Epeolatry Book Review: Berserker: Green Hell

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Title: Berserker: Green Hell
Author: Lee Franklin
Genre: Horror
Publisher: HellBound Books
Release Date: 7th July, 2019

Synopsis:

A terrifying debut novel set during the Vietnam War.Australian Lance Corporal Terence ‘Pinny’ Pinfold and his squad find themselves in the midst of the living hell of the Vietnam War.Known as Reapers, their job is to go in after the firefights, collect dog tags and any evidence of war crimes. As each soldier tries to make some sense out of a senseless war, there are more questions than answers as mutilated, butchered bodies are discovered the further to the North they venture. Pinny soon finds himself at the very core of the real war – in a secret underground facility amongst hybrid creatures which belong only in the very worse nightmares. With Pinny’s aboriginal bloodline, the enigmatic Doctor Jacinta Harding believes she has found the perfect specimen… Pinny might survive the war, but he might not save himself.

Berserker: Green Hell (183 pages, Hellbound Book LLC Publications, 2019) by Lee Franklin is her debut novel. This book takes place during the Vietnam War and follows a group of Australian soldiers, known as Reapers, as they gather evidence of war crimes. The Reapers soon discover that they are not alone in the jungle and they must fight their way back to safety. As they attempt to make it back to civilization they discover the Americans have built a secret facility and may have some connection with the beast stalking them.

Lee writes with vivid descriptions and settings. Her tale’s action comes off as believable, and her bio mentions she served in the Australian Army. What I enjoyed is that this book leans into the Australian culture. The exposition on aboriginal bloodlines, the slang, and race tensions provide newness for American readers. If you like war-type violence, you’ll enjoy this read as Lee does not shy away from writing it out on the page. There are times I felt she could have used some more restraint to build tension. In the early chapters, Lee often tells the reader what they are seeing, instead of showing us and letting the reader create the image. No first book is perfect; my reader copy had a few typos and grammatical errors.

I was not totally satisfied with the ending. The lesson that Pinny learns about power and responsibility felt like it had not been earned. Lee appears to have a second part in mind, so perhaps she plans to dig deeper into Pinny’s psyche. The vivid descriptions and the Australian characters kept me interested to the end.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy creature horror and government conspiracies. 

I rate this book 3 out of 5.

Taking Submissions: Untitled Local Oddities Cemetery Gates Anthology

Deadline: August 1st, 2020
Payment: 5 cents per word
Theme: Your personal local lore/oddities

We’re currently looking for previously unpublished horror stories, 3-6k words, for a themed anthology to be released in September 2020.

The theme is: your personal local lore/oddities. Write something dark into a setting you’ve experienced — it could be a place you’ve lived, or even just somewhere you’ve visited on a vacation. Is there a landmark in your town or city that you can write a nightmare scenario into? Have you ever legend tripped somewhere and thought, well, that cave/mausoleum/torture tree was neat, but I wish there was more to the story?

If so, you’re welcome to send us (1) submission at [email protected] in DOC or RTF form. Deadline August 1, 2020.

Paying .05/word per accepted submission for First Rights Publishing, asking that you don’t republish your story until August 1, 2021.

In our fifth year of publishing we’re looking to expand our reach into 21st Century folklore, urban legends, and the space between creepypasta and literary horror. For examples of what we’re looking for, see Other Voices, Other Tombs; At the Cemetery Gates: Year One and Volume 2; or Corpse Cold: New American Folklore

-Joe Sullivan, Editor

Via: Cemetery Gates.

Taking Submissions: A Monster Told Me Bedtime Stories

Deadline: April 30th, 2020
Payment: Royalties
Theme: horror stories about bedtime, dreams, sleep, and nighttime in general!
Note: Reprints welcome

We’re looking for horror stories about bedtime, dreams, sleep, and nighttime in general! The parameters for this project are intentionally broad, and the possibilities are endless – monsters under the bed, horrors hiding in closets, things that go bump in the night, beings that lurk on the shore between dream and reality, nightmares that come true, scary (and original) bedtime stories, and whatever else you’re inspired to write!  (Please note: this anthology is not aimed at children, but we are open to stories appropriate for children.)

