Payment: Original: $8.00 USD/panel for art; $2.00 USD/panel for interactivity ($10.00 USD/panel for both) Reprint: $4.00 USD/panel for art; $1.00 USD/panel for interactivity ($5.00 USD/panel for both)
We are a market for interactive fiction. We do not accept prose without interactivity or a detailed plan for interactivity.
We have an anonymous submission process. Please remove all author labels from compiled work AND file names.
Guidelines are subject to change. Please review before submitting.
We love receiving work from creators of color, creators from the QUILTBAG community, creators with disabilities, and creators from other underrepresented communities.
If you have life experience which is relevant to the story you’re telling, you are welcome to mention it in your cover letter.
Reviewed all the guidelines already? Submit here:
What We Want
We are a market for F/SF, horror, mystery, romance, and mash-up interactive fiction. Submitted works must include at least a detailed proposal for interactivity. We like beautiful, moving prose, but we also like pulpy fun! Don’t self-reject. Let us see what you’ve got!
We also accept non-fiction related to interactive fiction, including reviews, essays, and other works.
If you’d like to submit something, but you’re not sure it’s a good fit, feel free to query via our contact form.
Stories that can be told only on a device (using choice, audio, and/or animation)
Fiction, poetry, and webtoons/sequential art welcome
1000 – 3500 words of one-time user experience (about five minutes of playthrough), maximum 5000 words of all possible user experiences (we occasionally accept longer pieces but it’s tough on our budget)
F/SF, horror, mystery, magic realism, mash-ups
Showing the reader things they’ve never seen before
Cross-browser QA-testing appreciated
Mobile compatibility appreciated. It is not necessary that your work be feature-perfect on mobile devices. What we ask is that the work be tested on mobile and 1) any missing features be handled conditionally (e.g. if on mobile, don’t attempt to play two simultaneous audio tracks) and/or 2) the user be warned of any changes in mobile experience. We are happy to work with you to achieve your goals.
1st or 3rd person POV
Requiring clicks/interaction only when asking the reader to make a choice (not just to read further)
Works that are accessible to users with disabilities
Excessive sex, violence, or profanity
Text-Based Fiction & Poetry
Our rates for text-based interactive fiction are based on prose word count. If the same person is responsible for both prose and interactivity, that person receives both rates.
We require that single-installment, text-based works put a total of no more than 5000 words (including all choices, alternate endings, etc.) before the reader. We prefer that a single playthrough put no more than 3500 words before the reader.
Original: $0.06 USD/word for prose; $0.03 USD/word for interactivity ($0.09 USD/word for both)
Reprints: $0.03 USD/word for prose; $0.015 USD/word for interactivity (0.045 USD/word)
An original 1000 word interactive story would command $90.
A reprinted 1000 word interactive story would command $45.
Our rates for illustrated fiction are based on panel count. We pay a certain rate for the panels themselves, and a quarter again as much for the interactivity of those panels. (An animated panel is considered one panel. If you have questions, please query.)
We require that sequential art be under 50 panels.
We prefer that sequential art be under 25 panels.
Original: $8.00 USD/panel for art; $2.00 USD/panel for interactivity ($10.00 USD/panel for both)
Reprint: $4.00 USD/panel for art; $1.00 USD/panel for interactivity ($5.00 USD/panel for both)
An original 25-panel interactive webtoon would command $250.
A reprinted 25-panel interactive webtoon would command $125.
The person submitting the story represents they have the right to include any contributors’ work in the story, and to accept payment on their behalf.
Additional payment for external media (e.g. illustration, audio, or special software features) is negotiable on request. If your story contains external media, please include a description of it in your submission, and your requested rate for it.
We pay $45 for non-fiction, with a maximum word-count of 650 words.
sub-Q Magazine‘s staff occasionally interviews authors, game creators, and other people of interest to interactive fiction fans. These interviews are non-paying opportunities.
No, please do not submit a work to us and to another market at the same time.
Yes, you may send us multiple works to consider at the same time (limit three awaiting response at once.)
