Author: Lauren McMenemy

Writing advice from famous authors

Writing advice from famous authors

By Lauren McMenemy

 

“The scariest moment is always just before you start,” says Stephen King. “After that, things can only get better.”

 

It’s true, but writing is hard. And scary. And it’s really easy to avoid it and go wash the dishes or something. 

 

But writing is also magical. And wondrous. And joyful. So we’ve gathered together some of the best writing advice from famous authors as a way to jolt every writer out there (OK, to jolt me, I’m my own problem) into action. Below we start with George Orwell’s famous rules for good writing, then some short and sharp tips from Mr King, before we deliver a whole host of different perspectives on the writing life, writing process, inspiration, and genre fiction.

 

What’s your favourite advice from famous authors? Let us know in the comments below!

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Trembling With Fear 12/4/2022

Hello, children of the dark. As you read this week’s issue, our American readers will likely still be recovering from Thanksgiving. I hope you all had a wonderful week, whatever you choose to mark. Thank you for allowing our humble zine into your lives every week, and thank you to Stuart for taking a chance on this unknown 40-something kid this summer when Steph Ellis stepped down. It’s a lot more time-intensive than I could ever have guessed, but I do enjoy talking to our writers and working with them to polish their stories. So thanks also to you, brave creators, who take the time to write and submit work to us and the open calls we list on Horror Tree. I firmly believe creatives make the world go round, and without us… well, let’s just not go there.

Anyways. I’m an Australian in England and all this open gratitude is making me feel icky, so let’s move on. I’ll keep it short and sweet for this, our first issue of DECEMBER (how did that happen?!), but shall take the time to remind you our Christmas themed special edition is still open for submissions to both short stories and drabbles. Check out the submission guidelines here (it’s about half way down the page), then send over your most festively dark works for Amanda’s final edition as specials coordinator. Yes, next year you’ll have a totally new crew for TWF (well, apart from Stuart who can never leave or the whole site will fall apart). More on that soon, I’m sure.

In this week’s Trembling main course, Jake Jerome has a divorced father take his uninterested teen to the insect house. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Christina Nordlander should’ve reconsidered that family walk
  • Alan Moskowitz is on the hunt for revenge, and
  • Ron Capshaw gets in trouble in space

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here. Remember, we’re currently CLOSED to short story submissions, but are always seeking drabbles – that’s a complete speculative story in exactly 100 words. I used to think WTF about that, but I’ve run some workshops on drabbles since taking over at TWF and I’ve quickly grown to appreciate the form.

Now it’s over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

First off, huge shout out to Lauren. She is so on top of things she had this post set 2 weeks in advance in preparation for her vacation. I feel like I’m struggling just to get my day to day duties done as of late 😉

Next up, more congratulations are in order! Amazing work to all of my author friends and acquaintances who have made Ellen Datlow’s Recommendations for Best Horror #14-long list! A huge shout out for our very own -! Also, authors we’ve featured in the past include Lee Murray for a variety of her work including some found in ‘Tortured Willows‘, Angela Yuriko Smith, S.P. Miskowski, Jeff Strand, and Bruce McAllister!

Brief Updates:

  • We’re still interviewing the potential replacement for our Specials Editor Amanda Headlee, with the holidays, communication from my side has been slow.
  • We’re currently making a major push for more author interviewers! If you love to talk to authors, please reach out!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Can authors use fake names?

Can authors use fake names?

By Lauren McMenemy

 

So you’ve worked through the creative kinks and put your blood sweat and tears into your writing. What happens next? Whether it’s a book, a short story, a poem, or even a screenplay, the chances are good that you want your next step to be publication – to put your hard work out into the world for others to enjoy. 

 

And when you release your words into the wild, you are highly likely to be asked what name you’d like to use. This is partly for identification of the author of the work, and partly so people can make a note and think, hey, I really liked that and I want to read more from this writer. 

 

Now comes the big decision: do you want your legal name, or your “real” name, to go with this work? Or do you want to stay away from it for some reason? 