Deadline: April 30th or until filled. As payment, authors will receive royalties divided by word count.

These are general guidelines for ALL anthology submissions.

We’re looking for stories between 500-7500 words. A few words under or over won’t necessarily disqualify a story, but please keep as close to the guidelines as possible.

Stories MUST fit within the horror genre.

ANTHOLOGIES: At this time, we are primarily seeking short stories between 500 and 7500 words for themed anthologies. These submissions will be given priority.

You will be notified whether your submission is accepted or rejected. For anthology pieces, you will be notified no later than four weeks after the submission deadline. For all other pieces, you will be notified within 10 weeks of the date of your submission. If you have not received a response by that time, please email us.

Via: Soteira Press.

Taking Submissions: One Story

Deadline: May 31st, 2020
Payment: $500 and 25 contributors copies
Theme: literary fiction

Submission Periods: January 15th – May 31st | September 8th – November 14th

What kinds of stories is One Story looking for?
One Story is seeking literary fiction. Because of our format, we can only accept stories between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone.
Does One Story pay?
Yes. One Story pays $500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights. All rights will revert to the author following publication.
Does One Story accept previously published material?
No. One Story is looking for previously unpublished material. However, if a story has been published in print outside of North America, it will be considered. Stories previously published online—on blogs, personal websites, online literary magazines, or forums—will not be accepted.
Does One Story accept simultaneous submissions?
Yes, but please notify us immediately if your submission is accepted for publication elsewhere.
What file types can I submit?
We accept PDF, RTF, and TXT files that are less than 500KB. Please include the story title and all writer contact info on the first page of the submitted file.
Will you send me comments on my story?
No. One Story receives close to 100 submissions each week. Please understand that we do not have time to comment on individual stories.
Can I change the story I submitted with an updated draft?
No.
Do you consider translations?
Yes. Please include the name of the original author and language, as well as the name of the translator on the first page of your submission.
How do I submit to One Story?
We have an automated system for you to send us your work. It will securely send our editors your story and email you a confirmation that it has been received. To use the automated system, you need to have a One Story account.

If you have subscribed to One Story or One Teen Story, joined our mailing list, given One Story or One Teen Story as a gift, or submitted a story to either magazine, you already have an account. If not, the first time you submit a story your account will be automatically created.

Using this account will enable you to check the status of your submission at any time by going to our login page.

When you are ready to submit, please visit our Submission Manager.

When can I submit to One Story?
We accept submissions from January 15th to May 31st and from September 8th to November 14th.
How soon can I expect to hear about my submission?
We do our very best to respond to submissions within 3 months after they are received. If you don’t hear back from us within that time, please be patient! It is our goal to make sure that each submission gets a good read.
Can I check the status of my submission?
You can check the status of your submissions at any time by logging into your account“Received” means that we have your story and are considering it.
Can I submit the same story to One Story and One Teen Story?
No. One Story and One Teen Story are looking for different kinds of stories. For more information on submitting to One Teen Story, go here.

Via: One Story.

Ongoing Submissions: Public Domain Fanzine

Payment: Royalties
Theme: Pulp Fiction in the Public Domain

Art, Prose/Pulp Stories, comics. As long as it related to public domain characters. Send us your redesigns, re-boots and stories. We will publish them in one of our upcoming mags! Send your submissions to: [email protected]

Note: Contributors will be paid royalties based upon magazine sales and the percentage of the magazine their contribution makes up. Though this will likely be meager. All contributors retain rights to their creations.

Via: Public Domain Comics’ Facebook.

Taking Submissions: Best Vegan SFF of the year (Reprints Only)

Deadline: February 28th, 2020
Payment: $.01/word
Theme: We publish an annual anthology of the best vegan science fiction and fantasy of the year. We are open for submissions in the winter of every year.
Note: Reprints Only!

