Taking Submissions: Lost Souls and Robots & Artificial Intelligence

Deadline: February 11th, 2018
Payment: 6 cents per word

Lost Souls and Robots & Artificial Intelligence Short Stories

We’re pleased to announce the addition of these two new anthologies to our successful Gothic Fantasy collection. As with the previous books in the series, we’re looking for around twenty to thirty short stories by contemporary writers to complement a selection of classic tales. We are keen to encourage new writers, without prejudice to age, background or previous publication history. It’s the story that matters, and the quality of writing.

Submit by email to [email protected]

The Two New Volumes

Lost Souls: Ghouls, ghosts and wandering spirits, trapped inside abandoned dolls and ancient tombs: from the Morrígan of Celtic mythology to Dante’s Purgatorio, humanity’s dark souls have drifted between the worlds to haunt the young and taunt the old. We seek tales of despair and anguish, rage and redemption, for our new chilling collection in the powerful Gothic Fantasy series.

Robots & Artificial Intelligence: The future hurtles ever faster towards us; biomechanical products and automated beings bring both dangers and benefits to humankind. Will we be superceded, assimilated, or enslaved by our creations as they too begin to create more capable versions of themselves? Androids, robots, AI and networks, we’re looking for new short stories for our Gothic Fantasy series about a future that’s already with us.

Formal Call for Submissions (2018)

We are looking for new and recent short stories. We do not require exclusivity. You hold copyright, licensing us just for this publication. We don’t mind if your story has been previously published online or in print (though we do need to know publication and date). Simultaneous submissions are fine, but you must have the right to license your story in an anthology.

Word length is most likely to be successful at 2000–4000, but we will still read stories slightly outside this range. 

Submit by email to [email protected]

Fees, Copyright and Other Terms

  • We pay Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) rates of 6 cents per word.
  • We would prefer to pay via PAYPAL because bank charges to the US and Canada in particular can be crippling for all concerned.
  • Payment for the chosen stories will be made within 30 days of the final advertised publication date (see our website flametreepublishing.com for details), although we might choose to pay some early.
  • Submission does not imply the right to publication. Each story will be read and assessed by the selection panel.
  • Please submit in .doc, .docx or .rtf formats, double spaced, with your name and email address in the footer or header of each page.
  • We will aim to read each story and confirm its status within 30 working days of the submission deadline.
  • The anthologies will be published worldwide, available online and to bookstores worldwide, in print and ebook formats.
  • You can submit more than one story, and to each collection.
  • Final submission date is 11 February 2018.

Submit by email only to: [email protected]

Selection Panel

The selection will be made by our group of life-long, in-house enthusiasts: Nick Wells (Publisher), Laura Bulbeck (Senior Editor) and Josie Mitchell, Gillian Whitaker and Cat Taylor. If required, the final selection will be mediated by our series editors. We try to keep everyone up-to-date as much as possible with occasional email updates.

A Word about the SFWA

To confirm, we are an SFWA qualifying market, so being published by us will help your status with them of course, but also with other readers and writers.

About Flame Tree Publishing

Now over 25 years old we started in 1992, covering a wide range of art and culture titles, with a strong vein of highly-illustrated Gothic and Fantasy books, notebooks and art calendars. Our Gothic Dreams books include NecronomiconSteampunkDystopia, our large format titles Gothic ArtFantasy Art and Dragon Art are sumptuous, and we publish gothic fiction reprints by Mary ShelleyH.G. WellsJules Verne, and more, in our Flame Tree 451 imprint. 2017 also saw the publication of a true labour of love: the all-new Astounding Illustrated History of Science Fiction, with The Astounding Illustrated History of Fantasy and Horror set for release this year.

Our anthologies are designed to be read in print. They look and feel fantastic. You’ll feel proud to hand them to your friends, family, colleagues – so do send us your story!

Thank you, and good luck. We look forward to reading your tales of imagination.

Via: Flame Tree Publishing.

Taking Submissions: The Internet is Where the Robots Live Now Anthology

Dealine: April 1st, 2018
Payment: 6 cents per word

Open for Submissions: Jan 1 – Apr 1 2018
Expected Publication: Late 2018
Story Length: 1500 – 5000 words
Payment: .06 / word ( SFWA professional rates )

We’re looking for works of short speculative fiction that consider the future of the internet, artificial intelligence, the mind, and robots. Give us your optimistic, fantastic, bittersweet stories of fantasy and science fiction.

Please, no YA dystopian, robots will destroy the world, high fantasy tropes. Take a more original and nuanced view on the subject.

No multiple submissions. No simultaneous submissions. No reprints.

Submission Method: Send a brief cover letter in the body of an email with the story name, approximate word count, and author contact info. Attach your piece to the email in Rich Text ( .rtf ) format. Send all submissions to paperdogbooks [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com .

We try to respond to all submissions within 60 days. If you have not heard a response from us in that time please send a query.

Via: Paper Dog Books.

Taking Submissions: Nefariam: The Element of Crime

Deadline: February 28th, 2018
Payment: $25 and a contributor’s copy

The basics

  • Payment is $25 + 1 contributor copy, additional copies at discount.

  • Genre is crime. But there’s more to it.

  • Word count is 2000-5000 words.

  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome. Reprints and multiple submissions are not.

  • Submissions close end of day February 28, 2018.

  • Diverse is good.

  • Submit it.

Pay rate

Well, we aren’t the majors, so we offer a flat pay rate of $25 and one contributor copy of the published anthology.

Payment will be sent within 30 days of publication.

You will also be able to purchase additional copies at a discounted rate.

Genre

This time around, it’s crime. Now having said that, we want to put our twist on it.

First off, if you don’t write crime, that’s great — it goes toward our tagline of “Try something different.” So, we are actually encouraging non-crime writers to give it a shot. Need some guidance? Check out the articles here and here.

Now, for those of you that actually do write crime, we’re still going to ask you to try something different as well. Break the conventions. Shake up the tropes.

Want some examples? Well, hey, have you tried layering a different genre on top of it? Science fiction? Horror? Western? Mystery? War? Historical? Diverse stories and characters are always something that we look for.

