Author: Amanda Headlee

Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

Epeolatry Book Review: Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror ed. Lee Murray and Angela Yuriko Smith

Disclosure:

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: Unquiet Spirits: Essays by Asian Women in Horror
Author: Various, ed. Lee Murray and Angela Yuriko Smith
Publisher: Black Spot Books
Genre: Non-fiction
Release Date: 14th February, 2023

Synopsis: From hungry ghosts, vampiric babies, and shapeshifting fox spirits to the avenging White Lady of urban legend, for generations, Asian women’s roles have been shaped and defined through myth and story. In Unquiet Spirits, Asian writers of horror reflect on the impact of superstition, spirits, and the supernatural in this unique collection of 21 personal essays exploring themes of otherness, identity, expectation, duty, and loss, and leading, ultimately, to understanding and empowerment.

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Trembling With Fear – Summer Special 2022 Deadline Extended

Horror Tree Logo

Deadline: August 31st, 2022
Payment: Trembling With Fear was designed as a way to give back to Horror Tree. Since it’s inception we now offer an optional $5 payment on short stories to be paid by the time our yearly anthology which contains the story will be released. At this time, drabble are still considered donations to the site. Moving forward, as our Patreon levels grow, this will change for the better in both areas.
Theme: Summer-themed horror

Who wants summer to last longer? We do at the Horror Tree! This year, we’ve extended our Summer Specials submission period by an extra month so that we can collect even more hellishly hot and campfire creepy stories. Send us your tales of horror about backpacking, road trips, glamping, beach adventures, summer camp… anything summer-related goes! You may even want to write a drabble as a summer vacation postcard as a “wish you were here” [insert evil grin].

The submission window is open until August 31st to submit drabbles of 100 words and short stories up to 2500 words.

Themed Calls

Please note in your submission if it is for a specific theme and not a standard Trembling With Fear call. As a side note, going forward these will likely be collected in a secondary collection each year.

Summer Holiday Special (to be published in August). Submit from February to end of July. Horror on the beach, at a B&B, on a cruise, backpacking, road trips, glamping, end of the pier. Why not even write a drabble as a holiday postcard: Wish you weren’t here?

For special editions, we also do take longer work and Unholy Trinities.

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Trembling With Fear – Halloween 2021 Edition!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I always envision Andy Williams crooning away when October 1st rolls around. Though I prefer to believe he is singing about Halloween as opposed to Christmas (even if the lyrics don’t match the festivities). The entire month of October is magical: Pumpkin Spice, Corn Mazes, Haunted Houses, Candy, Costumes, Trick or Treat, and the veil between here and the Spirit world shrinking to its thinnest on All Hallow’s Eve. The oppressive summer heat subsides to a cool autumn breeze, stirring the beautifully colored leaves as they wilt and fall from the tree branches. The smell of death, must, and decay is in the air. A horror writer’s dream. Tis the season of when things die.

For our October special, we are bringing to you a plethora of story treats that are sure to trick you into a false sense of comfort. You will be impressed by the masks that the monsters and serial killers wear in this collection to conceal their identities and true agenda. Be prepared to take a journey into a realm of dark fiction and horror that is inspired by the most wonderful time of the year.

Thanks!

Amanda

Amanda Headlee

Editor, Trembling With Fear

What a difference a year makes. Halloween is back baby as more of the world becomes vaccinated and more getting their shots daily.
What does that mean for Horror Tree? Not much! We’re continuing our regularly scheduled Halloween Trembling With Fear as usual!
Once again, this year we’ve got some great stories for you to enjoy and you’ll love reading through what has been sent in this year!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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The Witch King’s Cocktails of Fiction

The Witch King’s Cocktails of Fiction

By Amanda Headlee

Something intoxicating this way comes in the guise of storytelling and rum liqueur. When Witch Kings Rum was founded in 2020 by Maxi Tin-Bradbury and Brandon Bizzle, they had a dream to meld their vegan, gluten-free rum with fantastical worlds of fiction. 

This year Witch Kings Rum teamed up with author Jamie Ryder, who is celebrating his debut novella At the Dead of Dusk, to concoct ready-to-drink cocktails that are based on characters from Ryder’s Tales of the Frontier universe. 

