The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Isabella Hunter

Stacey – Hi Isabella, it’s great to have you here on the Horror Tree! Alright, so in the spirit of getting the mundane questions out of the way first, tell our audience a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Isabella – I’m a British Author currently living in Manchester. I have been published in several horror and fantasy anthologies over the last few years. My writing it heavily influenced by Japanese myths and folklore with my personal favourites being the Kitsune and Jorogumo.

 

Stacey – When did the writing bug first bite?

 

Isabella – I started writing fiction in primary school, sending stories to my father and teachers. My dad loved it, but the teachers got a bit worried after the fifth horror story in a row. I’ve written consistently ever since then, posting on online blogs, and more recently publishing in anthologies.

 

Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?

 

Isabella – I’m a creative person and I love to share that with other people. I enjoy writing as a way of expressing the ideas and images that I have, but I also hope people do enjoy what I write as well. I love all forms of story telling though, I’ve done script writing, and even had a go at game development. I will do anything to tell the story I have imagined.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Isabella – I have a massive phobia of vomit, that I’m currently going through therapy for, but that leads into a whole host of other fears. I’m scared of a lot of things including; hospitals, zombies, and the dark to name a few. I do love watching and reading things I know will scare me though.

 

Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?

 

Isabella – I have to say Kelley Armstrong is probably the person who has inspired me most. It was her work that made me want to write my own work and a particular scene in Dime Store Magic was one of the first times a book had terrified me. Her YA series Darkest Power is more supernatural horror than her adult series and they are some of my favourite books. I generally write in a second world fantasy setting though and I think Trudi Canavan and her Black Magician Trilogy was who made me fall back in love with it.

 

Stacey – What’s your writing process like?

 

Isabella – I am a big fan of brain storming to get my idea. As I normally write short stories I can do a summary of the plot and write it just based on a paragraph or two of information. Although I am working on a novel at the moment which is a much harder task for me. I came up with an idea and then kept hitting dead ends where I ran out of information on where it was going. I have to stop and do a bit more brainstorming when that happens to help me get back on track. Luckily I seem to be on the home stretch but this is new territory for me, so fingers crossed.

 

Stacey – Have you ever used a word or said a word aloud so many times it’s lost all meaning?

 

Isabella – All the time. At the start of this I was convinced British wasn’t right. Once I forgot the word town, I knew what it was and how to describe it, but the word had been almost erased from my memory. I had to ask my partner ‘what is the place that’s bigger than a village but smaller than a city?’

 

Stacey – Why do you think Horror and Halloween go together so well?

 

Isabella – Halloween is all about the weakening of the barriers between the world of the living and the world of the spirits. It’s only natural that it would pair perfectly with horror, that’s why so many horror movies take place at Halloween. Plus it is like a modern day masquerade, everyone is wearing masks, allowing people to reveal their true selves.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?

 

Isabella – I’m a bit stubborn so even if I don’t like a book I have to finish it. I do this with TV series as well. I feel like it is a cope out but when I was quite young I picked up Eragon, didn’t even make it past the first page. I couldn’t deal with books with glossaries of fantasy words at that point. I’ve been thinking of going back and trying to finish though. I even finished The Hobbit with a six year hiatus (I’d dog eared the page!)

 

Stacey –The first movie I saw at the cinemas as a child was Hocus Pocus. It’s stuck with me ever since. Name one horror movie that’s stuck with you?

 

Isabella – The Grudge. I watched it when I was nine when my dad rented it from Blockbusters. It terrified me. I was convinced I was going to get attacked whenever I turned the lights out (hence my fear of the dark). It was also my first run in with the On-Ryo myth which I’ve since written about as well.

 

Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?

 

Isabella – I would love to meet Angela Carter. She is one of my favourite authors and The Bloody Chamber had a massive influence on many of my short stories. It was my first experience with magic realism and opened up a whole new style of writing I hadn’t given the time of day to.

 

Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?

 

Isabella – I know it’s said all the time but it’s true. Keep writing. Keep submitting. I’ve been writing for pretty much my entire life and I’ve published for two of those. I have had countless rejections to getting more acceptances than rejections in the year. Also, just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean everyone will hate it. I’ve had the same piece rejected, saying I clearly don’t know my subject matter to others thanking me for submitting to them and allowing them to publish it. Keep at it.