Don’t limit yourself. Don’t play it safe. Surprise us. Surprise yourself.

Word count

The sweet spot is between 2000 and 5000 words. Got something that’s outside that range? Fair enough. We’ll still take a look at it, but bear in mind, if you’re going to bend the rules, you have to ensure it’s a mind-blowing read.

Reprint/Multiple/Simultaneous submissions

Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

  • Reprints: No. We want to ensure that we can market the anthology as all-new stories. Sorry.

  • Multiple: Again, no. Send us one story. If you have more than one, we’re looking for the one that’s the most different, the most rule and genre-bending.

  • Simultaneous: Sure. We get it. There’s lots of competition out there, so the first one to say yes probably wins, right? All we ask is, if someone else says yes first, let us know. If you want to pull it from consideration at that time, no problem. If you’d prefer to go with us, we can do a quick determination and get back to you asap.

Timeframe

Submissions are open from when you got your invite until 11:59 pm, February 28, 2018. And we’re going to be very firm on that. Anything received from 12:00:01 am March 1, 2018 will be declined. Politely, but yeah. Clock’s ticking, people!

Specifics

Diversity is a good thing. Your characters don’t all need to be white and straight. But, like in any good story, don’t just throw diverse characters in to mix it up like Grandma’s Cajun Gumbo. They really should have a place there. Work them in, don’t toss them in.

Some sex is also completely okay. But unless it’s serving an extremely important plot point, it probably doesn’t need to be in there.

Gratuitous violence? We know this is crime fiction however, if it doesn’t serve a purpose, or is over the top, we don’t want it.

Rape, incest, and anything involving the sexualization of children has no place at ID Press, thank you very much.

Formatting guidelines (Don’t follow the guidelines, we won’t consider your story.)

  • 12 pt font –  Times New Roman

  • Double-spaced

  • 1″ (2.5 cm) margins on all sides

  • Scene breaks broken with a single asterisk – “*”

  • Name, contact information (mailing address, phone number, email), word count, title, pseudonym (if applicable) on first page

  • No indents (or tab in) on paragraphs (set formatting to auto-indent)

  • No headers or footers

  • DOC, DOCX, or RTF file types only

Submitting (or, how the heck do I get it to you?)

Send your submission to us here. In the subject line, please enter

Story submission – TITLE – AUTHOR NAME

Attach your DOC, DOCX, or RTF file and hit send!

We will respond no later than March 30, 2018.

Via: ID Press.

Taking Submissions: She’s Lost Control

Deadline: March 31st, 2018
Payment: $0.005 (that’s half a cent) per word at publication as well as residual NET royalties based on a percentage of overall content (meaning if your story is 5% of the book, you get 5% of the allotted royalty) and a contributor’s copy. $5 per poem
Note: Female Authors Only

Our current call is for original short fiction (up to 10,000 words) written by those who identify as a woman.  Poetry as well.

We are NOT accepting novels at this point.

We’re not stickler for submission guidelines as long as you use common sense.

A few things will get you rejected without being read:

– using the space bar to indent paragraphs
– placing a hard return at the end of each line of text

– sending your manuscript in a format other than docx or doc.

Our style manual of preference is the Chicago Manual of Style (if that helps you).
Sorry, no fan fiction.
Contact Information should include:
  • Real/Legal Name – for publishing contract
  • Email address
  • Street address – for delivery of contributor copy/royaltie

 

“I walked up on the edge of no escape and laughed, I’ve lost control.” – Joy Division, ‘She Lost Control’

Are we ever really in control?

This is what our first all-female anthology, SHE’S LOST CONTROL, will try to answer. We want your thrills, your kills, the dark thoughts going through your head at the brink. Will you step back from the edge? Will you jump?

If you identify as a woman, submit your short stories (up to 10,000 words) or poems about losing control. If you DON’T identify as a woman, GTFO. New and emerging authors are encouraged to submit.

Accepted authors of short fiction will receive $0.005 (that’s half a cent) per word at publication as well as residual NET royalties based on a percentage of overall content (meaning if your story is 5% of the book, you get 5% of the allotted royalty), after expenses are met, as well as an eBook AND trade paperback contributor’s copy for their stories.  We request first international electronic, audio, and print rights, which revert back to the author immediately upon release of the anthology.  The residual royalty period expires 3 years from publication. Residual royalties are paid yearly or upon your story’s accumulation of $25, whichever comes first. Poets will be paid $5 per poem.

This anthology will be published mid-2018 and will be edited by PMP’s Elizabeth Jenike. There will likely be a crowdfunding page as well, with a small goal to accelerate covering expenses.

A portion of the proceeds of this anthology will the donated to local and national charities that provide mental health services to women without the financial resources required to get help. 

Post Mortem Press is a Midwest-based independent publisher of dark fiction. We’ve published the dark stylings of authors like Jessica McHugh, Emma Ennis, Billie Sue Mossiman, Lucy A. Snyder, Cynthia Pelayo, and DeLani L. Bartlette. The singular goal of Post Mortem Press is to answer opportunity’s call by providing an outlet for both new and established writers of speculative fiction.

Submission deadline: March 31, 2018

Source: Post Mortem Press.

Taking Submissions: City In The Ice

Deadline: June 30th, 2018
Payment: $25

There are very few places left in this world that haven’t been explored, mapped, and inhabited. The majority of the surface of the earth is known down to the millimeter. However, a few mysteries do remain. The depths of the oceans evade discovery simply because of their inaccessibility. Likewise, the icy stretches of the last great continent that continues to resist human knowledge: Antarctica. Recent archeological finds confirm that Antarctica was once at least temperate if not subtropical millennia ago. Various authors have recounted, through their fictions, stories relayed to them by survivors of the few successful forays into the icy continent’s heart. In 1819, the San Telmo, a Spanish ship of the line, was lost off the coast of Antarctica with all 644 aboard. Since then, tales have surfaced in rumor, fiction, and legend about the terrors haunting the vast wasteland surrounding the nether pole of the world.

