Ongoing Submissions: We Will Remember Freedom

Payment: 1 cent per word
Note: Reprints welcome

We are looking for short fiction between 2,000 and 7,000 words in length. All stories must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  • by an author who identifies as an anarchist or with another political tradition that opposes state authority, capitalism, and other oppressive hierarchies
  • takes place in a society without state authority, capitalism, or other oppressive hierarchies
  • involves struggle against state authority, capitalism, or other oppressive hierarchies

 

One of our goals is to publish fiction that offers imaginative answers to our world’s problems. One of our other goals is to publish fiction that is entertaining and well-written. We have no strong feelings about genre. We are open to fantasy, science fiction, horror, or stories with no speculative elements whatsoever. We are open to submissions from authors of all class backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and genders, though we are particularly excited about work that explores the experiences of people whose identities are marginalized by this society. While we are aiming this podcast at a primarily anarchist audience, we are actively excited about publishing work from other political traditions that share an antiauthoritarian, pro-community worldview.

Payment

We pay $.01USD per word upon acceptance. This is not a professional rate, and we are therefore primarily a reprint market. While we will consider fiction that has not appeared elsewhere, we suggest that if your story is good enough for us, it is probably good enough for someone who will pay you at least 8 cents per word and we encourage you to try submitting to those markets first. Authors should be paid for their labor. Once your work is out of exclusivity, or if you can’t find a better-paying home for it, send it on to us!

How to Submit

Send your story in standard manuscript format, as either an .rtf or .docx attachment, to the editor at [email protected] In the body of the email, please include a cover letter that indicates which of the three criteria your story meets as well as any prior publications of the story and/or where other work of yours has appeared.

Send only one story at a time. If you do not hear a response from us within six weeks, please consider your story rejected with our apologies.

What We Ask for

We ask for nonexclusive audio rights for the podcast, nonexclusive digital print rights to include the text on our website, and nonexclusive print rights to include your story in a potential forthcoming publication aimed at an incarcerated audience. If we accept your story, we would also like to interview you about the story, which we will air alongside your story.

What is This Anarchist Thing?

An anarchist is someone who opposes the state, capitalism, racism, colonialism, patriarchy, and all the various and intersecting ways by which groups of people exert power over other people. Anarchism also references a specific political tradition that dates to the mid-19th century and has had millions of adherents around the world. Or, to quote one of our favorite anarchist fiction writers, Ursula le Guin, “What is an anarchist? One who, choosing, accepts the responsibility of choice.”

Via: We Will Remember Freedom.

Ongoing Submissions: The Bronzeville Bee

Payment: 5 cents per word

Bronzeville Books is proud to introduce its online magazine, the Bronzeville Bee.

Fiction

At this time, The Bronzeville Bee is open to original unpublished short fiction submissions.

We consider stories up to 3,000 words in length. Preferred genres include crime, sci fi, fantasy, horror and YA.

Payment is 5 cent per word U.S. for first Worldwide English publication rights for short stories.

Stories must not have been previously published online in any form, via website, blog, etc.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed; however, we ask that you inform us immediately if you place your story elsewhere.

Multiple submissions are NOT accepted.

Stories that are rejected cannot be resubmitted unless the writer is invited to resubmit.

Please use the formatting guidelines found here with one note: no underlining. If you intend for any part of the text to be in italics, put it in italics. The guidelines here are pretty standard: common font such as Times New Roman, 12 pt., 1-inch margins, first line of each paragraph indented 0.5 inches (not manually with spaces but by first line indent settings).

Submissions should be sent with the words ‘Short Fiction Submission’ in the subject line. Ideally, the name of the story and the word count will follow that information in the subject line. The story should be sent as an attached Word document. We will not readany works sent as a PDF or RTF; if the document has to be downloaded to be read, it will not be considered.

Absolutely no adults having sex with minors, and no humans having sex with animals. 

Non-Fiction

The Bronzeville Bee will also be publishing non-fiction articles. The Bee will consider pitches from diverse writers who will write about arts, culture & entertainment by diverse artists. Information requests and pitches can be sent to Sandra Ruttan via email.

Please put ‘non-fiction article information’ or ‘non-fiction article pitch’ in the subject line and allow up to 2 weeks for a response. Our payment rate is 10 cents U.S. per word. Article lengths are subject to contract when negotiated. No writer is guaranteed publication until paperwork signed by both writer and editor is complete.

Refer to the site and published articles to ensure your pitch is suitable.

Please reference Bronzeville Bee Pitch or Question in the subject line of your email.

Contact

Questions and submissions should be directed to Sandra Ruttan: [email protected]

Tips

Submission guidelines are maintained at Bronzeville Bee. Read them before submitting material. Read them before sending material or questions.

Bronzeville Bee publishes articles most days of the week. These include non-fiction articles on contract, short stories we’ve accepted, reflections pieces written by Bronzeville Books’ editorial team, and writing and publishing articles written by Bronzeville staff. Read what we publish before submitting. to ensure that your pitch or story may be a good fit for us.

We will not publish any content we perceive as being a cultural or personal attack, or content that promotes racism, sexism or bias against other diverse groups.

Via: Bronzeville Books.

Taking Submissions: The Blue Route #23

Deadline: October 1st, 2019
Payment: $25
Note: Must be an Undergraduate Student.

The deadline for submissions for Issue #23 is October 1, 2019.  

Prose – Submit 1-3 pieces of fiction or creative nonfiction totaling no more than 3000 words.

Poetry – Submit up to 3 poems.