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Her muscles clenched and she curled up on the chair as pain ripped through her back. She reached around and felt something moving under her kimono, under her skin. It pushed hard and she pulled her hand away. It punctured her skin and ripped through the back of her clothes. She let out a long screech as her claws scraped across the wooden table.

 

There is a paragraph from The Spider Sister which is my first ever published horror story. The entire story is free to read on the Tell-Tale Press Library.

 

https://telltalepresshorrorlibrary.blogspot.com/2019/05/creatures-short-story-13-spider-sister.html

 

Thank you so much for your time Isabella! If you would like to find out more about the author, check out the links below.

 

Facebook –
https://www.facebook.com/writerisabellahunter/

 

Twitter –

https://twitter.com/EvanovaLev

 

Blog –

https://isabellahunter.blog/

 

Taking Submissions: The One and Future Kingdom

Deadline: February 14th, 2020
Payment: Royalties

VOLUME ONE: THE ONCE AND FUTURE KINGDOM

Theme:
Camelot. King Arthur. Merlin the magician. Knights in shining armor. It’s one of the most frequently told stories in the history of Western civilization…

But we haven’t heard YOUR story yet.

Tell us your tale of Camelot, Avalon, the Once and Future King, any of the Knights of the Round Table or their ladies (faithful or otherwise).

Genre:
Fantasy and all of its subgenera – as light or as dark as you want to go

Heat level:
PG to R; if there are enough submissions, we will do a volume of Camelot-related erotica.

Length: 5,000 – 10,000 words

NO TV OR FILM RELATED STORIES – THIS IS NOT A FAN FIC COLLECTION

DEADLINE: 2/14/20

PUBLICATION DATE: 3/17/20

IRISH HORSE ANTHOLOGIES is a small publisher specializing in themed anthologies. We will accept submissions according to the theme of each anthology.

Submissions should be provided electronically to our email or via private message on Facebook.

Submission guidelines:
12 pt. Times New Roman
1.5 line spacing
Indent 0.5″

All submissions should at a minimum be proofread and spell checked before being sent.

NO simultaneous submissions.
NO buy-in ever.
word length 5k-10k

Royalty structure: 40/60. Publisher retains 40% to recoup editing and cover art costs. 60% will be split evenly between the authors.

Via: Irish Horse Productions’ Facebook.

Unholy Trinity: ‘I Don’t Want To See Him Impeached, I Want To See Him In Prison,’ Said Nancy Pelosi: Three Ways To Give The Speaker What She Wants by Marleen S. Barr

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

I. Trump loved watching the sumo wrestlers during his trip to Japan. The fighting made him feel  comfortable. When Trump stood to give the participants a trophy, he looked inside and saw a roach wearing harem pants and pointed shoes. The insectoid genie told Trump that the trophy was her home. She asked him to make a wish. “I want to be a sumo wrestler,” said Trump. Wrestling attire appeared on his corpulent body. When the wrestlers bumped against him he bumped back. The feminist genie made sure that Trump spent the rest of his life imprisoned in the wrestling ring.

II. While taking an early morning stroll on the White House lawn, a staffer stubbed her toe on a small circular object emblazoned with the word “HILLARY.” The sparrow-sized emissary from the planet Hillary exited her tiny spaceship. When the staffer brandished a handgun, rays emanated from the Hillaryian’s eyes; the gun disappeared.  Despite the alien’s power, the staffer knew that she could not risk having Trump see a ship named “Hillary.” So she covered the ship with her scarf. The alien carried out her mission to extradite Trump to a Hillaryian jail where mini-me Hillarys placed him in solitary confinement.

III. No one was surprised to learn that Robert Mueller was a robot. When Robert De Niro offered to replace Mueller via reprising his Saturday Night Live impersonation, House Judiciary Committee chair Jerrold Nadler invited him to read Mueller Report findings on television. The riveted audience watched robot Robert appear, interrupt De Niro, and declare that according to “The Three Laws of Robotics,” he could not harm Americans. He explained that, although Attorney General William Barr had programmed him not to indict Trump, he was able to override the program. Then robot Robert stated that Trump should go directly to jail.  

