This Is Horror 2017 Novel of the Year

My novel, I Wish I Was Like You, just won Novel of the Year at This Is Horror. I’m amazed, delighted, and very grateful to the readers who voted for the book. Thank you to This Is Horror, to my publisher, JournalStone, to editor Dan Mason–and to Jess Landry and Christopher Payne for believing in and promoting the novel.

Congratulations to runner-up Andy Davidson, author of In the Valley of the Sun (Skyhorse Publishing). Congrats to Philip Fracassi who won Short Story Collection of the Year for Behold the Void (JournalStone). Big love to editors Justin Steele and Sam Cowan. Their non-themed Dim Shores anthology, Looming Low (which includes my story, “Alligator Point”) was named Anthology of the Year. And congrats to all of the winners and nominees, for some ass-kicking horror in 2017!

Here’s my response at This Is Horror:

“I’m honored, and surprised. Thanks to everyone who voted. Thanks to my publisher, JournalStone. This Is Horror sets a high standard for inquiry and discussion without a hint of elitism or pretentiousness. The site’s reviews, articles, and interviews are offered in the best spirit of horror, which is (after all) a leveler, an admission of vulnerability. Horror embodies the knowledge that we may be smart and pretty and popular and well-off but at four a.m., alone with our worst fears and suspicions, we are all scared animals waiting for daybreak. I’ll try to live up to the honor of the award by staying true to that spirit. Thank you!”



Best Horror of the Year Vol. Ten

Ellen Datlow is one of the most respected and admired editors in horror, science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been reading her themed anthologies for years, for pleasure and for education. Her taste is impeccable. Every year when she begins reading for the annual ‘best of’ anthology, every writer I know hopes to have a story selected. In fact, simply having a story on her Honorable Mention long list is an honor my colleagues and I happily post on social media.

This year three of my stories made the extended Honorable Mention list:

“Muscadines” a Shirley Jackson Award-nominated novella published by Dunhams Manor Press

“Somnambule” in the anthology The Madness of Dr. Caligari, edited by Joe Pulver, Fedogan & Bremer

“Water Main” in the anthology Autumn Cthulhu, edited by Mike Davis, Lovecraft eZine Press

This is lovely news. Better yet, Ellen Datlow has selected “Alligator Point,” my story in the Dim Shores anthology Looming Low, edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan, to appear in The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten.

I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to Ellen and Night Shade Books, and thanks to Jordan Krall, Joe Pulver, Mike Davis, Justin Steele and Sam Cowan for accepting and publishing my stories. I’m very fortunate to be able to work with such talented individuals who are helping to shape the current horror and weird fiction landscape. Cheers and best wishes to these wonderful editors!


Art by Chenthooran Nambiarooran

Table of Contents


Better You Believe Carole Johnstone
Liquid Air Inna Effress
Holiday Romance Mark Morris
Furtherest Kaaron Warren
Where’s the Harm? Rebecca Lloyd
Whatever Comes After Calcutta David Erik Nelson
A Human Stain Kelly Robson
The Stories We Tell about Ghosts A. C. Wise
Endosketal Sarah Read
West of Matamoros, North of Hell Brian Hodge
Alligator Point S. P. Miskowski
Dark Warm Heart Rich Larson
There and Back Again Carmen Machado
Shepherd’s Business Stephen Gallagher
You Can Stay All Day Mira Grant
Harvest Song, Gathering Song A. C. Wise
The Granfalloon Orrin Grey
Fail-Safe Philip Fracassi
The Starry Crown Marc E. Fitch
Eqalussuaq Tim Major
Lost in the Dark John Langan




2017 Bram Stoker Awards® Nomination

The new year has been surprising in many ways, not least because my novel, I Wish I Was Like You, is a Bram Stoker Awards® nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel and is a finalist for a This Is Horror Award. The former is determined by active and lifetime members of the Horror Writers Association. The latter is open to the public and you can send your vote to This Is Horror via email following the instructions at the site.

Awards don’t prove excellence. They provide a spotlight for a certain kind of writing, in this case the horror genre. All of the nominees are noteworthy and interesting. So, take time to read the lists and look up the books you find intriguing.

I’m honored and humbled to have a book listed among fine novels by Josh Malerman, Andy Davidson, Victor LaValle, Ania Ahlborn, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Golden, Stephen King, and Owen King. And if you think it feels perfectly natural to type that sentence, you’re cuckoo or you don’t know me. Congratulations to all of these writers–and to all of the nominees in all categories! Thanks to the Horror Writers Association and This Is Horror!

This Is Horror Awards 2017


This Is Horror Awards 2017 is open for public voting for ONE MORE DAY. More information is here.

