Taking Submissions: Knucklehead Noir

Deadline: July 1st, 2018
Payment: $0.03/word CAD

Tales of dimwitted criminals and unlucky twits on the wrong side of the law. Nimrods, numbskulls and rejects. Bumbling sidekicks and idiots-gone-wrong.
Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford ain’t got nothin’ on these dipshits.

Edited by Robert Bose

Projected launch date is November 2018 We will be accepting open submissions for 3-5 stories (of up to 5,000 words) to be featured alongside 6-8 stories from some well-known and extremely talented authors.
Submissions will are open NOW and close on July 1, 2018.
We are specifically looking for darkly humorous CRIME stories.
No Sci-fi, no Fantasy.

Payment currently listed at $0.03/word CAD

Please send in .doc or .docx format, in standard formatting.
See our STYLE GUIDE for more information.

***ANY SUBMISSIONS NOT FOLLOWING THE PRESCRIBED FORMATTING MAY BE SUMMARILY DISMISSED WITHOUT REPLY***

Via: Coffin Hop.

Trembling With Fear 04/15/2018

Reading is the lifeblood of writing, it expands vocabulary, introduces new ideas, shows you how the great and the good have achieved their status. Reading is the easiest way to learn the craft, an escape which teaches you without you even realising it as you unconsciously absorb the tricks of the trade and discover what works and what doesn’t. I read regularly, I always have done but find that on a regular basis editing and writing takes that time away from me. After a few days of this however, I find the need to pick up a book and lose myself become overwhelming and then I shelve the writing, try and ignore the editing and just disappear. Do you allow yourself this time of vanishing into the pages? If not, why not? In the words of the master “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” (Stephen King)

And this quote I just discovered from another favourite author, Ray Bradbury (you MUST read Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451 if you have not already done so):

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We have made a bit of progress on our first ‘Trembling With Fear’ anthology over the past week and I’m hoping to provide you with a substantial update in next Sunday’s installment!

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Damp Wind and Leaves

Dracula.  Frankenstein.  The Mummy.  The Wolfman.  Posters covered his walls, as did cotton cobwebs, rubber tarantulas, and bats strung with elastic.  Dribbles of wax added authenticity to the gold-painted candelabra on shelves covered with Tales from the Crypt  and Vault of Horror  comics and antique Aurora monster models.  Layered across this display fit for a wax museum was the season’s own finishing touch, stark claw-like shadows of brittle, bare branches cast through his window by the flickering street lamp outside.

As he stood gazing down at Marlborough Street, Jeff wished he were twelve again—old enough to go even a block ahead of Dad while still young enough to get pounds of free candy.   Since he was seventeen, though, he was supposed to be a bit old for that.  Might look too threatening to the generally older, wealthy residents of Back Bay Boston should he, a six foot tall walking corpse, lean into a well-lit foyer and growl, “Trick or treat!”

Jeff refused to let go of Halloween any more than he had to.  He turned from the darkening street back to his bed, where white facial stage makeup, a sponge, black eyeliner pencil, white formal gloves, a circular, golden amulet on a red ribbon, and the heavy, long, black cape were strewn.  Smiling over the goods, he felt totally prepared.  Jeff already wore his uncle’s tuxedo, and his hair was black shoe polished and slicked back.  After joining the living (his parents) for dinner, he would don the rest of the costume, inspect himself in his bathroom mirror, pretend he couldn’t see a reflection in it, and fully become the only Dracula these trick-or-treaters would care to remember.  Practicing his best Lugosi, he said, “There are far worse things awaiting man than cavities.” Then Jeff gave a goofy smile made wicked by the porcelain fitted fangs he had worn off and on all afternoon.

He heard his Mom call down from the kitchen and he returned to reality.  Scaring crowds of costumed kids was not going to be the exciting work it was on TV and in smaller towns.  These days, especially in a city like Boston, trick-or-treating was on its way out due to publicized stories of poisoned candy, and most of the neighborhood was reluctant to open doors very often at night.  So this year, Jeff’s parents were doing their part for safety by holding a party and asking parents to bring their children.

There was a tap on his door, followed by the wild creaking of the hinges.  A couple of tightened screws had achieved the effect.  His Mom entered.  “Honey, we’ve got to eat now so I can clear the table in time.  And I don’t want you to rush or else you’ll get tomato sauce on your costume.”

He came out of the bathroom, yanking his fangs out.  “None of these kids are going to appreciate it anyway.  The effect is gonna wear thin when they laugh at my accent.”  Jeff sat on the edge of his bed and sighed.

After a moment, his Mom sat down next to him and put her hand on his knee.  “I know you’re not looking forward to this, Jeff.  You probably wish you were a little younger tonight.”

He rolled his eyes.  “Yeah, yeah, we all grow up, whatever.”

“But I’ll tell you something, pal, this was always one of my favorite holidays, and it still is.  I’m forty-four.  So there.  Incidentally, the Morrises’s daughter Melanie is around your age.  They’re making her come along.  Now come on down to eat.  You can have some wine, if you like, on this grand occasion.”

They stood and she patted her son on the back.  In the doorway, he said in character, “I never drink…wine.

            They finished eating just as twilight crossed over to the beginning of true night.  Jeff flew upstairs and donned the Dracula wear.  The plates went into the dishwasher as soon as the doorbell rang.  At the bottom of the stairs, he caught his Mom’s gaze and saw her wink.  From behind a newspaper his Dad grunted, “Go suck their blood, son.”  Jeff floated across the foyer, wrapped his cape about him, and opened the door.

“Trick or treat!” Before him stood a four-and-a-half foot cat-woman carrying a writhing mouse-boy on her back.  Their eager smiles soon faded to looks of concern.  The Mouse’s head whipped back in search of parents back on the sidewalk, but the King of the Vampires held the Cat’s eyes in his piercing gaze.

