Uncomfortably Dark Presents: Women in Horror Month

Celebrating all women of horror!

This week we chat with RuthAnn Jagge, Dawn Shea, and Tara Losacano! 

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Uncomfortably Dark Celebrates Women in Horror

A Tribute to Women in Horror

As many of you already know, the horror industry has long been a male dominated field. The women were mostly found on display in cheesy films, running barefoot through the woods while their bare breasts bounced around in a ripped T-shirt, screaming for their lives before inevitably tripping over that damn branch on the ground and being skewered through the chest by an axe, a chainsaw, a spear, a machete, or whatever weapon the villain might have had. 

Black and white horror films are classics and I love them as much as anyone but again, many featured women as damsels in distress, fainting dead away at the sight of a monster, a ghost or a vampire or being ravished by said vampire as they screamed and clutched at their heaving bosoms barely contained in tight dresses.  I am speaking in general terms only, for what the genre has most heavily embraced in its female depictions in its early years. Of course, there are great roles that have been played by women in horror that are truly unforgettable and continue to be admire today, such as Janet Leigh in “Psycho” or Tippi Hedren in “The Birds”.

Times are ever-changing and over the years, more women than ever have branched out to infuse their essence into all types of horror, across all industry and areas. Writers, directors, actresses, producers, voice actresses, artists, special effects make-up artists are just a few of the roles that talented women now hold.

Just to name a few, Karyn Kusama directed the 2009 dark horror comedy, “Jennifer’s Body” which is now a cult classic.  She later went on to direct “The Invitation” in 2015 and” XX” in 2017. Coralie Fargeat directed a movie called “Revenge” in 2017, where the main character goes on the warpath seeking out the men that raped her. (Variety.com/Oct.18,2018)

Jodie Foster is best known for her acting roles but has proven herself to be quite the director as well, including work on “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards.” Last but certainly not least on this least, we have Mary Harron who not only directed but co-wrote “American Psycho” in 2000.  (Variety.com/Oct.18,2018) This list just names a few of the many female directors and producers in the industry today. I could go on for days and barely scratch the surface of the many talented women that are currently working in horror, in any number of roles.

In my tribute for this month, you will find new features every Saturday night in honor of some of the best female talent currently working in horror today. I have two amazing voice actresses from “The No Sleep” podcast, which is a fantastic horror podcast that everyone should be listening to. I have a whole host of horror authors that write everything from splatter westerns to gore filled romps through murder and mayhem, including Christine Morgan, Kenzie Jennings, Lee Franklin, Ruthann Jagge, Nikki Noir, Dawn Shea and Tara Losacano just to name a few.

I will be showcasing the very talented horror artist and author, Pam McMillan. 


Interviews with the publishing team of Cassie Angler and Eleanor Merry, that make up Macabre Ladies publishing will also be featured!

To ladies of horror everywhere, I applaud you, I honor you, I'm one of you!

 

Meet RuthAnn Jagge

Horror Author

What made you want to become a writer?

I've loved reading since I was young. To be able to create characters and tell a story is a kind of superpower to me. If you can dream it, you can make it a reality with words.


When did you first begin writing?

Besides jotting down thoughts over the years, I wrote my first story in January 2020, when I entered a professional writing contest. I was clueless and inexperienced and didn't realize how competitive they are. I didn't win, but I did receive some very positive professional feedback, so I kept writing.


Why did you choose to write horror?

I think humans love to laugh and to be scared. It's my favorite genre to read, and I'm fascinated by the darker side of life and imagination. Things that happen and live in the shadows are more interesting to me. 


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre's?

Mostly horror/dark speculative fiction, which included the supernatural and fantasy. I'm currently working on a couple of stories that fall into the dark fantasy realm, but horror is what I enjoy writing the most.


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

I grew up near an old cemetery we'd ghost-hunt, despite warnings, and  I like to remember finding a few. I watched every "scary movie" I could, and "Phantasm" in particular, terrified me and, I had many nightmares about the Tall Man. My early Catholic school education constantly reinforced the presence of "evil," but I was much more interested in devils than saints.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

I've met some fascinating and intelligent folks from all walks of life and made some great connections. It's always creative and very inclusive. I'm amazed when a noted author replies in a writing group and, they frequently do.


What is your main challenge as a woman in the mostly male world of horror?

Interesting. I'd say to have my work understood regardless of gender, especially if I'm describing and writing with a more "feminine" view based on personal experience.

I've had only positive and accepting relationships so far, and males are among my mentors and friends. They offer some great feedback and remind me to push my limits rather than hold back.


What one piece of advice would you give to other female authors/ artists in the industry?

Do your own thing, your way. There's a lot out there, and it's natural to compare but try to avoid it. The stories or art you create is unique, which will allow you to stand out.


Do you have projects in the works that you would like to mention?

I'm proud of a story included in an anthology releasing in February from D&T Publishing titled "It's All Fun and Games Until Somebody Dies" It's a unique premise in the horror-genre, and writing my story, "The Contract," was a challenge. I'm currently working on several short stories and novella submissions for 2021 and beyond, as well as my first solo novel.

 

Meet Dawn Shea

Horror Author and Publisher

What made you want to become a writer?

I have always wanted to be a writer, to some extent. I always thought how wonderful it was to be able to pour your thoughts out on paper.


When did you first begin writing?  

