My top ten favorite horror novels

Last week I talked about the best horror novels I read this year. It’s been a pretty good year for horror novels, all things told. 

The horror genre is now and has always been my favorite. My heart lies there. It’s my emotional support genre. It started early, with an obsession with R. L. Stine. And it’s never gone away. 

The books we’re going to be talking about today have played a large part in keeping my love of the horror genre alive. Some of them are classics. Some are more modern. Some I only just learned about this year, knocking some others off my list. All are creative, unique and a scary good time. 

It being the Halloween/Samhain weekend, I hope that these books give you some inspiration for your own horrifying holiday reading. 

The Stand by Stephen King

Alright, you knew this was coming. The Stand is one of my favorite horror novels of all time. It’s creepy, the characters are delightful. And after living through Covid 19 which is still very much going on and you should all get your updated booster shots the story is even more relevant. 

Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I am embarrassed to say that I only read this book this year. And I think I’ve said quite enough about how much I love Shirley Jackson. And how poetic this book is. And how I’ve been haunted by the phrases. 

The House Next Door by Ann Rivers Siddons

I’m actually in the middle of rereading this book right now. And it’s still just as horrifying as the first time. The house, brand new and built with passion, creeps into the minds of its inhabitants and destroys them. 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

The show was good, the book was better. The author’s preferred text was even better than that. 

Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

Still a creepy read, every time. It’s one of the best-known haunted house stories in America for a reason. 

From a Buick 8 by Stephen King

I just re-read this one earlier this month. It’s a very soothing read. I think I have a soft spot for this one because it’s based near where I live.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’ve gone over and over how much I love this story and this author. Mexican Gothic continues to be the perfect blend of haunted house and dark romance. 

World War Z by Max Brooks

The movie based on this book was horrible. It was just awful. Which is a shame because the book was great. Each chapter is the story of another survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Some are funny, some are scary, and some made me cry. All were great. 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I think I’ve reviewed this one as well. Coraline is a dark fairy tale that feels like it’s just scratching the surface of a dark, never-ending world. 

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

I didn’t see the show, but I devoured this book. The stories were all beautiful, fit together well, and were eerie. If you haven’t read this yet, read it now. 

That’s it for our list today. But I do want to hear from you. What’s your favorite horror novel of all time? Let us know in the comments. 


My top five horror books of 2022

It’s October, and time for some ghoulishly good reading. It’s also clearly time for some bad puns. Sorry, I was raised on Tales From The Crypt and I just can’t help myself. 

In what has become a bit of a tradition around here, I’m sharing the top five best horror books I’ve read this year. I’m only including books that I read for the first time this year. So while I might have reread a few like the classic House Next Door, it won’t be included on the list. 

If you want to follow along with what I’m reading all the time, you can check me out on Goodreads and Bookbub

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

I think I’ve made it clear that I fell in love with Shirley Jackson this year. A huge part of this love affair was reading The Lottery or The tales of Mr. Harrington.

I was kind of expecting to slough through this, getting to the title story. But each story was honestly so entrancing that I was lost in all of them. 

End Of Watch by Stephen King

This is the final in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. It’s the fantastic and gruesome story of a retired detective chasing a psychopath. Of course, this is a psychopath that’s physically a vegetable. For sure the whole trilogy is worth a read. 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

I just did a whole review of this book on Haunted MTL. So I don’t want to say much here. I’ll just say that the stories found here are incredibly disturbing. 

Terrifying Tales to Tell At Night collected by Stephen Jones

I didn’t realize this was for kids when I started reading it. But that didn’t stop how much I enjoyed it. There were stories from Neil Gaiman and Stephen King in here, and they weren’t even the best ones. 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Easily the best horror novel I read this year, The Haunting of Hill House was a pure treat. The haunting in the book was subtle until it reaches up and takes you. Even better, the language of the book is amazing. Some of the best, most haunting lines can be found in this book. And I’m still obsessed with them. 

So that’s it. Those are the five best horror books I read this year. Now I want to hear what you think. What was the best horror book you read in 2022? 


How I use Notion and bullet journaling together

Recently my favorite Youtube planner person, Catlin, made a shocking announcement. She is not going to be using a bullet journal anymore. Instead, she’s switching over to virtual planning.

This prompted me to think about my planning habits. It’s 2022, everything is expensive and everything else is digital. Maybe the time has come to switch to a fully digital planning system.

Nope, not going to happen. I’m not saying it’s never going to happen, mind you. But right now I get much-needed serotonin from my bullet journal and I’m not giving it up. 

That being said, I do use Notion for roughly half of my planning. So I thought it might be interesting to break down what I use my bullet journal for, and what I use Notion for.

Bullet journal, micro, art, and memories

My bullet journal sits open next to me most of the time. That’s because my daily task list and schedule are listed there. Anything that I have planned for this month will be in the pages of my bullet journal. Here’s a quick rundown.