Then he opened his cape, changing from mysterious to elegant.  “I am Dracula.  I bid you welcome.” The girl’s smile returned even if the younger boy was still unsure.  As Jeff opened the door wider Susan and little Mike Morris entered, followed by Mr. and Mrs. Morris.  They were both shy, and they smiled at Jeff as they walked back into the living room.  As they left the foyer, he noticed Mr. Morris was wearing gorilla feet instead of shoes.  This made Jeff grunt in approval; the grunt became a sinister chuckle, and soon Dracula was testing the echo of the empty foyer with a resounding, evil laugh.

Then a creak from the open door made him turn toward it, arms still outstretched, head still high, mouth still wide open.  It was not the usual pose for attracting women.  Slouching somewhat in the doorway was Melanie Morris.  At least that was who it must be, thought Jeff, as he composed himself—but still remaining in character, for he wasn’t sure how to act around girls he didn’t know.  Her wide brown eyes focused on him in an expression of amazement mixed with what must be the Morris Adult Shyness; her head was tilted down a touch so that those eyes looked out from under a prettily concerned forehead.  She gave a sudden, brief smile and walked briskly past him into the living room.  As he watched her go, he almost shut the door in Mr. Finch’s face, who was just arriving with his wife and their twin boys.

For the next half-hour, the crowd down the short hall in the living room grew.  So did the noise, between uninhibited adults, like the boisterous Mr. Finch who got onion dip in his wife’s hair and proceeded to lick it off, and their children who were high on sugar and numbered around fourteen.  Jeff wafted in and out of the room, trying to look darkly dignified when not putting on a show for newcomers at the door.

On one of his return trips he noticed that Melanie had situated herself by the clean but currently dormant fireplace.  On either side of her the festivities raged, but she sat in a pocket of calm.  Back out in the darkened foyer, he realized that she was in the one spot where she could see the front door.  When he suddenly looked down the hall toward her, her pretty eyes immediately darted away to the right.  Although they were at opposite ends of the house, they could see each other as if through binoculars.

By the time the last guests wondered in, Jeff stopped returning to the living room.  He rested out on the staircase near the door in anticipation of the madness that awaited him in the form of the kids. All the gaiety in there seemed about to overflow into his area of refuge.  Sure enough, a shadow slowly began to take over the light pooled on the floor by the hall.  But instead of his Mom or, God forbid, a couple of bored, costumed children, it was Melanie who quietly stepped into his shadows.  At first, she did not see him, and she moved over to the front window, hands clasped behind her, and knelt by the unlit jack-o-lantern.  Jeff had forgotten it was there; apparently his Mom had asked Melanie to light its candle.  The flickering light from the match she struck and the candle she lit gave him not only an ethereal image of her face but a feeling that slowly made him stand.  Then he forgot why he stood and just watched her.

Then he spoke softly.  “Melanie.”

Instead of jumping up in surprise, she merely replied, “Count Dracula, is that you?”  Then there was a long moment of exciting silence.

He descended from the stairs.  “Actually my name is Jeff.  Somehow we’ve never met.  I mean…”

“I know.” When the light from the hall suddenly revealed him right in front of her, Melanie gasped and said, “I really like your costume.”  Then she moved out of the shadows.

He saw her try to hide her smile as soon as the light showed it.  They now stood two feet apart.  Jeff was terrified even though he knew he must look scary to her.  He wanted to slip back into character and was just about speak Transylvanian when rapid footsteps approached from behind him.  He knew exactly what to do.

By the sound of it, all fourteen of them were scurrying toward them.  His Mom had probably sent them.  Just as they were about to reach the foyer, the Great Vampire turned on them with a vicious snarl, his vast cape of darkness spread wide.  High-pitched screams erupted, followed quickly by hysterical giggling, as the hallway became a chaotic mass of miniature monsters, princesses, and various creatures delighting in the scare.  Then one small voice spoke up: “Where’s Melanie?” Now all were quiet.

Jeff moved to the side and quickly glanced about the foyer and the dimly lit staircase, but she was gone.  Then there came a low creaking sound as the front door slowly swung on its unoiled hinges.  There was nobody there.  No body, but there sat the jack-o-lantern flickering away in all its spookiness.  They silently gathered around it.  In an intentionally trembling voice, Jeff said, “Melanie?”

“Boo!” An explosion of screams perhaps even more impressive than those Jeff had elicited came from the rear of the group.  There stood Melanie in the middle of the foyer laughing proudly at her scheme.  She gave Jeff a wink, and he was now in love.

He decided, too, that he wouldn’t mind showing these kids a frightfully good time if she were there.  So he led them all up the pitch-black staircase, using the jack-o-lantern as a light.  Jeff prepared them for his Monster Palace by giving an ominous warning not to touch the models or cobwebs, it being in their own best interest as mortals.  Then he showed them inside.  They gasped and shuddered (and, of course, giggled) as he gave each ghastly prop the show-and-tell treatment.  Particularly effective were the glow-in-the-dark, life-size skull and Ben, his gerbil who, he told them, was a rat who came over on the ship from the old country.  Finally, he prepared them for Borris Karloff in Frankenstein.  By the time he was done setting the mood, even the older kids were ready for a black and white movie.  He set the jack-o-lantern on the shelf above the TV and started the creature feature.

The second feature was a full-color homage to the monster films to which his palace was dedicated, Fred Dekker’s The Monster Squad.  Ten minutes into it, the kids were so hooked on monsters that he felt he could leave them entranced for a while.  He put Jamie Barton in charge, told his Mom to look in on them, and stepped outside into the damp, breezy night with Melanie.

Through filling the kids with the spirit of Halloween, he felt satisfied and happy.  As he stepped onto the sidewalk with this girl he had met only hours before, he felt impossibly comfortable with her.  Halloween was a night when the impossible, the strange, and the supernatural, aspects of humanity the civilized human ignores the rest of the year, were remembered and celebrated in all their mystery.  They had walked more than a block in silence.  Now they reached the vacant corner of Marlborough and Exiter, and a cold gust swirled dead leaves around them.

