It’s been a long time since I’ve written something for Horror Tree. Once upon a time, I wrote weekly about the struggles and insights of a newbie writer still working things out and learning a lot by writing about writing for a lot of people who were probably experiencing lots of the same things I was. A couple of you may remember me, and wonder where I went, but most of you probably have no idea who the hell I am.
In the past I swore a lot, made a lot of inflammatory comments, had a lot of fun. I got a lot right, and I also got a lot wrong, but I was ALWAYS honest with myself, and my audience.
So it’s time to be honest once again and say that at least for now… I’m done. And I’ve been done for long time. I lost whatever it was I had, but I’m not sad or upset. If anything, I’m completely indifferent to it all. I just don’t care any more.
For the better part of the last year, my focus shifted almost completely to reading, and believe me, I have been fucking murdering books and loving it. Feels great, especially seeing friends and other writers who started around the same time as me putting out good quality shit.
I beat myself up about my literary lethargy for a long time, but then I realized, what’s the fucking point? A lot of the void writing filled in my life has been filled with other things (not an increase in drugs or alcohol, I swear), and I’m happy.
If I wanted to write, I’d sit down and write. You won’t hear me moping about how I lost my mojo or how I’ve had writer’s block for a whole year or some shit like that. Nope. No way. I’ve been living new aspects of my life and writing just hasn’t been a priority.
Do I have an hour a day to sit down and write? Of course. We all do.
Do I want to spend an hour doing that each day? No. Right now, I honestly don’t. Even writing this post is something I put off until the last minute.
Am I going to regret it? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. I’ll worry about that when it comes.
Am I done forever? I sure don’t think so, but a lot happened to me really fast when I got started and I turned that initial spark of creativity into a goddamned juggernaut, and then my life, time, values, priorities, whatever you want to call it, went in a different direction. We all come to the crossroads, and we all make our decisions. I think I’ll be back in full swing someday, but until then there are a few things I’ve committed to permanently like a series of novels co-authored with Ken MacGregor, the first of which will drop later this year, and a few anthology invitations I have accepted and will not run from.
In a few of my old posts that are probably still floating around on this site I probably called everyone who doesn’t write every day a pussy, or talked out of my ass about output and excuses and god knows what else, but now I’m a little older and a little wiser and things make a little more sense to me.
What it boils down to is this: Do whatever the fuck you wanna do. If you see 10 good anthology calls you want to hit, hit ‘em, smash ‘em, give ‘em your best. If you only want to write novels or flash fiction or whatever, then do that. If you just wanna write for yourself and bury it on your hard drive, do it. If you just wanna read for a while, fucking do that, and don’t beat yourself up about it. Make yourself happy, cuz ain’t nobody else gonna do it for you.
Don’t over commit, and remember it’s okay to say no to people.
But make sure you honor the commitments you make, especially to good friends, and you make sure you give them your very best.
This post here was prompted by a commitment I made well over a year ago to one of my best friends on this planet. His name is Rob Boley. He and a good friend of his, New York Times Bestselling romance/horror/erotica writer Megan Hart wanted to put together an anthology of novellas all themed around an Ouija Board. They recruited some serious talent in Chris Marrs, Brad Hodson, and the inimitable Sephera Giron. They threw me a bone, and I became a part of this book titled Intersections: Six Tales of Ouija Horror.
Nearly my only/entire writing output for 2016 is collected in my 20,000 word novella, titled “Ghosted.” It’s the single longest piece I’ve published to date. I also think it’s my best.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know everyone says that about everything, but I had something to say in “Ghosted” and I think I said it loud and clear while simultaneously and intentionally leaving all kinds of blurred lines. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not too big on the supernatural, and I tackled this story in the only way I feel that I could have. I wrote a dating/relationship story, and god do I love writing dating/relationship stories.
So basically what this post boils down to is that at least for the indefinite future, I don’t have much planned on the writing front. Other than the novel(s) with Ken, I’ve got nothing else coming and nothing else submitted. I’ve made peace with that, and with the early 2017, yesterday, Friday the 13th release of Intersections, and the story I wrote, the talent I’m standing beside, and the product itself, I can’t think of a better way to walk away. At least for a little while longer.
In the last year, I haven’t plugged a single thing haha, so nothing would make me happier than getting as many eyeballs on Intersections as possible because I think we’ve created one hell of an anthology. Get lost in the words and decide for yourself: You can snag it on Amazon!
Rob and Megan read all the stories and decided to put mine at the beginning. I couldn’t be more honored. I always thought I made a better opening act than I would a headliner. Nothing more satisfying than dropping a jaw and having someone ask “Who the hell is that?”
