Taking Submissions: The Irregular Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Deadline: February 15th, 2019
Payment: Contributor’s Copy

Belanger Books is teaming with The Junior Sherlockian Society to bring you the first anthology of Sherlock Holmes short stories for student readers. The anthology is titled The Irregular Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and will feature stories by student writers as well as professional authors. Net proceeds will go to the Beacon Society to help them expose more students to the original Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as newer stories about the great detective.

Requirements: All entries must be at least 1,000 words in length, follow Derrick Belanger’s 10 Rules for Writing a Sherlock Holmes pastiche (http://juniorsherlockian.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/10-Rules-for-Writing-a-Sherlockian-Pastiche.pdf), and be rated “PG” (i.e. suitable for a school library).

Authors retain the rights to their work.

Payment: Authors shall receive a paperback and electronic copy of the anthology for letting us use their work in The Irregular Adventures.

Due Date: All entries must be received by February 15th, 2019.

Please send entries to [email protected] or to [email protected]. Make sure to include your name (first and last), title of your story, story length, and attach your story as a word document. If you are a student also include your grade and name of your school.  Writers included in the anthology will be announced in March. All authors will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology and will retain full rights to their stories. If you have questions please contact us at [email protected].

VIa: Belanger Books.

Taking Submissions: Detective Fantasy Anthology

Deadline: October 25th, 2018
Payment: Contributor’s Copy

Detective Fantasy Anthology
Submission Period: August 1 – October 25 [Extended]
[Title to be announced]
Word Count:    500-10,500 (If over this, please ask before submitting).
Theme:    For this anthology, we are wanting you to tell us a story about a mystery, be it a murder, a theft, or something else all together. However, we aren’t just looking for normal detectives, we want a fantasy element! The detective doesn’t have to necessarily have powers, but we want the story to take place in a fantasy setting. Use your imaginations and run with it! The possibilities are endless for this mystery/fantasy genre mash up!
We will consider any sub-genre, but the story must involve solving a mystery in a fantasy setting.
No poetry.
Response Time:  Please allow up to one month. After that, if you don’t hear from us then feel free to give us a little nudge. In some cases, we may wait until the end of the submission period to start sending out acceptance emails.
Compensation: Contributor copy of the anthology.
Editing: Yes, your story will be edited if we decide to accept it. After we go through and edit your story, it will then be sent back to you for final approval. In some cases, we may ask for revisions to be made. 
Reprints, Multiple & Simultaneous Submissions: Yes. 
Guidelines for Submissions:
  • All submissions are to be sent to [email protected]
  • In the subject line please type DETECTIVE ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION: [Your Story Title Here].
  • In the body of your email, please include your name, pen name, and word count. If the story is under 2,000 words, please paste the text in the body of the email, otherwise please attach it. 

Via: Fantasia Divinity Magazine.

Taking Submissions: Thuggish Itch: Devilish

Deadline: October 1 2018
Payment: AU$5.00 for stories under 2000 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 2000 words

Current theme: Devilish

Over the years, there have been many different depictions of the Devil. From Lucifer, the fallen angel with his immense wings and tufted tails to the bright red, horned beasts of modern pop culture.For their third collection, Thuggish Itch wants your stories about the Devil, demons and Hell.

There is a short turn around on this one as we already have several stories for inclusion in the collection.

Thuggish Itch is our horror, sci-fi and speculative fiction collection. Please make sure that your story falls within one of these genres.

Please ensure that you read through the general guidelines below and format your submission accordingly. If you have any specific questions please contact us using the form on the home page or via the listed social media accounts.

To help make sure that your submission gets to the correct place, please include the following in the subject line of your email: ‘Thuggish Itch – Devilish – *Story Title*‘.

  • Word count: 1000 – 4000 words (we’re willing to consider longer or shorter submissions if the story is good)
  • DeadlineOctober 1 2018
  • Payment:  AU$5.00 for stories under 2000 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 2000 words

General guidelines:

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

Via: Gypsum Sound Tales.

Epeolatry Book Review: Thylacines


Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: Thylacines
Author: Deborah Sheldon
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Severed Press
Release Date: 8 January 2018
Synopsis: The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was hunted to extinction some eighty years ago. Now, Professor Rosie Giuliani and her staff at The Resurrection Lab have done the impossible: created a living, breathing litter from a preserved specimen. Yet Rosie can’t share this scientific breakthrough with the world. The cloned animals are more like monsters than thylacines. By chance, a small band of activists hears about the caged litter, and their decision to free the tigers will unleash a deadly havoc upon the campus of Fraser University.

“Drying blood masked the tiger’s face, right up to its ears, as if the tiger had dunked its head into a bucket of gore.”

