I’m a writer and editor who won my first literary prize—a giant stuffed Mickey Mouse through an FAO Schwarz essay contest—at the age of seven. Here is Mickey with me and my family:
Since then, I’ve gone on to write for three extremes: the financial services industry, a weekly (sadly, now defunct) newspaper, and Weird N.J. magazine.
You don’t want to know about the financial scribblings or my forays into reporting on Board of Education meetings. Just trust me on that.
I’m senior editor at the latter, where I divide my time between writing entries for the magazine’s News and Updates section; reporting on an array of weird people, places, and things; and speed proofreading issues. Plus some web duties here and there.
At Weird N.J. I compiled two anthologies of ghost stories: Weird Hauntings: True Tales of Ghostly Places (2006) and Weird Encounters: True Tales of Haunted Places (2010), the former of which has been reprinted as Weird Ghosts. I also did significant work on two of the magazine’s special editions: Tales From Clinton Road (2000) and Last Exit: Travels with Death in the Garden State (2009).
Four of my stories also appear in Home State Hauntings: True Stories of Ghostly Places in New Jersey, which was Weird NJ’s first foray into eBook publishing and a printed special issue that you may be still be able to order online. One story, about Williamsville Cemetery in Vernon, NJ, is accompanied by one of the creepiest ghost photos I’ve ever seen. It also features many other stories that I’ve edited, and illustrations by Ryan Doan, who worked with me on Weird Hauntings and Weird Encounters.
And no, I’ve never seen a ghost myself, though I think I’ve been influenced by a few over time.
I live a semibucolic and rather unedgy life in the northwestern part of New Jersey.
Want to get in touch with me? joannemaustin AT gmail DOT com.
Disclaimer: My work should never be taken as an endorsement to trespass, vandalize, or harass. Those who choose to do so anyway have my eternal annoyance. You are why we can’t have nice things!