Meet William Cook: Horror writer, poet, dad, delver into the darkest of minds and ghost lover (her name is Gladys). READ ON!
Ruschelle: William, as a horror writer, I’m glad to see you prepared for our interview. You look good in a top hat and apron stained with blood and entrails.
Speaking of blood and entrails, your stories are not for the squeamish. And that’s just what many readers of the serial killer genre love. What kind of research have you done to create your characters? Did you study specific serial killers from history?
William: There aren’t any particular serial killer cases that inform my stories and I tend to research as much about abnormal psychology as I do about serial killers (in general) and their methods and characteristics. I read both fiction and non-fictional accounts involving serial killer and watch documentaries in order to get a grasp of the psychological aspects of these freaks. I have a large collection of old Detective magazines that are very lurid and descriptive and these provide great fodder for researching crime and criminals. These are the same types of magazines that many of the serial killers from the 70s to the 90s used to read.
Ruschelle: What’s your literary “body count?”
William: Far too many to count although I feel quite happy that my count is only a figurative one and not literal. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! (winks)
Ruschelle: You’re also an artist. Your pieces reek brutality and dark, sinister entities. My favorite piece is a black and white illustration of a clownferatu. (My name for it) It speaks to me. But I don’t want to go to jail- so I don’t listen. When working with your artwork does your writing inspire your pieces OR do you pull inspiration from what you write- from your art?
William: The piece in question was inspired by none other than Mr. Stephen King’s ‘PennyWise the Clown’ from IT. So in that regard my inspiration came from sources other than my own imagination – all I did was reinterpret it with my own skill-set and materials at hand (charcoal and paper). Usually most of my artworks stem from an interest in a particular subject and are influenced by both visual and textual works. Sometimes, as a happy coincidence, a story or an illustration I have created will inspire a companion piece to go with it.
Ruschelle: Do you have a favorite piece? What is it?
William: I don’t really have a favorite. I get a bigger kick out of other people enjoying them, rather than having a favorite. As soon as they’re done I tend to distance myself from them and move on to the next one. You can see most of the ones I rate as worth public viewing here on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thewilliamcook/
Ruschelle: Fun question- Speaking of Clowns, they’re hot right now thanks to the remake of Stephen King’s It and Twisty the Clown from AHS. If you could be any killer clown for a day (and I can’t prove you aren’t now but if I find out you are- I won’t tell), which do you identify with and why? GO.
William: Mmmmmm –killer clowns crack me up as I don’t find them particularly scary. In fact, I find them quite comical. Perhaps the scariest one for me was a real one – the serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s alter-ego, ‘Pogo.’ As far as fictional ones I guess that King’s ‘Pennywise’ rates well for me as I have been involved with this one since reading IT many years ago.
Ruschelle: You’re more recent art work makes use of computer images along with more traditional mediums. What prompted you to take a modern tech approach to your art?
William: I bought Photoshop and loved the freedom that resulted – you can create so much more digitally than with traditional mediums (in my opinion) and it’s so much cleaner e.g. no cleanup, messy brushes and paint etc.
Ruschelle: You’ve recently completed your Master’s thesis, on serial killers no less, which leaves you more time to focus on fiction writing again. Even though you’ve covered serial killers in your book ‘Blood Related’ did your extended research help you gain any new insight into the deviation?
William: No, not really. I’m not proud to say but my knowledge of these abhorrent humans is quite extensive and was firmly in place before writing my thesis, which incidentally only touches on fictional serial killers.
Ruschelle: Jason from Friday the 13th or Michael Meyers from Halloween?
William: I am a big Halloween fan – especially the original series of films starring Jamie lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance. One of the best slasher franchises in my opinion. In saying that I did enjoy Rob Zombie’s reinterpretations.