We publish an annual anthology of the best vegan science fiction and fantasy of the year. We are open for submissions in the winter of every year.

What ‘vegan’ means here:

Formal requirements:

  • Vegan – Stories must be entirely vegan, and they must have been vegan when originally published.
  • Reprints – We’re only looking for stories that were published in the previous year.
  • Length – 1,000 – 8,000 words
  • Venue – We’re restricting eligibility to stories originally published in venues that paid $.01/word or more.
  • Original form – The stories must be presented as originally published, except for correction of typographic errors and similar minor corrections. Again, we don’t want stories that have been ‘veganized’ for this anthology.
  • Simultaneous: Yes. Simultaneous submissions are fine. We’re buying non-exclusive rights. Sell your story as often as you can.
  • Multiple: You may submit a total of two stories. Choose your best.

Format

Follow the industry standard format defined by William Shunn. He has templates available, or you can use ours. We prefer a proportional, serif font like Cambria or Caladea. Use italics for emphasis, not underlining. Use smart/curly quotes. Use em dashes, not double hyphens.

Your story should be in one of the following file formats: ODT, DOC, DOCX. If you’re submitting an ODT, please add a few blank lines at the bottom. Otherwise Submittable’s presentation manager will cut off the last line of your story.

Pay

  • We pay $.01/word for non-exclusive electronic and print rights.
  • Payment is by PayPal only.

Timing
Submissions are open until 28 February. You’re free to submit your story any time after it’s published. However, note that we won’t be making any final decisions until spring.

Open from 1 December until 28 February
submit

Via: Metaphorosis Books.

Ongoing Submissions: Infinite Worlds Magazine

Payment: $75 per story and a contributors copy.

Theme: retro(ish) science fiction magazine featuring new stories, comics, and illustrations from the world’s best creative minds.

WRITING SUBMISSIONS:

  • We are interested in printing new, unpublished science fiction stories between 750-4000 words in length.
  • Writers may be asked to edit their work.
  • We pay $75 for a story and we’ll send you a copy of the issue that includes it.
  • New, unpublished comic/graphic novel shorts (4-10 pages) will be considered at a negotiated rate

For those still interested in submitting work, please address an email to: [email protected]

Via: Infinite Worlds Magazine

Taking Submissions: Guardians of Time

Deadline: February 29th, 2020
Payment: Contributors Copy
Theme: A Collection of Time Traveling Tales

A Collection of Time Traveling Tales

Zimbell House is holding open submissions for short time-traveling tales.

Let your imagination roam and put our readers in the middle of the action. We want complete stories from the POV of the time-traveler.

Background: Begin your story at the ‘assignment of correction.’  This is the meeting of the League of Guardians where the council assigns a traveler to a particular time in history to correct an imbalance. It is up to you to pick the time in history, what the ‘imbalance’ is and how it will be corrected. Will your traveler be successful? Will he/she have help from other travelers? What happens if the traveler decides not to follow through? Give our readers a well-plotted tale that draws them in and leaves them wanting more.

  • 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 4,500 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: February 29, 2020, with a targeted release date of late 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 4,500 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: February 29, 2020.

submit

Via: Zimbell House Publishing.

10 Lesser Known Cryptids That Could Be Utilised By Writers

The word TOP 10 written in vintage metal letterpress type on a soft backlit background.

My first column (is that what I’m doing here? writing columns?) for the Horror Tree was my list of 10 mythical creatures that I felt were just ripe for using by some wonderfully talented author (https://horrortree.com/top-10-mythical-creatures-that-deserve-their-own-books-or-films/). Now, I don’t know how many people actually bothered to read that column, but some must have because I received a DM over on the Twitter thing suggesting two other creatures for a second list, should I be so inclined.

 

Wonderful, I thought… except they were not mythological creatures. These were cryptids.