We want good, highly imaginative writing about contemporary life as you see it. We’re not interested in genre writing (romance, detective, horror, sci-fi) unless it somehow rises above the conventions associated with those types of writing. If your writing is clichéd, inspired by TV, emphasizes end rhyme above all else, has flat characters, exhibits a general insensitivity to the beauties and subtleties of language, it will not find a place in this journal.

No pornography. No racism. No sexism. If you’ve got to use profanity, remember a little goes a long, long way.

We do not accept previously published work. However, we do accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.  Our response time is about three months.

IMPORTANT:

  • Undergraduate Students: Only previously unpublished work of current undergraduate writers will be considered. In order to verify your status as an undergraduate, we ask that with your submission you send along the email of a faculty member from your department. Until we gain confirmation of undergraduate status from this reference, we will not be able to publish your work.
  • Note to Widener Students: At this time, work from Widener students will not be accepted. Widener students are invited to submit their work to Widener Ink, the university’s print journal.
  • Frequency of Submission: If your work has been published in The Blue Route, we ask that you please wait at least one issue before submitting again.

Terms: We pay twenty-five dollars upon publication. We acquire First North American Serial Rights, a one time, non-exclusive use of Electronic Rights, with all rights reverting to the author upon publication. We will archive your work online. If your piece is later published elsewhere, we expect that you will mention The Blue Route as the original publisher.

Formatting: We ask that you put no identifying marks on your submission. Instead, in your submission email, we would like the following information provided:

Name (First and Last)

Title of Submission(s)

Name and Email of Faculty Contact for Enrollment Verification

A Brief Biography (No more than 100 words and written in the third person.)

For submissions: Please write “Poetry–Your Name” or “Fiction–Your Name” or “Nonfiction–Your Name” in the heading of the email. Send your work in an attachment in .doc or .docx format.  Submissions that do not follow these simple directions may be deleted.  Send all poetry or prose submissions to [email protected].

Via: The Blue Route.

Taking Submissions: Pulp Horror Phobias Volume 2

Deadline: October 31st, 2019
Payment: 4 cents per word

Public submissions for Volume 2 will open August 1. Details will be updated after the invite-only submission period. Public submissions submitted prior to August 1 will be declined unread. In the meantime, if you’re interested in submitting to Volume 2, we suggest taking a look at the stories in Volume 1 for a general idea on theme and style. Also, check out our Resources page on our website at www.LycanValley.com regarding pulp and the types of stories we are looking for in this series.

All stories must be considered pulp/noir and fit the theme.

Theme: Anything you might find, or come into contact with, inside or around a house or home. Please note, this is a very broad theme so get creative and come up with something new and unusual. Common phobias such as arachnophobia, claustrophobia and agoraphobia, although relevant to the theme, must bring something new. Likewise, hauntings and possessions must bring more than your average ghost story.

This can also include stories deliberately set inside a house or in a yard/farm/etc near a house if it’s fitting for the story (stitching the theme is fine but simply mentioning there is a house nearby isn’t enough to fit the theme).

ABSOLUTELY NO PIZZA STORIES. Sorry, bring us something new.

Word count: 4,000 to 6,000

Payment: $0.04 per word

Details: Phobias are defined as an irrational and extreme fear to something. Some of the most widely known phobias include arachnophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, etc. Anything can be a phobia if it irrationally causes an intense and debilitating fear.

What happens when these irrational fears/phobias become reality? Make the fears and the horrors associated with that fear real. Make them come alive. Take them from irrational to rational. Give us a reason to be scared.

We don’t want characters sitting on a sofa in the psychiatrist’s office detailing their childhood or even characters with diagnosed phobias necessarily. Your story should focus on the object of the phobia rather than the phobia itself. We want you to make these phobias come to life in ways that will make readers sleep with the lights on, double check the locks on their doors and question reality. We don’t want therapy sessions.

There must be a strong pulp/noir element to the story as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the original pulp magazines and stories, please do some research before submitting. Check out Black Mask Magazine http://www.blackmaskmagazine.com/ and here’s a pulp archive to get you started (warning: reading on this website may be addictive).
http://www.pulpmags.org/ and also here https://archive.org/details/pulpmagazinearchive.

Although you are free to write in your own style and that which best suits the story, Lester Dent’s Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot is here for reference should you wish to use it. http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/dent.html Here, James Scott Bell talks about writing pulp fiction: http://www.rachellegardner.com/why-i-write-pulp-fiction/

Titles: Please do not use the name of the phobia itself in your story titles. Submission titles must follow the format as shown on the submission form.

Formatting: Blind submissions are not required. Please follow Shunn Short Story Manuscript formatting which can be found here: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html. Or use the downloadable template for Word found here: http://www.shunn.net/format/templates.html

Simultaneous and Multiple Submissions: No simultaneous submissions. Multiple submissions from the same author for two different phobias will be considered but please note that only one story per author will be accepted to allow for greater variety and diversity. Previously unpublished stories only, no reprints unless requested by the editor.

Via: Lycan Valley Press</a..

Taking Submissions: Typewriter Emergencies: A Journal of Furry Lit Vol. 3

Deadline: September 20th, 2019
Payment: 1 cent per word

Typewriter Emergencies is seeking works featuring furry characters. We’re looking for stories, book reviews, articles, and any other form of furry material. The journal accepts work that is considered rated R or Less. You can throw in the word “fuck” around a few times, but no excessive sex, blood, and guts pretty much. Typewriter Emergencies publishes under the philosophy of degenerate literature. We’re not here to be proper, we’re here to make art and celebrate great writing. We don’t have a specific theme for our issues, therefore it’s free reign. Themes may be implemented in the future.


We plan on publishing at least twice a year. If we feel we can take on a heavier load, we’ll open up for more issues. Our Schedule is as follows:

Payment is $0.01 per word.
Payment for Poetry is $5 per

All rights revert back to the author. We simply ask for the right to publish the story for the period this journal is active.

