Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


October 20, 2023
By PW Staff

In this edition of our monthly thematic roundup of BookLife titles, we feature scary stories and supernatural tales. Want to see your book featured? Check out the Indie Spotlight calendar at

The Accidental Summoner

R.E. Carr

ISBN 978-1-64554-168-4

Author statement: “Meg Reynolds was a video game–playing loner stuck in a dead-end job. Her life was on the fast track to nowhere until the fateful day she bit into a bad burrito filled with fate—and food poisoning. Her prayers were answered, but not in any way she ever expected. Now Meg has a new problem: Vocharlian Variegatus, the so-called guardian demon she accidentally summoned to her bathroom. I wrote this horror comedy out of a deeply personal, nearly spiritual experience caused by staph toxins in an otherwise unassuming box of chocolates.”


Blood Ex Libris

Raven Belasco

ISBN 978-1-960942-00-5

Author statement: “Blood Ex Libris is the first book in a fresh and unique dark fantasy series that mixes horror, history, and blood-soaked passion. The novel spans from middle America to the middle of an unknown desert, and integrates swordfighting, explosions, and the ultimate drama of immortals meeting death.”


Buried by Sunset

J.J. Walker

ISBN 978-1-73899-060-3

Author statement: “When Randall Stanford arrives at the house his father left him, he raises Thornfold’s population from 70 to 71. For residents, it’s unexpected, reigniting rumors about how the man who lived there disappeared, and why someone looking like him is back. Pushed to uncover what happened to a father he never met, Randall finds himself entangled in the lives of people who don’t take kindly to strangers, and the sinister secret of a desert town teetering on the edge of extinction. Inspired by unsettling small towns, haunted houses, and past and present writers of the atmospheric Southern Gothic, Buried by Sunset is a supernatural horror story that examines love, loss, and what happens when people find themselves in sinister situations.”


The Camaro Murders

Ian Lewis

ISBN 978-1-976976-33-9

Author statement: “This 30,000-word novella sits at the intersection of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Stephen King. It is both literary and experimental in its ambitions and stands as the first book in an equally experimental series known as The Driver. With Gothic horror and ghost story undertones, The Camaro Murders blends rural noir and the supernatural with its sober monologues juxtaposed against the fantastic.”


Catching the Nightjar

Chloë Walford


Author statement: “A psychiatrist who treats patients with dissociative identity disorder wakes up to the fact that her whole life has been a lie, and that demonic forces either want to kill her or bring her into their dark fold. While coming to terms with hypersensitivity in childhood—the kind that causes violent physical reactions—I often described being simultaneously fascinated and disillusioned by humans. I hoped that the lack of belonging I felt might subside with age, only to discover the opposite. So, at the age of 18, I decided to put my observations about human nature to paper with the goal of making sense of them.”


Chasing Shadows: Convocation

Zachariah Jones


Author statement: “Young intuitive Jarek Videni has been summoned to Deadwood, circa 1924, to seek out a young woman. However, it doesn’t take Jarek long to realize there is more at play in this small western town than just a single case. He uncovers a far more sinister mystery of nearly 50 young women gone missing. Having a love of mystery and anything spooky, I wanted to continue Jarek’s story by bringing him to the Wild West during the time of the Gold Rush crash, brothels, and desolation. Also, being a member of the LGBTQ community, I wanted to bring more characters into the story that battle with ‘being different.’ ”


The Cruel Dark

Bea Northwick


Author statement: “Millicent Foxboro is haunted. Not by ghosts, but by the anguish of her past and the uncertainty of her future. So when an uncommon assistantship to a reclusive professor of mythology falls into her lap with an ungodly salary attached, her desperation for stability overrides her cautious nature. To Millie’s dismay, the widowed Professor Callum Hughes and his estate, Willowfield, are more than she bargained for. The Cruel Dark came into being because I’ve always wanted something a little more out of my Gothic romance reads. It became my goal to write a Gothic romance that kept the iconic suspense, strong heroine, brooding love interest, and unsettling vibes of its predecessors but complemented these with a smidge more horror and an updated romance plotline that would appeal to modern readers.”