 

What the…? was the response I received.

 

Now, I am sure hard-core readers of the paranormal will know the difference. A Cryptid is something that could conceivably exist, based on terrestrial science (such as it is used here). So, an extraterrestrial is not a cryptid, a dragon is not a cryptid, but a bigfoot is a cryptid. One other thing is that evidence of its existence should have been seen, but not everything claimed to have been seen is a cryptid (mothman is an example of this). Cryptids could be creatures out of place, creatures out of time, or creatures that evolution had a field day with.

 

Does that make sense? Too bad if it doesn’t, I guess, because that’s another essay for another time (and I have indeed written just such an essay about what makes a cryptid a cryptid… sad, I know).

 

So, this list is about those lesser known cryptids. No lake monsters, no bigfoot-style apemen (even if the Australian Yowie is little known), and no prehistoric creatures. Still, 10 animals for your reading pleasure. Maybe one of these beasts could make an appearance in some-one’s fine work!

 

  1. Ahool (also known as Athol)
    What is it? A large bat, found primarily on Java (the Indonesian island). Its wingspan is about twelve feet or so and it has a flat face, more like a monkey than a bat. Its cry gives it its name and it is said to feed primarily on fish.
    Story concept? Come on, this is essentially a winged monkey. Up the ante and make it decide that feasting on humans is a good idea. And it is huge. Imagine a cloud of these attacking a cruise liner or something like that.

 

  1. Artrellia (also known as Papuan Dragon)
    What is it? Essentially, an enormous monitor lizard found in Papua New Guinea, up to 30 feet in length and with a venomous bite (which it appears many monitors, including the Komodo dragon, do possess). It attacks by climbing trees and dropping onto prey, which its weight crushes, and it then eats.
    Story concept? It was first recorded in the 1930s, and was still being noted in the 1980s. In World War Two, two soldiers were reported as having been eaten by an Artrellia. Set your story back then. Think Predator with killer lizards in a Papua New Guinea jungle in 1944.

 

  1. Dobhar-chú (also known as Dobarcu or Doyarchu)
    What is it? While a part of Irish folklore, there are cryptozoologists who consider it real – a crocodile-sized dog with the head of an otter, flippers instead of legs and a vicious streak. Sightings have persisted into the twenty-first century.
    Story concept? A standard monster tale, set in a remote part of Ireland, with these animals attacking the group of teenagers. Different monsters always make the old tropes better.

 

  1. Gambo
    What is it? Known from corpses washed up in Gambia, the most notable being in 1983. Four and a half metres long, four flippers, tapered short tail, dolphin like head with more teeth than any dolphin, and nostrils on the end of the snout. It seemed to confirm long-told stories of sea crocodiles in the area.
    Story concept? Sea crocodiles? Come on, this writes itself. A whole bask of these things attacking shipping, coastal towns, whatever, and you can’t kill all of them, wipe out an entire species… can you?

 

  1. Gerota
    What is it? Reported as recently as 2011, this is a winged possum with horns and protruding fangs, possibly omnivorous, found in the Catlins in the south of New Zealand’s South Island.
    Story concept? Killer possums? A part of the world not completely explored, with very little human habitation? This thing writes itself!

 

  1. Intulo
    What is it? Found in many countries in southern Africa, this swamp-dwelling creature is a bipedal lizard that shows human traits, including weapon usage.
    Story concept? This is a real-live lizard-man, living in the swamps of southern Africa! Not a dinosaur remnant, but a highly evolved reptile. How advanced is their civilisation? How long have they been there? Do they pre-date humans? How much of human history was influenced by them? Did humans drive them into the swamps? The possibilities are endless.

