by Mx T. / @meringutang
To celebrate the upcoming rebrand of DHR — something which I am very excited about and thrilled to be a part of — it seemed like a good time for me to share some thoughts about Horror blogs and the review scene in general. Strap in, this might get a little feels-y…
Sixteenth century English poet John Donne once declared: “No man is an island entire of itself” a powerful sentiment that another Jon (Bon Jovi, this time) would echo over four hundred years later accompanied by his electric guitar. The phrase itself suggests that humans do rather badly when they are isolated from others and both benefit and thrive by being part of a supportive community.
I was published for the first time over fifteen years ago — three nonfiction, education books — and I count myself incredibly lucky to have had a number of short stories and articles published this year and last, yet I still consider myself a newbie to the Horror fiction scene. I’m not sure when that feeling will go away. Maybe when another fifteen years have passed? I wrote my debut collection to tick a box on my bucket list, I had no real plans to continue writing as a “career” and as an often grumpy, autistic, misanthrope I had zero interest in meeting other writers.
Horror bloggers read books and write reviews for no monetary gain, but for the passion and the love of it.
But something changed. Three people in particular were instrumental in that change, and it’s important to me that I namedrop them because they are some of the nicest, genuine people in the Horror community, hell, any community, that I have ever met: Steve Dillon from Things in the Well publishing, Jim Mcleod from Ginger Nuts of Horror and Stuart Conover from The Horror Tree. Despite not knowing who I was or indeed anything much about me, they took a risk and published me, either on their respective online platforms or in their anthologies.
And people I didn’t know, who weren’t just my friends and family, read my work. Which was… well, a bit terrifying really. Suddenly I felt the need to go against my “Gerroff my lawn!” nature and *shudders* make new friends…
Horror bloggers read books and write reviews for no monetary gain, but for the passion and the love of it. They do essential promotional work for all authors on a wide range of social media platforms. They give their free time and energy to welcoming and connecting people, to making sure all voices are heard. They write articles that highlight the importance of Horror. They work tirelessly behind the scenes to shine a spotlight on creators new and old and make sure everyone has a place at the Horror table.
This is a collection of misfits and weirdos, and as a misfit and weirdo myself I mean that with all the deepest love I can muster. It’s an overwhelmingly supportive, kind and friendly, helpful and honest group of people who work hard for little personal gain to lift up everyone in the Horror family. I won’t even try to list them all for fear of forgetting someone (and this also includes those I mentioned earlier) but for me personally, I have a lot of gratitude and respect for: Kev at This Is Horror, Lilyn at Sci-fi and Scary, Laurie and Toni at the Ladies of Horror Fiction, Shane and Laurel at Ink Heist, everyone at Kendall Reviews and of course the truly amazing, incredible, talented Elle and Ellen and everyone on the expanded, soon to be rebranded DHR team who have welcomed me into the fold with wide open, spooky arms.
It’s an overwhelmingly supportive, kind and friendly, helpful and honest group of people who work hard for little personal gain to lift up everyone in the Horror family.
In every large gathering of people with similar interests there are bound to be a few assholes, that’s just the law of averages, but in the Horror blog scene they are refreshingly few and far between. Any grievances are usually either small or dealt with quickly and with care. There are a number of blogs and podcasts spearheaded by many different individuals and teams, but my experience has been that everyone is devoted to promoting the Horror genre, there is very little competition between them and crossposting, sharing and retweeting is the norm.
Being a part of the Horror blog family, I’ve learned a few important things. That as corny as it might sound, a rising tide really does lift all boats. That we do better with likeminded people around us. That diversity is not just some PR buzzword but is essential to expanding our knowledge and relationships with others. That it is much better to make friends, not contacts — to spend time and energy with people because you like them not because of what they can do for you. And above all, that we can all find real joy in being an active part of a community that is packed to the brim with good, genuine, passionate people who support their peers not for any personal gain but because, as Manny the Mammoth says in Ice Age, “That’s what you do in a herd.”
It’s a funny-looking herd, for sure, but a bloody good one. I’m proud to be a part of it.