The place was one of singular wildness, and its aspect brought to my mind the descriptions given by travellers of those dreary regions marking the site of degraded Babylon. Not to speak of the ruins of the disruptured cliff, which formed a chaotic barrier in the vista to the northward, the surface of the ground in every other direction was strewn with huge tumuli, apparently the wreck of some gigantic structures of art; although, in detail, no semblance of art could be detected. Scoria were abundant, and large shapeless blocks of the black granite, intermingled with others of marl, and both granulated with metal. Of vegetation there were no traces whatsoever throughout the whole of the desolate area within sight. Several immense scorpions were seen, and various reptiles not elsewhere to be found in the high latitudes.

from The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838)

…I beheld a schooner-rigged vessel lying in a sort of cradle of ice, stern-on to the sea. A man bulked out with frozen snow, so as to make his shape as great as a bear, leaned upon the rail with a slight upwards inclination of his head, as though he were in the act of looking fully up to hail me…and the instant I saw him I knew him to be dead. He was the only figure visible. The whole body of the vessel was frosted by the snow into the glassy aspect of the spars and rigging, and the sunshine striking down made a beautiful prismatic picture of the silent ship.
She was a very old craft. The snow had moulded itself upon her and enlarged without spoiling her form. I found her age in the structure of her bows, the headboards of which curved very low round to the top of the stem, forming a kind of well there, the after-part of which was framed by the forecastle bulkhead, after the fashion of ship-building in vogue in the reign of Anne and the first two Georges. Her topmasts were standing, but her jibboom was rigged in. I could find no other evidence of her people having snugged her for these winter quarters, in which she had been manifestly lying for years and years. I traced the outlines of six small cannons covered with snow, but resting with clean-sculptured forms in their white coats; a considerable piece of ordnance aft, and several petararoes or swivel-pieces upon the after-bulwark rails. Gaffs and booms were in their places, and the sails furled upon them. The figuration of the main hatch showed a small square, and there was a companion or hatch-cover abaft the mainmast. There was no trace of a boat. She had a flush or level deck from the well in the bows to a fathom or so past the main-shrouds; it was then broken by a short poop-deck, which went in a great spring or rise to the stern, that was after the pink style, very narrow and tall.
Though I write this description coldly, let it not be supposed that I was not violently agitated and astonished almost into the belief that what I beheld was a mere vision, a phenomenon. The sight of the body I examined did not nearly so greatly astound me as the spectacle of this ice-locked schooner. It was easy to account for the presence of a dead man… But the ship, perfect in all respects, was like a stroke of magic.

from The Frozen Pirate, William Clark Russell (1887)

…we beheld on the distant horizon ahead the spires of a mighty city; and the bearded man said to me: “This is Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders, wherein reside all those mysteries that man has striven in vain to fathom.” And I looked again, at closer range, and saw that the city was greater than any city I had known or dreamed of before. Into the sky the spires of its temples reached, so that no man might behold their peaks; and far back beyond the horizon stretched the grim, grey walls, over which one might spy only a few roofs, weird and ominous, yet adorned with rich friezes and alluring sculptures. I yearned mightily to enter this fascinating yet repellent city, and besought the bearded man to land me at the stone pier by the huge carven gate Akariel; but he gently denied my wish, saying: “Into Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders, many have passed but none returned. Therein walk only daemons and mad things that are no longer men, and the streets are white with the unburied bones of those who have looked upon the eidolon Lathi, that reigns over the city.”

from The White Ship, H.P. Lovecraft (1919)

For this place could be no ordinary city. It must have formed the primary nucleus and center of some archaic and unbelievable chapter of earth’s history whose outward ramifications, recalled only dimly in the most obscure and distorted myths, had vanished utterly amidst the chaos of terrene convulsions long before any human race we know had shambled out of apedom. Here sprawled a Palaeogaean megalopolis compared with which the fabled Atlantis and Lemuria, Commoriom and Uzuldaroum, and Olathoë in the land of Lomar, are recent things of today—not even of yesterday; a megalopolis ranking with such whispered pre-human blasphemies as Valusia, R’lyeh, Ib in the land of Mnar, and the Nameless city of Arabia Deserta. As we flew above that tangle of stark titan towers my imagination sometimes escaped all bounds and roved aimlessly in realms of fantastic associations—even weaving links betwixt this lost world and some of my own wildest dreams concerning the mad horror at the camp.

from At the Mountains of Madness, H. P. Lovecraft (1931)

Ideas that something still lies waiting to be discovered in the wilds of the last continent run rife. We explore the real and unreal in this volume, fiction and fact, as hard as they are to separate in the miasma of mystery that surrounds the City in the Ice.

1900
A (fictional) British polar expedition discovers a rift in the Antarctic ice after a massive earthquake, revealing the ruins of a city designed by something other than humans. A single survivor of the expedition is found wandering the coast by a passing ship, nearly dead and totally insane.

1904
A (fictional) British expedition is sent to determine the fate of the 1900 expedition. None return.

1908
A second (fictional) British expedition is sent to determine the fate of the two previous expeditions. A single survivor relates what was found – a city in the ice, the remains of the previous expeditions – but the survivor is later found dead under mysterious circumstances, the body mutilated almost beyond recognition.

1915
A (fictional) British survey expedition observes what appears to be a glacier of blood pouring into the sea off the Antarctic coast. Investigation reveals a huge cavern entrance. The ship is later found drifting at sea without a crew. The ship’s log indicates a landing party brought back something from the cavern, then the log ends.

1918
A (fictional) Norwegian polar expedition disappears. Some of its dogs make it back to base, covered in a strange substance that causes those who handle them to hallucinate violently.

1933
A (possibly true) secret Nazi expedition, following up on the reports of previous expeditions, ventures into the area and disappears. {based somewhat on Der Fuerher’s want of artifacts or relics to help him rule}

1946
A (possibly true) secret Argentine expedition consisting of German expats and Argentine locals tries to find out what happened to the 1933 group. At the first sight of the city, the Argentines turn back. The Germans go on and disappear.

1946-1947
A (fictional) follow-up German aerial survey loses radio contact as it approaches the site of the city. Operation Highjump (actual event) leads to establishment of American base on continent but suffers extensive casualties. One plane lost “during a blizzard,” December 1946.

