Taking Submissions: Crash Code

Deadline: October 1st 2018
Payment: 3 cents per word

The future is now. At least, that’s what we’re told, but the more advanced technology gets, the more ways people find to hurt each other.  Many say that technology changes the way we define ‘human.’ In this anthology, we’ll erase the definition entirely.

That’s what you’ll answer. In Crash Code, we want to see the pinnacle of our technology meeting the depths of our depravity. Let’s talk voluntary amputations so we can wear cybernetic limbs as fashion statements. Tell us how commercial interplanetary flight changes human tracking. Show the world what the criminal underworld can do in an age of quantum computers. This anthology is going to focus on just how far human kind is willing to fall in pursuit of the next innovation, whether it’s paying for bionic sex in bitcoins, five-year-olds browsing the Dark Web, bar code tattoos, mainstream holographic snuff films, or corrupted neural implants driving their users mad.

Think Neuromancer with even more drugs and crime. Imagine Blade Runner meets Saw. Picture Wrath James White’s version of Brave New World. Imagine a test-tube baby made from George Orwell and Jack Ketchum. If your story makes people think American Mary merged with Altered Carbon, we want it.

These are just some ideas. Pick one if you like, or come up with your own sick, twisted future. Just make sure it answers one question:

In a world where everything demands a dollar sign and subscription fees, is humanity something we can afford to lose?

Stories must be previously unpublished in any form

Email:  [email protected]

Length: 1,500 words up to 7K

Deadline: October 1st 2018

Multiple Submissions: No

Simultaneous Submissions: No

Payment: 3 cents/word

Editor: Kevin Holton

Publisher: Blood Bound Books

Via: Blood Bound Books.

Video Refresh: Rejection – The Ugly Word

This is a quick video refresh of our previous article ‘Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Rejection – The Ugly Word’. This hits on some of the high points of the post where we talk about rejection and, if you’d like to learn more, please be sure to click on the direct link to the article below!

This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear. Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

You can read the full article here: https://horrortree.com/setting-self-doubt-fire-rejection-ugly-word/.

Taking Submissions: WhimsyCon 2019 Anthology

Deadline: June 30th, 2018
Payment: $25 and 2 contributor’s copies.

We were so pleased with how our 2018 WhimsyCon Anthology (Wit & Whimsy) came out, we want to do it again! Do you want to submit your work to be included? See the details below!

WhimsyCon 2019 Anthology

Submission Guidelines

Shiny Garden is seeking short fiction for its 2019 WhimsyCon Anthology. Steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative fiction preferred.

Submissions should be:

  • Written in English.
  • Written for a PG-13 audience (no explicit sex or violence).
  • Between 5,000 – 15,000 words.
  • Typed and double-spaced.
  • Include the author’s name, address, phone number, and
    approximate word count at the top of the first page.
  • Print ready (already edited for grammar, continuity, etc.).
  • Saved as a .doc or .docx file.

Note: Paragraph indentations must be created using document formatting features, not tabs.

If your submission is selected for the anthology, you will receive:

  • $25 in payment.
  • Two (2) complimentary copies of the printed anthology.
  • Option to purchase additional copies at 50% of the cover price.

Submission Process

Submissions should be sent by email (as an attachment) to
[email protected]

  • Submissions will be accepted May1, 2018 – June 30, 2018.
  • Authors will be notified that their submissions were received within seven (7) business days of receipt.
  • Authors will be notified of acceptance status by July 31, 2018.

WhimsyCon 2019 Anthology
Guest Editor

We are pleased to announce Andy Burns will be our guest editor for the 2019 WhimsyCon Anthology!

A.M. Burns has been writing since high school but got serious about things while working in corporate America in his thirties. Since that time, he has authored over 150 works of various lengths and helped numerous authors with their editing. As a member, and previous president of Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group, he’s worked with authors of all skill levels aiding them in improving their work and getting things ready for the readers who are eagerly waiting for them.

In recent years he’s been the editor for the Colorado Hawking Club newsletter. He’s also worked on three anthologies with Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group, and even more with Out in Colorado Fiction, helping authors polish their work before publication. Beyond writing, A.M. enjoys assisting writers achieve their personal goals with their words and is looking forward to the new challenges working on the WhimsyCon anthology will bring.

When he’s not writing, editing, or marketing, A.M. enjoys hiking or driving in the mountains around his home in central Colorado with his husband and their huge black dog. He’s also an avid photographer and gamer.

Via: WhimsyCon.