Marleen S. Barr

Marleen S. Barr is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the  science fiction issue of PMLA. She has published the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir.  Her When Trump Changed: The Feminist Science Fiction Justice League Quashes the Orange Outrage Pussy Grabber is the first single-authored Trump short story collection.

Taking Submissions: The Other Stories (Vol 46.) Beyond Death

Deadline: October 7th, 2019
Payment: $5

(Vol 46.) Beyond Death; deadline 7th October.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to terrify, scar and haunt our audience of 10,000 daily listeners, then we want your stories!

If accepted, we’ll get our fantastic narration team to lend their voices, our editor will sprinkle some magic pixie dust on the track, and you could have your story heard by thousands of listeners each week.

Submission guidelines can be found HERE

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES TO

[email protected]

Title your email with the following syntax:

SUBMISSION | STORY TITLE | THEME | WORDCOUNT

(e.g. SUBMISSION | THE MARTIAN | SPACE | 1,982)

Via: Hawk And Cleaver.

Taking Submissions: Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores

Deadline: September 28th, 2019
Payment: 6¢ per word for new fiction, 2¢ per word for fiction reprints
Note: This is being listed a little early due to the short window.

Submissions Schedule

We have a regular submissions schedule, easy to remember and plan for:
four times a year, one week each time, midnight E.S.T. to midnight E.S.T., at the beginning of each season of the year:
March 21 – 28, June 21 – 28, September 21 – 28, December 21 – 28

We began The Kepler Award this spring.  The purpose of the award is to recognize and encourage writers of excellent science fiction and fantasy stories that creatively extrapolate on known science in constructive and exciting ways. You can learn about The Kepler Award here.

We pay 6¢ per word for new fiction, 2¢ per word for fiction reprints, 2 – 6¢ per word for new fact-based work, 1- 4¢ per word for reprinted fact articles.
Reprints must not have been published elsewhere within the past year or be available for sale online.

For reading impaired individuals, our submissions manager and ‘forget password’ have a captcha compatible with screen readers.

 

Writers Guidelines

We accept new work as well as reprints, anywhere from 1000 word flash fiction on up, but all else being equal, shorter pieces will be favored. We also accept poetry.  We have tough standards but only care about the quality of the writing, storytelling ability, characters, plot, and ideas, not whether you’re new or established.  Submit only work you are proud of — if you don’t love it, neither will our readers!  If in doubt, edit it down further.  And further.

For the many writers who valued our feedback on their stories, we have brought back a modified version of the feedback system which will not be time intensive for the editors:
— Writers who would like feedback on their stories should request it at the end of their submissions comments.
— You will receive feedback only if you request it.
— Writers requesting feedback must understand that this is Unedited Feedback Not Intended as Diplomatic Critique; it is the honest and considered opinions of our first readers and assistant editors, designed to help the editors in their assessment of stories.
— There may be repetition and contradictory opinions.
— Readers can opt in or out of having their feedback passed on, so there may be few or no opinions to send you.
— Comments will be passed on without reader names.

Fiction

We are looking for: well written original work in science fiction, fantasy, myth, legend, fairy tales, and eldritch, in written, podcast, video, and/or graphic story form, and from around the world. We care about character, plot, ideas, and storytelling ability.  We accept both serious and humorous work. We like science fiction in all its states of matter, from solid to gaseous to plasma, i.e., from hard as steel to as insubstantial as interstellar space.  If you use real existing science, please get it right.  You can also read the About Us page for more information.

Hard Sells: Vampires, werewolves, zombies, monsters in general, super-heroes, Lovecraftian stories, anthro, robots with feelings, gritty and despairing post-apocalyptic worlds.

We don’t accept: horror, hate, blood & guts, explicit language, excessive violence, angst-ridden romance, fan fiction*, sex, axe-grinding, or stories that leave readers feeling they’ve had the energy and joy sucked out of them. Also, seems we have to say it, we don’t take work that makes fun of grief, suffering, and death, whether of real, imaginary, or religious characters.

Fact

We are looking for fact-based articles, interesting information, reviews, and humor in any discipline that relates to the type of stories we publish or that might provide inspiration and information for writers and artists.

Artwork and Other Imagery

We’re looking for storytelling through images.  We want to see skillful composition, use of color, rendering of form, character, and emotions.   For photomanipulations or photography using models, etc., all stock and resources used must be credited and used according to the stock provider’s rules.