Our goal is to respond to all submissions in fewer than 90 days. Please wait until 90 days have passed to query. If you have received no response, email [email protected] with the subject line AWAITING RESPONSE: [Your Story Title].
For original IF and for non-fiction, sub-Q acquires first worldwide publication rights, exclusive for one year, non-exclusive thereafter. For reprints, sub-Q acquires non-exclusive publication rights for one year.
Sample contracts are available on request.
How to Submit
Remove all author labels from compiled work AND file names (for our anonymous submissions process)
Cover letter is optional. If you provide one (via our Submittable form), please include:
Name, postal address
Title, genre, and approximate word count and/or playthrough time
Description of any external media (e.g. illustration, audio)
Brief bio with publishing/interactivity credits, if any
We encourage authors from underrepresented groups to self-identify in their cover letters if they feel comfortable doing so
Submit the query letter, synopsis, and first sample chapter as a single compressed file (e.g. *.zip) of all materials.
Please follow standard manuscript format in a *.doc, *.odt, or *.rtf file, Times New Roman preferred, Courier acceptable, links and special formatting OK.
Please submit completed non-fiction through our Submittable portal. Please follow standard manuscript format in a *.doc, *.odt, or *.rtf file, Times New Roman preferred, Courier acceptable, links and special formatting OK.
When I say I’m a writer, the typical question I get is “What kind of Romance story do you like to write?”
When I tell them I write horror the looks I get range from incredulous to horrified.
Even my family members have told me they hate the fact I prefer writing horror to any other genre. They would love to see me write a romance or even a crime-filled story as long as there was a romantic undertone to it. Whether it’s because I am female, or romance is less embarrassing, I can’t say.
When a male writer talks about murdering someone with an ax or throwing them into a hole and burying them alive, it is met without a blink of an eye, as if it were a common occurrence. If the same thing was said by a woman, all bets would be off. It’s as if because that we are women, we are generally thought of as nurturing and loving. We shouldn’t be able to see the dark side of things.
Writing, in general, isn’t an easy field. Those of us who are drawn to it are well aware of the drawbacks as well as all the positive. We know this constant struggle, but we keep going because we love it. The research a writer does in order to make their work authentic is insane. A woman writer has to work twice as hard. If she has one single fact incorrect, someone will comment “It’s written by a woman, what else did you expect?”
Women horror writers have taken some drastic steps to get their work out into the world for people to enjoy. Some use initials to disguise their apparent feminine names. Others go as far as using pen names, or fictional names.
In 1818, Mary Shelley published Frankenstein. She combined horror and science with amazing agility creating a new label which would be, and is, called science fiction. In order to publish her book, she had to use her husband’s name. If she used her own, it would not have been published at all.
Even Anne Rice, whose name and various works are well respected, had mixed reviews when she published “Interview with a Vampire” in 1980. After establishing herself as a horror writer, she had to use the pen name, A.N. Roqulaure, to write her erotic stories which were a far cry from her normal work.
From 1818 and 1980, 162 years have passed, but there is still a tangible barrier and bias against women horror writers. In the last few decades, strides were made and women became horror writers. The struggles and barriers need to change and I only hope the prejudice, which still exists in the same tone as Mary Shelley faced, ends someday, if not today.
Kim Plasket is a Jersey girl at heart relocated to sunny Florida. She enjoys writing mainly horror and paranormal stories and lives with her husband and 2 kids. When she is not slaving away at her day job, she can be found drinking coffee with fellow author Valerie Willis and planning the demise of some poor character. Currently she has several short stories featured in anthologies such as ‘Demonic Wildlife’ and ‘The Hunted’, also has a story in an Anthology Titled Fireflies and Fairy dust with more to come.
Deadline: March 19th, 2018
Payment: $1 for every 500 word (maximum stipulations listed below.)
The Strange Edge Presents THE MODERN MONARCHIST, a semi-regular and thoroughly modern zine for the postmodern zinester. This is a free ezine available in several modern DIGITAL® formats which can be transmitted via the emails or downloadified.
We are OPEN to unsolicited subs.
DEADLINE: Currently, we are expecting to release our first issue in April. To have a chance to get into that issue, send us your submission by March 19th. That’s 19th March for all you non-Americans.
