The Horror Tree Recent Markets, Articles, Interviews, and Fiction!

Taking Submissions: 34 Orchard July 2023 Window (Early Listing)

Submission Window: July 1st – 15th, 2023
Payment: $50
Theme: Stories that are “scary, disturbing, unsettling, and sad”

What We Publish

At 34 Orchard, we like dark, intense pieces that speak to a deeper truth. We’re not genre-specific; we just like scary, disturbing, unsettling, and sad. We like things we can’t put down and things that make us go “wow” when we’ve finished. But our main goal here at 34 Orchard is to publish the stuff we like to read, and you’re not in our heads. So don’t over think it. Just submit.

We are an international journal and welcome submissions from everyone, all over the world. As of our Fall 2021 issue, we have published work from Africa, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Taking Submissions: Dark Decades – 6 Anthologies

Deadline: October 1st, 2023
Payment: Contributor’s Copies
Theme: Six calls set in different decades with different themes that all have 4 requirements that you can see below

Most people would agree that technical advancements have made our lives easier or, at the very least, more entertaining. But, what about the flip side? What horrors were unleashed for the sake of creation? What monsters emerged as technology evolved?

We invite you to travel back in time with us as we discover the dark side of six decades.

Get creative with the themes. Bring us thrills and chills. Just remember to adhere to the basic guidelines. We can’t wait to experience it.


An Interview With Matt Micheli About Two Minutes with the Devil’

Do you want to play a game? Brave enough to take a risk? This one is for those who, despite the underlying dread, still dare to dabble with the darkness…Two Minutes with the Devil, the latest book from horror indie writer Matt Micheli takes us back to the 80s. When imagination ran rife, creativity coursed through our veins, and we never really knew if the legends were real…

Let’s talk to Matt to find out more about Two Minutes with the Devil.

“One part Stand by Me, one part Stranger Things, Two Minutes with the Devil is one helluva fun-yet-heartbreaking thriller, a throwback to when things were good… and evil.”


Taking Submissions: Shadows on the Water

Deadline: July 2nd, 2023
Payment: 8 cents/6 pence per word for original stories, 6 cents/4 pence for reprints.
Theme: Ancient myths and folk tales from Polynesia, Scotland, the Ancient Greeks and tales from the high sea.
Note: Reprints welcome

A wonderful new book with short stories from open submissions and a curated selection of ancient myths and folk tales from Polynesia, Scotland, the Ancient Greeks and tales from the high sea. The mysteries of the rivers, the secrets of the lochs, the whispers across the vast stretches of the ocean, there are so many stories from the beginnings of civilisation, through myth and folklore, to the dark fantasies, and supernatural tales of the modern storyteller. The treasures under the sea, the siren call of the mermaid, the liberating spirits of the fountains and waterfalls, all feature here alongside iconic stories of creation, ancestor worship and the seductive shadows across the waters of life. Due for publication in January 2024.


Trembling With Fear 6-4-23

Hello, children of the dark. We’re now officially in the summer months, so how are you doing? Making the most of the good weather? I’m very much not as I’m still bundled up on the sofa with broken bones. It’s been really quite depressing, honestly; my mental health is taking a real dip. And then I was reminded that I committed, on a podcast, to have the first draft of my novel done by the end of the summer and that’s only three months away now and arrrghghgahsgsadg. Best get to work, eh?

How’s your WIP going? What are you working on? If it’s something witchy, you might want to check out the event I launched last week, looking at all things witches in fiction and non-fiction. Join us, won’t you? Follow my new thing over on Instagram at @societyofinkslingers

That should be enough to keep me occupied and off the couch, eh? So let’s dive in. 

This week’s short story is a gorgeously gothic seaside tale by Twelve House BooksScáth Beorh. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Addison Smith’s granny has some peculiar talents,
  • Melissa Ren watches everything, just out of sight, and 
  • Don Money learns why it pays to be nice to strangers.

And a few reminders before I let you go: 

  • We love a drabble. Please send them to us! 
  • We also love three drabbles, connected by some form of thread. We call these Unholy Trinities, and our specials editor Shalini Bethala would love to see some more in the inbox.
  • Ditto serials. Have you got a longer story that could logically be serialised into four parts? We have great need of these! Check out our submissions page for details, then send ‘em in to Shalini. Honestly, she’s lovely. She just has some super-dark reading proclivities.