1952
A (fictional) United Nations polar aerial survey sights evidence of German 1947 crash, sends out land party to investigate which vanishes.

1969
A (fictional) French-Italian archeological expedition stumbles on information about the previous German expeditions and debates investigating the truth behind the reports. They decide to try but at their base three days later, they hear “a distant noise similar to an unearthly howling” that continues for several days, echoing across the icy landscape. The French decide not to pursue the reports. The Italians decide to go on and do not return.

2002
Satellites find a massive gravitational anomaly in Wilkes Land, indicating a gigantic mass over one kilometer under the ice. (True story!)

2003
While observing the November solar eclipse (actual event), some at (fictional) Jundo Station in Antarctica believe they see what appears to be something falling to earth in the direction of the pole. Investigators sent out from the base hear “strange sounds” and report by radio before disappearing.

2004-2008
Actual increasing global volcanic activity – some hypothesize it indicates subterranean movement, but what kind?

2005
January 10 = a (fictional) Indian research vessel traveling near the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the real disastrous tsunami observes an island rise from the sea. Telescopic observation reveals the possibility of artificial structures on the island but by the time the ship reaches the location, the island has sunk back into the sea.

2011
March 11 = A (fictional) Philippine ship off the coast of Japan sees an island rise from the sea and believes there is evidence of artificial structures on it. Again, the island sinks before it can be further investigated. Cause of Japanese tsunami.

2017
September 30 = Vanuatu island Ambae is evacuated because of volcanic activity (true).

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

We want to know about the denizens and history of the City in the Ice. Is it a dwelling-place of the Old Ones? Are they still resident or have they abandoned its hoary edifices to the mercilessness of time?

Refer to the timeline. Your submission must fall somewhere therein and mention at least two previous events, whether fictional or actual. There are some other things to remember, things to avoid.

• Sexual content not inherent to the storyline. No pornography.
• Explicit description of torture or sacrifice, human or otherwise. As a plot device, there is a way to present this without resorting to splatter.
• Violence or abuse against a minor, infant to teenager.
• Overuse of profane language. People curse. But not every sentence.
• Hate language against a race, creed, or gender. Against monstrous races and gods, that’s okay.
• Quoting previously published material not in the public domain. This is a legal issue and will not be tolerated at all.

HOW TO SUBMIT
Please be advised, any stories that do not meet these guidelines will be deleted unread
ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS.

• 3,000 to 10,000 words, double-spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font.
• First page of manuscript must contain name, mailing address, and word count.
• Email subject line to read “Story submission – [title]” and must contain a short biography (no more than 200 words), previous publications if any, word count and contact information.
• No reprints, simultaneous or multiple submissions.
• No poetry.
• Email submissions in RTF or DOC format only. Absolutely no DOCX files.

Email all submissions to [email protected] with manuscript as an attachment.
Do not include the story in the body of the email.
Closing date for submissions is 30 June 2018.

Payment will be $25.00 per story, regardless of word count and will be made via PayPal whenever possible. If not, please advise upon receipt of contract as to preferred method. Direct any questions to [email protected] Looking forward to seeing your work!

Via: Alban Lake.

Taking Submissions: Nightscript Volume 4

Deadline: January 31st, 2018
Payment: $20 and a contributor’s copy

Nightscript is published annually, during grand October, in both trade and electronic editions, and will feature contemporary fictions ranging in length from 2,000 to 7,000 words.

Note: I am currently OPEN to submissions for Volume IV. (The reading period for 2018 ends on January 31st.)

N. is a venue for ‘strange tales’, a term used to describe fictions supernatural, uncanny, weird, and so forth. In other words, I am looking for subtle and darksome literary horror. If you feel that your work has been inspired in no small part by authors such as Robert Aickman, Shirley Jackson, Dennis Etchison, Flannery O’Connor, Terry Lamsley, Lisa Tuttle, Thomas Owen, Mary Shelley, Arthur Machen, then N. is probably the venue for you.

Authors are asked to submit their original tales via the email provided below and should allow 1 to 8 week(s) for a response. (If a submission is held for longer than two weeks this typically means that it is being considered.)

Submit .doc files to: [email protected] (Please send only one story per reading period. No simultaneous submissions, please.)

Payment is $20 and includes one contributor’s copy.

N. is a labor of love, and as such I shall endeavor to produce an aesthetically pleasing product for which all contributors can feel proud.

That said, I look forward to reading your work!

Thank you kindly for your interest.

C.M. Muller, editor & publisher

To keep abreast of all things N., please consider following its Facebook page.

Finally, if you would like to familiarize yourself with the type of fiction I am looking for, please consider purchasing a copy of the anthology. The Kindle version can be obtained on all Amazon platforms for $2.99. Thanks!

Via: C.M. Muller.

Taking Submissions: Electric Spec May Issue 2018

Deadline: April 15th, 2018
Payment: $20 per story

Please don’t query us about your story submission. We don’t have the manpower to answer such queries. An editor will email you back as soon as possible with the decision about your story. This can take a few days, or, up to three months. We make every effort to get back to authors in a timely manner but we get a lot of submissions so sometimes it’s not possible.

A note on our editorial policy: before publication we may edit the story for length or readability. However, we always remain true to the spirit of the story.

Issues are published at the end of February, May, August, and November. We reserve the right to shift publication date slightly, as necessary.

We have reading periods for each issue, though we never close to submissions.

February closes January 15

May closes April 15

August closes July 15

November closes October 15

Please do not submit the same story more than once, and please submit only one story at a time.

We consider any story between 250 and 7000 words with speculative fiction elements. We prefer science fiction, fantasy, and the macabre, but we’re willing to push the limits of traditional forms of these genres.

We do not consider poetry, stories with over-the-top sex or violence, serials, novels, fan fiction, or non-fiction. We don’t accept multiple submissions; in other words, only submit one story at a time and wait for a response before submitting another. We accept simultaneous submissions as long as you let us know up front and tell us as soon as it’s accepted elsewhere. We do not publish reprints, including anything that has appeared on a website.