SUBMISSION Guidelines: We are seeking only the finest FLASH FICTION, PROSE-POEMS, or ABSURD ARTICLES 1500 words or less. If we receive a submission that is over 1500 words, we will not only delete the submission unread, we will also delete the author from the spacetime continuum, forcing her or him to seek existence in an alternate Mandela. We are seeking a very specific brand of weird/bizarro literature that shares commonalities with the likes of Franz Kafka, Donald Barthelme, Mark Leyner, Russel Edson, Daniil Kharms, Barry Yourgrau, William S. Burroughs, Eugène Ionesco, David Lynch, Charlie Kaufman, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Quentin Dupieux, Yorgos Lanthimos, Guy Maddin, Remedios Varo, and Salvador Dali (I hope I don’t need a link to jog your memory about this guy). So whatever you send us is likely to get rejected, not because of quality but because of the very specific style we are seeking. Please don’t take any rejection personally. Also, the issues are short, quick-reads with only a few pieces selected for each. Reprints are fine, just let us know where the piece has been previously published, and make sure you have the electronic rights before submitting.
Multiple Subs: You may submit multiple pieces at the same time—up to 3, provided each piece is less than 1500 words. It is not likely that more than one piece will be featured in any given issue, however, we may accept multiple pieces and publish them in future issues.
Payment: You will be paid $1 American for every 500 words we accept, with a minimum payment of $1 (for anything 500 words or less) and a maximum of $10 for any given year. We ask for non-exclusive digital rights to your submissions, so you are free to publish them elsewhere as long as the other venues are cool-de-la. All payments will be made via PayPal, no exceptions.
Non-Fiction Articles: Please query if you have ideas for short non-fiction articles, interviews, or reviews you think may fit here.
Artwork: We are also interested in art, but please query before sending any work. We don’t want much art and we can’t pay you very much for it, so be forewarned. You are probably even more likely to be rejected than the writers. It sucks. It’s a young woman or man’s game and we are all old and dry and bitter at heart. But if you have art without a home, and it kinda fits with the aesthetic above, and you want to be part of a faceless collective of weirdos who seem stuck in the 20th Century, please do query posthaste and ad hoc.
Send all submissions to [email protected], with the header ZINESUBMISSION: Name of Your Work/Last Name. If you want to query, use the header QUERY. If you just wanna say “whaddup” use the header WHADDUP????? Please use five question marks. Please attach your submissions in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. (This shouldn’t need to be said, but include your name on at least the first page of the attachment, AND a byline that indicates what name you publish under in case this does not match the name that receives the money.) Include a short bio in the body of your email, so we get a sense of who you are and what you may (or may not) have published before.
We use Submittable as our submission’s manager, so please submit via hereand not via email. All general queries can be directed [email protected]
When submitting, please include a short bio, just a few sentences about yourself, which we will use if your story is accepted! No cover letter is required, although you can include any places other work has previously been accepted in your bio if you would like (this is not mandatory.)
Things we think are really cool (in no particular order):
– magical realism
– urban fantasy and science fiction
– alternative depictions of women and men in these settings
– alternative depictions of women and men in general
– LGBTQIA lit
– non-binary MCs
– diversity in race and ability of protagonists
– steam punk
– made up words
– not being homophobic, transphobic, ableist, racist, or a misogynist
If you can tick at least two of those boxes (the last one is pretty much mandatory), please, send us your art for consideration!
What we accept:
Flash Fiction: min 500 – max 1,000
Short Fiction: min: 1,000- max 3,000
Poetry: 1-5 poems
Creative Non Fiction: max 3000
We’re not sticklers for length,but please try to keep within a couple of hundred words of the suggested limit (just remember that this is an online platform).
Paintings and or Photographs: There’s no real restriction on numbers here, you can submit one piece, or a whole series of pieces. Just don’t send us your entire iPhone camera roll!
Videos: We’re talking readings, performances, songs, rants, animations, you name it! We prefer videos to be submitted via Submittable in mp4 format.
