Trembling With Fear 03/18/2018

I had such writerly plans last weekend, mainly making a proper start on the second draft of my current WIP. I loved the world I had created in its pages, the bizarre characters and the somewhat gruesome rituals they performed and really wanted to get back to it. It was great to feel positive instead of that sense of an uphill slog appearing before me but real life got in the way and from Friday evening until Sunday evening my time was taken up by my most important role – that of being a mother. With my daughters, I spent hours on Saturday wandering around a city and then hours on Sunday wandering through woods. So, no writing, even when I collapsed on the sofa at the end of the day and I am still not writing (apart from some twitter prompts). Do I feel guilty, no … because I am doing that thing all other writers should be doing and that is reading. My current book is Stephen King’s 11.22.63 and it reminds me how brilliant he is at creating a world with such an immersive sense of time and place, and how fluid and fluent his prose. He knows how to tell a story. I think my writing might now have to wait until I finish the book as its pages keep calling me – currently p. 245/740. It’s sat by me as I write this editorial, waiting patiently, but it knows I’ll return very soon.

Many writers comment about not finding time to write and then when you do have time, feel mentally drained, a situation I am often in myself; this is life, it’s just how it is. It’s how it was for me last weekend and long days at work this week have pretty much wiped me out. So, I am being kind to myself, as should you all in the same situation. Let the frustrations, the irritations, the anxieties go; put aside the pen, the notebook, the laptop and just read. Let another author do the heavy lifting for you, give you the break you need from your own work; a busman’s holiday, so to speak. And as you all know, it will also improve your own writing.

I’m going back to my book now … and I’ve got Shirley Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan, Margaret Atwood and others all ready to help me escape and learn at the same time.

What are you reading?

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As always, thank you for the submissions! We can always use more shorts and drabble hitting the inbox as it seems that we fluctuate on which we’re low on.

‘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


John Pearson was proud to be the manager of the town’s only supermarket.   He’d worked there for his entire career, starting as a shelf-stacker at age sixteen and working his way up to store manager by the time he was twenty-eight.  Now, in his mid-sixties, he had no intention of retiring.  He used to joke to his staff that he intended to work right up to the day before his funeral.

It was Wednesday.  John sat in his office at the back of the store, checking the inventory.  He ran his hand through his thinning hair, his fingers catching and removing some of the remaining clumps.  He glanced at his watch.  It was 8 a.m., time to open the store.  This was the part of the day he loved the most.   A fresh, bright morning, ripe with the promise of new customers.  He walked into the store, past familiar shelves and displays.  His fingers tracked clean marks in the dust.  He rubbed his fingers together, feeling the gritty dust between them.  The dust was one of his biggest concerns.  What would Head Office think if they carried out a snap inspection?  They were very strict about store sanitation, but no matter how hard he cleaned he simply couldn’t stop the dust from constantly settling.  It blew in through the destroyed doors and windows.  John hoped Head Office would understand.

He stood at the front doors and looked at the street outside.  The nuclear blast that had destroyed the town had miraculously left the supermarket standing, albeit a bit cracked in places.  It was because the store was concrete, the other buildings in town were wood-framed.

John thought back to when it happened.  Two months ago.  It had been a normal day, a Monday.  The store had been relatively busy.  There had been five of them working, plus about seven customers.  The first sign of trouble had been a rumble in the distance.  Then, from outside, there had been screams, cars braking and skidding.  Crashing.  John and the others had stepped outside to see what the problem was.  In the distance there was a mushroom cloud, black and red, swirling.  The air force base, fifty miles to the south had been hit.  John and the others had fled indoors, hunkering down in the back office.  Minutes later, the town had been hit by the blast.

Afterwards, the others had scrambled to get home.  They’d left, worried about family, friends and loved ones.  John had no family, no friends and definitely no loved ones.  His main concern was the store.  He had to protect the stock.  He’d put up the ‘Closed’ sign, then loaded the shotgun he kept in his office.  The gun was against the rules, but after his first robbery he’d bought it to protect the store from the criminal classes.

For the first week after the disaster, he’d been ill.  He knew about radiation poisoning, he’d been brought up during the Cold War, so he expected it.  He’d erected a cot in his office and put himself to bed.  At that point, he hadn’t cared about the store.  He feared for his life.  Nauseous, he’d barely been able to eat or drink, but he’d forced himself to swallow as much water as he could.  After the fifth day, the symptoms had passed.  It was the fallout, the irradiated dust falling from the sky.  He knew he was luckier than most, the concrete shell of the building had protected him from the blast and from the worst of the fallout.  Afterwards, he was careful to always wear a mask when removing the dust.  He dosed himself with vitamins and antibiotics from the store’s amply stocked pharmacy.  He slept in his office, the only room in the store with no windows and a solid metal door.  He never went outside.  He knew he’d been and was still being exposed to radiation, cancer was probably already fermenting in his organs.  Death was inevitable, but until the day he put the shotgun barrel into his mouth, he had his duty to fulfill.

Sighing, he reached up and unlocked the front door.  There was no glass, but he still observed the standard procedure laid down by Head Office; locking and unlocking it at the required times.  He stood for a few moments in expectation.  There were no customers.  John guessed the blast had killed most of the people in the town.   There would have been survivors, like him, but perhaps they’d died from disease or radiation poisoning.  Perhaps they’d fled.  None of his staff had returned.  John didn’t know what happened to them, he hadn’t left the store to find out.

The lack of customers was a cause for concern.  It was nearly time for the quarterly return; John was worried what the auditors at Head Office would think.  Zero sales for three months, nowhere near his performance target.  Worse than that, after the electricity failed, he’d been forced to dump all the fresh and frozen produce, leaving the fridges and freezers empty.  The shelves were well stocked with canned and dried goods, but the financial loss sustained from the discarded produce still gave him sleepless nights.

The door opened.  Three people entered.  They were emaciated, dressed in rags.  Their skin was blotchy and their hair patchy.  Two males and a female.  One of the men carried a machete, the other a baseball bat.  They weren’t townsfolk, probably transients passing through, but a customer was a customer.  John adjusted his tie and spoke.

“Come in, please, how may I help you?”

The trio glanced round, seeing the well-stocked shelves.

“We need food.”

“Yes, of course.  We have a wide range of brands.  Unfortunately, we have no fresh or frozen produce at the moment, due to the failure of the electricity supply, but we do have a comprehensive range of other produce for your selection.”

He indicated the row of shopping trolleys.

“Please, take a trolley and make your selections.  If you have any questions, please just ask.”

“We can just take what we want?” asked the woman incredulously.

“Of course!  The store is open to everyone.”

The trio looked suspicious, but nevertheless the woman pulled out a trolley and they moved down the first aisle.  The men, still holding their weapons, glanced back at John, standing near the front entrance.  He smiled at them, happy to finally have some customers.

After about thirty minutes the scruffy group returned to the front of the store.  Their trolley was full.  John was standing behind the checkout.

“Please place your items on the conveyor belt so I can tally up your bill.”

“Our bill?” asked the man with the machete.

“Yes, of course, we require payment for good purchased.”

“We ain’t got no money.  What good would it do you anyhow?”

“It’s company policy.”

“Look friend, we’re starving.  We’re taking this food.”

“Not without appropriate payment.”

The man raised his machete.

“Don’t make me use this, buddy.”

John reached below the desk and lifted his shotgun.

“Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

He pulled the trigger.

Replacing the shotgun on the shelf below the cash register, John stared at the bodies.  He was happy, he had enforced the no shoplifting rule, but job satisfaction wasn’t the only reason he was pleased.  Head Office prohibited store managers from eating the stock without appropriate payment, but he’d been forced to break that rule.  He was sure the executives didn’t want their store managers starving to death, but he still felt guilty.  Now he was happy, tonight he didn’t have to eat the stock.  Tonight, he wouldn’t have to worry about Head Office.

RJ 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.

Abandoned Cabin in the Woods

“Someone explain this to me. Of all the things we could be doing, how did ‘spend a week in an abandoned cabin in the middle of the woods’ end up at the top of our spring break list? Isn’t that how every horror movie begins?”
“Because it’s free. Duh. Besides, nothing’s going to happen. You worry too much.”
As they opened the door, a foul smell flooded them. Various body parts hung from the ceiling. Flies circled their prey. Pools of blood dotted the floor. Rusted tools caked in blood laid out on the table.