This bio-horror novella (122 pages) by Australian writer Deborah Sheldon, is a fast, pacy, adrenaline fuelled read which you can gobble up in a sitting or two. The author has clearly done her research into Thylacines aka Tasmanian Tigers or if you want to be cosier, you could call them Tassie Tigers and she deftly weaves this information into the narrative without making it a lecture. The striking cover gives you an idea of what Sheldon has in mind.
An older female scientist, (a well written character) has succeeded in bringing a litter of Thylacines back from extinction. This would give most people pause but not this crew. Whilst the animals are locked up in the lab they can’t do much damage. But (ironically) it is a trio of animal rights’ activists who by deciding to free T1-T6, end up being the first course on the menu. For these newly born Thylacines have significant differences to their ancestors. They are faster, fiercer, more intelligent, larger and with a taste for human flesh.
The action unfolds, contained within the university’s campus- as body parts fly and there are several tense scenes where the Thylacines are cornered and fight back. Each chapter ends on a cliff hanger in fact. Another strong female character leads the tiger chase, a local cop, pulling overtime, Janine and her trained police dog, Zeus. I was rooting for Zeus all the way. Go Zeus! An engaging and convincing partnership.
My only disappointment is that it’s a novella not a novel and the ending came really fast. I would have liked a longer played out denouement. Maybe there is a sequel in the offing?
If you liked Jurassic Park or any other novels in that vein, you’ll go for this novella. It’s the equivalent of a B movie on steroids. Have fun.

Thylacines can be found on Amazon!

Taking Submissions: Enchanted Conversation Magazine October 2018 Issue

Deadline: September 20th, 2018
Payment: $10.00, $5 for flash
Note: Sorry about the short notice!


until SEPTEMBER 20, 2018
for the October Issue
Spooky & Spellbinding Tales

The Hunter’s Moon is the name of the full moon that takes place in October, and EC is celebrating the month of the Hunter’s Moon and All Hallow’s Eve with an issue of spooky, spellbinding, and creepy stories in fairy tale, folktale or mythic settings.

Think ghost stories, witches, monsters, supernatural twists and beyond. Stories can be serious or humorous, but please, no excessive horror or gore.

Work can either be re-tellings of established stories or use original characters set within the fairy tale, folktale, and mythic templates. Be bold, traditional, lyrical, or experimental in your storytelling and enchant us with your original stories set in a variety of locations around the world and time periods from ancient to modern.


  • STORIES between 700-2000 words with our sweet spot being around 1,200 words. Payment flat rate: $10.00 U.S. dollars only
  • SEQUENTIAL ART/COMICS: 1 to 5 pages in length. Payment flat rate $10.00 U.S. dollars only.
  • Absolutely none of the following: Sci-fi, dystopian, erotica, high fantasy, excessive world building, time-travel, futuristic or space travel.
  • We are NOT ACCEPTING POETRY for this issue.
  • We’re accepting only previously unpublished work.
  • Only one work per writer per submission period.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine.
  • Enchanted Conversation is buying first electronic rights with the possibility of using the work in a future print compilation. Once the story is published on the site, authors and artists are free to shop it elsewhere.
  • Copyright will always remain with the author or artist.


  • Email all submissions to [email protected]
  • Subject line of the email should be: OCTOBER ISSUE 2018 – your last name – title of your work. Example: OCTOBER ISSUE 2018 – Jones – “Story Title”
  • A brief cover letter with the approximate word count of the story.
  • Also provide a short (100 word max) author’s bio in third person and up to three links to the website or social media accounts that you would like to promote professionally if your story is chosen. These links are used to promote you as a writer via our website. We do not check out the accounts as part of the decision making process for the issue.
  • Do not summarize your story in the cover letter.
  • A PAYPAL ADDRESS must be included in the email. Without one, work will not be considered.
  • Paste all submissions into the body of your email. ATTACHMENTS WILL NOT BE OPENED. We’re not kidding. Your email will be DELETED, UNREAD, if there is an attachment.
  • Formatting for all stories: Single spacing. No indents on paragraphs. Double space between paragraphs. Use Arial as the font. Try to use American English word forms and punctuation.
  • For comics: Insert images in the email in low-res jpeg format. 1-5 pages.
  • You will get a confirmation email that your work has been received.
  • No editorial feedback will be given on submissions.

AUTHORS who were published in the previous AUGUST Issue are asked to wait until January 2019 before they submit again.


Can you tell a fairy tale, folktale or myth in 100-500 words? The subject matter is up to you as long as it fits within the fairy tale/folklore/mythic templates.

Examples of Fairy Tale Flash stories:

Beerwood Stew – 364 Words – READ HERE 

Stepsister – 214 Words – READ HERE 
Beloved – 178 Words – READ HERE

  • Email all submissions to [email protected]
  • Subject line of the email should be: FAIRY TALE FLASH – your last name – title of your work. Example: FAIRY TALE FLASH – Jones – “Your Title”
  • A brief cover letter with the approximate word count of the story. Also provide a short author’s bio written in third person and up to three links to your personal website or social media accounts. Do not summarize your story in the cover letter.
  • A PAYPAL ADDRESS must be included in the email. Without one, work will not be considered.
  • Payment: $5.00 – US dollars only
  • Paste all submissions into the body of your email. Attachments will not be opened. We’re not kidding. Your email will be deleted unread.
  • Formatting for all stories: Single spacing. No indents on paragraphs. Double space between paragraphs. Use Arial as the font. Try to use American English word forms and punctuation.
  • You will get a confirmation email that your work has been received.
  • No editorial feedback will be given on submissions.
  • Note to authors who have had stories published as a Fairy Tale Flash: Please wait 4 months from your published date to submit again with a maximum of 2 stories being accepted by one author per year.

Via: Fairy Tale Magazine.

Taking Submissions: Tales From The Moonlit Path Halloween 2018 Issue

Deadline: October 25th, 2018
Payment: $10

Tales from the Moonlit Path publishes dark, eerie, speculative stories. Horror is not a necessary element, although fiction should contain some aspect of the weak, frail, changeable human condition.