However, if you’re video is already hosted and you would like us to feature it, please email the link to [email protected] If your video is yet to be filmed, and you would like to pitch it to us before creating it, please email us at the same address.
Comics: We are so keen to have web-comics on board! Ideally we’d like something short, say 6 pages max, but this is certainly up for negotiation; perhaps we could publish a longer comic over a series of issues, or if we really, REALLY like it, serialization could also be an option.
AND FINALLY: If your creation is cross-medium (eg. text and photos, collage etc.) and doesn’t fit into any of these categories, but you still think it would be a good fit for Slink Chunk Press, pitch it to us at [email protected]
Slink Chunk Story Time:
Slink Chunk Press will be inviting some of the writers published in the launching issue to read their stories via Google Hangout. Everyone will get a chance to read, we will talk about why we liked the story/why it was chosen for the issue/other general fun things. Readers of Slink Chunk Press will be able to watch via YouTube (this will be moderated by the EIC because the internet can be a scary place). Think of it as a magical, writer-ly slumber party. And if you have a character that has, say, a very distinct appearance, or expresses themselves in an aesthetically interesting way, you could perhaps channel that during your reading. In other words, dressing up as your character is certainly an option because dressing up is AWESOME and highly encouraged. FUN!
And a few other important things…
– We are currently interested in unpublished work. If you are published in an issue of Slink Chunk Press, and then wish to publish it elsewhere afterwards, please feel free to do so! Just be sure to acknowledge Slink Chunk Press as the original site of publication.
– Simultaneous submissions are accepted, just please let us know if your piece has been accepted elsewhere.
– If you have hosted the piece on a personal blog, art sharing site such as deviantART, or YouTube, please let us know in the body of your submission. We will still consider it for publication, but may request that you give us a shout out on these platforms and through your other social media networks. We’ll ask nicely, promise!
– Slink Chunk Press is not for profit, with all funds being channeled into paying our contributors. Currently, we offer a flat rate of $5 per published submission (if you are submitting multiple poems as a collection, they will be counted as one submission). We know it’s not much, we wish we could pay you what your stories are worth.
– All Publishing Rights are returned to the author on the event of their piece’s submission.
These are some of the first things that we think about when we think about serial killers. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, serial murders are not a modern phenomenon and are not unique to the United States. The FBI does note that serial murders are rare, very rare in fact – comprising less than one percent of all murders committed within any given year. The FBI defines serial killing as a series of two or more killings committed by the same person.
There are common myths associated with serial killers including that they are all dysfunctional loners, that they are predominantly white males, that they are motivated by sex, travel and operate interstate, can’t stop killing, are evil geniuses…and that they are all male.
There are female serial killers, many of them. There are very well likely female serial killers operating today. Also, as often incorrectly cited Aileen Wuornos was not the first female serial killer in the United States. There were plenty of female serial killers before Wuornos. While Wuornos killed as many as seven men there are female serial killers throughout U.S. history that committed many more.
Below is a list of female serial killers in the U.S. you may not have heard of.
Jane Toppan (1854-1938)
Victim estimate: 31
Famously quoted as saying her goal was to “have killed more people,” Toppan was a nurse and killed her landlord, his wife, and dozens of patients whom she often experimented on, drugging them with various levels of morphine and atropine. It’s said she fondled her patients as they died, gaining sexual gratification from their deaths.
Bertha Gifford (1871-1951)
Victim estimate: 17
Found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental hospital, Gifford was accused of killing 17 with arsenic – a common household supply at the time.
Victim estimate: 11
Nannie Doss killed her five husbands, two of her sisters, two of her sister’s kids, a mother-in-law, and her own mother. She stirred in arsenic into family meals, coffee, and even their booze.
Genene Jones (1950 – )
Victim estimate: 60
Using injections of digoxin, heparin, and others, Jones is suspected of killing over 60 infants and children in her care in Texas. She is serving 99 years and is currently being held at the Lane Murray Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Cynthia (Cina) Pelayo
Cynthia (Cina) Pelayo is the author of Loteria, Santa Muerte, The Missing, and Poems of My Night. She blogs at cinapelayo.com
It’s award season time people! The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has just announced this year’s finalists for the Nebula Awards and I wanted to make sure to share them with you! Please share in the comments if you’ve read any of these works and what you thought about them!