 

If you answered yes to the latter, there is good news: it is perfectly legal to assume a different identity when publishing. 

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Trembling With Fear 11/27/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I hope those of you who mark Thanksgiving (in whatever form) had a fruitful day; I certainly have many American friends who go all-in!

As you read this, I will actually be out of the country for the first time since early June 2019. The husband and I are finally going on a post-covid trip abroad, settling in Rome for a week. And I am so excited. We both desperately need this break, so that’s what I’m thankful for!

Despite growing up surrounded by Italians and attending an all-girls Dominican convent school, I have yet to spend much time in Italy. It was the one place people back home thought I’d head for when I moved to Europe but, beyond the odd day trip and a week in Sicily, I’ve seen very little of the country. On the other hand, my husband has seen pretty much all of it. Rome is his favourite city, and there is much he wants to show me. For me, there was one stipulation for the trip: I had to do a day trip to Pompeii. I HAD to. I was obsessed with the story of that ill-fated city throughout my young years – Pompeii and the Bermuda Triangle, for some reason (of course I would write the dark stuff, huh?) – and I’m so glad we have the time to do it. 

Personally, I’m also looking forward to an injection of fresh air, fresh thinking, fresh creativity. The last few years have been really stagnant for me creatively, which is no surprise given all that’s been going on – burnout and lockdown included – so I’m hoping to soak up inspiration in the Eternal City. Come back renewed, reinforced. Ready. 

What are your Rome tips? Tweet me @novicenovelist or – if you are among the hordes leaving the newly-crowned Muskland – I’m also now on Mastodon at [email protected].

To this week’s Trembling main course, and Matthew Tyrer brings us the creepiest of little boys. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Cassandra Daucus gets in the motherly spirit
  • Josh Clark takes us below the surface, and 
  • Akshay Patwardhan is taken over by the spirit of running.

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here. Remember, we’re currently CLOSED to short story submissions, but are always seeking drabbles – that’s a complete story in exactly 100 words, and a real test of your craft. We’re looking for anything darkly speculative in genres including horror, scifi, fantasy, mythology, folklore. What makes you tremble in the dark? Let us know.

But now, it’s over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

For everyone living in the United States – I hope you had a filling Thanksgiving and didn’t spend too much on Black Friday which is the messiest of made up holidays (and not really the best time to find deals anymore.)

Quick round up:
– We’re currently making a major push for more author interviewers! If you love to talk to authors, please reach out!
– Still exploring who will be replacing Amanda Headlee for our specials, we have a few potentials that all seem like they would be a good fit!
– Currently exploring alternative social media options in case Twitter bites the dust. Hive, Mastadon, post are all contendors. That being said, You can also follow us at:

YouTube: youtube.com/horrortree

Instagram: instagram.com/horror_tree

Facebook: facebook.com/horrortree

Tumblr: tumblr.com/thehorrortree

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Epeolatry Book Review: Into The Forest edited by Lindy Ryan

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.

Alien: Inferno's Fall

Title: Into the Forest
Editor: Lindy Ryan
Publisher:  Black Spot Books
Genre: Fairy Tale / Dark Fantasy
Release Date: 8th, November, 2022

Synopsis: Deep in the dark forest, in a cottage that spins on birds’ legs behind a fence topped with human skulls, lives the Baba Yaga. A guardian of the water of life, she lives with her sisters and takes to the skies in a giant mortar and pestle, creating tempests as she goes. Those who come across the Baba Yaga may find help, or hindrance, or horror. She is wild, she is woman, she is witch—and these are her tales.

Edited by Lindy Ryan, this collection brings together some of today’s leading voices of women in horror as they pay tribute to the Baba Yaga, and go Into the Forest.

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Trembling With Fear 11/20/2022

Hello, children of the dark – and it really is getting dark out there, huh? I sat down to start writing this at 4pm London time, and I needed the light on despite sitting underneath a skylight. I’m never sure if I like the cold, dark, rainy short days or the long, bright sunny ones; the truth is probably both, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

These long, cold nights are, of course, perfect for curling up with a good story or three, whether you’re reading or writing them. And given I’ve been getting up on this soapbox every week asking you to write and submit to us, I thought it was time I give an insight into what happens once you press “send” on the form. 