Oh – and as a final word, I *think* I’ve caught up on all things TWF email now. But if you’re still waiting for word on something, please do get in touch and I’ll chase down an answer with great earnestness.

Over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We have a draft completed of one of our two Trembling With Fear releases! The Specials Edition is still pretty far out but, progress my friends! I’m excited to be able to share any kind of progress with you. 🙂 (Side note: Like Lauren above, I have writing deadlines for completing drafts of novels/novellas this year. Mine are, thankfully, a bit further out.) 

Outside of that, not much to say. Still planning the server move. Still slammed with the day job and school. 2 Weeks out for my day job to calm down a bit so, fingers crossed I can make it! 

If you’d like to extend your support to the site, we’d be thrilled to welcome your contributions through Ko-Fi or Patreon. Your generosity keeps us fueled and fired up to bring you the very best.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree


Serial Saturday: Willingworth Farm, Letter Five by Mark Colbourne

  1. Serial Saturday: Willingworth Farm, Letter One by Mark Colbourne
  2. Serial Saturday: Willingworth Farm, Letter Two by Mark Colbourne
  3. Serial Saturday: Willingworth Farm, Letter Three by Mark Colbourne
  4. Serial Saturday: Willingworth Farm, Letter Five by Mark Colbourne

June 6th


The past few days have proffered something of a fresh experience. My first single male has been hosted – and not, it has to be said, by design.

On Friday, Trevor arrived at my door. A little earlier than anticipated (if you’ll forgive me a moment of pedantry) and conspicuously alone. Somewhat taken aback and peering quizzically over his shoulder, I began to question whether my recollection of accepting a booking for a Trevor and Harriet had not simply been the imaging of a senior moment. Laughing heartily and pushing past me into the hallway, Trevor explained that Harriet had decided literally at the last moment not to accompany him on his personal pilgrimage to follow in Sebald’s footsteps. I hadn’t the faintest idea what the man was wittering on about.

So there we were, Trevor and myself – an unlikely couple to say the least. Each morning he would venture out with a little brown rucksack on his back and ankles bolstered by chunky walking boots. For the first time since commencing this usually enjoyable sideline, I felt as if someone was intruding in my home. Ridiculous, I know, as he was openly invited through a standard commercial agreement, but Trevor had a peculiar ability to set one ill at ease. He made constant jokes where humour was notable only by its absence and, in the deafening silence which invariably followed these egregious bon mots, would fill the void with the sound of his own laughter. This, I’m afraid, I can compare only to the honking of a riled goose. He also revelled in the irritating habit of turning up whenever one was least expecting him.

A for instance: on the second day of his stay I was mixing concrete in the barn. Now, the barn – as I had explicitly detailed during the induction and house tour through which my guests are meticulously guided upon their arrival – was absolutely, one hundred per cent off limits. Also, I had watched Trevor leave the farm right after breakfast. Supplemented by his fleece, a Thermos of Bovril and some self-made sandwiches unattractively wrapped in sweaty clingfilm, he had bidden me good morning with yet another inane quip: “I’m off to find out what the North Sea”. I had, quite naturally, anticipated that he would be gone for the remainder of the day and accordingly began to tackle the tasks I had planned. Trevor, however, was nothing if not full of surprises.

“And what are you up to in here?” His nasal whine even managed to overpower the motorised churn of the concrete mixer. I switched off the machine, failing to disguise my fluster.

“Trevor!” I barked. “What are you doing back? What are you doing in here?”

His initial announcement had been made from the doorway of the barn. Somehow, he seemed to translate my astonishment as a bizarre invitation to step across the threshold and pursue a more intimate discourse. “Well, I’ve had myself a good old morning in the fields. Only so much coast you can walk along, isn’t there? Thought I’d pop back here and see what my favourite landlord was up to.”

“I’ve a great deal to do, actually,” I seethed. “And I did tell you that the barn was private. There’s a lot of work going on in here.”  

“Oh yes, I can see that. You’re just about as busy as a bee, aren’t you?”

“And with all the tools and things, it’s not particularly safe.”

“No, I imagine it’s not. Not safe at all.”

A moment of rather uncomfortable silence passed. I was absolutely flabbergasted that the man wouldn’t seem to take the hint and leave.

