Taking Submissions: Literary Erotica Anthology: Apocalypse

Deadline: September 5th, 2017.
Payment: 1 cent per word.
Note: Yes, it is erotica but it is also the apocalypse and as I know many of you write both…

We are in search of erotic stories centered around the theme of apocalypse. How you execute this theme is up to you—a multitude of interpretations are possible, from both the figurative to the literal end of civilization.

Apocalypse. The complete final destruction of the world (definition 1). An event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale (definition 2).

We are interested in stories that explore either definition. Stories can be set before, during, or after the eponymous apocalypse. Show us passion, annihilation, rebirth, despair, and/or hope. How would you fuck if the world were ending?

The sex needs to be raw, passionate, hot, and at the story’s centre. Four-letter words are neither required nor discouraged, although we have a preference for graphic lust conveyed through beautiful prose.

No hard requirements in terms of secondary genres. This theme, however, lends itself well to dystopian fiction.

Please read our general submission guidelines prior to submitting. We prefer the erotic to the pornographic and have an extreme prejudice for stories with a literary style—however, hot, passionate sex must be at each story’s core. It may help to familiarize yourself with some of our other titles prior to submitting—particularly our short story anthologies and stand-alone shorts.

1,000-5,000 words, although we’ll consider pieces that fall outside those parameters on a case-by-case basis. Multiple and simultaneous submissions ok. No reprints.

If accepted, pay is 1 cent per word. The deadline for submissions is September 5, 2017.

 

Submit here.

Via: Mug Wump Press.

Trembling With Fear 07/09/2017

Closer to an announcement but ran into a snag. Hopefully to be resolved in the next week! Outside of that, we’re super low on drabble again so if you want to string together 100 words of horror we’d be happy to take them!

‘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.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

The Elephant Curse

Bianca was Mira’s fifth elephant and hopefully her last, because any more would surely have the animal rights groups up in arms and waving their torches. None of us could figure out exactly why all of Mira’s elephants were dying. She took exceptional care of each one of them and would be put out for entire weeks on end when it happened, each one more heartbreaking than the next. They had to practically peel her from the stomach of the last one as she clung to its still belly and wept into the dry folds of its rough skin as though her tears would revive it. If Bianca didn’t survive, it might finally be time to wrap it up and develop some new act for Mira. She was young and talented, so it wouldn’t be difficult, but she’d always wanted to work with the elephants, she was so fascinated by them, and she would never be the same if they were gone.

Everyone held their breath in the weeks where Mira got to know Bianca, who was a little smaller than the others but had this beautiful pale hide, almost white, that would look marvelous under sparkling dressings and spotlights. She was smart and clever and responsive, immediately taking a liking to Mira and constantly playing with her hair. Perhaps, we all though hopefully, though we were almost too afraid to hope, the previous ones had just been building up to this pairing, as if Mira had to experience the loss and heartbreak to truly appreciate the creature that was now in her care. It seemed a bit of a cruel method on the part of Fate, but we were eager to justify anything we couldn’t quite explain.

The first show was a success, as well as the second, and the third. Every show after that was fraught with an undercurrent of nervousness. Is this the one where it will finally happen? What about this one? But night after night, the bond between Mira and Bianca grew, and they continued to perform well with no signs of sickness or injury or fatal accidents. After a steady month of shows, many of us around the camp were able to breathe easier again, confident that the fifth time had been a charge. But some of us still worried, Mira included, and we weren’t about to let our guard down any time soon.

We were just outside of Louisville when Mira came to my wagon, so pale and drawn as to look like a skeleton in a spangled headdress, tears in her eye. I didn’t need for her to speak to know what had happened, but she needed to say it, to let it out, which released a floodgate as I opened my arms and let her settle into them. “Something’s not right with Bianca,” she sobbed. “Something’s wrong. It’s happening again, Jeanette. It’s all happening again.”

I tried to hush her, tried to quiet her disturbed soul, but no amount of hair petting and tight squeezes could alleviate her despair. “There, there,” I said, though a darkness was forming into a hard lump against my heart. The poor girl didn’t know, but we had been discussing her strange and expensive predicament, realizing that we couldn’t keep wasting so much time and money on the elephants, popular as they were. There just wasn’t as much of a market for travelling circuses these days, and every set-back was enough to send us miles and miles behind where we needed to be.

We didn’t want to believe it. Mira was such a sweet girl, talented, with a brilliant smile that charmed audiences into emptying their pockets. But she was clearly cursed. When I saw Bianca lying on her side in a matted bed of straw, her enormous stomach practically vibrating with the labor of her heavy breaths, I knew what had to be done.

“Mira,” I said, my voice sticking in my throat, heavy and bitter on my tongue, “this isn’t good. This isn’t good at all. You know we can’t keep replacing your elephants. We know you take good care of them. We know you’re doing nothing wrong, so clearly you have to see what we see. It isn’t the elephants, Mira; it’s you. But there is one way to stop all this, and I think you can gather what it might be.”

She looked up at me, her eyes as round as a full moon, thinking at first that I was going to suggest she pursue a new act. And then realization dawned on her, and her whole body seemed to melt in dismay. “No, Jeanette, no, please. It isn’t true! I’m sure the curse seemed like a real thing back in the day, but you know it can’t be real. Curses aren’t real. They don’t really exist, it’s all just superstition. It’s got to be something in the water, or maybe something we’re feeding them. It’s not me, Jeanette. It’s not a curse.”

“There’s only one way to know for sure,” I murmured. “I’m so sorry, Mira.”

