J.A.W. McCarthy

Writer of dark fiction and other sad, strange tales



and Other Stories

Debut collection out now from Cemetery Gates Media

6 Reprints + 6 New Stories

A town where people go missing and inexplicably return as cruel versions of themselves.

A not-quite-human woman races against time to build a new body for her ailing daughter. 

Lovesick ghosts inhabit the body parts of living people in a world where the only other choice is amputation.

A woman takes extreme measures to combat the repercussions of a childhood hazing ritual gone wrong. 

Obsession. Selfishness. Cruelty. Doppelgängers. In these dark, speculative stories--including the novelette "Girls Tied to Trees"--J.A.W. McCarthy explores how far humans and the not-quite-human will go to tame the darkness in their world and within themselves. 

Foreword by Michael Wehunt, author of Greener Pastures 



The Only Thing Different Will

Be the Body

A Woman Built By Man

(Cemetery Gates Media,

January 2022)

Another Night on Earth

Underland Arcana

Issue 3: Summer 2021

(free to read online, July 2021)

Contrition (1998)


The Best Horror of the Year

Volume 13

(ed. Ellen Datlow,

November 2021)

Until There's Nothing Left

(reprint - podcast)

The Wicked Library

(June 2021)

With Animals

What One Wouldn't Do

(ed. Scott J. Moses,

October 2021)

We Were Supposed to Be Happy


Terrifying Ghosts Short Stories

(Flame Tree Publishing,

June 2021)

The Second Reflection

Paranormal Contact: A Quiet Horror Confessional

(Cemetery Gates Media,

March 2021)

Contrition (1998)

Oculus Sinister

(Chthonic Matter,

December 2020)

Cold-Blooded Old Times

Places We Fear to Tread

(Cemetery Gates Media,

September 2020)

Those Who Made Us


Volume 8, Issue 3 & 4


June 2020)

Everything Here Is Mine


The Corona Book of Ghost Stories

(Corona Books UK,

October 2019)

We Were Supposed to Be Happy

She's Lost Control

(Post Mortem Press, 

February 2019)

Every Time She Kills Him

Lost Souls

(Flame Tree Publishing, 

September 2018)

With Teeth

Twisted Anatomy

(Sci-Fi & Scary, 

February 2021)

Every Time She Kills Him

(reprint - podcast)

Tales to Terrify,

November 2020

Until There's Nothing Left


Graveyard Smash

2020 Women of Horror 


(Kandisha Press,

July 2020)

The House Where We All Live


Ghost Stories for

Starless Nights

(DBND Publishing,

May 2020)

Sometimes We're Cruel

Nightscript V

(Chthonic Matter, 

October 2019)

Exactly As We Are Meant to Be


(Transmundane Press, 

December 2018)

Until There's Nothing Left

The Misbehaving Dead

(A Murder of Storytellers, October 2017)

You Are the Arm

Vastarien: A Literary


(Grimscribe Press,

December 2020)

You Do What You're Told

Apparition Literary


(Issue 12: Satisfaction,

October 2020)

Darling Jane


Fright Girl Summer

(free to read online)

Darling Jane

The Macabre Museum

(online only,

October 2019)


Immersion: An Asian Anthology of Love, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction

(Dark Helix Press, September 2019)

The House Where We All Live

Ink Stains Vol. 10

(Dark Alley Press, October 2018)

Everything Here Is Mine

Unfading Daydream 

Issue 2: Supernatural 

(September 2017)



JAW McCarthy 2021.jpeg

J.A.W. McCarthy goes by Jen when she is not writing. She lives with her husband and assistant cats in the Pacific Northwest, a place that inspires her dark tales. Besides writing, she enjoys reading and yelling at the TV, often at the same time. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association. 

Photo by Jenny Jimenez



January 2022:

My debut collection SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL AND OTHER STORIES made it onto the 2021 Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot! To be clear, this is not a nomination; Active and Lifetime HWA members will vote for which works will be included on the final ballot. If you're a voting HWA member and would like a digital copy for consideration, please contact me via the form below. 

November 2021:

It's that time of year again! I have some releases this year that are eligible for various awards. 