With the size and age of this site, you might think there are loads of us behind the scenes – alas, no. The Trembling With Fear team is myself, Stuart (the founder of Horror Tree), and Amanda, who looks after the specials, unholy trinities and serials. We all volunteer with this site alongside our day jobs, and it’s very much a labour of love. 

An important note to start with: Before you submit and we get involved, please double check your story fits our submission guidelines. We do not accept stories with hate speech, rape, killing/torture of kids or pets, and more. We also don’t accept reprints, so if you submit something to us that is subsequently accepted for publication by another site, please let us know and withdraw your story. 

When you pass Go on the TWF board, a few things happen behind the scenes. First, one of the team will see the email come in and log it on our all-powerful spreadsheet (designed by former TWF editor Steph Ellis, it is the one true spreadsheet to rule them all). That person will also send you an email to say we’ve received it, and we’ll get back to you soon. How long that “soon” is will depend on a lot of things, but we aim to get back to you within a few weeks. 

Once your story is in the system, we all read it and make our comments. Once we reach a consensus, we’ll email you to let you know the outcome. This will be one of three things: we accept it; we thank you but won’t be able to publish it (and we always try to give feedback in this case); or we like it but feel it needs more work before it’s suitable for our site. If we ask you to revise your piece, it is always up to you; it’s never an order, and you have the prerogative to say no thanks and we all move on. But if we’ve asked you for revisions, it means we like your story and want to help you improve it for our audience. It’s important to remember that all sites and publications have different audiences, and you might want to try to find a different home for your piece as it is. That’s always an option!

That email is not the end of the road. If and when we accept the piece, we’ll ask you to sign a digital contract giving us the right to publish it, and once that’s signed by both parties we move to scheduling the story. What that magic date is will depend on how many stories we have waiting in the queue. For drabbles, it will usually be fairly prompt because we publish three of those every week. Short stories are another matter as we only publish one each week, and it will depend on the time of year you submit and are accepted; I’ve learned in my short time in this chair that there is a definite ebb and flow to these things! At the moment, we’re closed to short stories because we had an absolute rush of submissions between summer and Halloween; when I looked at the schedule to get this week’s pieces ready, I saw we are full right up until early summer 2023. That’s a long time to wait for publication, which is why we’re closed for a while. 

But don’t worry; we’ll always send you a note in the week before your story is published so you know to keep an eye out for it. We share published pieces on our social media accounts, and in our newsletter, too. Find details of how to follow these over on our contact page

And that’s the long and the short of it; it’s a fairly standard process, but we get a lot of first-timers submitting to TWF so I hope that helps to settle some nerves. I promise, we don’t bite! For now, take some inspiration from those who’ve been through this process: this week’s Trembling main course sees Charles Cole have some serious issues in the bathroom. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Helen De Cruz ponders what they see
  • RJ Meldrum hears a whisper on the wind, and
  • Don Money has trouble in space

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here. Remember, we’re currently CLOSED to short story submissions, but are always seeking drabbles – that’s a complete story in exactly 100 words, and a real test of your craft. We’re looking for anything darkly speculative – it doesn’t have to be a super gory horror story; we don’t get enough dark sci-fi and fantasy! And I’m very much in the mood for gothic tales as the nights draw closer…

Over to you, Stuart.

 

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Last week I said things were crazy, imagine how crazy they are now that we’ve gotten a new chocolate lab puppy named Cocoa!
Crazy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So, what did we do this week?
– Found out the sad news that Amanda Headlee will be stepping down as our TWF Special Editor at the end of the year. We’re already talking about a couple of candidates to help out.
– We’re currently making a major push for more author interviewers! If you love to talk to authors, please reach out!
– UK Readers, we’re currently giving away 3 Copies of ‘Origins of The Wheel of Time’
– I’ve been working on a new home office for awhile. 3 pieces of furniture have been stuck in THE SUPPLY CHAIN SHORTAGE and have finally arrived. So. Erm. More on that soon! I’m streamling my entire setup to help with both my day job AND Horror Tree. So, neat!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 11/13/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I am emerging from my covid cocoon, though still coughing and spluttering all over the place. I’m thankful that, though this is my second round with the virus, I have managed to emerge relatively unscathed after a few weeks of rest and healing. Many others have not been that lucky, and I very much do not take anything for granted when it comes to my health. 