Taking Submissions: Corpus Press Untitled 2019 Non-Themed Horror Anthology

Deadline: September 15th, 2018
Payment: $.03 per word up to $150 and 2 contributor’s copies

Corpus Press is now accepting submissions for non-themed horror anthologies with a publication target of 2019. Submissions will be accepted according to our publishing needs, regardless of author publication history, status, race, creed, gender, sexual preferences or any other identity factor. Submissions should be story-driven and appeal to a wide adult audience.

What we ARE looking for:

• Not previously published short stories of 2,500-4,500 words. We are seeking stories that can be characterized as being within the broad category of “horror” fiction.
• Successful submissions will be highly original, well written and cleanly edited.
• Stories may be frightening, thought-provoking, atmospheric, humorous and/or satirical (or any combination thereof), but MUST contain a complete tale.

What we ARE NOT looking for:

• We are not seeking “extreme horror” or “Splatterpunk” material. We discourage submissions that have a singular purpose of shocking the audience with explicit language, sexuality and/or violence. Explicit language, sexuality and violence are acceptable, however, if handled in a tasteful manner and in service to a well-plotted, engaging story.
• Abstract mood pieces, vignettes, and highly experimental approaches to literature are discouraged. We are not accepting poems.
• Stories featuring exaggerated dialects, colloquialisms or excessive references to pop culture or current fads are discouraged.
• Not seeking stories featuring vampires, werewolves or zombies.
• Epistolary fiction will not be accepted.

Document Requirements: Submissions must be in an editable format sent via the publisher’s submission portal. No PDFs or scanned documents sent as image files will be accepted. Preference is for author name, email address and word count information to be placed only at the end of the document to assist with blinded review process.

Submission window: June 1, 2018 until midnight EST September 15, 2018.

Please no multiple or simultaneous submissions. Notifications of acceptance / rejection will be sent no later than October 30, 2018, with publication target of 2019.


Pay Rate: $.03 per word.
Payment will be capped at $150 USD for accepted submissions (2,500-4,500 words). Two (2) free contributor copies (paperback) will be provided upon publication, with contributors having the option to buy additional quantities at cost post-publication. Payment on publication.

Anthology target length: Approximately 250-300 pages. Title TBD.


Please note: Final contract required to be signed upon acceptance which may contain additional terms and conditions.




(Please note: the terms of these submissions guidelines are for reference only, are subject to change without notice and do not constitute any legal agreement or offer to contract by Corpus Press or any of its operators. By submitting your work to Corpus Press for consideration, submitters agree not to hold Corpus Press or any of its operators liable for any damages, perceived or real, arising from their submission.)

Via: Corpus Press.

5 More Ongoing Spots To Submit Children’s Short Stories!

While we’re all about the speculative fiction here at Horror Tree but as we’re here to help grow your writing career – we need to help you find other markets as well! We’re back with another article for those of you who have kids or love to write for them. Yes, we’ve got some kid-friendly markets here for anyone that has a story to pen for the younger generation.

Some of these even include speculative fiction themed submissions so be sure to keep your eyes out!

Let us know if these type of posts are a help and you’d like more of them in the comments below or on social media.


Balloons Literary Journal

Payment: Contributor’s Copy
Note: Audience is school-aged readers from around 12 years onwards.

What They Want:“We invite poetry and fiction submissions by email. All works must be original, previously unpublished and written in English. But if you also have fantastic art and/or photographic work that we think suit the journal, we will certainly let them in too. We love pleasant surprises – if you have anything which we have never imagined before, send it in!”

Full Guidelines Can Be Found At: Balloons Literary Journal’s Submission Guidelines.

Wee Tales

Payment: Poetry, Puzzles, and Artwork are paid 35$, Short Stories and Essays are paid $50
Note: Ages 7-12

What They Want:“Wee Tales submissions should be between 600 and 2000 words. A twice yearly short story and poetry journal, aimed at grade school and pre-teen readers.”

Full Guidelines Can Be Found At: Golden Fleece Press.


Payment: Poetry, Puzzles, and Artwork are paid 35$, Short Stories and Essays are paid $50
Note: Ages 7-12

What They Want:“Refractions short submissions should be between 1000 and 5000 words. A twice yearly journal of short stories, poems, and artwork aimed at thirteen to eighteen year old readers.”

Full Guidelines Can Be Found At: Golden Fleece Press.


Payment: 2¢ per word or $20 per work, whichever is more.
Note: Readers aged 10 to 18

What They Want:“Ember is looking for great writing that tells a compelling story, regardless of length. Even very short pieces, like flash fiction, should tell a story, though there will certainly be fewer dramatic elements developed than we’d see in a longer piece or novel. The presence of “story” is what distinguishes flash fiction from “vignette.””