First, my debut short fiction collection, SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL AND OTHER STORIES, published by Cemetery Gates Media in August 2021.

This collection includes 6 new stories, all awards eligible:

With You As My Anchor

Black Doves

The Flame That Takes

When Your Ghost Comes In

Something All the Little Girls Want

Girls Tied to Trees (this is a novelette, so it would be eligible in the Long Fiction category)

Next, my story WITH ANIMALS was included in the anthology What One Wouldn't Do (ed. Scott J. Moses), published in October 2021.

Another short, ANOTHER NIGHT ON EARTH, was included in Issue 3: Summer 2021 of Underland Arcana. Read it for free here.

Next, THE SECOND REFLECTION was included in the anthology Paranormal Contact: A Quiet Horror Confessional, published by Cemetery Gates Media in March 2021.

And finally, my first and only piece of flash fiction, WITH TEETH, was included in Twisted Anatomy, published by Sci-Fi & Scary in February 2021.

These are all my original publications for 2021. Please note my other publications this year were reprints, which are not awards eligible for 2021. 

Please note that HWA members can recommend favorite works for the HWA Bram Stoker Awards Recommended Reading List. Even if you see your favorites already on the list, please recommend again! They tally the number of recommendations a work gets, and that helps determine which works get on the ballot. 

Thank you to everyone for your interest and support! 

October 2021:

I'm selling paperbacks of SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL. Signed or unsigned. $16 includes shipping anywhere in the US. Please contact me via the Contact form below, or on Twitter @JAWMcCarthy. PayPal payment preferred. Feel free to reach out with any questions. Thanks!

August 2021:

It's here! My debut collection SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL AND OTHER STORIES is now available! Ebook is live, but Amazon is still approving the paperback, which should be ready in a few days. Thanks for your patience!

March 2021:

I am thrilled to announce my debut collection SOMETIMES WE'RE CRUEL AND OTHER STORIES will be published by Cemetery Gates Media August 2021! 6 Reprints + 6 New Stories. Lovesick ghosts possessing the body parts of the living, a cult that reduces their corporeal form, a woman haunted by a childhood hazing ritual, a serial killer with a unique motivation, and more! 

December 2020:

It's time for an awards eligibility post! I have 5 short stories eligible for awards (like the Bram Stoker Awards) this year:

"Those Who Made Us" - LampLight Vol 8, Issue 3 & 4

"You Do What You're Told" - Apparition Lit Issue 12: Satisfaction (Free to read/listen)

"Cold-Blooded Old Times" - Places We Fear to Tread (Cemetery Gates Media) 

"Contrition (1998)" - Oculus Sinister (Chthonic Matter)

"You Are the Arm" - Vastarien Vol. 3 Issue 2

All are eligible in the Short Fiction Categories.

Thank you to the above publishers for giving my work a home. They were all wonderful to work with.

And thank you to everyone who has read my work, contacted me here and on Twitter and Instagram, and taken the time to consider and recommend my work for the HWA Bram Stoker Award Member Recommendations. This has been an amazing year for my writing, and I am so grateful for your support!

(Please note that any stories published in 2020 other than the five above were all reprints and not award-eligible this year.)

November 2020:

My story "Every Time She Kills Him" is now available on Tales to Terrify! This is my first podcast, and I couldn't be more pleased with the production. Please give it a listen and check out the chills and grace narrator Jasmine Arch delivers. 

July 2020:

Check out Fright Girl Summer, an online book festival spotlighting horror writers and artists in the margins. Plenty of short fiction, interviews, and essays, all free to read. I'm proud that I was able to participate with my story "Darling Jane". 

February 2020:

I was interviewed by author Vickie Lan for her Shoes Off blog. Check it out here. Also, it's Women in Horror Month!

November 2019:

Nightscript V was reviewed by The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews. Includes my story "Sometimes We're Cruel", reviewed here

October 2019:

Darling Jane, my first online publication, debuts this month at macabre-museum.com! Contact me via the form below for the password. And while you're there, have a look around and consider supporting them. 


You can reach me via the form below. Thanks for your interest in my work!

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