I am Kerry Lipp.
I am proud.
I am happy.
I hope this one fucking drops jaws.
And I hope, Intersections: Six Tales of Ouija Horror only gets better from there.
Your submissions are eagerly/desperately sought! Send prose not pitches. Submit your story, and contact information, in an editable, software format (no PDFs please) here. Trigger Warning does not insist on exclusivity. Stories previously submitted or published to other venues are welcome. Stories must be under 5000 words, but no flash fiction. At least 1000 words minimum.
It’s been a while since I’ve written something for HorrorTree. Almost nine months, actually. That’s so long that some of you have impregnated/been impregnated and given birth, or watched your lady giving birth holding a video camera in one hand and a beer in the other (at least I think that’s how it works). Ya’ll got families now, and I haven’t written a new post. Or much of anything for that matter.
But I’m not dead either.
And I’m not ready to die.
A lot of shit has happened since my last post all the way back in… fucking November. Holy shit that’s a long time. Since then, I’ve signed a contract for a novel co-written with my good friend an all-around baddass, Ken MacGregor, and we’ve plunged halfway into a sequel. I sold my first story at pro-rates, and done a couple stints on the ever amazing Wicked Library podcast.
And most importantly, in what feels like a really long time coming, in a few weeks my first ever solo release, Squidfucked, will squirt itself into the marketplace through the Monsterection imprint of Strangehouse Books.
I also quit my job and moved from Dayton, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a long overdue and exciting change. My new gig is nothing writing related, but it’s a great opportunity. I’ve got a lot of flexibility, have a strong hand in controlling my own destiny, which to me is worth more than a guaranteed 40+ hours a week. And ultimately, as the smoke of it all clears, I should have more time to write.
However, my routine is completely totaled, just fucked right in the face, and I feel like I’m starting all over again, only with a lot more pressure this time because I’ve got invitations and obligations to fulfill. I’ve seen some success since I started and I want to build on that and continue it and my expectations for myself are high, but I’m not fucking doing anything about it.
You should never slow down because once you do it’ll be too easy to stay slowed down. Like quitting smoking, you sneak a cigarette here and there and next thing you know you’re right back on the cancer train. For writers it’s a day off, or a week off and then the next thing you know you don’t know what the fuck happened. Try and avoid it at all costs. I wish I would’ve, but I didn’t and here I am, writing this blog, trying to beat some sense into myself to turn the goddamn internet off, close the books, put my ass in the seat and fulfill promises I’ve already made to myself, friends, other writers, and publishers.
Before I left, I got to go out for a few beers with an old creative writing professor from my college days who I’m now proud to call a friend. His name is Brady Allen and if you’ve ready any of my posts over the years, his name should be familiar. He and another former classmate, who’s doing some good work of his own, Christopher Calhoun, met up with me before I left.
We shot the shit as writers do, talking good books, good markets, good stories, good movies. When it came to what we were currently working on, there was kind of a lull. Christopher has been going gangbusters, but me and Brady have kind of been on the decline for whatever reasons.
Brady helped me out a ton though, with one painfully simple concept and I’m going to eat it up, use it, and give it right back to all of you. Especially those of you struggling for whatever reason.
I know that Stephen King says 2,000 words a day. Michael Crichton says 10,000 a day, and that some of your facebook friends have done more in a day than you have in a month. Don’t get discouraged. Brady Allen gave me an excellent answer to all of this. Are you ready?
Fifteen minutes a day. Write. No Facebook, no phone, no bullshit. Just fifteen minutes a day. That’s the goal.
I looked at him like he was nuts and he already knew what my question/criticism was going to be and had the perfect answer.
“It’s just my goal,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I won’t fucking smash it and write for six hours when I get the chance, but I set something small and achievable and even if it is only those fifteen minutes, they do add up. I feel good about accomplishing my goal, and I feel great when I exceed it, which I’ve put myself in a position to do often.”
When I first started, I went bananas writing with every free second, Christ, I did weekly posts for this very website for MONTHS. Holy god. But I was also a lot younger, at a much different place in life, wasn’t even working full time. Maybe I’ll get back there, and maybe I won’t, but I can get back to some level of regular productivity and Brady Allen, once again, even when he didn’t have to, showed me the light. I should’ve bought his beers that night haha. But if I ever buy his drinks, I gotta make sure it’s some hipster shit.
