Author: Selene MacLeod

“Writing for Themed Anthologies,” with Keith DeCandido, Randee Daw, and Michael A. Ventrella

REVIEW: “Writing for Themed Anthologies,” with Keith DeCandido, Randee Dawn, and Michael A. Ventrella 

A long time ago, an editor (who has since passed away), gave me a compliment–I wasn’t as much of a noob as a lot of writers who had only published a few things. That is, I tended to make less of an ass of myself than other writers who were relatively new at the game… Okay, that sounds rude, and I don’t mean it to be, but before I started trying to send out stories for rejection, I mean consideration, I did a lot of reading and searching Internet groups and articles aimed at writers. I made mistakes of course, as most writers do, but I never had to ask the question “Where do I start?” 

If you’re asking that question, “Writing for Themed Anthologies” might hold a few answers for you. The video first aired as a live stream on September 2, 2020. There’s little information in the video description, which would have been helpful. I’m not sure if the video is part of a larger panel, or just some sci-fi writers talking about their stuff. Channel and chat host Michael A. Ventrella ( an attorney and writer and in his bio he’s described as a “fixture at science fiction conventions.” His guests for the stream are Randee Dawn and Keith DeCandido. Mr. DeCandido ( is a writer and editor with a large body of work including media tie-ins to a number of popular franchises, and seems partial to the Star Trek universe. Ms. Dawn ( ) is a journalist who has published short fiction and has a novel coming out in 2022. All three speakers have an extensive background in writing and publishing, although their main experience seems to be mostly science fiction or speculative work, especially media tie-ins, rather than horror. 

Taking Submissions: Midnight in the Stagecoach

Deadline: April 30th, 2022
Payment: $ 0.06/word
Theme: Horror set in the 1800s Old West

Evil awaits you on the dusty trail…

With the success of our first three MIDNIGHT anthologies (Midnight In The Graveyard, Midnight In The Pentagram, and Midnight From Beyond The Stars), it’s time to roll out the 4th in our ever growing series – MIDNIGHT IN THE STAGECOACH!

Silver Shamrock Publishing is announcing the Open Call for the MIDNIGHT IN THE STAGECOACH anthology.


The Horror Tree Presents: An Interview With Zin E. Rocklyn

Selene – Welcome to the Horror Tree, and thanks for agreeing to an interview. First, tell us a bit about yourself, as there doesn’t seem to be much out there on social media. How did you start writing? 


Zin – Hi, Horror Tree World! I’m Zin and I write pretty much everything within the Speculative Fiction realm with a dash of horror. I’m of Trinidadian descent which also influences my work. I began writing when I was a child, maybe six or seven, when all the books I loved didn’t feature a child like me.


Selene – What about horror draws you, as an author? Your work seems to include elements of fantasy and magic realism, as well. 


Taking Submissions: Pixie Forest Publishing Untitled Horror Anthology

Deadline: May 15th, 2021
Payment: $10.00
Theme: Horror stories with depth

Pixie Forest Publishing is seeking horror stories for our upcoming anthology.

Give us twists, terror, and excitement. Chill us to the bone. Give us nightmares. Don’t just scare us, create a plot and let us see your characters.

We are not looking for stories with graphic rape or paedophilia scenes. Violence and gore just for the sake of being violent and gory is not what we are wanting. If it is essential to the plot, include it. If not, leave it for a longer story.

Submissions are open until 11:59 EST on May 15th, 2021.

Stories should be between 1500 and 3000 words.

All submissions must be written in Shunn Format. Please remember to include the title, author’s name, word count, and contact information at the top of the first page. This is so the publisher can easily find you to contact you. Not including your email will guarantee no response.


WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Erin Shaw

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror.

I came to horror early and late lol – I was 18 before my interest really cemented. I was into the romantic Anne Rice type vampire when I was a child but that was to escape from bullying into a place where I couldn’t be hurt. Though Rice is a type of horror, the first book to make me want to explore the genre was Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. I followed up with their Exquisite Corpse and there was no going back. I felt alone in the world- I was female, bisexual, and very mentally ill. The world felt not built for me. Lost Souls gave me the character of Ghost – someone who is different in every tiny way possible but who has a special way about him that made him completely at ease with himself but also deeply compassionate and loving. I could work with that.

Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”

I’d say that if their first priority is to read good stories then they will only achieve that goal by ensuring diversity in their reading habits. Every good writer has good stories but the richness of any particular author’s life experiences can never be replicated. If you don’t read books by women, POC, or LGBTQIA+ folks you will only hear the language of the straight white male. No matter how wonderful their stories are – and they are – you will never know the good stories that come out of women and minorities. So if you care about a good story, care about the stories of all people. And the fact that people make statements such as those are exactly why women in horror month is important.

WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Loren Rhoads

Loren Rhoads is the author of a space opera trilogy, a duology about a succubus and her angel, and 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, a cemetery travel guide. Her most recent book is a collection of short stories called Unsafe Words. Find out more at 

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror. 

