Taking Submissions: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

Deadline: March 31st ,2019
Payment: Fiction: $25 for stories under 1,000 words, $50 for stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words, $75 for stories between 5,000 and 7,500 words and $100, for stories of 7,500 words and over. Poetry: $25

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is generally open to fiction and poetry submissions four months per year. The months you can submit are:




December (we are closed to submissions in December, 2018)

If you submit fiction or poetry in any other month, you will receive an auto-response and your tale will not be reviewed.


* * *

As its name suggests, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is a quarterly ezine dedicated to publishing heroic fantasy — in both prose and poetry. We are unrepentant in our goal of elevating unapologetic sword and sorcery to a rightful high place. We pay $100 for stories and $25 for poems, upon publication.  (Scroll down for info on art submissions.) We purchase first world English language electronic rights, electronic rights for 90 days, archival rights for twelve months, and excerpt rights.

Our fiction word limit is a soft 10,000 words, although we are willing to serialize at a maximum of 50,000 words over four issues. You may submit up to three poems, with a cumulative maximum of 30 pages.

While we don’t have iron-clad rules regarding our fiction payment, we roughly pay $25 for stories under 1,000 words, $50 for stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words, $75 for stories between 5,000 and 7,500 words and $100, for stories of 7,500 words and over.

Tolkienesque (as in really long) poetry epics/sagas/vedas will most likely be treated — and paid — like fiction. Similarly, prose pieces of fewer than 1,000 words will be paid at poetry’s standard rate of $25.


Art: HFQ is looking for quality banner art to accompany each new issue. Please review art from the past two issues to see the style we prefer. Image dimensions should be approximately 850 x 250 pixels. We’re not interested in non-banner art at this time. We’ll pay you, but rates are negotiable. If you’d like us to consider your work please email a link to the website where your art is displayed. DO NOT SEND US AN EMAIL WITH YOUR ART ATTACHED; WE WILL DELETE IT, AND YOU’LL NEVER KNOW IF WE EVEN GAVE YOU A LOOK! Follow our submission instructions below, but insert ART instead of fiction or poetry in the subject line of your email. We look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

Submission Method:

We accept submissions by email only.

Make sure the subject line of your email follows this formula:
Submission – [fiction or poetry] – [title] – [your last name].
For example: Submission – Fiction – Red Nails – Howard

You can address your submission “HFQ Editors” or “Editors”, we are not too particular about that.

IMPORTANT: do not send attachments unless we ask for them. Paste the first 10 pages of your story or poems into the body of your email — but don’t kill yourself trying to perfect the formatting.

Feel free to include a paragraph introducing yourself and detailing your publishing history, and anything you think we need to know about your story. Or not. All we really care about is the quality of your yarn.

You have about five paragraphs to hook us and 10 pages to impress us — use them wisely.

Our email address is: editors [at] heroicfantasyquarterly.com

More Detail About Our Editorial Process

If you haven’t heard from us by the time a new issue publishes, don’t worry — you’re in the loop for the next issue.

If we like the cut of your story’s jib, we’ll contact you via email to ask for the rest of your work, which we’ll want as an RTF or Word attachment. At this point your odds of being published with us go way up (+3 modifier!). From that stack we buy and/or make rewrite requests. We try to offer constructive criticism on everything that is rejected from this second tier.

Other Submission-Related Stuff

Our response time is about 60 days.

If you’re curious as to what level of violence, sex and/or nudity is too much, just follow what you’d expect to see in movie ratings. We think an “R” rating is a suitable upper limit.

We consider reprints by invitation only. Our invitation — not yours!  Unless of course your name is Gene Wolfe or Michael Moorcock.

Things we shouldn’t even have to say, but just to cover the bases:

No fan fiction.  No thinly-veiled fan fiction.  No thinly-veiled real-life revenge fantasies (especially against your esteemed editors).

Bonus Modifiers
Three Words:  Heroic Fantasy Fiction
We are a Half-Orc positive venue
Action is an art, not a diversion
One word:  Visceral
Know your horses
Dwarves who don’t always win
Barbarians with feelings

Negative Modifiers
Barbarians with feeeeeeeeelings
Three words: Heroic Fantasy Parodies
Really exacting blow-by-blow combat scenes
Frequent or lengthy inner dialogue
Two words: Overly Descriptive
Stuff you obviously lifted from your D&D/White Wolf/Legend of Five Rings/Tunnels and Trolls (OMG!  Did anybody actually play T&T?) games
Any mention at all about playing Tunnels and Trolls
Your second tier submission is not in proper manuscript format
You let the “R” rating go to your head — violence and sex should augment the story, not be the story

July 1, 2010, addendum

After a year we’ve noticed some things that we feel we should call to your attention.  There are certain trends we have encountered, and certain truisms that we feel would make everyone’s life easier if we all knew them.   To wit:

Witty banter usually isn’t.