Simultaneous submissions are fine. It is your responsibility to notify us if your work is accepted elsewhere.

Story Guidelines:

  • Max word count is 2500 words. Anything over this will not be accepted.
  • Reprints will be reviewed, but we will prefer previously unpublished work.
    Each issue is expected to have a small amount of material, 3-5 stories at most.

Articles & Reviews:

  • Max word count 1000 words. Anything considered a book review or article that is over 1000 words will not be considered.
  • Articles/Book reviews must be predominantly furry in nature.
  • Reviews must not contain spoilers.
  • We will not accept reviews that are overly negative.
  • As for articles, familiarize yourself with [adjective][species] or Dogpatch Press, and related furry websites.
  • We will not reprint articles or reviews.


We accept submissions through Submittable only. Emailed submissions will not be read. Our submittable link can be seen below.

Payments are made through Paypal. If another format is needed, it can be discussed.

Via: Typewriter Emergencies’ Submittable.

Trembling With Fear 08/11/2019

Yay, the house and its occupants are pretty much back to normal – or as normal as you can be in this family. It meant I could finish Chuck Wendig’s, Wanderers which I absolutely loved and would highly recommend as well as Richard Meldrum’s The Plague and Kevin M. Folliard’s Candy Corn. And yes, I managed to fit in some writing as well.

I also spent some time catching up on the recent author interviews over at the This is Horror podcast (including the excellent Paul Tremblay sessions) as well as Brian Keene’s latest. These podcasts are now firmly part of my weekly listening. Which ones do you listen to?

So, all is right with my world – apart from the never-ending wait for news on submissions.

One quick comment though before I move on to the stories, if any one is confused about who to send Unholy Trinities, Serials and Specials to, don’t be. Yes, Catherine and Stuart review and edit them but please just send them initially to the usual TWF contact address or directly to me (as some of you do) as I enter them into our all-singing, all-dancing tracker (aka our spreadsheet) and get them into the system. This way it keeps things coordinated (hopefully!!).

Now for Trembling With Fear, and the first story, Vermin by Sarah Katz starts off with an apparent escape from a nasty domestic situation. But is it what it seems? A child, even an almost grown child, should be able to trust their mother and this story focusses on the betrayal of the most primary of relationships. Where is the father in all this? He’s there. Also stirred into the mix are ideas of madness and infection. A literal tale of family breakdown. This story was well-paced with a great building of tension.

Adrift by Jackie Allison lures you into the ocean and whilst there is an inherent danger in the observer’s situation, I loved the feeling of disassociation as death was contemplated so that it became an almost out-of-body experience.

Reaper by Claire Fitzpatrick shows you can’t destroy a problem, even if you follow ancient ritual. Death comes in many shapes and probably still within the family. We don’t actually get many tales of witchcraft, evil covens and Sabbath doings. Perhaps something for contributors to think about coming into those wonderful spooky autumnal months. I would say old school though, much like vampires, preferred, not too sparkly, if at all.

Young Love by Kim Plasket brings us poetic prose on the death of passion and the end of life but with a strong ending. No time for weeping or wailing, ‘The night is young, I’m hungry for more blood.’

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

This week we also have the drabble ‘Casting‘ by Steph. It takes a unique look at the casting process of the movie industry when life imitates art. Also, I took the liberty to edit her bio for this one. Thankfully, her household is feeling better, and she is back in action!

As always, please be sure to comment at the bottom of the post as to which works you like and why! (Feed the authors!)

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Vermin

I couldn’t remember the exact moment it happened – or even the exact day. All I knew was that my father had gone mad.

 

The bickering between him and my Ma had gone from once in a while to nightly shouting matches. Sometimes, one of them would throw a glass or mug that would shatter, followed by more yelling. At times like this, I stayed in my room with our Yellow Lab, Scully.

 

As the weeks passed, my mother began picking at the skin on her face. I figured, who could blame her – being subjected as she was to my Pa’s thunderous bellowing.

 

Then, all at once, the sheriff’s deputy came by and took away my Pa. Ma ran to my room and hugged me something fierce.

 

“Roy!” she exclaimed, tears in her eyes, as Scully danced excited circles around our feet. “He’s gone! We’re safe.”

 

Naturally, I hugged my mother back. With some relief, I noted that the pinched flesh of her face hadn’t yet bled and hoped that now things had settled, she would leave herself alone.

 

 

Pa would be in jail for at least several weeks, while the conditions of a restraining order were set. As he hadn’t beaten me, Ma or Scully and paid the bills on time, they couldn’t hold him for long.

 

 

The following week, I came home from school to find Ma scrubbing hard at the kitchen floor.

“Ma?” I asked, stopping to inspect her work so far, “You need help cleaning?”

 

My mother continued, “Rat scat,” she explained offhandedly, pausing only momentarily to wipe her brow from the last of the summer heat.

 

“We got vermin?” I asked, frowning. “First I heard.”

 

“I’ve been hearing around town,” she picked up the pace of her scrubbing, “They sneak in real stealthy, so you have to catch them before they can get in.”

 

So, with Scully on my heels, I ventured to seek out some of these prowlers. Turned out, I couldn’t find any, at least not in my room or the bathroom. Good news, it seemed.

 

 

The ensuing days brought on the chill of autumn and the first rains. Scully had a field day of leaping after crows, as I subtly grew more used to not hearing Pa’s irate bellow or footsteps around the house.

 

On that Friday, I skipped class early to go home and play catch with Scully. Nothing quite like starting the weekend early. Plus, the heavy gray clouds gathering over the distant fields only encouraged me to end that school day sooner and avoid getting caught in the rain.