We are not presently commissioning any work.  We are looking only for already existing work for use on site pages or for illustrating stories.  We pay $10 for the non-exclusive right to use each image, for as long as the site is online.  If we publish a print collection we will pay a pro-rata share for each image used.

For video, if possible send links, and have it available in both MP4 and WEBM formats for compatibility across all browsers.

Just as for written works, we’re not looking for romance, fan art*, hate, horror, blood & guts, excessive violence, sex, nudity, copies of photographs, propaganda, or work that leave readers feeling they’ve had the energy and joy sucked out of them.  We do not accept work using materials that required the death or mistreatment of animals.

*If the original work is still in copyright and was not commissioned or sanctioned by the creator or owner we will not accept it.  Some fan art is accepted or encouraged by the copyright owners — e.g., cosplay, and these works we welcome.
An illustration of a fairy tale, myth, legend, old classic, or any work no longer in copyright would not be counted as fan art.

You can read a copy of our standard contract here.   It can be varied as needed to include the rights of translators, voice actors, etc.

 

Please Read Before Submitting:

In the submissions comments, tell us only:
— your name,
— story title,
— genre
— word count
— whether your story is new or would be a reprint, and if a reprint, where and when it was first published. If a reprint, it must not have been published within the preceding twelve months and must not be currently available to read for free or for sale as an individual story.
Do not include a resume; we will judge the story solely on its own merits.

We may ask for revisions on a story we are interested in, whether it is new or a reprint, but a request for revision is not a guarantee of acceptance.

No simultaneous submissions, and no multiple submissions to the same genre.

Please follow standard manuscript format

We prefer text in .docx Times New Roman and images as a jpg or through a link.

Use letters and numbers only for filenames or else your file may not load.

For video, if possible send links, and have it available in both MP4 and WEBM formats for compatibility across all browsers.

On the submissions page, check that you agree with the terms of our guidelines before you submit.

A small percentage of people may find that the spam filters on their email host don’t allow them to register.  Adding donotreply at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com and submissions at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com
to your address list may solve this problem.  If it doesn’t, you can email  submissions at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com  and we will manually input you into the system.

Addresses to note and add to address books:
cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com/portal  — login for subscribers to the magazine.
submissions at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com — for questions about submissions.
editor at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com   Fran Eisemann, editor-in-chief
fantasyeditor at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores dot com  Casey Honebrink
eldritcheditor at cosmicrootsandeldritchshores.com  Aaron Gudmunson

We get a large number of submissions, so please be patient.  Turn-around times are generally between one and twelve weeks.  If you haven’t heard back after twelve weeks, feel free to query.

 

Interstellar submitters please use standard Earth formats or query in advance for other arrangements.  We’d love to be the first to publish your work here on Earth!  🙂

 

  When creating passwords for the submissions manager we suggest 12 characters or more with a combination of numbers and both upper case and lower case letters.  Please avoid using the ampersand &, percent sign %,  
plus sign +,  quotation marks “,  less than <,  or greater than > 

After reading our guidelines, you can login to the submissions manager and submit stories through the link at the bottom of our submissions page.

For reading impaired individuals, our submissions manager and ‘forget password’ have a captcha compatible with screen readers.
Our thanks go to Glenn Lyvers at Prolific Press for creating this feature for us.

Good luck, and we look forward to reading you!

For people interested in becoming readers for Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores, you can read about the process through the link at the bottom of our submissions page.

Via: Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores

Taking Submissions: Underbelly Magazine #5

Deadline: January 15th, 2020
Payment: $10

Hello fellow travelers,

We are now officially open for submissions for the fifth issue of Underbelly Magazine! If you’re a writer looking for a place for your strange and disturbing fiction, check out our Submission Guidelines page and get in contact with us.

If you’re interested in seeing the kinds of things we’re looking to publish, our first four issues are available for free here.

The deadline for submissions is January 15th, 2020, so get writing and/or submitting! We look forward to exploring the Underbelly with you once more…

What We Want:

We are a semi-annual zine interested in Extreme Horror, Splatterpunk, Bizarro, LGBTIQ+, Pornorotica (yes, we made that up, but you know what we mean!), freaky fantasy worlds and futures, ridiculous mash-ups, or anything just plain weird.

