Category: Trembling With Fear

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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Trembling With Fear 11/06/2022

Hello, children of the dark. It’s happened, again: I’ve succumbed to the plague of the age once more. That’s what I get for taking myself off to the wilds of Scotland for a writing retreat. And so this week’s introduction is truncated, lest I say something ridiculous in my covid brain fog. Just a quickie, really: WE NEED YOUR DRABBLES. The cupboard is looking rather bare.

Meanwhile, by the time you read this, parks all across the UK will be smouldering with the remnants of bonfires and fireworks. Yesterday marked Guy Fawkes Night, the celebration of that time a bunch of rebels tried to blow up parliament. I won’t say we could do with that right now because that would be incendiary, but I *will* say that is a bloody good story starter, should you want to get revolutionary in drabble form.

To the task at hand: Our trembling main course this week has Deborah Sheldon get poetic in the hospital. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Jameson Grey fights the zombie apocalypse
  • Mike Rader turns breeder of killer chickens, and
  • LJ McMenemy (that’s me!) ponders the date from hell.

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. I’d love to see what you come up with! (I’ve been avoiding publishing my own drabbles that have been in the waiting room since Steph’s TWF days, but if you don’t sub more then you’re going to get more of mine.)

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I would like to wish everyone working on NaNoWriMo the best of success! Finish that novel, novella, editing, and extra word counts. Whatever your writing goal(s) is I am rooting for you!

We’re still setting up a Writers Job Board over at WriteCareer.com. It ‘works’ though is still a work in progress.

With the new layout being delayed until next year, this is just a reminder that 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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Trembling With Fear – Halloween 2022 Edition!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Halloween! Monsters and slashers and ghosts… oh my. We sure do have a horrific collection this year that doesn’t shy away from the wicked and the macabre. There are stories of dilapidated houses and the evil things that haunt within, tales of people whose true forms are revealed on All Hallow’s eve, and lore of the tricksters who were never able get their treat.

On this Halloween, follow me and let’s immerse ourselves in this realm of fiction where the horror lurks only upon these written pages… or does it?

We at the Horror Tree wish you all a safe and happy Halloween. 

Thanks!

Amanda

Amanda Headlee

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As the chorus to one of my favorite songs of the season states, “This is Halloween, this is Halloween,” At the time we’re posting this, it IS Halloween! 

We’ve got a great mix of stories for you this year, and hope you enjoy reading them as much as we have published them. Fun statistics. We’re printing the same amount of shorts and three less drabbles than last year. However, we received twice as many shorts AND drabbles as we had last year. So, we had to be a bit pickier to give you the quality that we want. I’d like to stress that not all of those rejected were by any means bad stories. Some just didn’t feel “Halloween-centric” enough, some needed edits that there just wasn’t enough time to pull off with how close to the holiday that they were submitted, and a couple were a bit too graphic that, while enjoyable, weren’t ‘right’ for a public-facing website.

I’d like to thank all of those who submitted. I hope you all had a blast and again, I hope you all enjoy reading these as much as we did! 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 10/30/2022

Hello, children of the dark. It’s our time now. It’s the night before All Hallow’s Eve, before Samhain, before the veil is at its thinnest and we can cross between worlds, speak to the dead. It’s our time, the dark time. 

Truth be told, it’s all still a bit new to me. Growing up in Australia in the 1980s, we never *did* Halloween. Every so often someone would put on a BBQ and we’d get a bit dressed up, but there was no trick or treating, there was no decorating the house, there was nothing like what we see all over the world today. But I still paid attention. I still knew it was a special time. 

I was clearly just waiting to be able to adult my way through the dark festive season.

That said, it’s not like I really do anything to celebrate these days either; old habits die hard. What you see in the movies, what pop culture considers Halloween, I’ve found to be a rather American tradition. In my part of south London, we generally don’t decorate the house, and that hour when the local kids knock on the door is a chore rather than something fun. Yes, I’m an official Grumpy Old Woman in that regard. 

But then, Halloween isn’t a once-a-year thing for me. I embrace the darkness all year round. My writing desk is covered in trinkets I’ve bought in the supermarket’s seasonal aisle every October; my clothing is adorned with ghosts and bats and skulls at the best of times. I tried to hide this side of me for a really long time; I tried to conform, to avoid black clothes, to gravitate away from my spooky self. Ironically, it was being locked in the house during the pandemic that really gave me the confidence to unleash my inner weirdo and let her go wild. 

This Halloween, embrace your darkness, and remember the immortal words of Nancy from The Craft: We are the weirdos, mister.

Pop on your witch’s hat and prepare for this week’s TWF tasting menu. Our Halloween special is coming, too – it’s a separate beast!

Our trembling main course from Hana S Elysia warns of the dangers of thievery. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Rachel L Tilley messes with the fabric of creation
  • Jessica Gleason strolls through an airport terminal, and 
  • Christina Nordlander examines a fungal infection

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.

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We’re still setting up a Writers Job Board over at WriteCareer.com. It ‘works’ though is still a work in progress.