Stories that start in an inn are usually out.

Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn.

Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious individual who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire).

Double ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious man who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire) who then turns on the very adventurers he/she/it hired only to be thwarted by the one dwarf in the party.  In fact, toss us a dwarf curveball.  So far we’ve never seen a story with a dwarf character where that character doesn’t kick ass from beginning to end.

We are not all that interested in stories with vampires.  We feel much the same re: zombies.

Neither are we terribly keen on pirates; just remove that word and your odds go up.

Keep the backstory under control and reasonable.  That really is one of the main differences between what we reject outright, what we ask for completes on, and what we end up accepting:  how the backstory is handled.

When taking your novel and making a short story out of part of it, try to make it look like it wasn’t clearly cut out of a novel. Your tale must stand on its own.

Along those lines, HFQ publishes short stories, not novels, so if you do hook us with a short from a novel we’ll only bend over backward so far to accommodate unnecessary exposition or backstory in the short story that relates to the novel.

In the past we’ve preferred secondary world settings, however after a year we are now more open to historical fantasy.

Thanks for considering these guidelines and pitfalls. We look forward to reading your work!

Via: Heroic Fantasy.

Taking Submissions: Sherlock Holmes and the Great Detectives

etDeadline: July 15th, 2019
Payment: $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter project profits and a contributor’s copy

Description: These adventures involve Holmes teaming up with another great detective such as Sexton Blake, Nick Carter, Monsieur Lecoq, or Lady Molly of Scotland Yard. There are plenty “public domain” detectives to choose from or you can create your own.


Submission guidelines:  A 5,000 – 10,000 word traditional story teaming Sherlock Holmes with another classic detective.  The other detective must be in the public domain or your own original character.


Payment: Authors shall receive a payment of $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter project profits and a paperback copy of the anthology.


Rights: Authors shall retain rights to their work. We only retain the rights to the story within the publication.


Submission Deadline: July 15, 2019


Kickstarter will run in November 2019 and publication of book will occur in December 2019.

Via: Belanger Books.

Taking Submissions: American Cult

Deadline: April 30th 2019
Payment: $5.00

Alternative American history, dark supernatural takes on national tragedies, the dark gods behind the politics and power. This anthology is the place to put the horror back into our homeland. There are lots of horrifying things going on in the country, however, for this collection, we are specifically seeking cult/supernatural horror.

As these are works of fiction, we strongly recommend changing the names of living politicians in your work. Even if you make it painfully obvious who inspired it.

  • We will not accept any stories about rape.
  • Racism/Sexism/Bigotry of any form will never be accepted here.
  • Stories between 1500-5000 words prefered.
  • Double check your grammar and spelling.
  • Format your story correctly.
  • Please submit all stories in DOC/RTF format.
  • We prefer stories that have not been published before.
  • We prefer to avoid multiple and simultaneous submissions.
  • We retain exclusive publishing rights for 12 months.
  • We pay $5.00 for stories
  • Deadline is 4.31.19

Send all submissions with the subject
‘American Cult’ (Your story Name) to [email protected]

Via: Madness Heart Press.

Trembling With Fear 03/24/2019

The days are getting a bit lighter, there’s blossom on the trees and … there’s still a lot of coughing and spluttering going on in the Ellis household. Not all me, I might add, but my lovely family. Then again, it’s a small revenge for them all supporting Wales in the recent Six Nations Rugby. My husband’s Welsh and my children prefer to forget their English halves. (Wales won by the way.) I feel a bit outnumbered at these times. 

At least my head’s clear enough to try writing again and I’m attempting a ‘weird’ story. Not something I normally write but I thought I’d give it a go. That’s one thing HWA’s Fright Club is good at – encouraging you to try areas outside your comfort zone. At least it keeps me occupied while I wait for decisions on some stories submitted not so long ago. Plus I’ve got TWF!

Trembling With Fear leads this week with Fruit on the Forest Path by Chris Panatier, a story which feels almost harmless at first. There’s a touch of the gothic in the setting, the description of Janie’s walk into the woods, away from the world, away from her trials and tribulations. It continues with this sense of innocence, brings in a touch of fantasy – a vein which you think will continue but … things change and Janie soon discovers her mistake in her attempted good deed. This story reminds me a bit of the films where you shout at the character, ‘Don’t go in there,’ but they do and you watch helplessly as they move towards inevitable disaster.

The Crooked Man by Andrea Allison twists a memory of a family member. The portrait shows one face presented to the family, the skeletons which come tumbling out of the closet show another. Scary what a smile can hide. Provokes that perennial question – how well do we really know those closest to us? A thought which often sends a shiver down the spine.

