Taking Submissions: Dead Awake

Deadline: April 1st, 2020
Payment: $25 and a contributors copy
Theme: Unadulterated horror. Slasher, psychological, monsters, clowns, stalkers, cults, demons, witches, whatever the hell you can think of! Let’s get cut their skin and leave scars.

Come one, come all horror authors. It’s time for another anthology. Life is too short and I’d like to leave our readers dead awake. Send in your best work and let’s make something that will leave the readers sleeping with their lights on.

What I’m looking for: Unadulterated horror. Slasher, psychological, monsters, clowns, stalkers, cults, demons, witches, whatever the hell you can think of! Let’s get cut their skin and leave scars. Send me your best!

What I’m not looking for: Gore for shock value, rape, any violence toward children or anything that really is just shock and nothing else. Give me horror that seeps in, not skin deep.

Requirements: Short horror that is between 2,000 and 6,000 words, exceptions for longer pieces based on quality. A hard cap at 10,000 words. Please put the title, your name, word count and email address on the title page. Single spaced, 12 point, new times Roman is preferred. Clean and edited. Please do your best.

Authors who are accepted will receive $25 per story accepted and one paperback author copy. Multiple submissions are welcome. Simultaneous submissions are welcome as well, but please let me know if it’s accepted elsewhere. Only original, unpublished work will be accepted.

Submissions will be closed April 1st. Get your ideas percolating and get to writing!

Send submissions in .doc or .docx format to [email protected].

Via: Nicholas Catron</a..

Taking Submissions: Seven Deadly Sins

Deadline: April 21st, 2020
Payment: $20
Theme: Stories based on the seven deadly sins
Note: Reprints accepted

Stories involving one of the Seven Deadly Sins

Works: short stories
Genre and theme: Horror, extreme horror
(no glorified rape, child abuse or animal torture)
Deadline: April 21st
Format: Attach the .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX
Word Count: 5k-10k
Multiple Submissions accepted
Reprints Accepted
Submit a bio
Payment: $20 per story accepted

Send submission to: [email protected]

New Year’s Eve Reflections: Happy New Year! … Or is it?

New Year 2020 is coming concept – inscription 2019 and 2020 a beach sand, the wave is almost covering the digits 2019.

Happy New Year!

Or is it?

I’ll get right to the point: milestones are hard on me. Birthdays (just had one! You can wish me happy birthday. I’ll wait. Okay. Thanks.); anniversaries; Mother’s Day; Father’s Day; the day my wife died (eight days after our wedding anniversary… yeah. June sucks); Valentine’s Day; it goes on and on.

So, biggies, like New Year’s Eve, are especially rough. This is the time when everyone is thinking about their whole past year. They’re introspective and contemplative (See? I have a vocabulary that includes more than four-letter words. I just like those better).

Everyone is talking about how it went all year long; they’re talking about how things will change in the new year. I mean, it’s cool and all, but… I’m over here just thankful to still be drawing breath. I’m thankful that no one else I love has died lately. That my kids are doing okay (Mostly. We all have PTSD from Liz’s death, and it’s taking forever to find ways to cope with that).

I quit drinking just over six months ago. I needed to. I was on an ugly downward spiral as I medicated myself with alcohol every night. I needed to be numb. I won’t apologize. But, I’m totally relieved to not be in that cycle anymore. New Year’s Eve is, like St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally a drinking holiday. I have plans to go to dinner with some friends (and a date; yeah, I’m dating. I’m allowed. Mind your business), but I won’t be drinking. No champagne toast for me. I can’t touch the stuff. I can’t do moderation. I’m either all-in, or I’m out. So, I’m out.

I also don’t really believe in resolutions. I mean, I know they exist. I just don’t make them. I prefer to try to better myself, in small, reasonable ways, over the course of my life. I don’t want to select a basically random date and make all my effort then. Seems like too much pressure. Your mileage may vary. Some folks need the hard deadlines. I don’t.