The Compound

Gwenna McAllis


Author statement: “When his father vanishes inexplicably from inside his locked home, recent college graduate Daniel Wester and his best friend Lena Dillon set out to find him. They uncover a lifetime of secrets, including ties to the occult and a hidden colony of demon hunters. Daniel, Lena, and these off-the-grid strangers must now team up to find Daniel’s dad and battle the demon they believe took him. The Compound has been brewing in my head for ten years now. I wrote the first draft as a NaNoWriMo project back in 2013. That draft was pretty terrible (so terrible I couldn’t figure out how to fix it for a decade), but Daniel’s story has never left me.”


Demon Riding Shotgun

L.R. Braden

ISBN 978-1-61026-168-5

Author statement: “Possessed by a demon since she was 11 years old, Mira Fuentes maintains a fragile alliance with the snarky soul who shares her body. Together they hunt down unstable Rifters—demon-controlled humans bent on spreading chaos in the mortal realm. But when a routine hunt leads to a powerful Rifter with plans for Baltimore, Mira quickly finds herself in over her head and at the top of the city’s Most Wanted list. Mira will have to set her trust issues aside and enlist the help of the cop assigned to bring her in if she hopes to prevent the human race from becoming meat puppets for the denizens of the Rift.”


Drawn to Death

Kat Shehata


Author statement: “Ghosts visit Evelyn in her dreams. The secrets of the dead could get her killed. The city is ripe with crime, and the freshly dead need help solving their murders. Evelyn is a reluctant psychic/medium who channels the dead through her art. Leo is a skeptical homicide detective who believes in evidence, facts, and witness testimonies—when the information comes from the living, not the dead. When a ghost feeds Evelyn clues about a string of unsolved murders, she teams up with Leo to track down the serial killer. And romantic tension sizzles when Evelyn and Leo go undercover as a couple to lure the killer into a trap.”


Frightful Friday

Denise Jaden


Author statement: “Tabby is finally ready to go on a casual fun date with Detective Jay Jameson at the local church’s Harvest Festival, but her witch friends are holding their Fright Night fundraiser that same night. She feels caught in the middle of a long-standing quarrel between the two groups, especially when a dead body shows up at the center of it all. As blame-shifting grows, will Tabby be able to figure out who is responsible for the corpse while keeping all of her friendships intact?”


Haunted Hearts

Kimberly Dean

ISBN 978-1-72310-227-1

Author statement: “Callie is thrilled when she inherits a house in the town of Shadow Valley. The place is old, but she’s a hard worker. Unfortunately, no matter how many repairs she makes, the strange noises won’t go away. Haunted Hearts has a long history. The first draft dates back to 2001. I submitted the manuscript to several publishers and received rewrite requests—all of which took the story in different directions. I ended up with multiple muddled versions of the story, all of which were rejected. I set it aside and it became that proverbial manuscript under your bed, gathering dust. Finally, in early 2018, I saw how to make the story work again, so I edited it as fast as I could before I lost the vision. I had a new route to the market—self-publishing—and I took it.”


The House on the Lake

Holly Mangin


Author statement: “An island is the last place Eve Beckett ever thought she’d end up. Deathly afraid of water, she has no memory of arriving at the foreboding Lakeview Manor on the Isle of Esse. Her love of a good mystery, especially when it comes to strange houses and the paranormal, has her second-guessing her desire to leave. But there’s something odd going on at Lakeview. Dark and dusty rooms shift location, and there’s a mysterious woman only Eve seems able to see. I lost someone very close to me and wondered what she was thinking, if she was thinking, during the last moments of her life. This story explores the inner confusion, turmoil, and wonder at the end of life.”