“You were saying.”


“Good call.”

Andrea Allison

Andrea Allison currently resides in a small uneventful town located in Oklahoma after moving from a small uneventful town in Texas. She is an author who enjoys writing horror of all varieties and her work has appeared both online and in print.

Black Umbrellas

They called it an unexplained tragedy, but it wasn’t true. Seventy people dragged into the ground by the elongated fingers of blackened children encased below the asphalt. A massive black umbrella expanded overhead and manipulated the reality for the outsiders. We knew about them. They called them black sites. Vanishing places. Rewritten places. Horrid black icicles witnessed. I see hundreds of the biggest from orbit. I’m the only cosmonaut that has ever breached into space. They apparently sent no more. Apparently seeing the black umbrellas from a distance tethers me to the glitch enough to see the loops evolve forever.

Nick Rayner

Nick Rayner lives in Toronto, Canada and is the Creative Director of Rayner Marketing Consulting. He has been published in The Danforth Review, Hello Horror, and The Tandem Region Times. His online portfolio is at

The Hunted

He ran breathless and scared, crashing through the woods.

He hadn’t believed it, the story was just too fantastic. Imagine, vicious beasts kept so close to home, but childhood curiosity had got the best of him.

The outlines of shadowy figures shifted through the dense fog just behind him. He increased his speed, afraid of what might happen if he were caught. Then, squinting ahead, he breathed a sigh of relief, he was close.

Gasping to catch his breath, he gently traced the sign with his grey three-fingered hand: “DANGER: human reserve – invisible fences in place – DO NOT CROSS”.

M.T. Moos

M.T. Moos is an aquatic microbiology professor by trade and an aspiring writer and potter. Her passions include science fiction and the strange. When she isn’t working, she can be found playing with mud and creating functional earthenware pottery while contemplating new story ideas.

The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Stacey McIntosh

Ruschelle: Stacy! It’s great to chat with a fellow Horror Tree Interviewer. I’ll be gentle, I promise. Unless I’m feeling feisty, then all bets are off!  Here’s a good question…maybe…do you always have a solid idea of a story or book or does the story or book decide its course as it is being written?

Stacey – No, I don’t always have a solid idea when I start writing. Most of my works are inspired by music or something that I can’t let go of idea wise. I haven’t sat down and actually planned a novel in a long time, my characters are the driving force behind their stories, which is an adventure in and of itself. They definitely like to keep me on my toes.

Ruschelle: Looking at your catalogue of ever-expanding books penned, it seems you are a lover of the magical, fantasy and Arthurian times.  What do you believe draws you to delve into those worlds?

Stacey – I am. I discovered fantasy quite late actually. It started with Kate Forsyth’s Dragonclaw, and from there I was hooked. The Arthurian Legends, was quite by accident, really. I’d always known my maternal grandmother was Welsh. She came to Australia (specifically WA) from Maesteg when she was three on board the SS Osterley… almost drowned, believe it or not… but it wasn’t until I watched the TV miniseries Merlin (with Sam Neil) that I fell in love with it. Reading The Mists of Avalon while delving into Wicca cemented my love affair with it.

Ruschelle: How many completed works do you have displayed on your bookshelf? This includes my favorite, the short stories gobbled up by anthologies.

Stacey – I have four. Five including the novella, Solstice, that I self-published back in 2013. There’s a few others sitting on my kindle. They’re the ones I didn’t have money to purchase in paperback at the time when they were printed. Sadly, several of the anthologies my short stories appear in, are out of print.

Ruschelle: Since I’ve been stalking you on Facebook,, I’ve discovered you are in the process of writing Nightshade. Can you give us all a little nibble of what Nightshade is?

Stacey – Nightshade is… Book 6 of a nine-part YA Paranormal Romance series I’ve been writing for what feels like forever. It’s about Scarlett, a half-fey, half werewolf teenage girl who has been through hell and comes out the other side, rather scarred and extremely bitter. She doesn’t fit, in either the human world (because she’s not human, despite being raised to think she was) or the supernatural world (because she’s not just fey and she’s not just a werewolf, she’s both) and she fights against the injustice of it all.

Here’s the opening to Chapter One:
Evanthe is dead.
The words keep going around and around in my head, at such a dizzying speed I can’t concentrate.
I don’t hear the rest. I’m not sure if it’s out of pure shock or something else, but the entire throne room goes silent.
That is until Ash’s loud voice booms over the din, making me aware that this is indeed real and not some nightmare from which I would soon awaken from.
“I want everybody to clear the throne room. This meeting is over. Get out. Now!” I blink. Still in shock. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Ash shout this loud before.
Evanthe… how could she be dead? It wasn’t fair. She was the only person in the entire world who was like a sister to me. I’d known her almost my whole life. For her to be dead was unimaginable. How was I to process that? It didn’t make sense. None of it made sense.

Ruschelle: You are a Fey queen in your own right, having explored their mythos and creating your own. Tell us a bit about them and how they affect your works?

Stacey – I’ve always loved Queen Mab and Morgan Le Fay. The Morrighan came later. It doesn’t seem to matter who depicts them, they always possess an inner strength. They are, I find misunderstood and misrepresented. The internet is rife with information about Mab, Morgan and The Morrighan, often unable to tell one apart from the other. After a while of growing frustrated with the fact that they are often confused for one another, I decided to set about separating the threads that wove them together and create three very separate characters.

Queen Mab, the quintessential Faerie Queen. I think she’s most famous due to Shakespeare, but if you delve a little deeper, it appears she is modelled on the Irish Queen Medb (Maeve) said to have been the Warrior Queen of Connacht, and famous for having five husbands and seven sons all named Maine. My version differs a bit from the original.

Morgan le Fay, as most know if the daughter of Igraine and Gorlois, as well as the half sister to the legendary King Arthur. That’s about where the similarities end when it comes to various authors view points. Some say it was Morgause who slept with her brother and begat Mordred, other’s say it was Morgan herself. Personally, I think it was Morgan, as I favour Marion Zimmer Bradley’s take on the tale. My version is similar, with one difference, Morgan and Arthur are step siblings forced into marriage. Mordred is the end result of that marriage. Something Morgan tries to circumvent, but in the end, can’t. So, rather than cast the child from the womb before he is ready, she sends him to Mab to raise as her own.

And… The Morrighan, she is an Irish war Goddess, often said to be a trio of Goddesses actually. Comprised on Nemain, Badb and Macha. As well as being a shape shifter. The raven or crow is also associated with her. There is a lot more to her than that, but it would take pages to share it all. My version is very true to the original, I think. She has her own mind and she won’t always come when called, which is often true, I’ve found when working with her.

Ruschelle: Let’s play make-believe. If you could be a Faerie, tell us the kind of faerie you’d be?

Stacey – That’s an interesting question, because I haven’t actually thought about the kind I’d be. But I guess if I could be fey it would probably be something Welsh, the Tylwyth Teg, for instance. If only because Wales fascinates me. So does Cornwall actually. I often think if I could live anywhere else in the world, other than Australia it would be either Wales or Cornwall, because of the history and myth the two places are steeped in.

Ruschelle: Well, I’ve thought of it for you.  You are a badass faerie who wields an axe and takes on fuzzy bunnies from Hell. These bunnies are building an army of small rodents, caterpillars and radishes to ultimately enslave faerie kind and make them their bitches! But you are the faeries warrior. You will rise up against their army and slay each bunny, rodent and radish that plot against the faerie world.  Bwhahahahaha!  Ehh…it sounded better in my head.  Anywho… Rejection is a big part of the writer’s life. It sucks but it’s true. What do you do when something you have gestated, birthed and raised is rejected?

Stacey – Cry? No, I learnt long ago that my writing is not for everyone. But I do get frustrated and disappointed. It takes a day or two for me to shake off those feelings because I do believe the stories I write are worth sharing.

Ruschelle: What was your first foray into writing?

Stacey – My very first foray into writing was bad fanfiction, along with various short stories and a novel. I still have the novel and some of the short stories. The fan fiction is lost to ravages of floppy discs. Time was not kind to them.

Ruschelle: You have kids. FOUR! WOAH! How do you find the time to squeeze precious ‘mind blood’ (what the hell is that? just run with it), out of your fingers and onto the computer screen?