Gore and explicit sex for the sake of visceral shock will not find a home here, though we are not opposed to it in general, if it belongs in the story.

We are interested in character-driven stories more so than plot-driven, and we prefer dark fiction that makes us think, makes us feel, wraps us in its well-spun dream.

Although we would love to publish fiction longer than 2,000 words, it is our experience that reading stories longer than that on a monitor can be tiresome and hard on the eyes. So please, fiction must be no longer than 2,000 words.

Please include a short cover letter with your story, with your name, email address, word count and bio if we choose to publish your work. We accept email submissions only at [email protected] WE DO NOT ACCEPT ATTACHMENTS. Please submit your story embedded within the email, with this format in the subject line: Your last name: Fiction-submission.

For poetry guidelines, please submit them to: [email protected] and embed the poetry in the body of the email. Please only submit 3-5 poems at a time. Please format your subject line: Your last name: Poetry-submission. For full poetry guidelines, please click here.

For article or movie/book review guidelines, please submit to: [email protected] and embed the article in the body of the email. Articles and movie reviews should be no longer than 2,000 words. Please format your subject line: Your last name: Article-submission.

We offer $10 for every published story.

Please allow one month before querying about your submission. Simultaneous submissions are welcomed (and encouraged, you have to get your work out there, right?) just kindly let us know if your story has been accepted elsewhere so we can remove it from consideration. You also may enter two separate stories for submission to Tales at the same time or while one is still being considered.

We ask for first electronic rights, reprint or second rights.

We look forward to reading your work and sharing it with the world!

Deadline for submissions for Halloween 2018 issue is October 25, 2018

Via: Tales From The Moonlit Path.

Ongoing Submissions: The No Sleep Podcast

Payment: $40 for flash fiction , $100 for short fiction

Short Submissions

We’ve decided to open submissions for multiple tiers! So now we have flash fiction (stories of up to 1200 words)short fiction (stories between 1200 and 2500 words) and regular fiction (stories of 2500 words and upwards). If your regular fiction story’s long enough it might count as a novella too! We’re not currently accepting novels and epics though, so chill on those for now.


Here’s what we’re looking for: Stories of up to 1200 words. No minimum. However, they have to be really scary. Like super scary. The scariest, creepiest or most unsettling thing you can come up with. Any perspective or tense is fine for these. Single character stories are fine.

We pay $40 for flash fiction stories and payment can be made via Paypal or Amazon gift card as usual.

Email your flash fic in .doc form or similar editable file (NO PDFS PLEASE) to [email protected] – Please send them to this address and not the general submissions one.


Here’s what we’re looking for: Stories between 1200 and 2500 words. Again, they have to be really scary. Any perspective or tense is fine for these. Single character stories are fine. Prose or script format is fine. For the most part, these stories will be appearing on the regular show, so cool soundscapes and attention to how they’ll sound in production is helpful.

We pay $100 for short fiction stories and payment can be made via Paypal or Amazon gift card as usual.

Email your short fic in .doc form or similar editable file (NO PDFS PLEASE) to [email protected] – Ideally send them to this address and not the general submissions one. If you happen to make a mistake and send it to the wrong address, don’t worry about chasing it up to correct it as we’ll still see it, just if possible try and send it here.

Beyond that, I’d strongly recommend still reading through our submissions guidelines, and this advice post, as there’s a lot of helpful info regarding tone and style.


Regular Submissions

Here at The NoSleep Podcast, we love nothing more than hearing from up-and-coming or seasoned horror writers who’d like to work with us. We want you to frighten us and mess with our heads, so we in turn can terrify our listeners. As such, we’ve prepared a handy list of submissions guidelines to get your relationship with our show started. We welcome and encourage a broad, diverse range of submissions from all across the horror genre, and can’t wait to read the spine-tingling tales you send us.

Submissions are primarily handled by editor Gabrielle Loux and editorial assistant Olivia White, who upon your story being selected will work with you to ensure your story is primed for audio adaptation.


Please send submissions to [email protected]

In the body of your email please include the title and word count of the story.

Please send submissions as an editable attachment. Microsoft Word documents are preferable. Please do not submit your story or script as a .PDF file as we cannot edit or annotate it easily. Anything submitted as a .PDF file will be automatically rejected.

Please do not submit your story by pasting the text into the body of your submission email. This breaks the formatting of your story and makes it exceptionally hard to read, requiring us to reformat your story ourselves just to be able to assess it. Any submissions received in this manner without an attachment will be automatically rejected.

Note: Submissions must be carefully proofread and formatted. Stories that lack appropriate paragraph breaks, punctuation, or proper spelling and grammar will not be considered.

This email is for story submissions only. Submissions or inquiries about art, voice acting, or contributing to the podcast in some other form should not be sent here. The editors don’t handle that side of the podcast and won’t be able to answer your questions. Additionally, please only submit your own stories. Please do not suggest or submit stories from other authors.

Please double check that your story is actually attached to your email. Almost every day we receive at least one submission without a story included. The more time we have to spend on chasing up these submissions, the less time we can spend on appraising your stories.