Ruschelle: Good answer! Michael Meyers is my favorite scamp too. Let’s see, you have written the novel; Blood Relation and short story collection; Dreams of Thanatos. You have even penned books of poetry; Corpus Delicti and Moment of Freedom. You’ve proven you are a man who can adapt his writing to different styles. But we all have that “favorite child” that we continue to nurture and dote on. Even though we don’t always want to admit it. For example, you have 4 lovely daughters. I promise I won’t tell them which one of them is your favorite child (LOL) …..but of your writing, what’s your preference?
William: Tough question as my answer tends to fluctuate depending on my mood. When I’m in a dark mood I write the dark stuff – Horror and psychological thrillers – perhaps as a form of catharsis. When I’m pensive I tend to write poetry as it serves as a great medium to philosophize and wax lyrically. And when I’m upbeat and positive I tend to lean towards non-fiction as I find it comes easier to me in that frame of mind than at other times. Despite the changeable preferences I’m never far away from my first love – scary stories, and will probably die still penning things that go ‘bump in the night!
Ruschelle: Have any of your girls been bitten by dad’s writing bug?
William: Yes! Both my little girls, Sienna (9) and Leila (7) are keen story-tellers and have written enough each to fill a small book. I am planning on helping them self-publish their work in the school holidays.
Ruschelle: Did you sprinkle any of yourself in Blood Related? The upright, family man Detective Ray Truman or one of the Cunningham brothers who are depraved serial killers? Isn’t there a little bit of ourselves in the stories we write?
William: For sure. I think any fictional work has some element of truth in it that stems from the author’s own experience/s of life. In my case, writing about taboo subjects is my vent – that is, rather than doing these horrible things in real life, I write about them and that seems to satisfy the demons that lurk in the dark realms of my brain. The same, of course, applies to the heroic actions of my ‘good’ characters – in essence, yes, I live vicariously through my stories and characters.
Ruschelle: You hail from New Zealand. Is there any ‘lore’ or hauntings in your country that has intrigued you and have squirmed their way into your stories or art?
William: New Zealand is a very new country in the whole scheme of things – colonial settlement is less than 200 years old and the indigenous peoples (the Maori and the Mori Ori) have their own cultural legends and myths dating back approximately 500 years before that when they first occupied the land. So in this respect there are two main threads of myth and legend where tales of ghosts and lore originate in New Zealand. There seems to be only a few tales that really stand out, but we do have a bloody colonial and pre-colonial history that is ripe for turning into some solid horror fiction, which I plan to do at some point.
Ruschelle: Many new writers out there would love to know your writing “routine” or ritual. It may inspire them to try something new to spur on their own writing practice. Tell us a bit of your routine when preparing to write.
William: Unfortunately, my routine is that I don’t have a routine so I’m not the best person to ask about this subject. It is something I am trying to develop as I get older, but I tend to rely on the ‘muse’ and shape my stories in my head until I have enough to put down on paper. I make notes with pen and notebook first and create a basic outline with first paragraphs and go from there. I guess, my main routine for writing is to read as it will inspire me to create stories (usually).
Ruschelle: Would you rather be the first man to be probed by a brand new visiting alien species that no one has been probed by before OR would you rather be “romanced” by a 100 year old ghost named Gladys who read your last book and is now your number one fan? I’m really looking forward to your answer here….
William: Ummm – I try to avoid being ‘probed’ at all costs so I guess I’ll have to go with Gladys. She sounds like a nice ol’ gal. Ghost sex is nothing new to me (winks).
Ruschelle: Oooh we’ll save THAT for another interview! Heh heh. In addition to writing fiction you have also written non-fiction, ‘Secrets of Best-Selling Self-Published Authors’ being one of them. You’ve mentioned to me that you are now publishing your own books. Why did you decide to go that route?