Melanie spoke up first.  “You were fun with those kids.  You really have a way with them.”

“That’s because,” he said, “I wish I were one of them.”

She though for a few seconds.  “Then you wouldn’t be out here with me.” They kept walking in the crosswind, both suddenly afraid again.

“I wish I had worn a costume, but I don’t know,” she stuttered, “I-I’m, you know, shy sometimes and…”

They stopped and more leaves blew past.  Jeff looked at the full moon and said into the night, “You don’t need a costume, because you have beautiful brown eyes.”

It was a surprisingly easy thing to say.

Amy Grech

Amy Grech has sold over 100 stories to various anthologies and magazines including: Apex Magazine, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled, Dead Harvest, Deadman’s Tome Campfire Tales Book Two, Expiration Date, Fright Mare, Needle Magazine, Real American Horror, Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine, Space and Time Magazine, Tales from The Lake Vol. 3, and many others. New Pulp Press published her book of noir stories, Rage and Redemption in Alphabet City.

 

She is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers who lives in Brooklyn. Visit her website: https://www.crimsonscreams.com/. Follow Amy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_grech.

Fright Done Right: https://www.crimsonscreams.com/

Live Journal: https://amygrech.livejournal.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_grech

Gingerbread

The house was just there one day.  Big porch, fancy carved decoration, like Victorian. It shone white, like sugar icing.

Grace wasn’t scared.  She went up and knocked on the door.  It opened, light spilled out, too bright, I shut my eyes.  Then there wasn’t any house, just a dusty alley.

Remembered just now, the house didn’t have any windows.

They said I never had a sister Grace.  I almost forgot her myself.  Grew up.

I can see the house out the window, down in the motel parking lot.  I’ll go knock.

The cash under this note is for Housekeeping.

Manuel Royal

Manuel has been published in online magazines (Longshot Island, Dialogual, Jersey Devil Press, etc.) and in some anthologies. He has also sold one short film script and an audio script.

Manuel Royal, like Tristram Shandy, was born with a broken nose. He will die. In between, he lives and writes in Atlanta, Georgia.

Kill Code

Androids aren’t supposed to commit suicide.

I scroll through security footage, trying to piece together what happened before Unit 291 threw itself from the roof. A shadow flickers, almost a glitch, but not quite. It walks in the wrong direction, falls on the wrong wall. Two silhouettes cast by one body, from one light.

Hitting pause, I see the shadow doesn’t stop. It lurches, disjointed, then peels itself from the wall. It turns toward me. It approaches the camera, moving from two dimensions to three. It smiles, then it disappears.

There’s a ghost in our machine world.

It’s getting closer.

 

Kevin Holton

Kevin Holton is a cyborg and fitness junkie from coastal New Jersey. He’s the author of At the Hands of Madness (Severed Press), as well as the forthcoming novels The Nightmare King (Siren’s Call Publications) and These Walls Don’t Talk, They Scream (HellBound Books). He also co-wrote the short film Human Report 85616, and his short work has appeared with Sci-Phi Journal, The Literary Hatchet, Radiant Crown Press, Pleiades, Rain Taxi, Mighty Quill Books, and Thunderdome Press, among others. He is also a blogger for The Bold Mom, a columnist for Helios Quarterly, and a Game Master at Escape the Puzzle, which basically makes him The Riddler.

 

You can find him at:

www.amazon.com/author/kevinholton

www.kevinholton.com

www.patreon.com/TheHoltoning

Party Killer

The walls reverberated to loud techno music, and dim lights made it hard to see beyond the shadows of dancers writhing like snakes in a pit. Flashing lights occasionally bathed the scene in alternating reds and blues, sliding over one shadow, darker than the rest. The masses shied away from the light unwilling to be seen. A low moan could be heard. Once in a while screams rang out followed by silence.

Every beat brought the masses further into a frenzied trance until they suddenly stopped. The music continued on, but they did not. Death became the ultimate party killer.

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.

You can find Kim’s work on Amazon.

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Terence Hannum

Alyson –  Hi Terence and welcome to the Horror Tree.  Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your creative origins as it were?

 

Terence – Thanks, I live in Baltimore and am a visual artist, musician and writer. My visual art uses collages of cassette tapes to make decaying abstracted patterns. I play in the experimental-metal band Locrian, they’re on Relapse Records, as well as in the shoegaze-synthpop band The Holy Circle, and my solo material is more ambient. And I write fiction and about visual art.

 

My creative origins, really I was always making music and art, I wrote a lot when I was young and did theatre. I went to college for Religion and Philosophy with the plan to be a pastor but realized it wasn’t for me, and focused a lot on visual art. Then I went to graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for painting and drawing and started writing art criticism, exhibiting my art, making music and teaching. I hadn’t really thought about writing fiction until maybe 7-8 years ago when I had this potent dream that became my first novella “Beneath the Remains.”

 

Alyson –  How much does living in Baltimore, USA influence/inspire your work?

 

Terence – Depends on the story really, only a few pieces of short fiction have been published about the area, like short story “Vanish on the Instant”. I’m probably more influenced by suburbia and sprawl than say the city. That said, it’s a great city, Atomic Books is a refuge of a bookshop. I have a novel, “Lower Heaven”, I’m editing to get ready to submit that deals a lot with suburban living near Baltimore, it’s more about surveillance and religion that was really inspired by this giant surveillance blimp that was in a county nearby to Baltimore. And a few more stories percolating.

 

Alyson –  Is there a book that changed your life? Which book do you wish you’d written?

