Taking Submissions: Out of Your Shadow: Empowered Sidekicks

Deadline: December 10th 2017
Payment: one half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Maximum of $10 for reprints.
Note: Reprints allowed

Word Count:    500-10,500
Theme:    This anthology will focus on tales about the sidekicks who help the heroes and princesses find their happily ever afters, and what happens to them after their quests are done. Does the lowly squire who helped the brave knight on his quest to save the princess ever get a shot at greatness? Or at the very least, a little recognition? Does the lady-in-waiting who was always there for the fair princess finally get her own happily ever after?
Response Time:  Please allow six weeks. After that, if you don’t hear from us then feel free to give us a little nudge. We respond to every submission.
Payment: Payment will be one half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Payments will be made by PayPal in USD. Payments will go out no later than four months after the publication date.
Editing: Yes, your story will be edited if we decide to accept it. After we go through and edit your story, it will then be sent back to you for final approval. In some cases, we may ask for revisions to be made. 
Reprints, Multiple & Simultaneous Submissions: Yes. Payment for reprints is a maximum of $10.
Guidelines for Submissions:
  • All submissions are to be sent to [email protected]
  • In the subject line please type SIDEKICK ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION: [Your Story Title Here].
  • In the body of your email, please include your name and word count. If the story is under 2,000 words, please paste the text in the body of the email, otherwise please attach it. 
We will list all published authors on our site. Once you have a story accepted for publication, we will post a little author bio up on our site with a list of all published pieces (published by FDM).
Authors who have pieces accepted MUST provide an author biography to go in the publication. Please send bios along with the signed contract if you are accepted.

Via: Fantasia Divinity Magazine.

Taking Submissions: The Alchemy Press Book Of Horrors

Deadline: January 31st, 2018
Payment: 0.5p a word (£20 for 4,000 words, £30 for 6,000 words), a contributor’s copy, and royalties

2018 sees the re-launch of the Alchemy Press Book Of… anthologies with a brand new title: HORRORS, edited by Peter Coleborn and Jan Edwards. We are looking for horror stories … but tales that can be described as “weird”, “strange”, “amazing” and “peculiar”: stories that would have found a home in Weird Tales, Unknown Worlds, Fantastic and Fantasy Tales among other illustrious publications.

Your story can be set in almost any era, any place but glimpse at and pervert the usual perceptions of reality – and unreality. We do not want stories that deal with common horror tropes without stretching boundaries. Avoid zombies unless they are tackled in an unexpected and strange fashion. No urban romance – you know, heroine falling for a vampire and so forth. Nor do we want to see religious tracts, porn, and we really, really do not want gross-out horror tales.

Please send your stories in a standard manuscript format (3,000-6,000 words [flexible – contact us before submitting]) to [email protected]gmail.com to arrive by 31 January 2018 (contact us if an extension is required).

Payment: 0.5p a word (£20 for 4,000 words, £30 for 6,000 words), plus a copy of the book and royalties. The anthology will be in print for a maximum of five years and then the book will become OOP.

If you are interested put on your story-thinking hat now. Any questions please get back to us at the above email address or use this contact form.


  • We accept stories from anywhere in the world (the galaxy, even) if written in English
  • We only accept email submissions
  • We are looking for new stories although reprints may be considered
  • Please present your manuscript as a Word document (or RTF or similar) using standard formatting (double spacing, etc).
  • And you must include your name and contact email on the manuscript itself.

Via: Alchemy Press.

Taking Submissions Unnamed Corpus Press Halloween Anthology!

Deadline: March 30th, 2018
Payment: $.03 per word and 2 contributor’s copies

Corpus Press is now accepting submissions for a new Halloween-themed horror anthology. Submissions will be accepted according to our publishing needs, regardless of author publication history or status. Submissions should appeal to a wide audience (late teen to adult).


What we are looking for:

  • Not previously published short stories of 4,500-8,500 words that have a central theme associated with Halloween and can be characterized within the broad realm of “horror” fiction.
  • Successful submissions will be highly original, well written and cleanly edited.
  • Stories can be frightening, thought-provoking, atmospheric, humorous or satirical (or any combination thereof), but MUST contain a complete tale.


What we are NOT looking for:

  • Stories that have been hastily retrofitted with a coating of “Halloween” references to fit the submission guidelines. These are easily spotted and will be immediately rejected.
  • Stories that contain excessively explicit language, sexuality and violence, or that have a main goal of shocking the audience with poor taste (language, sexuality and violence is acceptable, however, if it is essential to the story and is handled in a tasteful manner). This IS NOT an “extreme horror” or “Splatterpunk” anthology.
  • Abstract mood pieces, vignettes, and highly experimental approaches to literature are discouraged.
  • Stories featuring exaggerated dialects, colloquialisms or excessive references to pop culture or current fads are discouraged.
  • We will not be accepting epistolary fiction for this anthology.


Document Requirements: Submissions must be in an editable format. No PDFs or scanned documents sent as image files will be accepted. Preference is for author name, email address and word count information to be placed at the end of the document to assist in blind review process.


Submission window: October 29, 2017 – March 30, 2018. No multiple submissions. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but please disclose this in your submission. Notifications of acceptance / rejection will be sent no later than May 31, 2018.


Pay Rate: $.03 per word. Two (2) free contributor copies (paperback) will be provided, with contributors having the option to buy additional quantities at cost post-publication. Payment on publication.


