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Horror and dark fantasy author Melanie Tem was born Melanie Kubachko on April 11, 1949, and grew up in Saegertown, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, and later obtained a Master's in Social Work from the University of Denver. She met fellow author Steve Rasnic at a writer's workshop, and the two married in 1980, taking the joint surname "Tem".
Over the course of the next few decades, Tem established a high-quality and well-received body of work, including 15 novels, 4 chapbooks, 3 collections of short fiction, a number of poems, and close to 100 short stories. She also was an enthusiastic oral storyteller as well as a writet.Her first published story (co-written with her husband) was "Prosthesis", published in Asimov's Science Fiction in 1986. Her debut horror novel Prodigal was published in 1991 and received the 1991 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. She would go on to win a number of other genre awards, including the 2000 Stoker, International Horror Guild, and World Fantasy Awards for the novella "The Man on the Ceiling" (co-written with Steve Rasnic Tem), the 1992 British Fantasy Icarus Award for a Newcomer, and the 2002 Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms, shared with her husband for their multimedia collection Imagination Box. She was nominated for several other International Horror Guild Awards as well as the 2009 Shirley Jackson Award. Her 1996 novel Desmodus was long-listed for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
Melanie Tem also worked as a social worker, working with adoptive children, the disabled, and the elderly. The sensitivity and understanding required for that job played into much of her fiction. Tem contracted breast cancer in 1997; a recurrence of that cancer metastasized and resulted in her passing away on February 9, 2015, at the age of 65. Her last novel was The Yellow Moon (2015), and her final collection of stories, Singularity was published posthumously in 2017.