Author: Angelique Fawns

Matt Blairstone, Terrestrial Horror & his Green Inferno

Matt Blairstone, Terrestrial Horror & his Green Inferno

By Angelique Fawns

 

What happens when you find a horror writer/ indie comic creator with a passion for saving the planet? You get Tenebrous Press. Matt Blairstone is launching a new anthology this summer called Green Inferno: The World Celebrates Your Demise and it will be chock full of horror stories and unique comics. Blairstone explains, “Literary Horror and Underground Comix collide in a terrifying miasma that we call Terrestrial Horror: tales of terror bound only by the constraints of our angry world.”

Blairstone has created his own pulp comic series Mad Doctors, but this is his first foray into producing a full anthology featuring international writers. I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this green (yet potentially gory) project.

 

AF – How did Tenebrous Press get its beginnings? (more…)

Taking Submissions: Beneath the Yellow Lights

Deadline: July 31st, 2021
Payment: $10 and a contributor’s copy
Theme: A modern world overrun by fantasy, details below!

Thank you for your interest in Oddity Prodigy Productions! We are thrilled to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our latest anthology “Beneath the Yellow Lights” a collection of stories featuring urban magic and fantasy.
On the heels of our successful horror anthology “Scary Stuff” we decided to change gears and move into the realm of the mystical! The details are listed below in this email.
We look forward to your submissions,
Oddity Prodigy Productions

Details:
Oddity Prodigy Productions is proud to announce we are open for submissions on our latest anthology: Beneath the Yellow Lights!
This will be the second anthology published by OPP to accept submissions, following the success of Scary Stuff, our previous anthology. There is a planned kickstarter to cover publishing costs. Publishing date and distribution is as yet undecided.
The deadline for Submissions is July 31st, 2021

What We’re Looking For: (more…)

Interview with Mat Clarke, founder of The World Writer’s Collective

Interview with Mat Clarke, founder of The World Writer’s Collective
By Angelique Fawns

Mat Clarke is providing a place for new writers to learn, share, and get involved in a supportive community. The best part? Much of it is free, or costs only a nominal fee. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Clarke is creating an international destination for contests, editing, and writer promotion. His community provided me with my first contest win, my first author webpage, and my first taste of helpful short story feedback. Contest winners can have their work published in an anthology. The first edition is available on Smashwords called Melbourne Writers Social Group Anthology: A Winter Selection of Short Stories.
I sat down with Clarke to learn more about his vision and future plans.
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WiHM 12: An Interview With Michelle River of Eerie River Publishing

Michelle River and Eerie River Publishing

By Angelique Fawns


Michelle River and her Canadian-based small independent publishing house are helping other indie authors achieve their goals. Things are busy for this mother of two; River has a toddler and a newborn, but she still somehow finds the time to run her company. Focusing on horror, Eerie River Publishing provides a wide range of services like editing, formatting, cover design, and social media marketing. They have an ongoing submission call for their monthly contest, and the theme for February is “Monsters”. Michelle River talked with me about how she finally brought her lifelong dreams to fruition. 

 

AF: Tell me about the creation of Eerie River Publishing?
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WiHM 12: Autumn Miller, and why she’s an unofficial “X-Men”

Autumn Miller, and why she’s an unofficial “X-Men”

By Angelique Fawns

 

Autumn Miller is a horror and poetry author who recently joined the Jolly Horror Press team as a First Reader. She helped choose the stories in their latest anthology, Coffin Blossoms, and is currently working on Fornever After, open for submissions now. Fornever After seeks stories of tragic love with a horror theme, and ask writers to “scare us and rips our hearts out.”  Miller also professes a love of cats, calligraphy and crocheting. (Don’t make her angry when she has a crochet hook in her hand.)

I met Miller when she helped revise my story “The Golden Falcon” for Coffin Blossoms. She took the time to let me know my story was “almost there”, but really didn’t like the ending. Would I consider rewriting it? Not every First Reader takes that extra step, so I was interested in learning more about this exceptional woman in horror.
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WiHM 12: An interview with Sarah Glenn

Sarah Glenn and her “Strangely Funny” world of horror

 

Sarah Glenn has a dark funny bone, and loves sharing humorous horror with her readers. She has a background in journalism and even worked the Reports Desk for her local police department. There she learned some criminals, are in fact, dumb. She and her partner Gwen Mayo have published eight issues of their Strangely Funny anthology series, and are opening submissions for the ninth edition in August. They’re looking for funny paranormal stories, and the guidelines give examples from stories they’ve accepted in the past, “Homicide is summoned to a halfway house for the undead, a finger transplant from a serial killer leads to hilarious consequences, a mummy regrets hiring a cheap embalmer. Lovecraft humor is welcome; shaggy dog stories are not.”