Anthology target length: 300-350 pages. Title TBD.


Terms: Corpus Press maintains exclusive paperback, hardcover and eBook publishing rights from date of publication until November 2019, at which time full republication rights revert back to the author. Author retains all audiobook rights. Publisher retains future publishing rights to maintain the submitted work in print as part of the published anthology. Final contract required to be signed upon acceptance which may contain additional terms and conditions.




(Please note: the terms of these submissions guidelines are for reference only, are subject to change without notice and do not constitute any legal agreement or offer to contract by Corpus Press or any of its operators. By submitting your work to Corpus Press for consideration, submitters agree not to hold Corpus Press or any of its operators liable for any damages, perceived or real, arising from their submission.)

Via: Corpus Press.

Taking Submissions: Arsenika Winter 2017 Issue

Deadline: December 15th, 2017
Payment: $60 USD for fiction and $30 USD for poetry

Our reading periods are as follows:

  • February 1–March 15 for our Spring (April) issue;
  • May 1–June 15 for our Summer (July) issue;
  • August 1–September 15 for our Autumn (October) issue; and
  • November 1–December 15 for our Winter (January) issue.

Feel free to record your submissions at Duotrope and/or the Submissions Grinder. We are also listed on Ralan.

Fiction and Poetry Guidelines

Arsenika is looking for previously unpublished original fiction and poetry up to 1,000 words long. Payment is $60 USD for fiction and $30 USD for poetry for first world electronic rights and non-exclusive audio rights. We hope to raise the poetry rate to $60 as well in the future—please support us on Patreon if you’d like to help us reach our goal.

Submit no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems at a time, and please make sure you fill out the form again for each piece you send, unless the pieces are meant to be read together (e.g. a triptych of poems).

All work should be in Standard Manuscript Format (fiction format/poetry format). Format poetry exactly as you would like to see it online—use italics for italics, underlines for underlines, boldface for boldface, etc. Send only TXT, RTF, DOC, and DOCX files.

Please do not send simultaneous submissions (pieces that are submitted to Arsenikaand another market at the same time). Multiple submissions are accepted, but please have no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems in the submissions queue at a time.

We try to respond to all submissions within 14 days. If you haven’t heard from us in 30 days, please send us a query at [email protected].

Remember: Don’t self-reject.

Submissions are currently CLOSED. We will reopen for submissions on November 1.

 Check Submissions Status


Arsenika does not accept unsolicited reprints. Payment is $10 upon acceptance.


Arsenika pays $100 for reprint art. Please feel free to query us at [email protected]with a link to your portfolio.


Q. Can I submit multiple times per submissions period?

A. Yes. Please have no more than two flash fiction pieces and five poems in the queue at a time; once we respond to those, you can send more. For example, if you’ve sent one flash piece and four poems and we’ve responded to all of them, you can send another two flash pieces and five poems. Please note that pieces held for further consideration count as being in the queue: if you send three poems and we hold one and reject the other two, you may only send another four poems and two flash fiction pieces at a time.

Q. Does Arsenika accept microfiction (fiction under 500 words long)?

A. Absolutely! We have no minimum word limit, though we do require that microfiction still tell a story of some sort.

Q. Does Arsenika accept prose poetry?

A. Yes!

Q. Does Arsenika have any line limits for poetry?

A. No, although we do have a word limit of 1,000 words.

Q. Does Arsenika accept horror?

A. Yes; we prefer horror with a speculative element.

Q. Does Arsenika accept translations?

A. Definitely; we’re very interested in translations! Please note that you must acquire translation rights from the original author unless the piece is already in the public domain. If we accept your translated piece, we will need the original author’s contact information as well; we treat translations as co-authored and pay both the author and the translator our rate for individual pieces.

Q. Does Arsenika accept fanfiction?

A. It depends—we’d rather not face potential legal issues with properties that are currently trademarked/under copyright, but we’re fine with reinterpretations of works in the public domain, myths, fairy tales, folk tales, etc. We understand there will be some degree of allusion, but we also would prefer it if the works could stand alone.

Q. Does Arsenika accept interactive fiction and poetry?

A. Yes. Please send a link to your piece and make sure it is password-protected or otherwise not viewable to the public. Be sure to include the password or access details in your submission.

If you have any further questions, please email [email protected].

Via: Arsenika.

Taking Submissions: Unfading Daydream

Deadline: November 30th, 2017
Payment: 1000-3000 words will receive $5. Stories that are longer than that will receive $10 and a contributor’s copy

Unfading Daydream is looking for unique and exceptional fiction to be showcased in our quarterly literary magazine. We strive to feature stories within the genres that have inspired us (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc) as well as stories that feature LGBTQ+ themes.

Basic Details

  • We are open to established and new, emerging authors.
  • In terms of length, we’re looking for stories between 1000 and 7000 words. Shorter or longer stories will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
  • No previously published works.
  • Reading periods are MayAugustNovember, and February. 
  • All submissions must be in by 11:59pm CST on the last day of the reading period (May, August, November, or February)
  • Please do not send submissions outside of our reading periods.
  • Expect a decision within four weeks
  • See full guidelines below


Stories that are between 1000-3000 words will receive $5. Stories that are longer than that will receive $10.  All contributors receive a hard copy of the magazine. In time, we would like to pay contributors more!