Full Guidelines Can Be Found At: Ember’s Submission Guidelines.


Payment: £90
Note: The age range of readers is 8-13!

What They Want:“Articles and stories are planned up to a year in advance. A selection of fiction is made each summer, the themes for the coming year are posted on the website in September, and most non-fiction is commissioned by the end of November for the following year.”

Full Guidelines Can Be Found At: Aquila’s Author Guidelines.

Trembling With Fear 06/17/2018

Thank you to everyone who’s continued supporting TWF by sharing their drabbles and flashes with us. We have been having a consistent run of quality work which has been wonderful to read.

Remember we are still seeking serials and currently have an author who is actively working on one for us now. It actually evolved out of her first submission which we felt was the start of a longer story and is now developing quite nicely. Perhaps you have something similar tucked away in a folder?

In addition, we’ve just accepted a poem for publication and if any of you have some dark poetry you would like to send in, we are more than happy to consider it. My only request would be that you follow our guidelines in terms of content and poems are reasonably short – they do not have to be drabble length. I would tentatively state no more than 30 lines and see how we go from there.

So, a slightly shorter editorial this week, but then again I’ve got a story to write for that rare Cemetery Dance submission window. Hope everyone else is having a bash at it, it’d be great if a TWF writer ends up gracing its pages. If you already have done, what’s your secret?!

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

With how long I took on getting things together for the first year’s TWF in print, some of the contracts had expired. This last week saw me mass e-mailing everyone involved and ideally, this will be a quick turn around that gets things moving forward asap as we’ve got almost everything else fully completed!

‘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

Misery In Chaos

By: Arthur Unk & A.J. Cain

Charlie watched the snow fall outside while lost thoughts wandered far away. Elizabeth’s sobs echoed through the emptied room and snapped him back to dark reality. He couldn’t see where she was. Something felt wrong, but he couldn’t focus long enough to hold a thought in his head. “Misery is peace in the eyes of chaos,” he whispered to himself. The voice inside his head was back and taunted him again. It was hard to tell what was real anymore. The salty taste of tears on his lips had been there for a long time.

He stared at the framed picture of him and Elizabeth on their wedding day. It was a special day for both of them. A few weeks afterwards they found out that she was pregnant; he was going to be a father. That was the happiest he and his wife had ever been. A strong feeling of sadness, like something, was missing washed over him again. There was a void inside him, and he couldn’t remember why. The oppressive darkness enveloped him and quietly faded all his senses to black.

Charlie found himself outside in a stupor trying to silence the demon in his mind. He made his way behind the steering wheel of his car and stared at himself in the rear-view mirror. He did not recognize the hollow eyes that stared back. sleep was a luxury he could no longer afford. A piece was missing inside. The demon filled the void with sad images and things unknown.

“Love has no price? Wrong again, Charlie. Your sanity is the price you’ll pay for her love.” The voice was not his own.

Faint echoes of a local rock radio station created a dull white noise. He pulled the car onto the road. Blue Oyster Cult played the evening’s soundtrack. Darkness returned as the road faded away.

“Come on baby. Don’t fear the reaper…

Charlie pulled off to the side of the country road, put the car in park, and watched the snow fall over a field. The snowflakes were fine like sand in an hourglass. Time became meaningless, abstract. Muffled screams mixed with the song on the radio.

“There’s a lady who’s sure. All that glitters is gold…”

“Help! Help me! Please! Anyone!”

“…And she’s buying a stairway to heaven…”

“Peace comes at daybreak,” Charlie whispered to himself. The cold barrel of a revolver against his skin brought reality together with this nightmare. The face in the mirror was hardly recognizable anymore. He took aim and closed his eyes. The revolver’s scream broke the silence of the night.

“…And as we wind on down the road. Our shadows taller than our soul…The tune will come to you at last. When all are one and one is all…”

Charlie’s eyes fluttered; ringing filled his ears. The demon in his head was silent for now. The voices stopped their screaming. A lingering odor of gunsmoke in his nostrils made the dream a reality. “Lord, why have you saved me?” Charlie cried. His thoughts shifted to his wife and daughter. A moment of clarity hit with the force of an out-of-control truck.

“Oh, Jesus! I have to save them!”

He scrambled out of the vehicle and the world went sideways as he slipped on ice. The revolver slid under the car and his head bounced off the pavement. The radio continued to play its concert to the drifting snow.

“Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again…”

Charlie woke with a headache and pain all over. Faded white ceiling tiles stared back at him. The bars across the small window cast playful shadows on the opposite wall of the mostly barren room. Charlie struggled to sit up, and rested his head in his hands. He closed his eyes in an attempt to will the throbbing away. The door next to his bed creaked open and an older woman with a white coat walked into the room.

“Good morning Charlie. It’s good to see you finally awake. How are you feeling?”

“Terrible,” Charlie began. “Where am I? What’s going on?”

“I’m Doctor Watkins and you are at the Macomb Institute.”

“This isn’t real. This cannot be happening,” Charlie said anger rising. “Macomb is a hospital for the insane.”

Doctor Watkins’s face remained expressionless, “Do you remember coming here?”

“No, I don’t. Where’s my wife? Is my daughter okay? I think they are both hurt somewhere.”

“That, I’m afraid, is a discussion for a later time.”

“What the hell do you mean at a later time? Where’s my goddamn family?”

“I just need you to concentrate on relaxing for now. You can go to the day room later if you think you can handle it.”

“How long have I been here?”

“We’ll talk more later on this evening. I’ll answer all your questions then.”

Charlie reached up and felt the bandages on his head after the doctor left. The heavy dressings did little to dull the tenderness. A few minutes later the pain regressed to a dull throb. Charlie left his room and walked down the hallway. There was an anxious feeling in his stomach like something bad had happened. It wasn’t long before a familiar voice sounded inside his head. The demon was awake again.

Charlie stopped at the entrance to the day room. The other residents watched television or played games at tables ignoring his arrival. He took one step into the room and the world spun out of control. The voice grew louder; the pain sudden and intense. Orderlies in white clothes circled around him and distant voices told him to calm down.

“Stay away from me! I don’t want to hurt you!”

Charlie fell to his knees and grasped his head. The demon took full control. His eyes turned black like the coal that fed the fires of hell.

“Nomen meum est Alastor… Nomen meum est Alastor… NOMEN MEUM EST ALASTOR!” Charlie repeated the same phrase over and over in a voice that was not his own.

The building shook; lights failed; people screamed; walls crumbled. Charlie embraced the chaos and left the hospital. Clouds overhead obscured a daytime eclipse. The demon in his head continued to laugh. Everything around him faded into a bottomless pit.

Charlie awoke kneeling in a cemetery in front of three graves. His wife was laid to rest next to his daughter; the third stone was his own. He could barely read the words on the stones through his tears. He remembered everything that had happened. Charlie began to sob uncontrollably and begged God for understanding. It all made sense now. He did not want the monster to have control over him anymore.

Charlie found a rough stone nearby and with a quick movement tore open his throat. The pain was horrible, but the relief was instant. He closed his eyes while laying on top of his own grave. His blood soaked into the ground. Charlie smiled as the demon’s voice and the world went away. Soon he would join his wife and daughter in the beyond. A song softly sounded through the air from the street nearby.

Oh, where oh where can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me. She’s gone to heaven, so I got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world…”

Detective Andrews and a night nurse stood over the man who was found at the cemetery. The nurse checked his vitals and recorded them in her notes. “He’s lucky that anyone found him. Any idea who he is or why he did this to himself?”

“His name is Charlie Summers. So far, we know that he has been unstable a long time. He was a patient in the Macomb Institute off and on for the last three years. He had a wife, but she had a bad case of postpartum depression. She wound up killing herself along with their newborn daughter. From what I can tell, he snapped after the funerals and has pretty much lived in his own fantasy world since,” he said.

“But, how’d he escape a max mental hospital? I thought those places were locked down pretty tight?”

“The earthquake yesterday did some bad damage to the building. This guy wasn’t the only one that got out. Between the quake and the eclipse, all the loonies are in a tizzy this week. It’s a sad case, but you know what they say, ‘Misery is peace in the eyes of chaos‘.”

The machines in urgent care continued to beep as the sleeping figure of Charlie Summers lay in a coma. His demon had left and now rested comfortably on the shoulders of Detective Andrews. A radio quietly played in the background.