I met Glenn when she accepted a story of mine, “The Writing Retreat” for Strangely Funny VII, and sat down with her to learn more about this talented “woman in horror”.

 

AF: Tell me about the creation of your small press, Mystery and Horror, LLC.

SG: Mystery and Horror began in the days before same-sex marriage was legal, long before we set up the press. We could not pass the copyright of our characters to one another unless we were married or related, so Gwen and I set up an LLC that would permit each of us to leave our creative works to the surviving partner. At the time, Gwen Mayo and I each had books published by Pill Hill Press. When they went on hiatus, we discussed our options and decided to set up our own press. We’d been involved in newsletter/zine production before, and we expanded our skills to book publication. Since we were already legally organized, we expanded the functions of the LLC.


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WiHM 12: Tara Grimravn and her “Literary Nectar for the Shadowed Soul”

Tara Grimravn and her “Literary Nectar for the Shadowed Soul”

By Angelique Fawns

 

Tara Grimravn grew up immersed in the sad songs, myths, and stories of the Appalachian Mountains. Coming from a long line of storytellers, she creates worlds imbued with dark fantasy and horror. She is currently finishing her first full-length fantasy novel, “Beneath a Red Hunter’s Moon”, and has published numerous short stories based on a multi-verse of her own creation. Grimravn also works as a First Reader for Cosmic Roots & Eldritch Shores. I sat down with her to find out more about her ambitious projects, and fascinating background.

 

AF: How did you originally become interested in horror?

TG: To be honest, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in horror. That probably sounds weird, but I have always loved it. If you had to nail me down to an answer, though, I’d say my grandmother was to blame. 

My grandmother grew up in the backwoods of the Tennessee, up in the Appalachian Mountains, and when my siblings and I were growing up, she’d tell us these stories that she’d heard from her grandfather and grandmother when she was a child. Everything from seeing glowing coffins in the woods the night before the death of her 4-year-old brother Berdine (he died of diphtheria), to the sounds of ghostly horses running circles around the cabin they lived in, to a creature she called “Raw Head and Bloody Bones.” 

When I got older, of course, and started my undergraduate degree in archaeology, I realized that “Raw Head and Bloody Bones” was originally an old English nursery bogey that migrated to the U.S., and there are several versions of the fairy tale. My grandmother’s version was about a child-eating monster that lived in the deep forest of the Appalachian Mountains in a rundown cabin (similar to the medieval English version that lives under the stairs), but I’ve heard of a version from Arkansas that involves a razorback hog and an old witch, too. Either way, I have to credit my love of folklore, especially dark folklore, and horror stories to her.  

 

AF: What kind of writing do you do yourself? (more…)

WiHM 12: It’s Raining Alien Bugs!

It’s Raining Alien Bugs!

How one horror story found a home. 

By Angelique Fawns

 

We all have dreams. Mine is to explore the darker side of human nature like Shirley Jackson. Create monsters as memorable as Mary Shelley. Learn to show the future with the finesse of Octavia E. Butler. 

I started my quest to write horror in 2017. My journey has been riddled with rejection, frustration, and moments where I want to go screaming into the night. It has taken me almost four years to find a home for the very first story I penned. “Invasive Species” is a science fiction/ horror story inspired by climate change and unusual weather patterns. It was rejected 33 times. Rewritten nine times.  

In those four years, I’ve also written other short stories, and managed to find homes for approximately 30 of them. But “Invasive Species” was the black albatross around my neck. 

Until recently. 

 Scot Noel, editor-in-chief of DreamForge Anvil, picked up “Invasive Species” for their pilot issue, “With DreamForge Anvil we not only offer great, positive science fiction and fantasy, we take a behind the scenes look at what the story means to the author and how it reached its final draft.”

Noel explains why he chose my alien story, “In “Invasive Species” Angelique presented us with an engagingly written tale constructed around some interesting ideas. I felt the original version could find a home eventually, if it just hit the right editor’s desk at the right time.”

Noel was definitely the right editor. He took me through a series of thoughtful plot revisions and clarifications. (What is the exact science behind growing marijuana? How big of a greenhouse do you need to feed a small family for a year?) The story became 100x better. 

