A California-born fiction and non-fiction author and screenwriter, she is best known for works such as The Castle of Los Angeles (2010 novel); The Halloween Encyclopedia (2003 non-fiction work); and The Lucid Dreaming (2009 novella). Her 2006 short story, Tested, received the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction.
She entered the film industry in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. In the mid-1990s, she began publishing her first horror-genre short stories.
She won the Horror Writers Association's President's Richard Laymon Award for two consecutive years.
She was raised in Pasadena, California.
She co-wrote the film, Meet the Hollowheads, which starred Juliette Lewis.