“Life, it seems, will fade away. Drifting further every day. Getting lost within myself. Nothing matters no one else…


Arthur Unk

Arthur Unk lives and works in the United States, but dreams of a tropical, zombie-free island. He hones his drabble skills via the Horror Tree Trembling With Fear (Dead Wrong, Flesh of My Flesh, The Tale of Fear Itself, and others yet to come) and writes micro/flash fiction daily. His influences include H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and life experience. You can follow his work from all around the web via his blog at http://arthurunk.com or read his many, many micro-stories on Twitter @ArthurUnkTweets


A.J. Cain

A.J. Cain is an American writer who enjoys reading, sports, and spending time with his family. He is currently working towards his Master’s Degree in Military History with the hopes of one day becoming a college professor. His inspirations include Stephen King and James Patterson. Follow him on Twitter @AJCainOfficial.

Alone In The Forest

In that part of the forest where no traveller walks, the man who couldn’t die awaited execution.

He listened to the charges: treason, betrayal, hundreds dead thanks to his treachery.

A bullet would follow. A bullet, a shallow grave, and a miraculous escape some time later.

He didn’t start screaming until he saw the rope.

Afterwards, his brothers-in-arms remarked on how strongly he had kicked as the noose dug into his neck.

In that part of the forest where no traveller walks, the man who cannot die swings back and forth with the breeze, eyes long lost to the crows.


Douglas Prince

Douglas Prince is a 28-year-old writer of horror and other dark fiction. Born in Melrose, Scotland, he now lives on the Wirral peninsula, in Merseyside, where he writes stories and reads more books than can possibly be good for him. ‘Alone in the Forest’ is his first story.

WEBSITE: https://theprinceofdarkness.com/

The Change

I sat watching the mechanism on the wall clock gently slide back and forth. It was one of those fancy silver clocks with a mirror behind it; magnifying the slight, graceful swings of the tiny pendulums. No sound emitted from the clock, just mesmerizing movement.

“How many years would they continue to sway when the change came?” I wondered. I imagined hollowed out buildings overgrown with weeds, with mechanical instruments and gadgets entombed inside just quietly continuing to run. Some would run until the batteries died. Others would continue to operate on solar power: if the sun continues to shine.

Natalie Kurchak

Natalie Kurchak has always been an avid reader and consummate editor (willingly or unwillingly) of all things printed or posted in the English language. The first horror story that drew her in and never let her go was The Shining by Stephen King, followed closely by Salem’s Lot and The Stand. Horror is her favorite genre followed closely by history, non-fiction. She’s been married for 26 years, and has two kids and two pit bulls. A marketing professional by day, Natalie writes tons of marketing material for her job including commercial scripts, customer communications, and customer facing materials. A good friend of hers recently published her first book and in the process of helping her edit, she made the decision to start writing some tidbits. I hope you like what you read, and ask for more!

The Wolf Among Us

The wolf stalked through the underbrush, demon eyes a red fire in the moonlight.
I ran and the wolf pursued. I turned to face it and tripped over a branch, tumbling backwards just as the wolf leapt. The kitchen knife plunged deep between its ribs, slicking my chest with blood as the heavy body thumped on top of me.

I pushed it off, removing the chained ruby from it’s neck. It transformed back into Dad.

Tears streaked my face, remembering the scene I fled from. My family lost. I went deep into the forest, and hid the gem’s terrors forever.

Eric S Fomley

Eric S. Fomley writes Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short fiction. He is the editor of Martian Magazine and the Timeshift and Drabbledark anthologies. His work has appeared in various venues including previous publications with Trembling with Fear. You can follow his publication on his website ericfomley.com or on Twitter @PrinceGrimdark.

The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Marc Shapiro

Ruschelle: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us at the Horror Tree!

Marc: It’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Ruschelle: Your debut collection, Stories of High Strangeness, has been published by publishing newcomer Copypasta. Many stories we pen evolve from shreds of experiences, albeit fictionalized…well we hope. Where did you gain your inspiration for this collection?

Marc: My inspiration came from just wanting to tell good stories with unusual twists and turns. That is the overriding theme. When you read this collection, you won’t see any overriding theme. It’s not just one thing but ‘rather, a whole bunch of things. It’s, quite simply, a collection of stories. My approach to writing fiction is very organic. I come up with an idea, it rattles around in my head for a while and, if it continues to strike some kind of weird chord with me, I write it.

Ruschelle: You mentioned your early writing repertoire included selling rock musician interviews to magazines and underground newspapers. What was it like interviewing artists on the cutting edge of music in the 1960’s?

Marc: It was a gas! Interviewing an extremely loaded Ozzy Osbourne in his hotel room at 10 in the morning. Flying on The Who’s private touring plane to catch the band in Texas. Sneaking backstage at a concert at my college and walking right up to Cheech & Chong and asking for an interview for the college paper and getting nearly 45 minutes with them. It was still very new and exciting for the musicians and the journalists. I wrote for publications like The Los Angeles Free Press, Zoo World, Phonograph Record Magazine and Rock Around the World. The writers weren’t making a lot of money but, like I said, it was a gas!