Cimmerian Shade by Terry Miller is very strong in building up mood and atmosphere by simple juxtaposition of noise and silence, light and dark, life and emptiness. It shows you don’t need a lot going on, just a simple idea pulling your character along, turning her into a puppet, easily manipulated, easily destroyed.

The Last Cloud by CR Smith takes us to a drought-stricken world invaded by aliens. Despite the latter, the desperation for water brings humans out into the open for a moment which will probably, possibly, never happen again. I enjoyed the use of alliteration and onomatopoeia which brought both sound and image to the page, eg ‘Rainwater sizzles, haphazardly hitting abandoned vehicles.’

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Okay, some fun updates! We may have a new TWF logo to enjoy in the near future and work may have started in on the covers of the anthologies! Also, some good news may or may not have gone out to the contributors of our first edition of Trembling With Fear!: Year 1! 🙂 This one is another short and sweet update by me. I’ve been running myself ragged trying to keep all my commitments as of late. . 

‘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

Fruit On The Forest Path

Janie made her way past the final house on the block, a black-shingled Victorian whose resident, an old widower, was a shut-in. His eyes, it seemed, were multiple, set in a herd of mostly feral cats that watched from the perimeter like gargoyles atop the stone columns marking each length of iron fence. Other than their suspicious yellow eyes, they showed no movement, and Janie felt relief as she entered the path to the cover of the woods.

     The path was a refuge, the solitary route she took home from school when life felt too much. Silence hung like a cottoned fog and the outside world faded to rumor, a million miles from squabbling parents and jeering classmates. Her shoulders relaxed some as she burrowed ahead.

     The trees had already surrendered to autumn, with all of the sycamores and oaks baring themselves. Janie pushed through their leaves, each footfall muted by the smothering quiet.

     She stopped near a bramble and spoke aloud just to test if her voice would be swallowed. “Hello.”

     “Who’s there?”

     She turned to either side. “Hello?”

     “Are you a cat?” A melodic voice.

     “Uh,” she checked herself, “no. I’m a person.”

     “All cats are persons. They’re just person-cats. What kind of person are you?”

     “A human person.”

     “How do I know you are telling the truth?”

     “Tell me where you are and I’ll show you.”

     “Exactly what a cat would say!”

     “Well I don’t really know how to convince you that I’m not a cat unless you look at me.”

     “Did the cats see you come in here?”

     “Mr. Harkleroad’s cats? Of course they did. There’s like a million of them.”

     “Oh, great. You’ve probably led them right to me. Please go.”

     “I could help you. Where are you?”

     “Prove you’re not a cat first.”

     “How do I do that?”

     “What word means to understand another person’s plight?

     Janie gave the obvious answer. “Empathy?”

     A relieved sigh. “You’re not a cat.”


     “Cats can’t use that word.”

     “Can’t use it? Can’t say the word empathy?”

     “Can’t, won’t—cats are selfish. It’s all I-I-I, me-me-me. Never a thought about anyone else.”

     “Okay, so I’m not a cat. Where are you?”

     “I’m hiding from cats, girl.”

     “Okay,” said Janie, spinning about, “where?”

     “My wing is broken. I can’t move very well. Stuck, really.”

     “You’re a bird?”

     “An owl, girl.” Now the voice made sense. Exactly the voice an owl would have.

     “My step-sister is a vet! I can get you help!” Her heart swelled.

     “Is she good, your step-sister?”

     “The best. I can take you if you’ll just tell me where you’re hiding.”

     Silence. A snow flurry blitzed down. There wasn’t much place for an owl to hide. Janie poked a scraggly blackberry with a sneaker, careful to avoid the unpicked fruit, ruptured and hanging like offal.

     “You see the burnt trees?” asked the owl.

     Janie knew the ones. Ahead was a stand, three of them blackened by a decades-old lightning strike. She’d always wondered if it had hit only one, with the others catching fire, or if its electric fingers had spread wide to touch all three in one go.

     “They’re right in front of me,” she said, approaching. “Which one are you in?”

     “The big log on the ground.”

     Janie spotted it, thick with char and set askew beside the leftmost tree. She followed it upward and matched the fracture-lines. It had been a towering tree, still was, and even though fire had gutted it the wood held. “You’re…in there?”

     “Where else would you go if you couldn’t fly?”

     “I guess in there.”

     “Well that’s where I am.”

     “Can you hop out?”

     A shuffling from inside, moaning. “Ugh, it hurts too much. Can you reach me?”

     Janie considered the trunk’s empty hole, what would be a tight and claustrophobic fit. “I’ll run home and get a pry-bar. I bet I can break this longways. My dad left his toolbox behind.” She turned to leave.

     “No-no-no! Please!” cried the owl. “Cats hunt at nightfall.”

     Janie turned back to the hole, somehow blacker than the sooty wood that held it. More flurries fell from the greying sky, low and bulbous. She knelt by the log to look inside.