Stacey – Haha! Yes, I have four kids. Alexander, 12; Lilia, 10; Caleb, 9 and Quinn, 7. They can be a handful at times. And yes, I get that reaction a lot, particular when I elaborate and tell people that there is exactly 4 years and 8 months between my eldest son and my youngest son. My husband is forever trying to offload one or two of them to unknowing strangers as a joke. It’s hilarious watching people’s faces. I’d never trade a single one though. As for how I find the time, well, I have to steal it. Suffice to say, I get a lot done on my phone. I’d be lost without it.

Ruschelle: Do you think any of them will pick up the pen? Do you think you’ll ever collaborate with any of them on a project?

Stacey – I think my eldest son might. He actually did write a story in year 1. It’s a short fantasy story that escalates very quickly. I still have it. Illustrations and all. And I think it would be a lot of fun to collaborate, should any one of them want to follow in my footsteps and write.

Ruschelle: Have your children ever appeared in some way, shape or form in your works?

Stacey – My daughter appears in my short story Shadows of Annwyn. Shes the infant faerie who has her wings pulled out as payment to the Crone. She was so tiny when she was born, having been born twelve weeks early, and weighing only 2lbs1, that it seemed fitting to include her in what I was writing at the time. The boys haven’t, at least not in the same way Lilia has. I’ve had a few young male characters that are a blending of each one of my sons. The three of them are all so different, and yet, I can see the similarities, much to their annoyance. Their quirks have made for interesting fictional characters that I couldn’t just focus on just one child specifically, I had to combine them.

Ruschelle: Oh…I love that imagery. That’s a hell of a payment. It’s so creative. And this creativity has also inspired you to create mixed media; pendants, bookmarks, earrings etc. Do you get the same feeling crafting with your hands as you do crafting with your mind?  By the way, they’re beautiful. 

Stacey – I do actually. I’m working on my time management skills. There really isn’t enough time in the day to focus on everything I want to focus on.

Ruschelle: You have a love of Cartography and hold a diploma in Spatial Information Services. That is amazing. Has that assisted you in your writing?

Stacey – Not exactly. I got into it only because my parents wanted me to do something worthwhile after high school other than write. Writing was not a valid career choice in their eyes. Actually my mum suggested that I be a secretary… of all things. So, rather than put myself through that, I followed in my Dad’s footsteps, or tried too. Cartography seemed more fun than Surveying. My time spend on various mine sites, while educational, left me feeling home sick and while the lure of a hefty paycheck was tempting, I couldn’t stick it out. Of course I finished my Diploma around the same time I found out I was expecting my eldest, so I wasn’t able to really discover if I was cut out for a job in the industry somewhere besides a mine site. I don’t think I’d trade it though. Maps are fun to create, so there’s always the possibility of creating fantasy world maps for people that want them. Being spatially aware has definitely helped in creating the worlds I write in.

Ruschelle: You live in Western Australia, the land of all things that could kill and eat you. Has any of those “nasties” inspired any of your villains in your stories?

Stacey – Nope. Never been inspired by our wildlife or our creepy crawlies. In saying that though, Orb Weaver’s do make rather pretty webs. I still don’t think I could write about them. I’d have to get close to them, and after having a baby spider crawling on the back of my neck fairly recently… I don’t think so. Quokkas on the other hand, I might be tempted to include.

Ruschelle: If you could sit and talk with any monster (without them eating you) what would it be and what would you want to discuss?

Stacey – Any monster, hhmmm? Probably a Kelpie. A Scottish water horse. I love horses and this is one faerie that intrigues me. As for what I’d ask, well that’s simple. What’s the true story behind the Loch Ness Monster? Is it real, or is it just a mere fabrication? Some people say it could be a Kelpie, but I’m not so sure.

Ruschelle: What was your favorite and most influential book or story that put you on this writing journey?

Stacey – My favourite book would have to be Alice in Wonderland but the most influential would have to be The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmerman Bradley.

Ruschelle: Let’s go back to the ‘interviewing you.’ If you could interview one author for The Horror Tree who would it be? And you don’t have to say ME, I mean…I’d be flattered but you don’t have to. LOL

Stacey – Okay, so besides you… cause that’s a given. I’d have to say… probably a friend of mine, Zoey, or Juliet Marillier. Perth can seem very isolated at times, so when you find fellow writers, it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot. Especially if they’ve made it as an author, like Juliet has.

Ruschelle: I know, I’m pretty damn cool.  LOL, But it IS s a toughie. There are TONS of fantastic authors out there to choose from. Okay, back to something more serious…Other than Nightshade, what else is filling up your notebooks and computer screen that we should look out for in the ‘soon to be?’

Stacey – Stolen. It’s a dark paranormal romance centering around Skye and her family’s five hundred year long debt to a faerie lord named Teague. It’s a step away from the YA novels I usually write. And set predominately on the Isle of Man.

Stacey, thank you so much for letting us all get to know you and discover your fantastic offerings, both previous and upcoming. And we all look forward to your future Q&A here on The Horror Tree!


If you would like to find out more, you can follow Stacey at the following links!


Taking Submissions: Colp: The Passage Of Time

Deadline: April 30th, 2018
Payment: AU$5.00 for stories under 1500 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 1500 words

Colp is our ‘anything goes’ anthology collection.

Expect to see a little bit of this and a little bit of that within each issue, so feel free to submit stories from any genre.

Current theme: the passage of time

For our first anthology collection we are looking for stories that address the phrase ‘the passage of time’. Interpret the phrase as you wish: are you thinking time machines and inter-dimensional travellers or are you flashing back to the unrequited loves of days gone by?

Colp is for everyone and therefore we are willing to read stories that fall into any genre so whether your story is a horror, romance, sci-fi or historical fiction please send it on through.

Please ensure that you read through the general guidelines below and if there are specific questions please contact us using the form on the home page or via the listed social media accounts.

  • Word count: 1000 – 5000 words (we’re willing to consider longer or shorter if the story is good)
  • Deadline: April 30 2018
  • Payment:  AU$5.00 for stories under 1500 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 1500 words

General guidelines:

  • Please no erotica or stories that feature unnecessary violence or vulgarity (unless specified otherwise).
  • All stories should be formatted appropriately. Please see here for more details.
  • Ensure that your name, address, and email contact and word count are at the top of your manuscript.
  • Double check your spelling and grammar before sending your work through.
  • Please submit all stories in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats.
  • International submissions are accepted.
  • No simultaneous submissions.
  • Multiple submissions are encouraged.
  • Where possible, we will provide feedback on request.
  • No reprints.
  • Please send all submissions to [email protected]

Via: Gypsum Sound Tales.

Ongoing Submissions: Odd Tales Of Wonder

Payment: Royalties

It is recommended that authors check out this piece from Odd Tales Resist to get a deeper look at what we’re looking for, on top of the following guidelines.

· Please use the following formatting: single spaced, even between paragraphs. 12 point font, Times New Roman. 1” margins, top, bottom, left, and right. No page numbers or title pages necessary, word counts optional. We accept .odt, .doc, .docx, and .rtf, but no PDFs, s’il vous plait.

· Length: up to you. As seen on the About page, we will serialize longer pieces. And if you can tell a good story in 150 words, we’ll take that too.

· Ask us beforehand about poetry—no non-fiction will be considered for the time being. HOWEVER, we are currently accepting true ghost stories. Content must be original and entertaining, and it must conform to the other guidelines where relevant.

· If your story has been published previously under circumstances where copyright may be an issue, query first before submitting.

· Simultaneous submissions are cool, but let us know immediately when your piece has been accepted elsewhere. Please note that we will only publish one story per author per issue except under special circumstances.

· At present, all book submissions will be treated as submissions for serialization in the Odd Tales magazine. Odd Tales Resist is currently closed to outside submissions, but stories in the theme of OTR are encouraged for the main magazine.

· All genres are welcome but we are definitely a genre fiction magazine: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and adventure all get priority. Romance, drama, and slice-of-life will probably not get in unless we really like it.

· We are fine with vulgarity, profanity, and some graphic content. Keyword there: some. Your characters can have sex but it can’t be erotica or porn. And while violence is fine, lengthy descriptions of extensive dismemberment will severely count against your story.

· Don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. Just don’t be an asshole at any stage of the process. And yes, the editors are the ones who get to decide you’re being an asshole.