 

Terence – Oh for sure, two actually. One is when I was young I told my mom that I liked horror movies and we watched the James Whale Frankenstein and my mother encouraged me to read Mary Shelley’s novel. I was probably in fifth grade and I just saw it as a monster story, I think she asked me a question about it, and I didn’t know what she was talking about so she told me to read it again. I reluctantly did and started to see other things emerge from it and as I grew up it became so much bigger with all these layers. Second, in high-school in Florida, I had to read Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and I remember just being floored and thinking it was so visual and evocative. It made me probably more intimidated to write, I held it up as a standard.

 

I think about Cormac McCarthy’s “Child of God” as one I wish I wrote, it’s so simple, it has its own vocabulary, it’s terrifying and has these layers of meaning.

 

Alyson –  Which horror/ sci-fi writers have influenced your work?

 

Terence – JG Ballard was a massive influence on me, to think of our society and find meaning in banal things like the shopping mall, cars, or highways, to use them as lenses to say something larger. Samuel Delaney had a huge effect on me, sexuality as a territory for science fiction, or to blur those lines of sci-fi. In horror, writers like T.E.D. Klein, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, Jeremias Gotthelf’s “The Black Spider” really influenced me.

 

Alyson –  Writing is only one of your creative outlets; I’m struck by how diverse the outlets are for your creativity- you’re a visual artist, a musician/performer, a D.J. Do these threads overlap? Feed into each other?

 

Terence – For sure, or one can act as a reprieve while another idea gestates. I try and divide up my time to think and work on projects but sometimes a deadline demands more focus, but often times I’ll be playing music and think of a weird scenario and realize it’s a good beginning for a story. Or be writing and think about something for my visual art.

 

Alyson –  Is your music more dominant than your visual art or than your writing? Or do you juggle them all evenly? How do you prioritize?

 

Terence – I try and have a certain schedule just in case. Days of writing, or being in the studio, or recording. But I let it be flexible unless I’m recording a record or have an editing deadline. I work well with deadlines.

 

Alyson –  Do you have a dedicated space you create in?

 

Terence – Yes, I have a studio that is where most of my art gets made and music too, it’s pretty evenly divided. I tend to write anywhere though, typically at night, but all day I take notes about characters or settings, little things that at about midnight will bug me enough to dive in and work on a story.

 

Alyson –  How much research do you do for your (writing) projects?

 

Terence – Quite a bit initially, I save a lot of articles, find books, videos online, interviews, and then start taking what I need to hang on to, to make some portions real. I read a lot of non-fiction and journalism. But when I write all that is just background. I tend to know what I want, but it helps. Also, I just talk to people, cops, reporters, whoever, I ask them questions and listen. Maybe take some notes, I like vocabulary, so hearing certain words can clue you into class, or professions and really help anchor what you need.

 

Alyson –  As I’m a keen fan of horror films (modern and Golden Age) I want to ask you about your Dead Air column for the Horror Writers Association newsletter, which focuses on horror movie soundtracks and the radio show you broadcast at Halloween? How did this link up come about? Which are your favourite soundtracks?

 

Terence – Well I am a horror movie obsessive since I was young, but in all my bands I play synthesizers and realized my instrument was really inspired by John Carpenter scores and Goblin and their scores for Argento films like Deep Red and Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and Wendy Carlos Williams score for The Shining. So, I was inspired by that era from the 70s to 80s and the use of synthesizers. Before the whole vinyl reissue craze on Death Waltz/Mondo, Waxworks, etc. I used to collect these import CDs and get obsessed about Fabio Frizzi and what not, so I started DJ-ing soundtracks for an annual radio show, now on WLOY, and people seem to enjoy it. I mix it up with classics; Halloween to more obscure like Brad Fiedel’s score for Just Before Dawn and new pieces like Michael Abel’s score for Get Out.

 

My favorite soundtracks; Texas Chainsaw Massacre by Wayne Bell and Tobe Hooper is essential, it has never been released as a record either, Fabio Frizzi’s score for Fulci’s The Beyond is great, Klaus Schulze’s score for Angst, and The Shining, Dawn of the Dead, and Coil’s original score for Hellraiser.

 

 

Alyson – Do you watch many horror films? Indie or mainstream? Can you tell us some of your faves?

 

Terence – I do, I watch a lot, all over the map from quality and era. That said, I think we’ve entered a neat period where you have films like Get Out, It Follows, Under the Skin, Babadook, It Comes at Night that to me really are reviving good, smart horror. But this allows us to rediscover things like The Innocents, The Burning or Angst. So my favorites are Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Dawn of the Dead, Angst, The Innocents, The Shining, Carnival of Souls, The Beyond, Suspiria, Last House on Dead End Street, The Babadook, The Vanishing, The Thing from Another World, Halloween, I could go on.

 

Alyson –  In 2016 your novella ‘Beneath the Remains’ was published by Anathemata; (available to buy on Amazon) Is it noir? Or horror? Of a mix of both?

 

Terence – I like blurred boundaries when I started writing, Beneath the Remains was more a coming-of-age story, but dark. It took on the noir and mystery elements as it went on through the landscape of south-west Florida in the early 1990s. And the outside character of death metal, I really wanted to juxtapose this sunny paradise with brutal gory lyrics and a kind of pathetic loss. So I let it be, I think its horror with a lower case “h” and a mix of southern-noir. But at its core, it is about a missing brother and this younger brother trying to figure out who he is after his brother disappears – so it has that coming-of-age part at its core with details in those other genres.

 

The physical book of “Beneath the Remains” is still available too;

http://anathemataeditions.bigcartel.com/product/terence-hannum-beneath-the-remains-novella

 

 

Alyson –  Can you tell us about your new novella “All Internal” which is available to pre-order in April from Dynatox Ministries?

 

Terence – “All Internal” really evolved out of my background in philosophy and this idea of the mind-body-problem, which is about the relationship between the mind and consciousness and the body. Is the only one? Which one? Is there communication between the two? Do other minds exist? Anyway, I have this love of horror sci-fi films like Inseminoid and Forbidden World, The Brood, and I wanted to make a critique of the mind-body-problem in philosophy by way of a body-horror story. It involves a woman in the amateur porn industry around south Florida as a parasitic entity takes over her body, and eventually the narrative, driving her body to replicate and exterminate.