 

Upon entering our front gate, a soft, keening whine hit my ears.

 

Glancing around, I followed the sound around back of the house. There, under one of the nearly bare cherry trees, lay Scully. At first treading over to see why he hadn’t risen to greet me, I stopped dead in my tracks as my eyes fell on his fur. In at least three places throughout his back and the two legs visible to me, patches of missing fur gleamed, the flesh raw underneath.

 

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I cast another furtive look around. No one in sight and silence, save for a crow leaving a tree, whose squawk nearly made me jump out of my skin.

 

Could it have been Pa? No, surely, we would have gotten word that he’d been released.

 

After sitting beside Scully for a while and tending to his wounds with water, I considered the possibility of a wolf. Though, no wolves tended to tread down to these parts of Missouri. And a wolf likely wouldn’t have removed patches of fur without also mauling the flesh.

 

Assuming my mother was out to the grocer’s, I entered the house, preparing to break the news about Scully…

 

When Ma’s smiling face greeted me from the sofa, I stopped short again. She looked like she’d been reading a book of poetry.

 

“Home early from school?” she asked sweetly.

 

I stared. “Um, yeah, Ma. Listen, something happened. Scully’s been attacked or something. I think we should have the sheriff look into it.”

 

To my surprise, Ma just nodded sadly. “I think he might have mange from being bit by those rodents. I got a call into the local vet.”

 

Again with the vermin. “Well,” I started again, “I rinsed his wounds.”

 

Another smile. “Good boy, Roy. I’m sure he’ll be fine, the doctor just needs to call back. In fact, I’m glad you’re home early. It’s a special day.”

 

I perked up, curious. “Oh, yeah? How’s that?”

 

“It’s the start to a wonderful weekend, you know how I enjoy this Fall weather. Now, what do you say to some supper? I’ll be cooking the meatloaf.”

 

She did know my favorite meal. “Sure,” I grinned back, wishing I could set aside the ease over Scully for just a moment.

 

 

Sitting down to the reddish-brown meatloaf managed to brighten my mood. That is, until I glanced up at Ma, who had just taken a seat, herself.

 

Made more obvious by the light of the kitchen lamp, several wounds decorated her face – not scabs I’d failed to notice before, but fresh, small wounds that, despite being shallow, shone softly with hints of blood.

 

“Ma…” I began, “Are you all right? Your face…”

 

“It’s those rats,” Ma shrugged it off, “Awful bites. We just got to make it our own, show them they can’t make us sick.”

 

“They bit you in the time it took me to wash my hands?” I asked, aware that my tone wasn’t the most respectful and yet, not entirely caring. My unease far outweighed any manners at that point.

 

“Roy,” that sweet smile was back, “Eat your loaf.”

 

Eyes trained on my mother’s for longer than I intended, I finally glanced down at my food. Though not overly hungry, I twirled the fork tines through the meat, carving out a crumbly slice…and froze.

 

There, between several large meat crumbs, multiple short beige hairs sprouted from the reddish-brown of the beef.

 

Scully.

 

Putting two and two together faster than I ever would have thought possible, I resolved to play it cool. Whatever had gotten into my mother, I had to tread very carefully.

 

“You know, Ma…,” I started, “It looks great, but I’m really not feeling well. I think I’m gonna go lie down.”

 

My mother hummed softly but didn’t protest. In fact, she remained silent otherwise, which only added to the tremble I was desperately trying to conceal as I exited the kitchen.

 

I had to find Scully and get the heck out of dodge.

 

On my way to the front door, I grabbed the book my mother had been reading. On instinct, I checked the small paper she’d been using as a bookmark. After a cautious glance back at the kitchen doorway, I opened what I now realized was a folded letter.

 

A letter from the sheriff’s department, notifying Ma of my father’s release on parole today.

 

At the sound of my mother’s footsteps, I made a mad dash for the foot of the stairs and ran up to my room. Now feeling trapped, I scolded myself for not chancing the distance to the front door. No matter what was happening with my mother, I was a sixteen-year-old young man. Surely, I could defend myself…

 

Against a woman who mutilated herself and animals? In any case, I had missed my opportunity at escape. Now, all I could do was wait it out and hope that Pa either hadn’t kept his household gun or, if he had, Ma wouldn’t know where he stashed it. Come to think of it, my father hadn’t even mentioned the thing for years anyway.

 

Thoughts racing, I sat on my bed, feeling like tearing my own hair out. How had I not noticed something amiss with my mother before?

 

Roy!” a hushed, male voice called from outside my slightly open window.

 

Startled yet again, I gripped the sheets of my bed. There, shadowy face apparent in the moonlight peeking through the storm clouds outside, crouched my Pa. He must have climbed up the drain pipe.

 

“Pa!” I hissed, hurrying to open the window, “You’re out. What are you doing here?”

 

“I’m so sorry, my boy,” his gaze bore into mine as soon as he’d righted himself from climbing over the windowsill, “They took me away when she called the sheriff, I had no time to explain.”

 

“Explain what?” I probed, realizing too late that he wasn’t finished.

 

Another pause. “Are her wounds bleeding?” the graveness of my father’s next question permeated the otherwise silence of the room.

 

Eyebrows knitting together, I answered honestly. “Yes. Pa, she’s been tearing at herself. Scully, too.”

 

I couldn’t bring myself to say aloud what she had done with Scully’s fur.

 

Pa looked pained at that last statement and sat on the bed beside me. “Roy, listen. I wanted to protect you and so never got the chance to tell you what was actually going on with your mother. It started as passing comments at first, about vermin around the house, biting us and the dog. The fights began when she started saying we needed to exterminate the vermin by removing them from all they’d infected. She said she would start your ‘removal’ once her own wounds started bleeding.”