Now that I look back on it, the first version created back in 2017 was probably quite horrible, but I was convinced the story had legs. That summer, Toronto was dealing with unprecedented rainfall. I work at a media company down by the lakeshore and EVERYTHING was flooding. The highway was under water in low parts. The sugar factory next door was using sandbags to protect the warehouse floor. People who lived on the Toronto Islands had to move to the main land and were travelling their footpaths by canoe. 

To add to the dystopian strangeness of that year, (though 2017 has nothing on 2020) our region’s ash trees were being ravished by an invasive species called the Emerald Ash Borer. My husband works handling these issues for our township, so I knew it was a serious problem. The idea for “Invasive Species” was born. I wrote a 3000-word piece and sent it off to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

C.C. Finlay rejected it, but sent me this note

Thank you for giving me a chance to read “Invasive Species.” I was interested in the premise, but overall, the story didn’t quite grab me — in part, I thought it started in the wrong place or with the wrong event to give it strong narrative momentum — and I’m going to pass. I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it. I appreciate your interest in F&SF and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future.”

I tweaked the story, sent it off to The Writers of the Future Contest, and earned an honorable mention for the second quarter in 2018.

Then I sent the story off to Abyss & Apex Magazine.

“Thank you for submitting your story to ABYSS & APEX. It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication. I hope you’ll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.”

A year later, I gave the story yet another intensive rewrite, changed the title to “A Flood of Bugs” and resent it to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

“Thank you for giving me a chance to read “A Flood of Bugs.” I don’t remember the earlier version, but this story didn’t quite grab me — I didn’t see what the stakes in the first couple scenes were for Cass and, particularly, Devon, and so the beginning didn’t have a lot of narrative momentum for me. I’m going to pass on this one for Fantasy & Science Fiction, but I wish you best of luck finding the right market for it and hope that you’ll keep us in mind in the future. Also, I’m very happy to see your enthusiasm, especially for revising stories — regardless of how this one turned out, that’s generally the way people become better writers and reach their first sales. Good luck.”

I rewrote it, hoping I was adding “narrative momentum” and sent it to Eerie River Publishing.

“We really enjoyed the tale you wove, the flooding of the Toronto island brought be back to the news reports last year, I think. However, we regret to advise you we will not be using it for our anthology. Although dark in nature, it didn’t quite hit the horror notes we were looking for. It was an interesting take on the call out, but just not for us.”

In 2019, I submitted it to Unreal Magazine and though it received a “blue ribbon” for being on the right track, it wasn’t purchased. 

So, I sent it on to The Reckoning.

“Thank you very much for submitting “Invasive Species” to Reckoning, but unfortunately it isn’t what we’re looking for right now. The concept, while clever, is somewhat overdone — we see a lot of aliens-as-invasives go by. Best of luck in placing this elsewhere.”

I rewrote it. Again. And found an open call at The Rabbit Hole.

“Many thanks for sending us your story for consideration in The Rabbit Hole. However, with 114 submissions in contention, I’m afraid we feel unable to include it. It’s an interesting piece, with an intriguing concept at its core. Unfortunately, though, we felt that it would have needed a different treatment to make a stronger impact. Such judgments are subjective, of course, so you may find that others will differ, and I wish you all success in placing it elsewhere.”

If a magazine actually offers commentary it usually means they liked your work. I was getting lots of comments but no contracts. Time for another rewrite, and off to Visions Magazine.

“We’ve reviewed “Invasive Species” and unfortunately it hasn’t made the cut. It’s a nice pitch that creates an interesting atmosphere, unfortunately the story doesn’t fit with the rest of the commissioned pieces. Overall, the delivery didn’t feel fully mastered and the narrative could have been snappier. It left me wanting something a bit more crafted to create a more long-lasting impression.”

It was sheer luck I found Scot Noel and DreamForge Anvil. I had sent several stories his way over the years, but none of them were picked up. (Even though I always appreciated the thoughtful rejection letters.)

I’ve recently published an anthology called The Story Behind the Stories: 12 Dark Tales and their Publishers. It showcases my previously published tales, interviews from the purchasing editors, plus all the rejection letters each piece got before pick-up.

Scot Noel not only gave me permission to use his helpful advice, but asked me to participate in the DreamForge Anvil project if I could send him a worthy story. 

I sent him four stories that I couldn’t find a home for. He picked “Invasive Species”. You can read the whole story for free at DreamForge Anvil, and have the option to buy an affordable subscription to see all the line-edits. 

I may not have managed to write “The Lottery”, “Frankenstein”, or “Kindred” yet, but I do feel with help from editors like Scot Noel, I might be getting a tiny bit closer.