-Monthly goals

-Monthly budget

-Three-month business plan

-Projects and social media plans for the current month

-My current ‘to read’ list

-Monthly habit trackers

-Shopping list

These are things I check in with daily. Things I’d like to be able to check in with by flipping a page.

Another thing that will be found on my monthly pages is a memory tracker. Here I doodle and sketch pictures that memorialize the fun events that happened that month. If we went to see a good movie if a book came out if I got a new plant. If there was a holiday, of course.

This is part of my memory keeping. I want to be able to look back at my journals and remember how my month went. That’s harder when using an app. 

It’s also harder to get creative on an app. I take great joy in drawing out borders and decorations in my bullet journal. It’s something I look forward to, every time I make a new page. 

Honestly, I just finished setting up holiday pages in my bullet journal with stickers, and it was such a joyous activity. I know I can decorate with pictures on Notion, and I do. But it’s just not the same. 

My bullet journal is for short-term planning, memory keeping, and art therapy.

Notion, macro, fluctuating, and repetitive tasks

All that being said, there are some things that a paper planner is just not useful for. Like long-term planning.

Anything that’s going to outlast my bullet journal probably isn’t going in there. So my annual plan goes into Notion. As does my OCN board. If you don’t know what that is, you’ve got to take this course by Lisa Jacobs. It’s helped me get so much more shit done, I can’t even tell you. 

I also keep a project page for each of my books in Notion. Books take a long time to write, and much longer to edit. I don’t want to rewrite a ton of information each time I switch journals. 

Then there are the things that change too often to be worth the time to write down. Things like my blog schedule, which I switch up all the time. Or my plant watering schedule which gets updated every three days. Chore charts are another big one for Notion, as they need to be updated all the damn time.

Anything in Notion is, essentially, there for too long of a time or too short of a time for it to comfortably fit in my bullet journal. 

This system works well for me. Doing things this way I’m able to keep track of managing my family, day job, and writing career. I’m also able to catch memories of my life, so I can look back and cherish them. I can build for myself a wealth of learned wisdom. I can learn from my past while giving my future plenty of room to grow.

So what about you? Do you use just a bullet journal or just a virtual planner? Let us know in the comments. 

It’s not too late to start planning for Preptober! You can get my Preptober planner now on my ko-fi shop. 

Even Pantsers need Preptober

You likely already know that it’s the first week of Preptober for those of us getting ready for Nanowrimo next month. How it got to be this far into October already without me noticing I have no idea. But that’s another conversation for another time. 

Maybe you’re a pantser, though. Meaning, a writer who doesn’t work with outlines and instead writes by the seat of their pants. 

While I’m not a fan of this kind of writing, I get that it’s what works for some people. I’m not going to get anywhere in this life convincing people they’re making art the wrong way. 

But don’t think for a second that just because you’re not writing an outline that you should skip Preptober. Oh no, you still have some planning to do. 

Especially if you’ve never written a novel before. 

You still need to know when you’ll be writing.

This is the biggest mistake I see new Nanowrimo participants make. You go into the month with the desire to put 50,000 words on the page, but not a plan of when that’s going to actually happen. 

When are you planning to write? How much time is it going to take you to write 50,000 words? If you’re used to writing short-form work, you might know how much writing you can get done in an hour already. If you haven’t written anything for a while, try doing some writing prompts this month. See how long it takes you to get a thousand words on the page. Then you’ll know how much time you need to carve out.

You’ll still need to know how you’ll be writing.

Are you writing your novel long hand or are you typing it? If you’re typing it, what format are you using? Do you have enough writing supplied?

Don’t leave these decisions until the last minute. Figure it out now so you’re ready to hit the ground running on November first. 

You still need to know your team.

Who is your support team? Who will be helping you out at home so you can write? Who will be your writing buddies? Are you getting together in real life, or virtually? How are you going to support each other? 

You still need to plan for your life.

Listen life’s going to keep coming at you while you’re writing in November. You know your life better than me, you know what can go wrong.

Are you going to be traveling for the holidays? 

Are you a student? What is your class schedule going to look like that month?

Are you a parent? What are you going to need to do for your family? What’s going to happen in November that will take you away from writing?

For me, that’s a whole lotta cooking on Thanksgiving, and a whole lotta cleaning before and after. 

Remember, that it’s okay for life to get in the way of your writing. It’s to be expected. Not even during Nanowrimo do we want to ignore our lives. 

Remember, what doesn’t get planned doesn’t get done. So if you want to write a novel in November, even if you don’t want to outline the book itself, you still have to outline a plan. 

Don’t forget, I have a Preptober Planner to help you get ready for Nanowrimo. You can grab it right now on my ko-fi shop.


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