We pay $20 for each story we publish. We buy first-printing world exclusive rights for four months. Payment will be made shortly after publication using PayPal. We encourage our authors to establish a PayPal account if they don’t already have one.

We prefer to read submissions in traditional manuscript format. This means indented paragraphs instead of left justification, and Courier or Times New Roman font in 12 pt, double-spaced. Also, please include the title, your name, address, and word length on the first page of your story.

To submit your story to Electric Spec, e-mail it as an attachment in Rich Text Format (RTF) to submissions at electricspec (dot) com. Use the following subject line: SUBMISSION:Story Title by Author’s Name (Word Count). In the body of the e-mail, include writing credits, if any, and the word count of the story. With the proliferation of viruses on the Internet, we do not open attachments unaccompanied by a cover letter.

Because we are a quarterly magazine, it may take us up to three and a half months to make a final decision, but we will let you know if your story is being held for voting. Please note we do not send out messages upon receipt of stories.

If you want to withdraw a story from consideration, please e-mail us at submissions at electricspec (dot) com and include the word WITHDRAW in the subject line. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us at our submissions address and include the word QUERY in the subject line.


Why Submit to Electric Spec?

At Electric Spec, we encourage authors to do their market research before submitting work. Electric Spec stands out from other markets because:

  • We pay for stories and artwork.
  • We don’t have slush readers. At least one of our editors looks at every story that comes in.
  • We’ve been around for over eleven years – and we’ve never missed an issue, deadline, or author payment.
  • We actually edit the stories we publish. Our experienced editors work with authors to make their stories the best they can possibly be. Many magazines out there don’t do that – and it shows.
  • While we do not acknowledge story receipt, we have a quick turn-around time regarding publication. We do not hold any stories longer than 135 days without contact. If you haven’t received an email with a ‘reject,’ ‘accept,’ or ‘hold-for-voting’ message something may have gone awry ==> you should resubmit.
  • We love authors because we’re authors, too. All of the editors are published speculative fiction authors.

Via: Electric Spec.

Taking Submissions: Deciduous Tales

Deadline: February 15th, 2018
Payment: 3 cents per word

We are looking for horror and dark fiction with well realized characters, a strong voice and literary merit between 1000 and 5000 words. Query first for any story longer than 5000 words.

We pay three cents a word for unsolicited work at time of publication via PayPal. Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please contact us immediately if your story is accepted elsewhere. No multiple submissions or reprints, please.

Please include a very brief introduction listing any previous publications.

         [email protected]

Via: Deciduous Tales.

Trembling With Fear 01/14/2018

This week it’s all facts! Interesting actually (sorry, formatting got a bit lost in cut and paste) 🙂

As you may have read from Stuart’s Horror Tree update, the anthology is underway and I am currently formatting it up into a presentable document.

Following on from my comment about seeing a relatively equal amount of submissions from both sexes to TWF, I thought I would actually find out what the real statistics are – bear in mind I have only been an editor for six months so will have a slightly skewed perception of what has been sent in. Having compiled the anthology I have discovered the following:

Total Number of (Successful) Contributors to TWF 2017: 107

Of these 41 were women (38%) and 66 (62%) were men.

There is a slightly different picture when looking at the number of stories submitted:

Total number of stories published = 212

Of this 76 (36%) were women and 136 (64%) were men.

(As an interesting footnote to this, the number of authors using initials rather than their own first names showed an equal spread which surprised me.)

Amongst these contributors, a number submitted and were published, numerous times. The award for most successful author in this field goes to RJ Meldrum with 14 stories (7%) of the total published. Our top female was Alyson Faye with 9 stories (4%) of the total published.

Our Top Ten is as follows:

RJ Meldrum                        14 stories published

Alyson Faye                        9

Justin Boote                       8

Robert Allen Lupton           8

Kevin Holton                      7

Patrick Winters                 7

Mathias Jansson               5

Stephanie Ellis                   5

Stuart Conover                 5

Liz Butcher                          5

This was an interesting study and something I feel reflects the need for more women to submit – and to submit more often.

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We’re 2 weeks into the New Year! While we don’t have an official call for darker Valentine’s Day stories for next month, if you’ve got some horrifying tales of love and loss they might get priority on what we pick! All month long! Just a head’s up.

