Deadline: June 1st, 2017
Payment: $0.03 cents per word
WE NEED TEN TALES OF HIERARCHY HELL
AND BUREAUCRATIC NIGHTMARE!
Of all bureaucracies, corporations are the most powerful, seeming to have a life and will of their own. They’re privately held with a multi-national reach, seemingly bottomless resources, and armies of lawyers jealously guarding their trade secrets. Anything and everything is justified by the bottom line. Who needs a Cthulhu Cult when you’ve got Cthulhu, Inc.?
Into this insidious world are thrust our heroes—the curious, the puzzled, and the frustrated. Defying authority, seeking answers they’d be better off not knowing, the secrets they discover threaten their sanity and their lives. Will they become the next whistleblower media hero? Or disappear, leaving nothing behind but an empty desk and whispered rumors in the break room? Remember: it’s nothing personal—just business. Corporate Cthulhu is a Lovecraftian horror anthology about the intersection of the Cthulhu Mythos and corporations or other large bureaucracies.
This is an OPEN call for submissions—anyone and everyone is free to submit a short story to the slush pile. Feel free to share this with other writers you think might be interested.
What We’re Looking For
• Short stories up to 7000 words.
• Original, previously unpublished fiction.
• We’re particularly interested in submissions from writers traditionally underrepresented in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction. This includes racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people living with disabilities.
• Stories must include at least a passing connection to the Cthulhu Mythos and/or Lovecraft’s other work. The stronger the connection, the more likely the story is to be accepted.
• Stories that make skillful use of Lovecraftian horror themes: insanity, helplessness and hopelessness, inherited guilt, old isolated locations, books of forbidden knowledge, ancient extraterrestrial influences on humanity, the risks of runaway science, civilization vs. barbarism, humanity’s insignificance on the cosmic scale of space and time, unanswered questions about what lurks behind the curtain of reality, etc.
• Although we’re expecting a lot of stories where management is a cult in disguise (and that’s fine!), we encourage writers to think outside the box. Other elements of the business cycle include labor (a union strikes over a bizarre demand) and customers (how far will a struggling company go to meet their biggest customer’s increasingly strange requests?).
• Although the primary focus is on corporate bureaucracies, ANY large private-sector bureaucracy is fair game. This could include (among others) charities, nonprofits, NGOs, private universities, for-profit hospitals, labor unions, large churches, fraternal organizations, youth groups, etc.
• Stories set in any time period during the modern industrial capitalist era (roughly 1800 on up). Query first for stories set in other time periods.
• Comedies, parodies, and/or satires are acceptable.
What We’re NOT Looking For
• Romances or erotica.
• Stories under 2000 words or over 7000 words.
• Stories taking place in governmental or other public-sector bureaucracies. As much fun as it may be to have Cthulhu running the IRS, save those ideas for a later Political Cthulhu anthology.
If selected, authors will receive $0.03 cents per word for original, previously unpublished fiction. Original fiction strongly preferred; query first for reprints. In the unlikely event that we do accept a reprint, payment will be $0.01 cent per word. Publication is dependent on a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. There will be no kill fees.
Exclusive global English first print and digital rights for one year, and nonexclusive print and digital rights for term of copyright. All other rights are reserved to the author.
Stories should follow the format laid out in the submission guidelines; if not, it may be automatically rejected. Submissions should be emailed to [email protected] with the story included as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format, and must be received no later than midnight, Central Standard Time, June 1st, 2017. The email subject should read [Submissions: Story Title by Author Name]. If accepted, minor edits and revisions may be requested. The Kickstarter campaign will begin after the stories have been selected.
Deadline: July 24th, 2017
Payment: % royalties per story published in e-book and paperback form and a contributor’s copy
Deadline for both volumes: Monday 24th July 2017
Payment: 4% royalties per story published in e-book and paperback form. You will also receive a physical copy of whichever volume your story appears in.