“You’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” he said, seemingly apropos of nothing. I begged his pardon and he continued. “I’ve heard you. There seems to be a lot of wrong numbers. People asking for a different farm. Asking for people who aren’t even here.”

“Yes. And what of it?” I waved my hands to dismiss the notion. “There must be a mix up somewhere. Lines get crossed. It happens in this part of the country. We’re not in the big city now, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, I’m well aware of that,” he said, somewhat gnomically, before commencing a study of my concreting technique with an intrigued eye. “You’re tucked away from everything here, aren’t you? All by yourself. All secluded.” 

And then, without a further word of elaboration, he span on his heels and returned to the farmhouse, leaving me alone with my concrete and thoughts.

Later, I was in the kitchen preparing to dine. Trevor had not enquired about an evening meal and I had no desire to extend an invitation. No, I was perfectly satisfied with my own company, thank you very much. Trevor, however, had other ideas. Intruding upon my supper, he crept into the room and took the seat opposite me. No excuse me; no do you mind. The man had the manners of a swine.

“That’s a good deal of work you’ve got going on in that barn,” he said, picking up precisely where our earlier conversation had fallen away, as if the time elapsed had been mere seconds rather than hours. The room was illuminated only by the lamp in the corner and the left hand side of his face fell beneath shadow. I asked what he meant. “The concreting, the digging… I imagine that you barely have a moment to yourself.”

I explained that repairs were required. Foundations. Reinforcements. Running a farm was a constant war of maintenance. 

“Harriet’s expecting me back home tomorrow,” he continued with a quite bizarre swerve of discourse.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“Just that I’ll be missed. That’s all.” 

With that enigmatic declaration, Trevor rose from the table, tucked in his chair and climbed the stairs to his bedroom. In the subsequent silence, I became aware of the suddenly deafening sound of my own breathing. I sat and wondered exactly what on earth I was going to do with him. Trevor, oh Trevor… Precisely the sort of guest whose moment of checking out could not have arrived too soon, but what methods lay at the proprietor’s disposal to expedite that magnificent moment to the fore?

June 2023 Horrorscopes: The Creatures that Skitter in the Night!

Here in the Northern hemisphere, summer is upon us. Picnics, gardening, and, of course, up close and personal encounters of a whole range of terrifying insects! I, personally, love insects and arachnids, and nothing says summer more than the wonderfully atmospheric call of the cicadas. Yet, even in winter, these amazing life forms persist and survive. Sadly, as potentially “spooky” as many of these skittering creatures are for people, they are the ones that are more impacted by the activities of people, with large numbers of these species listed as threatened or endangered.

So, break out the citronella candles, put away the pesticides, and try to make peace with the legions of bugs all waiting to welcome you back to the great outdoors!

Disclaimer: As always, these are mock “horrorscopes” and should not be considered as predictive or indicative of any specific person or persons. The insects, bugs, and arachnids are very real, however.


Paying Markets For Speculative Fiction Authors | Top Open Calls May 22-June 2nd, 2023

Salutations, mythical tale-crafters! 🎉 Prepare your quills as we embark on a new magical journey through the enchanting realms of speculative fiction. As your steadfast loremasters, we’re devoted to discovering the most captivating enchanted forests—or, might we say, markets—for you, the daring bards of our time. With each moon cycle, we conjure up splendid opportunities to set your muses dancing and transmute your storytelling magic into real treasures! 📚✨

This week’s mystic scroll teems with golden insights as we unmask 🚀 Newly-emerging, top-ranking markets scattered across the infinite landscapes of speculative fiction!

Our arcane map of wonders is your compass to these gleaming prospects. You’ll uncover the precise details for these enthralling summonings conveniently placed via the hyperlinks beneath:

Let’s inspire your minds with an interesting tidbit about June: did you know that June is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and childbirth? As Juno symbolizes new beginnings, may your narratives this month usher in fresh perspectives and bewitch your readers with your creative births.

Your stories are the mystical creatures that inhabit our world. They trace your path through the realm of creative enchantment. So, let’s decipher our scrolls and bravely navigate the fantasy chronicles, one epic at a time! 🚀

To end on an uplifting note, remember this powerful wisdom from esteemed author J.R.R. Tolkien, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” So, let the strength of your unique imagination be your guide, and continue weaving. The realm of lore is eager for your stories!