William: Having gone down the traditional publishing route before with most of my main titles having been published by other publishers, I realized that I could do more effectively what they could not. Most small-medium publishing companies have little-to-no-time to promote their authors so the marketing always fell back to me anyway. Editorial decisions were sometimes dubious and destructive in terms of the intended effect of the book and took away any control. I had some good experiences with publishers such as Black Bed Sheet books but at the end of the day I realized that with my publishing and marketing background I could get my books ranking higher if I had control over the ‘dashboard’ end of the publishing process. After receiving contractual rights back for my novel ‘Blood Related’ I decided to do it myself and managed to get my book ranking highly on Amazon and actually making good money out of it for a change. Ultimately, the huge increase in royalties and the creative control determined my commitment to publishing my own work. I still outsource editing, formatting and cover design so as not to let myself get complacent with the quality of my work but I am very happy with my decision and I’d recommend it to any author thinking of going for it. Check out my website http://selfpublishingsuccessfully.com for lots of good tips and information about the process.
Ruschelle: Black Bed Sheet Books is awesome, if I may say so myself. And I just did. But any who…If you were lucky enough to visit one haunted/creepy place in the world where you could find inspiration and write your next book where would that place be?
William: I’d love to do the ‘Haunted London’ tour one day.
Ruschelle: I’m going to stow away in your suitcase for that one. Sooo….what is your favorite way to dispose of a body? As per your research, of course.
William: Have to be fire – no DNA and negligible remains. Bwahahaha
Ruschelle: Fire. Nice choice! Very toasty. Your new book Dark Deaths: Selected Horror Fiction, is out soon. Could you give us a little taste of your new offering?
William: This collection is my second (first – Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales) and will be the last one I put out for quite a while as I am now devoting myself to writing novels and novellas. It includes a bunch that have previously been published in anthologies and magazines and a couple of unpublished pieces also. The stories are pretty solid in my estimation and I hope readers will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Should be out end of September/early October via Amazon exclusively.
Ruschelle: Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview? Ya know, perversions, bank account number, the usual…
William: Ha ha ha – not really, just thank you for the interview and the great questions. Hello to any new readers out there and old ones alike.
Ruschelle: You’re giving away some of your blood and sweat online. How can we get a nibble of your works?
William: If you check out my website you can get a copy of my novel-length first collection Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales, in the digital format of your choice, absolutely free. All you have to do is sign-up for my rather infrequent newsletter here: http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/subscribe-now.html
Deadline: November 30th, 2017
Payment: $15 (more depending on Kickstarter) and a contributor’s copy
Once again, we are inviting submissions from the world at large! WELCOME TO PACIFIC CITY is a sort-of shared world project: we name the place, you bring it to life through the mediums of science fiction, fantasy or horror. Stories should be set in our fictionalised Pacific City, and a key element should be heroism and/or villainy, be it “super” or otherwise. You can check here for an inspirational guide to the city, or download the short Pacific City Manifesto for other useful information.
However, although this is primarily a speculative fiction project, we are also open to stories that help make Pacific City feel like a real place. Not every inspiring (or insidious) story demands the out of the ordinary for impact — but if a masked avenger wanders by while you’re bringing us down to earth, well, that won’t do your chances any harm…
Although we can only offer a nominal fee up front, all contributors will also receive a physical copy of the collection. In addition, we plan to run a Kickstarter campaign prior to publication in an attempt to raise funds for increased author fees. The editor has previously organised two successful fiction-related campaigns, including one for our 2015 anthology — this is no guarantee of future success, but it bodes well!
Maximum Word Count: 7,500.
This is a very firm limit. Pieces between 2,500 and 5,000 words preferred. Flash fiction will be considered, but the longer a story the more it needs to impress.
Submission Deadline: November 30th, 2017.
Minimum Compensation:USD$15 on acceptance of contract, plus one contributor’s copy of the print-on-demand paperback on publication.
All submissions must be the original work of the author — we will not accept any story incorporating copyrighted characters or material, fan fiction, etc.
We require First Print and Digital rights, plus a six month period of exclusivity from the date of publication. All other rights remain entirely with the authors.
While this anthology is intended for an adult readership, this is not a market for pornographic or offensively extreme content. “Artistic justification” is a good (if subjective) argument, and we shall (subjectively) assess each story according to its (subjective) merits.
We welcome writers of any and all backgrounds and submissions exploring diverse perspectives, provided they do not seek only to attack or demean those of others.