Nebula Award Finalists Announced
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. The awards will be presented in Pittsburgh, PA at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center during a ceremony on the evening of May 19th, 2018.
2017 Nebula/Bradbury/Norton Award Finalists
Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit US)
Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)
River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)
Passing Strange, Ellen Klages (Tor.com Publishing)
“And Then There Were (N-One)”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
Barry’s Deal, Lawrence M. Schoen (NobleFusion Press)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
“Dirty Old Town”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 5-6/17)
“Weaponized Math”, Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3)
“Wind Will Rove”, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 9-10/17)
“A Series of Steaks”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld 1/17)
“A Human Stain”, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 1/4/17)
“Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time”, K.M. Szpara (Uncanny 5-6/17)
“Fandom for Robots”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM”, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
“Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 9-10/17)
“The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)”, Matthew Kressel (Tor.com 3/15/17)
“Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/11/17)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)
The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit” (Written by Michael Schur)
Logan (Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green)
The Shape of Water (Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Written by Rian Johnson)
Wonder Woman (Screenplay by Allan Heinberg)
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book
Exo, Fonda Lee (Scholastic Press)
Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren (Tor)
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
Want, Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse)
The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 17th-20th and feature seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 20th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center and is open to the public.
The Nebula Awards recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
In addition to the Nebula Awards, SFWA will present the Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award, the Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. Service to SFWA Award, and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
Independent Legions Publishing is seeking original horror stories in English for the new anthology MONSTERS OF ANY KIND, edited by Alessandro Manzetti and Daniele Bonfanti, to be published in October 2018 in print and digital editions. Cover art by Wendy Saber Core.
We’re looking for horror stories containing at least one non-human monster/creature (and not vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies). Unusual creatures will be particularly appreciated. All subgenres and forms of speculative fiction are welcome.
Word Count: We are open to stories of 3,500-5,000 words.
Submissions Close: July 10, 2018
Pay Rate: We pay $100 for each original story.
We buy first exclusive English-language rights for three years.
We do not accept multiple or simultaneous submissions, nor do we accept unsolicited reprints.
Submissions should follow standard manuscript format (12 pt Times New Roman or Courier fonts, 1” margins all around, line spacing 1½ or 2 spaces). It must be in .doc or .docx format or it will not be considered. Your name and contact information must be at the top of the first page of the story. Page numbers with author’s last name and/or partial story name on subsequent pages would be appreciated.
Cover letter is optional, but if you do include one, please add a short bio (up to 200 words).
Response time is currently within four weeks. After that, if you haven’t heard from us, please query. We will not be sending confirmations of receipt.
To submit a story, go to our story submission form below. To submit your story via email, put “SUBMISSION – MONSTERS OF ANY KIND” in the subject line and send to:[email protected]
Deadline: May 31st, 2018
Payment: 5¢ – 8¢ per word
On Thanksgiving weekend 2009, we opened to our first anthology. Ten years later we plan to celebrate this long strange—and wonderful—trip, with our biggest anthology yet! Our “Best Of” will feature your favorite Blood Bound stories from the last decade upgraded in a limited edition, illustrated hardcover. The hardcover will also be loaded with brand new stories to lead us into the next decade of horror. That’s where you come in:
What we’re looking for:
Genres: All sub-genres of horror accepted—extreme, bizzaro, erotic, new weird, splatterpunk—if it’s dark, we want it!
Stories must be previously unpublished in any form
Monsters are the quintessential outsiders. The appearance of a supernatural being represents a fundamental disruption of the status quo. It forces humans to reconsider the very nature of existence, questioning traditional ideas of morality, normalcy, and what it means to be human. For this reason, horror and fantasy stories often explore themes of discrimination, using monsters as stand-ins for the marginalized and oppressed.
