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Taking Submissions: Xanax Hamster #1 and #2

February 4

Submission Window: February 3-4, 2024 for all writers, and February 2-4 for writers who identify with one of the following groups: BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled.
Payment: 5 cents per word
Theme: Brilliant but unloved and rejected horror stories

Xanax Hamster knows you have a horror flash fiction trunk story that is your beloved, misunderstood baby, but it hasn’t found a home yet. Xanax Hamster wants to be that home. For one weekend in February, send us your brilliant but unloved and rejected horror stories, maximum 1500 words, for possible inclusion in a biannual (that means twice a year) zine, to be published in June and December (see?). We have room for 4-5 stories in each issue, depending on their word count. Each issue will feature at least one story that’s the first pro-rate sale for an author. Stories are not required to have anything to do with xanax or hamsters, and mentioning xanax or hamsters in your story will have no impact on whether we accept or reject your story.

Edited by Ende Mac and Michael W. Phillips Jr.
Issue 1 cover art by Bonnie Hockin. Issue 2 cover art by Jacky Kelsey.

General Info

  • Subs are open February 3-4, 2024 for all writers, and February 2-4 for writers who identify with one of the following groups: BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled.
  • This is a stupid short submission window, but we have to go with what we think we can handle.
  • We will select stories for both 2024 issues of the zine from this one submission period.
  • Stories should be 1500 words or less. Preference will be given to shorter stories.
  • We want trunk stories—stories that have been rejected a bunch of times. We won’t ask for receipts, but if you lie to us—well, just don’t, OK?
  • Pay is 5 cents a word (US$). Payment is via PayPal, but we can find another solution if PayPal isn’t a thing where you live.
  • Co-written stories are OK, but we’re making only one payment per accepted story.
  • Simultaneous submissions are OK, but let us know ASAP if you need to withdraw.
  • We will respond to all submissions by May 1, 2024, but probably sooner.
  • We expect to get slammed and probably won’t be able to send personal rejections, which is an “us thing,” not a “you thing.”
  • We’re buying first print and electronic English language rights, exclusive for six months.
  • A total of 100 copies of each issue of the zine will be printed, and ebooks will be available.
  • We are not affiliated with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals or hamsters.

Automatic Rejections

No reprints. No stories outside the submission window. No stories that promote hate (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, etc.), and yes, we know the difference between promoting these things and addressing them. NO FUCKING “AI” (we will put you on blast, seriously). No stories over 1500 words. No multiple submissions.

Things you MUST* include in your submission email:

  • Send it to [email protected]
  • Subject line: Xanax Hamster – Title of Story – Last Name
  • What name we should call you
  • Your pronouns
  • Title of story
  • Word count (which must be under 1500 words, we’re serious)
  • Content warnings
  • Approximate number of times this story has been rejected (please don’t lie to us and send a new story)
  • Whether this would be your first pro-rate sale (at least 5 cents a word)
  • Attach your story as a doc, docx, or rtf file in whatever formatting you prefer as long as it’s readable. Use Shunn, shun Shunn, it doesn’t matter to us.

Aside from that, do what thou wilt. If you feel comfortable, you may indicate if you identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, or disabled. You can include a cover letter but you don’t have to. We’re going to anonymize all of the stories before letting slush readers see them, so there’s no need to remove your contact info on the document—we’ll do that. We’ll ask for a bio if we accept your story.

* Seriously, we’re serious. Do these things or we won’t read your story.

Commitment to Diversity

We intend to create a diverse anthology and encourage writers who are BIPOC, disabled, LGBTQIA+, or other marginalized groups to submit stories. When presented with otherwise equally good submissions, we will prioritize stories by marginalized authors.

Commitment to an International Anthology

We prefer to pay via PayPal. However, we realize that PayPal isn’t a thing in a lot of places. We are willing to explore other options that writers in other countries have access to. We don’t want unavailability of payment apps for you to be a deterrent to you submitting!


What is a Xanax Hamster?

Xanax Hamster was born as a joke by co-editor Ende Mac in the Tenebrous Press discord. From Beyond Press editor/publisher Mike Phillips takes jokes very seriously, and here we are. XH is a biannual zine, each issue featuring four or five flash fiction stories, published as both a limited-edition print chapbook and an ebook. It’s focused on trunk stories—those stories that haven’t found a home but you just know they’re good. It’s also focused on giving opportunities to new writers: each issue will feature at least one author whose story is their first professional sale. It is edited by writer Ende Mac and writer/editor/publisher Mike Phillips.

No, I mean what is a Xanax Hamster? A hamster on drugs? Isn’t that animal abuse?

We have no idea.

I would like to speak to your manager.

Xanax Hamster is run by two people: Ende Mac and Mike Phillips. Ende Mac (any pronouns) is a public defense attorney somewhere out in the American midwest. Find their works at endewriting.wordpress.com and feel free to reach out to them @endewriting on Twitter and BlueSky. Michael W. Phillips Jr. (he/him) is a writer, editor, filmmaker, film curator, bookseller, and publisher based on the south side of Chicago. He runs From Beyond Press.

So you just want trunk stories? What if I decide to write a new story and let you think it’s a trunk story? What then?

We wish you wouldn’t, but ultimately only you and your tortured conscience would know. Unless there’s a real xanax hamster, in which case, it’s coming for you.

Why is this FAQ longer than the call for submissions?

We have no idea. Maybe we should ask why you read this far.

Via: From Beyond Press.


February 4


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From Beyond Press
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