The Keeper of the Key

Heed the Dead, or Join Them…

Nicole’s first YA horror novel will be coming from Parliament House Press on November 12, 2024.

There are a thousand things sixteen-year-old Rachel would rather do than upend her life to move into Morgan House, an old, run-down mansion owned by her mom’s boyfriend, Geoff.

But when her mother announces they’re relocating to St. Mary, Virginia to live with him, Rachel’s cut off from her friends and life as she knows it. St. Mary is a remote, lonely place, and the best thing about it is Nick, a guy she knows is worth keeping when he takes her to a cemetery on their first date.

Rachel struggles to get along with Geoff and his mile-long list of annoying house rules—in particular, his bizarre insistence that she stay out of the basement. But something in Morgan House plays by its own rules. At night, an unknown force pulls Rachel down to that forbidden cellar, showing her harrowing visions of a strangely familiar man lurking in the shadows. When a sudden tragedy strikes her family, those visions become more frequent—and more violent.

The dead issue urgent warnings, and if Rachel doesn’t heed them, she’ll become part of Morgan House forever.

Cover by Cho-hyun Kim.

“Nicole Willson’s The Keeper of the Key is a tense and twisty contemporary Gothic that kept me reading late into the night. Supernatural and domestic terrors combine to propel this story, focused on themes of trust and control. I found the imagery and situations truly frightening!”

—Christi Nogle, author of the Bram Stoker Award® winning novel Beulah

Parliament House:


Also, PLEASE add the book to your Goodreads shelves:



Out Now from Parliament House Press
Spanish Edition available from Dilatando Mentes Editorial 

If Ye Give Not Willingly, The Lords Will Rise…

In 1913, Henry Hamilton disappears while on a business trip, and his sister, Sorrow, won’t rest until she finds out what happened to him. Defying her father’s orders to stay home, she travels to Tidepool, the last place Henry is known to have visited.

Tidepool’s a small, run-down ocean town with an oddly large cemetery, and the residents can’t quite meet Sorrow’s eyes when she questions them about Henry. After corpses wash up on shore looking as if they’ve been torn apart by something not quite human, Sorrow’s ready to return to Baltimore and let her father send in the professional detectives.

But then she encounters Mrs. Ada Oliver, a widow whose expensive black silk dresses and elegant manners set her apart from other Tidepool residents. A visit to Mrs. Oliver’s home and a terrifying encounter with the “daughter” Mrs. Oliver keeps in the basement lead to Sorrow’s discovery of Tidepool’s dark secret and her brother’s fate.

Sorrow wants to get justice for Henry, but doing so could doom all the town’s residents. And some denizens of Tidepool—human and otherwise—are hell bent on making sure Sorrow never leaves.

Cover by Shayne Leighton.
Spanish cover by Raúl Ruiz.

Available in hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook from Amazon or your online retailer of choice.

Spanish edition available at the Dilatando Mentes Editorial website.

“An entertaining gothic with tentacles.”— Ellen Datlow, The Best Horror of the Year Volume 14

“Willson’s plot hits all the right beats…Devotees of cosmic horror will enjoy this woman-centered take on familiar tropes.”—Publishers Weekly

“Dank and suspense-filled, with a Lovecraftian flavour.”—Imogen Russell Williams, Metro

“Tidepool is a creepy and absorbing page-turner. Highly recommended.”—Fantasy Book Critic

Click to enlarge photo

Add Tidepool to your Want to Read shelf on Goodreads.


The Shadow Dancers of Brixton Hill

Nicole’s debut novella with Cemetery Gates Media is out now. Cover art by Luke Spooner of Carrion House. eBook and paperback available here:



Dark Corners of the Old Dominion

My short story “Room 1968” appears in Dark Corners of the Old Dominion, a charity anthology benefiting Scares that Care. Available in print and eBook formats from Amazon.

Picnic in the Graveyard

The title Picnic in the Graveyard pretty much says it all. What exactly would a picnic in a graveyard entail? Grab a copy of this anthology by Cemetery Gates Media and find out. My short story “Angels With Broken Wings” is all about the Granger family. Nice folks, but if they invite you to the big family gathering they hold at a local cemetery, you should make sure you have plans to be out of town. Way out of town. Available in print and eBook formats from Amazon.

Halldark Holidays

My short story “Christmas Every Day,” about touching family reunions, spoiled children, and revenge, is featured in this scary, merry anthology published by Cemetery Gates Media and edited by Gabino Iglesias (The Devil Takes You Home, Coyote Songs). The theme of the anthology is “One of those cheesy, sugary holiday Hallmark movie situations…gone very, very wrong.” This was fun to write for, fun to read, and fun to be a part of. Available in print and eBook formats from Amazon.