  • We accept submissions only by email.
  • Free to submit!
  • Please send your submission to submit [at] unfadingdaydream [dot] com with the title of ‘Unfading Daydream Submission’.

Full Guidelines

We want to see your unique sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc. We prefer stories that are between 1000-7000 words, but if you feel that your 8000 word story or your 700 word story is brilliant, we’d love to see it.

The Submission Piece

  • One submission per author per reading period please. Contributors are allowed to include one story on their submission*. Please attach the stories individually to the submission email.
    *this is new as of the reading period for Issue 3*
  • Unless there is a theme stated for a particular reading period, there is no theme.
  • Previously unpublished works only.
  • No erotica please. Romance is fine and dandy though!
  • We would prefer the file format be MS Word or RTF. Please no PDFs or links to Google Docs! Please do not put the story in the body of the email.
  • Each story should be double spaced and in an easy to read font like Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier. Preferred font size is 12 as one of the editors has vision problems.
  • Your name, address, and email should be on the left side of the first page header and the approximate word count on the right side. Example:

  • The right side header on the pages following the first should include your last name, the story’s title, and the page number. Example:

  • The title of the piece and the name you would prefer to be published under should be on the first page of the story before the text of the story. Example:

  • If you have made an error during the submission process, please contact us rather than sending another submission email.

The Cover Letter

We say cover letter, but this is going to go in the body of the submission email.

  • We want to know more about you! Briefly tell us about you and your accomplishments.
  • Everyone has something unique about them. Between our editors, we have a third degree black belt, two cosplayers, and a computer programmer. And there’s only two of us. We want to know the interesting bits!
  • And as we said before: keep it brief.
  • In case you are chosen, please include a 3rd person, brief (less than 100 words) bio/byline

Ways to Get Banned

We’re pretty easy going people, but there are a few ways to get banned/blacklisted.

  • Depictions of rape or sexual assault.
  • Depictions of child molestation or brutalization of children.
  • Any sexual depictions of children. Anyone under 18 is considered a child.
  • Depictions of brutalization of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, or any other marginalized people for reasons of hate.
  • Depictions of animal abuse.

The Legal Bits

No one likes the legal bits, but we have to go through this.

We at Unfading Daydream reserve the right to the exclusive first run of your story as well as the rights to include your story in a non-exclusive yearly anthology. Rights to the story are claimed upon acceptance. After your story runs in Unfading Daydreams, you have the rights to publish it as you see fit.

Via: Unfading Daydream.

Taking Submissions: Beneath Yggdrasil’s Shadow: Forgotten Gods of Norse Mythology

Deadline: November 30th, 2017
Payment: one half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Payment for reprints is a maximum of $10.
Note: Reprints Allowed

Word Count:    500-10,500 (If over this, please ask before submitting)
Theme:    Norse mythology, although not as popular as Greek and Roman, has a fascinating take on the universe and a pantheon of amazing gods and goddesses. Although there are many stories that have survived the ages, there are several tales that were lost. For this anthology, we are looking for stories about Norse goddesses that were mostly lost. There are many goddesses, mentioned in other stories, that very little is known. Who are these barely mentioned goddesses? What is their background, their origin? We want you to tell us the stories that history did not.
Response Time:  Please allow up to one month. After that, if you don’t hear from us then feel free to give us a little nudge.
Payment: Payment will be one half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Payments will be made by PayPal in USD. Payments will go out no later than four months after the publication date.
Editing: Yes, your story will be edited if we decide to accept it. After we go through and edit your story, it will then be sent back to you for final approval. In some cases, we may ask for revisions to be made. 
Reprints, Multiple & Simultaneous Submissions: Yes. Payment for reprints is a maximum of $10.
Guidelines for Submissions:
  • All submissions are to be sent to [email protected]
  • In the subject line please type NORSE ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION: [Your Story Title Here].
  • In the body of your email, please include your name and word count. If the story is under 2,000 words, please paste the text in the body of the email, otherwise please attach it. 
We will list all published authors on our site. Once you have a story accepted for publication, we will post a little author bio up on our site with a list of all published pieces (published by FDM).

Via: Fantasy Divinity Magazine.

Trembling With Fear 11/05/2017

Halloween’s behind us although the long dark nights remain. So, what to do? Well, I don’t know about anybody else but I’m using November to create some new nightmares and like so many thousands of others have signed up to this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I joined up a few years back, most efforts were a few half-hearted attempts then a couple of years back I took it a bit more seriously, used it to stop the writer’s eternal enemy—procrastination. One novel completed got through to a second reading round at Hodderscape. It now lurks in a drawer to be dusted off and revisited one day but its reception gives me hope. Last year’s effort wasn’t so much something completely new as to force me to finish an ongoing work. The first few chapters are now with Gollancz—it may fail but you never know. This year editing and beta reading has eaten into my writing time so I am being selfish(!) and reclaiming November. I have signed up to NaNoWriMo. I have an outline, which, for a pantser like me is amazing. There may be blood. But I am looking forward to it. Any one else up for the challenge?

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

First off, as Steph mentioned it’s that certain month where many authors try to get a ton of words down that they can hopefully eventually turn into something publishable. For those of you who are trying, I wish you the best of luck! With the family and a brand new day job, I just won’t be able to try this year.