Ruschelle: Your experiences sound awesome. You’re a music buff. What gets your creative blood pumping while writing? Does the type of music you listen to influence your writing style?

Marc: I’m probably the world’s oldest metal head. Put on Black Sabbath, Dio, Cirith Ungol. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, If it’s loud, dark and nasty I’m there. I’m also into 60’s psychedelia. If you’re old enough to remember bands like The Electric Prunes, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Standells, Love and just about any band out of San Francisco and Los Angeles, you know what I mean. I like movie soundtracks when they go to the dark, progressive side. I like The Exorcist and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly a lot. All that being said, when I write I write in silence. But more often than not the vibe from the music definitely winds up in a lot of my stories.

Ruschelle: Writing fiction is definitely a different monster than writing from a journalistic standpoint. Was there anything you learned or new skills you honed while conquering the fictional beast?

Marc: When you’re dealing with journalism or biographies, there’s an end game, a deadline that is always in your head. When you write fiction, the story is done when it’s done and not before. When I started to write short stories, the main thing I had to learn was get the story to the point where it works for me and then send it out into the world. I’m not a writer who talks about what he’s working on or even shows it to people when it’s done. My criterion has always been when somebody accepts it and publishes it, then the rest of the world can have it.

Ruschelle: If you could actually meet and hang out with the physical embodiment of any one of the characters you created, which one would it be? It’s the dude with the insatiable libido isn’t it? I bet he’d be fun at parties. LOL

Marc: There’s a lot of extreme, dangerous characters in my stories that if I saw them at a party or walking down the street, I would probably run the other way. Without giving too much away, the people in the stories Dose, What’s In A Name and Remember 85 are not the people one would want to spend too much time with. On the other hand, there are characters in the stories The Out Door, This Will Buy Us A Year and The Delicate Hours that I could probably be around for a while. Once you read those stories you’ll get an idea of where my head is at.

Ruschelle: Do you have another book of horror/fantasy/ Sci-Fi in the works?

Marc: I’ve got a few things that I’m playing around with that tend to lean towards horror and fantasy but are not quite ready to go out for consideration. Two chapbooks of poetry, Shakeout on Sex Street and Existential Jibber Jabbar, a full book of poetry, Melancholy Baby and a chapbook of short fiction called Out Of My Mind. I’ll know when it’s time to take a chance with them.

Ruschelle: Was there a defining moment in your life where you knew you wanted to write for a living?

Marc: Probably when I was 13. I was writing short stories, poetry and television scripts by that time. I didn’t know how good I was at that time but I knew I liked the idea of using my imagination to make magic. I also liked the way my byline looked on things. It would be seven years before I had anything published. But I knew the writing life was for me.

Ruschelle: Is there a topic you feel is too taboo to write about?

Marc: I will not do anything bad to children or animals. Otherwise it’s open season.

Ruschelle: As fiction writers and writers of the horror genre, we often write what we fear ourselves. What fears have ignited your writing?

Marc: The six o’clock news has always been a good jumping off point for me. The way humanity behaves on a daily basis has brought up more than one idea and a shudder on occasion. But finally, the fear that drives me is to wake up one day and have my imagination stripped from me. Fear of not having an idea is what, creatively, keeps me one step ahead of the Devil.

Ruschelle: You’ve written over 60 unofficial biographies of celebrities. That’s quite a few lives to get to know. Which artist started it all?

Marc: Way back in the day, I approached a UK publisher of rock music biographies called Omnibus Press about doing one of their rock books. I received a polite letter back informing me that they normally only use UK authors. But the very last line of the letter said that they were in fact contemplating doing a book on The Eagles and would I be interested? I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

Ruschelle: The Eagles = ROCK ICONS! Was there anything you researched for your biographies that surprised a seasoned journalist like you?

Marc: When you’re dealing with Hollywood types nothing really surprises you after a certain point. My only advice to would be stars would be to save your money and don’t believe it will last forever. Because it rarely does. And that goes for authors too.

Ruschelle: Do you feel any ‘real life’ events from your autobiographies may sneak into your next bit of fiction? The names and specifics to be changed to protect the innocent of course.

Marc: If they have, it’s been on a subliminal level. But Icons have made occasional appearances. I used a real NFL team as a cornerstone to a short story entitled Cut Down Daze that was published a while back and I channeled a number of music personalities by name for a horror poem that will be coming out later this year called Night Rider.