With the new layout being delayed until next year, this is just a reminder that if there are any changes that YOU have been hoping to see, please reach out on our contact page!

What kind of changes is minor enough to look into adding? We’ll probably add a few more ways to subscribe to our newsletter in areas around the site. I’d also be looking to do simple yet streamlined things, such as last week’s announcement that the Trembling With Fear Submission Page now has the submission form directly on it. If there are things that would help you navigate the site easier, please, do 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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Trembling With Fear 10/23/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I’m going to have to make it short and sweet this week as I’ve missed my deadline (sorry, Stuart!) and I’m prepping to go to the Scottish Highlands to spend a week with my work in progress. I do, however, have a very important announcement, and a bit of an explanation.

If you’ve submitted to us in the last few months, you’ve likely noticed that we (as in: me) am running behind on reading submissions an awful lot. To give you a peek behind the curtain, that’s because we have had an absolute storm of submissions coming in. That’s brilliant and great and I love that you’re considering us as a home for your work, but it does mean that our little team (we are but three volunteers!) has been a bit overwhelmed. It also means we have a monstrous amount of accepted stories waiting to be published.

Long story short, those who are getting accepted at the moment are being scheduled for March 2023. Yes, FIVE WHOLE MONTHS away. That’s a long time to wait for your story to appear online. 

So, here’s the important bit: we’re now closed to short story submissions for the next few months while we catch up on this publishing backlog and ensure everyone gets a fair chance to see their stories published in this here ‘zine. 

I know, I know – it’s crappy news. The upshot, though, is I know we have so many great stories waiting for your eyeballs’ attention. And we are not the only market out there; after all, Horror Tree itself was built to showcase amazing paying markets that are crying out for your stories. Head here for what’s currently seeking wordage.

This isn’t permanent. We will open up again in the new year, and will be clamouring to give a home to your great works of dark art. But we need to give it a breather or we’ll end up making you wait over a year to be published and that’s just… well, it’s a bit silly, right?

And we’re still very much looking for drabbles! Maybe the essence of your story could be clipped back to exactly 100 words? It’s a great exercise in tight writing!

For now, though, I bring you this week’s TWF tasting menu. 

Our trembling main course has Robert Walton lead us to the war-torn frontlines. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Santiago Eximeno considers what price familial love
  • Alan Moskowitz searches for inspiration, and
  • Cassandra Daucus gives us a glimpse into a final email

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. Drabbles only, please!

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted this week. It seemed to come from all sides, from work to school to the kids. Oof. I. Am. Tired. I don’t have much to report this week, we’re still chugging along on everything without many major updates on changes. I did spend some time optimizing images that show up on all of our pages which might shave a ‘small’ amount of time from loading on the website. Fingers crossed! Also spent some time on adding more videos for our video player to keep things mixed up a bit. More to come on those as well!

Just a reminder, we’ve set up a Writers Job Board over at WriteCareer.com. It is still a work in progress, but if you’re looking for a new writing gig outside of fiction, this might be of help!

With the new layout being delayed until next year, this is just a reminder that if there are any changes that YOU have been hoping to see, please reach out on our contact page!

What kind of changes is minor enough to look into adding? We’ll probably add a few more ways to subscribe to our newsletter in areas around the site. I’d also be looking to do simple yet streamlined things, such as last week’s announcement that the Trembling With Fear Submission Page now has the submission form directly on it. If there are things that would help you navigate the site easier, please, do 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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Trembling With Fear 10/16/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I must say I’m at a loss for words this week; the exhaustion of burning the candles at both ends has caught up with me, and there’s not much end in sight for another week or so. I’ll spare you the ramblings of my feeble mind, and rest in the knowledge that I’ll be spending the last week of October at a tutored retreat in the Scottish Highlands.

I’ve been lucky enough to secure a place at Moniack Mhor’s gothic retreat, which will be led by CJ Cooke and Natasha Pulley, with special guest Andrew Michael Hurley. If those names weren’t enough to drag myself through the next few weeks, the idea of a whole week in what Ali Smith has described as “a place of rare space and weather-wildness and beauty” definitely is. Moniack Mhor is a former croft built on the site of an ancient baron’s house, and surrounded by fields rich in the remains of Bronze Age civilisations. It’s a few miles from Loch Ness, and magic is in the air. 

I’ll be counting on that magic to get me actually started on my dreaded first draft, but how could I not be inspired by those surroundings? Have a look at their Instagram for the views, and you might even spot a mythical Highland Coo. Yes, I’m a bit excited.

Let’s bring me back down to earth so I can talk about this week’s TWF tasting menu. 

Warning: this week’s main course from Joe Prosit is not for the faint of heart. This is the grossest bit of bathroom drama you’ll read today. To cleanse your palate, we have three delicious quick bites:

  • Joshua Gage gets talking through spirited magnets
  • Micah Castle pleads to the cosmos, and
  • Finbar Hussey reads a last will and testament.

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here. I’ve mostly caught up on our submissions backlog now, but we are currently scheduled for short stories through to the end of this year. If you’re thinking of submitting to us, you’ll have more immediate luck with drabbles if that helps to channel your creativity.