She saw the knife in my hand, opening her mouth to scream, but it was too late. With two swift movements, I stabbed the poor girl in her stomach, then pulled her head back to slit her throat. The blood I smeared onto Bianca’s white belly, along with herbs and oils and incantations, left a faint pink stain on her skin, which lingered there to remind us, to help us never forget poor Mira. Her love for the elephants wasn’t enough to overpower how toxic she was to them, but my magic was. We brought in a new elephant trainer, one who wasn’t as charming or effervescent as Mira, but I’m fairly sure that Bianca will now outlive us all.

L.S. Engler

L.S. Engler writes from outside of Chicago, though she grew up chasing dragons in the woods of Michigan. She is the editor of the World unknown Review and author of the Slayer Saga, a zombie trilogy. Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including the Saturday Evening Post, DarkFuse, and Pulp Modern.

You can find out more about L.S. at her homepage and Amazon Page.

Just A Taste

Lisa licked the blood from her fingers.
Metallic. Salty. A bit sweet.
It was always strange when it tasted sweet.
A flavor profile she had almost forgotten.
Thankfully Diabetes was the new norm and those who cheated.
They were a mouthful but she loved slurping them down.
Humans. Dominant species of the planet.
What a laugh.
Her kind roamed the stars long before these apes lost their hair.
She would again once she could get off this backward planet.
That’s all she could get out the next day when they found her.
Tripping, knee deep bathed in the hobo’s blood.

S.C. Cornett

The Midwest’s very own curvaceous author of strumpets, harlots, kink, fetish, and all kinds of other illicit and fun-filled naughty activities!

You can follow her work at http://sccornett.com.

Roses Are Red: Volume 2

The rose bush was Sarah’s pride. With reason, it had featured in many a gardening magazine, winning many prizes. Its petals were bright red, blood-red almost. The thorns; deadly. She smiled as she prepared the fertilizer. Her secret fertilizer. She mixed the ingredients, and added her special touch, leaving just a few drops for afterwards.

She stopped briefly to listen to the news; another child-Shaun- had gone missing.

“Terrible shame,” she muttered.

Sprinkling the mix with the soil, she poured the drops she had saved over the petals.

The petals opened to receive them.

“Good-bye Shaun. Thank you for helping.”

Justin Boote

Justin Boote has lived for over twenty years in Barcelona, Spain, plying his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant. He has been writing horror stories for just over a year, and currently has 8 published in diverse magazines including for Lycan Valley Press, Deadlights Shotgun magazine, Zimbell House Publishing, Dark Dossier Magazine and The Horrorzine’s summer edition.

He is also a member of a private writer’s forum called The Write Practice where he has also acted as a judge on two ocassions for their contests.

He can be found at Facebook under his own name, or at [email protected].

A Sea Of Unnamed Faces

She sat on the couch, her fingers tapping her handbag.

He’d done this hundreds of times. The key was to wait. If he pressed her too much he might spook her.

“I’ve been seeing things”

“Such as?”

“Ghosts. It’s like they’re always lurking in my peripheral vision. I’m not crazy. I swear”

“You aren’t,” he said flashing an affable smile.

“But ghosts don’t exist”

“But psychopaths do,” she said before she slit his throat.

She placed the bloodied knife back into her handbag and walked out of the therapist’s office. She was forever lost in the sea of unnamed faces.

Anusha VR

Anusha VR is a CA and CS with a penchant for traveling. Her works have been published in over thirty anthologies. Her chapbook is slated for publication in December 2017 by Chapeltown Publishing UK.

You can follow her work on Good Reads and Amazon.

Ongoing Submissions: Mirror Dance

Payment: $5.00
Note: Reprints Allowed
Note: Check the main page for the current theme which rotates

What We Publish
Mirror Dance is a quarterly online magazine of fantasy fiction and poetry. We are open to all sub-genres of fantasy, including magic realism, urban or contemporary fantasy, sword and sorcery, fantasy-of-manners, and stories with mythological or folkloric themes. As a member of the Outer Alliance, we actively seek fiction with LGBTQA themes and characters who challenge traditional concepts of gender, as well as stories from diverse ethnic, religious, and social perspectives.

We are open dark fantasy, science fantasy, and historical fiction with fantasy elements. We do not publish science fiction or non-supernatural horror.

Fiction of any length will be considered, though we generally find stories under 6,000 words more suitable for online reading. We value unique voices and beautiful but readable prose styles. We prefer stories with dynamic, fully-developed characters and richly detailed settings over stories driven by a particular twist or plot device.

Poetry of all lengths will be considered, from haiku to epic narratives. We value strong imagery, precise word choice and a tight, specific focus. Poems must have an identifiable fantasy or mythic element. Please do not send more than three (3) poems in one submission.

Mirror Dance pays $5.00 upon acceptance for each work of fiction or poetry. We can make payments through PayPal, check, or an online donation to the project or charity of your choice.

Skull detail from the Crystal Globe (Waterhouse)

How to Submit 
Please send your work in a .doc, .docx, or .rtf document, or pasted in the body of an e-mail, to mirrordancefantasy at gmail dot com. In your cover e-mail, include your name and contact information, the title of your submission, and its word count.

Please use the subject line “Mirror Dance Fiction Submission – [Title].” Replace [title] with the title of your submission, and change “fiction” to “flash fiction,” “poetry,” etc. as appropriate. For all other communications, include “Mirror Dance” in your subject line.

Skull detail from the Crystal Globe (Waterhouse)

Other Considerations
No simultaneous submissions. Please do not send us work that is currently under consideration elsewhere. If your story becomes unavailable after you’ve submitted it to Mirror Dance, please notify us immediately.