Note: Current response times can vary wildly. Even if you haven’t heard back from us within a few months, it doesn’t mean your story’s been rejected. We have thousands of submissions between a tiny team, and sometimes it may take a while to get back to you. We intend to respond to everyone whose work meets our guidelines, but occasionally human error may occur. 

Due to the high volume of submissions we receive, any submissions that don’t follow our requirements will be automatically rejected. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines carefully before submitting in order to receive a response from our team.

Update (13/12/17): Due to an extremely high volume of submissions, we are unable to respond to emails chasing up submissions unless an error has occurred. Your submission hasn’t been lost; if you haven’t heard back in a while, it’s because we haven’t read it yet. Particularly, please don’t resubmit stories because you haven’t heard back about them yet as it complicates our filing system and adds an unnecessary workload by cluttering our inbox, which in turn leads to a longer wait for other authors. Thank you for your patience! – Gabrielle & Olivia



Stories should be a minimum of 2500 words, with 3000+ being preferable. Please include a word count with your story. If possible, include a spoiler-free list of characters with speaking roles, including the narrator.


We’d love to see more script submissions, as these have proven to work very well on the show. Scripts should ideally last between 20 and 40 minutes, and star 2 or more characters, with more being preferable. Please include a word count with your script, and a spoiler-free list of characters with speaking roles. If you’re new to scriptwriting and you’d like an example of how to structure and format an audio-only script, you can download an example hereWriterDuetCeltx or Fade In are handy, free scriptwriting programs that will help you to format your script correctly.

Please make sure your script is written as an audio drama. We can’t adapt scripts written as a screenplay, or scripts that heavily feature visual cues. Anything not written in an audio drama format will not be accepted.



  • We pay to use your work! The current rate for stories and scripts is $125. Payments will be sent via PayPal unless other methods are required.
  • If your story is selected, you may be asked to work with the story editor on edits or tweaks to ensure your story is as perfect for the show as it can be.
  • Feel free to introduce yourself and say hello, but things like cover letters or CV’s aren’t required.
  • Please be considerate of other authors waiting for a response. Choose one or two of your best works and submit those via an attachment in a single email. Please don’t send link-dumps, or refer us to an entire anthology of your work. Similarly, please don’t send rapid-fire submissions. Ideally wait a few weeks between submissions. This is a polite request and not a rule however, and if you have a burning desire to send another story over in the meantime, go for it.
  • Please do not email us chasing up submissions until four months have passed. Our workload varies hugely, and while you may have gotten a response within a few days one week, it may take a lot longer the next. We try to contact everyone, and your story won’t be overlooked even if it’s taking a while. Similarly, please do not chase up submissions via the NoSleep Podcast twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Gabrielle and Olivia do not run those accounts, so you won’t be able to receive a helpful answer there regardless.
  • Stories can appear elsewhere. Previously published or performed stories are fine, as long as you hold the rights to grant usage to The NoSleep Podcast. However, stories which have not already previously appeared in audio form will have priority.
  • Please do not re-submit stories that have already been passed on. If we think a story could work with certain changes or rewrites, we’ll reach out to you and let you know.
  • Only submit your own work. We can’t adapt stories without the permission of the author.
  • We cannot provide a personalized response to every author individually. Similarly, requests for writing advice or critiques will probably go unanswered. However, even if a story is rejected you will hear from us saying so as long as the submission falls within our guidelines.


Be familiar with the podcast and know about the kinds of stories we do on the show. Here are some details for what works best for the podcast:

  • Must be horror. Horror is a diverse genre, and this is open to interpretation, but the main focus of a story should be to scare or unsettle.
  • Stories should be written in the first-person perspective. While there are occasional exceptions to this rule, first-person tends to work by far the best for the show.
  • We don’t want narratives which rely solely on graphic gore (snuff, torture porn, etc.) or graphic sexual violence. Implied instances will usually be okay but as with any good horror, thoughtful is the most effective.
  • Provide good audio cues. This is an audio podcast – the better your story can sound the better it will be for the show. Scenarios that involve interesting or creative audio will always catch our eye.
  • Make good use of dialogue. Stories with only one narrator can work but we prefer 2+ characters interacting.

Here at The NoSleep Podcast, we pride ourselves on featuring seasoned horror authors alongside fresh, up and coming talent. We love working with newcomers, but if you’re just starting out in the field we ask you not to take it personally if we choose not to use your story on the show. It takes a lot of practise to write a story that is suitable for audio adaptation, and we would always welcome you to try again with a new submission if a previous one isn’t right for us. Rejection doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance. Feel free to submit new stories even if previous ones have been rejected.


Authors retain full rights to any story or script performed on The NoSleep Podcast. All we would ask is that starting from the date of selection of your story, we receive a 3 month audio exclusivity period during which time your story will not be performed on any other horror podcast or in any audio narrative medium without written permission from Creative Reason Media. Stories may be published in text form by the author at any time.

Creative Reason Media does not retain the rights to publish or distribute your story outside of the audio performance without written permission from the author.

Audio production of your story remains the property of Creative Reason Media and may not be altered, sold or distributed outside of The NoSleep Podcast without prior written permission.


Please send stories and scripts to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you, and working with even more exciting and talented authors in the future.

Via: The No Sleep Podcast.

Trembling With Fear 09/16/2018

Many thanks to those of you who contacted me with regard to feedback for your submissions. All were supportive and constructive, so I will continue to give feedback but not as detailed as before, this should help me get my writing balance right!