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As Horror Tree is all about helping your writing career, we have an external website that we’re launching soon. This will be more for those who write for work outside of their fiction. Technical writers, editors, publicists, etc. We’re setting up a Writers Job Board over at WriteCareer.com. Now, the board itself is up and working. However, I would like to stress that the site is still in its early phases. There are incomplete sections that we’re going to be working on buffing up. I did want to open it up to those who might be getting into the holiday season and are looking to change things up in the job department or who are looking for work. Hopefully, this can help you find something. I do apologize that it isn’t fully polished quite yet but if I waited for it to be 110% ready, it would likely never be launched. 

With the new layout being delayed until next year, this is just a reminder that if there are any changes that YOU have been hoping to see, please reach out on our contact page!

What kind of changes is minor enough to look into adding? We’ll probably add a few more ways to subscribe to our newsletter in areas around the site. I’d also be looking to do simple yet streamlined things, such as last week’s announcement that the Trembling With Fear Submission Page now has the submission form directly on it. If there are things that would help you navigate the site easier, please, do 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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Trembling With Fear 10/09/2022

Hello, children of the dark. How’s October treating you? Here in the UK the world is continuing to go mad around us (who needs a functioning government or economy anyway?!) as the days get shorter and the dark gets deeper, but there is one bright light on the horizon: the London Film Festival has begun. I volunteer with the festival most years – let’s be honest, it’s mainly so I can watch movies while I “work” – and I was excited to see a few dark offerings on the programme this year. Unfortunately, the horror night I was down to work at has decided they don’t need volunteers anymore, but I’m going to try to sneak in anyway… don’t tell anyone, ok?

There is no shortage of new and reinvented horror coming our way this month, especially as the supermarkets stock up on treats with spooky packaging and our social feeds are full of ads for Halloween costumes. And yet, I can’t help but feel sad that alllll the big attention comes upon our dark little hearts just once a year. Don’t the mainstream know that there’s great horror and dark fiction being released all year round? Like these, from this week’s TWF tasting menu. 

We head to the water for our main course from Kacey Rayburn, who takes on the mermaid, the selkie, the myth and the legend, in their own way. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Nancy Pica Renken gets a bit road ragey
  • Gully Novaro heads to the land of all you can eat, and
  • Michael Stroh tries some zombie diplomacy.

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here.

And a quick note if you’re waiting on a response from us about a submission: it’s my bad. I’m running super late because we’ve had an absolute avalanche of short story submissions lately – so many that I’m actually now scheduling publication through the new year. Yes, the future! Those who are waiting: I will get back to you soon, I promise. In the meantime, if you’re thinking of submitting to us you’ll have more immediate luck with drabbles if that helps to channel your creating.

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

My plan for the website was to not make too many adjustments until the new layout was launched. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like that is going to have to wait until next year. So, with that being said, if there are any changes that YOU have been hoping to see, please reach out on our contact page!

What kind of changes is minor enough to look into adding? We’ll probably add a few more ways to subscribe to our newsletter in areas around the site. I’d also be looking to do simple yet streamlined things, such as last week’s announcement that the Trembling With Fear Submission Page now has the submission form directly on it. If there are things that would help you navigate the site easier, please, do 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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Trembling With Fear – End Of Summer 2022 Edition

Hello to all of you summer beach bums! I hope you all had an enjoyable couple of months. As the Labor Day holiday has passed in the US, that means it’s time to start decorating for Halloween! I am ready for autumn. This summer has been exceptionally hot in the northwest US. Air conditioning has been my best friend since June, and I barely went outside. It’s been a depressing couple of months for someone who is an avid cyclist and hiker and all-around nature lover. I, for one, am ready to see summer end and usher in the most wonderful time of the year! My house may or may not already be decorated for Halloween at the time of this writing (newsflash: it’s the first week of September and the spooky décor abounds!).

While seeing summer end is a beautiful sight, we cannot allow the season to go without flair in our Horror Tree style! We’re celebrating the end of summer with several deliciously macabre tales and drabbles. Story treats of summer adventures or daily summer life gone wrong with ghosts, serial killers, sharks—oh my! This delightful collection is tastily topped off with candy and cannibalism.

Stay out of the water. Don’t stop at any strange sweet shoppes. Avoid camping in haunted woods. Don’t speak to any hot summer night apparitions.

Stay cool,

Amanda

 

Amanda Headlee

Editor, Trembling With Fear

First off, my humblest apologies for this going up late. One of our little hiccups on the editorial changes over at Trembling With Fear, and I should have been making more of a point to have this go live. 

At any rate, another summer has come to an end. It has been kind of a crazy year, and we’re now officially in the season that so many horror writers love – Halloween! Now, we’ve clearly shifted to covering all forms of speculative fiction at the Horror Tree but we grew from our dark roots and that love of the horrifying has grown with the site, so it would be remiss to not mention that the spooky season has begun! 

But before you finish packing away your shorts, sandals, and shades – we do have one last pilgrimage with the sun to share with you as we close out 2022. So please, enjoy our belated Summer Special for 2022! 

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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