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Brandon LeJeune rehearses for his zombie role at the House of Torment haunted house in Austin, Texas on Oct. 24, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Charlie L. Harper III

Austin-based Reuters writer Karen Brooks contacted me recently to ask my thoughts about trends in haunted attractions and what, in this day and age, scares people. The article came out today, and I was thrilled to share space with Peter Block, producer of the Saw movies, Gary Handman, director of the University of Calfornia-Berkeley’s Media Resources Center, and Tim Deal of Shroud.

You can read the article here:

Halloween Horror Trend: Less Gore Is More


Happy Halloween—or Happy Poe Season, as we call it in my house!

Many of you are fans of my ghost stories, and now you can have the opportunity to develop your own! I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching the first-ever online five-week course/workshop of its kind: The Essentials of Paranormal Fiction, Part 1: Grasping the Ghost Story at To Write Well,

Using a literary approach with an eye toward Poe’s Single Effect Theory, Grasping the Ghost Story illumines the finer points of creating the subtlety that makes ghost stories work. Close readings, critical responses, exercises, and free-writing will hone your recognition and command of what is the very essence of a good ghost story—one that will haunt the reader long after he’s turned out the lights.

If you’re interested but now isn’t the right timing for you, there are four more sessions planned for 2011. And if this isn’t your bag, To Write Well is offering other unique courses, such as Writing the Thriller & Suspense Novel with Mark (James Axler) Ellis and Breathing Life into Your Story: Memoir Writing, both of which feature exclusive techniques. And this is just the beginning. Other courses in such topics as Southern Fiction are planned for next year. You can take basic editing or how to write a novel or plot and character workshops anywhere, but To Write Well is the only place where you can take writing courses and workshops tailored to your specific passion!

If you’re curious about any of this, you can check it all out at

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