few spare minutes, and have introduced me to tons of new authors whose longer novels I then go on to read.
Which leads me to my exciting news: I’m thrilled to have been asked to contribute a short scary story for a brand new YA horror anthology coming this September from Scholastic! The anthology, titled A Taste of Darkness, will feature 13 stories by different authors and curated by Amy McCaw, author of Mina and the Undead and Mina and the Slayers, and Maria Kuzniar, author of The Ship of Shadows duology. As well as curating the collection, Amy and Maria will each contribute a story alongside Kat Dunn, Kat Ellis (me!), Rachel Faturoti, Kathryn Foxfield, Dawn Kurtagich, Amy McCulloch, Cynthia Murphy, Melinda Salisbury, Louie Stowell, Rosie Talbot and Mary Watson.
It’s out in September – the perfect time for spooky reading – and is already available for preorder. The gorgeous cover has just been revealed – isn’t it a stunner?! I love the colours and the creepy trees and the shadowy figure who I’m pretty sure is controlling those birds…
Maria Kuzniar said, “I’m delighted that this anthology has found a home with Scholastic, and beyond excited for readers to discover our collection of thrilling and creepy stories by a selection of very talented authors this spooky season!”
And Amy McCaw added that she is, “absolutely thrilled to have co-curated this anthology that celebrates UKYA horror and allows readers to enjoy new works by familiar authors and find some new favourites.”
Amy has also posted a YouTube video introducing all the authors who are part of the anthology and their previous work:
I can’t give away any details about my story yet, but I will say that it’s inspired by a chilling Welsh folk tale, and I’ve gone all-out on the creep factor. It also includes a character named by request of a student from a recent school visit who asked me to use his name – hi, James!
If you can’t wait until September, or just feel like reading something short and creepy in the meantime, I have written a short story called Christmas Lights which you can read for free. It’s about a girl named Ellie who’s helping to pack away her grandmother’s Christmas decorations after she passes away suddenly, when Ellie finds something terrifying lying in wait for her underneath the stairs. Despite its title, it’s not especially festive and can be enjoyed at any time of year… as long as you like your stories horrifyingly creepy!
I’ll be sure to share any more details about A Taste of Darkness when I have them, and in the meantime, don’t forget to preorder a copy, and sign up for my newsletter to hear all my latest news and adventures each month.
Harrow Lake-inspired art
A few weeks ago, I was invited for a virtual visit with a class from Korah Collegiate & Vocational School in Canada. The students had been studying Harrow Lake for their class, and so a Q&A session seemed like the perfect way to round off their study.
They had a bunch of awesome questions, and – something I wasn’t expecting at all! – their teacher sent me some amazing artwork they’d created after the session, inspired by the book. I have to say that for me as an author, one of the absolute best parts of the job is knowing that the stories I’ve written might spark creativity in a reader – so seeing the reality of that in these drawings and illustrations was a wonderful moment.
I’m sharing the following pieces with permission of the students and school.
Check out this amazing drawing of Mary Ann, Lola’s imaginary friend/puppet. Her porcelain skin is webbed with fractures, and if you look closely you can see the words ‘Blood in the cracks’ repeated over and over in the background of the image. I love it!
Image by Mackenzie
I love this image of Mister Jitters reaching out from the darkness, ready to snatch Lola away! And those pinprick eyes…
Image by Maya
This is a brilliant painting of the ruined church inside the sinkhole in Harrow Lake. See how the church roofbeams are sticking out like skeleton ribs? And all the eyes peering out in the background – so spooky!
Image by Nat R
This drawing offers a Mister Jitters-meets-Pennywise pairing, and I’m so here for it! Why settle for one monster when you can have two? Though I’d hate to think what Mister Jitters would get up to with Pennywise pulling his strings…
Image by Jessica
There’s so much going on in this one: the creepy cave at the bottom with the hand reaching out; the bugs crawling all over the title; the Bone Tree with so many teeth hanging from it; the puppeteer’s hand looming large over everything, and I particularly love the girl puppet with her strings cut – the symbolism is just *chef’s kiss*.
Image by student, Anon
One of the big themes of Harrow Lake is girls and young women breaking free of the cages they’re put into. This image of Lola trying to escape her cage with Mister Jitters looming in the background captures that idea perfectly.
Image by Lily
Such scary vibes in this drawing of Mister Jitters and the Bone Tree! I love the little puppet version of Mister Jitters, and all the teeth hanging from the tree branches… so many chills!
Image by Brooklyn B
Thanks so much to the students who took the time to make these fantastic pieces of art based on their reading of Harrow Lake, and for letting me share them here.