On the publication front, I have news that a new anthology, the Indiana Horror Review 2018 (James Ward Kirk Fiction) will soon be available, featuring no less than two stories – Slaughter Hill and The Immortalisation of Mary Kelly – from our own Richard Meldrum. Knowing his writing quality, I am sure this’ll prove a good read. I have also just received my copy of the Her Dark Voices charity anthology (written in support of breast cancer) featuring Horror Tree interviewer Ruchelle Dillon as well as other TWF contributors. This will be battling for my attention soon with the proof copy of TWF’s own anthology which is winging its way towards the shores of Britain … and that other little project of mine – DeadCades – is heading towards the last stages of production as well.

A little reminder now that we have special editions coming up in the next few months for Hallowe’en and Christmas. Feel free to send in stories relating to these themes. Much as I hate thinking about Christmas outside of December, I’m sure I can put those feelings to one side …

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank a few lovely TWF contributors for agreeing to beta read my novel (The Five Turns of the Wheel). Finally finished it and it’s now with Alyson Faye, Kev Harrison and Phillip Dixon (and a couple of other writer friends outside of TWF) for their opinions. This is a process I would recommend by the way – if I’ve not mentioned it before – whether it’s for short stories or a novel – find yourself people you know who will give honest and constructive feedback. Yes, it can be nerve-wracking as reading is subjective and they might not like it but it is one of the most useful things you can do.

With this WIP out of the way for the moment and other things coming to a head, it’s allowing me time to think of what my next project will be and I do have a few ideas. I am hoping NaNoWriMo this year will give a form to it. Anyone else doing NaNo?

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Ladies, Gentlemen, My Dog who I’m reading this out loud to in hopes to prevent any significant mistakes – I Have Good News!

We’ve finalized the cover for The Trembling With Fear: Year 1 which has now been previewed by our Patreons and proof copies have been ordered and are on route to Steph and myself! This means that once they take a week or so to come in and we each have a chance to look them over if there are no issues the anthology can go live shortly after! We’ll be doing the cover reveal here soon(ish!)

I’m excited, your hopefully excited, so I’ll leave you with this:

‘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

The Death of Rejection

“Unoriginal.” The felt tip screams in the silence as it pulls across the page to connect the corners, then squeaks as it is repositioned and connects the other two corners in an angry ‘X’.


“Unnecessary.” A shake of the head this time as the dark red tears into the flesh of another page, a large circle swallows three paragraphs before the ‘X’ buries the words beneath the edit.


“Uninterested.” The firm conviction of the decision swims in lifeless eyes that glare from the opposite side of the desk, intimidation and disappointment mute the slap of the manuscript as it skips from the wood and explodes against his chest.

He stoops to collect the papers cluttered with corrections, while the red ink hemorrhages and expands to disguise whatever story he was trying to tell. His arms fight to pinch a crumpled and unsteady pile clutched tight, as stray chapters flutter and depart in the soft breath of central air.

The crimson that hides so much of his work seeps into hungry skin, warmth from his hands spills into shaky arms, and veins thump taut in his neck beneath the grimace smeared across a purple face. His heart pumps fire and desperation as his eyes burn into the face that leans back across from him. The armloads of dissatisfaction drop to the floor as he steps forward, and a flinch allows him a laugh as he pulls something from between the mahogany and stacks of other unfortunates waiting to hear about their submissions.

Stained paper crinkles and crunches under tattered shoes as he backs away, a blink of sharp gold clutched tight in his fist holds the hateful stare now. He lowers to a knee, and then the other. The metal glows under fluorescent light as it is gently placed on top of the disheveled heap of unfulfilled expectations, and he sits back on his heels with a sigh.

“Just words,” his voice barely audible over the electric hum of a recycled breeze, “Uninspired and meaningless to you, maybe, but this is part of me.” He closes a fist around wadded streaks of scarlet and black, pain and memories mixed into the fiction that soaks creased sheets between his fingers, and lowers his gaze as his body begins to shake violently. He blows a sharp breath through clenched teeth with a whistle, and the sparkle of gold turns over and changes hands while he waits, until he explodes in choking gulps for air. He pulls his shirt up over his head, jagged shadows shift and dance to hug the crude scars that litter his abdomen. “These stories live within me and clog my veins. I bleed ink.”

The shiny tip of the letter opener parts the skin and pushes into his stomach a few inches to the side of his belly button.

Silence does little to disguise the shock in the eyes across the table as the gold tugs at the skin and splits the pink of old wounds, rivulets of crimson wiggle and disappear between his fingers to join the growing pool beneath him, and his hands are at the other side. Slick blood drips from the blade before it disappears into the skin again, just beneath the sternum. The mouth beneath horrified eyes gapes and pushes the stench of nicotine and coffee into the air between them.

The hands quit moving again once they reach his pelvis, their eyes meet, and he falls forward into the stinking squish of his intestines with a smile.