 

Alyson –  What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Terence – It’s a marathon and not a sprint. Take time to listen to the people who read what you create. Reading isn’t like looking at art or listening to music, or watching a film, it takes more time, and, if you are actually saying something, people may want to think about it. So be patient and write well. I’m a big fan of the Surrealists and they were right to keep track of their dreams, to use automatic writing, to collage a story from newspapers, use these tools to find new roads. Don’t be afraid to edit. Ask a lot of questions, and, most importantly, write well.

Alyson –  Where can readers follow you online?

@TerenceHannum / www.terencehannum.com

Here are 2 links to short stories by Terence Hannum to read online:-

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xyg5nd/the-void

Vanish on the Instant

You can pre-order the upcoming novella ‘All Internal’ right here!

Taking Submissions: Cross+Decay Issue #2

Deadline: May 28th, 2018
Payment: Prose- $0.02/word, $0.01/word after 500 words., Poetry- $0.50/line, $0.25/line after 20 lines.

Cross + Decay is now accepting work for Issue 2: (How To Survive In) The Woods. The deadline is May 28 2018.

Submission Guidelines: Cross+Decay is a literary and art magazine, welcoming poetry, prose, and artwork. The work must adhere to the  issue’s theme, but it is up to the interpretation of the creator to decide what work best fits that theme and would be most relevant.

  • Prose can be fiction or non-fiction, 500-1000 words (maximum 1000).  Prose must be clearly formatted, and fully edited, including spell-checking and proper grammar. Previously published work is welcome, as long as rights have reverted back to the writer.  Work exceeding 1000 words will automatically be rejected.
  • Visual art can be of any medium, including photography and photographs of three-dimensional work. Work must be attached as .jpegs. Artists can submit their work with watermarks or as lower quality files, but the images must represent what the work would look like in print, and must be able to be sent as a high quality .jpeg if accepted (300 dpi, and at least 2000 pixels square).
  • Creators are welcome to submit multiple works, but they must all be submitted at the same time, and within the same email.

Payment: Accepted creators will be paid for their work.

  • Prose- $0.02/word, $0.01/word after 500 words.
  • Poetry- $0.50/line, $0.25/line after 20 lines.
  • Artwork- $15/selected digital file.

All creators will continue to have full rights to their work.

Please email submissions to [email protected], with full name, a short bio, and information relevant to understanding the work (if needed).  If you have any further questions, please send an email to the above address.

Submissions close May 28 2018 at 11:59 PM MST. Late submissions are automatically rejected.

Via: Cross And Decay.

Taking Submissions: Geek Out!

Deadline: August 31st, 2018
Payment: $5 per printed page

Geek Out! will be published in print & ebook (compatible with the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows devices in addition to PDF and other downloadable formats and web-viewable formats.)

Submission Guidelines

Please read the following submission guidelines carefully before submitting your work to Geek Out. If you have any questions not answered below, please write us at [email protected] and we will be happy to answer.

Theme

  • Where queer meets geek. Whatever you geek out about, we want to read it!

Genres

  • Genre Fiction (e.g. scifi, fantasy, western, noir, horror)
  • Poetry: slam poems and non-traditional formats
  • Creative Nonfiction (non-memoir based): opinion essays, topical articles, reviews, comedy
  • Comics / Graphic short stories (black & white only)
  • Scripts: short teleplays, screenplays, video scripts, etc.

Not Looking For

We are not looking for work in the following genres for this particular publication. (See our other Submission Guidelines homepage for other publications with upcoming deadlines seeking work in these genres.)

  • Literary Fiction
  • Memoir-based Nonfiction
  • Traditional Poetry

Additionally, we never accept work in the following genres:

  • Erotica
  • work intended for Children

Length

  • Prose: up to 5,000 words
  • Flash Non-fiction: 1 page or less
  • Poetry: up to 3 pages (per poem)
  • Comics & Scripts: up to 10 pages
  • Submissions of longer than 10 pages must be numbered.

Formats

  • All submissions must be typed. No handwritten submissions will be accepted.
  • If you send your submission in, please do NOT mail us your only copy of your work. We can not be responsible for returning submissions.

Multiple Submissions

  • Multiple submissions (submissions of more than one work) are fine. Send us what you’ve got!

Simultaneous Submissions

  • Simultaneous submissions (submitting work you’ve already submitted–or are planning on submitting–elsewhere) are fine too.
  • Please just be sure that if your submission gets accepted elsewhere, you contact us at [email protected] to withdraw it from consideration for Geek Out!

Reprints

  • Reprints will NOT be considered.

Rights

  • We are seeking First English Anthology Rights and First World Anthology Rights in print and ebook formats.
  • NOTE: These rights only allow the material to be used in the anthology and its reprints, and the writer retains all rights to their work not specified here (i.e. in the contract), including copyright to their work.
  • We are also seeking, for all material, Non-exclusive Excerpt Rights (for the purposes of promoting the Anthology on the website).

Response Time

  • We will respond to all submissions by September 1, 2018.

Compensation

  • Contributors will receive $5 per printed page.

What to Submit

  • Your submission
  • A brief bio telling us something about you and (if applicable) any publishing experience
  • At least one form of contact information (phone number, email, or mailing address. Please do not give a social media account handle as your only form of contact information.
  • IMPORTANT: Pen names are acceptable. However, for contractual purposes, all submissions must also include the author’s legal name.

Where to Submit

Submissions may be emailed to us at: [email protected]

or mailed to us at:
Qommunity
PO Box 454
Lanesborough, MA 01237

AGAIN, MAILED SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE RETURNED

Submission Deadline

  • August 31, 2018

Via: Qommunity.