     “There you are,” said the owl, though he remained in darkness. “And not a cat at all.”

     “How far back are you?” asked Janie, uneasy about navigating the narrow tube.

     “An arm’s length, perhaps a touch more.”

     Janie sat back on her calves, felt the moisture on the ground wick into her jeans, and looked around at the woods. Dusk. She exhaled nervously and let her backpack droop to the ground.

     “Quickly, please, or I’m a goner,” urged the owl.

     Janie zipped her jacket to the top and eased onto her stomach, bringing her face to the threshold.

     “I’m so relieved, girl. What was your name?”

     “Janie,” she said, shuffling on her forearms into the maw.

     “Lovely name. I’m lucky you came along.”

     Her shoulders rubbed the sides and she kept her face low to avoid bumping her crown on the tunnel’s ceiling.

     Outside came a scratching. “Did you hear that?” she asked.

     “I only hear you.”

     “I’m afraid I’ll get stuck,” said Janie, pressing inward. “My arms are pinned. I don’t know if I can reach you.”

     A zipper tore opened outside. Her backpack. “Who’s out there?”

     She kicked in blind fear at whatever had come and tried to push out. “I can’t move! I’m scared!”

     “Oh, that’s loud,” said the owl. “The cats will be coming for sure now.”

     Something scratched at her ankles and she shook it away. “Ow! They’re here!” Another scratch, and another. “They’re hurting me! Help!”

     The owl was silent.

     “Hello?” Janie pleaded.

     A purring.

     She brought her eyes forward and strained them into the void.

     Blackness lifted from over orbs of gold, and the slits that divided them spread wide.

Chris Panatier

“Chris’ short fiction has appeared in The Ginger Collect Magazine and he was a finalist in this year’s Writers’ League of Texas manuscript contest. He does album covers for tiny metal bands. He practices law in his spare time.”




The Crooked Man

            The Crooked Man drenched in black stood contorted on my uncle’s wall. A drop of drool dangled from it’s pointed teeth, but he claimed the painting with a smile as his self-portrait.

            Upon his death, the Crooked Man probed my fears with his large white eyes. I quietly approached it when a cloud of soot ruptured from the fireplace. Nestled in its center, hundreds of photos spilled from a gray shoe box all of the Crooked Man standing over bloody women. My gaze reverted to the painting only to find the smiling face of my uncle staring back at me.

Andrea Allison

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

You can visit her website at www.andreallison.com.

Cimmerian Shade

Old houses settle. Floors creak. The sounds upstairs were neither. Floorboards don’t make noises in succession, of this Piper was certain.

Knife in hand, Piper quietly climbed the stairs. Once at the top, the slow squeak of door hinges followed by the clicking latch drew her attention to the end of the hall. Darkness.

Piper listened as the foreboding silence swept over her. She focused on the pitch-black corridor, its ominous presence drawing her gaze deeper into itself; drawing her deeper. The Cimmerian shade consumed her consciousness, a transcension to bleak, soul-crushing perpetual emptiness. Piper found herself implicitly forsaken, hollow.

Terry Miller

Terry Miller lives in Portsmouth, Ohio right along the Ohio River. His work has appeared in Sanitarium Magazine, Devolution Z, Jitter Press, Poetry Quarterly, O Unholy Night in Deathlehem, and was nominated for the annual Rhysling Award from The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association which earned him a spot in the 2017 Rhysling Anthology.

The Last Cloud

When the first drops fall we run from the shelter, dry mouths open, our upturned eyes ignoring the oppressive alien crafts hovering overhead. The heat is unbearable.

Overdue precipitation dispenses hope with a dose of relief. Rainwater sizzles, haphazardly hitting abandoned vehicles. The scorched earth greedily absorbing what misses.

We feel the vibrations of the weather weapon starting up, hear the rumbling in the distance. The terraforming is nearing completion.

Rain stops as quickly as it arrived, lingering petrichor evaporating all around us.
We pray silently watching the cloud disappear, knowing deep down we will never see its like again.

CR Smith

CR Smith is an artist and writer living in the UK. Her work has been published by Ellipsis Zine, Spelk Fiction, Visual Verse, Glove Lit Zine, Train Lit Mag and The Cabinet of Heed. It is also to be found in several anthologies including, The Infernal Clock, Drabbledark: An Anthology of Dark Drabbles, Chronos: An Anthology of Time Drabbles, the Trembling With Fear: Year One Anthology, and The Infernal Clock Deadcades Anthology. A poetry anthology, Fourteen, and a Stickleback pamphlet are due to be published in 2019 by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. Her artwork has graced both the cover of Déraciné A Gothic Literary Magazine, issue 2, and the inside pages of issues 2 & 3.  