An exasperated sigh bleeds into the beginning of a question, and confidence returns, “Are you done?” The editor stands and continues, “Still nothing new.” Sunglasses unfold and wrap the head that shakes in disbelief, “Seriously? Ritual suicide? Hara-kiri?” Gravel scrapes out a chuckle, “It’s been done. Now,” he looks at his watch, “since you’re dead, I’m late for lunch.” Slick leather soles tiptoe through the gore and over the corpse lying prone in the middle of the floor. “And another thing,” he wipes a sticky heel on the carpet, “why didn’t you just email it?” He pauses at the door and watches the fallen writer for a moment, “You just started, and you’re already outdated. Plus,” he kicks the overflowing wastebasket near the exit, “the garbage is getting pretty full.” He spins to leave and a burst of sputtering gasps startles him.


The voice pulls to his knees, then leans forward onto all fours. He tries to stand and stumbles, tripping to a mouthful in the slippery tangle of entrails. He reaches the edge of the desk and pulls himself up, “Wait, please, this is different,” his knees wobble and the wood cracks under his grip, but he doesn’t fall.

“Nope, I’m done.”

“But I’m not.” Scotch Tape squeals from the dispenser and breaks into long strips that hold his guts in place, the lengths criss cross and bunch together, until the roll is finished. “I’m not going away. I invest myself fully in everything I send your way, and every rejection kills me, but I will never truly die.” Half a smile on his lips, a stapler is pulled open and slams into his stomach. Each tiny piece of metal barely strong enough to hold the stray curl of intestine that it tacks down. He stops to feel around, satisfied, and points at his handiwork with a smirk, “See?”

Speechless study is the only response.

“You can hurt me…you can even kill me,” he motions toward his sloppy wounds, “but you can’t get rid of me.” He bends to gather the scattered papers and stumbles again, but regains his balance. Holding his words in a sticky, controlled mess that dangles dangerously close to disaster, he mutters, “Thank you for your time and consideration,” and shoulders past the stunned editor. “Keep your eyes on the inbox for my next one.”

Kevin Berg

Kevin Berg is the author of Indifference and Daddy Monster. His shorts can be found at Pulp Metal Magazine, Near to the Knuckle, The Blood Red Experiment, and Horror Sleaze Trash, among others. Look for him on Goodreads and Facebook, let him know what you think.

Webpage: https://kevinbergauthor.wordpress.com

Amazon author page: https://author.to/kevinberg

Facebook: Kevin Berg

Ggoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16225161.Kevin_Berg


Beneath the Ice

At 11pm the town’s rink was deserted. The McGuire sisters were there alone and illegally.

Laughing they glided onto the ice.

Livvy tripped, fell face first on to the ice, then screamed. An endless ululation. Amy wobbled over, looked down and froze.

Faces stared up at the sisters. A gallery of them; men and women, children with ice-glazed eyes, Mouths open in stretched silent screams. Jaws unhinged.

Amy scrabbled at the ice, ripping her nails. A crack appeared.

Skeletal hands reached up, caught Amy’s blades and tugged her down. The icy underworld’s denizens consumed her.

Livvy lay till morning. Watching.

Alyson Faye

Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her family and 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes, writes noir Flash Fiction and ghost stories. She is one of the writers in ‘Women in Horror Annual 2’, in Raging Aardvark’s ‘Twisted Tales’, her stories can be downloaded at www.alfiedog.com as well as being available on various sites like zeroflash/Tubeflash/101 words/three drops from a cauldron. Her flash fiction debut collection, ‘Badlands’ is out now from indie publisher Chapeltown Books – here’s the interview http://www.chapeltownpublishing.uk/2018/01/badlands-by-alyson-faye.html and is available to buy from amazon.

You can find out more on her blog- www.alysonfayewordpress.wordpress.com

or at her amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01NBYSLRT

Her twitter handle is @AlysonFaye2.


Princess Kata entered the courtyard carrying a large bowl of table scraps in her hands. She bent to set down the dish and a Samurai assassin stepped from the shadows. He brandished a longsword in one hand and his short sword in the other.

He stepped forward and smiled. “Well, Princess, I’ve got you now.”

The royal wolfhound leapt from the shadows and bit off the Samurai’s arm.

The Samurai dropped to his knees and looked at Princess Kata with questioning eyes.

She watched him bleeding to death. “He hates it when you stand between him and his food dish.”


Robert Allen Lupton

Robert Allen Lupton is retired and lives in New Mexico where he is a commercial hot air balloon pilot. Robert runs and writes every day, but not necessarily in that order. He has been published in several anthologies and his short stories are online at www.horrortree.com and www.crimsonstreets.com. His novel, Foxborn, was published in April, 2017. His collection of running themed horror, science fiction, and adventures stories, Running Into Trouble, was published in October, 2017. Dragonborn, the Foxborn sequel will be released in April, 2018




The Ride

In the small boat, Alice and Bob floated thru the water ride, “Tiny World”.

Animatronic children sang and sang, “It’s a tiny world.”

“Annoying,” thought Bob.

“Babies” dreamt Alice.

The ride halted.

The children sang louder.

A robotic voice boomed over the intercom. “Resuming – one hour”.

“Seriously?!”  Bob. yelled toward the voice.

“I hate babies,’ Alice wept.

Another hour…

“…It’s a tiny world…”

“My brain aches,” moaned Bob.

“My eardrums are throbbing” whined Alice.

The boat finally lurched forward.

Then emerged outside.

Finding the couple slumped together –  dead – with Alice’s ears bled out, and

Bob’s rattled brain exploded.


Fayth L. Borden

I have written and published nearly one dozen horror poems the past few years in small press zines.