Acceptable document types are RTF, DOC or DOCX.
Straightforward formatting is preferred for editorial convenience:
Please use an easy-reading font (Times New Roman 12pt, etc.).
Do not insert empty lines between paragraphs, or first-line indents.
Use a single # to represent essential text breaks.
Use italics for italics, don’t underline. Smart (“curly”) punctuation is fine.
If your manuscript includes any unusual formatting, please alert the editors when submitting and have a really good, story-related reason.
All submissions should be emailed to Andrew at:
andrew [dot] leon [dot] hudson [at] gmail [dot] com
If you can’t figure out how to turn the above into a working email address, please consider this page your form rejection.
If you can, then we look forward to reading your submissions!
Payment: We pay £3.50 for original flash fiction, £5 for original writing articles, and £6 for original short stories over 1000 words. For all reprints we pay £2.50.
Note: Reprints Allowed
Monsters everywhere are hungry, so we need you to write for us!
Here at Feed Your Monster we seek only the very tastiest, most unique delicacies for fussy monsters everywhere. We don’t serve school dinners or ready meals or cold leftovers. Our monsters want something satisfying to sink their hungry teeth into and we aim to deliver.
We love to dish up lighthearted fiction with a sprinkling of horror and a pickled garnish. We want original, fantastic, funny, gory, and scary all in the same course. To please us you’ll need to cook up your very best.
What do we want?
Our bread and butter. We love flash fiction. We prefer it short and snappy, but with buckets of flavour and a shot of dark humour. Send us your snacks and appetisers.
Maximum word count 1000 words.
We prefer bite-sized stories, however every now and then we need something really meaty. If you can supply a bone chilling tale to pile high the greediest plate then we want to see it.
Maximum word count 3000 words
We’re seeking well structured, dynamic pieces designed to help writers refine their skill. Can you help us pen the perfect plot, create heroes we root for, villains we love to hate, tips on prose and writing success? If so, we want to hear from you.
Maximum word count 1500 words
The Finer Details
One submission at a time please, wait for a response on your first submission before submitting another.
Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere if we have not already responded.
We do consider reprints provided the rights have reverted back to you, however we pay a marked down price for these see the payments section and please note, if your story is a reprint please say so in the submission email.
We welcome new and experienced writers. You may send us a bio with your submission if you like, however it’s the story we are interested in first and foremost.
Only a handful of stories will make the cut each month so make sure you send something extra tasty for the monster.
You can either paste the story into the body of the message, or attach a document.
As Feed Your Monster has only a very small amount of staff please allow three months for us to respond, after which you may query your submission. You can retract your submission at anytime by emailing Rinoa Cameron at the above address.
We don’t believe in free dinners. Every story or article we accept will receive a small payment to thank you for your hard work.
We pay £3.50 for original flash fiction, £5 for original writing articles, and £6 for original short stories over 1000 words. For all reprints we pay £2.50.
You will receive payment once you have agreed to our contract, which we will send upon accepting your submission. You will also receive the opportunity to have any books you wish to promote and up to two chosen webpages or Facebook pages featured in the Writer’s Buffet section of our website.
Payments are done via paypal with no other form of payment available.
Feed Your Monster purchases First Electronic Rights and/or (your contract will stipulate) limited one-time, non-exclusive rights to audio. All stories are copyright of and credited to their authors, however by submitting to us you are agreeing that you are in possession of the correct rights to the story/article. Please tell us if it is a reprint.
An important note to consider: If you sell your First Electronic Rights to Feed Your Monster, it is worth remembering that most other publications will consider it a published work that can only be sold going forwards as a reprint. This will limit the number of markets available to the piece in the future and will also reduce the pay rate you may be able to receive. Therefore, before submitting to us, please be certain that selling your First Electronic Rights for our token payment is something you are happy to proceed with. After all, we care about our writers and only want what’s best for you.
Tips for success
Keep it clean – we love a good scary, gory tale and we don’t even mind the odd F-bomb, but some things are just too disgusting to eat. We’re not looking for extreme horror here.