Secondly, I have to say that I really think the image that I choose for today’s short is more horrifying than anything that you’ll be reading today. I should probably apologize for it but I just…. Can’t…

‘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

Just A Little Bloob

Kathy couldn’t remember exactly when it progressed to hatred. She had a hazy recollection of the slide from young lust to something resembling love to begrudging acceptance, and then bored indifference, but when it finally crossed the line into hate somehow escaped her.


Joe wasn’t mean or abusive, nothing like that, but he was indifferent to her, to her wants or needs or feelings. They’d evolved into a dead end couple working dead end jobs to maintain their dead end house in their dead end neighborhood.


Not the fairy tale she’d often imagined as a little girl, no, not at all, much more like a reflection of her mother’s life when she looked in her mirror, becoming more clear and distinct by the day.


And she hated it. She hated her life, she hated Joe for his casual indifference, and she had to admit, she hated herself for just going along with it, day after day.


It had become worse lately, though. She began making an effort to eat better, more salads, more vegetables, leaner proteins, and Joe would have nothing to do with it.


“You can do what you want, but I’m not eating that Goddam rabbit food. I’ll pick something up on the way home from work for myself.”


And he did. He tried a few of the usual fast food places, and finally settled on a new place in town, the “Taco Tower”. He’d bring home spicy smelling bags and eat their contents while she had her salad, neither of them talking much at all during their meals any more.


The worst part for her wasn’t what he ate, not by a long shot. It was the aftermath.


He’d begun farting regularly, producing the most obscene, vile odors she’d ever had to endure. She’d worked in a nursing home as a teen, and tending to the bed pans was nothing compared to the repugnant smells he produced.


She soon learned that the loud ones, the ones that sounded like thick leather being torn, weren’t so bad at all. It seemed most of their energy went into producing the loud, wet noises.


No, the worst ones were what Joe came to call “a little Bloob.”


The tiniest popping sound, followed by a poof that reminded Kathy of actors blowing out candles in the old black and white movies. That was the “Bloob”.


And those produced the most hideous, rank odors imaginable. She’d be lying on the couch, he in his recliner, and as soon as she heard the little pop, she’d pull up the comforter and cover her nose and mouth with it. Even their little Jack Russel Terrier would hear that sound, jump off the couch, and trot outside through his doggie door to the fresh air out back.


With his sensitive little sniffer, she didn’t blame him. Even dogs had their limits, it seemed.


As time went on, Joe stopped there more frequently, and it got worse. She’d taken to keeping a can of air freshener at her side at all times, like a Sheriff’s six-gun in a lawless town, to try and offset the revolting odors emanating from his chair.


The arguments got worse, more bitter as time passed. One day, he made an extremely rude comment as she was in the kitchen, and she stopped her work, not believing what she just heard.


She finally lost it. She’d had enough. She raced in from the kitchen, her chef’s knife in hand from slicing vegetables, and told him she couldn’t take it any longer. She wanted out.


And he laughed. He actually laughed in her face, laughing so hard, he produced one of his room clearing “Bloobs”.


She shrieked, gripped the handle of the knife in both hands, and plunged it deep into his gut.


Even before he howled in pain, she heard the hissing, wooshing sound. The sound of a broken air line, or perhaps escaping compressed air.


She understood immediately that she’d made a critical mistake. She’d hit the stomach, possibly the intestines.


Her eyes widened to comical proportions, realizing what she’d done. She began backpedaling, waving her arms frantically, but the stench hit her hard, a noxious cloud straight from the very bowels of Hell itself.


Decomposing bodies floating in raw sewage would be spring roses in a field of lavender compared to the malodorous effluvium quickly filling the room. The back of her legs hit the couch, and she went down hard, choking and gagging. She leaned to the side and vomited profusely, trying to get it all out and not choke on it, completely ignoring Joe’s frenzied cries for help.


The Jack Russel was already out in the yard, howling instead of barking.


She rolled off the couch onto the floor, praying the stench would rise, like stifling air does. She began crawling toward the door to the kitchen, to try and get away, and as she passed the wall vent, she heard the click of the heat coming on downstairs.


And they heated their home with natural gas.


The resulting explosion shattered the windows in seventeen houses nearby, causing severe structural damage to the ones closest. A Desert Storm veteran who lived down the street was quoted on TV as saying it looked worse to him than direct hits by missile strikes from air support in the desert. He was not at all surprised to hear that the governor had mobilized the National Guard.


Neighboring towns had to lend support, tending to the wounded, and transporting the worst cases to nearby hospitals.


Neighbors first thought an aircraft fell from the sky, hitting the house directly, the fuel exploding on impact. The damage was too severe, too total to have been caused by anything inside. Kathy and Joe were normal people, they said, not criminals or terrorists.


Arson and bomb squad investigators ran every forensic test in their arsenal, looking for trace evidence. They suspected a meth lab, a hidden cache of explosives and weapons, but every test came back negative for those elements.


The only unusual result was an exceptionally high trace of natural methane, which they could not explain. There were no signs of accelerants, and the trigger seemed to be the pilot in the furnace going on as it should, nothing more than that. Even the FBI, once called in, had no meaningful results from their labs at Langley.


The medical examiner couldn’t shed much light, as there just wasn’t enough left of Joe or Kathy to autopsy.


The mystery remained front page news for a couple days, only to be replaced by the latest wave of scandal and accusations making the rounds in the Capital.


