Bleak Houses



The Selected Papers for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena is pleased to present two tales of family misadventures penned by Kate Maruyama.


Los Angeles is in lockdown, “Safer at home,” so Soledad, a college student, jumps at the opportunity to be live-in caretaker for Story, the son of an A-list celebrity. Solid pay and a change of scene are just what she needs in the pandemic. The parents are high maintenance, but she and Story form a quick bond. The dazzling lifestyle shows its dark underside when unsettling occurrences mount. Now it turns out the job that would set Soledad up for college might derail her life entirely if she decides to keep Story safer.


The Massey family has a secret and Shea, the youngest, will be the last to find out exactly what’s in the basement. She’s been training hard for her 13th year when it will finally be her turn to perform the family duty of fighting. Her older siblings won’t tell her anything, but she’s excited and ready to take all comers. Even if they had, nothing could truly prepare her for what she has to face.


These compelling explorations of dark family secrets fearlessly delve into some of today’s most relevant and troubling issues. In Safer, Maruyama explores what parents will do for a child, and what happens to outsiders in unsafe houses, while Family Solstice addresses the dangers of tradition, inheritance and the sins of the father.

What They’re Saying

“Maruyama explores the dangers of tradition, inheritance, and the sins of the father in this horror novella. Kate Maruyama’s Family Solstice isn’t just heartfelt, disturbing and wonderfully written it’s also a brilliant dissection of family dynamics and (yes really) America’s troubled history. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” —Lisa Morton, six time winner of the Bram Stoker Award

“Maruyama takes the reader from a child’s fear of what may lurk in the shadow, to the terror of certainty, to the horror of complicity, where the blood on your hands counts as a badge of honor.” —J.D. Horn author of The Witches of New Orleans series

“The suspense exquisitely builds until the tale takes a horrific turn, making you wonder which monsters are worse–the ones we fight, or the ones we’re willing to live with.  Fans of We Have Always Lived in the Castle and A Head Full of Ghosts will be thrilled.” —J Lincoln Fenn, author of Poe, and The Nightmarchers

“An intriguing coming-of-age story that slides—at first gradually, but then suddenly and horribly—into the nightmares of understanding.” —Ben Loory, author of Tales of Falling and Flying

“Put Bleak Houses on your must-read list. It reads fast (I devoured each novella in one sitting), and even better, you’ll believe in these stories. You’ll fall in love with Sol and Shea, and Maruyama’s deft enough to keep the villains from stereotype…”—E.A. Broadbent, Wrong Publishing

“This book is hauntingly intense, nightmarishly perfect. You ever start into one of those books that linger on your mind and seem to cause many mixed emotions within you? Look no further.”—Showcasing Books

About the Novella Line

The Selected Papers from the Consortium for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena (CSAP) is a line of novellas curated by editor/academic R.J. Joseph. She serves both as editor for the line and also imaginary “Crypt-Keeper,” introducing each tale as a found document and part of the fictional journal produced by the CSAP society. The first book in the series, Bleak Houses, is now available and contains two novellas from Kate Maruyama. We have also announced Errant Roots from Sonora Taylor, 12 Hours from L. Marie Wood, Hollow Tongue by Eden Royce, Asylum by Sarah Hans and His Unburned Heart by David Sandner.