Please respect language. Atrocious spelling, grammar, and punctuation in your e-mail or your submission itself are grounds for a rejection. A few small typos are acceptable; carelessness is not.

We are happy to consider reprints. Please include previous publication details in your e-mail. We have a slight preference for stories that aren’t currently available in a free-to-read online venue, such as your blog, another e-zine, or a critique site that is not password-protected.

In the case of original fiction, we are asking for first English-language digital rights exclusive for three months. All work published in Mirror Dance will be archived unless the author requests otherwise. The author may request that the work be immediately removed from the website at any time after the first three months of the story’s publication.

Mirror Dance aims to respond to all submissions within two months. If you are concerned about the length of a response time, please feel free to query the editor at the e-mail address above.

Thank you for your interest in Mirror Dance! I look forward to reading your submission.

Via: Mirror Dance.

Taking Submissions: Stairs In The Woods

Deadline: August 31, 2017
Payment: 50% of royalties go to the story contributors, prorated to each author by word count.

Via: Silver Empire.

Ongoing Submissions: Lackington’s

Payment: 1 cent CAD per word for stories ($25 CAD minimum)
Note: Limited reprints allowed, read before submitting.
Note: Check the main page for the current theme which rotates

Lackington’s publishes speculative fiction between 1,500 – 5,000 words in length. The “spec” element can be overt or subtle (so blow us away with realism if it possesses the merest twinge of strangeness). Fantasy, SF, slipstream, post-apocalyptic, magic realism, mythopoeia, folktale, grimdark, weird, or any flavour of ‘punk, it’s all good, BUT WAIT! Read this before submitting — meeting our style preference is our foremost demand. We’re excited by stories by, or representative of, members of traditionally marginalized communities. We are never excited by fanfic, so please don’t send us any. We prefer stories with experimental prose and structures, but second-person POV narratives have become a hard sell at Lackington’s simply because we see so many.

Submission window: We rely on rolling submissions, which means we close for submissions once our Table of Contents is full or near-to-full. We don’t post deadlines, but we do make announcements on Twitter when we’re a week or two off from closing. Submission windows are usually open 8-12 weeks but there’s no guarantee, so get your tales in sooner than later.

Fiction submissions: Email submissions to lackingtonsmagazine at gmail dot com. Your email must include the word count for your story, byline, publication history, the country you live in, and the theme/issue you’re submitting to (see above). We don’t accept attachments. Copy and paste your story into the body of your email, below your cover letter, and be sure the font isn’t too small or creative (clear, readable text is the way to our hearts). It should go without saying that paragraph breaks must be obvious, and work must be polished. Type SUBMISSION: [THEME] [YOUR TITLE] in the subject line of your message. If we accept your story, we’ll ask for a Word doc in standard manuscript format. We love getting work from authors we’ve published before, but to keep things varied we ask those authors to target every third issue or more. We have a very small staff and a very large number of submissions, so alas we can’t offer feedback on stories.

Reprints: We aren’t a reprint market but make exceptions for English-language work previously published outside Canada, U.S., British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand. We also accept new English translations of work that was previously published in another language, anywhere in the world. Be sure to read your contract carefully before submitting previously published work to ensure that you have the right to resell and we have the right to republish. You MUST indicate that your work has been previously published in your submission email, and let us know where and how long ago. Our reprint rates are the same as our rates for original fiction (see below). Please note that we consider work sold to readers through Patreon or crowdfunding drives to be previously published.

Art submissions: We commission artwork for each story, so don’t send us individual pieces for consideration. Rather, email us a link to your online portfolio, with cover letter, and if we think your style is a good fit for Lackington’s, we’ll ask if you’re willing to illustrate a specific tale when an opportunity comes up. 

Simultaneous and multiple submissions: No and no. We respond within 60 days or sooner, and we ask that authors submit no more than twice a reading period.

Poems, plays, flashlings?: We’re only interested in short stories. However, stories that experiment with structure are especially welcome–we love works that incorporate elements from poetic or dramatic forms.

Payment: We pay 1 cent CAD per word for stories ($25 CAD minimum), $25 CAD for interior illustrations, and $40 CAD for cover art. We do so using PayPal, and payment will be made before your story goes to print. Be sure to read our legalese, below, about what “first rights” entails.

Legalese: We buy first world electronic and print rights, which means we have exclusive rights to your work leading up to the date of publication and, in the case of stories, for 90 days thereafter (art may be reprinted or resold any time after we publish it). We also purchase reprint rights, which means that we have permission to reprint the work we bought from you in any future anthologies. Authors may publish a teaser of 200 words or less to promote their upcoming release. Illustrations, however, don’t break down that way, so artists must refrain from publishing/posting anything we buy from them until after we have unveiled the work in Lackington’s (“exclusive first rights” means just that). After 90 days post-publication, stories may be reproduced or anthologized in their entirety elsewhere, electronically or in print; we ask, however, that contributors or future editors note that the work originally appeared in Lackington’s. We reserve the right to reproduce purchased work in our online and print promotional materials (e.g. masthead, bookmarks).

Production: We have a professional editor on staff, so expect some minor nips and tucks (they correct typos and awkward/unclear sentences, and ensure that author style is consistent throughout each story). If the editor has questions, or suggestions for broader changes, we always contact the author for approval before going to print. Please trust the editor, who’s been doing this for a long time. They will use the lightest possible touch, respect the author’s taste on more subjective matters, and will not alter an author’s overall voice, ever. We hope contributors will consider editor feedback as a service rather than a slight — Lackington’s would not have accepted your work if we didn’t already admire it six ways to Sunday.

Via: Lackington’s.