Read our ezine – there’s no better way to find out what we like!
Tidy up your mess – check your spellings and do your writing homework. Stories littered with mistakes will be fed straight to the monsters in our rejection bin.
Freak us out – be creepy or weird or creepy and weird. Make your story smell better (or perhaps worse) than the rest.
And good luck – sometimes it doesn’t matter how amazing a story is, it may just not be right for us. If we reject you don’t be disheartened. We want you to be the very best writer you can be. We love writers, we care for writers, we exist for writers.
Deadline: October 31st, 2017
Payment: $20 per story.
ANTIMATTER publishes flash fiction and story experiments inspired by the latest science news and discoveries.
We’re most interested in flash fiction, but we’re also open to story experiments, narrative games, and text messager-based stories.
HOW IT WORKS
First, find a recent scientific story, headline, or discovery that sparks your imagination. (View science headlines here. View scientific story prompts here.) Then, use that real science headline to inform, drive, or inspire an original flash science fiction story.
A short story up to 500 words (about one single-spaced page that can be read aloud in about five minutes).
A story with a plot (though we’re open to creative interpretation).
A story linked to a recent science headline, new discovery, or new hypothesis or theory.
Writers are encouraged to experiment with the flash fiction story form. For example, your story could be framed as a lab report, scientific article, message transcript, or a poem, or a script. It’s not required, but preference is given to stories crafted to feel real – like they really happened. Such stories can include many links to sources, authoritative quotes, and other techniques that lead the reader to suspend disbelief.
HOW TO SUBMIT A STORY
We use Submittable to manage story submissions. When you send us your story via Submittable, you will need to include a link to the article that inspired your story as well as a short bio.
You will receive notice if your story is accepted within five days of submission.
Payment is sent within 21 days of notice of acceptance.
Antimatter will promote your story via social media, potentially including paid promotion, and via our email newsletter.
Antimatter Magazine pays $20 per story.
We issue payment within 21 days of story publication.
Additionally, we reserve the right to offer you more money for additional reprinting in ANTIMATTER anthologies.
In exchange for the fee we pay for your story, we ask for first North American serial rights and First Electronic Rights. Here’s a good, simple explanation of those rights. What does first publication mean?
Your story will be published on AntimatterMag.com.
Your story might be syndicated to our Medium publication at Medium.com/AntimatterMag.
A link to your story will be distributed to our email list.
Your story will be available to our other channels, including AntimatterMag.com, RSS, and through anthologized issues, which can appear on e-readers and other devices, and in our AntimatterMag.com archives.
Also, unless arrangements are made in advance, we reserve exclusive rights to published
content for 60 days. This means no other posting of the accepted story anywhere on the Web, or in print in the United States or Canada, for 60 days after its exclusive appearance on AntimatterMag.com and Antimatter Magazine channels.
After 60 days, AntimatterMag.com will share full rights with original writers.
First publication in Antimatter grants the Magazine permission to republish flashes, articles, and reviews elsewhere (in, for example, an anthology of the best pieces from Flash).
We are also asking for indefinite archiving rights, as the story may appear on AntimatterMag.com and associated channels.
At the writer’s request, we will remove the story from our archives after 60 days.
If the story is republished after 60 days, we ask that AntimatterMag.com be credited as the original publisher with a link to the piece on AntimatterMag.com in the byline or the body.
In most cases, we don’t accept reprints, including from your personal website. If you think we should, though, let us know.
Please don’t submit the same story to us and any other venue at the same time. We’ll let you know if we accepted it within 5 business days of submission.
We promote your stories on social media and in our newsletter.
Your bio and a link to your website and social profiles will be listed on AntimatterMag.com.
For Antimatter to accept your writing and pay you, we will need:
A print-ready, third-person bio with your cover letter.
A PayPal address or mailing address where we can send payment.
Deadline: September 30th, 2017
Payment: $30 per story, $10 per poem
Please read the following in its entirety before submitting. The rules are needed, and EC will not consider your work if they have not been followed.
