Hi everyone, I’m Hailey Piper!
For those new to me, a quick rundown: I write horror, I read it, and I love and breathe it, and if you’re here at Night Worms, we probably have that in common. I’m a former New Yorker, now a resident of Maryland, and I share an apartment with my amazing wife. Short stories of mine pop up in places like The Arcanist, Flash Fiction Online, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, plus I’ve written a couple horror novellas, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow and Benny Rose, the Cannibal King from Unnerving, and a Gothic horror novelette, An Invitation to Darkness., with more to come.
Today, you get a first whisper about my upcoming cosmic horror novella, The Worm and His Kings, to be published by Off Limits Press in late 2020.
Side note: Off Limits Press owner Samantha Kolesnik is probably best known as the author of breakaway debut novella True Crime, but behind the scenes, working with her is an absolute dream. She edited Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror from Grindhouse Press, where we first worked together on my story “Unkindly Girls,” and her energy and insight are unbeatable. Receptive, understanding, detailed—I could probably write an entire article called “Samantha Kolesnik is Amazing,” but I’ll save that for another time.
The Worm and His Kings takes place in New York City, 1990. We follow 20-year-old Monique Lane, who’s living rough after having been expelled from her family home for being queer woman. She’s searching for her girlfriend, Donna Ashton, missing three months now, and she’s searching alone. No one in authority seems to care when those who slip through the cracks disappear.
This is especially apparent when Monique hears the rumors spreading up Manhattan’s alleys that Donna isn’t the only one to disappear mysteriously. Someone or something has been abducting women off the street each night. Some of those rumors say this abductor has been haunting Freedom Tunnel of late.
Freedom Tunnel has a complicated history in New York City. A tunnel three miles in length set in northern Manhattan, for decades it acted as a rail line for freight trains until it was put out of service in 1980. In the years that followed, people moved into the tunnel and constructing temporary shelters, at least until Amtrak began operating on its rail line in the ‘90s. The tunnel did not have an enormous population compared to all of New York City, but still more than a hundred people who called the underground home at its peak.
Monique being one of them. She has a complicated personal history with Freedom Tunnel, a sense that the place is haunted, and she’s afraid to go near it again. Except now there’s a chance that the place she fears most might lead her to Donna’s potential abductor, and then Donna herself.
But Monique will discover much more than that in the world beneath Manhattan. There are secrets far older than Freedom Tunnel, older than she can ever dream.
I’m very much looking forward to sharing the story with the horror community come 4th quarter 2020. We should have a cover reveal sometime soon if we’re lucky, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Samantha announces a release date alongside it (don’t forget: Samantha Kolesnik is awesome).
Right now, I’m working on a few other projects as well. Edits are underway for my first short story collection, Unfortunate Elements of My Anatomy, due out in spring 2021 from The Seventh Terrace. Over a dozen previously published stories will appear, plus never-before-seen tales “Elf-Bride,” “Among the Creatures of the Night,” and the novelette length “Recitation of the First Feeding.”
I’m also eager to share my short story in the upcoming Burial Day Press anthology We Are Wolves, edited by the incredible pair of Gemma Amor and Laurel Hightower. Laurel’s new book, Crossroads, is coming from Off Limits Press in just a couple days, while Gemma is editing the audiobook narration of my first novella, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow.
And there’s a body horror novel I’m working on. A young woman discovers a growth inside her, something that makes scientists want to cut her up and corporate overlords want to exploit her genetic data for profit—but they’ll have to catch her first.
The fastest way you can find out when these projects gather an update or two is by keeping an eye on the Off Limits Press Twitter, @OffLimitsPress, or on my Twitter, @HaileyPiperSays. You can also glance at my website www.haileypiper.com, though I confess it sometimes takes me a day or two to update after news breaks.
I hope you’re enjoying all your books. Thank you so much for reading, and thank you to Night Worms for letting me tell a little to you all!