On the one hand, things like last year’s #HagGate situation and the amount of cringe-inducing comments I’ve received at conventions and signings (Things like “You don’t write horror, sweetheart. It’s called “paranormal romance”.” and “Women can’t really be scary, they’re too nurturing.”) make me feel like a month celebrating some of the truly amazing women in this genre is still very important and very necessary… on the other hand, outside of a few sexist jerks, acceptance of women in the horror genre is almost universal. We’re celebrated, lauded for our achievements, and even the most jaded of us can name at least a dozen women authors they’ve read and enjoyed.
What I think is really valuable about Women in Horror Month is the amount of people who share their favorite female authors (and directors, actresses, and artists, etc) and/or their work in February. I mean, sure, we should ALWAYS crow about the things we love, the books we’ve enjoyed, the movies we’ve watched again and again… but let’s be honest here: People are far more likely to talk about the things they DON’T like. I, for one, relish the opportunity to discover new authors, film makers, singers, and other talented people, so to have a month where people go out of their way to call out their favorites? Sign me up!
On top of that, it DOES feel nice to be recognized, so opportunities to recognize others (as well as, you know, being recognized) should be cherished and taken advantage of.
In that spirit, I’d like to call attention to one of my favorite, though lesser known, female authors: Ruby Jean (R.J.) Jensen.
I discovered Ruby Jean during the height of my adolescent horror fandom, when I was gobbling up anything with a skeleton, zombie, werewolf, or vampire on the cover. During this period, I ogled the cases on the horror movies at the grocery store, watched Halloween specials all year round, and spent my meager allowance money (when I got it) on books from thrift stores and library book sales. I picked up Home Sweet Home based solely on the awesome skeleton on the cover:
|Who wouldn’t buy that?|
It was the first thing I read when I got home, and I absolutely loved it, which lead me to some of Ruby Jean’s other work, such as The Death Stone (which is my favorite of her books) and Best Friends which is SO FREAKIN’ CREEPY!
So, if you’re looking for something new (or old…) to read this February, check out some of Ruby Jean Jensen’s books. Most of them are available pretty cheap on Amazon or eBay and are WELL worth the investment.