This is a trope as old as horror fiction. Frankenstein’s monster was a tragic figure shunned by society due to his appearance. King Kong met his unjust end after being kidnapped and exploited by humans. More recently, Clive Barker’s novella Cabal featured a secret community of undead monsters; its protagonist’s transformation from a tortured human into a shapeshifting cannibal was framed as a journey of empowerment and self-actualization. The trope has also appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fido, and District 9, among others.
When written with creativity and empathy, stories like this can be thought-provoking. However, sloppy usage renders this trope uninteresting at best, and offensive at worst.
A well-meaning message does not automatically make a mediocre story interesting – nor does the insertion of the supernatural. That’s why Netflix’s Bright doesn’t quite work: half-baked fantasy elements and racism subplots can’t elevate the movie beyond what it is – a poorly-written cop thriller populated by wooden characters with ill-defined motivations.
Any good fantasy story requires some worldbuilding. Even in a “real world” setting, the story should explore how a deviation from the norm (e.g. the emergence of supernatural phenomena) affects that world. It’s lazy writing to just take an existing system and replace one group of people with monsters, aliens, or the undead. And such an approach can come off as disrespectful to the real-life victims of oppressive societies. That’s why Neill Blomkamp’s decision to re-tell Apartheid with aliens in District 9 left a bad taste in my mouth.
Compare that with Guillermo Del Toro’s marvellous The Shape of Water, in which a diverse cast of characters rescues an amphibious creature from torture and death in a government lab. The film’s villain is a bigoted government agent who sees the creature as less than human; however, the Amphibian Man is not simply a stand-in for marginalized groups. Scenes of the creature being tortured are mirrored by equally disturbing scenes of Elisa being sexually harassed, Zelda being terrorized, and Giles targeted by homophobia. The creature’s suffering echoes theirs, without obscuring it.
A more immersive approach can be seen in works like last year’s War for the Planet of the Apes, as well as the aforementioned Cabal. These are stories of genocide and war, told from the perspective of the “other.” Storytelling like this invites audiences to look outside ourselves.
The magic of fantasy is that it allows us to empathize with beings who don’t look like us or speak our language. Horror, fantasy and sci-fi are fertile grounds to explore injustice – so long as the subject matter is approached thoughtfully.
Madison McSweeney is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. She has published short fiction and poetry in Women in Horror Annual Vol 2., Unnerving Magazine, Dark Horizons: An Anthology of Dark Science Fiction, and The Fulcrum, as well as online at Horror Tree and 365 Tomorrows.
Her arts and culture coverage has appeared in a variety of outlets, and she frequently writes about the Canadian music scene. Her writings can be found at rantsandwritingsblog.wordpress.com.
Today I’m happy, although it’s raining outside and it’s my son’s 21st birthday and he is away at uni. It is half-term which means a week off from the school in which I work and that gives me time to write something of my own instead of editing somebody else’s, to make a dent in my TBR pile instead of TWF submissions. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this side of things but I do need some ‘me time’ and luckily my workplace, being a school, gives me that every six weeks or so. My target this half-term was to write and complete a short story and sub it somewhere, anywhere. Today I finished it and proofed it several times including a thorough search for errant spaces (Kim Plasket 😊), then I sent it away. I know some people advise ‘resting’ a story, which I do on occasion whilst others say ignore that advice – something else I do as well. Today I sent it away, no resting, no beta reads. I just pressed ‘Submit’. I was happy with my story and even if the magazine rejects it, I know I will still like it. And I think that’s ultimately what I want to say about taking writing advice. By all means read it and take it on board but you know your writing, the story you want to tell and it’s up to you to choose what to do with it. There are so many rules in the writing world, you just have to break them occasionally. But do remember to proof-read, I have had more than one contributor using a ‘steak’ rather than a ‘stake’ to do damage to a person. It doesn’t quite pack the same punch …
Editor, Trembling With Fear
We hope you had a lovely time last week as we did! Now that time for hearts (broken or in love) has come to an end, we have some new works for you to enjoy! As always, remember to leave a comment so the author whose work that you enjoyed can get some feedback!
‘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.