‘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

Oinopole

He had not slept well. He always felt like when he laid his head down it might be for the last time. Especially after too many pain relievers. They might put him in a coma. Last night he was anxious about his alarm not going off. That he might miss his flight. There was no reason to be anxious. He had set two alarms. But at the moment he was about to drift off, eight hours ago, something snapped in him and forced him awake. He then began to be anxious about being anxious. Sleep was felled by wave after wave of panic attacks, until finally, maybe two hours ago, his body had succumbed.
And now after the second alarm went off, he felt wide awake. But he knew that, the moment he opened his mouth to speak, it would seem like the words were being projected in slow motion. People would stare at him with a mixture of confusion and pity. Why couldn’t he translate his thoughts into words?
Coffee would fix that. He poured the grounds into the basket and the water into the reservoir. He loved the smell. But he would have to put away the dishes. He hadn’t budgeted time for that. Ten minutes. Could be the difference between making and missing the flight.
He flung the dishwasher door open. The mugs, and glasses, and bowls, and plates were all arranged together, and the silverware separated by fork and knife and spoon. That made it easier to put them away. He could save maybe a couple minutes.
He pulled the long sharp knife from the top rack and, turning, slipped on some water that had spilled from the coffee basket. As he fell the knife plunged into his neck. Blood gushed out. Should he pull it out, or would that release more blood? He was alone. No one would arrive before he bled out.
His arm stretched out and, the knife pointing away from his body, he inserted the utensil into the wooden block. The wave had passed. He had done this so many times without stabbing himself. Just be slow, cautious. Don’t treat it like a cereal bowl. That made him smile.
He opened the container of raspberries. He ate one row a day. Raspberries had less sugar in them. His triglycerides were high. He could get pancreatitis. His kidneys could fail. He could get cancer. The moldy ones might poison him.
He ate a bowl of cereal. Next would be the pot of coffee. He could do nothing else, so he sat on the couch, the mug in his left hand, his phone in his right. He arranged his Facebook feed chronologically and scrolled through it. He had gotten to where he could dismiss an uninteresting post in milliseconds. Maybe a millisecond. He hadn’t timed it.
His mother had posted two nights ago that her weight was down to 103 pounds. He thought he felt his heart sink a little. It was difficult to tell. He had tried to harden himself against these feelings. He tried to remember if that was significantly lower than the last time he had seen her. He had argued with her over her diet before he left. Too many sugary sodas and candy bars. And he refused to get her fried chicken. But what was the point? She was dying. The oncologist and hospice nurse liked to constantly remind them. So let her have what she wanted. She always seemed to quickly erase the memories of their arguments. He had bent over, just before he left, asked for a kiss, and felt her soft lips on his cheek. It made him happy. Until he realized there were a finite number left. She asked him to cover her legs. Moving towards skin and bones. Black-and-white footage of concentration camps. It was boiling in the room, but she was always cold. He would have the visions until she was gone.
She had tucked him in every night until he was seven or eight. Sometimes she read stories. Her voice was gentle and hypnotic. The room seemed huge. It was an old house. He still had dreams about it. The dreams made it difficult to remember the reality. Where certain rooms were, what was in those rooms. The floors creaked. May have been the ghost of the man shot in the house. Thunder exploded outside. It would split the house in half. Shadows danced on the walls of his room. Amorphous, flickering. They could have been demons. They were waiting under his bed for him to fall asleep before they devoured him. Or a vampire would fly from its cliff dwelling and tap tap at his window. Was it a woman? He sometimes fantasized about being seduced by a vampire. The teeth stimulating something within him. He tried to creep into bed with his parents. His mother would sling him on her shoulder and haul him back to his room. Check under the bed, latch the window, pull the shutter. All clear. She kissed him and said she loved him oodles and oodles. He loved her back. She was the most beautiful woman in the world.
He had dreams that his father was still alive. He would ask, where have you been the last twenty years? Hiding, his father would say. They seemed so vivid. He always woke up wondering if he were really dead.
Sometimes he felt he was being watched. It was a group of men in a room, wearing suits, regarding him on a video monitor. He couldn’t see their faces. Usually these visions came to him during the day, not at night. It was like his whole life was an experiment. Or they were guiding him to do the right thing, or to keep him out of harm’s way. An antique wardrobe crashed on top of him when he was a toddler. He thought then he might be immortal. No longer.
He stepped into the shower. He scrubbed himself with soap. He worried it would make him itch afterwards. He massaged shampoo into his scalp. Would the chemicals make his hair fall out? He rinsed it out. He had not bought a bathtub mat. Bending over to turn off the spigot, he slipped, and his head cracked against the tiles. He was paralyzed. Maybe the maintenance guy would find his body in a few days.
He stepped out of the shower. The news from the speaker was about the crazy dictator testing another nuke. A flash. Fifty thousand people dead. More dying over the coming weeks from the fallout. More bombs dropped. More people incinerated. Masses of
people stumbling forward, the living dead, their faces melting off.
The men in suits would fix the problem. They would gather around a table in a room and work it out. They always did. Until they didn’t. And he thought he could manage his fears without therapy.
Sometimes when people were talking to him, when they started going off on a tangent and losing him, he thought about punching them in the face. He wondered if they could see him twitch as he shook it off. He would never do it. He didn’t need to talk to anyone.
If it weren’t the bomb it would be a crazy guy with a gun in a hospital, a library. A baseball field. An airport. Wherever. Panicked people running to hide in patients’ rooms, behind bookshelves, dugouts. No escaping. He would find you. Plenty of bullets. The men in the room could fix it. They wouldn’t.
He pulled his suitcase into the hall. It was probably too heavy. He would have to pay $50. Or was it $75? That was food for one day. Maybe two. He always worried about running out of money. He never did.
He stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the lobby. He was thirty floors up. The cable holding the car to the pulley snapped. He plummeted to the ground. The impact forced the lower half of his body into the upper half.
He strode out of the elevator. He was afraid he had missed the rideshare, but it was waiting for him. The driver was friendly. Asked where he was going. To visit family. My mother’s been ill. He knew he sounded panicked and nervous. Better to say nothing. He worried when he ran out of things to say. Sorry to hear that. I’m sure God will take care of her. It was a nice thought. It didn’t give him much comfort.
They pulled onto the highway. No traffic this time of day. They should make it in ten minutes. He gazed out the window. Fatigue hung on his forehead like a shelf. The retail complexes were painted against the beautiful blue sky. A tractor trailer drifted into their lane. It struck them head on. Shards of glass ripped through his face. The truck driver had been texting.
How many trips were taken every day without an accident? What if his trip were the outlier? He had to stay alive. He couldn’t die. He couldn’t do that to his sister. His father had died in a car. He imagined his father gasping for his last breaths. What if the deaths were meant to happen in reverse order, first him, then his mother, then his grandmother, who was over ninety? He feared most losing his thoughts. Death would be the end of thought. His thoughts revolved around fear.
His bag was half a pound over. They let it slide. He tipped them. He subtracted it from what he had budgeted for the day. He had lots of cables in his carryon, for his computer, his phone, his e-reader. The security people didn’t think he was making a bomb. At least they didn’t say so. How many other bags did they scan every day stuffed with electronics?
He thought about his mother’s hair. It had grown back. Completely white. Curly. Sometimes she said she wanted to talk. But she couldn’t hear anymore. So she scanned her Facebook page. He sat and read. Or wrote stories on his computer. He walked around the streets composing them in his head, making notes in his phone. Unaware of his surroundings, a zombie. Connected but disconnected. Sometimes she groaned, in pain. They said there were only days left. He didn’t think she was ready to die. Her eyes would bulge out, and she would gulp for air like a fish on the floor of a boat.
At the gate, they were lining up to board. He was always in the C group. He wondered if he could conquer the fear. He thought about whether, as the plane started its ascent, as his heart began thumping furiously, when it leveled off, his heart now pounding, then hit a patch of turbulence and lurched, like it was going down, if the pain and the pressure would build in his chest, and then begin skipping beats, and he would start choking, and the flight attendants would run to his seat, unfasten his lap belt, yank him onto the floor, and begin pummeling his chest, but was it too late?
They were calling him to board. He was frozen. Maybe he had stood there for minutes. He had remembered that he would gain three hours on his life by flying westward. That made him happy. He didn’t think about losing time going in the other direction. He smiled. He boarded. He buckled himself into his aisle seat. The engine hummed around him. He drifted off to sleep. He would make up for the sleep he lost last night. No melatonin required. All time and space were erased. He could have been on the ground or at thirty thousand feet.
Turbulence rocked the plane. His heart began pulsating. He looked to his left. His arm was stretched across the armrest. A woman’s face was buried into it. She was biting into his arm. Red seeped from the punctures. The skin was honey-tinted. The plane jerked. It might turn upside down. Her hair was ebony, silky. The black-and-white photo of his beautiful mother at the beach, her lips so full. Pressed against his arm, drawing blood, so soft. It made him comfortable. Her head raised up. The neck extending above the seat, the eyes drawn to slits, the pupils barely visible through them. The mouth opened, sharp incisors bared. A ringed plastic tube flickered in and out of the mouth, The head and neck undulated in rhythm with the flickers. A tear trickled out of one of the slits.

