Category: Trembling With Fear

Trembling With Fear 06/27/21

And so the move is done, boxes are unpacked or at least in the loft or shed. Strangely, it feels like a holiday home at the moment as the days are unpressured and we have had some wonderful walks to explore. There is an ongoing saga of internet access with our provider making some awful mistakes, including sending an emergency connection minihub to our old address(!). All ‘should’ be sorted in that respect by the end of the month. But I can get online securely, though at a snail’s pace – phew. Not quite normal service resumed – but almost!

I had some good news also from Silver Shamrock Publishing with the acceptance of my story, ‘Unravelling’, for their latest anthology, Midnight From Beyond The Stars. I am particularly delighted because I appear alongside TWF’s co-editor, Amanda Headlee. I’ve also been following TWF’s Patrick Winters – a wonderful writer and contributor – and seen his post about taking on an editorial role for Black Ink Fiction’s Odd Playthings anthology. It’s been great to see his career develop. He deserves all the success!  Horror Tree folk are taking over!

On a side note, if you fancy a folk horror fix, my collection As the Wheel Turns – More Tales from the Weald is now available here http://mybook.to/AsTheWheelTurns. Plus I believe our Horror Tree anthologies are almost at publication stage!

Before we go to the stories, here’s my usual weekly reminder to check out the submission guidelines for TWF. Also remember we are currently closed to short stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials.

The first story this week in Trembling with Fear is The Well by K.A. Moreno. Told in a child’s voice with their black and white understanding of the world, you start to feel somewhat uneasy about what is left unsaid. Is this child as innocent as she seems or is it her mother who has something to hide? The undercurrent of the story is very dark, as dark as whatever resides in the well.

The Bloodcoats are Coming! The Bloodcoats are Coming! by C.A. Chesse uses an historical event to nice effect. More historical horror please!

The Last Laugh by Liam Spinage is a nice bloody twist on news received too late.

Quarry is a short tale I penned after a visit to an abandoned limestone quarry in Minera. It is now a wildlife site with lots of tunnels to explore – places you really shouldn’t go into!

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As I mentioned last week, just like Steph, I’m preparing to move. As of the time you’re reading this, I’m under a week away from it being official. Terrifying!

That hasn’t slowed me down at all though. We’ve got the full Trembling With Fear covers in and are now in KDP. Pre-orders should hopefully begin during the upcoming week. Score! Also, I know that I mentioned we would be doing a site redesign soon. We just found a way to do so that will make the site even faster. While it will push the front page redesign back a little, it should increase the overall experience of the site for everyone. Hopefully! We’re also looking at a way to better read older Trembling With Fear stories for those who are just here for the fiction. I have a few ideas but it’ll be after the above mentioned redesign that it takes place. Thanks Ivalia for the suggestion!

Back to Trembling With Fear, I would just like to throw this out there for all the writers, we’re a bit low on drabbles at the moment so if you have a 100-word story that you’ve been thinking about sending in, now would be a great time! Thanks!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear Year 4 Is Available For Pre-Order!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen. After a long haul, Stephanie Ellis and Stuart Conover have triumphed over KDP and been able to fight their way into putting together another year of Trembling With Fear. Year 4 is now available for digital pre-order and you need to snag a copy for yourself ASAP! We’ll have news on More Tales Volume 3 and Serial Killers Volume 2 coming out shortly.

To say that 2020 was a crazy year is an understatement and Year 4 of our ‘Trembling With Fear’ series contains every story published as part of our Sunday zine during that time. Written by authors determined keep calm and carry on, we reckon this is our best collection yet.

Each story falls within the realm of speculative fiction. While many are darker works, we include the full range from horror to science fiction to fantasy and beyond!

Our goal is to bring you a diverse collection of voices from around the globe and we hope that you enjoy reading this collection as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.

You can pre-order the digital copy of ‘Trembling With Fear Year 4’ on Amazon today!

Unholy Trinity: Unholy Trinity of the Moon by Cole Todd

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Blood Moon

Every child knows the Moon Rules, and how to keep safe. The problem was the moon wasn’t playing by the rules any more. 

Blood Moon always brings conflict; the Border Wars started like clockwork every seven years under its crimson tint. Stay inside and speak to no-one, because whoever you see will want to kill you by night’s end. But now Blood Moon brought literal blood – great gouts of it fell from the sky like rain, stinking in the fields and coating the streets. Blood brought rats, rats brought plague, and the plague brought mass graves, deep as sea caves. 

Super Moon

Everyone knows Super Moon brings super tides. Tsunamis, flooding, everyone within a hundred miles of the coast just packs up and leaves. Better than staying and drowning in the white-washed night. 

But this year Super Moon grew so big it flood-lit the whole sky; no-one could sleep for a month with that celestial searchlight glaring through brick and stone, melting glass and burning skin. Its unforgiving light showed every sin thought secret, worming their way to the surface of your loved ones’ faces. A fifth of the population went blind from the constant glare, and they were the lucky ones. 

Black Hole Moon

Black Hole Moon is a great dark ring covering a third of the sky, its pale eye shining in the centre. Scientists used to think it was caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere; until the moon blinked, and there was one less star in the sky. Every year we lost light. 

