Some folks may wonder how I choose guests for my obscure podcast, Josh’s Worst Nightmare, where I, benighted author Josh Schlossberg, survey the dark landscape of biological horror.
Truth be told, there’s an arcane ritual with a rabid fox’s saliva, stingers from a hundred wasps, and the first spring growth of an ancient mountain spruce. But that’s all just to silence the demons in my head. My real decision-making process is a lot simpler: I invite on the writers I see uplifting others in the indie horror community.
And by uplifting others, I don’t mean only as a quid-pro-quo exchange for past or future favors. Nor just doing so for those part of a friend clique or chosen in-group. No, I mean helping the ones who need it most by liking, commenting, and sharing via social media, rating and reviewing books, and offering encouragement, inspiration, and support.
These also tend to be the folks putting in the time and effort to search out lesser-known authors beyond the same handful of oft-promoted names (nothing against them, of course, but they’re doing fine as is). Who advise, critique, and/or blurb fledgling writers during those dark nights of the scribbler’s soul.
We all want to feel part of a larger community. My indie horror heroes do so by giving back more than they take. Some of whom, even if they see someone step out of line, engage them behind the scenes instead of making public ones. Who understand that you can’t change someone’s mind by silencing and shaming, only through honest dialogue. Who have the goal of justice for all—not vengeance for some—in mind.
They’re the ones writing from the heart instead of the spleen. Taking risks in lieu of always playing it safe. Building up more than they tear town. Repaying the universe for the help they’ve gotten or, just as often, offering up opportunities they wish they’d had themselves.
I’ve met these indie horror heroes in many places, especially Denver Horror Collective. These folks—the beating black heart of the horror community—is what indie is all about to me: breaking the chains of a mainstream establishment where winner takes all (or at least most), and, instead, widening the sphere of inclusion to welcome anyone and everyone.
Subscribe to monthly issues of Josh’s Worst Nightmare and let Josh Schlossberg, author of MALINAE, be your guide through the dark landscape of biological horror fiction.