Twitter @carolrosalind

https://crsmith2016.wordpress.com  https://www.instagram.com/smith.cr/?hl=en

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Peggy A. Wheeler

Claire: Hey Peggy, how are you? What are you working on at the moment?

Peggy: I am fine and thank you for asking. I hope you are doing well, too.

What I’m working on – l Right now I’m completing the first draft of the sequel to my supernatural mystery-thriller, The Raven’s Daughter. After working on this project (The Summer Ravens) for over two years, I finally got down to business in hopes I can get this novel to my publisher in time for a summer release. It’s a good thing she’s patient because I’ve been under contract for this book for quite some time.

Claire: I see you aside from fiction you also write non-fiction and poetry. I do, too! Do you take a different approach to writing different things?

Peggy: Yes. I was a technical writer for many years. The difference between tech writing and poetry or prose is vastly different. Same with prose vs poetry. Even though there is cross-over between prose and poetry, the two forms require a different skill set, same with the differences between non-fiction and fiction.

Non-fiction is, of course, more cerebral and requires a more complicated level of research and precise language than in novel writing.  Poetry is a creative free-for-all but uses more concise language than in prose writing, generally relying on fewer and more carefully chosen words to make its impact.  Technical writing is sparse and exact, with lots of white space on the page, and relies on an economy of words, short, precise sentences with bullet points and sometimes diagrams. To reiterate, all forms of writing besides novel and short story form are generally more concise, use fewer words to convey meaning, and although there is cross-over, all require a different author mindset, and sometimes as mentioned (such as in technical writing, journalism, or copywriting) require completely different skills.

Claire: Tell me about your books. Let’s start with ‘Chaco.’ Where did your inspiration come from? Have you always been interested in writing a dystopian disaster novel?

Peggy: I visited my sister-in-law in 2012, and while there I picked up a printed copy of National Geographic.  While thumbing through the pages, an article on The Carrington Event caught my attention.  In 1859, two British amateur astronomers, one named Carrington, observed independently a series of Class X Coronal Mass Ejections (a type of solar storm, also known as CMEs) on the surface of the sun.

The CMEs hit Earth directly creating all kinds of havoc, knocking out telegraph service throughout the entire northern hemisphere for months. Spontaneous fires erupted over the surface of the planet.  Telegraph operators in a few cases were able to communicate without any connection, as though the Earth itself acted as a huge battery.  The CME generated Northern Lights observed as far south as Colorado where hunters sleeping in their tents thought it was morning because it was so light out, got up to make breakfast – it was the middle of the night.

Right away I began research on what would happen if The Carrington Event occurred today. What I found was terrifying and intriguing, and right away I began to formulate a post-apocalyptic adventure story, named after the protagonist, CHACO.

I wanted an unlikely hero, so I chose a young Salvadoran living and working  undocumented in California — that he was a university professor and astrophysicist in El Salvador, but is in hiding after landing on a death list in El Salvador because he fought on the wrong side of a U.S. backed coup, all play an essential role in how the story and the characters come together.

Claire: ‘The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus’ seems completely different from ‘Chaco.’ It doesn’t even seem like it was written by the same person! Tell me about the book. Where did your inspiration come from?

Peggy: In the last year of my mother’s life, she suffered from dementia and had gone blind from macular degeneration.  She was bedridden and couldn’t even feed herself, and I was not equipped or trained to be a full-time care-taker, plus my husband and I lived in a small house with no accommodations for a wheelchair even if we’d had an extra bedroom. I found a long-term facility for her only a little over a mile from my home.  Every day I’d visit her and read to her.  I came up with an idea to write a story for her, and that story became a book, and that book was The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus.

On the day I read the final chapter, (I read to her one chapter at a time as I finished the drafts), I thought she was sleep because her eyes were closed as she rested still and quiet on her pillows.  I attempted to tip-toe out of the room, but then I heard her. She sat up straight in her bed, her eyes open, tears running down her cheeks. “That was beautiful, Peggy Ann.”  Beautimus Potamus was the last thing I’d ever read to her.  Unfortunately, she didn’t live long enough to hold a published copy in her hands. I wrote the book because I thought she’d get a kick out of it, and I knew that even with her dementia she would appreciate the political references, the cultural jokes, and the satire. The book’s language, themes, and style were intentionally for her.  I dedicated The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus to her.  By the way, Bea Potamus is my personal favourite book of those I’ve written.

Claire: ‘The Raven’s Daughter’ seems like a cinematic novel. Where did the idea of blending myth, monster, and murder come from? Did you conduct any research for the novel?

Peggy: I’ve always been interested in Native American and Irish culture and lore, especially since there are indigenous people in my family from several tribes, and I’m over 50% Irish. I always thought I’d build a character from the two cultures, one culture my protagonist would accept, the other she’d reject, ergo Maggie Tall Bear Sloan, half Yurok/half Irish and 100% gutsy.