Locals looked forward to the new coffee house being built on the grounds of the former “Taco Tower”, which had been shuttered and abandoned by its owners without explanation.


Life moves on.





G.A. Miller

G.A. Miller is a new voice in the chorus of horror authors, drawing his ideas from every day, commonplace events that take unforeseen turns down dark corridors, often with horrific consequences.
Born between the original Japanese “Gojira”, and the Americanized “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!”, G.A.’s interest in horror developed early on, nourished by televised movies on “Shock Theater” (Hosted by Zacherley, the “Cool Ghoul”), Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines, old issues of the late, great EC Comics, the British Horror Invasion of great films from Hammer Studios…the list goes on.
Making a living as a technician, he enjoys stepping away from the digital world, where ones and zeros are absolute, and entering the world of dark imagination, where a single “What If?” can turn normalcy to nightmare in a frenzied heartbeat, and rules of logic do not apply.
His published tales include:
“Bequeath” – Hinnom Magazine 001, Gehenna & Hinnom publishers.
“Shower Time” – The Edge: Infinite Darkness, Patrick Reuman publisher.
“Ear Wax” – Year’s Best Body Horror Anthology 2017 – Gehenna & Hinnom publishers.
“Nightmare” – Horror Bites Magazine, November 2017 Issue
G.A. lives where Lovecraft lived, due south of where King lives. Perhaps there’s something in the water in New England? One wonders…

Website – http://gamiller.info/

Blog – http://gamillerdotblog.wordpress.com/

Break Her Back

He first heard the rhyme when he was eight years old. He believed it absolutely. He couldn’t imagine hurting his mother. That was when he started avoiding the cracks on the sidewalk. His mother chided him for staring at his feet, but he couldn’t stop.
For forty years he followed his own rule, but the inevitable happened. He was at an intersection. He stepped off the kerb without checking. Looking down he saw his foot, sitting neatly on a crack between two pavers.
He prayed the gods would forgive him. His phone rang. It was father. It was bad news.

R. J. Meldrum

R. J. Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010 with his wife Sally. His interest in the supernatural is a lifetime obsession and when he isn’t writing ghost stories, he’s busy scouring the shelves of antique book-sellers to increase his collection of rare and vintage supernatural books. During the winter months, he trains and races his own team of sled dogs.

He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Digital Fiction and James Ward Kirk Fiction.

You can find out more about RJ at his homepage.

Let Down Your Hair

The old tower was covered with moss and ancient vines. The doorway was bricked with dry crumbling mortar.
The Prince called to the turret high above and a woman answered.
“Thank goodness. Help, A wicked witch chained me here years ago.”
“The doorway’s bricked shut.”
“I’ll let down my long hair. Climb it.”
Her golden hair cascaded downward like a waterfall. The Prince caught the first strands, but the hairy deluge continued until he was trapped and the weight suffocated him.
Rapunzel pulled up her hair. Damn, I’ve killed another one. Not to worry, the wolves will eat him tonight.

Robert Lupton

Robert Allen Lupton lives in New Mexico where he is commercial hot air balloon pilot. He writes and runs every day, but not necessarily in that order.

Recent publications include short stories in the following anthologies:

Uncommon Origins
Twelve Days
Hindered Souls
Potters Field #6
Worlds Unknown #4

Strangely Funny IV

The novel, Foxborn, was published by West Mesa Press in April of 2017.

Other short stories are available online from “Crimson Streets”, Daily Science Fiction. A piece of flash fiction and a half dozen drabbles have been published in “Trembling With Fear”.

“Running Into Trouble”, a collection of 15 fantasy, science fiction, horror, adventure, and humorous stories, all with running as a central theme, will be published in September of 2017. The novelette, Dejanna of Mars, will be published in August 2018, and the second book in the Foxborn series, ‘Here There Be Dragons,” is scheduled for February 2018.

Bugs #3

Doctor Henson ran to the injured girl, laying in the rain by the roadside. He decided on mouth to mouth. As he breathed, movement to his left caught his eye. A puddle was forming rapidly around them. He had to reanimate her quickly or the puddle would cover them both. The water covered his ankles, then his legs. As he breathed into her mouth, something tickled his tongue. My God! Is she kissing me? Then, it ran down his throat. Shocked, he spat it out. The thing ran to join its companions that were the puddle. The cockroaches engulfed him.

Justin Boote

Justin Boote has lived for over twenty years in Barcelona, Spain, plying his trade as a stressed waiter in a busy restaurant. He has been writing horror stories for just over a year, and currently has 8 published in diverse magazines including for Lycan Valley Press, Deadlights Shotgun magazine, Zimbell House Publishing, Dark Dossier Magazine and The Horrorzine’s summer edition.

He is also a member of a private writer’s forum called The Write Practice where he has also acted as a judge on two ocassions for their contests.

He can be found at Facebook under his own name, or at [email protected].

The Horror Tree Presents…Claire Fitzpatrick

Selene – First, tell us a bit about yourself, and what current projects you have on the go.

Claire – Hello! I’m a music/arts journalist and speculative fiction author. I have a bachelor of Government and International Relations from Griffith University, and I’m currently working on my postgrad certificate in Writing, Editing, and Publishing at The University of Queensland. This might seem like blasphemy, but I enjoyed my politics degree a whole lot more than writing and editing!