So, I’m not going to say, “I’m going to write fifty stories in 2020.” No “I’m going to run a marathon.” None of this “I won’t eat any sweets until at least January 24 (that’s my dead wife’s birthday, which I started typing by accident, because my subconscious is a dick).” Nope. Not my way. Instead, I’m going to try to keep it together, emotionally, as I navigate through the next six months, in this, the second year of widowhood. I’m going to try to make sure my children, now thirteen and ten, are getting what they need, not only to survive, but also to grow into self-sufficient, functional adults. I’m going to write, because I love it. I’m going to try to make each thing better than the last. I’ll read more books. I’ll do crossword puzzles to keep my brain sharp. I’ll exercise nearly every day. I will heal. Because these are the things I do anyway. This is who I am.

If you, reading this, need to resolve to make changes in your life; if you need the hard date of 1/1/2020 to be the impetus for change… cool. You do you. I’m pulling for you. I hope you make it. I hope that, if you don’t, you’re not too hard on yourself. Setting goals is easy. Making them is not.

As for me, I’ll raise a glass (of cranberry juice) to you all. Have a happy New Year if you can. If you can’t, at least keep your head above water. Fight on. Keep going. Because, I believe anyway, we get this one chance at life. We should make the best of it. Hold the ones you love. Practice kindness. Laugh out loud. Get laid. Take a hot bath or shower, and stay in there as long as you want (don’t do this all the time; it’s a tragic waste of resources). Read a good book (life’s too short to read the bad ones, y’all). Stream a fun show on TV. Treat yourself to your favorite food. Eat dessert. Laugh some more.

I’m going to try to do the same. It’s unspeakably difficult to come back from grief with a smile on your face, but it’s possible. I’m working on it. It gets easier with time. If you don’t know what I mean, good. I hope you never have to. If you do, know that you’re not alone. I feel your pain. I understand. It sucks.

But, I find more smiles as I go. I laugh more easily. I’ve even loved again, wonderfully and intensely. That’s in the past now, too, but I cherish it. She and I are still friends (albeit somewhat awkwardly). I’m confident I’ll love again too. I’m healing. Whatever your situation might be, know that you can heal too. It takes time. It takes patience. There will, no doubt, be moments of utter despair (I’ve had more than my share, thanks), but, slowly, you come through it. You’re tougher than you think.

I sincerely hope that 2020 brings you joy, and fun, and the kind of challenges that make you go, “Bring it!” instead of the kind that feel overwhelming. I hope you have love and friendship in your life. I hope you find pleasure in writing. In reading. I hope for the absolute best for you all.

Happy New Year!

Is it? Yeah. It fucking is.


Thanks for listening.

Ken MacGregor 2019 (for another day)

Taking Submissions: Outback Horrors Down Under

Deadline: May 31st, 2020
Payment: $50
Theme: Memorable, dark fiction/horror stories that could only happen (or be told) here in Australia or New Zealand.
Note: Australian and New Zealand authors only

What We’re After:

We’re limiting this callout to current or former Australian or New Zealand residents and citizens. We want memorable, dark fiction/horror stories that could only happen (or be told) here in Australia or New Zealand. Be inspired by the people, country, history, geography, cultures, myths and legends, but please be culturally sensitive. I’m not accepting reprints for this anthology.

Story Length:

4,000 – 8,000 words is the sweet spot, but it’s quality that will count.


We will not accept stories where bigotry or violence of any kind is portrayed in a positive light, or where there is a focus on violence and gore rather than story. We will not accept any form of ‘typing’ of people that could be portrayed as negative, alienating, or offensive to groups of people.

No reprints for this one, sorry…

Generally, I prefer supernatural and psychological (I’m a huge Ramsey Campbell fan), as well as creature features. Also stories within stories, stories with subtexts and several layers. I steer clear of body horror and gore, but if written well, I can stomach it. Remember, I’m a huge fan of Clive Barker.

Submission Deadline:

Our deadline for this general callout is end of May, 2020. We recommend you submit early to allow time for feedback and perhaps allow you to resubmit. We will have a number of ‘anchor’ authors already pre-selected, and we aim to have it all completed and published in time for Worldcon 20 in Wellington.

Payment Rate:

This will be a flat rate payment of $50.

Can I Help?

If you’d like to offer assistance in publicising and marketing the book, arranging interviews or blog posts, or can provide proofreading or other related assistance, please feel free to contact me.