I’m finishing this around 10pm on September 1. [Editor’s Note: I have no excuse for not getting this posted sooner.] I’ve been in my new city and new job for almost a month now. I guess you could say I’m settled. I’ve got to get my shit together and get this shit going again, so it might as well be today.
No excuses. No bullshit.
If you’ve been in a rough spot because of the promise of a beautiful summer, work, real life, tragedy, your kids being around more/getting back to school, or depression or a transition, or whatever it’s been, I challenge you to shoot for 15 minutes a day and don’t start tomorrow.
For those like myself who were once insanely prolific and tapered off, or those trying to take the first slash at this overwhelming beast. I’m sharing with you the best piece of advice I’ve gotten in a long, long time. Just promise me you won’t start tomorrow.
Payment: $50/story *we hope to pay professional rates soon! ($.08/word)*
Note: Black Girls Are Magic Lit Mag is a literary magazine featuring speculative fiction by and about black women.
All submissions should follow proper manuscript format. Please attach all submissions in .doc format—we will not accept submissions embedded in the body of email. Include your bio in your cover letter.
Black Girls are Magic is an online magazine published quarterly. We are seeking speculative fiction between 1,000 – 6,000 words.
We are looking for works about and by Black Women. We accept works from others as long as the main character is a Black Female.
Pay rate: CURRENTLY $50/story *we hope to pay professional rates soon! ($.08/word)*
Word limit: 1000-6000 (FIRM) or 250 -500 for our Flash Fiction issues.
Stories must combine an aspect of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Surrealism, or Horror with a Black Female Main Character.
Multiple submissions: Maximum of two (2) per month (Please submit separately!)
No simultaneous submissions.
We strongly encourage submissions from writers who identify as people of color, women, members of the QUILTBAG* community, and others who are under-represented in Speculative Fiction.
* QUILTBAG is an acronym. It stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer.
WHAT WE PUBLISH:
Mainstream fiction with elements of the fantastic mixed in
Dark fantasy / science fiction
Magic realism (“a literary genre or style that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction—called also magical realism”)
Surrealism: (“the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations”)
Don’t be afraid to experiment or to deviate from the ordinary.
WHAT WE DON’T PUBLISH:
We are not a market for graphic, violent horror. The “horror” should be subtle and fall in with one or more of the themes above.
Black Girls are Magic Magazine reserves one slot each month for an author who has never had a professional-rate sale* before. This is to ensure that Black Girls are Magic Magazine will always be a welcoming and open market to new/un-established authors.
In addition to publication, an author selected for our New Author Spotlight will be interviewed by Black Girls are Magic, with the interview featured on our website & in the magazine.
If you’re eligible for our New Author Spotlight, please check “Yes” on the submission form.
NOTE: The New Author Spotlight doesn’t mean we ONLY publish one story from a new author each month – we’re happy to fill an entire issue with new authors. The Spotlight guarantees that un-established authors are never excluded from Black Girls are MagicMagazine.
* “Professional” refers to any short fiction or poetry sale which paid at least 5¢ per word, or any novel sale which paid at least $2,000.
We will not be accepting unsolicited fiction reprints.
PAYMENT & RIGHTS
We CURRENTLY pay $50 per short story.
We are starting an Indiegogo Campaign in hopes to start paying our authors cents/word for original fiction up to 6,000 words on publication for First World Rights.
Authors will also receive a free print and eBook copy of the anthology in which their story appears.
Black Girls are Magic takes first world eBook and print rights, and non-exclusive anthology rights for Black Girls are Magic’s biannual anthologies. We also take non-exclusive online rights to publish and archive your story on our website.
Response times will vary depending on volume, but may average two weeks. Query after one month (include title and date submitted).
Submit an inquiry along with samples (preferably a link to an online gallery. Submissions should be emailed to [email protected]. We purchase pre-existing pieces of art and rarely commission original art for covers.
Thanks for your interest in submitting to Black Girls are Magic Lit Mag
Submit stories in DOC, DOCX or RTF format. Standard Manuscript Format is strongly preferred. Use a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial, in 12 pt.
Turnaround time for responses is one month following the end of your submission month. (e.g. if you submit during September, we’ll respond no later than October 31.)
If you haven’t received a response by the end of the following month, please query.
The submission form can be found in the link below:
Payment: 1 contributor’s copy and: $25 for original work, $12.50 for reprints.