 

“They just started bleeding tonight,” I explained, suddenly feeling dizzy. “You’re saying she wants to kill us?”

 

“I don’t know what her idea of removal is,” my father shook his head, “But we’ve got to get out of here.”

 

Just then, a high-pitched yelp sounded from the ground below.

 

Scully!

 

Starting toward my door, Pa grasped my wrist. “No, son, it’s a trick! She’s baiting you.”

 

“I’ve got to go,” I protested, tearing loose and descending the steps two at a time before bursting out the back door.

 

Sure enough, Scully lay sprawled on the ground, breaths coming in shallow heaves. Fresh blood coated his fur, mixing with the rain that had started to fall.

 

Beside the nearly motionless form of my dog, sat my mother. Blood-soaked fingers contrasting red against the otherwise grey of the backyard, she glanced up at me and I froze.

 

The idle notion that Pa had followed me outside provided scarce comfort in light of the sight before me. Beside Scully’s body, Ma grinned, and I could now clearly make out that a sizeable chunk of her lower lip was gone, the roots of her bottom teeth unnaturally visible.

 

Perhaps Scully’s final attempt at self-defense.

 

A click alerted me again to my father’s presence beside me, the gun now cocked in my mother’s direction.

“Roy,” he murmured,” Go inside and call the sheriff. Now.”

 

Not needing to be told twice, I went to dash toward the back door, when Ma made her move.

 

“It’s time for you to go. You’re dirty, Roy. Those filthy vermin got into you. Such a shame.” My mother sounded solemn as her voice crept closer.

 

I pressed on, nearly at the backdoor now. A deafening shot rang out. Though the absence of a bullet soon alerted to Ma’s having found and unloaded the weapon prior to Pa’s return.

 

“Too late!” she shouted, now breaking into a full run toward me.

 

 

Desperately trying to ignore the meaning behind her words as well as the distorted garble from that horrid mouth, I didn’t see her race at me – as Scully charged her from behind.

 

Within moments, Ma’s throat joined her lower lip, as our lab used his last legs of strength to stop her deadly pursuit.

 

 

The weeks passed slowly into months. With Scully buried in the yard and Ma cremated, Pa and me tended to the yard ourselves. The few crops we managed braved the winter better than expected.

 

We never got another dog. Never wanted one. The house fell into a peaceful yet melancholy quiet without the cheerful bark. The animals didn’t stay away though. In fact, the first day of summer saw a stowaway hiding in our kitchen from the heat…

A large, black rat.

Sarah Katz

Sarah is a fiction author working in cyber security. While not catching hackers, she enjoys worldbuilding, traveling and getting lost on Wikipedia. 

[Note: This drabble was inspired by this image which I didn’t know if I could legally include so feel free to check it out ahead of time.]

Adrift

             I floated aimlessly on the sea. A fin brushed my skin. The creature’s girth and length roiled through my feet. Alternating bands of orange and cream flashed below the waves. I pondered not death, but majesty as the creature broke the surface to face me.  The serpent belonged to the ninety-three percent of unexplored ocean, a creature mankind stood to destroy before we documented its existence. I considered the injustice.

            Though set adrift for defending its home, the serpent wouldn’t differentiate between marine biologists or drillers. Why would it?

            The serpent dove and circled, what a beautiful way to die.

Jackie Allison

Jackie Allison is a writer from Pennsylvania who is also a spouse, parent, and dog toy medic. Franken toys worthy of a few more tugs litter her home. She’s happiest barefoot at the beach or in the forest. Her work has appeared in Funny Times and Chicken Soup for the Soul. www.jackieallison.life

Reaper

Lucy and I lifted the box over the balustrade. It passed from one hand to the other until it reached Uncle Joe. He sat it inside the freshly-dug hole.  

“Is this it then?” Lucy whispered.

“Yes.”

Her brain had been buried under the begonias. Her lungs under the purple delphiniums. Her kidneys under the roses. Her liver under the orchids. Now, her heart.

Burn the witch, they’d said of my grandmother. Burn the witch, they’d said of my mother.

Uncle Joe was old, yet Lucy reeked of death.

I smiled. You think your rites are immune.

I’d take her next.

Claire Fitzpatrick

Claire Fitzpatrick is an award-winning author of speculative fiction and non-fiction. She won the 2017 Rocky Wood Award for Non-Fiction and Criticism. She has been a panellist at Conflux and Continuum. Called ‘Australia’s body horror specialist’ by Peter Kirk, editor of Breach magazine, and ‘Australia’s queen of body horror’ by Gavin Chappel, editor of Schlock! magazine, she enjoys writing about anatomy and the darker sides of humanity. Her debut collection ‘Metamorphosis’ will be published by IFWG Australia in 2019. She lives in Brisbane. Visit her at www.clairefitzpatrick.net

Young love…

Very slowly I release you from my arms, swallowing your cries. All the passion we shared has long since been vanquished.

One small mistake caused so much pain, you never thought it would end but at last, you are released. Your body slides into your open waiting grave.

Your final sin the one you cannot ever take back is thinking I was nothing without you.

Once a love to transcend all ages has slowly faded away. What was a white-hot passion is now ashes.

So many others to maim and kill. The night is young. I’m hungry for more blood.

