DEAD ENDS is Here! (With a Special Guest Who Knows All About It)

I’ve been waiting months to tell you that DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South is here–and it finally is! I’ve read every one of the stories, and even wrote one myself. I can’t wait for you to read this book–If you like your stories a little scary this time of year (or any time, really), you will be crazy for it!

I adore introducing you to new folks at the Handbasket, so today I’ve invited Amy Kerr, the charming, dead clever co-publisher of Two Tales Press to drop by. 


Sylvie thinks she’s playing in real leaves.


Fall is the best time of year.

Cinnamon, pumpkin, football, leaves, fresh notebooks, sharp pencils—and truckloads of new books. Don’t forget the crisp breezes that beg for a fire. Who cares if you find yourself spending a few minutes longer by the hearth than you should, hot cup of coffee and a pumpkin doughnut in hand, reading a deliciously good book?

Because it’s fall. Everybody’s doing it.

The days get shorter, night nestles into our calendars. We slow down. We take our activities inside, settle into our favorite easy chairs for whole evenings. We seem have more time to think in the fall… and that’s when we begin to notice little things out of place. A strange remark. A shadow moving in the corner. A light brush on the back of an arm, but no one there to have given it.

To fan the flames of paranoia, along comes Halloween, the night we let ourselves admit that not everything is as it seems, that we may share our world with untold beings, that perhaps some thing skulks in the night, looking for something to devour.

If you think about it, beyond the candy and costumes, Halloween is a quest for truth. For one day a year, we allow ourselves to play the skeptic, to allow questions, when our usual impulse is to tamp down this uneasiness, because everything is fine, everything is normal. This is the time of year we let ourselves ask, What’s really out there? uncertain we want the real answer.

Because is there anything more frightening than thinking you know someone, something—and learning you are wrong?

That’s what my co-publisher J.T. Ellison and I asked thirteen authors to explore in our new short story collection, DEAD ENDS: Stories from the Gothic South, which is on sale today.

As a publisher, it’s fun to have a front-row seat to it all, to watch talented writers take a prompt and sprint into the woods, like a dog on the hunt. We’ve gathered authors of all stripes in this collection, which makes for wildly different voices and styles from one page to the next. J.T. came across a photo of a creepy, abandoned mansion, and knew we had to use it as a springboard for the collection. We asked our writers to include the house in their tales and to keep their stories in the South. If you’ve ever been here, you know the South is a crucible for questions, the land of smoke and mirrors. There are two planes of action here—the surface and the psychological—and one is much more deadly than the other. It’s the perfect backdrop for a look-over-your-shoulder gothic collection.

With DEAD ENDS, you have a Halloween movie marathon in the palm of your hand, courtesy of the most talented writers working today. Prepare to ask some questions—and to leave on a light or two.

Fall is just lovely, isn’t it?


Here’s a bit more about DEAD ENDS:


Look at this picture. Tell me what you see…

The American South is rife with stories of a haunted past—especially its houses. In this eclectic and impressive collection, thirteen novelists were asked to build their tales around the photo of a dilapidated mansion. They were given two requirements—the house must appear in the story, and it should be a Southern Gothic tale. And they delivered.

From childish demons to a mad novelist, from the Mississippi delta to the Appalachians, this collection from emerging voices and New York Times bestselling authors explores what happens when secrets that lie beneath the dust are disturbed—and our worst nightmares begin.

All the southern gothic spookiness in one dark, gorgeous book

Darkness lurks behind every corner, especially dead ends.


Contributors Include:

Jeff Abbott

David Bell

Laura Benedict

Patti Callahan Henry

Dana Chamblee Carpenter

Paige Crutcher

Helen Ellis

J.T. Ellison

Ariel Lawhon

Lisa Morton

Bryon Quertermous

Amanda Stevens

Dave White



Amy Kerr is the left brain of Two Tales Press and right hand to New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison. At this moment, she is probably eating too many tacos and watching re-runs of Friday Night Lights with one of her greyhounds.

4 thoughts on “DEAD ENDS is Here! (With a Special Guest Who Knows All About It)”

  1. skyecaitlin says:

    Laura, I would dearly love to read this book. I am so thrilled that you are part of this wonderful compilation. I have seen the mansion on JT’s site.

    1. Laura Benedict says:

      Oh, I hope you do look into it. If you don’t find it on the shelf, any bookstore–including BN–can order it for you.

      1. skyecaitlin says:

        I will try to order from BN; I am interested in reading your stories/

        1. Laura Benedict says:

          Can’t wait to hear what you think, Skye. I enjoyed every story in the book!

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