Ruschelle: If you could co-write a book with any author who would it be? And let’s make it an attainable goal and let’s keep it in the realm of the living. Seances and invoking the dead never ends well.

Marc: That’s a tough one because all my influences have long since gone to the great beyond. I’m old school. I firmly believe in one writer/one vision.  If I could resurrect the dead we might be here all night. Charles Bukowski, Rod Serling, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury any and all of the Beats. Those are my literary gods.

Ruschelle: And literary gods they are. We all learn with age and experience. Well we’re supposed to anyway. In regards to writing and the writing experience, what do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Marc: That’s a toughie because we never really stop learning. As it pertains to the business…To be smarter about things like contracts, money, people. I learned that if you’re serious about writing for a living, you stop writing for no pay and exposure early on. I’ve worked for next to nothing but I stopped working for nothing eons ago. I wish I had been a bit braver in the early days, more willing to take chances. As I’ve gotten older I’ve adopted a say yes to just about any offer and let the chips fall where they may. I know I learned quite a bit about the writing business the day an editor pulled a gun on me when I was trying to collect the $20 he owed me. And that was how to duck.

Ruschelle: Learning to duck is never a bad lesson, LOL.  What do you find more challenging, fiction or journalism?

Marc: Both forms have their moments. Journalism can be like a good detective story, tracking down the facts and the people who can shed light on the person you’re writing about. Fiction forces you to stretch your imagination and conceive of ideas, notions and characters and yet have it all make some kind of sense or logic at the end. When I’m writing fiction, my head is in one space. When it’s journalism, it’s in another.

Ruschelle: Rejection is definitely a pill we hate to open our mouths to swallow. Being a seasoned writer do those rejections get any easier? What do you suggest for authors starting out when they receive the dreaded- ‘It’s not you it’s us’ email?

Marc: First realize that rejection is a part of the process. I had a couple of short story submissions kicked back in the last week. You get the twinges the first couple of times but, if you’re intent on a long-term career, you immediately forget about it and send the story someplace else. If you’ve given your best effort, the chances are good your work will find a home.

Ruschelle: Exactly. Eventually writer’s stories find the home they’re meant to have. You’re a New York Times bestselling author. Kudos! Many authors aspire to have those little words swirl around their bios. So, tell us what has that prestigious phrase done for your career?

Marc: My ego was on fire for a few days. It is an emotional and psychological lift like you would not believe. I spent a month picking up The New York Times every Sunday just so I could chart the progress of my book. But eventually reality brings you back to earth. You’ve got deadlines to make, bills to pay, lawns to mow and a dog to walk. But making The New York Times bestseller list is definitely a memory that stays with you forever.

Ruschelle: Since you’re lucky enough to write for a living, you probably have some sort of schedule or ritual. What’s your typical work day like?

Marc: There really is no typical work day for me. It depends on whether I’m on deadline with a biography or at a more leisurely pace with a short story or a poem. But more often then not, I’m up fairly early in the morning, work for 3-4 hours, take a walk for about an hour, then back to work for another 4-5 hours. A good day for me is 1000 words on whatever I’m working on. I once had to write a 50,000 word manuscript in three weeks. Needless to say, I was pulling 15 hour days on that one.

Ruschelle: Is there any one piece of advice you’d like to impart to struggling writers out there who are attempting to embark on writing as a career?

Marc: Write every day. When you’re not writing, read anything you can lay your hands on. It’s cool to go to parties and tell people you’re a writer. But if you’re not serious about it, you’re doomed to fail. Go with your gut at all times. Treat writing as both a creative art and a business but be able to separate the two. You don’t want to be thinking about the business when you’re knee deep in the creative process. And vice versa. Writing for a living is a dream come true.  But you’d better take it seriously and be prepared to walk the walk.

Ruschelle: What can your new found fans look forward to from you in the future?

Marc: The future is now. You can get Stories Of High Strangeness (Copypasta Publishing) on Amazon, Smashwords, Roku, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.com. My latest celebrity biography Renaissance Man: The Lin Manuel Miranda Story (Riverdale Avenue Books) is available through Amazon, Smashwords and a bunch of the usual book selling sites. I have poems in upcoming issues of Disturbed Digest and Night To Day. Then there’s something that I’m currently working on that I’m not at liberty to talk about. Yet.

Ruschelle: Thank you so much for your time and wisdom.

Marc: This was fun. Let’s do it again some time.