· Be yourself, and be good to yourself. Don’t write it if you aren’t.

If this sounds like the thing for you, please submit your story to [email protected]. We look forward                                                                                           to hearing from you!

Via: Odd Tales Of Wonder.

Taking Submissions: Innsmouthbreathers: Cautionary Fables of Mythos Fandom!

Deadline: July 31st, 2018
Payment: .03CAD per word and a contributor’s copy

There are folks for whom the question of whether Cthulhu has two eyes or six is a vitally important one. Individuals that believe, somehow, that a dinner of tinned spaghetti and ice cream with a reanimated H. P. Lovecraft would be the height of both culinary and intellectual pleasure. Scholars who feel that The Horror at Red Hook is a timely warning about, well, you know… those other people. Esteemed biographers of weird fiction luminaries who reveal their foaming insecurity at the changing of the guard, or the form of a literary award. Entities who dissolve with glee at the slapping of some tentacles on a meme, thus rendering it “Lovecraftian”.

Yes, they’re out there, in their seeming thousands, trolling social media, fawning over the dead, podcasting their paranoia. Yes, they are slouching roughly towards Arkham and Providence and fabled Y’ha-nthlei, to dwell in fossilized canon and geeky glory, forever.




Martian Migraine Press announces an open call for submissions to our latest anthology project, INNSMOUTHBREATHERS: Cautionary Fables of Mythos FandomWe are looking for humourous stories of a certain kind of Cthulhu Mythos fan: the rabid Lovecraft worshipper, the defender of the outmoded and outclassed, the pulp reader for whom Weird Fiction peaked somewhere in the middle of the last century. (The 20th, for those keeping track of such things!) We’re looking for tales that pit Innsmouthbreathers against all manner of real and imagined horrors: shoggoths with Social Justice agendas, politically active Deep Ones, enlightened Mi-Go, and Nick Mamatas*. Make them lovable, make them loathsome, make us feel their triumphs and defeats! Put us in their basements, their garrets, their comic shops and conventions and pop-culture covens, and put us in their Cthulhu parody t-shirts while you’re at it. Mmm, is that a cotton/poly blend? Only in black, you say? SOLD.

INNSMOUTHBREATHERS will be a mostly funny book. We’re going for light-hearted ribbing here, a send-up, a roast. Stories that are outright mean and nasty won’t play well within these pages. Remember, let they who have not geeked out over Lovecraft, even a little, even once, throw the first Shining Trapezohedron into the bay! And sure, we’re asking for yuks, but please don’t feel you need to dial back the weird horror. Mix it up, thrill us, chill us, make us laugh at ourselves.

Submission period closes 31 JULY 2018. The anthology will be released in early October 2018.


Please use Standard Manuscript format when submitting. That’s double spaced, left justified, Times New Roman or Courier or something at least readable, a header on the first page (at least) with your author info and word count and… well, you know the drill. RTF or DOC files preferred, but DOCx and text files also accepted. Obviously, you could send us something that’s not in Standard Manuscript format, but it will lower your chances of it being looked at seriously.

We will look at both original work and REPRINTS.

To submit a story to INNSMOUTHBREATHERS send an e-mail (with the story file attached, not in the body of the email) to: [email protected], with subject line: INNSMOUTHtitle of your story, and your name.


For short fiction, we’d like to see anything from 1,500 to 5,000 words. If your story goes over 5k, please inquire first. Honestly, we’d prefer to see shorter, punchier stories.

FLASH FICTION: got something under 1500 words? Send it in. However, the following still applies…



All accepted submissions will be paid .03CAD per word, via Paypal, as well as a contributor copy (paperback) of the anthology, and copies in all electronic formats (mobi, EPUB, and PDF). Authors are also entitled to complete access to all titles in the MMP ebook catalogue


We will try to acknowledge receipt of your submission within a week of its arrival in our inbox. The submission period itself will close on 31 JULY 2018 and we should be responding to all submissions, yay or nay, by early August 2018. If you haven’t heard from us by 15 September 2018, please query.


* We use Mr Mamatas here as a stand-in for any writer who dares to push weird and horror fiction into new, interesting places. Sorry, Nick, but you made your bed, sir.

Via: Martian Migraine Press.

Taking Submissions: Haunted Are These Houses

Deadline: April 28th, 2018
Payment: 1¢/word
Note: Reprints Allowed

Haunted are These Houses is an anthology of Gothic fiction and poetry due out in September 2018, edited by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Eddie Generous.

Submit original or reprints of short story submissions of horror, dark science fiction (light), dark fantasy, crime, thriller, and suspense. Typical Unnerving flavor requested, but Gothic in nature.

Payment is 1¢/word. Non-exclusive print-on-demand rights for five years.

Submit only one story at a time. Submit in .docx, .doc or .odt only. Double-spaced. No tabs. No extra spaces after periods. Please use common sense when formatting. Everything hard on the eyes will be rejected automatically. Allow for up to 6 months before querying. Simultaneous submissions are welcome. Open to authors from any country. Payment by PayPal only within 30 days of publication.

Only stories from 400-6,000 (FIRM!) words will be considered with preference leaning towards fewer than 4,000 words.

Via: Unnerving Magazine’s Submittable.

Taking Submissions: Monstrous Outlines

Deadline: November 30th, 2018
Payment: .03CAD per word and a contributor’s copy

“Their hand is at your throats, yet ye see Them not;
and Their habitation is even one with your guarded threshold.”
— H. P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror

Monstrous Outlines will be an anthology of horror and weird fiction with a focus on the theme of camouflage: people, entities, monsters, gods, even concepts, that masquerade as things other than themselves. Predators in plain sight, deities on their down time, sublime extra-dimensional terrors slumming in 4D. We want to see stories of exceptionally well done camouflage, all the more baffling and frightening for its seamless nature. We want to see stories of seeming where the hidden thing is poorly hidden for a number of reasons: perhaps there are layers to its camouflage, or perhaps it doesn’t care how well it hides. Imagine the moment when the perfectly hidden thing reveals itself. When the poorly hidden thing reveals itself. We’re also interested in duplicates, doppelgangers, and shapeshifters. Think John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There? and its cinematic offspring, The Thing, for the latter. The seed story for this anthology will be Algernon Blackwood’s classic tale, The Willows, a story of two worlds touching, of men meeting the unnameable through the medium of the nearest natural analogue, the titular willow trees.

Submission period closes 31 NOVEMBER 2018. The anthology will be released in trade paperback and electronic book formats in early March 2019.


Please use Standard Manuscript format when submitting. That’s double spaced, left justified, Times New Roman or Courier or something at least readable, a header on the first page (at least) with your author info and word count and… well, you know the drill. RTF or DOC files preferred, but DOCx and text files also accepted. Obviously, you could send us something that’s not in Standard Manuscript format, but it will lower your chances of it being looked at seriously.

We will look at both original work and REPRINTS.

To submit a story to MONSTROUS OUTLINES send an e-mail (with the story file attached, not in the body of the email) to: [email protected], with subject line: OUTLINEStitle of your story, and your name.


For short fiction, we’d like to see anything from 1,500 to 7,000 words. If your story goes over 7k, please inquire first.

FLASH FICTION: got something under 1500 words? Send it in. However, the following still applies…



All accepted submissions will be paid .03CAD per word, via Paypal, as well as a contributor copy (paperback) of the anthology, and copies in all electronic formats (mobi, EPUB, and PDF). Authors are also entitled to complete access to all titles in the MMP ebook catalogue


We will try to acknowledge receipt of your submission within a week of its arrival in our inbox. The submission period itself will close on 31 NOVEMBER 2018 and we should be responding to all submissions, yay or nay, by early January 2019. If you haven’t heard from us by 15 January 2019, please query.

Via: Martian Migraine Press.

Trembling With Fear 03/11/2018

Success in writing is something we all aspire to and when we achieve it, we want to celebrate and make that elusive golden moment last longer but … writers are their own worst enemies. When rejection appears, hot on the heels of success, what do we do? We dwell on failure and allow the success to fade into the background, tell ourselves we’re not good enough, nurse the embers of self-doubt back into a roaring fire. We need to get past this and make those golden moments last a little longer, and TWF can help you do that. Let me know of your successes, drop me a line about a shortlist, a win, a publication, even a wonderful rejection or taking the plunge in a new writing venture and I’ll include it in the editorial. Send in a photo as well if you have one. TWF has become a great little community and I’d like to celebrate that more in these pages.