Editor, Horror Tree
Sailors lost at sea didn’t find as much comfort in the glow of a lighthouse’s beacon as Rob did in the sight of the house with smoke billowing freely from the chimney and soft light twinkling through the windows. It was dark and the cold cut through his clothing, even as thick and warm as it was. He had set out too late and had rode for too long; there was no way he was going to make Slick Stone before the temperature dropped below what he could stand and there was no way he could make a camp fire anywhere near warm enough to be of use. Rob had no choice but to trust the mercy of whoever was inside that house.
He got off his horse and walked the remaining few feet up to the porch steps. The ankle-deep snow crunched underfoot and there was a thin coat of ice on the steps. Once he was safely on the porch, he knocked three times; it was so warm inside, he felt the heat floating off the wood.
An old man with a mustache like a dust bunny and leathery skin opened the door. He asked Rob, in a deep and booming voice, “Can I help you?”
“I sure do hope so, sir. I was hoping for a place to bunk tonight and somewhere to put up my horse. I’d pay you for the trouble, and if the only place for me to sleep is in the barn, well, that’s better than out here in the freezing cold.”
The old man nodded his head and jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Ain’t got a barn. Stable out back, but not much of one. You can hitch your horse up there. No other animals out there right now.”
“I thank you, sir.”
“When you’re done, step on inside. Got some stew over the fire, some whiskey, some coffee.”
“Sir, you’re an absolute saint.”
“I’ll leave the door unlocked for ya.” The old man offered a weak smile and ducked back into his house, shutting the door behind him. Rob made his way off of the porch and led his horse back to the stable. Once the animal was safely in place, Rob made his way into the house.
The warmth inside was thick like gravy. There was a coffee table and a few other furnishings, but Rob was entirely focused on the roaring fire and a rocking chair by it, directly across from where the old man sat. Rob slipped his soggy coat and boots off and took his seat. He held his hands out to the fire and rubbed them together. There was nothing he loved more in life at that moment than that fire.
“So, what’s your name, sir?”
“Fool’s errand to be traveling out in this weather, Rob.”
“Yeah, I suppose so.”
“Any man on the road in this snow is either desperate to run away or run to somebody.”
‘Well, outlaws don’t take a break for the winter.”
“You a lawman, then?”
“I chase down bounties.”
“Sounds like dangerous work. Your wife and children must be worried sick.”
“No wife and child to be worried.”
“Well, then, all men should be so lucky.” Lawry chuckled and rose from his seat. “Let me get you some utensils so you can have some of that stew. You want some whiskey?”
“That would be right good, yes.”
Lawry got up and pulled a bowl and spoon from the cupboard, then retrieved a bottle of whiskey from a nearby cabinet. He handed the to whiskey to Rob. “You can finish it,” he said. “Not much left.” While Rob sipped on the whiskey and felt his insides warming even more intensely, Lawry ladled some thick and meaty stew out from the pot hanging over the fire. He handed it to Rob, who set his bottle down long enough to shovel several spoonfuls of stew into his mouth, unbothered by the searing heat from the still-smoking meal.
“This is good,” Rob said between smacks.
“My mama’s recipe. Has a little bit of red wine in it. Not much of a wine drinker myself, but it’s damn good in cooking. Mama was a Frenchwoman, so she ought to know.”
“Well, your daddy was a lucky man to have a woman who could cook like this.”
“Oh, that ain’t even half as good as when she made it.” Lawry leaned back in his chair and pulled a pipe and a pouch of tobacco out of his pocket. He filled his pipe, then reached back into his pocket for a book of matches to light it. Lawry took several puffs from it, then turned his attention back to Rob. “So, this man you’re running down—he must be worth a lot of money.”
“Oh, not so much. But, when you’ve been a few months without any money coming in, even a dollar is worth a scrap of trouble.”
“I suppose so.”
“So, what do you do Mr. Lawry?”
“Oh, nothing much. I’m a carpenter by trade. A bit too old to be doing that, though. Mostly just fish and hunt and drink nowadays.”
Rob held the bottle of whiskey up in a salute. “Not a bad way to live.” He took a swig of liquor and a chomped down on another spoonful of stew. “What kind of meat is this? Deer? Bear? It tastes different.”