Marc Shapiro can be reached through Copypasta Publishing at [email protected]


Taking Submissions: Terra! Tara! Terror!

Deadline: July 15th, 2018
Payment: 6 cents per word

“Terra! Tara! Terror!”SF, Fantasy, Horror. Whether the setting is a cabin in the woods (Terra), Fae (Tara), or spaceship Nostromo (Terror), take us there and spin your adventure. For a bit of mood whiplash, we’d like a mixture of dark and bright stories. Examples: Obsession with odd artifacts (like Roadside Picnic’s golden sphere?), alternate histories, paranormal romance (no erotica, please, we’re PG-13). (Image: The initial letter of the fairy tale “Guleesh” created by John D. Batten for Joseph Jacob’s collection, Celtic Fairy Tales. 1892. commons.wikimedia.org)

Reading Period: June 15 – July 15, 2018
Writer Deadline: July 15, 2018
Publication Date: September 20, 2018

Third Flatiron Publishing is based in Boulder, Colorado, and Ayr, Scotland. We are looking for submissions to our (approximately) quarterly themed anthologies. Our focus is on science fiction and fantasy and anthropological fiction. We want tightly plotted tales in out-of-the-ordinary scenarios. Light horror is acceptable, provided it fits the theme.

Please send us short stories that revolve around age-old questions and have something illuminating to tell us as human beings. Fantastical situations and creatures, exciting dialog, irony, mild horror, and wry humor are all welcome. Stories should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words. Inquire if longer.

Role models for the type of fiction we want include Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur C. Clarke, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, Vernor Vinge, and Ken Kesey. We want to showcase some of the best new shorts available today.

For each anthology, we will also accept  a few very short humor pieces on the order of the “Shouts and Murmurs” feature in The New Yorker Magazine (600 words or so). These can be written from a first-person perspective or can be mini-essays that tell people what they ought to do, how to do something better, or explain why something is like it is, humorously. An SF/Fantasy bent is preferred.

See the “Submissions” tab for preferred formats, etc.

Via: Third Flat Iron.

Taking Submissions: Test Patterns : Creature Features

Deadline: July 1st, 2018
Payment: $100

Test Patterns : Creature Features (a follow up to 2017’s Test Patterns)

Seeking: Original stories of 2500-7000 words (no reprints or poetry currently, thank you) and no bio / biblio info attached, please. Payment is $100 for an accepted story. Multiple subs are fine, but we will only select at most one story per author. We are currently estimating a need for about 25 stories for the book total, depending on length

The Theme: We’re looking for stories that involve monsters! Our loose theme is based on the SF/F TV programs of the late 50s/early 60s, (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits; but think of the vibe, not literal pastiche; i.e. twist endings, weird situational reveals, moral / allegorical messages told through a spec-fic lens) but we will consider any well-written speculative tale

The Details: File format should be MS Word compatible, exact file type and / or formatting doesn’t matter much to us, we will handle most of that on the back end to fit the aesthetics of the final book.

We are projecting our window to stay open June 1st through July 1st, but will make an announcement if we fill up before then, again, we are projecting about 25 stories for this volume

Submissions should be directed to our editor;
Duane Pesice at:


Use “creature features” as the subject line to help us keep them sorted and separated, please

We tried to cover all the details above, but any questions can be asked here or we’re always open for PM’s, thanks

Via: Test Patterns’ Facebook.

Ongoing Submissions: Tough

Payment: $25

Tough is a crime fiction journal publishing short stories and self-contained novel excerpts of between 1500 words and 7500 words, and occasional book reviews of 1500 words or fewer. We are particularly interested in stories with rural settings and stories that intersect with the weird or occult. To clarify: think H.P. Lovecraft modernized, without the racist baggage. Think Fatale, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Think Hellblazer. We are not interested in science fiction or fantasy, except for stories in which those elements accentuate or play a major role in a crime. We are a crime journal. Our book reviews will reflect these interests.

Tough publishes four or five times per month on Mondays, for which we pay a flat rate of $25 per story or book review–we don’t take reprints, poems, or essays–in exchange for first world serial rights to publish the submission on the website and as of 2018, in a periodically produced print issue, the first of which is due in July 2018. Payment comes via check mailed on publication or via Paypal by special arrangement. Query for details or to pitch reviews.

Queries and submissions should be formatted in .doc, .odt or .rtf and sent to [email protected] MOBI or PDF book review copies–our preferred methods–can be sent to the same address. Otherwise, review copies can be sent to:  Tough, 119 Bradstreet Avenue, Revere, MA 02151.

Via: Tough Crime.

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