Dark, twisted, and disturbing stories that push the envelope and explore the far reaching limits of the unnerving side of humanity. The things that people won’t talk about in polite company. The things that we all think about but refuse to acknowledge. Bring it to the light, let us look at it directly in the eye, and if we like what we see, we want it.

What We Don’t Want:

Don’t mistake permissiveness for blithe acceptance. We don’t want your gross-out rape fantasies, sick fuck bullshit unless there’s a good reason for it. We want art!

Length/Payment/Legal Stuff:

We’re interested in a wide range of lengths, from 1,000 word flash pieces up to 7,500 words. We would also be willing to accept longer stories on a case-by-case basis. A token payment of $10 will be issued upon publication. Be aware if you publish with us that any future submission of your story to another publication will be as a reprint, which can hurt its future value. We retain worldwide first publishing rights on your story for both electronic and print, along with electronic and print reprint rights for any future anthologies we may publish. After first publication, rights would immediately revert back to the author.

We do not accept previously published stories. Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as we are made aware if the story is accepted elsewhere. Multiple submissions are accepted as well, provided that you let us know and do not send more than three stories at the same time.

Send your submissions as attachments to [email protected] in either .doc/.docx or .rtf format following the standard manuscript format. We hope to hear from you!

– H. J. Bartels & A. Fletcher Harper

Via: Underbelly Magazine.

Serial Killers: The Movie’s End. Part 3

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

The Movie’s End. Part 3

Tracy heard Mike’s feet scuffing across the hardwood floor as he came out of the bedroom. She had no desire to speak to him, so she pretended to be engrossed in the show, hoping he’d wander out to the kitchen, or maybe he would leave the trailer entirely, finding somewhere else to pass the time until she was gone.

She couldn’t be so lucky. In her peripheral vision, Tracy saw him standing there. He was facing her, his hands at his side, staring at her. Not only is he pathetic, Tracy thought, but he’s a creep!

He was quiet for so long that, when Mike finally did speak, it made Tracy flinch. She hoped he hadn’t noticed; the last thing she wanted was for him to think she was intimidated by him. This wimp couldn’t even scare a neurotic cat.

“Tracy,” Mike said, “I forgive you.”

Forgive me? Tracy thought. For cheating? Well, guess what, loser? I don’t give a fuck if you forgive me or not.

This was the response Tracy’s mind was prepared to administer, but she feared it might start a long, drawn-out conversation. She needed another response, but what could she say? “Thank you?” No, her pride wouldn’t let her to utter those words; it implied she felt sorry for what she had done, and nothing could be further from the truth. Oh, but what words would suffice then? The seconds were ticking by, and he was waiting for her to say something.

Finally, Tracy settled on the most non-committal thing she could think of.

“Uh huh.”

And that was it. He wasn’t going to get any more out of her. Tracy kept her eyes on the television, twirling her hair around one finger, waiting for him to go away.

But he didn’t. Instead, Mike addressed her again.

“Tracy, did you hear me?” he asked insistently.

This was her moment. Tracy knew if she got a little aggressive, Mike would scamper away. She could pretend she was agitated over the fact that he was interrupting her show when she clearly didn’t care what he said.

With her best out-of-control bitch voice, Tracy said, “Goddammit, Mike, don’t you see I’m trying to watch a show here?”

Just as she got to the “dammit” part of her first word, she dramatically snapped her head in his direction. In the past, she noticed that shouting accompanied by a sharp, sudden movement were enough to make him back down. This time, that didn’t happen, but Tracy tried not to let her surprise show on her face. She glared at him, waiting for the moment when he would break.

It wasn’t until he raised his hand that she realized he wasn’t going to…

…because he was holding a gun.

Tracy opened her mouth to tell him to put down the weapon so they could talk things out, but she didn’t have time. Mike flexed his finger, and a bullet exploded out of the gun. He was no marksman, but at this distance it would have been impossible to miss. Tracy’s head rocked back as the bullet slammed into the right side of her skull, entering just above the eye and ripping through the back. There was an audible crunch when the tiny hunk of metal cracked her head open, followed by the wet sounds of brains and blood splashing against the wall behind her. Tracy’s body slumped back and slid down the couch, stopping just short of toppling to the floor. Mike watched her body tremble as the nerve endings twitched in their final death throes. He set the gun on the couch cushion beside her and waited.