Until this year, when the black hole grew bigger, and the moon shrank and shrank; then it disappeared entirely. We prayed to the gods we had given up on, for the moon never to return. 

Today scientists said it won’t: for the black hole is still growing…

Cole Todd

Cole Todd worked as a therapist and counselling supervisor before becoming disabled with ME-CFS. She used this life change as an opportunity to pursue her passion for stories, and now writes flash fiction, short stories, novels and self-help articles about identities and relationships. She is also composing a workshop to help others utilise writing as a way to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Cole loves crafts and walking in the Scottish countryside, which often inspires her creative work. 

Original Fiction: ‘The Demon of Steveston’ by: Kristi Charish

Kristi Charish is an amazing author known for her “The Owl Series” and ‘The Voodoo Killings.’ Now, she’s gracing us with some original fiction that is absolutely worth reading titled ‘The Demon of Steveston’ and we’re sharing this story with you today!

The Demon of Steveston

by Kristi Charish

 

I crouched down over the white plastic bag and carefully teased it away from the baby formula bottles, all sealed, still filled with the greyish-beige liquid. 

 “The formula might be what did it,” I said, surveying the cordoned off docks for the fourth time, trying my best not to look at the body or the open dead eyes, lined with a smattering of heavy, dark eyelashes. “Unnerved them. I can’t see why else they’d leave the body here.” I stood with a small groan, my rubber shoe taps scuffing against the dew-laced dock. The plastic bags stirred with the morning breeze that buffeted the sea grass flats off the Britannia shipyards. “That or the milk stains.” 

“Jesus Christ,” Murray whispered, more prayer than statement. 

I shoved my hands in my pocket to keep Murray from seeing them fidget. I suspected he’d called me out here for charity more than necessity, but still I felt obligated to muster my best. I squinted against the sunlight coming off the water, only now high enough to sting my eyes, and tried remembering the last time I was up at daybreak. I didn’t feel the need to apologize for the cigarette I lit, stashed in my pocket there months ago for a rainy day. 

 Or a dead body.  (more…)

Trembling With Fear 06/20/21

By the time you read this, I will be in Wales, and possibly settled in. I’m writing this rather quick editorial on my last night in Southampton to ensure that TWF stories are published as usual.

I will warn you that I may not respond to emails for a week or so as I get our internet established. I’m hoping to use hotspots but if you don’t get any response, then that’s why. Normal service should resume after 21st June.

Before we go to the stories, here’s my usual weekly reminder to check out the submission guidelines for TWF. Also remember we are currently closed to short stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials.

The first story this week in Trembling with Fear is Tommy Pitman is a … by James Rumpel. Apparently a traditional tale of childhood jealousy when the new kid comes in and takes the spotlight, it has the feel of similar tales Peter and the Wolf and Matilda which also deal with the consequences of lying. Here though, there is a nice twist at the end.

Beer Run by S.D. Vassallo is a fun story which might put others off their beer and also a hint not to take wives for granted!

Last House Ever Left by Steven Holding is a nightmare which finishes with a touch of hope. Nice last line showing not telling.

The Devil’s Stepping Stones by Alyson Faye is a poem about forgetfulness and its consequences. Atmospheric.

 

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Just like Steph, I’m also preparing to move. We’ve closed on the purchase of our new house and the sale of the current one is in the works so we should be set as to when the madness begins shortly. (Who am I kidding, anyone who has moved knows that the madness is already in full swing.)

At any rate, last week I gave an update on Trembling With Fear. Our main artist is working on a super secret amazing project that I’m not allowed to talk about but is keeping him a bit busy. He believes that he should have time to get our covers done soon so, fingers crossed! Editing is done so we’re down to art. Speaking of Trembling With Fear – we are looking for a huge influx of drabble at this time. If you’ve got some, please send them in!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Holy Diving: Drabbles Inspired by Dio by Patrick Winters

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

I Speed at Night

I got out, and I ain’t goin’ back. 

My blood was on fire in life. My soul was on fire in death, burnin’ hotter than the flames that claimed me in the crash. But now I’m free and ridin’ again. I keep the sun to my back and stick to the shadows, barrelin’ across the country in my phantom GTO. So long as the light don’t hit me, I’ll keep drivin’ as long as I want.

Twenty-seven. That’s how many I’ve ran over so far. So, if you hear my engine roarin’, get outta the way. 

I brake for nothin’.

King of Rock and Roll

He’d been a king among men before the apocalypse, playing for the millions.

Now, he had to send his groupies and adoring fans (those that’d survived) out into the wastes, ordering them to round up other survivors just to manage a crowd. 

He’d stand on the stage of his run-down arena, watching as scroungers were brought in and chained up on the floor before him. Then he’d start his show, rocking and rolling through the nights, playing loud enough to drown out the pleas of the restrained, imagining they were cheering, instead.

And, through his music, he ruled once more.

Faces in the Window

The world outside his home had disappeared six days ago. He’d woken up, glanced out the window, and there was nothing there. Just utter darkness and the shapes that moved within it–vague shadows against the rest of the blackness.