I fell in love with Count Dracula as a kid, watching Sir Graves Ghastly on TV on Saturday afternoons. My mom, who was a librarian, pointed out that a lot of the movie monsters I liked had started out as characters in books. I started reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and never looked back.


Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”

WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions with Sarah Gribble

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror.

Great to be here! I live in dreary Ohio. I think we’ve had two days of sun in the last month and it’s currently fifteen degrees outside, which is great for a horror-writing mindset, but not so great for going outdoors, which is another thing I love. I have a menagerie of pets and am currently fighting my cat for keyboard rights.

I’ve been into horror since I discovered my first Goosebumps book. It was a love affair from then on. As I got older and read more mature horror stories, I started to realize horror wasn’t all about jump scares and spooky things. Most horror has an underlying theme and points out some seedy underbelly of society that needs to be changed. I try to keep to that in my stories.

Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”

To anyone who just looks at how good a story is, I say good for them! It’s refreshing. Though I also wonder if it’s quite true. There’s bias when you look at book covers, whether you know it or not. Female authors are less likely to be successful in the more “male” genres, like horror. I know quite a few women who use pseudonyms or their initials for their byline so as to not advertise they’re female. Luckily, I’ve seen some change in this in the past several years. More women are refusing to hide their real names and forcing people to get over the fact that a woman wrote a horror story. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to celebrate women in horror: to support these women and to acknowledge that gender plays absolutely zero role in producing a good story, no matter the genre.

The other reason I love Women in Horror Month? It showcases horror in an empowering light. Unfortunately, there’s a bias against horror writers in general. People tend to think we’re going to hex them or somehow associating with us is going to get them a one-way ticket to hell. Seriously. At least a dozen people have told me this. Some members of my husband’s family doesn’t acknowledge that I write at all because they don’t want to discuss the fact that I write horror. We’re “icky” and “weird’ and I’ve heard the line “why would a nice girl like you want to write that trash?” more times than I can count. I love what I do and the bad rap horror gets really bugs me. So this month is a time to say “hey, I write horror and I’m not a horrible person.”

Who are some Women In Horror (or other women) who have influenced your work, and why?

Mary Shelley, Ania Ahlborn, and Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire). I remember reading Frankenstein in 10th grade and getting so furious at how the monster was treated. I wrote an entire book report on it that was basically just four pages of ranting about how people are the worst. I don’t think a book has ever affected me that much. I don’t necessarily write my stories to make people jump up in a fury and march into the street, but I do try to add a bit of that injustice in there when I can. And Ania and Mira/Seanan are just amazing and their books scare the crap out of me. There aren’t many things that can get my heart racing, but these ladies’ books can.

2020 will probably be remembered as a TERRIBLE year for many of us; tell me something GOOD that happened in the past 12 months.

My dark fantasy book, Surviving Death, was published! Which was stressful and scary, but overall a great thing. It was a #1 New Release for over two weeks!

What have you got planned for Women in Horror Month, and the coming months of 2021?

I normally do giveaways and things like that, but I’m super busy at work this month, so I don’t have a ton planned for my readers. I am sharing any work I see from women in horror to my fans. I have very loose plans for the rest of 2021. I made a ton of plans for 2020 and that was a bust, so I’m toning it down a bit this year. Lower the bar, you know? What I do know is I’ll be finishing two books this year, and one’s a gothic horror novel.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Thanks for participating in Women in Horror Month!

I’ve been following Horror Tree for years now and I’ve become friends with a lot of you that lurk around here. I’m so happy to be part of this awesome community! Keep reading and writing horror and don’t let the naysayers get you down. Oh, and go buy a book by a female horror author you’ve never read. (And leave a review!)

Sarah Gribble is the author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She released Surviving Death, her first novel, in 2020 and is currently working on her next book. Follow her on Instagram or join her email list for free scares.


WiHM 12: Quick Six Questions With Scarlett R. Algee

Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thank you for participating in Women In Horror Month. First, tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in horror. 

Hi! I’m Scarlett R. Algee, and I’m the managing editor of JournalStone Publishing and Trepidatio Publishing—you may know us from our releases such as Gwendolyn Kiste’s The Rust Maidens and Sarah Read’s The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, both Bram Stoker Award® winners. I’m also an executive producer and writer for the podcast The Wicked Library, and I write the odd bit of fiction in my spare time.


My interest in horror goes back a way, though I was a college student when I first started seriously reading horror fiction (I had a fairly conservative upbringing, and horror wasn’t really a part of my childhood). I have a deep fascination with the visceral and the disturbing—I was that biology student who actually enjoyed dissection!—so it’s been really nice to discover first the genre of horror, and then the community.

Why is Women In Horror Month important, and what do you say to someone who says ‘Oh, I don’t care if it’s by a man, a woman, etc., as long as it’s a good story’?”