 

  1. Ngoima
    What is it? Seen in the Republic of the Congo and other sites in western Africa, this is an enormous eagle, with a wingspan of four metres or more (to give context, the largest known eagle wingspan is 2.5 metres, Stellar’s sea eagle, but a wedge-tailed eagle in Australia was measured at 2.8 metres), that is known for eating monkeys. Its claws and talons are comparable in size to a man’s arm and hand.
    Story concept? A legitimate huge bird, known for eating monkeys. What if, due to man’s interference, they run out of monkeys? And humans are just there? Who would believe (to paraphrase Lindy Chamberlain), “An eagle stole my baby!”?

 

  1. Peel Street Monster
    What is it? In the 1930s, in Wolverhampton, England, this creature appeared, attacking and biting children – a four foot long rat. Extremely aggressive, the people kicked it to death. But where there’s one…
    Story Concept? Four foot long rats living in populated areas of England. Think about that. Not the rats in the walls of Lovecraft or the creatures in any of James Herbert’s vermin-themed books, but real large rats in large cities attacking people in broad daylight. To tell the truth, the idea of this gives me the willies. And I live in Australia where 90% of the wildlife actively tries to kill you.

 

  1. Trunko
    What is it? First seen in the 1920s off the coast of South Africa, two whales were fighting this thing. It’s the size of a whale, covered in white fur and with a long, flexible trunk. Its carcass was subsequently washed up on the shore, measuring 47 feet in length. 10 years later, a smaller one was washed up on the Alaskan coast.
    Story concept? What is it? How many are out there? Is it good or bad or just an animal? Should it be hunted or studied? So many story arcs open up with this strange, unknown sea creature.

 

  1. Upah
    What is it? Known to Westerners as the giant shrieking centipede. About a foot long, pale green, living in Sumatra and with a very painful, venomous bite. But it also makes a loud call or shriek, sounding somewhat like a cat in distress. It has been reported all the way into the twenty-first century.
    Story concept? There are not many arthropod cryptids, so having one that could be poisonous, living on a jungle-covered island could surely open up for some-one to have fun with. Next to nothing is known about them. How many offspring do they have? How often do they breed? What are their predators? If you took one away from Sumatra and its predators, how soon before they overtook a city? As a writer – go for it!

 

So, there you have it. 10 creatures that cryptozoologists legitimately believe could well be living out there in the wide world, and which could be perfect for a creature feature story, screenplay, film or whatever other form of art you want to go for. All of them have some great possibilities for narrative; it’s up to the creators to take the ball and run with it.

 

Happy writing!

 

Taking Submissions: Horror USA: Alaska

Deadline: March 31st, 2020
Payment: Royalties
Theme: Horror stories set in Alaska
Note: Reprints Welcome

An anthology dedicated to the unique horrors of Alaska. We want readers to experience the darkest, scariest, weirdest, most terrifying elements Alaska has to offer! We’re seeking short horror stories between 500 – 7500 words. Stories must be horror, and they must be reliant on Alaska somehow. The “how” is entirely up to you! Originals preferred, but reprints will be considered.

Submission Deadline: March 31st or until filled. As payment, authors will receive royalties divided by word count.

First and foremost, all submissions must be horror.

However, we recognize that horror is a very broad and nuanced genre. To that end, we’ll read stories that fit into other genres (thriller, family drama, coming of age, science fiction, fantasy, comedy, romance, et cetera) as long as the story contains horror, and as long as horror is integral to the narrative.

ALL submissions MUST meet the following requirements (documents that do not meet these guidelines will be returned to authors for correction):

1. 12-point Times New Roman font ONLY (no other fonts, please)

2. Use “SMART QUOTES”

3. Submit all documents as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .pages format

Submit via email to [email protected]

In the body of the email, include your name and contact information.

Unpublished stories are given preference, but we consider reprints on a case by case basis, as long as all rights have reverted to the author.

If your previously unpublished piece is accepted for publication in an anthology, we take First Print and Electronic Publishing Rights, with exclusivity for twelve months from the date of publication.

If we accept your reprint for publication in an anthology, we take nonexclusive reprint rights.

A copy of our publishing contract is available upon request.

Via: Soteira Press.

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