Kim Plasket

Kim Plasket is a Jersey girl at heart relocated to sunny Florida. She enjoys writing mainly horror and paranormal stories and lives with her husband and 2 kids. When she is not slaving away at her day job, she can be found drinking coffee with fellow author Valerie Willis and planning the demise of some poor character. Currently she has several short stories featured in anthologies such as ‘Demonic Wildlife’ and ‘The Hunted’, also has a story in an Anthology Titled Fireflies and Fairy dust she also has had a story featured in Shades of Santa  with more to come.

https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Plasket-Author-1388808427906955/

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B074YCLRCF

Casting

“They told me you were a man who likes to get into character,” said Veronica. “I must say your make-up is excellent. Your resumé says bit parts – no pun intended – in Z Nation and Black Summer. Quite impressive. I think we can say you’re just what we’re after.”

She glanced up as the actor groaned his thanks and lunged at her. She hated it when they got demonstrative.

Then she felt him bite.

Her last thought was how she would demand her pound of flesh from the director. A problem soon solved when he popped in for his daily update.

Steph Ellis

Some refer to her as Superwoman.

Some as the evil which haunts their nightmares.

Some (mainly me your friendly neighborhood co-editor Stu) refers to Steph as the main reason we’re able to keep TWF running at maximum capacity! 

Today, marks her return to the Drabble! Well, at least those found within the dusty pages (is your screen dusty? Is mine?) of Trembling With Fear!

Enjoy this one!

Prowling the Darkness Blog Tour – The Strengths of the Novella

When I embarked on the first Rayden Valkyrie Tales and Ragnar Stormbringer Tales, my desire was to create novella-length, stand-alone stories for my readers to enjoy on a regular basis as they awaited the longer novel releases.  Each of the stories ends up telling a part of the lives of the Rayden and Ragnar characters, and as more of them are created the reader will also discover there is interrelation between them and the novel-length stories. 

Having written many novels and short stories previously, these projects represented my first immersion into the novella format.  Looking back, I have to say that I have really come to enjoy writing novellas for a number of reasons. 

At around 20,000 words and higher, the novella format does take too much longer than a short story to create, but it still involves much less time than a novel project.  This allows me to write more stories from the lives of Rayden and Ragnar that I would not likely have been able to tell if I only stuck to short stories or large novel projects.

The novella allows for me to go a little farther beyond the limitations of most short stories.  There is more space for character development to take place.  An additional few scenes can make all the difference in bringing out the full scope of a given character.  For my purposes, that is a wonderful benefit as the novella being read could well be a reader’s first encounter with Rayden or Ragnar, and I do hope that the reader likes them enough to enjoy the other novellas, novels, and short stories involving them.  

Additionally, I have much more space for developing supporting characters, even to the extent that I can have a small and solid ensemble cast included in a given story.  This broadens my storytelling possibilities as I can have some of these characters appear in other tales, or even have a loved supporting character from novels like the Dark Sun Dawn titles be featured heavily in one of these novellas.  

A reader will also allow more room for a story to build in a longer format.  An effective short story must connect with a reader fast and there is not a lot of room to deviate from a core plot to reach a conclusion that is satisfying to a reader.  The novella, on the other hand, does allow for more of an expanded plot, and even subplots, along the way to the finish line. 

While having a longer format than short stories comes with some additional storytelling benefits as illustrated above, the novella also benefits from being smaller than a novel. 

A novella’s prose, versus that of a novel, cannot get away with a lot of fluff, resulting in a leaner economy of words and narrative.  This can be very beneficial for maintaining the kind of pace and hooks that will compel a reader to finish the story in one sitting. 

This is also helpful for the genre that these stories are in.  Being action-driven sword and sorcery, a faster pacing can strengthen the narrative.

The novella is a really wonderful format for storytelling in a genre like sword and sorcery or fantasy.  I can use many of the strengths of a novel in my storytelling while also being able to produce a larger number of tales for my readers. I am enabled to give them even more stories of characters they love and provide them with greater exploration of the world that they live in. 

It is a true win-win for the author and for the reader, and I look forward to writing many more of them in the future! 

Take a journey east with Rayden Valkyrie as she undertakes one of her most harrowing adventures yet! Prowling the Darkness is the latest release in the Rayden Valkyrie Tales!

A return to hard-hitting, gritty sword and sorcery with an iconic and inspiring main character, the Rayden Valkyrie Tales are a growing collection of stand-alone novellas that will elate fans of the genre!

The Prowling the Darkness Blog Tour features reviews, interviews, guest posts, video, and top ten lists!

About the author:  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

 

Book Synopsis for Prowling the Darkness:   Dark rumors and whisperings of unholy sorcery bring Rayden Valkyrie to the remote city of Sereth-Naga.

There she finds a populace cowering in fear of the city’s ruthless, mysterious rulers, who remain behind the high walls of their citadel.

An even greater mystery surrounds the city.

Something is prowling the darkness.

 

Something that has kept the enigmatic rulers for centuries from escaping Sereth-Naga to spread their wickedness to other lands.

Prowling the Darkness is a stand-alone novella that is part of the Rayden Valkyrie Tales.