Hammer of The Witches is inspired by the protagonist of At The Dead Of Dusk, Clay McNab. He’s an infamous witch hunter who is tasked with transporting a young woman across a land of darkness in the novella.

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Epeolatry Book Review: Tortured Willows by Lee Murray, Geneve Flynn, Christina Sng, & Angela Yuriko Smith

Disclosure:

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: Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken
Author: Lee Murray, Angela Yuriko Smith, Christina Sng and Geneve Flynn
Genre: Horror Poetry
Publisher: Yuriko Publishing
Release Date: 7th October, 2021

Synopsis: The willow is femininity, desire, death. Rebirth. With its ability to grow from a single broken branch, it is the living embodiment of immortality. It is the yin that wards off malevolent spirits. It is both revered and shunned.

In Tortured Willows, four Southeast Asian women writers of horror expand on the exploration of otherness begun with the Bram Stoker Award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.

Like the willow, women have bent and bowed under the expectations and duty heaped upon them. Like the willow, they endure and refuse to break.

With exquisite poetry, Christina Sng, Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Geneve Flynn invite you to sit beneath the tortured willow’s gravid branches and listen to the uneasy shiver of its leaves.

Before cracking open Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken, I knew this poetry collection would be honest and raw.  However, I was not prepared for the collection’s level of horror and heartbreak. Throughout this work, it’s evident that the authors opened their veins and bled themselves onto the pages. 

Lee Murray, Geneve Flynn, Christina Sng, and Angela Yukiro Smith weave poetic tales of mental, emotional, and physical abuse against Asian women. The tales end with either the ultimate sacrifice or a rising from the flames. 

News and media talk about prejudices against Asian women. Documentaries delve into the racism and sexism that is sometimes associated with Asian diaspora. Tortured Willows takes us onto a deeper, personal level through poetry regaled to us by Asian women authors who allegorically write about experiences of cruelty from prejudice, tradition, and the patriarchy. Tortured Willows is a haunting outcry that mistreatment of women will no longer be tolerated. The representation of the willow tree symbolizes strength and tenacity. The willow bends against hard blows but never breaks—it continues to bounce back and carry on. 

Tortured Willows is a perfect accompaniment to the award-winning short story collection Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (edited by Geneve Flynn and Lee Murray) to showcase the need to move beyond antiquated roles of tradition and injustices. 

Lee Murray’s poetry is a quiet, but raw and macabre fury that unrelentingly exposes several hundreds of years of suffering and misery placed upon Asian women. Through this literary form, Murray depicts self-sacrifice as a surrender for expectations, love, and the ideal of acceptance. Her poem “Exquisite” left me in tears.

Pay attention. You think it will not matter, but it will. -Geneve Flynn

Geneve Flynn takes several poetry forms and morphs them into her own. In “Her Gradual Hero”, Flynn uses the sonnet, typically used to express love, to convey gaslighting. “Abridge” is blackout poetry executed in a spectacular fashion, and she exposes us to the pantoum (a Malay poetic form) in “When the Girls Began to Fall”. The creativity breathed into Flynn’s poetry exemplifies her writing strength and talent all the while bringing focus to inequity. Pay special attention to “Mouth, and Feet, and Hands, and Eyes” and “Inheritance”. 

Christina Sng lyrically scripts revenge for mistreatment and murder in her poetry. She is quite gifted with paranormal fiction, and through this collection she shows us that her poetry is as strong as her fiction. Sng’s work is full of sorrow and anger as her female ghosts seek revenge against those who have wronged them through racial and sexist discriminations. 

And finally, Angela Yukiro Smith poetry is a historic and cultural journey through time. Her work shines a light on matriarch celebration and casts shadows over the oppressive patriarchy. Smith’s poetry properly rounds out this full collection to show the unbendable nature of the willow and women. 

Tortured Willows: Bent, Bowed, Unbroken is an eye-opening, soul exposing journey, and a solid continuation of Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. Both collections demonstrate that women will not go quietly into the night.

out of 5 ravens.

Available from Amazon.