I’ve been nominated four times for the Aurealis Convenor’s Award for Excellence in non-fiction, but have never won. One day! However, my very juvenile poem ‘Rainbows,’ written when I was 12, was commended in the 2002 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition.  So that’s cool!

I have Epilepsy and schizoid personality disorder, which has a significant impact on my life, and why I mostly write body horror. I don’t always feel like a real person, at least, not how a person should be. I find it very hard to communicate with people, and I’m quite reclusive. But I don’t always think of it as a bad thing, as it’s very inspirational for my writing!

I’m currently writing a novella tentatively titled ‘The Eagle and The Witch’ which explores the idea of being able to change your anatomy and, also, your sense of self. My anthology ‘Misanthropy’ will soon be released by Digitalian Publishing, so that’s exciting!

I also watch a lot of children’s television. My daughter, who is five, has opened my eyes to the brilliance of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom. I’ve always wanted to write for a children’s TV show. I’m jealous someone thought of the show before me! Nanny Plum has got to be one of the best characters ever written!

Selene – How did you start writing?

Claire – I started writing at a young age, around eight or nine. I used to write stories for my younger sister, and then I wrote two Harry Potter ‘books’ because I couldn’t wait for The Order of The Phoenix to come out. Haha. My first major publication was ‘Madeline,’ included within Midnight Echo 12. However, I had a few short stories published beforehand, most of which flew under the radar, as they weren’t particularly good. Well, not in a professional sense! I was diagnosed with Epilepsy when I was around 12 or 13, which made me feel quite isolated from the world. I also have schizoid personality disorder.  While I had a few friends in high school, I didn’t really socialise with them all that much as I’d often felt disconnected from them, so I’d spend hours alone writing stories. Most of them were about pirate adventures, although my first ‘novel’ was about a psychotic megalomaniac who had mutilated his hand. I’m a bit of a weirdo, obviously!

Selene – I’ve managed to read the first few chapters of Only The Dead, and some of your non-fiction work online. Tell us about your first novel.

Claire – ‘Only The Dead,’ I suppose, is a twisted love story of obsession and the horrors of human nature. Set in Australia and Vietnam during 1966 and 1967, the book is about two women, Lydia and Cassie, outsiders both, who develop a co-dependent relationship. Essentially, it is about the very real demons that come back with men and women from the war, and how they interact with those they left behind. I wanted to write about surgical nurses since most books about war are generally from the perspective of men. Two of my favourite tv shows, ‘Band Of Brothers’ and ‘The Pacific’ really get to the core of what it means to suffer so much mental and physical trauma, and how it changes your perception of yourself and the world around you. In a way ‘Only the Dead’ is not about war at all, but the struggles within ourselves and our identities and how we connect with others. Why are we instantly drawn to some people? Why do we instantly abhor others? Who we are on the inside is not always the person we are on the outside. We all have wars within each other, and sometimes those wars rage so hard, and so long we lose a part of ourselves, what makes us human.

Selene – One thing I was surprised to learn from Only The Dead was that Australia was involved in the Vietnam War. Of course, I’m a lazy researcher (and Canadian, and we weren’t involved), so most of what little I know about Vietnam comes from Hollywood. Let’s talk about the role of research in your writing. What’s involved, how important are the details, and what kind of tools do you use?

Claire – My research for the book included going to Vietnam as part of a study tour with Griffith, where I visited a lot of war memorials, including The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Ming city. It’s incredibly harrowing and very anti-American. There are lots of pictures of deceased victims, including body parts of children. I also went into the tunnels of Củ Chi (a little scary, since I have claustrophobia), but it was a great way to immerse myself in just one aspect of the war. Of course, my understanding of the war is minute compared to those involved in the conflict, but I do have a good knowledge of conflict and war in general. I also watched a lot of documentaries, read books, journal articles, watched films (biased, but enjoyable nonetheless), and more importantly learned about the role of nurses. I also watched videos of amputations of other surgical procedures, which I feel was a necessary part of understanding how to write an amputation scene. I think really immersing yourself in your writing is incredibly important because it allows you to understand your own ideas more clearly, and what drives you to write the story in the first place.

Selene – Just by looking over your bibliography and website, I see two pretty different themes running through your work. Not to be reductive, but one is body horror, and the other is politics. First, what about body horror inspires you as a writer?

Claire – I like to write about what makes us human in the philosophical and political sense, the function of a human being, hedonism, decadence, and the idea of conflict – seeing the world through Epicurean-coloured glasses or Mill-coloured gladded, either Epicuras’ individual salvation or Mill’s aggregated good of all. How should humans define pleasure and happiness? Is a body horror a reflection not only the mutation of anatomy but how we view ourselves as biological, visceral creatures? ‘The Witch and the Eagle’ explores the idea of being able to change your anatomy and, also, your sense of self. Does becoming part animal means you lose your humanity? And what does it truly mean to be human? In a political sense, it’s all about how people fit into society, especially if they are a minority different in a certain way. This is where my Epilepsy comes in. I often feel I’m an anomaly, a mutation of anatomy, especially when I sustain particularly nasty injuries from seizures. I don’t always feel like a wholly functional human being. ‘Madeline’ was my first foray into body horror, and I wrote it after a particularly nasty seizure. The story is about puberty, and in a way, about my puberty and adolescence.

I also write ghost stories, but I think of them as a deviation from my usual writing. My mum is a firm believer in spirits and hauntings. While I’m not entirely convinced, my paranormal stories sometimes feel like a breath of fresh air, as I don’t feel as emotionally attached to them as my body horror stories, and they’re fun to write.