Not that long ago, I was at the very end of my tether. Something had to give, and for a while it looked like it would be my health that gave up. I had been in burnout mode, getting by on fumes, for years and my mental health finally cracked. I had a burnout-driven breakdown. I was fortunate to be able to take a year out from work and really focus on getting better, and while I’m nowhere near recovered yet, I am back out in the world. And it’s writing and reading that helped me through. I tracked my recovery via a Substack newsletter (my way of staying accountable), and I spent many hours with my nose in books, both non-fiction (OK, OK, self-help) and fiction. I got back into journaling. I joined the London Writers Salon and got cracking on writing that novel I kept saying I’d write one day. (That novel has since been shelved because it just wasn’t ready to come out of my brain. Too much too soon, perhaps?) I found myself, and I continue to find myself every week, every day, with the help of this wonderful global community of genre writers. 

I’m grateful that so many others are speaking up about their mental health journeys, too, and that the Horror Writers Association launched its Mental Health Initiative over the summer. Speaking out and speaking up helps those who haven’t yet found their voices, which I guess is why, when I opened up a document to start this week’s TWF intro, I found myself reflecting on the last couple of years. Please, if you need someone to talk to, please reach out to someone you trust.

But you didn’t come here for me nor my electioneering, so let’s turn to the task at hand: Ron Capshaw takes us in search of Bigfoot for this week’s Trembling main course. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Finbar Hussey hears the fox’s cry
  • Margo Rife reminisces while sorting some boxes, and
  • Santiago Eximeno seeks mythic help with a problem.

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. Remember, we’re currently CLOSED to short story submissions, but are always seeking drabbles – that’s a complete story in exactly 100 words, and a real test of your craft. We’re looking for anything darkly speculative – it doesn’t have to be a super gory horror story; we don’t get enough dark sci-fi and fantasy! And I’m very much in the mood for gothic tales as the nights draw closer…

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I feel like I’ve been stuck in a slump lately. I’ve been getting writing done, but as our redesign has been pushed back until 2023, I feel like I’ve been treading water. I haven’t had a chance to make any major changes to the site lately and am unsure what we even might do in the near future outside of the fact that we may be switching to another network, with Twitter being an increasing headache these days. I’m not sold on Mastodon, but it seems like it might be the next feasible option, I’m just not a fan of how it allows you to ‘find’ new people, which is something that was much easier on Twitter. We’ll see. If you’re switching networks, what do you plan to focus on?

Also, speaking of the redesign, if there are any changes that YOU have been hoping to see, please reach out on our contact page!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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An Interview With Erika T. Wurth

An Interview With Erika T. Wurth

By Lauren McMenemy

You can’t help but bring your personal history to your fiction, even if you’re desperately trying to *not* “write what you know”. But Erika T. Wurth actively embraces what she knows – the places, the people, the landscapes, the stories – to deliver chilling tales steeped in the real world.

 

An urban Native writer of Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee descent, Denver-based Wurth is the author of one of the season’s most talked about books, White Horse. This one follows two novels, two collections of poetry, and a short story collection, but it’s her “big publisher” debut. It’s seen her hit the Seattle Times’s list of 5 books from debut authors worth having on your radar in Fall 2022, while White Horse has also been named one of the most anticipated books by the Seattle Times, LitHub, Boston Magazine, Kirkus, BookRiot, Boston.com, and SheReads.

 

What’s the fuss all about, though? Erika sat with Horror Tree to talk about the tag “literary horror,” controversial deaths, the increasing representation for Indigenous horror writers, and extremely fluffy dogs.

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