What’s in a name? DocSketch is now SignWell


What’s in a name? DocSketch is now SignWell

By Amanda Headlee 

There is one thing that is always certain about life, and that is change. For authors who have submitted to The Horror Tree and received publishing contracts, you may have noticed that the contracts were sent through a paperless documentation signing product called DocSketch. We at The Horror Tree love this product as it is easy to use and intuitive. 
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WiHM 12: WiHM and Why Allies Are Important By Somer Canon

WiHM and Why Allies Are Important

By Somer Canon

It’s Women in Horror Month again. An interesting time, to be honest. It’s interesting as a fan of the horror genre and it’s interesting as a female horror creator. It’s interesting being introduced to new (to me) women creating in the horror genre, especially if I’m being introduced by their fans. There’s an enthusiasm that comes with those sorts of introductions that are intriguing and make one want to look into further that creator. This is also the best time of year to take stock of just how many people you’ve reached in your career, who remembers you and your works when asked to shine the light on a female creative. It can be nice.

Yet, we still have to have this month to make sure that we don’t creep back into the scenery and end up forgotten by many. Part of it is because there are less of us. This is a male-dominated industry and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it can make being a woman in a man’s playground difficult. We don’t tend to stand out as oddballs in this field. We tend to be overlooked, underestimated, and just plain forgotten. I don’t like it. My male contemporaries don’t like it. So how do we fix this?

I think Women in Horror Month is a great start, by highlighting women and their works and making sure our names are put out there year after year. But it’s a complicated process for many of us. We wish there was no need for a month that reminded people that women are out there creating horror that can stand toe-to-toe with the work of any man, yet we have to acknowledge that need as well. And acknowledging that need can wear on even the most gracious and patient women in our ranks. We don’t want to come off as tired or bitter or defeated, but sometimes that’s just how we feel knowing that come the first day of the month following Women in Horror Month, it’s back to business as usual and names of female creators are sometimes forgotten. 
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Epeolatry Book Review: Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women, ed. Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn

Disclosure:

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: Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women
Author: Various, ed. Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Omnium Gatherum Media
Release Date: 25th Sept, 2020

Synopsis: Almond-eyed celestial, the filial daughter, the perfect wife. Quiet, submissive, demure. In Black Cranes, Southeast Asian writers of horror both embrace and reject these traditional roles in a unique collection of stories which dissect their experiences of ‘otherness’, be it in the colour of their skin, the angle of their cheekbones, the things they dare to write, or the places they have made for themselves in the world.Black Cranes is a dark and intimate exploration of what it is to be a perpetual outsider.

This anthology is a rollercoaster of emotions. Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women is an edition of cultural storytelling. Painted with a tinge of horror, it offers insight into the struggles of the Asian culture. Sexism, patriarchy, stereotypes, and traditions are ingrained in the character’s lives. Authored by ten women of Asian descent, it’s edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn, both of whom have contributed stories.

While all the stories have a horror undertone, some of them overlap nicely into Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Folklore. This anthology had my emotions running high; one moment I was laughing at the silly predicaments the protagonists got themselves into, and the next moment I had tears when I realized the harrowing challenge of their quandaries. I marveled at each character’s strengths and my heart broke at that same person’s sadness and insecurities.

The foreword is from Alma Katsu (Taker Trilogy, and The Deep), and she gives us a glimpse into shattered stereotypes. These Asian women’s relationships, narrowed into “Geishas” or fierce “Dragon Ladies”, obscures their individuality. Katsu says, “Depersonalization makes it easier to forget that we are each individual with very specific likes, dislikes, dreams, and wishes”. 

Black Cranes demonstrates what happens to those who break into their individuality, or fall under the weight of expectations. Each tale’s Eastern cultural experience is based upon different eras and geographic locations. As an American with a Western European background, this was an education into multifaceted diversity. As a woman, reading this collection was anguishing; the standards and expectations Asian women are projected to live up to, such as foot-binding, made me ache. Despite their anguish, each individual shined.

It was hard to select a story to highlight in this review. Mainly because I felt they all had equal weight and demonstrated a different topic of diversity. All beautifully written and alluring, they are poetically scripted. The characters are complex,  realistic, and have a defined arc with lessons learned. Murray and Flynn did a remarkable job curating this spectacularcollection.

Considering the global turmoil in this final month of 2020, there is no better time for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women to be published. I think it’s a must read.

5/5 stars

Available from Amazon.