“Oh, it’s a little of this, little of that. I use what I can get ahold of, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you exactly what you’re eating.”
“Well, it’s good just the same.” He finished off his stew and sat back in his chair. “So, where am I gonna be bunking tonight?”
“I’ve got a spare room. No bed, but I’ve got blankets and a pillow.”
“That’ll work.” Rob chugged down the last bit of whiskey left in the bottle. He set the bottle down and started to ask Lawry if he could pay him anything, but his tongue felt thick and his vision grew blurry. He shook his head and took several deep breaths, but started sweating like a man with a gun pointed at his head.
“You feeling alright, son?” Lawry asked from behind a sly smile.
Rob tried to tell him that no he didn’t particularly feel well, not at all, but instead he slumped forward and crashed to the floor unconscious, his bowl of stew crashing down to the floor and splattering in all directions.
Lawry walked over to the corner of the room and lifted up a trap door. “Alright, y’all come out,” he shouted.
A moment later, two young men came up from the trap door. Their eyes were blood shot and their hair was matted and dirty, giving them the appearance of rabid feral beasts. One of them darted across the room and dropped to his hands an knees by Rob’s side. He sniffed his neck and licked his cheek. “He’s a big one, daddy,” he hissed at Lawry.
The other young man joined him and poked Rob in the side. “Nice and tender, too.”
Lawry crossed his arms over his chest. “Yes,” he said, a broad smile spreading across his face. “He’ll make a fine stew indeed.”
M. Brandon Robbins
M. Brandon Robbins is a school librarian and aspiring author. He lives with his wife and two turtles in Goldsboro, NC. He wrote the “Games, Gamers, and Gaming” column for Library Journal from 2012 until last year. This is his second published work of short fiction, the first being “Lost Phone,” which was published in the debut issue of Shotgun Horror Clips. Brandon is currently revising two novels with hopes of publication.
A Free Meal
My crockpot bubbles with the fresh kill from yesterday; my coworkers grin red as they lap up my unique cuisine. Suzy asks me where I got the meat; I wink and say hunting. Panic strikes for a moment when I hear the name of our supervisor, Pat; they know he never misses a free meal. A chill wafts into the common area, carrying the smell of brown sugar and fat throughout the building. Megan tells the others she saw him last night storming to my office with a stack of errors. Don’t worry, I tell them, he’s around here somewhere.
Matt Brandenburg lives in Kalamazoo, MI with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs. He has been dipping his toe into the pool of horror fiction for a couple of years, but only recently worked up the courage to try to swim. In his spare time he reads a lot, watches crazy horror movies, tends a moldy pumpkin patch, and listens to synthwave soundtracks. He is currently working on a novella and the start of a novel. He has recently started writing book reviews for Storgy Magazine(https://storgy.com/).
“Checking my balance. I think I might be a little short this month.”
“How is that possible? You did all your collections, right?”
“I thought so. Crap. I’m missing like fifty souls.”
“Dude, you’re screwed. Management hasn’t been in a forgiving mood lately. How did this even happen?”
“I know. I ran into someone and dropped all my paperwork. I must have lost one.”
“Ran into someone? Let me guess. Amy from accounting. That girl is going to get you thrown into the pit.”
“Chill. I’ll work overtime. It’ll be fin … Ahhhh!!”
“I told you so.”
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.
Icy breath caressed his skin. He lay against cold stone. Each crest of chilled rock cut into his back, the flesh tearing from his skin as he writhed against the rope encasing his wrists. Darkness, blacker than he’d ever experienced, encompassed his being, shedding no light on his unknown prison. He smelled her, the intoxicating scent of roses overwhelming his thoughts. She gently traced the knife along his throat, reveling in the scream that grew deep inside his chest. He breathed harder as she immersed herself in his dying breath. She smiled, leaving him there to search for the next.
Meli Goodell has been writing since she learned to spell, but has just recently pursued publication with three micro-fiction stories appearing in anthologies in 2017. She is currently in the submission process for her first novel, Salvagium. You can read more about Meli and her adventures in writing at www.meligoodell.com