They were saying something over the intercom. His eyes snapped open. Everyone was buckling in. How much time left? A text from his sister. The plane descended slowly, no, it was fast …

Matt Spangler

Matt Spangler recently relocated to New York, where he is pursuing his love of writing fiction and plays. He is new to writing horror, but his short plays have been produced in the Washington, DC, area over the last several years. His taste in horror fiction tends towards the more classic – Poe, Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, and so forth – but his aim is to push conventions more in his writing.

Colours

Guild members looked on with poorly hidden scowls. Her table was the busiest, she smirked, relishing their jealousy. Her pottery designs weren’t all that innovative, it was her colour patterns that were her secret, and really drove them mad. Swirling speckles, crystallized vibrant bursts, no one else seemed able to achieve.

Later, she dipped wares into glaze, prepping for another kiln load. A cooler sat nearby, filled with severed human limbs, waiting to be loaded amongst pottery bowls and cups. Vaporized flesh produces colours impossible to duplicate, but she doubted her guild friends would really want to know her secret.

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.

Hog Slop

Bess is hog slop now. Too much of a fighter, that one. When I found her, a blue-eyed-apple-cheeked dumpling working at the diner, I swore I’d marry her.

When I married her, I swore I’d treat her right.

When I treated her right, she spit on me.

When she spit one too many times, I grabbed my cleaver, kissed her goodbye, and hacked her into hog slop.

And as I filled that trough with greasy brown hunks of Bess, and a line of pretty pink pigs came squealing for supper, I realized what love truly is—just fattening and slaughtering.

Kevin M. Folliard

Kevin M. Folliard is a Chicagoland writer whose published fiction includes scary stories collections Christmas Terror Tales and Valentine Terror Tales, and adventure novels such as Matt Palmer and the Komodo Uprising. His work has also been collected by Double Feature Magazine, Flame Tree Publishing, Parsec Ink, and more.

You can follow his work on his homepage, Amazon, and Instagram.

The Snowman

Standing at the window, she sipped her coffee from a black-and-white cup and stared at the snowman in her front yard. He wore a beige fedora on his head and a crimson scarf around his neck. Two polished azure stones from her shattered aquarium dotted his eyes. A pine cone nose poked from the middle of his round face. The snow continued to fall. She smiled because the snowman was missing his mouth. He could never hurt her with cruel, condescending words. Not like her husband did. But he was a snowman now, and she was free to live again.

Lionel Ray Green

Lionel Ray Green is a writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. His short stories have appeared in the anthologies “Fifty Flashes,” “How Beer Saved the World 2,” “Graveyard,” “Frightening,” “Tales from the Grave,” “In Creeps the Night,” and “22 More Quick Shivers” as well as the 2017 issue of “From the Depths.”​

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Kevin Grover

Stacey – Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

Kevin –  I’m originally from a small island off the south-east coast of England called Sheppey. It’s full of history and has many places to go explore when you’re a kid. It’s a place I’ve based my third novel on, Coulrophobia, mainly because the setting is so interesting. There’s a lot of influence in my other novels from that island, particularly in Monsters Mostly Come out at Night. There’s a place called the Wastelands in the novel that is based on a place I used to play. I moved from the island around 2000, but still visit. I now live in Medway which is also, in Kent. In my full-time job, I’m a police officer in the Met and have been for over 14 years.

Stacey – When did you start writing?

Kevin – From around the age of eight. I remember trying to write my own adventure games in Basic on computers and it was creating the story and writing the descriptions that really interested me. I then started writing a few stories based on computer games, then I first realised I might be good at writing when my English teacher read something I’d written out to the class because she was so impressed. I think that got me really thinking about writing and from there I started writing my own stories.

Stacey – If you could meet any author living or dead, who would it be?

Kevin – I would love to meet Stephen King; his book On Writing is a fantastic guide to novel writing. I highly recommend it. I would also love to meet James Herbert, though he’s sadly dead now. He wrote some really great horror novels in the 80’s, his most famous being the Rats. I’d ask them both everything I could about how they write, where they get their ideas and what keeps them going. I often have this fantasy of meeting Tolkien and sitting down to watch the Lord of the Rings with him and ask what he thinks. When he wrote his epic, I don’t think he’d ever imagined it possible they could film it.

Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?

Kevin – Sometimes I have a dream that translates well into a story. But most of the time an idea will pop into my head and I get this massive creative surge. If I’m out of ideas, then I’ll go take the dog for a walk. I find a lot of my stories features woods, probably because I like to walk in them with the dog.

Stacey – What’s your writing process like? Do you write during the day or at night?

Kevin – I write a lot at night, into the early hours. There’s less distractions then. But as I’m a shift worker, I often write at work in down time, sometimes even on the train commuting to work.

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

Kevin – I like to listen to music when I write, but I can write without it. I’ve learnt how to switch off from background chatter and the TV on in the background, so I tend to be flexible. If I listen to music, it’s generally soundtrack music so it sets a certain mood.

