Dem Bones: A Primer on Southern Conjure

I can’t believe I didn’t blog about the first article I wrote for Dirge, the smart, sexy, darkly funny culture magazine. I must have been overwhelmed by the response (and the exhaustion from juggling so many projects).

It was published on February 23, during Women in Horror month. So glad it was too, so that I could share the work of some amazing Black women who write horror.  Some you may have heard of, others maybe not so much, but I’m sure you’ll find something to suit your tastes. If you haven’t  already seen that article, read it here and add something to your bookshelf.

Kneeling bookshelves
Kneeling bookshelves by Samal DesignBeautiful

But, this week, I have a new article up with Dirge about the origins of Southern conjure magic. What is Southern conjure magic? I’m so glad you asked.

Wander over to Dirge magazine and have a look. There’s a bit of background on the origins of the practice, its evolution, and a few basics on ingredients and techniques. And a surprise or two for the curious.

Thanks to Dirge for picking up these article from me and for welcoming me into the folds of its dark cloak.








Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror — A Release

It is finally here!  Seems so long since I’ve posted about my own book release.  This one is especially close to my heart as it is a collection of Southern Gothic horror short stories inspired by my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions...
The final cover for Spook Lights. Man, this went through about seven versions…

Not familiar with Southern Gothic?  It’s a genre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature set in the American South. (Although I’ve taken a few liberties…) Commonly featured are characters who may dabble in hoodoo and conjure magic–like my great-aunt. Other characters practice more devious or violent acts. But all of them are deeply flawed, disturbed or eccentric characters. Much of Southern Gothic focuses on the macabre and grotesque. Maybe that’s why I love the genre.

It isn’t all foreboding haunted plantations, either. Also featured are warped rural–and sometimes urban–communities that reflect the morals, or lack thereof, of the South and showcase sinister events relating to poverty, alienation, racism, crime, and violence.

Southern Gothic isn't all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes, it is.  I took this picture at my last family reunion.
Southern Gothic isn’t all marshes and haunted plantations, but sometimes it is.
I took this picture at my last family reunion.

Southern writers in particular are said to craft a strong sense of place, where the setting itself becomes a character and the human characters may be tied to those places. That’s what I hope I’ve done with this collection. Here’s the back cover copy:

Pull up a rocking chair and sit a spell. Soak in these tales of Southern Gothic horror:

Sinister shopkeepers whose goods hold the highest price, a woman’s search for her mother drags her into the binding embrace of a monster, a witchdoctor’s young niece tells him a life-altering secret, an investigator who knows how to keep a 100% confession rate….

These are stories where the setting itself becomes a character—fog laced cemeteries, sulfur rich salt marshes—places housing creatures that defy understanding and where the grotesque and macabre are celebrated.

Pick up a copy for Kindle on Amazon US, Amazon UK or a paperback copy on Lulu.