Elizabeth Jane Spilman Massie was born and raised in Waynesboro, Virginia, a town in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Tended by a newspaperman/journalist father and watercolorist mother, she and her two sisters and one brother grew up surrounded by words, paintings, pets, open-minded attitudes, and wild senses of humor. As a child and young teen, Elizabeth dreamed of owning a horse, being a famous actress, being a famous writer, getting spanked by the Beatles, marrying Peter Tork or Robert Redford, and turning into Penny Robinson so she could fall through a mirror and meet a cute guy. She was a dreadful student; she rarely paid attention in class and frequently got bad marks on her report card for not "working to her potential." Little did the teachers know that the daydreaming, the goofy drawings, and the angst-ridden stories she was doing in class instead of the assigned science/social studies/math, would some day have some relevance. During the summers she worked as a counselor and lifeguard at Girl Scout, YMCA, and horseback riding camps. She enjoyed spending time with kids (most of them, anyway).taking them on scavenger hunts, helping them with their swimming in the goose-greased lakes, and haunting them late at night with tales of "Morgan" who lived in the rickety, tree- and vine-ridden house at the bottom of the dam, and with forced runs across that very dam at midnight. ("Move those legs, kids.Morgan's crawlin' up the side! Can't you smell him? Can't you HEAR him?")
A Waynesboro High School graduate of 1971, she attended Ferrum Junior College and Madison College (now James Madison University) and earned a degree in elementary education. She taught in public schools in Augusta County, Virginia from 1975-1994. During those years she married Roger Massie, had two children (Erin, born in 1976 and Brian, born in 1979) and sold many of her wacky pen and ink/watercolor pictures at art shows around the state.
This was also the time she began writing in earnest. Her first horror short story, "Whittler," was published in The Horror Show in the winter 1984 edition, along with the first published story by good friend and horror author, Brian Hodge. Many other story sales followed, in mags such as Deathrealm, Grue, Footsteps, Gauntlet, Iniquities, The Blood Review, After Hours, The Tome, and many more, as well as anthologies such as Borderlands, Borderlands III, Best New Horror 2, Dead End: City Limits, Women of Darkness, Best New Fantasy and Horror 4, Hottest Blood, New Masterpieces of Horror, Revelations, and many others. Beth's novella, Stephen (Borderlands) was awarded the Bram Stoker Award and was a World Fantasy award finalist.
Elizabeth added horror novels to her repertoire in the early 1990's, and has since published the Bram Stoker-winning Sineater, Welcome Back to the Night, Wire Mesh Mothers, Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark (co-authored with Stephen Mark Rainey), Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Power of Persuasion, Twisted Branch (as Chris Blaine), and Homeplace. She has also had four story collections published: Southern Discomfort, Shadow Dreams, the extensive The Fear Report, and A Little Magenta Book of Mean Stories. Her bizarre poetry is included in the early 2004 anthology Devil's Wine, along with poems by Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, and more. Presently, she is at work on a new novel about a haunted farm house and a bunch of new short fiction for various publications.
In the mid-1990s, Beth was divorced. She also branched out with her fiction and began to write historical novels for young adults and middle grade readers. She has said, "There is a great deal of horror in history, so moving from one to the other wasn't that big a step for my creative thought processes. I love the idea of putting my mind back in time to experience what people years ago might have experienced. And damn, but some of that stuff was creepy!" Her works include the Young Founders series, the Daughters of Liberty trilogy, and The Great Chicago Fire: 1871.
On the side, Elizabeth also writes supplementary materials for educational publishers (both fiction and nonfiction) and continues to wield her inky pen and watercolors to create the characters of Skeeryvilletown. In her free time, she likes hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains, digging through antique stores, traveling roads on which she’s never traveled. She is also an active member of Amnesty International, the human rights organization to which she’s belonged since 1985.
Elizabeth still lives in the country in the Shenandoah Valley (a mere four miles from where she was born and next door to her best friend and sister, Barbara Spilman Lawson) with illustrator Cortney Skinner. She regularly attends Necon in Rhode Island in July, and is well known (along with sis Barb) as both a Necon Whore and a peace-lovin' Serendipity Sister. Her advice to one and all, "The answer, alas, is blowin' out your ass, the answer is blowin' out your ass.."
Where to find Elizabeth Massie online
Where to buy in print
Ameri-scares Maryland: Terror in the Harbor
Anne and Julie, on a school field trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, are having fun looking at the aquatic creatures and talking about other students. But suddenly, in one darkened deep sea room, Anne vanishes and a strange girl in ragged clothes appears in her place. Anne has switched places in time with a runaway slave named Millie.
Ameri-scares California: From the Pit
Can ancient, unknown creatures surface in your own backyard? Twelve-year-old Pablo has lived in a small California desert town his whole life, and the sticky black tar puddle by the corral fence has been little more than a nuisance to walk around. When an earthquake cracks open the bottom of the puddle and mysterious rock-like eggs begin floating to the top, Pablo has a mystery to solve.
Ameri-scares Virginia: Valley of Secrets
Twelve-year-old Danny has escaped the children's home where he has lived since he was four, returning to the Shenandoah Valley to find his parents and demanding to know why they gave him up. Very soon, though, he realizes there is something dark and dangerous about his parents, something he is afraid to understand but more afraid not to understand.
Ameri-scares New York: Rips and Wrinkles
Identical twin sisters Carrie and Taylor thought their trip to a Catskill Mountain resort with their parents would be an ordinary summer vacation. But soon Carrie, angry that her parents are treating the twins like little kids instead of almost-teens, decides to protest by sneaking off and hiding in the mountain wilderness for a while.
Naked, on the Edge
Readers are thrust to the edge of darkness in this powerful collection of supernatural and psychological tales by Stoker Award-winning horror author, Elizabeth Massie. Isolation, alienation, desperation, greed, rage, regret – human conditions that leave us teetering on the brink, ready to crash forward into the abyss or step backward onto safer ground. “Beneath our hearts, our souls are naked.”
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Abed - called one of the most disturbing horror stories ever written - was first published in the anthology STILL DEAD, edited by John Skipp & Craig Spector. You've seen plenty of stories of zombies, decapitation, "double-tapping" and gore...but if you've never experienced this story (now a film by Ryan Lieske...
Wire Mesh Mothers
It all started with the best of intentions. Kate McDolen, an elementary school teacher, knew she had to protect one of her students, little 8-year-old Mistie, from parents who were making her life a living hell. So Kate packed her bags, quietly picked up Mistie after school one day, and set off with her toward what she thought would be a new life. It becomes a nightmare.
AFRAID - Tidbits of the Macabre
Two-time Bram Stoker-winning, veteran horror author Elizabeth Massie offers up a collection of some of her more obscure horror shorts, a sampling spanning nearly the entire length of her 27-year career thus far. AFRAID opens the collection with a new poem, "Afraid," which plays with the question, "Why do we read horror?" There are 13 tales in all from a master storyteller.
Homegrown is a coming-of-age novel set in a contemporary children’s home. Teenaged Cooter finds his way of life crashing down when the Home begins to accept more hardened “state kids.” Told primarily as a flashback, Homegrown follows Cooter as he faces his troubled past, seeking answers and redemption.
The Sineater is to be shunned, along with his family. When Burke Campbell befriends the Sineater's son, horrible things begin to happen. The Sineater, and his family, are blamed. Can superstition be overcome? Is it superstition, or fact? Will tradition be broken...or will a family, and an Appalachian community be undone?
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