I reached for months and employed sensitivity readers for the Native American parts of the books to ensure that I was respectful in my approach.  The legend of the Pukkukwerek (sometimes spelt differently) is a Yurok legend about a woman who shapeshifts into a raven, so I made Maggie a shapeshifter, too, although she denies it, as she does her Yurok culture, and tries to excuse away her shifting. Maggie is a cantankerous, sometimes unlikable character, who is also compassionate and loves deeply, but she is a confirmed sceptic and does not believe in anything supernatural.

I set out to write a murder mystery and included horror, supernatural, and mythological components as a natural part of the process that grew out of the story.


Claire: The book was also a finalist in the CCC Great Novel Contest. That’s amazing! What was it like being a finalist? Did that impact your writing career in any way?

Peggy: The CCC Great Novel Contest is a small, regional contest.  It is a juried contest, not a confirmation of popularity, as in “vote for my book, friends.”  An actual panel of judges, mostly academic, presided over the contest and selected winners and finalists, and I believe that makes a difference.  I’m proud that my debut novel made it to the short list, and I’m glad my name is associated with the contest because I think contests and awards are great for getting one’s name out there even in a small way, and they help to validate the author’s work.

Claire: You’ve been featured in a few anthologies. Do you prefer writing novels or short fiction?

Peggy: I enjoy both, but I consider myself a novelist.

Claire: Do you find it difficult to write different genres?

Peggy: No.  It’s more fun for me to write in different genres and voices.  One good friend of mine, a successful writer who has had her books made into movies, once told me to “Pick a planet and land on it.” My publisher thinks it’s more difficult for an author who writes in different genres to gain a readership because some readers will love Raven’s Daughter but may detest allegorical satirical fantasy, such as Beautimus Potamus. Others may love CHACO but cannot stand the character of Maggie Tall Bear Sloan.

The idea is to write in one genre, so you build a brand. If someone is a huge Stephen King fan, for example, and pick up his latest novel, but it turns out to be a steamy bodice-busting romance, or a cute, cosy mystery rather than horror, they may be a wee bit disappointed, as in to the point of lighting the book on fire and demanding a refund.

In a way, that’s already happened to me.  A reader was enchanted with The Raven’s Daughter hated Beautimus Potamus and was detailed about her disappointment in the review she gave me, because despite having read the book blurb for Lady Bea, what she really wanted was more Raven’s Daughter.

I, however, am having a blast trying different genres on for size. Every new genre is an intriguing challenge for me, and because of that, I probably will write mash-ups as I do now, or cross-genre, for a while. I am even pondering trying my hand at literary fiction. One day, I may settle on a single genre. Right now, I’m tending toward the supernatural mystery-thriller, but that’s probably because I’m working on one.

Claire: I see you have a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in English with a Creative Writing. How have these degrees helped your writing?

Peggy: No education is ever wasted.  Some will say differently, but even if I’d studied architecture, biology, or history instead of literature and creative writing, I would still benefit from my formal education, and my writing benefits, too. There are life-skills one learns as a successful university student — successful meaning you complete your courses, and graduate with a good GPA — too, that help with being a writer.  These include:

  • Following directions (What about following submission or query instructions that so many writers gloss over?)
  • Stick-to-itiveness/perseverance (You don’t give up until you’ve got that diploma in your hand, just like you don’t give up until your story is finished and you have done your best to get it published)
  • Discipline (Gotta get those papers, research, and reading in on time, or you don’t pass. Better meet rewrites and editing deadlines, or you lose contracts)
  • How to research and how to write an academic paper (Helps in all kinds of writing)
  • Willingness to invest in one’s passion and achievements (Costs money, energy, and time to be successful in anything)
  • Communication (You better know how to communicate well and to use good vocabulary if you are to earn a degree or to pitch a book to an agent)

I still take classes in writing and marketing.  Right now, I’m on Lesson Thirteen of a class from The Great Courses on writing elegant compound sentences, and I’m already applying what I’ve learned.  I ordered another on script writing and will be ordering more.  I never quit learning, and every class I take directly related to writing or not, helps me grow as an author.  The more knowledge of the world, in addition to growing knowledge and skill in my craft, the better.

Claire: I read your blog post ‘Never Too Old To Write’ and think it’s great! Do you think you you’d be a different writer if you started earlier on? Are you happy to be published later in life?  

Peggy: I am sure my writing at age 20 would be far different than it is at nearly age 65.  I’ve accumulated so many more life experiences and have acquired so much more knowledge over the last forty years.  My writing skills have also markedly improved since I was much younger.

The thing about being a writer is you are never too young or too old to start.  The young woman who wrote The Outsiders first published in 1976, one of the most popular YA books of all time, S.E. Hinton, was 15 when she penned that book.  My friend, Ray Straight, turns 95 in May. He is just now subbing his first novel.  I was 61 when my first novel debuted from Dragon Moon Press.