Once her quaking was done, Mike picked up Tracy’s body, carrying her into their bedroom and placing her on the bed. As he did this, Mike wondered if she’d had her affair right here in their room. Then he laughed at himself. What an absurd thing to wonder. What difference did it make?

Tracy’s body was now resting on the gasoline-soaked mattress. She hadn’t heard Mike go out the backdoor to retrieve the gas can from his truck, and apparently, she also hadn’t detected the odor of gasoline filling the trailer. If she had, then Mike was certain she would have taken off and foiled his whole plan. Thank God for the Jerry Springer Show because if Tracy hadn’t been so engrossed in that, then Mike would not have been able to do as he pleased now.

With Tracy in place, Mike had only two steps left. He grabbed the gas can and spread what remained of the fluid around the trailer. It didn’t take long because he’d used a lot in the bedroom. His reason for this was symbolic: they had slept together in that room. They’d held each other close, fallen asleep while spooning, had sex there, put most of their possessions in there. It was the place that contained the bulk of their memories together. Therefore, that was the room that had to be burned the most thoroughly. Mike realized he’d used far too much in the bedroom when he got to the kitchen, and only a few drops of gasoline came out. No matter. As long as that bedroom was obliterated, he didn’t care if any of the other rooms burned.

Mike went back into the bedroom, dropping the gas can just inside the door. He went over to the bed, digging a book of matches out of his breast pocket. It dawned on him that he wanted another cigarette first. He stepped back from the bed, so the match wouldn’t make the fumes ignite.

Once the tip of his cigarette was glowing, Mike took two more steps back. The mattress was so soaked that the flames might jump right up to the ceiling once the match landed, and he didn’t want to get caught in the blast.

Mike struck another match and threw it on the bed. It blew out before it touched down, and then he remembered the ceiling fan was still on! He reached up and pulled the string to deactivate it. Then he ignited a third match and pitched it at the mattress, only to watch the flame die out again.

Mike realized what he had to do. He took a step closer to the bed, leaning forward at the waist as he struck match number four. Then, with reflexes he wasn’t even aware he had, Mike threw the burning stick at the bed and jumped back to the doorway. This time, the flame survived its short trip through the air. Just as he’d predicted, the bed practically exploded once the flame touched down. He moved back another step, raising an arm to shield his face against the blast of heat. He remained in the doorway for another moment, peeking over the edge of his forearm to watch the corpse and bed burn. He left when the flames started creeping around the room.

Mike sat on the couch, staring at the Jerry Springer Show credits and listening to the sound of the flames crackling in the bedroom. There was nothing to do now but sit and wait. Out of instinct, he picked up the remote control. He was going to die, but that didn’t mean he had to be bored while he waited.

Mike changed the stations several times. There was either nothing on that he wanted to see, or the program was on a commercial break. He knew he could flip to the TV Guide Channel if he really wanted to find something of interest, but he didn’t feel like waiting through the slow crawl of that menu. Knowing his luck, the flames would reach the couch just as he found something good.

Mike continued to press the “channel up” button, wading through what few stations he and Tracy got, until he came across something amazing, something that blew his mind, something that made him realize the universe was speaking to him.

He came across a station that was playing Metropolis.

Tears welled up in Mike’s eyes. This was an example of the stars aligning just right, something which very rarely happened to him. The saddest part was that, when the news featured a story about this tragic murder-suicide, the irony of this moment would not be discussed. It would be lost in the ashes.

Mike put the remote down and stretched out on the couch, watching the movie that Tracy hadn’t let him finish, while the flames spread. When a commercial break came, he glanced over to see how fast the fire was moving. Judging by the speed at which the trailer was going up, it wouldn’t take that long to reach him.

And he laughed. He laughed at the stupid, bitter, sad, irony of it all. Of everything. Of his life. Of this moment.

He laughed because he realized that, after all these years, he still wouldn’t get to see the movie’s end.

Steve Grogan

Steve Grogan is a writer and musician who pays absolutely no attention to genre. His literary influences include Phillip K. Dick and Thomas Pynchon. He is also inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins. Lastly, Steve enjoys the “pop culture Cuisinart” filmmaking style of Quentin Tarantino. You can find more of his writing on his Amazon Author Page.