I have written these poems for many years now and began submitting them. Happily several editors enjoyed them and published

From the conciseness of horror poems I turned to writing horror drabbles.  I discovered the challenge of Drabbles which have the feel of poetic storytelling to me as they must be concise, direct and grab an emotion at the end.

Horror in any form has intrigued me all my life.  I’d spend hours in the libraries, from childhood till even now, reading horror and learning how authors create macabre worlds with a thought and a string of sentences with the right words that scare!  

My love of the horror genre began as a child listening to the stories told by my Sicilian aunts and uncles of ghosts, exorcisms and all unholy phenomenon from the homeland.  Scaring me and my cousins was an achieved goal. And we loved it!

The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Stephanie Minns

Claire – Hi Stephanie! Let’s get right into it. Why don’t you tell us about yourself and what you’re currently working on.

Stephanie – Hi Claire. At the moment I’m working on some folk horror stories for my second short story collection. I live in Somerset, England, and there’s a rich history here of centuries of belief in folklore, witchcraft and magic. I’m basing the stories around some of these tales and legends, but with a modern twist. I’m from the suburbs of London originally but I’ve always loved ancient history and strange folk tales of the countryside.

Claire – Tell us about your background in writing. When did you start and why? What did you first write before you found your niche? Or have you always written offbeat, dark fantasy, and creepy stories?

Stephanie – I wrote stories when I was a kid and I was a big reader then, mostly sci-fi and classic ghost stories. I never gave up the reading but only took up story writing seriously again four years ago and started submitting them to competitions and to publishers calling for stories for horror collections. I had some success when publishers like Grinning Skull and Almond Press accepted my work, then I had a novella called ‘The Tale of Storm Raven’ published by Dark Alley Press. I’ve worked as a magazine editor/feature writer myself in the past, although I’m a hospital administrator at the moment. Mysteries, ghosts and creepy stuff has always been my fave genre to read and write.

Claire – You mention on your website you are a competition winning author. What competition did you win? What story did you submit, and why?

Stephanie – It was back in March 2014, a story called ‘Tiny Claws’ with Dark Tales Press. The story is re-published now in my book ‘The Obsidian Path’ and is about a Russian lady who knits scary dolls that come to life. I was a runner up too with Almond Press in 2014, and my story ‘Dreg Town’ was included in their ‘Broken Worlds’ anthology.

Claire – I wrote an article about the differences between dark fantasy and horror. We also had a debate about it on a panel at a speculative fiction convention. What’s your opinion on the differences? Why do you classify your writing as dark fiction/fantasy rather than horror?

Stephanie – I think of horror as more the obvious splatter-gore stuff and I think a lot of readers do too. Dark fiction/fantasy can include that of course but I tend to think of it as more subtle, also maybe involving more psychological stuff where the reader wonders sometimes if there really is a monster outside of the character’s head. I like the creepyness of classic ghost stories like M. R. James, where there is no graphic bloodshed, but the story still chills the reader, more dark than horrifying.

Claire – What do you enjoy most about writing? Why do you like to tell stories?

Stephanie – I love scaring myself with my imagination and just have to write the images down. I’m one of those daft people who look out of the kitchen window at night and imagine some elemental terror climbing over the hedge to scratch at the back door. It’s that ‘what if it really did’ wonderment I think I’ve not lost since childhood. Of course, I know it’s not really likely but I’ll lock the back door anyway! If I feel I’ve done a good job of the story, I like to think other people might get something out of it too when they read it, even if it’s just to lose themselves for a while.

Claire – Your books sound so interesting! Tell me about Death Wears A Top Hat. Have you always been interested in Victorian England? Do you think growing up in London influenced your interests?

Stephanie – I think London influenced me a lot. I’d go into town on the train or bus to see bands play in some of the seedy clubs in my teens and early twenties. I studied graphics at college in the Elephant and Castle area later and got involved in the modern Pagan scene that was really vibrant back then in the late 80s/90s. The book shop in ‘Death Wears A Top Hat’ is loosely based around a real 100-year-old occult bookshop a friend used to own, famous witch Gerald Gardner having been a past patron and holding coven meetings there in the basement. A short walk away is the famous Red Lion Square where Pagan conferences were held in Conway Hall (mentioned in the book) and I went to several of those to listen to various talks. London has such an incredible history and many old buildings still stand firm among the modern, with their cobbled streets and Victorian shopfronts. You can almost see the shady Jack The Ripper type characters from times past, still haunting street corners and alleyways. My book is a paranormal thriller, essentially, telling the story of a psychic, Alison Graves, who is drawn into a serial killer investigation and many of her scenes happen in these places I’ve known, with characters loosely based on some people there I’ve known.

Claire – I’ve been looking over your website and see you’ve played drums in a band. Have you always had an interest in music, and if so, has that influenced your writing?

Stephanie – I wasn’t a very good drummer, but I was into the punk scene in London back in the day, and went to some of the more underground bohemian ‘goth’ clubs too – ‘The Tale of Storm Raven’ is based in that scene/era.

Claire – Tell me about your interest in UFO’s and the occult. How do you weave them into your writing? Are they the main aspects of your writing or subtle undertones?

