Max Blood’s Mausoleum: A New House for Horror
Max Blood’s Mausoleum: A New House for Horror
By Angelique Fawns
Max Blood is creating a new home for horror, and this venue is not squeamish.
“We’ve read it all before and will read it all again, so send us something that will really set us back on our heels. Terrify us. Make us squirm. Send us the best of your worst.”
Max Blood’s Mausoleum is a paying market, offering $30 per piece, and is planning to publish quarterly issues.
Max Blood says he “specializes in the weird, the cosmic, and the monstrous. With a passion for turning cryptid stories into positively horrific monsters, he has created many tales of monster horror. He has also dabbled in ghost stories and body horror.”
I’m working on a Halloween-themed story with Max Blood called “The Matron of Hawthorne Hall”, that will be used in his third issue which should be published around Halloween 2024.
AF: What inspired you to create Max Blood’s Mausoleum?
MB: Honestly, it was a fit of insomnia. I’d been having difficulties staying asleep, and one night I woke with the name of this publication repeating in my mind, as if saying it three times might summon some flesh-rending ghoul. That was, in some ways, the start of it all.
That said, I had been wanting to start my own publication for the better part of a decade. I’ve worked in the newspaper industry where I’ve won awards for design, and with my obsession for horror thrown into the mix, a horror publication just sort of made sense.
Lastly, I see Max Blood’s Mausoleum as a venue for the under- and misrepresented. I find that horror is a great space for this, as everywhere I look, people are saying the same thing. And yet, writers still face difficulties breaking into the market. As an individual with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD, I understand all too well how difficult it can be to find a place. I hope that Max Blood’s Mausoleum makes it at least a little easier for minority authors.
AF: Any insider hints for submission success?
MB: Let’s start with two basic ones. First, edit, edit, edit. I’ve seen stories with simple grammar errors that could be caught with the grammar checker built into Word. I don’t have the time to do extensive edits on pieces, so that is left to the author. If it’s clear the author has not made the effort, that is an instant rejection. Second, follow the guidelines. I’ve seen too many submissions that don’t follow a standard manuscript format.
Now, if you’ve done that, my decision comes down to one thing. Is your submission the kind of story I wish I had conjured up? If so, I’m willing to work with you. Read our issues as they come out to get a sense of my tastes. And while we wait for the first issue to release, check out Weird Horror Magazine and Dark Horses Magazine. Both of these have provided me with countless hours of reading pleasure.
AF: How experimental can writers be with form and content?
MB: Surprisingly, I’m not too into the experimental as I’ve seen it used. Many authors confuse experimental for abstract. I prefer a story that is easy to digest. Now, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of an interesting story. I do like Weird Horror. But I believe the Weird finds its strength when set in contrast to the concrete. Play with interesting structures. Experiment with your monsters all you want. Break away from the tried and true. But I find whatever you do, concrete details work best for me. If I can see it, we’re good.
AF: What sort of writing do you do yourself?
MB: I’ve recently made the switch from novels to short stories. I find I write better in condensed form. I enjoy a good monster. Most of my stories include one. The ones I’m working on now are no exception. I am also fascinated by story collections. I’m currently drafting a collection of short stories that all revolve around one single catastrophe. Each story explores the situation from a different angle, offering more depth, more information, more clues. And yet, each story can stand on its own. I’ve started submitting the first of these and hope to land a publication with it soon.
AF: When you say you are not squeamish, just how far do you recommend authors go?
MB: Let’s taper this a moment. When I say I am not squeamish, what I mean to say is, I can handle anything you throw at me, so long as it fits within the realm of the story. I’m okay with violence and gore, sex, heck, even sexual violence–these don’t bother me. But they have to make sense. They have to not be gratuitous. And they have to not be glorified. I read a story that glorified sexual violence, and that is a huge no-no. But if you take Jack Ketchum’s “The Girl Next Door” as an example, you will see how sexual violence can be treated in good taste. There’s a big difference between having these squeamish moments and glorifying them.
AF: Who (and what) are your influences?
MB: I have a wall full of Stephen King books that will answer this question for you.
I’m also obsessed with Victor LaValle (“The Ballad of Black Tom”, “The Changeling”), Dan Simmons (“Carrion Comfort”, “Song of Kali”), Alma Katsu (“The Hunger”), Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), Samuel Taylor Coleridge (“Rime of the Ancient Mariner”) and Edgar Allan Poe (Everything).
AF: What’s in the future for Max Blood?
MB: Like I said, I’m working on a collection of Short Stories now that may someday metamorphize into a novella. I’m hitting the submissions hard, hoping to land some publications soon. For Max Blood’s Mausoleum, I’m working with an artist to create art for all the stories that we selected for our Inaugural Issue, due out March 1, 2024. I’m already looking ahead to the annual anthology which will be Kickstarted near the start of 2025 and include stories from all four 2024 issues. Down the line, I have thoughts of doing some themed issues, but for the time being, we don’t have enough submissions for anything like that. I love reading your submissions and hope to receive more soon.
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Angelique Fawns writes horror, fantasy, kids short stories, and freelance journalism. Her day job is producing promos and after hours she takes care of her farm full of goats, horses, chickens, and her family. She has no idea how she finds time to write. She currently has stories in Ellery Queen, DreamForge Anvil, and Third Flatiron’s Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses. You can follow her work and get writing tips and submission hints at http://fawns.ca/.