Claire: You’ve had the wonderful opportunity to study with Robert Pinsky. I’m jealous! What was it like working with such a celebrated poet? How did it assist your writing?

Peggy: Robert Pinsky is the most generous-hearted, most genuinely caring professor I ever studied under.  He was a guest prof at UCLA when I was an undergrad.  He only wanted twelve students, and only graduate students, in his class, but he liked a poem I submitted and thought it had “something” so he made an exception for which I will always be grateful.

Of course, learning about how to write anything better, whether it be poetry or business letters, is helpful in any writing we do.  Robert Pinsky is a master at using beautiful language, and I did pay attention in class, so, yes, I do regularly apply what I learned from him at the seminar many years ago.

Claire: Are you reading anything at the moment?

Peggy: I’ve almost finished reading The Master Butchers Singing Club, a 2003 novel from Louise Erdrich. I just finished re-reading Octavia Butler’s, Kindred, and a few days ago I read for the first time, Delta Lady, the memoirs of Rita Coolidge.

Claire: What’s next for you?

Peggy: I’ve a third in the series planned for The Raven’s Daughter – this one will be set in Ireland.  I’m five chapters deep into the sequel to CHACO.  Soon, I have to decide if I want to write more in The Raven’s Daughter series or leave it as a trilogy and continue with the sequel to CHACO or move onto something else entirely.

I’ve several books in progress, one will be a short  non-fic guide to finding literary agents (I’ve  had three agents, and even helped with the slush pile for one of them) and small publishers; another is a literary ghost story set in the Beat era in San Francisco, narrated by the ghost of an old Russian woman.  I’ve started a mystery that takes place completely underground among survivalists living in a series of bunkers connected by tunnels, and a speculative novel for a New Adult audience about a social media catfish who turns out to be, well, I don’t want to spoil it. I’ve a couple of others on the back burner in different states of completion, too.

My goal is to get out one good book each year and to complete and submit a few short stories or non-fic pieces each year to anthologies in hopes that one or two may get picked up. Most recently, I’m in an anthology, Paranormal Encounters, that just came out from Anubis Press about true supernatural encounters and experiences.

Claire: Finally – your house is on fire, and you can only save one book. Which book is it and why?

Peggy: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I’m a huge fan of magical realism, another genre I want to try my hand at, and 100 Years was the first time I’d encountered Marquez or the genre he’s known to have had a huge hand in inventing – it’s said he coined the term “magical realism.”  I was absolutely enchanted by the premise and the language, and reading the book made a huge impact on my decision to write.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in the interview.  It’s been fun!



Ongoing Submissions: Dark Moments

Payment: 0.04 USD per word via Paypal

Currently looking for 100 word drabbles, any genre

Current Theme : Dark stories, any genre.

Word count : exactly 100 words

Author eligibility : Open to all authors

Reprints : Not allowed

Simultaneous Submissions : Not allowed

Multiple Submissions : One per week

Publication : Online only in Dark Moments

Author compensation : 0.04 USD per word via Paypal

How to submit : See our submission guidelines for formatting.

Send your story as either a Word format attachment or the content of an email to [email protected].

Your email title should be “Dark Moments – Title of Your Story – Your Author Name”

Please include a 50 word bio and upto one link

Via: Black Hare Press.

Video Refresh: Story Worms Writing What You Know

One of the first pieces of advice most writers will end up receiving or reading these days is to “write what you know.” However, what exactly does that mean? Angeline dives right in to explain how to apply writing what you know to your work in order to bring a reader further into what you’ve put on page!

After watching the video, please like, share, and subscribe to our channel!

We hope you’ve been enjoying these video refreshes. Please let us know if you have or have not been in the comments below! Also, have you been preferring articles in this format, interviews, or both?

You can read the full interview here: https://horrortree.com/story-worms-writing-what-you-know/.

Taking Submissions: Translunar Travelers Lounge

Deadline: April 15th, 2019
Payment: $0.03 USD per word

Submissions will be open from March 15 to April 15, 2019. Anything sent before or after will be fed, unread, to the small hamster that powers our life support system. Please do not give our hamster indigestion.


Broadly defined, the type of fiction we are looking for is “fun”. Yes, that descriptor is highly subjective, and ultimately it comes down to the personal preferences of the editors. However, here are a few road signs to get you started on the path into our hearts.

A fun story, at its core, is one that works on the premise that things aren’t all bad; that ultimately, good wins out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your story has to be silly or lighthearted (though it certainly can be). Joy can be made all the more powerful when juxtaposed against tragedy. In the end, though, there should be hope, and we want stories that are truly fun for as many different kinds of people as possible.

As we are a speculative fiction market, all stories must have a speculative element to them. We accept stories of no more than 5,000 words.