Stephanie – The weird stuff of life fascinates me and I think it adds richness to the stories I write. UFOs and the occult are things I’ve spent years researching into. Now I live near Wiltshire I’ve visited the infamous Starr Hill and have certainly seen some odd things I can’t explain, first-hand. I add a dollop of imagination of course to the stories but some include personally based experiences, and things other people have shared with me or I’ve read about.

Claire – You describe your stories as unsettling stories with a contemporary twist. Tell me about that. How do you weave contemporary elements into your story? What influences you?

Stephanie – I do often use modern urban settings and current topics, along with the ghosts and weirdness. I did a lot of research for ‘Death Wears’ into police procedures to ensure I got the details right when DI McKentee was working on the killer’s case, and also of course did a lot of research for the transgender character, Alison, to ensure she was authentic and her experiences believable. Although her gender re-assignment was only touched on as part of the story, and paralleled her psychic unfolding in a way, I wanted her to feel real and do justice to people experiencing this in their own lives today.

Claire – I read your short stories Butt Clouds and The Rain. I found Butt Clouds amusing, but also tense and thrilling. The Rain, if I’m not mistaken, seems to weave elements of science fiction. Tell me about the stories. Are they examples of your writing style?

Stephanie – Glad you enjoyed those stories, Claire. ‘Butt Clouds’ was a bit of a diversion for me into humour, although I’ve since written a ghost story about a murdered woman who comes back to get her revenge and ruin her murderer’s raid on a bank, which is dryly funny, I guess. ‘The Rain’ is more my general style – that was published originally by Grinning Skull Press in their anthology of alien monster stories. Although I’m not so hot on sci-fi I have read classics like Ray Bradbury and topics such as the possibility of parallel dimensions and alien contact fascinates me.

Claire – Tell me about The Obsidian Path and the stories within the collection. Was it hard to choose which stories to add?

Stephanie – I think I chose my personal favourites there, but I’ve enough now for another collection. I like to do short stories as they are quite gratifying, they are a quick option while a novel is more of a long haul, a different creature entirely to write.

Claire – Tell me about the protagonists in your stories.

Stephanie – I’ve tended to use a lot of different protagonists. ‘Storm Raven’ was written from the first-person viewpoint of Nick, a male character. I often write as a male character, but I think, male or female, my main characters are generally likable but with human failures. No one is too shiny. Detective Sue McKentee in ‘Death Wears A Top Hat’ has some very human failings, lack of self-confidence and can alienate people with her hard-faced attitude. But at the same time, she is loyal and kind hearted. She and Alison become firm friends after a shaky start. I don’t like crying girls, always the victim, so I write my leading ladies as resourceful and intelligent, independent thinkers who kick butt.

Claire – Who and/or what influences you as a writer? What do you like to read?

Stephanie – I read a lot of new horror/dark fiction writers, often self-published or published by indie small press, like myself. There’s a lot of talent out there but it’s not always easy to get your voice heard without a great promo money-machine behind you, sadly. I like to read other authors recommendations on forums.

Claire – Writing takes time and patience. Do you set aside time to write? What do you do when you’re not writing?

Stephanie – I have to pay the bills so still work part-time at my local hospital.  But weekends plus those extra 2 days in the week are my writing time, although I don’t set a particular regime to sit down at it. That doesn’t seem to work for me. I have to have the muse with me. But I do keep a notebook to hand to scribble ideas down, even when I’m just having tea in front of the telly. I also paint and draw (I did my own cover for ‘The Obsidian Path’), grow veg and keep pet rescue ferrets.

Claire – Is writing, for you, a gift or a curse? How has it shaped your life?

Stephanie – I think it’s both. A gift in that people say they enjoyed reading this or that, so I feel writing it down was worthwhile if it gives someone else enjoyment. But a curse if struggling to get a storyline right, pace and structure, all that stuff, but I just can’t seem to get it. I belong to a writers’ group and they are excellent as a fresh pair of eyes when I’m stuck. So far, I’ve not made big money at it so its’ not really changed my life in that way, but it has certainly given me a creative outlet to focus on.

Claire – Is there anything you find particularly challenging as a writer?

Stephanie – I’m still not good at tenses. I’m not a technically scholarly writer.

Claire – Who is your favourite author and why?

Stephanie – Lots. Obviously, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman feature heavily though.

Claire – And finally, what are you working on at the moment?

Stephanie – I’m toying with a second paranormal crime thriller where Detective McKentee and Alison team up to solve another case. I’ve also sketched out a dystopian future novel based on the characters in one of my published short stories, ‘Dreg Town.’ Plus, the collection of folk horror stories of course, although I’m not sure yet whether to publish that myself or approach an indie publisher who has already taken my work. I need to finish the stories first and then have a think.


Claire – You can find out more about Stephanie by visiting the links below:


Amazon author page

DWTH on Amazon US
DWTH on Amazon UK


Taking Submissions: Gravely Unusual #2

Deadline: November 1st, 2018
Payment: $5 and a contributor copy

GRAVELY UNUSUAL accepts all genres (Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Noir, Crime, Western) BUT material submitted MUST contain the element of HORROR!



[email protected]




Up to 5,000 words

Please include a brief synopsis of the story

All work must be submitted in MANUSCRIPT FORMAT (https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html)



Up to 3,000 words

Please include a brief synopsis of work

All work must be submitted in MANUSCRIPT FORMAT (https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html)






Via: Gravely Unusual.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This