Taking Submissions: Uncommon Creatures

Deadline: May 15th, 2018
Payment: Royalties

Submission Details:

  • Submissions must be in English and written to the highest quality you are capable.
  • Maximum Word Count is 10,000.
  • This is a paid market anthology, with a royalty cut for each author.
  • Each author retains all rights to their story after a 6-month run in Kindle Unlimited
  • All submissions will be edited and sent to the author for final approval before publication.
  • Open internationally, but submission must be in American English.
  • There is no fee to submit.
  • Please, no reprints or simultaneous submissions.
  • Limit of two submissions per author.
  • Any genre is fine. However, we are not looking for nonfiction at this time.
  • Adult language and sexual situations are permitted.

Formatting your Submission:

  • Standard submission format is accepted.
  • Alternately please send in a doc, docx, or rtf file formatted with; 12pt Times New Roman with 1.5-line spacing; left justified indents on the first line of each paragraph (Do NOT use TAB); no extra spacing between paragraphs; and no headers/footers/page numbers; one space at the end of a sentence, not two.
  • To submit, please use the form below.
  • Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

If you have any questions, please submit your question through the contact page.

Via: Fighting Monkey Press.

Taking Submissions: Speculative City: Game

Deadline: May 31st, 2018
Payment: $20-$75 according to the category and length of their submission.

Submissions are open from April 2 – May 31.

Speculative City publishes provocative works that are centered within a cityscape. Although all are welcome to submit, special consideration is given to creators and characters often underrepresented in speculative fiction, such as people of color, queer people, working-class people, and people with disabilities (this list is not exhaustive and acts as an example of the types of voices we wish to hear and show).

We are looking for fiction, poetry, and essays within the theme of the magazine’s upcoming issue (game, see below). Writers published will be paid $20-$75 according to the category and length of their submission. We would be hard-pressed to include submissions with a length exceeding 5500 words.

  • All submissions should be the original, unpublished work of the submitter.
  • We will accept simultaneous submissions, but please inform us if the submission has been accepted by another publication.
  • We do not accept multiple submissions for fiction or essays.
  • Please submit word (.doc, .docx) or rich text format (.rtf) files and format your submission according to our format guide.
  • Please send all inquiries to info @ speculativecity .com .
  • We try to respond to all submissions within 60 days.

All submissions should be sent through Green Submissions. Green Submissions requires users to create an account. Please see link to sign up and submit at https://greensubmissions.com/1024/speculative-city/index.php.

Before submitting work, please also be familiar with our contract.

THEME
game
noun, verb | \gām\

Definition of GAME
noun
a rule-based activity one engages in for amusement or competition determined by one’s skill, strength, or luck

verb
to exploit, connive

At Speculative City, a game is not limited to the tabletop or screen. We conceptually play games everyday, whether in our personal relationships, through our work, or within our minds. Every game also has these three distinct qualities: rules, repercussions, and rewards.

Games that excite us:
Elevator Game
The Game
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Blue Whale Challenge/Nerve
The Left/Right Game

Via: Speculative City.

Taking Submissions: Thuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas

Deadline: June 30th, 2018
Payment: AU$5.00 for stories under 2000 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 2000 words

Thuggish Itch is our horror and sci-fi anthology collection.

This is the place to submit your horror, sci-fi and speculative fiction stories.

Current theme: Viva Las Vegas

For Thuggish Itch’s first collection we are looking for stories that fit the theme ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and are feature the iconic city in one way or another. Las Vegas is one of our favourite cities and we’re keen to see how you can mess with the status quo. Slot machines that will rob you of more than just a nickel or dime? Back alley negotiations that go horribly wrong? A flesh-eating virus that runs riot through each and every casino on the strip. Think outside the box and give us something spectacular.

Thuggish Itch is our horror, sci-fi and speculative fiction collection. Please ensure that your story falls within one of these genres.

Please ensure that you read through the general guidelines below and if there are specific questions please contact us using the form on the home page or via the listed social media accounts.

To help ensure your submission gets to the correct place, please include the following in the subject line of your email: ‘Thuggish Itch – Story Title‘.

  • Word count: 1000 – 6000 words (we’re willing to consider longer or shorter if the story is good)
  • Deadline: June 30 2018
  • Payment:  AU$5.00 for stories under 2000 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 2000 words

Via: Gypsum Sound Tales.

Serial Killers: It’s Always Easier In The Dark Part 3. Executing the Estate

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

It’s Always Easier in the Dark

By Aristo Couvaras

 

  1. Executing the Estate

 

I’m drawing yours out. Don’t ask me why, could it be it’s all becoming rather fun?

You don’t believe the boy, you believe the doctor, that suits me. Eventually the sun will sink, it always does.

And when it does it grows so deliciously dark. It’s always easier in the dark…

 

Mrs. Atteridge, or should that be the former Mrs. Atteridge she now pondered, walked in through the large cherry doors and was greeted by Edgar.

“Ah, Ma’am you’ve returned earlier than expected. Would you care for some Earl Gray?” he offered the fine china tray up to her. Her eyes said thank you, conveyed her gratefulness, but her curt attitude and recent grief held the words fast behind her teeth.

“Yes, Edgar I would”, she said as she took a cup from the decorative tray, “things went, well things went rather well today at the executor’s office, as well as could reasonably be expected, I suppose.”

“Allow me to extend my sympathies again ma’am, to both you and the young master. What has befallen this family, well it’s a travesty.”

She waved a gloved hand in his direction as if chasing away a bothersome fly, “oh come now, it’s terribly sad for us, agreed. But it’s no travesty Edgar. People die all the time. Alistair and I are just lucky my late husband had his affairs in order. We shan’t starve or lose the roof over our head, and you shan’t lose your employ, will you?”

“Well if you would be so charitable as to keep me on Ma’am. Shall I fetch you the day’s paper, it seems the late Mr. Atteridge was not the only victim on that night.”