Taking Submissions: Cosmic Caravans

Deadline: October 7th, 2017
Payment: $.02 a word and royalties

B Cubed Press is proud to Open Cosmic Caravans for submissions. Cosmic Caravans is a science fiction anthology that will focus on Pre-Teen readers. The work will be illustrated.
We are looking for stories or poems that re-enforce strength of character and scientific principles in a way children can relate to. We want to entertain and challenge curious readers to learn more about the universe, life, and the science that makes it all possible.
See our Facebook Group, Cosmic Caravan
Your sci-fi story or poem can be funny, scary, somber, mystery, wibbly-wobbly, thriller, or a fantastical romp through time and space. Whatever it is, you should be sure to explain the science behind it. Leave the reader learning something.
Cosmic Caravans, from B Cubed Press: we’re putting the science back in fiction.
Guidelines + Other Info
● Submissions can range from 300-3,000 words. We’re looking for quality over quantity.
● Stories must be presented in age appropriate ways. Anything over a “PG-13” rating will be automatically rejected. If Star Trek wouldn’t air it, it’s too risky.
● Fanfiction is not allowed. Sorry/not sorry.
● Payment is $.02 a word, plus a royalties share. Poetry pays $0.25 per-line (up to $25).
● Submissions are open from July 1-October 7. Please allow 2-3 weeks for our editors to review your stories.
● Manuscript format is required. Unsure what that means? Feel free to ask!
● Reprints are accepted.
● Multiple submissions are accepted, however we ask that you notify the publisher if your story is bought elsewhere.
● Cosmic Caravan will be edited by Bob Brown, Cheyenne Brown Ockerman, and Nathan Ockerman
● Submissions can be sent to [email protected], with the subject line “Cosmic Caravan Submission; [story title].”

Via: Cosmic Caravan’s Facebook Group.

Taking Submissions: The Last Line 2017

Deadline: October 1st, 2017
Payment: $20.00 – $40.00 and a contributor’s copy

Fiction: All stories must end with the last line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won’t get your story tossed from the slush pile).

Also, we understand that writers may add our last line to a story that they are currently working on or have already completed, and that’s cool. But please do not add our last line to a previously published story and submit it to us. We do not accept previously published stories, even if they have been repurposed for our last lines.

All Stories: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.

Multiple Submissions: We don’t mind if you want to submit multiple stories for the same issue. However, it is unlikely we will use more than one of your stories in the same issue.

Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to submission (@) thelastlinejournal (dot) com. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Please do not send .pdf versions of your story. Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The Last Line‘s post office box (PO Box 250382, Plano, TX, 75025-0382). No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage. Here is the last line for 2017:

Benjamin was a man of his word.
Due date: October 1, 2017

Notification: We don’t make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within two to three weeks after the issue’s deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the Web site as we will indicate each issue’s production status there.

Payment: We pay on publication: $20.00 – $40.00 for fiction (all U.S. dollars). We also send you a copy of the issue in which your piece appears. You’ll receive your money and issue at the same time.

(Note to our international writers: Postage cost for sending author copies overseas is becoming outrageous, so we are reducing international author payment by the amount it would cost to send one author copy overseas. However, if you would like to receive an electronic version of the issue [PDF] instead of a hard copy, author payment will not be changed.)

Via: The Last Line.

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Andy Graham

Liz – Welcome, Andy! Tell us about the part of the world you live in.

Andy – I live in Prague, the heart of Europe. It’s a beautiful city with all the benefits of a capital city without the chaos and cost that you get in larger cities like London, Paris or New York. The city centre really is a centre – you can walk all the big tourist spots in a couple of days. Cheap/free ice-skating rinks are set up in the centre each winter, you can live well relatively cheaply, it’s great for the kids, has loads of green space, enough castles and spires to inspire any number of gothic-tinged novels, and a number of beer gardens. It also has a Museum of Torture Instruments. I’m still debating whether I really want to go there for a ‘work day out’. Undoubtedly, it will prove a mine of inspiration, it may also give me nightmares – the things people do to each other is way worse than what any monster or divine creature can do.

Liz – It sounds like an amazing place. Plenty to inspire!
You grew up on the ‘fringes’ of Europe – can you tell us where, and did you have a favourite place?

Andy – I grew up in the UK – the fringes of Europe, geographically speaking. I was born in England but grew up in South Wales, where my family moved when I was around six. As a result, my sense of nationality is a bit blurred. Despite the UK being officially one country, the four constituent areas of the UK still have a strong sense of individuality.

The move from England to Wales also resulted in a blurred accent. That was mainly because the Welsh took the p**s out of me when I was a kid for being and sounding English. When I then lived in London (via Italy), the English took the p**s out of me for sounding Welsh. The story of my life, it seems, as the Czechs take the p**s out of me now when I try and speak their goulash of a language. (In my defence, Czech has fourteen cases and four genders. The way I speak it, the language is even more ‘gender fluid’.)

I didn’t have a favourite place as such, but I’ve always been a ‘home-bird’. I like my space and my routine. That’s been one of the big adjustments as a parent, having to share those things with the kids.

Liz – Sounds like you would have quite an interesting accent. What inspired you to do the One Book Interviews?

Andy – It’s healthy for a website to have regular, new content. It keeps things active and fresh. The problem was, I wasn’t sure what to do for mine. The obvious choices for an author are short stories, blogs or interviews. I don’t have time to produce a new short story a week purely for my website, and I find writing regular content for blogs tricky. I don’t want to be a digital echo, i.e. purely regurgitating and repackaging information that already exists on any number of other websites. A similar issue applies to author interviews – there are plenty of interviews out there that are a variation on where/why/what do you write? Many of those interviews do that very well, so I see no need to add to that.