Then the shapes started getting closer. Looking in at him. Sneering. Laughing. He’d closed the curtains after that, but still, he could hear them out there, taunting him.

He cowered in his bed, hiding from the eternal night around him–until clarity came. He got out of bed, went to his front door, and stepped outside.

The darkness welcomed him.

Patrick Winters

Patrick Winters is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. His work has now been featured throughout several magazines and anthologies. A full list of his previous publications may be found at his author’s site, if you are so inclined to know: http://wintersauthor.azurewebsites.net/Publications/List

Trembling With Fear 06/13/21

I’m surrounded by boxes, not so many and this time in Wales. Yes, we’ve finally moved. Contracts exchanged on Monday afternoon, and we moved on Friday. So many delays have made these past six months a stressful time – the worst fear always being the worry the sale was going to fall through, simply because we would go weeks without hearing anything. Still that’s all over and I can try and get my life into some sort of order.

It’s quite good timing as I’ve just put the first draft of a novel aside to rest. This is allowing me to get on, not just with the move, but also with the first of the novellas I owe Silver Shamrock. In terms of reading, I’ve finished Catherine McCarthy’s short story collection, Mists and Megaliths and T.C. Parker’s novella Salvation Spring. Very different to each other, they are both excellent reads.

I will warn you that I may not respond to emails for a week or so as I get our internet established. I’m hoping to use hotspots but if you don’t get any response, then that’s why. Normal service should resume after 21st June.

Before we go to the stories, here’s my usual weekly reminder to check out the submission guidelines for TWF. Also remember we are currently closed to short stories (unless for one of the Specials) but open to drabbles, unholy trinities and serials.

The first story this week in Trembling with Fear is Whisper of Temptation by Chris Rodriguez, a tale of sin, an earthly Garden of Eden with its own forbidden fruit. A child defying her father despite warnings of punishment, displays both strength and vulnerability through her actions. A good example of showing and not telling.

Snow Nekrós by Catherine Berry brings us a hostile environment and apparently easy prey, or are they?

The Greater Fear by Scarlet Berry shows that even an apparently strong person has an Achilles heel. Human weakness or fear, especially one of the most basic ones, is a useful hook on which to hang a story.

The House that Breathes by Elyse Russell creates a revenge via a killer of a different kind. I love the personification and bringing-to-life of this particular killer.

Enjoy our stories and send in yours!

Steph

 

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Last week I shared that we were in the process of getting Trembling With Fear into KDP. We’re in the final stages of editing when I’m writing this and, hopefully, by the time you read this, we’re just prepping the last of it as 99% of it is worked out! (Now, with Steph moving this might be slightly delayed but I just wanted to keep you in the loop that we’re close. VERY CLOSE!) 🙂

It was recently noted that our upcoming open call calendar could use a few additional features. We’re exploring budgeting for those which would either be expanding the current version (which is more limited) or switching to an entirely new calendar setup (which is daunting but could potentially offer a LOT more features.) So, more on that as things progress. Other site changes are coming rather soon!

Finally, we’ve had a few responses to our call on social media that we’re looking to add some interviewers. This is still the case! If you want to help the site by interviewing authors, do reach out with our contact page to get in touch!

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Unholy Trinity: Neighborhood by J.M. Van Horn

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.

Brother

Sarah groaned in frustration when a tug on her ankle jerked her out of her dream. A good dream. It wasn’t every day she had a chance to hang with favorite singer. 

The covers were pushed back and she rubbed away the sleep her eyes. She saw who woke her up.

A young boy with red hair and freckles smiled. “Moring sis. Time to get up.”  He tugged on her ankle again before dating out of the room.  

She watched him leave, not trying to move out of the bed. Unsure what to do because she didn’t have a brother. 

Parents

Danny was up earlier than normal but Saturday morning cartoons wouldn’t be missed. Walking past his parents’ door, a crashing noise startled him. Curiosity got the better of him. Danny leaned to get a better look through the door’s gap. 

Two figures swayed in the middle of the room. They looked like his parents, except for now hair and severely wrinkled skin, like they had been in the tub for too long. 

Danny gasped. The things heard him and shambled toward him. He stumbled back to his room to call someone for help. Maybe Sarah would know what to do.

Ward

The squeak of the bed springs brought Trevor out of his slumber. His ward was awake, perhaps from a bad dream. 

The weight shifted as the young one twisted and turned a few times before flopping down on the mattress.

Trevor wiggled his tentacles around the small form, hoping to bring it comfort with slight vibrations. The young human would be back to sleep soon, then he could sneak out to look for them. Those who could change forms.

He would do whatever it took to protect his ward. They would find it difficult to take control of the neighborhood. 

J.M. Van Horn

 J.M. Van Horn thwarts criminals during the day and writes a blend of horror and urban fantasy at night. His incredible wife and amazing son are his driving force along with the absolutely absurd dreams and/or nightmares that help fuel him. There are endless levels of horror and you should take time to explore them.

His published works can be found in places like Sirens Call, Erie Tales, and Ghostlight, the Magazine of Terror. You can find more information about him at his Linktree page.