Mrs. Atteridge had no time or interest in other victims of madmen and a society with a decaying moral compass – besides, her liaison with the executor had told here more than she cared to know about the other victims, “No, no, that’s quite alright Edgar. We’ve dwelled enough on death in this household I don’t believe it would be healthy for Alistair to hear more about it. Where is the boy? Has the doctor been in to see him today?”

“Indeed, he has ma’am. He came to us at noon and saw to the young master.”

“And what did he say?” the widow demanded.

“That the night terrors are not abnormal ma’am. On the contrary, they’re to be expected given the unfortunate circumstances. He explained to me that given there is no face on which to pin the trauma, no accused as of yet, that it is the natural progression the lad might fantasize and invent monsters of his own accord. He seemed to have a way with the boy, if I may say so, in fact, the young master confided in me that he might even take to sleeping in his own bed again come the evening.”

She told the butler to fetch her son for her. She didn’t tell him that she would dread sleeping on her own. Not that having the bed to herself was an altogether unique experience for her, her husband had often worked exceedingly late nights. But since his passing, well, since his passing Alistair wasn’t the only one whom felt as if he shared his bedroom with…well with something else.

“Mother you’ve returned” cheered Alistair, bounding down the stairs like he wasn’t supposed to. Mrs. Atteriedge didn’t have the strength to chide him that day, and drew her son in to her arms. She instructed Edgar to begin preparing their dinner and then brushed her son’s hair from his eyes.

While the boy told her about his day and the visit from the doctor she did her best not to tear up. Behind her tired eyes, where she held fast to those tears, were the thoughts she had been plagued with since her meeting with the executor.

How was she to tell the boy, even in the distant future, though a mother knows that all futures are only but around the corner, that his father had bequeathed unto him a lovely town house near the courts. A house she had never known he’d purchased. A house in which two women had been found so brutally butchered on the same night the boy’s father had been. So much for the nearby inn or the charitable bed of neighboring friends during the nights he worked late, she thought. He had been the one charitable with his bed.

If Alistair had trouble sleeping in their house where nothing of the sort had happened, how would he take to one day owning a house in which something very horrid had. Never mind the implications of why the two women in question where there in the first place, Mrs. Atteridge knew the reason, but she didn’t know if she’d ever know how to tell Alistair.

More so, her initial reaction to the news was to tell the executor to have the house immediately auctioned. If it were left in her name she may have burnt it to the ground herself and be damned with even calling upon any recompense from insurers. But, she had thought, and still did, when Alistair came of age and was told everything, would he forgive her for selling such an item as his father left unto him?

Perhaps when he was a man himself he’d want the blasted house sold in any case. Yet, that would have to be his decision to make. Hers was only whether and when to tell him.

 

You needn’t worry about telling the boy. Why I’ll arrange it so he can take it up with his father and his whores this very night! Just as soon as the moon hangs high and you snuff out your candles, all alone in your beds.

I’ll take you to them in the dark! It’s always easier in the dark…

 

Edgar’s quarters were affixed to the kitchen, an expansion added to the sprawling abode so that were Alistair ever to need anything in the lost hours between today and tomorrow, he would be able to raise himself from slumber and attend to the boy. His quarters were in fact designed to be nearest the kitchen, where much of his duties were seen to, but also below the young master’s own chamber’s.

In his bed, during the still of the evening, a sound from above brought Edgar immediately awake. Something crawled along the wood of the ceiling, across the floor of Alistair’s room. It was akin to an unskilled chef sliding his knife along a cutting board, dragging it rather. Then, whatever the cause of the disturbance was, it began tapping. Prodding a point as if hammering a nail.

More night terrors Edgar thought. Best to go check on the boy lest he disturb his mother. He knew that the lady needed some proper rest herself. Edgar fumbled besides his bedside for a candle and matches. There was a slight hiss and a flame puckered the night air before being set to the wick. The prodding paused, as if disturbed by the actions below as Edgar was disturbed by those above.

When Edgar reached the summit of the spiraling stairwell, candle held high, he pressed his ear to the boy’s door. The young master was mumbling and moaning in his sleep, his breath haggard. And yet, Edgar heard the child speak to him from the bottom of the very steps he had just climbed.

“There’s no need to check on me Edgar. I’m quite alright. Night terrors is all they are, they’re not real. You heard the doctor say so yourself.”

The butler felt as if he had suddenly swallowed a handful of frozen cubes, and they were lodged in his throat. His hackles rose and he knew he had to turn to confront the source of the stolen voice below. However, for fear of seeing something staring up at him, he froze. His jittery hand made the sign of the cross and he did so again when he slowly turned around. Looking over the balustrades he saw a section of the dark move behind a corner.

The voice that sounded like the boy’s but wasn’t really spoke again, in a whisper, “why don’t you put the candle out Edgar. It’s so terribly difficult for me to fall asleep with its constant flickering.”

Edgar didn’t wish to speak with the entity but took one step down and held the candle even higher. The voice that next lathered the looming shadows was not Alistair’s by any stretch, “Listen butler. My business is not with you. Though it may serve you to share their fate, them both found dead and you alive, why the finger will have to be pointed at you.” The voice giggled, as if it took great pleasure in the portrayed scenario.

Edgar took another step down. Then another, carefully measured. Then a third. Some animal growled at him menacingly from below. The butler reached a candelabrum affixed to the wall and began lighting the candles settled there. The growling grew. It behooved the butler not to imagine what teeth were bared that hid from the light, what cursed lips drew back in response to his actions, what wicked tongue spoke the language of such malevolence.

There was the sound of a blade grinding against the wall before the voice next spoke, “Will you stand guard all night then? And then the next? And the one after that? I was sooo close to the boy and then you come with that blasted waxen weapon of yours. I remind you butler, your death is not in my sights, but that can be adjusted, or, you can blow those flames out, pack your belongings and be far from here before the sun ever rises. You are little more to them and your former employer than paid help.”

