Now It’s a Nomination! THE CUCKOO GIRLS makes the Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot

It’s the third day since the final ballot for the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards was announced, and I’m still excited, shocked, thrilled, and a whole bunch of other adjectives—all of them good.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Cuckoo Girls making the Stoker preliminary ballot. There were a lot of amazing collections published last year. I know this because, like many people, the trash fire that was 2020 affected my attention span. The majority of my reading was shorter works, which meant a lot of collections and anthologies. Since I love short work, this wasn’t a hardship, but I knew what was out there* and never expected to see my collection on the long list. I was—and still am—thrilled that enough members of the Horror Writers Association liked it enough to recommend it. But I honestly thought it would end there, and I was satisfied.

It didn’t. The Cuckoo Girls is officially a Bram Stoker Award Finalist, and I am officially a Bram Stoker Award-Nominated writer.  On the personal level, that makes me feel good, and I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Don’t ever laugh at the It’s an honor just to be nominated cliché, because it is. (And don’t listen to those who tell you that you shouldn’t need outside validation of your work. It’s not the only thing in the world, but when it comes, it’s grand.)

The Cuckoo Girls is nominated in the category of “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection” along with Kathe Koja’s Velocities: Stories, John Langan’s Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies, Lee Murray’s Grotesque: Monster Stories, and Anna Taborska’s Bloody Britain. Koja, Langan, Murray, and Taborska have either been nominated or won Stokers before, making me the only Stoker-virgin in the category. My little collection has put me in some wonderful company. Thank you to the voting members of HWA for putting me there, to Scarlett Algee and Trepidatio Publishing and Journalstone for sending The Cuckoo Girls out into the world, and to Don Noble for the beautiful cover.

Be sure to check out the complete ballot. Congratulations to all of the nominees in all categories!

I want to give a special shout out to my fellow alumni of Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program. EV Knight (First Novel), Rhonda Jackson Joseph (Short Non-Fiction), Sara Tantlinger (Poetry Collection AND Anthology)—you all rock!

And cheers to Michelle Renee Lane (whose debut novel, Invisible Chains, was a finalist last year’s in First Novel category) for once again waking up early and texting me crazy good news so that it was the first thing I saw when I picked up my phone, before I’d even crawled out of bed—and for assuring me it was real and wasn’t going to disappear. She’s my favorite. Don’t tell the others.

* A few of my favorite single author collections from last year, in no particular order:

Okay, more than a few, and I’m sure I forgot some. Like I said, it was a good year for collections!

THE CUCKOO GIRLS makes the Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot

Cover of the short story collection The Cuckoo Girls.

Back in April of 2020—soon to be known as That Year We Don’t Talk About—my debut short story collection was published by Trepidatio Publishing, an imprint of JournalStone. Because everyone wants to achieve a bucket list item in the middle of a global pandemic, right?

On January 22nd of 2021—already known as The Year We Hope Will be Better—I slept late. When I woke up, rolled over, and grabbed my phone, the first thing I saw was a text from Michelle Renee Lane telling me The Cuckoo Girls made the Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot in the Fiction Collection category. To say I was shocked is an understatement. What a way to wake up.

It’s been two weeks since I got the news, and I’m still surprised and inordinately happy every time I think about it.

This is not a nomination (for those familiar with other awards, it’s a bit like a long list), but I’m thrilled (another understatement) to see it get this far. Active and Lifetime members of the Horror Writers Association are currently voting on the Preliminary Ballot, with the results—the actual nominees—to be announced later this month.

I’m awestruck to be in such great company. As always, I’m pleased to see some of my favorites make the list and sad to see others overlooked, but congratulations to all with work on the preliminary list. I’m doing the happy dance for all of you.

You can see the complete Preliminary Ballot list at the HWA website and visit the links below to learn more about The Cuckoo Girls or buy a copy.

“Lillie makes the unreal feel all too possible…. This grim, witchy collection will grab anyone looking for a subtle fright.” —from the Publishers Weekly starred review.

Find The Cuckoo Girls at:

  • Journalstone (Publishers website. Print, Kindle, epub, and pdf available. Order the paperback and get an immediate download of a free electronic copy!)
  • Amazon: Print or Kindle
  • Barnes & Noble (Print or digital. eBook works with Apple Books and other ebook readers.)

How about that great cover? Every time I look at it, I fall in love with it all over again. It’s by the wonderfully talented Don Noble at Rooster Republic Press, where they also publish amazing books.