Book Formats:

Both ebook and print versions will be available (6″ x 9″ hardback and softback).


  • You can email (please don’t use social media) your story to me: dillonstephe[email protected]. You can also direct any questions to me, or an idea for your story to avoid duplicate ideas.
  • Please use subject ‘Outback Horrors’. 
  • Send your story as an attachment in Word .docx or .doc (No .pdf’s please).
  • Your subject line should be as follows:
    OBH – {your name} – {title of story} – {word count}
  • Example: OBH – John Smith – This Kangaroo Kills Me – 3,000
  • In the body of your email, please include your name, title of story, word count, and confirm your email contact. We will contact you for your author bio if selected.
  • We will prioritise stories between 4,000 and 6,000 words, but longer or shorter stories may be accepted if they are particularly strong.
  • We are not accepting poetry or non-fiction.
  • Make sure your story is edited and polished before you send it to us.
  • We prefer Australian or NZ English spelling.

Please, please, please use “double quotes” for speech
Do NOT use ‘single quotes’

  • We will not be able to give in-depth feedback on any stories.
  • Please don’t follow up unless we don’t send an acknowledgement email.
  • If you haven’t had an acknowledgement email within a week, please find your original email and forward that to me with a note to say when you originally sent it.
  • You will receive an acknowledgement email within a few days. If you have not heard from me within two weeks, feel free to follow up again.
  • Please don’t email to enquire further unless you wish to withdraw your submission.
  • Submissions will be open until the deadline, after which we will be in touch with everyone within two weeks.

We’re really excited by this project and we look forwards to receiving your stories!

Via: Things In The Well.

Brain Babies: T&A, or Tepid and Asinine

It has recently come to my attention that men are still, in damn near 2020, writing women as if they were a collection of erogenous zones and nothing else. Stop it.

Seriously, cut it out. This is sloppy, amateurish, inaccurate, and, frankly, insulting. Women, like men, are complex. They’re arrogant, shy, belligerent, kind, messy, obsessive, thoughtful, acidic, and every other damned character trait you can think of. They are not simply bouncing breasts and long, toned legs. They are not meat puppets in skirts.

Stop. Writing. Them. This. Way!

When a man writes about a woman’s breasts, attributing them with personality, or highlighting their physical characteristics over the course of an entire fucking paragraph, it’s like broadcasting to the reading world, “I have no idea what women are really like, because I’ve only ever observed them from a safe distance!”

Women are not mythological, magical beasts with parts wondrous and strange. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Ready? They’re human beings, just like you. They fart, and poop, and hiccup. They dream big and have crushing disappointments. They laugh, and cry, and hate and love, and feel inadequate. Just like men.

So, when you’re writing a woman as a character, try to remember that she’s a real person. Try to avoid focusing on her tits, on the way they strain against her shirt. No woman alive thinks about her own breasts (outside of sex play) unless it’s because her damn bra is cutting into her shoulders, like it does every damn day, and Jesus Christ, do these things really have to weigh this fucking much?

Another thing: most women, like most men, really do enjoy sex. But, you know what? Most of them also enjoy the lead-up. Not just foreplay (though that’s a ton of fun for everybody, if you’re doing it right); also, the romantic stuff. Kissing. Nuzzling. Slowly discovering someone’s body for the first time. Relishing the pleasing of a partner she knows intimately. If you’re going to write sex, remember, too, that there’s almost always something else going on. There are two (or more) people in the room. They have feelings, baggage maybe; they might be scared, hopeful, overwhelmed, or just insanely horny. People are complicated. Men are. Women too.

Try not to forget that. Women are complicated. Women have feelings. They have brains. They are people.

Nor just T&A. Not just bodies flouncing around for your amusement. And, you know what? This is a good thing to remember outside of just writing fiction, folks. Women are people. It’s not that difficult a concept.

So, the next time you’re writing a woman in a story, put yourself in her four-inch heels; try not to fall over, as you try to navigate her world, her feelings, her mind. And, once you’re there, write her like she deserves. As a real person: flawed; aching; hopeful; terrified; longing; wounded, etc.

Please. For pity’s sake.


Thanks for listening.

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