Selene – And now we come to politics! They say that you should never talk about religion or politics, particularly if you want to keep your friends, and we live in a very complicated time, politically. Why do you write about politics, or work political ideas into your writing?

Claire – Ya, politics! (Does anyone sane say that? Haha) I have a Bachelor of Government and International Relations, I’ve studied at Hanoi University in Vietnam, and once represented Russia in a mock UNSC resolution regarding humanitarian corridors in Syria. Russia won. I’m very competitive! 😉 I mentioned Epicuras and Mill, and how people fit into society, and I suppose, on a deeper level, I’m interested in humans and our relationships to each other. I like to study why we categorise people, what makes us different, and what makes us similar. Why are people racist? Why are people segregated?

The philosopher Thomas Hobbes developed a theory of violence and the state and concluded that before the sovereign state people lived in a state of nature, a war of all against all. The modern sovereign state begun after people made a social contract with each other – because the state became sovereign, no one was above the law, and no one could change the state’s use of violence. We, as humans, give up our right to violence to the state so that the state can use violence against us as a means of preserving life. Cities are a haven for disorder, as we all weren’t meant to live so close to each other.

I work these ideas into my writing through stories of how people interact with one another, how they view their relationship to the world, which is particularly evident in my short story ‘The Eagle,’ the basis of my novella. Even though the Treaty of Westphalia was supposed to end all religious wars, we still categorise people. And as much as I disagree with it, it definitely helps with my writing!

Selene – Only The Dead was set during the Vietnam War era, and the protests of the time provide a backdrop to the story. Robert Reich noted that in our current political climate, he’s seeing protests and political involvement that we haven’t seen since those days. There are definite parallels between that time and today, so why did you choose to write about the Vietnam era?

Claire – I started researching the Vietnam War (or, ‘Cuộc chiến tranh Mỹ’, the American War, as the Vietnamese call it) after learning about the conflict at Griffith University. I was particularly drawn to this war because I’m interested in the dynamics of power and the P5, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The Cold War set a lot of wheels in motion, and neither the Soviet Union nor the United States could risk an all-out war against each other because of the threat of nuclear war. So essentially, the Vietnam War was a Cold War-era proxy war which pitted the communist government of North Vietnam against South Vietnam and its chief ally, the United States. There are a lot of dramatised versions of the war, some which are quite good, but they often don’t explain the reasons behind the war, which I think confuses a lot of people and alters their perception of the events.  Also, not a lot of people know about the role of the UNSC.

I think the parallels between the 1960’s and today stem from the idea of the Cold War, and the fear of the ‘other.’ Russia was seen as a rogue state, especially during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it’s now once again viewed in the Cold War light. I suppose our current political climate mirrors many aspects of the Cold War and the idea that we cannot know what rogue states are planning. This generates political uprisings all over the world, especially in light of the continuing so-called ‘War on Terror,’ and the alliances between the P5 states. I don’t want to go too much into my own political views, but I think the Vietnam War was a turning point, and a precursor to the world we live in today. It’s much more important than people think.

Selene – Your bio mentions a lot of books in your house. What do you like to read? What are you reading at the moment?

Claire – I have just over 400 books, a mini-library in my bedroom. I read a lot of everything. On my shelves are authors such as Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Sonya Hartnett, Isobelle Carmody, Jostein Gaarder, Stephen King, John Marsden, HP Lovecraft, Ursula Le Guinn, Jack Kerouac, Kurt Vonnegut, DBC Pierre…I have so much variety I often joke I should make library cards for people who might want to read them. I like stories about people. My favourite book is Black Foxes by Sonya Hartnett, withal-time favourite quote: “Bored, bored, bored……I am so utterly bored that my life could come to an end right here and I would fail to notice any difference.” Tyrone Sully is basically me!

At the moment I’m reading ‘The Book of Lost Things’ by John Connolly. I have ‘Eucalyptus Goth’ by Brian Craddock and ‘The Girl Who Took an Eye For An Eye’ by David Lagercrantz on my bedside table as my to-read list. The original Stieg Larsson Millennium series is amazing!

Selene – Who or what are your biggest influences, as a writer, and where do you get your ideas?

Claire – Tough question! While my health issues are a definite influence, Franz Kafka is one of my biggest influences as a writer, especially regarding body horror. Franz Kafka, like me, had schizoid personality disorder, so I feel a sort of kinship with me. Reading his novella, ‘The Metamorphosis,’ motivated to write body horror. Even though I had always been fascinated by body horror, I didn’t start writing it myself until after reading his book.

Clive Barker and Sonya Hartnett are also my biggest influences. While Clive Barker is an obvious reflection of my interest in body horror, Sonya Hartnett writes about dysfunctional people, and how they do or don’t fit into society, which I mentioned is mostly what I write about. Her work is absolutely brilliant.

I suppose I get my ideas from my struggles with epilepsy, but also by observing the world around me. I like to observe people, take notes about what interests me about them, and how they interact with others.

Selene – I enjoyed the article in The Australia Times, about Vietnam. Do you get to travel often? How does travelling shape your writing?