I started writing in elementary school. Then in the sixth grade, I had a spelling/reading teacher, Mrs. Leanne Pannell. She encouraged us to write and read, to the utmost extent. I actually started writing stories in seventh grade, and her daughter would make covers for them. A very closed-minded teacher found them, and I was suspended from school. Put a bad taste in my mouth for a while about writing.


Why did you choose to write horror?

I have been a horror head since I was old enough to walk. My father was a huge lover of horror and in turn, so was I. It has always felt like the most natural thing to write.


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre’s?

I only write horror. I stick with what I know.


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare? My earliest experience with horror, that I can remember, is watching Creepshow 2 from behind my daddy’s back.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

I feel like we are not judged for the things we write. The more horrific, the better.


What is your main challenge as a woman in the mostly male world of horror?

I do not feel we are taken as seriously as men in the world of horror. It is hard to establish a name for yourself.

  

What one piece of advice would you give to other female authors/ artists in the industry?

If someone needs help, advice, or just general knowledge, don’t be an ass! Help them.


Do you have projects in the works that you would like to mention?

We have our newest anthology, It’s All Fun and Games Until Somebody Dies, coming out February 26th. We also have Mark Towse’s novella, Nana, coming out in March. Summer Feaker’s first book in her Haven Manor trilogy, will be released soon, as well.


Dawn's Bio:

Dawn Shea was born and raised in Ripley, Mississippi and now lives with her husband and children in Corinth, Mississippi. She is an RN by trade and is half of the publishing team at D&T Publishing. She has been writing since an early age and is a contributing author in all of D&T’s publications. 


You can find D&T on the web at:


https://dandtpublishing20.wixsite.com/dtpublishing - website

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1609525809233780/ - FB group

www.facebook.com/d&tpublishing - Facebook 

Instagram.com/dandtpublishing – IG

@Dandtpublishing - Twitter

Dawn Shea - Amazon author profile 

dandtpublishing20@gmail.com - email

 
 

Meet Tara Losacano

Horror Author

What made you want to become a writer?

I've always loved to write, and it's always been a hobby of mine. The process of writing and of being creative is what made me love writing and essentially what made me want to become a writer. It wasn't until about a year ago that I started taking it seriously. A horror book group that I'm in sent out a submission call inviting all writers, beginners and non-published as well, to send in their horror stories. I was terrified of rejection and almost gave up but a kick in the butt from one of my friends reminded me of all the support I have so I gave it my best and sent my story in. To my surprise and delight, my messed up little story was accepted published and since then I've been more inspired than ever to be the writer that I've always felt I am.


 When did you first begin writing?  

I began writing at a very young age. I would spend hours and hours in my bedroom filling up notebooks full of stories. I'd make up stories about anything and everything and I loved them all so much. Most of them went unread by anyone but me but it wasn't always about having them read, it was just about the writing. I just really enjoyed it. 


Why did you choose to write horror?

I choose to write horror because horror has always been a huge passion of mine. My whole life I've been obsessed with all things horror, whether it's movies, books, artwork, ect. It's what I know and love so it's what I write.

  

Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre’s?

I like to write what I like to read, and I am a horror reader through and through. So, at the moment I am 100% a horror writer.

What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

My earliest experience with horror was probably when I watched the movie, “The Gate” (1987), as a young kid. That movie scared me shitless but at the same time I knew I was safe at home. It was thrilling to feel so scared while also knowing there was no real risk to myself. After that I watched all the horror movies, I could get my little hands on and of course eventually came the “Goosebumps” books. I had the entire collection, and it was rare to find me without one in my hand. So, I guess I blame “The Gate” and “Goosebumps” for my initial obsession with horror movies and books. That obsession just grew into what it is today.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

My favorite thing about being in the horror industry is definitely the people. Since joining the horror community I have met some of the most genuine, caring people I've ever known. It's funny, we love blood and guts and books about horrendous killers yet most of us wouldn't hurt a fly. I can honestly say I've met friends for life and people who support me no matter what in this industry and I'll be forever grateful for that.

  

What is your main challenge as a woman in the mostly male world of horror?

To be completely honest I personally haven't faced any real challenges as a woman in the mostly male world of horror. My challenges have been struggles that all new writers face, like fear of rejection and self-doubt. I've fortunately been treated equally in a male dominated industry. I believe the horror community is one of the few that really tries to embrace woman writers in this genre and fully support us.

  

What one piece of advice would you give to other female authors/ artists in the industry?

One piece of advice I'd give other female writers in the horror industry is to believe in yourself and your talent. If you have a passion for writing, go for it and don't let the pressure get the best of you. Having a strong support system is very important and I know I wouldn't be where I am today without mine.

  

Do you have projects in the works that you would like to mention?

 I'm currently working on vol. 3 of ABC's of Terror with D&T Publishing. I was apart of the first two volumes and I hope to be included in their future projects. I'm also looking forward to submitting a couple stories for Macabre Ladies, including the upcoming Dark Carnival, as I have enjoyed working with them on other anthologies.

  

Tara's Bio:

I was born and raised a New England girl and currently live in Massachusetts with my husband and two children. I am an avid reader and love all things horror. I have been published in numerous horror anthologies including Books of Horror Community Anthology vol. 1 and vol. 2, ABC's of Terror vol. 1 and vol. 2, Macabre Ladies presents Dark Solstice, Drabbles of Dread, Extreme Drabbles of Dread, and the soon to be released Supernatural Drabbles of Dread.

 

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