 

Author Links:

 

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

 

 

Tour Schedule and Activities

8/7      Armed with a Book    http://www.armedwithabook.com Review

8/7      I Smell Sheep  http://www.ismellsheep.com/        Guest Post

8/7      Fragile Winds http://mariadkins.blogspot.com      Guest Post

8/8      The Most Sublime      http://www.themostsublime.com   Review

8/8      Breakeven Books       https://breakevenbooks.com           Guest Post

8/9      Armed with a Book    http://www.armedwithabook.com Interview      

8/10    Horror Tree    https://www.horrortree.com          Guest Post

8/10    Sheila’s Guests and Reviews http://sheiladeeth.blogspot.com     Guest Post

8/11    Speculative Fiction Spot        http://specfictionspot.blogspot.com/         Guest Post

8/12    Literary Underworld http://www.literaryunderworld.com          Guest Post

8/13    Jazzy Book Reviews    http://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com Video Interview

8/13    The Book Junkie Reads          https://thebookjunkiereadspromos.blogspot.com Guest Post

8/14    Stuart Conover’s Homepage https://www.stuartconover.com     Top Ten’s List

8/14    Bookish Valhalla  https://www.bookishvalhalla.com  Review

 

 

Links for Prowling the Darkness

Kindle Version:  https://www.amazon.com/Prowling-Darkness-Rayden-Valkyrie-Tale-ebook/dp/B07R75X26Z/

Barnes and Noble Link for Prowling the Darkness: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prowling-the-darkness-stephen-zimmer/1131360526?ean=2940161456958

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/prowling-the-darkness

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/prowling-the-darkness/id1463010144

The Horror Tree Presents… an Interview with Misha Burnett


Selene – Welcome to The Horror Tree, and thanks for agreeing to an interview. Tell us a bit about yourself, namely what is New Wave (horror)? I’m familiar with “new wave” in other contexts (New Wave music of the 80s, French New Wave film, New Wave Of British Heavy Metal…), but not pertaining to horror.

Misha – I think that the spirit of New Wave is to embrace new techniques in order to go back to one’s roots, which sounds paradoxical, I know. But in the examples you cite—music and film—the idea was to recapture the power of earlier works using modern technology. While the instruments of  New Wave music—synthesizers and drum machines—were cutting edge at the time the rhythms and to a certain extent the lyrics were very much roots Rock’n’Roll, 4/4 time with a back beat. New Wave film used modern photographic techniques in order to reach back to the early days of cinema when filmmakers were making it up as they went along.

New Wave Horror is the same principle. I work to recapture the existential horror of the Weird Tales era—not the purple prose or the dated slang of that era, but the feel of a world that has gone off the rails. The core conceit of a universe that is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine.

 

Selene – In addition to horror, you have published many short stories in speculative and science fiction anthologies. What genre do you like best, and why?
Misha – I never know what genre I’m working in until the story is finished, and sometimes not even then. I see genres as toolboxes, with different tropes and themes. I’ll use whatever techniques I need to tell the story I want to tell. A little Mystery, a little Romance, some SF and Fantasy. If I had to pick one I’d say I have the most fun working in E C Comics Horror (is that a genre?) I like stories with poetic justice and a healthy dose of irony, that don’t explain or excuse the fantastic elements, just use them to set up the gotcha! at the end.

 

Selene – What are some of your influences, and what do you like to read?

Misha – Tim Powers is my idol. I’m also a huge fan of Samuel Delany, Philip Dick, George Alec Effinger, and Fredrick Brown. Right now I am listening to (I tend to do my pleasure reading by audiobook) a wonderful little novel by Drew Magary called The Hike. It’s a magical realism quest kind of thing, kind of like of The Phantom Tollbooth for middle-aged men.

 

Selene – In your blog post “The Dead Men’s Shoes Society,” you describe a pattern in storytelling wherein one man (emphasis on man) writes or films or creates something, then it becomes popular, then others follow in his shoes. Do you really believe there’s nothing new to be done creatively? Particularly since all the “innovators” you mention are white men of a certain class?

Misha – No, I didn’t mean to say at all that there was nothing new to do creatively, and the examples I gave were just those that came to mind. My point is that artist don’t have to imitate other artists. They can, and it’s certainly easier than blazing one’s own trail, but anyone can invent their own genre. I wish more people would.

 

Selene – You describe your Book Of Lost Doors series as “loosely based on Burroughs’ Nova Express books.” I’m not familiar with Burroughs books, but how do they relate?
Misha – In terms of cosmology. The basic conceit of William Burroughs’ work is that humanity has been influenced by alien intelligences—his famous line about language being a virus from outer space, for example.  I wanted to take that idea and run with it, to see if I could translate it into concrete, practical terms. The Lizard People of Omega IV have just started beaming messages into your head—what do you ask them for?  The other major influence from Burroughs is the idea that the Outsiders are essentially flimflam artists, they are running an intergalactic scam. They lie, cheat, and steal, and are never what they claim to be.

 

Selene – I read the first novel in the series, Catskinner’s Book. You’ve created a unique world and situation; how do you go about world-building?

Misha – I tend to take ideas that I like from as many different sources as I can and then toss them all in a blender and see what comes out. In The Book Of Lost Doors I did set out to create a new mythology—I didn’t want to use vampires or werewolves or faeries. The important thing for me is to present them as matter of fact as possible. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “good idea” in fiction—there are just dumb ideas done well.

 

Selene – Let’s talk about characters. Jim is sort of an anti-hero, a bit of a twist on a superhero (or super villain, if you look at him that way). How did you come up with the character, and what’s it like writing someone with such complex problems?

Misha – James and Catskinner are based on myself, actually. I have Disassociative Identity Disorder, and I wanted to try to capture the feeling of having an alternate personality take control. I tarted it up some, with the superspeed and all, but I pretty much wrote their interactions from my own life experience.

 

Selene – You’ve also created some memorable antagonists and foils for Jim. How do you build a believable antagonist?

Misha – A believable antagonist is a character that would be the protagonist except her or his goals are in opposition to the protagonist character. That is to say, what makes a villain isn’t who the character is, but what the character wants.

 

Selene – On another of your blog posts, you mentioned unlikeable characters, namely the protagonists from Camus’ The Stranger and Fowles’ The Collector, and you cautioned against a predictable character arc for them.  Characters in horror can often fall to this kind of simplistic arc. What are some important characteristics for drawing sympathy (or at least empathy) for a character that’s not immediately likeable?