‘As this is laying the groundwork for an ongoing story in a way that few anthologies do, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on. When Volume 2 comes out, you know we’ll be on board.’ Starburst Magazine
This Twisted Earth vol. 2: Twisted Histories – due for release at EdgeLit 2018
Dig deeper into how This Twisted Earth began: explore ‘known’ events such as the reign of the Tyrant, reveal secret histories and cultural insights through Twisted Earth creation myths, or shed light on some familiar characters through their early adventures. We can also begin to investigate what really happened to shatter Time in such a cataclysmic manner.
This Twisted Earth vol. 3: Twisted Tomorrows – due for release at FantasyCon 2018
Peer into the future to show us what might yet be: chart the rise of powers such as Rome Resurgent, probe the ever-changing landscape of cultural evolution; of the progress made or dangers unleashed by the reweaving of Time’s threads. Bring forth new tales of familiar characters, hunt down the truths behind the Cataclysm, and show us what it means to choose our destiny.
‘…an anthology that breaks the format of what we consider an anthology to be demands more attention, and asks that the reader be comfortable with feeling out of their comfort zone. But it’s this quality, I think, that allows This Twisted Earth to shine.’ Renegade Revolution
Prospective writers from all countries and cultural backgrounds are invited to join our ‘This Twisted Earth’ Facebook Group in order to interact with the editor and the other writers on the project. There, you will also find the ‘world bible’ – a vital collection of Twisted Earth lore which has recently been updated by the editor, Dion Winton-Polak, to include details from the first volume of This Twisted Earth.
Send your completed story to [email protected] as either a .doc or .rtf file. The subject of your email should have your Surname, the word ‘Histories’ or ‘Tomorrows’ to indicate which volume you feel your story belongs in, and your word-count.
To avoid disappointment please ensure your submission reflects the brief and sticks to the following format:
4000 to 9000 words long, in Standard Manuscript Format.
Typed in Times New Roman, size 12.
Include your full contact details (name/address/social media profile/email address) at the top of your document.
‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.
Editor, Horror Tree
The Heart Song
“I wanna stop, Mama. It hurts.” Desiree said. She was bent over the family washbasin, her hands plunged deep into the ice filled water.
“You’ll do no such thing.” Mama said “If you move those hands, I’ll whip you good.” There was the quick rapping of wood on wood; the spoon, Desiree thought, striking the table.
Mama marched across the room behind her. Desiree heard her heavy steps on the dirt, the opening and closing of cupboards, the rattling of jars and the clanging of pots; a frustrated grunt then a squeak of exaltation followed by the dry, scraping din of metal.
Desiree couldn’t take it anymore. Her hands felt warm and tingly, alive with cold fire. She removed them from the icy water.
The pain was quick and sharp. Mama grasped Desiree’s hands and submerged them back under the water. The wooden spoon was in her other hand. The pain on Desiree’s neck brought tears to her eyes.
“I know it’s hard, Dezzy.” Mama said. “It’s always hard the first time, but you need to do this. Only dead hands can find a dead heart. A few more minutes, then you can move.”
Desiree nodded okay and Mama disappeared again. The minutes passed. The quiet ruffling of sheets as Mama finished setting up, then: “It’s time, sweetheart. You can move, now.”
Desiree got up, her legs stiff and her hands heavy. Her normally dark skin was ashen and lifeless.
Papa lay on the table, dead, and naked save for a washcloth over his eyes and a towel to hide his decency. Mama stood over him, the Special Knife gripped in both hands.
Mama beckoned to her, and Desiree went. She was scared, but everyone is scared at first. That’s what Uncle Amos had told her. Uncle Jasper and Aunt Lily, too.
Mama placed the Special Knife on the table and pulled a small hammer from the inside of her smock. She gently stroked the gray stubble on Papa’s cheek.
“Your Nana’s Mama called it the Heart Song. The beat.” Mama said, her fingers searching over Papa’s ribs. “It’s the strength of your life force. The first time I introduced Papa to your Nana, she was out of her skin with excitement. Said she could hear Papa’s Heart Song through the walls. Said he had good ribs. ‘Singing ribs’. Acoustics like a goshdarned opera house.’”
Mama’s finger settled on a rib just below the sternum. When she was certain of her choice she brought the hammer down hard. The chosen rib snapped like dry wood.