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I’d like to request some drabbles for those who don’t usually contribute. We’ve got a stockpile of our regulars at the moment (and try to only do one per author per month) and would like to expand what is available if possible. Thanks all!

‘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

A Second Hand Haunting

“Used Tombstone for sale.” The ad drew her eye.

“Here read this Luke.” Roxy’s red painted fingernail jabbed at the newspaper.

Luke was busy feeding the seagulls,  “Big buggers these gulls,” he muttered.

It was the third day of their mini holiday to Bridlington. Luke couldn’t wait to get home. His Roxy had done nothing but sulk, moan and eat since they’d arrived. Why couldn’t she just enjoy herself? He watched her forcing more chips between her pink glossy lips.

“I’ll ring up about it.”

Luke eye balled the nearest gull who losing the staring match, flew away. Around them couples huddled under umbrellas, swaddled in macs and plastic rain hats. The tinny sounds of the arcade blared out but no one was on the rides.

Roxy was dialling her mobile, eyes narrowed, chin stuck out. Luke recognised the look. He sighed.

“Hiya? I’m interested in buying the tombstone in the ad. Yeah. Right.”

She’d put on her posh phone voice, he noticed.

“OK, yes – 15 Havelock Street. We’ll be round soonish.”

She rang off and turned beaming to face Luke.

“It’ s a bargain at a fiver. Said to come straight over.” She stood up thrusting the chip wrappings aside.

Luke gazed at her nonplussed. “You’re kidding love? What are you going to use a tombstone for?”
Roxy shrugged, her eyes blank and her hair dripping round her face. “Garden ornament?”

“We live in a terrace with a yard!”

Roxy was teetering along the pier in her high heels, her mac clinging to her. Behind her something thin and grey slithered. Luke blinked hard.

It’s just the dirty rain water running down the drains, he thought.

They took half an hour to find 15 Havelock Street. It was a thin sliver of a house tucked away in a nest of others, which looked derelict but a faint light shone in an upstairs window.

“Hardly ‘Ideal Home’ material,” Luke joked.

Roxy ignored him and knocked on the front door. She’d barely spoken on the walk over. The door opened a crack; one eye and a portion of cheek appeared. One was bloodshot, the other grey and dirty.

“What do yer want?”

Roxy hesitated, “We’ve come about the ad.”

“Show us the fiver.” A bony hand wriggled through the gap.

Roxy flashed the fiver but held it too far away from the grasping fingers.

“OK then. You’d better come in.”

Luke didn’t want to go in. His gut feeling told him no. Roxy stepped forward and he had to follow her. Even if she could be a moody mare he loved her.

“It’s in here.” The woman was wizened, scrawny and unkempt.

She pushed open the door to the front room and propped against the dead icy fireplace was the grey granite tombstone of the newspaper ad; the room’s sole item, in a space bereft of any  furniture or decoration. There were marks scratched on the stone, but worn and illegible.

“Looks old,” said Luke.

Roxy stood transfixed, staring wide eyed at the stone. She walked across the grimy lino to touch the granite with gentle probing fingers, whispering under her breath and shaking her head. Luke didn’t know what was wrong with her.

“It’s a good un,” announced the lady of the house.

“We’ll take it,” Roxy stated firmly. Luke couldn’t believe what he’d just heard.

“Hang on a minute luv. How are we going to move it?”

“Well very, very carefully and with respect.” Roxy replied. She didn’t have a smile on her face either. Her eyes looked shiny too.

Upstairs something thudded or landed on the bare boards. No carpets in this house. The old woman jerked her head upwards.

She looked rattled, Luke thought, Why?

“Better hurry and take it then.”

The sounds grew louder and more forceful. Luke realised something or someone was dragging themselves across the room. Stop, thud, shuffle, slither. Stop, thud, shuffle.

“Shouldn’t you go and help them?” he asked.

The woman looked amazed. “Why in blazes would I do that? He don’t need my help now any road.”

Roxy was stroking the stone, “Grab one end Luke.”

Luke bent and did as Roxy said. The tombstone was not as heavy as he’d guestimated but still heavy enough. He felt his lower lumbar crack.

A low moaning cry could be heard coming from upstairs. When they lifted the tombstone, a flurry of bugs scurried from underneath, fleeing for the dark corners. Luke nearly dropped the stone when he spotted them.

“Um Mrs – er are you sure they’re OK upstairs?” He nodded to the ceiling.

The woman turned her tiny monkey face towards him and he shuddered at her toothless gape. Hadn’t she been to an NHS dentist in her life?

“Best keep moving if you know what’s good for yer.”

Roxy was labouring as he’d never seen before, edging along the narrow hallway, sweating whilst heading for the doorway. Luke wanted to rest and peek up the stairs. He sensed a presence on the top landing and now could hear a wheezing hiss, like a balloon deflating.

“Don’t stop Luke!” Roxy said, “Keep going.”

Above them came a thump, a rustle and the sound of a foot hitting the top wooden stair board.

“Nearly there. Hurry!”  The old woman urged them on.

Roxy reversed out the open front door, chipping the woodwork but keeping her grip on the stone’s edges.  Whatever was descending the stairs was halfway down. Luke could smell fresh earth as if the garden had been dug. Confused he looked down at the stone paving flags in the front yard. No sign of digging there. The old woman pushed them on like they were horses. As soon as his heel was over the threshold she slammed the door on him. While he paused for breath, he heard the sound of finger nails raking the wooden door before an eldritch screech pealed out. He shuddered.

Luke and Roxy slumped on the pavement gasping, both shiny with sweat. They cuddled the tombstone between them like a granite baby they wanted to adopt.

“Wonderful holiday this is turning into!” Luke couldn’t help himself.

Roxy white faced, eyes wet, hissed, “I had to have it. Look it’s got my name on it.”

Luke followed her pointing finger. He didn’t understand what she meant. He made out only scrawls and faint markings where years ago letters had been.

Roxy shook her head, her make-up had rubbed away. She looked both younger and older in the street lighting. Luke felt his stomach flip flop with love.

“Don’t mess with me. Can’t you see? It says ‘Roxanne Stewart -born 16 September 198- taken too soon from us- 29 October 20–’”

They stared at each other, confused and anxious. Behind their backs the house stood silent and seemingly uninhabited. Neither of them wanted to knock and ask the old crone for answers.

“Are you sure Roxy?” Luke didn’t know what to say. Roxy began to cry.

They sat huddled holding hands, encased in their own thoughts. Luke kept remembering the sound of stumbling feet and the smell of fresh earth. Who had been upstairs? Or what?

Looking at his distraught girlfriend, he came to a decision, “We’ve gotta get shut of it Roxy. It’s cursed I reckon.”

“What do you mean?” Roxy looked shattered, her skin waxy and stretched thin.

She’s just tired. Luke thought.

“We need a churchyard so we can hide it amongst the other graves.” He Googled the nearest church on his iPhone.

The trip to St James’ was long and tiring. They part carried, part dragged the stone,  making numerous rest stops. The tiny church had a lovely location, near a local school and open fields. Between them they manhandled the tombstone through the long grass and wedged it face down in a corner, leaving it lying on its own. Isolated.

Roxy was on the point of collapse; her nails chipped and broken, her tights laddered and she was limping. Luke held her up on the walk back and hauled her into bed in the chintzy room at the B&B just before dawn. He half noticed a thin grey shape slither through the doorway after them, reminding Luke of the greyhounds his Dad betted on, but tiredness won. He let sleep smother him.

Hours later when he woke, the clock said 2pm and the rain was jack hammering the streets of Bridlington. He stretched and kicked out, every ache in his joints reminding him of the physical labour he’d done.

Roxy was a hump under the flowery duvet. He stretched out his hand but froze in mid gesture. He felt a chill coming from her body. Tugging off the duvet he found her lying on her side. Her skin   blanched to the colour of candle wax and a grey caulk cradled her body. His screams brought the landlady to his door. The holiday was officially finished.

Alyson Faye

Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her family and 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes, writes noir Flash Fiction and ghost stories. She is one of the writers in ‘Women in Horror Annual 2’, in Raging Aardvark’s ‘Twisted Tales’, her stories can be downloaded at as well as being available on various sites like zeroflash/Tubeflash/101 words/three drops from a cauldron. Her debut collection, ‘Badlands’, is due out soon from indie publisher Chapel Town Books.