Taking Submissions: Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die

Deadline: November 30th, 2019
Payment: $0.02/word, potentially more!

Neon Hemlock Press is open to submissions of short stories to be considered in the anthology Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die from September 15th to November 30th.

The compensation level for this anthology will be set by the success of our Kickstarter! At a minimum it will be $0.02/word. You can find the Kickstarter here.

A link to a submission portal will be displayed during our open period.

We are looking for:

  • Wordcount: Under 6,000 words. 1-4,000 words is probably the sweet spot.

  • Concept: They joked that the only things left would be cockroaches and Twinkies, but they were wrong. They underestimated us. Tell us stories of queer resilience and queer survival, stories set after the end of a world that could be ours but might not be. Tell us about new queer beginnings born amidst the broken promises of the future.

    Be inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road, yes, but the visions of the apocalypse we love also include The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, Apocalypse World by Vincent & Meguey Baker, Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller, and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.

  • What we want to see: We are looking for speculative stories that explore ramifications of the apocalypse through queer narratives. We want queer stories and we want trans stories and we want indefinable stories. We welcome a broad interpretation of the post-apocalyptic genre; give us your scraps of hope in every ruined future (we love genre elements from fantasy, horror and science fiction). Throughout, we’re looking for rich, varied and nuanced understandings of gender, family and ethnicity.

  • What we don’t want to see: Don’t tell us directly how it ended. You can draw implications from the sunless sky or the poison water, but don’t give us a road map. We revel in the vagueness of possibility, so rather than Lady Liberty buried the sand, give us ambiguous landmarks and amalgamations of real places.

    We’re not interested in unexamined bigotry or sexual violence; pieces that include such should be nuanced or looking at the post-event experience of the survivors.

    Also, no zombies please, unless you have some very unconventional ones!

Guidelines:

  • Please submit your story in .doc or .docx file, formatted in something approaching Standard Manuscript Format. The editor has a slight aversion to Courier and a fondness for Georgia.

  • Please include a cover/query letter with the title, length, and a brief bio. You may include links to your website/social media, and previous publications if any. Please don’t stress about this cover letter, if we have additional questions about your submission, we’ll ask them.

  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, please withdraw immediately if you take another offer. Stories should be previously unpublished.

  • Please no multiple submissions. If you receive a rejection within the submission window, you may submit another story.

Submissions are open to all.  Neon Hemlock Press is particularly interested in queer stories and authors.  Authors from all underrepresented backgrounds and marginalized communities are strongly encouraged to submit.  Please don’t self-reject.

You should receive a confirmation of your submission via email. Please query after January 31st if you haven’t heard back from us yet about this project.

Via: Neon Hemlock.

Taking Submissions: “Deep Underground” Novellas

Collection : This will be a collection of single author publications

Series : DEEP UNDERGROUND

Title : Author’s Own

Theme : Horror and underground locations.

Ideas: Something sinisters dwells in the sewers. What lives in the subway and comes out at night? You live in the tunnels to escape the zombies/aliens/etc. Secret society that works in underground labs. Virus in the flowerbeds. The graves aren’t quiet. An ancient/alien/mythical being/mechanism is unearthed in the mines/caves.

This could be a prequel to a current or forthcoming novel, but no cliffhangers please. Must be able to stand alone.

Word count : Roughly 20,000 to 40,000 words

Author eligibility : Open to all authors

Reprints : Not allowed

Simultaneous Submissions : Not allowed

Multiple Submissions : No

Publication : During 2020, dates to be confirmed with successful authors

Author compensation : Royalty split. One author per publication.

How to submit :

See our submission guidelines for formatting.

Send your manuscript as an attachment in Word doc/docx format to [email protected]. Make sure your document name includes your author name and story title. We will not accept formats other than doc/docx. We will not click links to download documents. Ensure the end of your manuscript has the word END in a new paragraph.

Please include a synopsis, an author bio, and your social media links.

Your email title should be Collection Name – Your Story Name – Author Name.
For example; “UNDERGROUND – My Story – A N Author”

Please allow 6 weeks for a response before querying.

Via: Black Hare Press.

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