One day I was playing around with the famous LOTR quote: ‘One ring to rule them all.’ I changed it to ‘one book to rule them all’ for an idea I was toying with. The One Book Interview was born soon after. It’s turning out really well. It gives me content for my site which is fresh and relevant to what I do, and it’s really interesting to read about what writers read, to discover the words behind the words.

Liz – What a great idea!

You’re a member of the British Blues Awards Hall of Fame – can you tell us about it, and how you came to be a member?

Andy – I’ve played music all my life. I toured Europe and beyond for a long time, playing bass in a blues/soul/funk/Americana band. As part of that band, I was lucky enough to win the bass player of the year category three years in a row (2010, 2011, 2012). Anyone who wins their category three times is ‘retired’ and put into the Hall of Fame. It needs to be said that that award belongs as much to the other members of that band (Ian and Nik) as to me – blues bass playing on its own is not always the most exciting thing to listen to!

I’m also very grateful to anyone who voted for me and anyone else in that competition. Music can be a hard way to make a living (just like writing) and support from the public for any kind of creative arts is essential for its survival, these days more than ever.

Liz – It’s a wonderful achievement to win once, let alone three times. How long have you played bass guitar for, and what inspired you to chose it?

Andy – In the county of West Glamorgan (where I grew up) there was a fantastic school music scene in the 80s. You could borrow instruments from school and there were all kinds of ensembles to play with – orchestras, wind bands, brass bands, big bands, groups etc. There was also a thriving local pop/rock music scene. When I was around thirteen-years old, someone came into the music class and asked if anyone would be interested in playing cello. I said yes. The next day they said they didn’t have any cellos left so I’d have to play double bass. Fine, I thought. Same thing, really. They aren’t the same thing. They’re very different, but a shortage of cellos pushed me onto double bass. Double bass has the same tuning as bass guitar. Before long, I was pestering my parents for a bass guitar and I got one for my 15th birthday. So, I didn’t choose bass guitar as such, the choice was sort of made for me. But I haven’t looked back. (Though I’ll grudgingly admit that sometimes I wish I’d been a drummer.)

Liz – Does your creativity extend to other instruments?

Andy – I’d love to have a decent double bass, but they cost too much for it to be possible at the moment. (We also don’t have enough space for it in the flat!) I played trombone for a while and have dabbled in piano, but bass guitar is my thing.

Liz – You’ve stated you have ‘too many interests’ – what are they?

Andy – Music. Reading. Writing. Pain science and its role in osteopathy and sports massage. Exercise. I’ve tried all sorts of things – swimming (I do a mean ‘splash and flounder’), sprinting (more like ‘slowing’ in my case), boxing, kick-boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and football (I think the kindest thing said about my football skills was “He runs a lot.”). These days I mainly just go to the gym. It helps keep me sane and I can fit it around my family and work commitments more easily than the other things. There’s also less of an injury risk. A big chunk of my non-work time is taken up with my kids. I want to spend time with them while they still want to spend time with me (and vice versa).

Liz – Ahhh… a fellow ‘splash and flounderer’! It’s a skill-set in its own right!

Your day job is working as an osteopath – how did you come to work in this field?

Andy – As with many osteopaths, I was converted by another osteopath. I hobbled into a clinic with a back injury and walked out almost pain free. I was already doing some work as a massage therapist at that time and thought that this was a great skill.

At that time, I’d been working as an EFL teacher off and on for over ten years and I wanted a change. The band wasn’t too busy a lot at that point, so I thought I had nothing to lose. I took out a loan, enrolled into an osteopathic college and went from there.

Typically, the busier the osteo course got, the busier the band became. To the point that my prep for my finals was a two-week tour of Europe with me trying to study in the back of the van while the rest of the band mocked me. Mercilessly.

Liz – Wow! That’s certainly an intense way to go about it. You’ve also worked as a sports massage teacher in the UK – which did you prefer?

Andy – I still teach sports massage. It works well for me to do clinic work in Prague and teach in the UK. It keeps things varied and interesting. It also means I get to go back to the UK, keep in touch with friends and the manual therapy profession over there.

I like the challenge of teaching groups of people, often with different experience and knowledge levels. It’s a nice change from the one-on-one clinic sessions or the solitary writing sessions. It also gives me ideas that I can use in my writing. For instance, I taught in Edinburgh last year and there’s an area in the city called Sighthill which became Blind Mount in one of my short stories, and a ruined version of Edinburgh castle also cropped up in the same story.

Liz – What inspired you to write “The Lords of Misrule’ series?

Andy – A few years ago I finally decided that if I really wanted to write, I needed to stop thinking about it and actually do it. So, I sat down and wrote two short stories. One was about a world where twins were banned because it made it harder for the government to track their citizens. The other was about some soldiers who find a monster under a mountain. That story sprang from a sentence I said to my young son one day: “Where’s your ray-gun gone, Ray?” I remember being quite worried about never having any more ideas ever again, so I decided to turn the short stories into a novel. It took a little bit of hammering and sculpting, but those two short stories became Franklin – a brother in search of himself, now book two of The Lords of Misrule.

That book combined some of the various interests of mine – deadlifts, pain science, BJJ (I don’t roll anymore but I try and stay in touch with the sport), urban myths in massage etc. It’s interesting re-reading the book now, I can see where ‘my head was’ with regard to a lot of these things.

Once I had finished Franklin, a few people asked for more of the back story, particularly relating to Bethina Laudanum, the president, who is central to the overall arc of the whole series. So, I wrote a prequel, Aijlan – The Silk Revolution, which became book one, Franklin became book two, and book three is called Rose – A Mother’s Unreason. Much as I like books one and two, book three is where I really feel I began to get to grips with what I’m doing.