You can find out more on her blog- or at her amazon author page

Disease #1

They’d told Jill to be careful. Working as a biologist in the Amazon could be dangerous. Not to worry, she said. Then, a fruit bat nicked her skin but these were harmless. Now though, she wasn’t so sure.

After two months, she returned to England. She didn’t know why but didn’t like being here anymore. Her husband bothered her, irritated her. She was always thirsty, but water tasted horrible. People were horrible. She wanted to hit, kick, bite them. It was when her husband suggested a doctor, that she began foaming at the mouth, screamed, then lunged for his throat.

Justin Boote

Justin Boote is an English ex-pat in Barcelona, Spain for over 20 years, working as a stressed waiter in a busy centrical restaurant, which does at least provide ideas for stories!

All my stories are horror/suspense/supernatural based, trying to combine the influences of King/Barker and James Herbert. To date I have several stories in various publications, and  contribute regularly to Deadlights magazine, a wonderful e-zine and paperback publisher.

When not thinking of disturbing ways to avenge nasty clients at work, or writing, you can find me asleep, or at [email protected].

The Cellar

The door to the cellar was unlocked. It was never unlocked. Never. I stood, uncertain. That door always tempted me, but now?

I opened it. Stairs disappeared into darkness. No switch visible.

I took a torch from the drawer and went down the stairs. In its beam, the cellar was boringly normal: cardboard boxes, crates, old chairs. Boring!

Then, the torch flickered, died. Plunging me into darkness. But, I could see the rectangle of light at the top of the stairs. I ran for it.

The door slammed. I reached it. Tried it. The door to the cellar was locked.




DJ Tyrer

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines around the world, such as Chilling Horror Short Stories (Flame Tree), All The Petty Myths (18th Wall), Steampunk Cthulhu (Chaosium), What Dwells Below (Sirens Call), The Mad Visions of al-Hazred (Alban Lake), and EOM: Equal Opportunity Madness (Otter Libris), and issues of Sirens Call, Hinnom Magazine, Ravenwood Quarterly, and Weirdbook, and in addition, has a novella available in paperback and on the Kindle, The Yellow House (Dunhams Manor).

DJ Tyrer’s website is at

The Atlantean Publishing website is at

Throw Away The Key

Irae came from the orphanage with two gifts. Most adoptions don’t have much more than clothes, but their newest addition brought a book and a trunk.

She knew how this would end. She tracked the days, marked oddities, took note of when loving smiles became frowns. When compliments became jabs. When the father bought a gun. When the son used it.

Eight days. One day, she’d find a family that wouldn’t go mad from her presence. One free from evil. She wrote a note: Free to a good home, put it on her trunk, climbed inside, and shut the lid.


Kevin Holton

Kevin Holton is a cyborg and fitness junkie from coastal New Jersey. He’s the author of At the Hands of Madness (Severed Press), as well as the forthcoming novels The Nightmare King (Siren’s Call Publications) and These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream (HellBound Books). He also co-wrote the short film Human Report 85616, and his short work has appeared with Sci-Phi Journal, The Literary Hatchet, Radiant Crown Press, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, Mighty Quill Books, and Thunderdome Press, among others. He can also be found acting, blogging with The Bold Mom, or talking about Batman.

You can find more of his work on his website, Patreon, Amazon

I Never Met A Turkey I’d Call A Friend

They gobble and wobble as they walk through the wood.

You may love the taste but they are up to no good.

We claim to devour them just for sandwiches or Thanksgiving.

But we have to slay them for humanity to continue living.

You think that they’re dumb and can drown in the rain.

But their true origins would drive anyone insane.

Experiments by demonic beings who visited the Earth.

A failed attempt at evil to which they gave birth.

If we let them, the turkeys would grow and eradicate us all.

Each nation no matter how great or small.

Stuart Conover

Your Horror Tree Host, Author, A Father, And General All-Around Crazy Person! (Or just read the bio below!)

The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Marcus James

Selene – Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thanks for interviewing with us! First, please tell us a bit about yourself.


Marcus – I’m thirty-three, I live in Tacoma Washington, outside of Seattle, in the historic Stadium District. The neighborhood is one of the places I spent a big chunk of my life growing up. It is filled with historic mansions and beautiful Victorians right on the water, and the high school was made famous as the school in Ten Things I Hate About You. I’ve been a professional author since I was 21. I was signed with my first literary agency when I was 19. I love to cook, and if I hadn’t been destined for writing, I would have been a chef. That was my plan until I was eleven, then my passion switched. I had always written creatively, but it didn’t call to me as my vocation until then, but once it happened, there was nothing left for me. I’m the author of seven novels, I’ve written for various publications throughout the years, and I’m constantly amazed that my husband is so supportive. It’s not easy being with an author, especially if you are not one, and when he and I got together, my career was already long ago established, so the fact that he was supportive and didn’t treat it like a hobby (which a lot of people who are not authors or artists themselves can do) was pretty mind-blowing.


Selene – How long have you been writing, and what draws you to horror?


Marcus – since I accidently answered the first part of the question in the first one, I will answer the second. Haha. Horror is everything to me. I have been a horror fanatic since I was about three years old. That was the first time I ever saw Halloween, and I just fell in love with Michael Myers, Laurie Strode-the whole package. There’s a pic of me my mom has when I’m like four pretending to be Freddy Kruger in one of her Fedoras. I was really lucky in a lot of ways, my mom was 18 when she had me, her younger sister was 14, and her older brother was like 21 or 22 and my cousins were teens. It was the eighties and they were the typical eighties slasher demographic. We all hung out together as a family, listening to Guns n Roses, Motley Crue, Metallica, etc. And often watching horror. Many in my family read Anne Rice (my patron saint of authors as I see her) and just living for it. Horror has literally been apart of my life from day one. I love everything about horror. It can go where other genres can’t go. Fear, rage, sex, joy, sorrow, loss, hope, resilience, survival, it’s all in there! I started out in Bellingham Washington (where most of my books are set) and all of the houses, the ghost stories, the history, it’s all real and a part of my history. In my Blackmoore novels, the main character Trevor Blackmoore, his great-aunt Mabel aka Queen Mab as the family calls her, lives in my great-aunt Alice’s house. There is a lot of Alice in Queen Mab, and that house is full of ghosts. In Bellingham, much like Salem or New Orleans, the spirit world is right next to you. Almost every house, every street corner and building has a ghost story or twenty! The things that go bump in the night have always been a part of my life-my identity. Horror is where I find my home. If done right, horror can reach inside of you and take you to the shadow side of yourself and really make you feel a range of emotions.


Selene – What books and authors do you like to read, and what do you consider your writing influences?

Marcus – Well, Anne Rice first and foremost. Charles Dickens, Gore Vidal, Jim Grimsley, Edmund White, Poppy Z. Brite (who has transitioned and is living happily with his partner and sadly, due to the trauma of Katrina, no longer writes.) And Tori Amos. The things that influence my writing are actually musicians and songs more than anything else. Anne Rice helped me develop and find my writing voice in those early tween years, and her son Christopher Rice actually taught me that it was okay to write about gay characters and the gay experience. Before A Density of Souls came out when I was sixteen, I wasn’t writing about gay people at all. I wasn’t bold enough to do so in my writing. I was out by then and was very proud and bullied a lot for it, but in my writing, up until that book, I was so scared to explore the queer aesthetic on the page. I will forever be indebted to Chris for that. I’ve told him more than once. Haha.

Selene – In addition to your own work, you host Brews & Books, and Queerly Spoken. Tell me about these events.
Marcus – Well, my friends own a Brewery in Seattle called Ravenna Brewing Co. And their beers are incredible btw, if you are ever in Seattle you have to check them out. When my novel-the second Blackmoore book-Symphony for the Devil came out, I wanted to do something different from the regular bookstore signings, so we decided to have it at the brewery, and the concept came about, what if we had authors come, drink delicious beer, be relaxed, and have a discussion about their books, career, and writing? So that’s what we did. Starting with me. Haha! It had a really great turn out and my editor asked me questions and I got to drink beer and sit. That was the nicest part. Most of the time you’re standing forever. From that point on, I hosted, and feature other authors.