“The Heart Song keeps on after you die. Like a band that continues to play even though its conductor has left.” Mama smashed another rib.
“But it can’t be found with living hands. No, only dead hands can find a dead heart.”
Desiree watched as Mama made the incision between the smashed ribs, burying the Special Knife to the hilt and opening a glaring red mouth.
“Your father loved you, Dezzy. He would have wanted this.”
Mama guided Desiree’s cold hand into her father’s broken ribcage. The heat was intense, like a vice. She pushed through it, glancing off tissue and broken bone until she found what she was looking for: a knot. Her fingers wrapped around her father heart.
“I don’t feel it.” Desiree said, panicking. Had she done it wrong?
“Just wait, dear.” Mama said.
Desiree waited, her hand gripping the soft tissue. Then, she felt it. A beat.
“I feel it, Mama.” Desiree said. It was picking up, becoming stronger with each thrum.
“Pull.” Mama ordered.
It only took one tug to pry the organ free. Desiree pulled it out into the open air. The heart beat in her hand like palmed thunder. It made her mouth water.
“Your father’s heart was strong, dear. It has a lot to offer to you. Take it.”
Desiree’s hesitation evaporated. She tore into the heart greedily. The taste was intoxicating. Her father’s heart seemed to beat on her tongue, between her teeth.
Mama said something, but Desiree couldn’t hear her. All she could focus on was the taste, the hot blood, and in the back of her head, a high, singing chorus.
Tim resides in central Pennsylvania, on the cusp of obtaining his bachelor’s degree.
When he isn’t working at the bar or studying for law school, he writes, and he one day hopes to make something of it. His previous work can be found in the first issue if MYTHIC MAGAZINE.
The Black Spot
‘I judged our annual ghost story competition again today. Some of the villagers claim I am not capable enough, or sane enough, to do this competently anymore.’
‘I disagree. The third prize went to a story about a ship that disappears into the fog, second place to a tale about nocturnal comings and goings in a graveyard, while the winning entry featured the ghost of Blind Pew from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.’
‘The latter story won because its main character came to me last night – tap, tap, tap – warning if it didn’t win, I would receive the Black Spot.’
Brendan Joseph O'Dea
Brendan Joseph O’Dea lives and works in Leicestershire, U.K. He enjoys writing fiction and non-fiction in his spare time. He has published two books on Amazon Kindle and has recently started submitting short fiction to magazines. He has a preference for Gothic and traditional ghost stories which rely on atmosphere and strong characters.
Just A Dream
I dreamed about him again last night.
Every dream starts the same. I’m walking through thick forest. In the distance, someone is screaming. It’s not a scream of fear… It’s a scream of madness, from a mind totally unhinged.
I finally arrive at a clearing and see a man tied to a stake.
He’s screaming and thrashing around, unable to escape. His eyes, his insane eyes, are darting about, scanning the tree line.
He turns towards me, and I wake up.
Last night the dream ended differently…
I recognized his face…
It was my face…
That’s when I started screaming…
Andy Brown is a professional musician who occasionally dips the smallest of his toes into the huge pool of writing…A horror, sci-fi and fantasy fan since he was a tiny child, he still loves the genres although he could in no way be described as “tiny” anymore…
“Go to sleep. Please, go to sleep. I can’t sleep till you do.”
There’s desperation in its voice.
“Go to sleep.”
I hear the possible threat hidden in its speech, but I’m unconcerned. This ghost beseeches, but does not haunt.
“I can’t sleep till you do.”
Good! Stay with me! Explain your strange request! I need to understand.
I can’t sleep till I do.
There’s desperation in my voice.
I wait for a face to rise beside me, but nothing ever comes.
So we stay silent, neither of us able to explain the needs we wish the other would satisfy.
P.J. Kryfko is a writer, producer, storyteller, daydreamer, and avid YouTube watcher (not always in that order). He has been published as a comic writer, prose writer, journalist, and in 2014 wrote and produced his first short film. His publishers include: Image Comics, Liars’ League NYC, Weirdpunk Books, the DFW Art & Words Show, and the Brooklyn Prose Bowl. AintitCoolNews.com calls his work “atypical and original.” His Mom calls him “Handsome.”