Stacey – Have you always written horror?

Kevin – I used to write a lot of Science Fiction, then I went through a Fantasy stage, but I’ve been drawn to Horror for a few years now. I’m beginning to move more towards thrillers, but I find Horror seeps into that genre easily.

Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?

Kevin – I really like Jessica from my novel Father’s Song, which is the first novel I wrote. I love how she’s struggling with her addictions and ghosts from her past. It makes her very vulnerable, but strong as she fights against them. She doesn’t easily trust people, tries to act like she’s tough, but deep down she’s really scared. It makes her interesting.

Stacey – Are you afraid of clowns? Most people I speak to are, to some degree.

Kevin – I’m not scared of clowns, but I certainly think there’s something creepy about them. I always think the painted smiles are trying to hide something. I think most things meant for children are creepy: clowns, Punch and Judy, nursery rhymes…. All subjects I’ve written about!

Stacey – Have you seen the latest movie version of IT by Stephen King? What did you think of it?

Kevin – Loved the casting of Pennywise. A hard act to follow after Tim Curry’s iconic version. I thought the cast of the kids were great, but I wasn’t keen on some of the new directions they took, particularly towards the end. I kept thinking “that’s not supposed to happen” and I couldn’t help think the 90’s tv series was better in many areas. That series just fell down on the second part with the adults. I hope the next film does better.

Stacey – Why do you think horror and children’s nursery rhymes go together so well?

Kevin – Most nursery rhymes have sinister meanings behind them. The most famous being Ring a Ring ‘o Roses, which everyone knows is about the black death. Kids sing it without much thought to the real meaning. Then Goosey Goosey Gander is about the killing of Catholics, Oranges and Lemons about executions… There’s lots of dark meanings. I think they go well with horror because it’s darkness hiding within a child’s song. Which is what Father’s Song is about. But what’s creeper than a little child singing a nursery rhyme in a chilling tone? One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

Stacey – Favourite movie or tv show? (Doesn’t have to be Horror)

Kevin – My favourite show is Twin Peaks. I’m a massive fan of it. Loved the new series that just finished, set 25 years after the end of the last series. I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since I was very young. I remember watching Tom Baker at the age of five. Modern shows, I’ll watch Game of Thrones, Walking Dead…. Movies… there’s so many, but I love Highlander, Bladerunner, Star Wars, Kubrick’s the Shining, The Exorcist… I could list so many!

Stacey – Was it exciting being selected as runner up in the Writers Online Competition?

Kevin – It came just in time to keep me going because I was close to giving up ever being published. It gave me a good push to go on. I’ve been shortlisted a couple of more times in Writing Magazine, which also gives me a boost. I mainly write because… I have to. But a little recognition is really nice.

Stacey – Your fourth novel is being edited now, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little about it? Do you have a release date yet?

Kevin – It’s got a working title of The Crow and is more of a paranormal thriller than a straight horror. It’s about a young couple, Rick and Neve,  who move to an area famous for UFO sightings. After a series of incidents where they are being stalked, Neve is found dead in the woods, murdered. A year later, after the funeral, Neve returns with no memory of what happened. But Rick’s moved on after grieving and finds it hard to accept this is Neve after he identified her body himself. And their stalker now returns, writing threatening letters and smashing windows. By the end of the novel, Rick doesn’t know who to trust and wonders if it’s just one big alien conspiracy. I’m hoping to publish by March.

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

Kevin – A silver light appeared above the trees, hovering in the dark, pulsing as though in time to his heartbeat. For a second, he thought he was dreaming, but he felt the cool grass under his feet, the wind in his face. He stopped, stared at the light as it shot up high into the sky and vanished. More lights appeared above the trees, circling around each other as though dancing. The wind picked up as the lights grew closer towards him, growing brighter until he had to look away. Then the dark returned and he shivered. In the distance he heard the rumble of thunder across the Kent countryside. Clouds had gathered in, cold rain falling. A quick flash and then a rumble. The storm was coming.

“Neve!” he shouted, running as fast as he could. As he plunged into the trees, lightning illuminated his way for a split second. The rain hammered down on him as though he was walking through a waterfall and the thunder and lightning raged on. When he couldn’t run further, he slumped down against a tree, the thick branches giving a little shelter from the rain. What if whoever had been watching, sending notes and breaking into the house had kidnapped her? That sick person who had ripped a rabbit in two and left it outside their caravan could’ve been hiding in the shadows all night, waiting for a chance to get to Neve. Now he’d run blindly into the woods. What if that’s where they wanted him?

They never found the murderer, Rick. Some people think he fled into the woods and is hiding out there to this day.

Jumping up, he stumbled in what he hoped was the way out. The woods disorientated him, the rain blinding him.  Now he fell into a rage, angry at himself for being so stupid. The lights had just been there to distract him, lure him away. Aliens had abducted her, like they had with Jenny. Lightning flashed, followed by a bang. A scream rose above the thunder, silenced with abruptness. The rain roared around him, falling so hard it hurt his skin. He wasn’t sure how long he continued on, running until his lungs burned, then walking until he found his breath again. As his morale hit the lowest point, the rain stopped as sudden as it had started. He shivered, cursing to himself that he’d not bothered with a top. When he couldn’t go on, he sat down on a fallen tree and gazed around at the dark, listening to nocturnal woodland noises. They said if you saw someone drowning, the worse thing to do was to jump in after them because it would put you in danger too, a victim to the strong currents that had got the person you were trying to save into trouble. The currents had got him, pulled him deeper and he couldn’t swim back out again. Gasping, struggling for air, he was desperate to be in the open. The trees moved in on him, uprooting themselves to hinder his progress. They got into his head, made him feel watched, hunted. He staggered on, branches scratching his face. At some point the sky became that dark blue just before sunrise. It was as though his mind had shut down for a couple of hours as he walked and now he’d returned. Lights grew in intensity before him. They’d come for him and he didn’t have the energy to escape.

Thank you so much for your time Kevin! If you would like to find out more about Kevin and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevin.grover/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-Grover/e/B014LE2W6A/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1515291481&sr=8-1

Webpage: kevingrover.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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