A beautiful forest. A terrifying legend.

It’s 1986. Two strangers, hundreds of miles apart, grapple with disturbing incidents in a one-of-a-kind quaking aspen forest.

Knox is a new Forest Service ranger assigned to a vast, remote territory in Utah.

Sandy is a producer fighting for her place in a tough TV newsroom.

Both have heard about the shadowy figure believed to menace visitors to the forest. When a man disappears and reports of the Root Witch begin coming in, Knox and Sandy are plunged into a living nightmare.

Their lives converge on Halloween. Sandy sends a news crew to investigate the sightings. But when the team goes missing, and a shocking video surfaces, revealing the ghastly truth, Knox and Sandy face the biggest decision of their lives.

This novel is based on the short story, “The Root Witch: An Urban Legend Caught on Tape.”

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Eight miles of mystery. One night of terror.

Residents trapped in a remote neighborhood confront the unimaginable in this horror novel from award-winning author Debra Castaneda.

The salt marsh at Devil’s Landing is home to a terrifying urban legend.

Adam Gray knows the old stories about the Slough Devil, the missing children, and the mutilated animals. But the naturalist and wilderness survival expert doesn’t believe in monsters. Not even when a tourist on his boat sees a strange creature in the tidal channel and captures it on video.

When Adam moves into a controversial housing development next to the marsh, shocking new evidence emerges, and it’s not long before he’s confronted with a series of horrifying and unexplained events.

It takes Christina, his feisty new neighbor, to get him to believe something lurks in the slough. Something disturbed by the new community.

When a massive storm maroons the residents, Adam and Christina find themselves trapped and tested in a fight for their lives.

Content warning: Sexual assault

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An International Latino Book Awards Gold Medal Winner!
The City Wants Them Gone.
The Demons Want Them Dead.

Before Dodger Stadium, dark forces terrorized the residents of Chavez Ravine.

Two hundred stubborn residents remain in the neighborhoods of Chavez Ravine, tucked in the hills above L.A in 1952. As the holdouts fight eviction by the city, Trini Duran, 22 and feisty, reluctantly returns home. When new and terrifying threats emerge, Trini leads a ragtag group to fight an elusive enemy in a battle for survival.

An urban fantasy novella, available now on Amazon.com

Paperback and Kindle formats available now.

After dark, danger lurks in the ravine.

The bodies of handsome young men are discovered near an elaborate movie set in the northeast hills of Los Angeles. It’s summer, 1950. Each is a gruesome tableau of shocking violence.

Robert is a reporter new to the big city who needs to prove himself.

Catalina is a beautiful healer determined to keep her secrets.

A chance encounter connects them to the case that’s confounding police and commanding headlines. The results are as unexpected as they are horrific.
But when a ghost appears in the semi-rural neighborhoods where evictions loom, frightening the residents, the dark mystery deepens and threatens them all.

The truth is only one story away. If it’s not buried, first.

Paperback and Kindle formats available now

Content Warning: Sexual assault; violence; death; strong language; racism 

About Debra Castaneda

To find out what I’m reading, what I’m working on now, and what books I recommend, click HERE

Debra Castaneda grew up in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California as an only child. Finding adult conversation boring, she found companionship in books. She wrote her first murder mystery in the fifth grade and turned it in as a homework assignment.

After college, she became a journalist working in television, radio, and online. Her work has been featured on Marketplace, This American Life, and National Public Radio (one story took her behind bars at San Quentin Prison to cover a baseball game). Most recently, she worked as a TV news director on the Central Coast of California.

Now, she devotes herself full-time to writing horror and dark fiction. Her novella, The Monsters of Chavez Ravine, is a 2021 International Latino Book Awards gold medal winner for Fantasy/SciFi-English. It also made two CrimeReads Best of 2021 lists: Horror and Historical Fiction. 

For much of her professional life, she has worked under her married name, Debra Monroe, but she writes fiction under her family name of Castaneda.

For inspiration, Debra draws from her experience as a journalist, as a third-generation Mexican American, and as someone who has lived in various parts of the country, including Dallas, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Portland, and the San Francisco Bay area.

Debra lives in Capitola, California with her husband. She enjoys rediscovering the Mexican dishes of her childhood and texting her two daughters ibpa logoabout her latest binge-watch.horror writer's association banner