All the Lords of Misrule books are morally ambiguous and draw on the current political machinations in the EU/US. I think this is both its strength and weakness. Some people love the realism, others get turned off by it. Some people really enjoy the breadth and depth of characters, others get confused by this. I like the series, the story of Franklin in particular. I realise that it has some issues and I made some newbie mistakes, but I believe the overall story is a good one.

Liz – I think it’s safe to say you won’t run out of inspiration/ideas anytime soon! Are there more to come?

Andy – I’m a third of the way through the rough draft of book four of The Lords of Misrule. I’m struggling with it, to be honest. Partly because ‘real’ work, kids and life in general seem to be eating into my writing time, and because An Angel Fallen grew from a short story to a novella that then needed promoting once it was launched.

I also have a collection of short stories set in the world of The Lords of Misrule. They should be ready to be published in a few months. Once that’s done and book four is written, I’ll probably put TLOM to bed and move on.

Liz – I can certainly understand the time-constraints of life on an author’s writing. Makes it all the more rewarding when you complete a project, though! You have a collection of five short stories, titled “I Died Yesterday” – were these written specifically with this project in mind?

Andy – No, the reverse! I wrote them because I had several ideas that didn’t fit into The Lords of Misrule. Often, I find that I get an idea and it sits in my mind like a mental splinter until I write it down.

I also like writing short stories. Novels can take months just to get a draft down, whereas a short story can be done in a fraction of the time. I find it good to keep things moving.

Liz – Can you tell us about your short story anthology “Glimpse – A New World” and what inspired it?

Andy – That book is a compilation of short stories by various authors. My contribution was ‘Switch’, a story partly inspired by some of the vague promises of efficacy that I’ve heard from some manual therapy practitioners. It also deals with the issue of trust when you go into a hospital for an operation; once you’re put under a general anaesthetic, you really are at the mercy of the doctors and nurses, and just like other people, not all doctors and nurses are good.

Switch provides a little back story to The Lords of Misrule – something which is not vital to the plot of the main books but adds colour to it. I’m going to take another look at Switch soon and add it to the collection of short stories I have coming out. They all serve the same purpose – they add detail to the main novels without distracting from the main plot.

Liz – Do you find suffering from insomnia helps or hinders your writing and inspiration?

Andy – A bit of both. I always seem to write well when I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a little like those authors who write while drunk or on drugs – the ‘higher centres’ of the brain are suppressed. Maybe it’s because insomnia makes me grumpy (grumpier?) and I just want to get words on the page. It seems to help, but I don’t recommend insomnia to anyone and would happily trade a little inspiration for a little real sleep!

Liz – As a fellow insomniac I completely understand! Your new release, An Angel Fallen, is a Supernatural Horror novella. What was the inspiration behind it?

Andy – A post on FB. Two teenagers had killed a dog. They cut off its nose and ears, split it up the middle, and crucified it. Then they took a selfie and posted it online. The whole thing was vile. While I was trying to get my head around why people would do such a thing, and what should be done to people like this, I found myself wondering what the dog would do if it could get its own back. At some point the dog became an angel. And then the angel became a fallen angel.

Why angel? Not entirely sure, to be honest. My wife has a couple of stone angels by our bed (little ones, not people sized, that would be a little too creepy) and I’d been toying with the idea of writing something with a supernatural twist. They are the only reasons I can think of for why the dog suddenly became an angel. As for the biblical plagues? That idea crept up on me as I started writing. Again, as with many of these things, I’m not 100% sure where that idea came from.

Liz – The cover for An Angel Fallen is quite powerful – who came up with the imagery/design?

Andy – The image was my idea, I found it by trawling through a lot of the online image databases. The design was done by a lady I found on Fiverr.

I’d used a statue of an angel for my short story collection I Died Yesterday. I liked the idea of having that theme continue with this novella, and given the title it seemed obvious. I toyed with a few other ideas, but kept coming back to this one. I sent the image and text to the cover designer and she worked her magic. I think it has turned out really well. My only concern is whether I’m going to run out of statues of angels to use on future books!

Liz – How do you find the time to write while juggling work and a young family?

Andy – By not seeing my friends as much as I’d like and by not sleeping as much as I need! It’s tricky at times, but there’s a natural ebb and flow to my day job which usually gives me sometime each day to do at least a little writing. A lot of it is just trying to make time to write. It’s a cliché, but if it’s important you have to make time for it.

Liz – So true. The sacrifice is worth it. Do you have a specific process you like to follow when you sit down to write?

Andy – I waste time on the Internet. Huff and puff for a while. Make and drink more coffee that I should (maybe there’s a link to my insomnia there?). Type and delete the word ‘the’ over and over, and slowly get into the groove. The more disciplined and regular I am with my writing, the easier it is. The longer I am away from the page, the harder it is to pick up again. This has been part of the issue this year – it has been very bitty.

Liz – Who are your favourite authors, and why?

Andy – Top three are currently:

Stephen King – because Stephen King.

Neil Gaiman – I love the way he tells a story. It’s dark but not over the top. He has a great attention to detail without smothering the reader with information. And his sentence structure is a thing of beauty.

Joe Abercombie (Lord Grimdark) – Say one thing for Lord Grimdark, say he writes great action scenes. Reckon I like the ambiguity of his characters. The humour. The grim realism. And I like the way he has a burst of short, choppy, grammatically incorrect sentences interspersed with longer sentences which connect and flow and carry you through the text with minimal punctuation.