Note: Reprints Welcome
Welcome to the newest, most innovative horror quarterly publication on the planet! Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups) began as a stand-alone anthology, launched on May 13, 2015. The response from horror writers across the globe was phenomenal. In less than four months, we received over 220 submissions from all over the globe, from the UK, including London, Ireland, Scotland & Wales; Italy; Belgrade, Serbia; Germany; Poland; Australia; New Zealand; The United States; and Canada! The quality of the stories streaming in was so exceptional that we were able to fill a full, 65,000 word anthology with absolutely amazing and high quality horror stories in less than two months! In fact, we had to close our submissions early, moving our end date back from September 13, to July 13!
Closing our anthology’s submissions so much earlier than originally planned, however, left many authors shut out. It soon became clear to us here at EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Publishing, that there were just far too many quality horror writers out there to fit into one single anthology. We next landed upon making the Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups) brand an annual publication, every Fall/October, but as submissions to our original anthology continued to stream in, and the quality of the stories continued to astound us, we quickly realized that even an annual publication still wouldn’t fully accommodate the high number of amazingly talented authors of horror/extreme horror that exist today. We wanted to be able to publish, PAY and showcase as many new, up-and-coming horror writers as possible, as well as provide a new publishing outlet to already established horror writers who were starved for new places to submit their ongoing hard work and talent.
That is when the idea for turning Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups) into a Quarterly Publication was born.
Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups) Quarterly Publication will be released four times a year, on January 20, April 20, July 20, and October 20. The publication will officially launch with issue #1 on January 20, 2016. The submissions period runs year-round, and is conducted through Submittable. The word count limit for the Quarterly is 1,500-6,000 (each Quarterly will range between 30,000-40,000 words total), Stories accepted into the Quarterly publication will be paid $25 per story. All accepted writers will also receive one free contributor’s copy of the Quarterly that features their story.
Creepy Campfire Stories (for Grownups) strives to be a beacon of hope and service to struggling horror writers across the globe. We accept stories from any country (but they must be in English). And now for our submissions guidelines:
All stories must be submitted in English
12 pt. Times New Roman, DOUBLE SPACED
Must be a Word .doc or .docx file ONLY
We prefer NO HEADERS, including page numbers
Please set your auto indent to .2″ or higher, and no spaces between paragraphs
Word limit is 6,000 (hard), and minimum is 1,500
*Payment = $25 per story (reprints = $12.50) + one contributor’s copy
Please include a title page with pen name, story title, word count, contact e-mail and mailing address (for contributor’s copy)
*All authors published in the Creepy Campfire Quarterly will receive full contributor’s credit listing on Amazon, to facilitate links to author pages and publishing credit proofs.
*We ask for exclusive print and e-print rights to accepted stories for 6 months, beginning from publication date of the Quarterly edition your story appears in.
*We prefer original, previously unpublished works. However, reprints can be submitted. If a reprint is accepted for publication in the Quarterly, authors must sign an additional contract stating that the rights to their story have reverted and belong to them. *Reprints will be paid at a half-rate of $12.50.
Profanity allowed? –Of course, it’s a horror publication! Just try not to swear simply for profanity’s sake. Make sure ALL language is fully relevant to the character or tone of the story.
Sexual content allowed? –Of course! Just make certain it belongs in the story. We prefer the super-graphic descriptions be saved for the bloody parts of the story.
Is Gore allowed? –Seriously? You asked us THAT?! Leave this website now. It’s a HORROR publication!
Multiple subs allowed? -Yes, but try not to send in too many at once. Remember, each story will be read in its entirety. The more stories we get, the longer the response time grows.
Simultaneous subs allowed? –Yes. If we accept your story, however, it falls upon you to withdraw your story from all other submissions portals, and properly notify other publishers.
ALL horror is welcome, including ALL sub-genres (science fiction, speculative, magical, fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, psychological, historical, Urban Legend, Original Creepy Pasta, mystical, Occult and extreme). All stories submitted must be original and previously unpublished. *We will accept reprints, but if accepted, author must sign a contract stating that the reprinted story’s copyright belongs to them.
What we don’t want:
NO YA. Remember, this Quarterly is subtitled (for Grownups).
NO straight-up comedy. Levity is great, but we don’t want any full-tilt horror comedy, we want serious stories, designed to frighten, disturb, shock, or otherwise entertain readers.
We generally don’t censor, but we will most probably reject your story if it contains: animal torture or abuse/excessive suffering of animals/pets; graphic descriptions of incest/rape/child molestation/abuse/graphic depictions of pedophilia; racially or sexually offensive, or obviously prejudiced language or tone. We want horror, not ugly bullshit.
Questions? Shoot an e-mail to our owner and Senior Editor, Ms. Jennifer Word at [email protected]
Submittable link and submissions for the Quarterly Publication will open on July 13, 2015.