Queerly Spoken is a storytelling series like Mortified or The Vagina Monologues, where the only requirement is that storytellers tell a story about when they were young and queer. It’s an attempt to preserve our legacy of LGBT storytelling. In the seventies through the early two-thousands, LGBT literature and storytellers and publishing was just exploding, and we have a legacy of just celebrating who we are and our history, our experiences, and our culture-our various aesthetics-LGBTQ visibility, culture, activism, outness, owes so much to the queer writers and story tellers. They taught us who we are, what it means to be us, and most importantly, that what we feel is normal and that WE ARE NOT ALONE. That last one is THE MOST important. It’s why, despite the stigma and the challenges that come along with it, I write with gay main characters. We are here, we exist, and some kid feeling scared and alone reads one of my books…. They will feel less alone too. They need to know that they can be heroes just like straight people. They can save the day.

With Queerly Spoken, just like in my own work, it’s about continuing to share our stories, to keep that message alive. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don’t give up. There is nothing wrong with you.
Selene – How would you say a “live” story setting differs from reading and writing on the page? Do you get a good audience response?


Marcus – I do. I love the readings, I love connecting in that way. I know a lot of my colleagues who loath it, but I love it. As long as you enjoy yourself they will enjoy themselves.


Selene – Your website mentions a Virtual Book tour. What is that? How did it go for you? Are you planning more?


Marcus – the tour happened this past summer, and I did one again for Halloween. The first one was for Rise of the Nephilim, which is the first part of a two-part Blackmoore Prequel which follows Trevor’s mother, Kathryn Blackmoore back in LA in 1987 when she is in her mid-twenties, and it gives insight into her motives in the actual main books, why she kept her son in the dark about who he is and the truth about their family. They are two novellas though, along with part two, Fall of the Nephilim, that are geared towards women, very much erotic paranormal romance/horror. I didn’t feel these smaller books merited a real physical tour, so I did a virtual book tour, which is a thing where you do different interviews, guest blogs, giveaways, etc. On various book sites. It was booked through Bewitching Book Tours.

My next novel, Instructions In Flesh, which comes out in October, will be a hybrid, both physical and virtual book tours. It’ll be a very busy couple of months in the fall.


Selene – Your main body of stories so far, if you’ll permit me that generalization, is the Blackmoore Legacy series. Tell us a bit about the Blackmoores.


Marcus – The Blackmoores are a family of witches who live in the historic and cloistered old moneyed neighborhood of South Hill in Bellingham Washington. The family comes originally from Ireland, where centuries and centuries ago, they betrayed a very ancient and bloodthirsty god who is bent on regaining strength and power and wiping out the family and take over the world. Some witches are on his side, others are not.

Two Blackmoores, Sarafeene and Malachey (who were cousins and married) came to New Orleans in 1788, as poor, indentured servants, though they were lucky enough, being married to be able to live on their own and not in the home of employment, in the Irish Channel. They found their spiritual traditions mixed well with the voodoo of the slaves they worked with and incorporated that into theirs. It was the only way they were able to find a sense of community in a strange new world full of hardship and struggle and abuse.

They were cursed by a woman who was devoted to the Dark God of the Wood, that through copulation they would kill. So, it was that anyone who had sex with a Blackmoore (unprotected) would die seven to twelve years later of a sudden tumor which would cause an aneurysm. Every choice a Blackmoore has made to have a child meant willingly killing someone. Their granddaughter Katy Blackmoore ran from the family to Spain, and when she returned, she had married an aristocrat and gave her family an EXTREMELY large fortune to stay away from her, thinking if she didn’t use her witchcraft and had nothing to do with her family, the Legacy, as they call the curse, would not touch her. She was wrong obviously. So, Trevor is the chosen one, he breaks the curse, but in doing so, the Dark God begins to gain strength and his devotees and other nefarious things begin to come for Trevor and his family.

The books are very much steeped in history, lore, witch traditions, paganism, myth, but it all takes a back seat to the characters real human struggles. They are very gothic and very much set in the real world. No wands, flying broomsticks, or things you’d find in Harry Potter. Though some call Trevor the gay adult Harry Potter, all the spells, the rituals, the deities, all come from history and tradition.


Selene – How does writing a series differ from writing a stand-alone novel? What about a character or setting inspires you to revisit, through sequels and prequels?


Marcus – well, I never intended on a series. Blackmoore originally wasn’t going to be about witches. It was simply a novel about Trevor Blackmoore who has a very powerful spirit named Jonathan Marker who becomes dangerous and vengeful, all wrapped up within the story of these four kids, three of whom used to be best friends with Trevor, but then once they are in middle school and it is obvious that Trevor is gay, they abandon him and become his tormentors, then in high school they concoct this Dangerous Liaisons (or for those reading and not familiar, you’ll  know it by it’s more recent interpretation: Cruel Intentions) plot to humiliate him. All of those elements are in Blackmoore, but it became so much more. I didn’t plan it. Trevor showed it to me. My characters-the Boys as I call them-are very real to me and dictate everything, and from the get-go Trevor was saying “There is more to it than this. So much more. I’m going to show you the depth of the forest, I’m going to take you into the dark night and the witches sabbat. I’m going to show you how deep these roots go. Just trust me and tell my story.”

I know, it sounds weird. But, that’s how it was. And the thing is, Trevor had always been there. He’s always been with me. I look back on moments in my life as a kid, and I can see that his shadow was there in the background, just waiting for the right moment to come forward in all his form. It just took till I was twenty.


Selene – Let’s talk about setting. The Blackmoore saga is set in Washington state, where you live. But the setting in the book has a very old world Gothic feel (so much so, I thought you were a Brit, for some reason!). Other than the “write what you know” advice, how would you say you approach creating a setting for the story?


Marcus – well, that’s Fairhaven/South Hill in Bellingham. You’ve read them, so you know the history. That’s where it all began. The old Victorian mansions were built by the founding families, Fairhaven was the original shipping port. I grew up in this world where history is simply alive. The ghosts walk with you. You feel the past everywhere you go. Ghosts standing behind maples and oaks and you feel them staring at you.

I grew up in those houses. My aunt’s home was filled with antiques from the 1800’s-1940’s. Old tins, paintings, teddy bears, the portrait of Queen Victoria in black hanging above the fireplace mantel in the dining room. Everything described in the books is all real in that regard of setting.

How could I not write about this? If you live in a place like New Orleans Garden District, or Savannah around Forsythe Park, or Salem, or if you know of them and their strangeness, you’ll understand what I mean. Bellingham was crying out to be written about in this way.


Selene – The first book, Blackmoore, features legacy witches and a ghost. Do you believe in the paranormal, and have you had any ghostly experiences?

Marcus – well, I’ve established this! Haha! But yes, I do. Very much so and I have no shame in that. I absolutely do. I’m a pagan author. So, the witch/pagan/voodoo, etc. Is deeply revered and greatly respected in my work when it comes to the Blackmoore books. And I research like crazy on everything. The spirit world is very much a part of my world.

Myself and my family have had many encounters with ghosts. I myself have. Had a ghost attached to my dining table my roommates and I named Pearl. She just felt like an old lady who was very stern. She would get very active if her dining table got dirty. She’d begin throwing things and stealing things. Once you cleaned her table though… it all came back or stopped.

My favorite though, isn’t mine it’s my aunt Alice. She told me about how for years after her mother in-law died, she would get up early in the morning, like three am, and she would sit on the sofa and talk with her mother in-law! She would come down the stairs, and there she was, sitting on the sofa. It just kept happening, and always the same time. So, she just started talking to her after she would fade away, my aunt would just sit down and start talking to her. Eventually it stopped.

I always get a kick out of that one.


Selene – Your work is classified as “erotica.” As a writer, I’m usually not so great at writing sex scenes. How do/did you get past any reticence, and what are some tips and techniques for writing erotica?


Marcus – I wouldn’t say my books are erotica, with the exception of Rise of the Nephilim and Fall of the Nephilim, which are erotic paranormal romance. Every sex scene has a purpose. Blackmoore for example, has three and each one reveals something about the inner workings of a character, or something profoundly intense and defining for the characters involved. Symphony for the Devil has four, and other books I’ve written have one or two. And that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned about writing sex scenes; it has to move the story or the characters forward. It has to define a tone of the book. Even if it’s a hookup, it has to define the characters and expose them to the reader.