Liz – What’s next on the horizon for you?

Andy – I want to finish book four of The Lords of Misrule, and publish the short stories set in that world this year. Then (or maybe before, still not sure) I’d like to write the follow up to An Angel Fallen. The working title is A Demon Risen. It will probably feature a character from An Angel Fallen and one from Sunflower (a story in my I Died Yesterday collection). I like the idea of a world of interconnecting stories. In the meantime, I want some sleep. J

Liz – Well it doesn’t sound like you’ll get any for a little while yet! Thank you so much for your time, Andy!

 

If you would like to find out more about Andy and his work, check out the below links:

An Angel Fallen Book Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072R3PXXP

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072R3PXXP

 

Andy Graham Website: http://andygrahamauthor.com/

 

 

Trembling With Fear 07/02/2017

Another week and another set of stories to enjoy. Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to make the incredibly delayed announcement for a partial expansion of ‘Trembling With Fear!’ On a fun side note, I’m actually getting caught up on submissions for both short stories and drabbles!

‘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.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Silver & White

The man didn’t want to be up here on these floors.  It was too noisy, too busy, too loud.  There were too many people, too many sensations.  He tried to tune it out, worked hard to keep his gaze firmly lowered as he pushed past the nurses in their trim, white uniforms.  He prayed they wouldn’t stop him, wouldn’t question him, and they didn’t.  They paid him no mind, just smiled and nodded as they wheeled the sick and decaying along faded linoleum on rattling, silver wheelchairs.

The elevators seemed to take an eternity to arrive.  The man could do nothing but wait, his heartbeat thundering in his ears like a distant, late summer storm.  It was during this eternity that he began to doubt himself, began to waiver.  Yet despite the strong urge to run, as soon as the elevator finally dinged its hollow sound and the silver doors slid open with a shake, the man stepped inside without hesitation.

It was the air.  That was the first thing he noticed upon exiting the elevator.  The air was sterile.  The smell of nothingness intermingled with an occasional whiff of ammonia or the sour stench of bleach.  It filled the hallway.  The man could almost feel it seeping into his pores, clinging to his clothes.  He hurried on, not looking back.

The door handle was cold to the touch, as was the door, and when he opened it, he was met with more of the icy chill, like a tangible manifestation of his own inner soul.

He examined his surroundings.  All was silver and white.  Polished metal cabinets lined the walls.  Trays with silver tools sat upon silver tables with clean white tablecloths draped about them.  The room was utterly dead, and the man knew all who dwelt within were dead as well.  As he turned to take in more of the still room, he was met with his own reflection in a thin silver mirror over a white porcelain sink.  It was a startling sliver of life in an otherwise lifeless setting.  He almost didn’t recognize himself and started suddenly at the image staring back at him.  He was thin and homely, with sunken in cheeks and eyebrows too bushy for his long, plain face.  He was wearing plain clothes, plain shoes, had a plain haircut…in fact, his entire being was screaming out in plain.  His manner suggested a shy, fragile man who probably had little contact with the outside world.  He had never had a girlfriend, or even a true friend for that matter.  He was the one picked on at school, the one always average but never above.  He was the person everyone looked at on the bus but never really noticed.  He was a tired, scared little man who had finally gone off the deep end but was afraid of drowning, and it showed in his every hesitant movement and gesture.

He maneuvered cautiously through the silver and white room, carefully winding his way around the metal tables until he arrived at the far wall.  This far wall was silver like the rest of the room.  Cold, metallic, lifeless, it had large drawers all along its face with numbers and letters scribbled above silver handles on pieces of white tape.  Trembling, the man reached out and grabbed one of the handles.  He gingerly pulled.  It slid open without a sound, and the man gasped.  The sudden intake of cold air made him cough, and as he coughed, he turned to see another man standing just a few yards away with another drawer from the long silver wall open in front of him.

As he turned, the other man turned as well, and their eyes locked.  Immediately, a sheepish, embarrassed look crossed both men’s faces.  Ashamed, they reacted as if they wanted to turn away, but some force seemed to hold them locked in a helpless, awkward stare.  The one was a fractured, mirror image of the other, as were the compulsions that led them both to this cold room in the dead of night.  Slowly and deliberately, both men pushed the drawers back into the long wall and stepped away.  Without a word, the stranger then quietly retreated into the shadows.  A moment later, a door creaked, and he was gone.

The remaining man stood rigid and still, breathing in the silence.  He looked down at his hands intently, held them in his gaze for a long moment, then reached over and picked up a silver tray from a nearby table.  He watched as his reflection distorted and cascaded, morphing into hideous caricatures.  Terrified, he dropped the tray, and for the first time in his adult life, unlocked the door hiding all of his innermost secrets, needs, desires, and emotions, screaming the scream of a dead man.

Joshua Shioshita

Joshua Shioshita


Joshua L Shioshita is a film school drop-out and occasional musician currently residing in the U.S. where he works an office by day and writes by night.  He is a proud lover of all things eerie and macabre much to the annoyance of his beautiful wife and two ferocious cats.
You can visit him at Joshua Shioshita

Date Night

Watched by dead eyes, me and Billy crack open the crypt’s padlocks.

Our bag tinkles with cans; this is as exciting as it comes in our little
town.

‘Ladies first,’ Billy sniggers.

We stretch out across the tombs. I’m lying on a Knight.

We drink, smoke and cuddle. I shouldn’t do the first two though. Not in
my condition.

Behind me I hear a rustle. Turning I spot her- bloodstained dress,
bashed in head, blue lips.

She looks familiar. I turn to Billy. ‘Is that…?’

No warning; his fists pulverise my skull.