Misha – I don’t know if I can answer that. I try to make everyone in my stories likeable—even those characters who really need to be put down for the good of humanity. I see a character’s first appearance in a story as a date or a job interview—put your best foot forward. And, I think that meeting someone you want to like and then finding out later that she eats live kittens has a lot more emotional impact.

 

Selene – The plot of Catskinner’s Book is full of twists and turns and the occasional deus ex machina. It also ends abruptly, just as the characters are about to confront another turn. How do you build suspense and avoid predictability?

Misha – I don’t really plot stories out in advance, so the events are frequently as much a surprise for me as they are for my readers. Mostly I try to figure out what would make sense to happen next, given who the character are and what the situation is. I think it comes across as unpredictable because readers are used to stories following a particular pattern which frequently wouldn’t make sense in the real world.

 

Selene – On your blog, you keep a sort of running tally of words written, stories published or submitted, and other writing accomplishments. Do you find this quantification helps your productivity?

Misha – Yes. Accountability is very important to me. It’s much harder for me to make excuses not to be productive when I know that other people are following my progress.

 

Selene – Speaking of productivity, how do you balance your writing with other aspects of your time, and balance one writing project against another?

Misha – I don’t really have any other aspects of my time. I get up, write for an hour, go to my day job, come home and write until I go to sleep. That’s my life. I have no social life at all. As far as balancing projects, I tend to work on one until I am done (or decide it needs to be shelved.) I am terrible at multitasking.

 

Selene – What advice would you give a writer just starting out?

Misha – Try as many different types of projects as you can. Set out to try to work in different forms and different genres. What you think you want to write may not be what you are really good at. Also, write sonnets. If you write a sonnet a day for thirty days your prose will improve markedly. I guarantee it.

 

Selene – In addition to novels, you also work in shorter stories and poetry. While each length of work has its challenges, what’s your favourite?

Misha – Short fiction. My sweet spot is around 10,000 words, give or take. Long enough to fully flesh out a story, but not so long that I (or my readers) get bored with it.

 

Selene – This is going to be a personal question, and I’ll accept if you’re not comfortable answering it. You mentioned working with mental illness. Many of our literary heroes have struggled with mental illness, and we live in a time where as a society we’re finally starting to overcome the stigma and be able to talk openly. How do you find your personal obstacles inform your writing?

Misha – I don’t romanticize insanity. Being crazy hurts. There’s more to that than meets the eye. I write characters who are happy and productive in direct proportion to the extent to which their comprehension of reality conforms to the real world—whatever “real” means in the context of the story. If I have a mission in my fiction (which I kind of hope I don’t) it is to put a stake through the heart of Elwood P Dowd.

 

Selene – A fun question, after a heavier question. If you were to have creative control over a movie of one of your stories, which one would you see made into a film, and who would be the star?

Misha – I think I’d go with “Black Dog” from Duel Visions, and I’d like to get David Morse to play the lead.

 

Selene – What projects do you have upcoming?

Misha – Right now I am focusing on Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts, which is a short story collection coming out from Lagrange Books. The stories are all set in Dracoheim, which is a Fantasy world loosely based on 1960s Los Angeles, with magic and demons added. My main character is Erik Rugar, who is an agent of the department that regulates magic use. Think The Untouchables, only with unlawful spellcasters instead of bootleggers. I also have stories coming out in Storyhack, DimensionBucket, and Switchblade magazines, as well as three different anthologies.

 

Selene – Thank you again for agreeing to an interview. Do you have anything else you’d like to talk about?

Misha – I believe that art is a vital part of the human condition. It’s not something that some people do and those people are “artists”. Everybody needs to do it—your soul will shrivel up and die if you don’t create something. It doesn’t have to be something that anyone else will ever care about or even see. You need to do it for you. Finger paint, knit, sing in the shower, do something. It’s what we’re made for.

Taking Submissions: The Dead Game

Deadline: January 15th, 2020
Payment: Contributor’s Copy

A Collection of Horrors

Zimbell House is holding open submissions for short suspense-thriller horror stories about deadly games.

Let your imagination roam and put our readers in the middle of the action. We want complete stories from the POV of the person that ends up dead. Start at the death, and work your way backward. What was the game? Why did the person agree to play? Who instigated the game? Was death really the stakes or just a terrible accident? Our readers want horror, but not gruesome details. The horror should come from the suspense, not the deeds.

  • Please keep foul language to a minimum-it loses its punch if over-used.
  • Dialogue needs to be believable, and please keep dialects/slang to a bare minimum if you must use them.
  • No head-hopping or POV changes. Pick one point of view and stick with it.
  • Please show more of the action than just telling the reader what happens.

Submissions of both short stories and novellas to this anthology are welcome, please keep in mind the minimum word count is 4,000 and the maximum word count is 20,000.

This anthology is a great opportunity to showcase emerging writers and allow them to build their professional platforms.

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2020, with a targeted release date of mid-April 2020.

Submit your best work. Poorly formatted and unedited work will be turned down. Please use Americanized English spellings. We will be doing light editing as necessary to fit the standards we strive to maintain.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Any work under 4,000 words will be automatically disqualified for this anthology.
  • The work must not have appeared in print or online anywhere before.
  • All submissions must be in English.
  • Each author may submit up to three (3) unique works—please submit them separately.
  • Work must be in Microsoft Word or RTF, double-spaced, 12-point font-no headers/footers.

All contributing authors will receive a free copy of the book in softcover.  Authors that are chosen for the anthology will not be paid nor receive royalties for their submission. This is an opportunity to build your platform.

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2020.

Via: Zimbell House Publishing.

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