I got my start writing erotica for various anthologies for Alyson Books, who were at one time, the Knopf/Random House of LGBT publishing houses. Sadly, as with most queer publishing houses that were offering the big advances, they no longer exist.

But, the power of erotica, and its difference from pornography, is that it is sex for the sake of the story, not story for the sake of the sex. Meaning the sex contributes something to the story that surrounds it, not just making up some type of story just to get to the sex.

If the sex scene isn’t needed, then leave it out. Fade to black. But, if you feel that it is needed. It’s that kind of chapter or that kind of story, then just write what you feel. Don’t be afraid of the words. Write with the intensity. It will translate to the reader and make them feel it too. You better be turned on as well when you’re writing it! If you are not in heat while writing it, then it is not right. It is not organic. It probably isn’t needed. You’ll know when it is. Your characters will tell you. Trust them. Always trust them.


Selene – Do you feel that there’s a difference between LGBTQ literature and other types of writing? (I think we’ve come a long way to mainstream acceptance of LGBTQ culture, but there’s still a long way to go!). Is there a difference in how you approach your gay and straight characters?

Marcus – There is absolutely no difference between the gay and straight characters. I love them as much as I love my gay characters. The thing is, my books are not gay books. Sure, the main character is, and usually the love interest, but the novels are never about being gay. Now, some of my books are. My novel In God’s Eyes is about coming out and religious conversion therapy, but my other works simply have a gay main character, and obviously the queer experience is in there because that is the lens that the character(s) is coming from, but the books are not about that.

That’s a really important point to make, and part of the stigma and uphill battle that my books are often faced with. This stigma from the majority that these are “gay books” so there is nothing to relate to, and so often, they are passed by without readers giving them a chance. I, like most queer people grew up in a predominantly heterosexual world. My novels reflect that. Aside from the main character and the love interest-if there is one-are the only ones in the books, all of the other characters are straight, and they are just as detailed and complex and given just as much attention as the main character.

Queer people spend our entire lives reading books, watching movies, t.v. shows, listening to songs, etc. That are about straight people, and we still find something to love and connect to, but that’s because we’ve had to, from day one, since the beginning, and if we have no problem doing it, then a straight reader should have no issue reading a novel where the only difference is that the main character is lgbtq, there is something for everyone. But, it’s this mindset from the majority that has made it such a struggle for queer authors to get their voices out there. Especially with the big houses, many of them put it all in a “genre” and one that the masses aren’t buying. What’s more, the books they do take on, are usually specific narratives, coming out, AIDS, drug addiction, etc. But books like mine, books not actually about those things, books that are about whatever else, only with a queer main character, forget it. The struggle is real on that front. It frustrates me. We should be past that. But honestly, our representation is very limited in the media. Until you can go to your suburban megaplex in whatever town and city and see at least one movie at all times on the marquee that has the lead character being a queer person, regardless what the movie plot is about, then we are not there yet. We are far from it. A few television shows and a couple indie movies every couple of years is not good.


Selene – What advice would you give a new writer?


Marcus – Write the book you want to read. Plain and simple. That’s how my books have always come about. I looked at the horror scene and said “where am I in all of this? Where’s my reflection? Why can’t we be the heroes? Why can’t we face the hounds of hell and the forces of darkness and save the world? Why can’t we be Buffy, or the Charmed Ones, or Harry Potter, etc?”

We need to be able to see ourselves as heroes. We need to see ourselves as the ones with the power. It honestly is an issue of life and death for so many to have this message, to know that they are strong, and they can save their own worlds. They are not helpless. They are not less than.


Selene – You’ve got plenty on your plate, with Brews & Books, Queerly Spoken, several novels in print, and other writing. As you can probably tell by how long it took me to get these questions to you, my own motivation is quite low this time of year. How do you get and stay motivated?


Marcus – honestly, it’s the only thing I have. Writing saves you. It saved my life. These stories I have to tell, the Boys won’t leave me alone. It takes a long time before I start writing, though a novel will formulate years and years before it happens. The research process takes months. For the next Blackmoore novel, The Beckoning One, I have 53 books for research to read and compile my notes from before I can sit down and start writing it. I love the research process, and yet, it still takes time to get there. Days where I’m putting it off-procrastinating-but eventually, they begin to invade my dreams, then eventually the Boys won’t let me sleep, until I get back to work, even if it’s just researching. The point for them is that I’m working on it in some way.

Never give up on yourself and your work. Treat it always like a job. You have to commit yourself, even if for just an hour. A page a day is a book a year. Never forget that.


Selene – What have you got planned for 2018? Is there anything else you’d like to talk about here? Thank you again for taking the time to answer some questions for us!


Marcus- In October, my vampire novel, Instructions In Flesh comes out. I’m really excited about it. Think L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries meets Anne Rice’s The Queen of the Damned and Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls with a coming-of-age twist. It’s not puppy dog vampires. It’s bloody and arresting. Originally it was published under the title Bloodlines back in 2012, but unfortunately the publisher was not a good fit, and wanted the novel to be a gay Twilight, which it is far from it, so it was never properly promoted and went out of print, and the publisher in question no longer exists, so the rights reverted back to me. Thank God, so it has been given the breath of life, and is coming back exactly as originally intended.

I’m also in the midst of a retelling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (The Dangerous Liaisons) titled Those People: A Study of Revenge, Deceit, and Affluenza. Which, like the 18th century original, will be an epistolary novel (a journal or series of letters) only in this it is through emails and DM’s.

Later this month I will be returning to San Francisco (where I once lived) for a research trip for The Beckoning One and Those People. Those People is set in S.F. and parts of the third Blackmoore novel takes place there. So, I’m really excited about that. I feel 2018 will be even better than 2017 career-wise. I can’t wait.


You can find out more about Marcus at the below links:





Horror Tree’s Patreon Is Live

Ladies and gentlemen who frequent the site, oh, and the authors too, we’ve launched a Patreon! I’ve mentioned it a few times on social media and our ‘Here’s What We’re Hoping To Grow On The Horror Tree in 2018!‘ post but felt that we should put one up on the site as well for those who only check out the webpage, RSS feed, or newsletter as I know that covers a few of you.

I’ve been trying to avoid putting something like this up, but as advertising money doesn’t really come in and I refuse to set up forced membership like certain other fiction submission sites, I felt this was the best way to go.

I hate to say it but what it boils down to is that Horror Tree has been a money sink for me since the website was launched. Horror Tree was created in 2011 and have spent the past seven years trying to build up the site as a resource to authors everywhere and bring in a staff that can help you find new ideas for every aspect of your writing career. We’re looking at doing nothing but expanding over the coming year by adding reviews and more!

The reason we’ve gone the Patreon route is that I’ve had to take a serious look at my expenses this year and make some adjustments and cuts to my budget. From article writing to WordPress setup and administration, I do a bunch of freelance work on the side to help make ends meet and every moment I’m working on the site is time not making actual money. Internally I help coordinate just about every aspect of the site.

At this point, I really need to give a HUGE Thank You so much Stephanie Ellis and Liz Bucher on helping to take most of Trembling With Fear and Interviews off my plate! Also, a huge thank you to all of our contributors past that!

But, I love you guys and the site, so it isn’t going anywhere. I’m not looking to become rich off the site (we’re all authors not named Stephen King) but my primary goals are to have the funds cover expenses, pay the entire staff, expand the site, and take care of our fiction contributors.

The initial word of mouth on the Patreon has been great. Before I could even find the time to put together a post, we hit breaking even on actual finances (if not time) committed to it, which was honestly more than I was hoping for so quickly. I appreciate everyone who has spread the word on both the site and our Patreon so far and would love for that to continue!

Right now, we’ve only got two tiers of donations on the site.
$1-whatever is a huge thanks from us, and $10 gets you a Patreon donator link of your choice (homepage, amazon store, social media, etc.) We also plan on adding more in when we start developing a few sections which the site is going to launch later this year.
If you have something that YOU would like to see, let us know as we’re willing to add more Patreon slots!

Again, I’d like to thank everyone who has helped so far!

So, thanks again for all of the support and praise over the years. Hopefully, we can continue to serve the writing community for years to come!

If you’d love to help the site, please be sure to head over to Patreon and join our family today!

Stuart Conover

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