First, we strongly suggest you read a copy of Shoreline of Infinity to see the kind of stories our readers like. You can download a copy or order a print copy over there on the right.
We are looking for a good science fiction story. Something that gives reality a tweak on the nose. An idea that makes us stop and think.
But more than that, we want your story to be populated with characters we want to meet and have a drink with or from whom we want to run screaming away; we want characters to hug to ease the pain; we want to read the stories of heroes; we want to be your character.
Make us want to nudge our sleeping partners at 3am in the morning and say: “you should read this!”
Broaden our horizons – look beyond the Shoreline.
We told you, we’re looking for a good story.
If you can include all that in one tale as seen through the powerful lens of science fiction, so much the better.
From Issue 8 onwards we will be publishing one story of up to 10,000 words, otherwise it’s a maximum of 5,000 words.
What we Offer and Rights
We offer £10/1000 word at the moment.
We retain the right to continue selling back issues of Shoreline of Infinity and Shoreline anthologies containing your story (royalties are paid for republishing in collections).
We buy first digital and print world rights in English, but your rights are returned to you after 6 months of original publication (digital or print), and you are free to publish how or wherever you like. However, it would be splendid if you could acknowledge first publication in Shoreline of Infinity.
What to Submit
We accept simultaneous submissions, but do tell us immediately if you want to withdraw a submission. Submit a neatly formatted manuscript set in Times 12 point and double spaced in Word format ( doc/docx). Please use the submission process here – emailed manuscripts will be ignored.
Submit only one story.
We will reply as soon as we can after your submission, but do contact us if you have not heard within 3 months. We know what it’s like to be kept waiting, but we are only human (mostly).
Deadline: October 31st, 2017
Payment: Contributor’s Copy
The goal of this anthology is to shout loud and proud that The South holds some of the best horror writers and authors. What’s unique about this project is that it will not only include a collection of shorts but also hold hand-picked dark poetry! We simply cannot limit an anthology of this nature to just short stories, though those are the main material that will be included.
Submissions for short stories need to be between 3,000-7,000 words in length. Some considerations will be made for stories just over or just under, but those works will be chosen best on quality, blow our minds and attempt to scare us to death with your vivid imagery through words. We are wanting quality stories over word count.
This anthology’s target audience is an adult audience that is 18 years and above, so no children’s horror stories, please.
We also will not accept extreme erotica horror (mild adult scenes are fine as long as it pertains to the story’s forward projection or to display character traits), rape, bestiality, incest, pedophilia, or domestic violence.
This anthology is strictly for horror authors and writers that live in The South. It is not restricted to those that have moved to The South, imports are fine! 😉 This book is restricted for southern writers and authors at this time as the aim is to have southern authors and writers submit, but not limited to strictly to readers. If this has enough interest we can add a couple of future anthologies with other regional authors and writers in mind. I.E. an anthology featuring northern writers or just the east coast, for examples.
Submissions are currently open and must be sent to:
Please title the email: Southern Fried Autopsies Submission
Within the submission, in the document holding the writing, please include title, author’s name/pen name, also phone numbers, email address, and word count. Some of this information will be used to be able to contact you if accepted.
This anthology will be published by Burning Willow Press, LLC and will be edited, formatted, etc by the staff of Burning Willow Press. It’s a project funded by Burning Willow Press with a one-year holding of all works included before being open to publications elsewhere by the author, but Burning Willow Press will continue to republish this work as a whole anthology for the following 4 years afterward.
This project will be published out Halloween 31st, 2018, from this publication date forward, is when the stories will be locked, midnight Halloween 31st, 2019 the stories will be open for the authors to take their works elsewhere and do what they want, but Burning Willow Press will continue republishing it for the foreseeable 4 years.
This anthology is for exposure, contributor copy (whether it’s a physical copy or digital will be up to the contributor), and not a royalty share or advances. This is a partnership between L. Bachman, Jay Michael Wright II, and Burning Willow Press, LLC.
Submissions close Halloween 31st, 2017 at midnight.