Voting closes at 12:01am GMT on Monday 26 February 2018.

Novel of the Year

  1. Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman
  2. I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski
  3. In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
  4. The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  5. The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

Novella of the Year

  1. Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan
  2. In the River by Jeremy Robert Johnson
  3. Mapping The Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
  4. Quiet Places by Jasper Bark
  5. The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

Short Story Collection of the Year

  1. Behold the Void by Philip Fracassi
  2. Everything That’s Underneath by Kristi DeMeester
  3. Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado
  4. She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin
  5. 13 Views of the Suicide Woods by Bracken MacLeod

Anthology of the Year

  1. Last Podcast on the Left
  2. Lore Podcast
  3. Lovecraft eZine Podcast
  4. Post Mortem with Mick Garris
  5. The Horror Show with Brian Keene

2017 Summation

Many writers like to end the year with a summation of work published during the past 12 months. We do this to remind editors and readers that our writing is eligible for upcoming awards and annual “best of” anthologies, and also as a cheer-up reminder to ourselves that the year was not entirely without accomplishment. For what it’s worth here’s my list. Thanks to the editors and publishers with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to work this year!



I Wish I Was Like You (novel)




Strange is the Night (story collection)


Trepidatio Publishing



“Vigilance. Sacrifice.”

Strange Aeons edited by Kelly Young and Justin Steele


“Alligator Point”

Looming Low edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan – Dim Shores



Tales from a Talking Board edited by Ross E. Lockhart – Word Horde


“We’re Never Inviting Amber Again”

Haunted Nights edited by Lisa Morton and Ellen Datlow – Anchor


“Asking Price”

Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell edited by Scott David Aniolowski and Joseph S. Pulver Sr. – PS Publishing


“Patio Wing Monsters”

Eyedolon Magazine edited by Scott Gable

Broken Eye Books


“140 x 76 (A Tour of Griffith Park)”

A Walk on the Weird Side – NecronomiCon 2017 Anthology

Strange is the Night release day

Today my story collection, Strange is the Night becomes available via Trepidatio, the horror imprint of JournalStone. A writer is only as good as her editor, so thanks to Jess Landry for making the book possible. And thanks to the editors who selected the stories for publication in magazines and anthologies. Happy reading!

“With this stunningly ambitious collection, S.P. Miskowski juggles a wide range of voices, creating narratives that range from quietly doom-laden ‘strange stories’ in the Aickmanesque mold to sharp, vicious and entirely contemporary fare like its titular tale, in which a snarky theatre critic’s comeuppance is delivered via Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow mythos. Even her most subtle work has a thread of pure dread running through it, engaging and creeping readers out in equal measure from start to finish.” – Gemma Files, Shirley Jackson Award-winning author of EXPERIMENTAL FILM

“My favorite purveyors of dark fiction are those authors who don’t just provide shocks or gross-outs, but who craft deceptive little tales that leave you still unnerved a day, a week, or a year later. M. R. James did that. Dennis Etchison does that. And now S.P. Miskowski joins their ranks with this fine collection. Be prepared to be disturbed by these stories for a long, long time.” – Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of THE SAMHANACH AND OTHER HALLOWEEN TREATS

“Every story showcases Miskowski’s versatility and gift with prose and taps into a dark, writhing undercurrent of palpable unease beneath the mundanity of everyday life.”- Publishers Weekly starred review


October Stories

Almost October

October is my favorite month–especially this year, when four of my recent stories appear in beautiful new anthologies. Treat yourself to some pre-Halloween reading material from these fine publishers.

Looming Low (Dim Shores)

“26 wondrous and unsettling tales that represent some of the best writing from the new golden age of strange literature. Edited by Justin Steele and Sam Cowan.”

Haunted Nights (Anchor)

“Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.

In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.”

Tales from a Talking Board (Word Horde)

“Can we speak with the spirits of the dead? Is it possible to know the future? Are our dreams harbingers of things to come? Do auspicious omens and cautionary portents affect our lives?

Edited by Ross E. Lockhart, Tales from a Talking Board examines these questions–and more–with tales of auguries, divination, and fortune telling, through devices like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and stranger things.”

Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell (PS Publishing)

Edited by Scott David Aniolowski & Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Darker Companions is “…an anthology of stories in tribute to Ramsey, written by some of his many fans and friends currently working in the field of the weird.”


Photo by Cory J. Herndon

Strange Aeons Magazine – new story

Laird Barron has said (and I paraphrase) that you can’t choose what readers see in your work. I think a writer is fortunate to find an audience, and no matter how you might wish to be characterized, people will label what you do as they find it.