It’s important to read samples of published work on EC. You can find just a few examples here.
HERE IS HOW YOU SUBMIT: No unsolicited work of any kind is being accepted. Only the kind of submissions outlined below will be accepted at EC.
— Six times a year, writers and poets will have a chance to submit fairy-tale inspired stories and poems. No non-fiction of any kind.
— Here are the submission periods: Months–January, March, May, July, September, November.
— Days of those months–the first through the 30th. That’s starting at 12 a.m. on the first day of a submission month. That’s ending at 11:59 p.m. of the 30th of a submission month (28th for February). Those are Eastern Standard Times.
— No stories or poems will be accepted in the following months, so please do not send any: February, April, June, August, October, December.
— You submit through email only. Please use this address only: [email protected] That’s for submissions only.
— Your last name, the month and the year should be in the subject line of the email.
— You must be 18 years old or older, but may be from any country.
— You should try to use American English word forms and punctuation.
— Do not send attachments. They will not be opened or considered. Paste your work in the body of an email.
— You will receive a response telling you I have received your submission.
— No editorial feedback of any kind will be provided. I’m sorry about that. I just do not have the time.
— No fancy spacing or characters, please. Do not indent for new paragraphs. Just do an extra return between them. My publishing platform is tricky. Heavy dialogue is very hard to format. Resist the urge. Most classic tales are not heavy on dialogue.
— Your submission must include how you follow EC. Methods include something Google related, Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest (the board called New Posts at Enchanted Conversation). You only need to follow in one way. Just search for my name, Kate Wolford, and you will be able to follow both me and EC. But if you don’t follow, your work will not be considered. For a better explanation, go here: http://bit.ly/27Y2FNI
— A Paypal address must be included. Without one, work will not be considered.
— Only previously unpublished work, please. Only one work per writer per submission period.
— First electronic rights are being bought. Once the story is published, you are free to shop it elsewhere.
— All things being equal, authors who comment and support EC will get greater consideration of their work. But quality takes precedence over all other considerations.
Each of the six submission periods for 2017 will have a theme. Here they are:
1. January: “Steadfast Tin Soldier,”
2. March: “Diamonds and Toads,”
3. May: “Donkeyskin,”
4. July: “Emperors New Clothes,”
5. September: “Godfather Death,”
6. November: “Elves and the Shoemaker.”
When each window for submissions opens, a theme-related post will be published. Please read the relevant post before writing your submission. All of the themes are classic fairy tales, but I do not want retreads of the original stories. At the same time, your works should reflect the chosen theme, or there is no chance of publication.
WORD COUNT and CONTENT
Stories should be no shorter than 700 words and no longer than 3,000.
Poems may be of any length.
Absolutely none of the following: Sci-fi, dystopian, erotica, high fantasy, excessive world building, time-travel, futuristic, space travel, western. Oh, and I hate love triangles. Also, EC is NOT a children’s publication. Period
It’s essential that you read past EC stories and poems to see what I publish on EC. (Note, to make sure there is no confusion, understand that EC is on e-publication only. 12-31-16.) Also, Beyond the Glass Slipper, Krampusnacht, He Sees You When He’s Creepin, and Frozen Fairy Tales give great insight insight into what I publish. You can find them at Amazon, B&N and other booksellers. All are available in ebook form.
The essence of classic fairy tales must be maintained when you write these stories. Your are free to explore themes by retelling a classic tale–but in your own way and in keeping with the theme. I tend to prefer things to end happily, but it’s not essential. Please think of the classic fairy tale form when writing poems or stories. NOTIFICATION OF SUCCESS and PAYMENT
— Story pay: $30, Poem pay: $10. US dollars only.
— Payment will be made through PayPal only.
— Non-acceptance emails will not be sent out. Instead, the names of those whose works are chosen will be posted on EC no later than the 7th of the month following a submission month.
— The winners will usually be published at the end of the non-submission month following a submission month. Example: January is a submission month. Winners will be posted no later than February 7 and winners would usually be published on the last day of February.