Like trash, he stows me away. Smiling constantly.

Alyson Faye

Alyson trained originally in the UK as a teacher/tutor. She wrote a couple of children’s books which were published by Collins and Ginn. Now she lives near Bronte terrain in Yorkshire with her teen son, partner and 3 rescue cats. She writes noir Flash Fiction (some of which is published online) and spooky longer tales (3 are available for download on www.www.alfiedog). She has a collection of her Flash fiction coming out soon from Chapel Town Books in the UK. She enjoys old movies, singing, and swimming. She is a confirmed chocoholic and is still hopeless at maths. Her blog is at http://www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com.

Darkness and Light

The night was darker than usual.
No moon or stars lit her path.
The heat from the sun had lingered.
Carrying her coat in her arms she didn’t hear him creep up behind her.
There were no streetlights to cast a glimmer on the blade he raised and plunged it deep into her back.
She crumpled to the ground. Her screams muffled by the pungent hand held firmly over her mouth.
Piercing evil eyes met her panic as the knife sank through her flesh, stabbing her heart.
A bright light caught her eyes as her last breath left her body.

Amanda J Evans

Amanda J Evans writes paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Amanda lives in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. She was published in several journals and anthologies in 2016. Her first novel Finding Forever was published in 2017 and her forthcoming title Save Her Soul will be released in the summer of 2017. Amanda has also secured a publishing deal with Handersen Publishing for a children’s book and this will be released in the fall, 2017. Amanda is the author of *Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, *published in 2012. You can find out more on her website www.amandajevans.com.

Time of Death

I wake to find myself in a nightmare.  Instead of my bedroom, I’m in a white room with dozens of other people.  A small man with a clipboard stares at me.  On the wall there’s a number.  10.38.

“103.  Below average.”

“What?”

“The total should be closer to 107.”

“What?”

“Deaths.  107 deaths per minute.  That minute.”

He points at the number.

“I’m dead?”

He nods.

“So, what’s next?  Judgement?”

“No.  You spend eternity with those who died at the same time.”

“What about heaven?”

“No heaven, no hell.  Just this.  It’s the most efficient way.”

I start to scream.

 

 

 

 

 

R. J. Meldrum

R. J. Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010 with his wife Sally. His interest in the supernatural is a lifetime obsession and when he isn’t writing ghost stories, he’s busy scouring the shelves of antique book-sellers to increase his collection of rare and vintage supernatural books. During the winter months, he trains and races his own team of sled dogs.

He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Digital Fiction and James Ward Kirk Fiction.

You can find out more about RJ at his homepage.

Taking Submissions: Body Parts Magazine Issue #9: Nothing but Witches, Bitches!

Deadline: August 1st, 2017
Payment: $5 for flash fiction and $10 to $20 (depending on length) for short stories

Issue #9: Nothing but Witches, Bitches! (Fall/Winter 2017)
All witches, all the time! Permutations of witchery, magick, crones, warlocks and familiars from fairy tale baddies to black or white magic, witch doctors, and the merely misunderstood. Personal power, communion with spirits and the dead, spells, trickery, solitude and a visionary third eye with a window on the fates. Submission deadline: 8/01/17

We are not afraid.”

Body Parts Magazine is an online literary magazine of horror, erotica, speculative fiction, essays and art. Each themed issue honors Eros and Thanatos, the Greek gods of libido and mortido—life and death. We celebrate the vast and various expressions of dreams and darkness, our primitive desires and urges, and seek to encounter—and embrace—those shadowy monsters who dwell in the dimly lit corners of human experience. 

Upcoming Themes
Submissions for each issue are accepted through the last day of each reading period (if specified). You are welcome to submit material for any issuesimply indicate which issue you would like your work to be considered for.

Be advised: we generally begin reading submissions for a particular issue after the close of its submission deadline, so don’t panic if you haven’t heard back before then.

Fiction
Body Parts accepts well-written, thoughtfully structured horror, erotic horror, speculative fiction, dark fantasy (including fairy tales and mythology), exceptional stories about ghosts, ghouls, monsters and wretched creatures, Gothic fiction, and all combinations of the above. Our boundaries are few and far between.

Flash Fiction: 1,000 words or fewer.
Short Stories: up to 8,000 words.
Serialized or Longer Fiction: query us with total word count.

Art/Photography
We accept your original artwork and photography reflective of an issue’s theme. Email a query with a link to your art online (web, Dropbox, Google album, etc.) Payment varies.

Essays & Interviews
We accept short essays and interviews (up to 1200 words) about topics that fit within our themes, people integral to the type of work published in Body Parts (writers, artists, photographers, etc.). Query first. We do not accept book/game/music reviews. Payment varies.

Payment
Body Parts is a paying market. We offer an honorarium of $5 for flash fiction and $10 to $20 (depending on length) for short stories and nonfiction to authors, and $5 to $20 for artwork and photography published in our journal.

Rights
We request exclusive rights as long as the issue in which your work appears is current. Once the subsequent issue has been published, you’re free to pursue reprint publication with other journals, anthologies, etc.

How to Submit
Cut and paste your text and submit it within the body an email. Emails with attachments will be deleted unread.
In the subject line, include the word Submission, the issue number you’re submitting to, and the title of your piece.
Please include a publication-ready bio and your website/social media sites. If your piece is selected for publication, we’ll send you a “Congratulations” email and request your PayPal email address and an author photo. Response times can be lengthy so simultaneous submissions are welcome. Please email us to withdraw your work from consideration if it’s placed in another publication.

Email submissions to: bodypartsmagazine (at) gmail (dot) com.

Via: Body Parts Magazine.

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