Just a Little Broken

Le’ Vian Dae

ISBN 978-1-64214-796-4

Author statement: “I have always been drawn to supernatural horror stories, especially those linked to faith, dissatisfaction, and magick. One particular story that stood out to me was Faust, and I wished to explore that concept of a soul bargain, but in a modern context and with an underdog protagonist who just wishes to be successful in her career and live her best life, but has terrible luck. She wants to be able to do everything herself, but she learns she can’t—she needs help. And I wanted to include magick within this sort of religious tale, but positively, as a weapon of defense.”


Mortgage and Mayhem

Carol E. Ayer


Author statement: “Sierra Madison and her mother, Autumn Cassidy, are both widows who have joined forces to establish a realty team in Forest Lake, a gated community in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. Autumn’s best friend, Gail Redland, shows up unexpectedly one morning, begging the two to sell her house. Sierra and Autumn agree to meet Gail at her house, but when they arrive, she is nowhere to be found. They do find someone, though: Gail’s neighbor, Jake, dead on the kitchen floor. My mother and I lived in the Sierra Foothills for a year. I drew on a number of our experiences there for the book, including our mother-daughter relationship, the animosity between our two cats, and an ill-fated paddle boat excursion.”


The Palisades

Gail Lynn Hanson


Author statement: “The Palisades is a deliciously spun psychological suspense brimming with dark humor in which two women develop a peculiar relationship amid a miasma of disturbing memories and pervasive delusions of old Hollywood. Poverty and privilege mingle, companionship turns bizarre, and identity is questioned as the women desperately try to fulfill their shared yearning for motherhood.”


A Pilgrimage to Death

J.J. Cagney

ISBN 978-1-945090-22-6

Author statement: “My family has multiple sets of twins, and their connection is fascinating. Each pair is incredibly close, though the older twins are retired and live multiple states apart. I was thinking about their bond one day while I was on a hike, and I had to know what would happen if one of the twins was in grave, even mortal danger.”


Suburban Monsters

Christopher Hawkins

ISBN 978-1-937346-12-6

Author statement: “I’ve always been fascinated by what goes on behind closed doors, and the idea that you never really know exactly what your neighbors are up to. There’s a sense that bad things can happen—and that they do happen—but until we have to confront the dangers in the full light of day, we tend to forget that they can come from anywhere. That’s what, at its core, Suburban Monsters is all about. The stories range from the psychological to the cosmic, from the supernatural to the all-too-human, but none of them are more than a few houses away.”


Tempered Glass

Stacey Longo

ISBN 978-0-9979274-7-4

Author statement: “Tempered Glass is a collection of short stories in the horror genre, intended to appeal to a variety of ages and supernatural preferences. As an author, I’m most heavily influenced by horror writers who maintain their dark sense of humor as they write about terrible things: Jeff Strand and (of course) Stephen King come to mind. In early 2023, I was handed probably the most scary thing life can offer—a cancer diagnosis—and this collection came together as something to do during treatment to keep myself otherwise occupied.”  


Unknowing, I Sink

Timothy G. Huguenin

ISBN 978-0-9971474-5-2

Author statement: “Julian finds a summer job cleaning a mansion belonging to Mr. V, an eccentric recluse obsessed with arcane knowledge. The man’s grotesque, swollen appearance, caused by an unknown condition that keeps him bedridden, initially disturbs Julian. And those creepy terra cotta statues lurking in the shadows don’t help to ease his nerves. But the rich old man wants to pay him more than he ever imagined. While Julian struggles to understand his new employer’s discursive monologues, a dreadful ache grows inside his chest. Where has this feeling come from? How is it that a statue’s blank stare can cloud his mind? And what bizarre and horrifying secrets will he discover when Mr. V’s esoteric philosophies become manifest?”


The Woodcutter

Stephanie Ellis

ISBN 978-1-957537-58-0

Author statement: “This folk horror story places a reality TV show in a rural setting. In doing so, it highlights the manipulative powers of those behind the camera whilst showing the dangers that come with resurrecting old legends. I also wanted to write a story that kept the reader wondering whether they were reading a psychological horror story or something more supernatural.”