Sunday, 28 February 2016

End of an Era

 On a dark November evening in 2013, I switched on my laptop and logged on to my emails. There was one from top horror editor Don D’Auria. With some trepidation, I opened it. You see, I knew what it concerned, just not the outcome.  I certainly didn’t expect the words that leapt up at me from the screen:

“Welcome to the Samhain family”

I remember giving a cry that fell somewhere between a squeak and a shriek. You see, I had just been given the news that my novella – Linden Manor – had won the Gothic Horror Anthology competition I had entered a couple of months earlier. My story would be published in ebook in May 2014 and then, later in the year, would appear in the print anthology, What Waits in the Shadows, along with my fellow winners – JG Faherty, Devin Govaere and Russell James. 

So began my happy, creative association with Samhain Publishing. Over the next two years, I had the pleasure of working with Don on more projects – the novels, Saving Grace Devine and The Pendle Curse and the novella Dark Avenging Angel. I saw sales of my work increase, and some lovely reviews gladdened my heart.

2015 is a year in my life that I would prefer to (mainly) forget. It was the year I was diagnosed with cancer, underwent two major operations in connection with it, spent weeks in hospital and, during one of those sojourns, lost my editor. Don D’Auria parted company with Samhain in November and I – along with my fellow Samhain horror authors – was left feeling devastated and bereft.

The signs were there. All was not well at Samhain. But there was some good news, Tera Cuskaden became my editor and she immediately demonstrated that she had a real feel for horror, so I enjoyed working with her on my next novel – The Devil’s Serenade. Little did I know that this was to be my last contracted work for Samhain.

As many of you will know, on Friday February 26th, the owner – Christina Brashear, herself something of a legend in the business – had to break the shocking news to her staff and then to her authors, and the publishing world at large, that Samhain would be winding down, eventually to close its doors for good. 

I don’t think I’m the only one who actually feels as if they’ve suffered a bereavement. I am quite sure the amazing team she had amassed around her must be feeling like that now. The Kübler-Ross five stage model - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – can apply both to bereavement and redundancy. I have never physically met any of the Samhain staff, but I am indebted to them for their professionalism, sound advice, prompt attention and friendly emails. Scott Carpenter designed all but one of my amazing covers. Kelly Martin produced the other one. I have loved every single one of them. Kaitlyn Osborn, Lauren Moretto and Tanya Cowman were great to work with on the Marketing and Promotion side. Jacob Hammer did a super job on the production of the books themselves. I could go on, but I would just end up sounding like an Oscars acceptance speech! Suffice it to say that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone I came into contact with during my happy and fulfilling time as part of the Samhain family.

For now, my books are still available in the usual places, although I am hearing reports from other authors that some of their titles are now missing from Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. I do know my paperbacks are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.

The Devil’s Serenade is available for pre-order in digital and paperback formats and will still be published by Samhain on April 19th. For how long it will remain available after that is anybody’s guess. So, if this is your kind of story, please put your order in now – and thank you!

I want to thank my fellow Samhain horror authors for their support and friendship. Glenn Rolfe, Jonathan Janz, Brian Moreland, Brian Kirk, John Palisano, JH Moncrieff, JG Faherty, Keith Ferrario, Matt Manochio, Elena Hearty, Sèphera Girón, John Everson, W.D. Gagliani, Maynard Sims, Frazer Lee, Hunter Shea, Russell James, Tamara Jones, David Bernstein, Tim Waggoner – to name just a few of the incredible and amazingly talented writers in the Samhain stable. Last, but never least, with Samhain I got to share a publisher with the horror legend that is Ramsey Campbell.

Thank you Samhain. I miss you already.

So, what does the future hold? I am already looking at other publishers. I have a new, unpublished book that needs a home, and I am working on a new novella as we speak. I am going to grieve – but I’ll never quit writing. I can’t. The desire to create scary stories is ingrained in me. It’s what I do. End of subject.

Good luck to all my fellow writers, and to all the Samhain team. Readers, thank you for your loyal support. I hope to keep you entertained with new stories for many years to come.


  1. So sorry to read this. May you find that new home Cat. I just know a talent like yours deserves to.

  2. Thank you, Cat. It's been wonderful being a part of your family, and I hope we'll land at the same place. I'm deep in the stage of grief right'll be a little while before I hear - or even want to hear - opportunity knocking (but I hope it does).

    Samhain was one of a kind. The people make all the difference.

    1. Thank you, JH. Likewise. I agree, Samhain was a unique experience, Lovely to have come across such great people.

  3. Great post, Catherine! It is yet again (for me) an end of an era! I hope all the authors, editors, and staff land on their feet. I'm blessed that Scott Carpenter is my cover artist at RAB for my brand new Witch Upon a Star series. He did all my Samhain covers but one as well.

    1. Thank you, Seph. I wish you all the best for your new series. Make sure we all know when it's coming out so we can support you!

  4. Of course we will support you wherever you go and always! Youre such a talented writer and such an amazingly strong lady!

  5. That didn't leave my name above!!

    It's me, Erin! :)

    Erin Al-Mehairi
    Hook of a Book Media