Swashbuckling adventure, deadly intrigue, and gleeful romance are some of the most obvious examples of what we’re looking for, but we won’t say no to more subtle or complicated topics, as long as they fit under the wider “fun” umbrella.

We HIGHLY ENCOURAGE submissions from authors of marginalized ethnicities, sexualities, genders, abilities and perspectives. If you are an author whose experience is not often represented, we absolutely want to hear from you. YES, YOU.

What we’re enthusiastic about:

  • Characters of all genders and sexualities or lack thereof
  • Settings in non-Western cultures
  • Friendship
  • Happy marriages
  • Stories that pass the Bechdel test and/or the Mako Mori test
  • Afrofuturism
  • Neurodivergent characters
  • Characters with disabilities

What we’re NOT looking for:

  • Pedophilia and rape, especially stories that glorify those things or use them as cheap ways of sidelining female characters.
  • Violence is okay, but torture porn is not. In other words, the violence should serve the story, not BE the story.
  • Similarly, sex is okay, but erotica is not.
  • No fanfiction.
  • No revenge fantasies against shrewish, nagging wives and girlfriends.
  • No stories about how humanity is basically terrible.
  • No works previously published in English. This includes anything that has been published on your own website.
  • No simultaneous submissions.
  • No stories that we’ve already rejected unless we specifically request a rewrite.

If you’re not sure if your story is what we’re looking for, please send it to us and let us decide! DON’T SELF REJECT.


Please send ONE submission per open period to translunartravelerslounge AT gmail DOT com. Use the email header SUBMISSION: Story Title by Author Name. Otherwise, odds are good your submission will get sucked into a black hole of spam never to be seen again

Please send us your story in Standard Manuscript Format, saved as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf. A friendly cover letter is always appreciated but you don’t need to write us a novel. If you have a pen name, please include it, and feel free to give your top TWO OR THREE writing credits.

You should hear from us within sixty days after the submission period has closed. If you haven’t, please query ASAP at the above address, using the email header QUERY: Story Title by Author Name.

Pay is $0.03 USD per word with a minimum payment of $20 in exchange for first world electronic rights. We also ask for an exclusivity period of 3 months from publication date.

Via: Translunar Travelers Lounge.

Ongoing Submissions: Rock and a Hard Place Magazine

Payment: $35

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Rock and a Hard Place Magazine is a cross-genre magazine publishing works of fiction that focus on the plight of marginalized, poor, depressed, and desperate people.

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What types of stories will you publish?

We want fiction from any genre. We want stories that mix genres. We want stories that don’t acknowledge the existence of genre or categories.

Really, what we want is stories that detail life at the bottom or at the margins of human society. These can be stories about losers who always make the wrong decisions, or they can be stories about people who always make the right decisions but who still can’t get ahead because of the hand they were dealt in life.

You can make it weird. You can make it sad. You can make it dark. Or you can make it just the tiniest bit hopeful.

The title of this magazine is Rock and Hard Place. We want stories about that situation.

What do you not want?

You know that cousin you have that inherited a bunch of money and who everything goes right for? We don’t want stories about him or any of his friends.

Also, don’t send us any racist, homophobic, transphobic, or misogynistic shit. If you do, not only will we not accept your piece, but we will mail you actual shit.

How long should my story be?

Between 2,000 and 5,000 words, but if it’s a little more or a little less, send it. If it’s good, we’ll publish it.

How much are you going to pay me?

We’ll pay you $35 via paypal upon publication.

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Can I submit garbage?

Not literal garbage, no. But if you are a new writer and haven’t got the polishing thing going yet, send it over. If we see a story in there, we’ll try to work with you.

We do however reserve the right to not publish whatever we don’t want to publish. This includes submissions made while we are hangry, and we expect you to know when that is.

How should I submit?

Email your piece as an attached word document to [email protected] Add Submission, the name of the piece, and your name in the subject line.

Via:Rock and a Hard Place Magazone.

Taking Submissions: Organic Ink: Volume One (Poetry)

Deadline: March 31st, 2019
Payment: Royalties
Note: My apologies on the short window, just came across this one.

Organic Ink: Volume One (Poetry) (Not Rated)

  • Deadline – March 31st, 2019
  • Publication – June 30th, 2019
  • Word Count – Word count limit has been revoked.
  • Theme – There is no theme for this anthology. Poetry about love, hate, greed, depression, etc. Haikus, epics, etc.

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After receiving edits back, the author has two weeks to return the submission for formatting.

View our blog post on the topic of how to submit to a publisher.


Rating – Check each anthologies‘ rating.
Word count – Check each anthologies‘ word count requirements.


E-mail address to submit to – [email protected]


NOTICE –  Failure to submit correctly will result in refusal of submission.

Via: Dragon Soul Press</a..

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