Edgar took the chance to speak, “and then what will happen to the madam and the boy?”

“The same thing that will happen if you stay. Those candles will wane, or perhaps a night will come where your sleep is so deep you don’t awaken until after you hear their death cries.” Whatever blade the intruder held furrowed into the wall it hid behind.

Edgar made his way down the curve of the flight and lit the next wall fixture. He stood there until his legs tired, and there he sat. Whenever he thought sleep might grip him, he held the flame near his palm or enjoyed the pain of hot dripping wax, it was a safe pain.

After perhaps an hour of silence, the shadow below hissed with disdain and then spat, “very well.”

Edgar sat, waiting, watching, a reluctant sentry. No door opened or closed to tell him the stabbing speaker was gone, but the rising bumps on his flesh eventually smoothed, and the sweat on his brow grew cold instead of the hot sticky residue it had been. Whatever it was, he believed it had gone, somehow.

The butler rose and made his way cautiously back up the stairs to check on the boy. When he put his hand on the door knob, he cast his stare down the long hallway that lead to the master bedroom. The dwindling flame he held caressed so little of the purveying gloom with its light, and the door to the master bedroom was now an ebon maw.

 

Err on the side of caution butler. I have one hand in particular you would dearly not like to force. See to the boy then, take your flickering ward to him. Best grab him and make your way to his mother before I do. There are other places the shadows stretch and open doors you cannot see.

Doors that open in the dark. It’s always easier in the dark.

 

Mrs. Atteridge turned in her sleep, tossing about from her own nightmares. In them she saw Edgar protecting Alistair from some demonic vagabond. In a dark encompassing cloak, the stranger with ill-intent had a long blade protruding from one of his sleeves.

A cloud passed over the moon and drew a dark curtain over what silver rays filtered through the large windows in the lonely master bedroom. Mrs. Atterdige heard her husband whisper to her from underneath the bed, “My sweet. I know I don’t deserve it, but let me beg your forgiveness. Those other two women, I meant to tell you, I did.”

“Oh Clyde”, she mumbled and turned over in her sleep, one ear pressed against the downy mattress so that she could better hear the wanted apology emanating from under the bed. Her dead husband spoke, “perhaps words will never do me justice, so allow me one final kiss? Would you?” Even from beneath the bed her husband’s breath reeked, vapors of some distilled spirit wafted up through the mattress and the linen; it was strong liquor, not malt or barley…something like formaldehyde?

She murmured some response her heart formed that had no words. When a coarse tongue of hair licked the side of her face and flirted with her ear, she came to from her nightmare into one unimaginably worse.

Even in the dark she could make out some semblance of the unholy features that tongue dangled from. A long blade entered her side, piercing flesh and perforating organs. She cried with unexpected pain as the blade sunk in again and again and again. She heard footsteps charging down the corridor towards her bedroom door.

When Edgar opened the door, the candle he held cast its light dimly about the room. The creature atop of her withdrew immediately from the glow but in that instant, she caught a more revealing glimpse of the thing and she was glad to die.

In her sheets, now drenched in a pool of pouring blood, she managed to give her final order to the butler, “ALISTAIR!”

But a terrible voice that was not her husband or anyone’s husband, already said with a giggling seditious glee from outside the boy’s door at the start of the hallway, “too late. He’s coming with me.”

 

Aristo Couvaras

Aristo Couvaras is twenty-seven years old, of Greek descent (if the name doesn’t give that away) and who was born and raised in South Africa, where he still resides. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in both English Literature and Clinical Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Law degree, both attained from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has an upcoming work titled The Natloer, set to appear in Things in the Well Publications latest anthology -Beneath the Waves- Tales from the Deep.Anyone wanting to contact Aristo can do so on twitter @AR1sto.

Taking Submissions: Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4: 2018

Deadline: December 31st, 2018
Payment: 1 cent a word for reprint rights. ($60 max)

Is your story too heavy and hardcore for other “best of” anthologies? Then you’ve come to the right place because Comet Press is now accepting stories for YEAR’S BEST HARDCORE HORROR VOL. 4, a yearly collection intended to give recognition to the extreme, harder side of horror, stories that break boundaries and trash taboos.

Editors: Randy Chandler and Cheryl Mullenax.

Requirements: The story was originally (or will be) published in a 2018 anthology, single author collection, magazine, or online magazine. Self-published anthologies and collections are acceptable as well.

Deadline: December 31, 2018.

Length: Up to 6000 words. Word count is flexible and longer works will be considered but please note the max payment is $60.00.

Payment: 1 cent a word for reprint rights. ($60 max)

What to Send

Authors:

In the body of an email:

  • Author name
  • Story title
  • Name of anthology or magazine or online magazine it was (or will be) published in:
    • If the book is available on Amazon and your story credit appears somewhere on the page, send us the link. If not, send a link to the best source with that information (publisher’s page, etc).
    • If the story was in a magazine, send us a web link to the issue TOC where your story appears, or if that’s not available send us a scan of the table of contents (print magazines, etc.).
  • A bio
  • A short description of the story.
  • Attach the entire manuscript in rtf, doc format, or a PDF or mobi of the magazine or book it appears in if available. Note: if sending a doc or rtf, please make sure this is the final version of your story, exactly as it appears in the published version.

Important Note: Make sure your contract allows you to publish the story in a “best of” anthology. If you’re not sure, check with your publisher. If necessary, ask them for a waiver.

Publishers

In an email include the following:

  • Name of publication and publisher, date published and format (print, ebook, magazine, etc)
  • A pdf, doc, rtf, or mobi of the publication.
  • If there are any particular stories you feel we might be interested in feel free to make a note of that (optional).

__________

Include in the Email subject line: YEAR’S BEST HARDCORE HORROR

We’ll send a notification within 48 hours that we received your submission. If you don’t get this, please inquire. We may not have received it.

Email to ybhh [at] cometpress.us

Via: Comet Press.

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