The Skillute Cycle (Knock Knock, Delphine Dodd, Astoria, and In the Light) was a challenge to write. Throughout the project I felt slightly out of my element, creating a town with a complex history and mythology, describing a rural setting and portraying characters who never left that setting. My research was extensive and it paid off in the form of another book not connected to the Skillute Cycle.

Muscadines was a story I’d been toying with for a long time, in various forms, but I didn’t have the background material to complete it until I finished writing those other four books. Once I was done with the Skillute Cycle it only took two weeks to write Muscadines.

I’m grateful for every book sold, and every review. Yet after all that time in the heat and claustrophobia of impoverished rural settings I was itching to do something else.

My recent novel, I Wish I Was Like You, might not appeal to a few of the readers who enjoyed the Skillute Cycle. But I hope most of the people who take a chance on it will find it dark and funny, an existential ghost story centering on a highly unlikable yet recognizable protagonist.

If you do like IWIWLY, I think you might also enjoy “Vigilance. Sacrifice.” in the current issue of Strange Aeons Magazine. Set in the near future in a Pacific Northwest city given over to a lucrative tourist trade, “Vigilance. Sacrifice.” is about a woman employed to track down and dispose of certain displaced creatures who feed upon the city’s paying visitors.

As soon as I finished revising the story I had an idea for a sequel. But I’ll take a step back and see if my new story finds an audience. If it does, it’s thanks to Kelly Young and Justin Steele, who edit this wonderful magazine. Here’s a sample of the story. I hope you’ll order a copy of the issue. In addition to my story it features fiction by Philip Fracassi, Robert Levy, and Todd T. Castillo–and a great cover by multimedia artist Meredith Paeper. Happy reading!

“This is what you were born to do?” Calvin asks me, and laughs. “Hiding in the grass at night, among the cat shit and beer piss?”

Note our surroundings, a bank of weeds and wildflowers under a waning moon. I’m here against my better judgment.

“This one’s on you,” I remind him.

We’ve staked out the spot where Calvin and his first partner were ambushed three months ago. We’re chasing shadows on our own time, for no pay. The bureau doesn’t discourage vendettas or underwrite them. If they covered revenge stalking, they might go broke. We’re losing about six people every season.

Calvin’s former partner may be entitled to vengeance, but he isn’t around tonight. The guy lost his spleen and a kidney. Took an early retirement as soon as he got out of the hospital. By comparison, Calvin’s physical sacrifice is nothing. But he’s morose as hell about it. Nursing a grudge by exaggerating the injury.

“Let’s just say I like my job,” I tell him. Settling down on a flat rock. Both relaxed and alert. My right thumb surveying the edge of my holster. “And I’m good at it.”

— excerpt from “Vigilance. Sacrifice.” (Strange Aeons Magazine #21)


Author copies of IWIWLY

These arrived today from my publisher, JournalStone.


I have no idea how many readers will be drawn to the dark corners and rainswept streets of I Wish I Was Like You. The title is borrowed from an enigmatic Nirvana song. The protagonist is an unreliable narrator who borrows a career and sets out to wreck her nemesis–out of envy, boredom, and a craving for undeserved attention. Not your typical young heroine.

“This biting, sly gem of a novel shouldn’t be missed.”  –  Publishers Weekly starred review

“Her prose is at times delicate and poetic, yet can turn as sharp and deadly as the stroke of a knife through flesh.” – Michelle Garza, This Is Horror

“Gritty and insightful, funny and despairing by turns. Refreshing to read some balls-deep outsider fiction again.”  –  Adam Nevill, author of Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors



Shirley Jackson Award Winners & British Fantasy Award Nominees

Congratulations to all of this year’s Shirley Jackson Award nominees and winners, and to the British Fantasy Award nominees! Two great lists, typical of both awards. You can count on the Shirley Jackson Award jury and board of advisors and the British Fantasy Society to locate noteworthy and fascinating new work every year.

This year I was honored to be one of the SJA nominees in the novella category, for Muscadines (published by Dunhams Manor Press). This is the category won by Victor LaValle for his brilliant, celebrated novella, The Ballad of Black Tom.

“LaValle’s novella of sorcery and skullduggery in Jazz Age New York is a magnificent example of what weird fiction can and should do.”
― Laird Barron, author of The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

The Ballad of Black Tom ( Publishing) is one of NPR’s Best Books of 2016, winner of a This is Horror Award for Novella of the Year, and a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Bram Stoker Awards. The book is also a nominee for a BFA. Winners will be announced at FantasyCon 2017, at the Bull Hotel, Peterborough, 29th September – 1st October.