Claire – I don’t travel all the time (although I’d like to!). The only other place I’ve been to outside Australia is New Caledonia and Vietnam, although I stopped off at Taiwan for a connecting flight. Does that count? Haha. I suppose money is the issue with regards to travelling. I’d like to travel around Australia with my daughter one day, and also travel by myself when she’s older. But I do travel interstate quite often for speculative fiction conventions and to see one of my friends. I’ve almost got capital city bingo, with Perth and Darwin left to cross off the list!

I have a world map in my office which I look at every day. I used to be a board member of Uganda For Her, so I’d take conference calls from Uganda. I left the organisation before I was able to travel to Uganda, but I’d like to go one day.

I think travel is so essential when writing. It’s undoubtedly influenced by the idea of the world and other cultures, and I think it’s so important for people to leave their country, for so often because become unintentionally closed-minded regarding the rest of the world. I’d like to travel through Europe, Russia, Iceland, and South America. I like to write about nature, which I’ve used quite heavily in ‘The Eagle and The Witch.’ But I think South America is on the top of my list. I want to traverse through the Amazon rainforest. I feel peace within nature, as though time has stopped, and everything doesn’t matter, if only for a moment.

Selene – And, further to the question of travel, let’s talk about the importance of place and setting to your writing. Where is your work set, and what are your favourite places to write about?

Claire – For me, there is no story without place and setting. At least, no major piece of work, like a novella or novel. The most important part, for me, is grounding the reader in an imagined world. Even if the world already exists, it will always be changed by your own perception of it within your writing. As I mentioned, ‘Only The Dead’ is set in Australia and Vietnam, though my science-fiction story ‘Andromeda’ is set on Mars, my novella ‘Of Man And Woman’ set in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, my short ‘The Beach’ is set on a deserted island, my soon to be published short thriller story ‘Deep Sea Fishing’ is set on a fishing trawler. I tend to isolate my characters, and make their world smaller than ours, to create a sense of claustrophobia and fear. I think it’s vital to set the scene first, to establish the setting first, so the reader can jump right into the story and feel connected to the world straight away.

Selene – Your bio also mentions that you’re a parent. How do you balance your work and other responsibilities?

Claire – As a music and arts journalist, I interview a lot of people via video conferences or over the phone, and most people I interview live overseas. I review shows, so spend time at theatres and festivals, which helps with my isolation. Festivals are also good because I can take my daughter with her. Isobelle (named after Isobelle Carmody) spends half the week with me and half the week with her father, so I do have time to work on things, which means I devote all my time to her when I can. I organise my work schedule around her, as she comes first. Although, I have had to conduct a few phone interviews while she’s in the house, and it’s tough to slip away without her shouting ‘mum! Who’s on the phone?? I want to talk to them!! Let me say hello!’ It often makes the interview more interesting, as I talk to a lot of musicians, and then the topic changes from their new album to their child’s favourite TV show. I spent six years at university studying two bachelor degrees, which was hard because I had just started my course when she was born. As she grew older, it was challenging to work around her, but I’m glad I have my family to help. Not being allowed to drive is also hard, so we take buses and trains everywhere, which my daughter considers an adventure, although I consider a nightmare!

Selene – You’re involved with Women In Horror, which happens every February. I always kick myself for asking this, because I don’t ask this question of male writers (!) but how important is a showcase such as WIH?

Claire – Traditionally women are victims in horror films, by crazed killers, haunted houses, or monsters. They’re often cast in stereotypic damsel-in-distress roles or are a mother to a possessed child. But I do think there are several films where women take the lead and are just as strong and dangerous as their male counterparts. A lot of Clive Barker novels have strong female characters, and ‘Hellraiser,’ the adaptation of his novella ‘The Hellbound Heart,’ features Julia, who is perhaps just as monstrous as the Cenobites. I hate the idea of the ‘final girl,’ where one woman manages to survive a terrible ordeal out of sheer luck. But with ‘The Hellbound Heart,’ Kirsty Cotton is a ‘final girl’ who manages to send the Cenobites back to their alternate dimension. I think because woman are physically weaker than men there’s this idea that they’re somehow mentally weaker, but I don’t think that’s the case. For me, everyone is the same when faced with unspeakable horrors, regardless of your gender. So any film or novel that includes strong female characters is so important not just for the horror industry, but also for society.

Selene – Who are your favourite women authors (horror or otherwise), and why do you think women in horror don’t get more recognition?

Claire – Anne Rice and Clive Barker are my top two favourite authors, but I love Anne Rice because The Vampire Chronicles were so important to me when I read them. At the time I was in an abusive relationship, and the only kind thing my boyfriend ever did for me was buy me Anne Rice books. Her books are eccentric, with no Anne Rice fan the same. “Good horror fiction as I see it is always about us, about the human condition,” – Anne Rice, February 2017. And that’s precisely why I love The Vampire Chronicles, and adore The Mayfair Witches books. They’re about people, their relationship to one another, how they interact within society. It’s such a big part of my own life, and indeed her books amazingly impacted my life. I found solace in her characters, even at the darkest of times, and it helped me crawl out of a relationship which almost swallowed me whole.

We were talking about female horror writers at Conflux this year, and I mentioned we need female horror writers because ‘strong female characters’ are still a topic of discussion. Where are the ‘strong male characters’ panels at conventions? Women still face discrimination, surprisingly with book covers. Kim Wilkins, who taught one of my courses at UQ, mentioned books of hers with helpless-looking women on her covers even though her female characters were heroines. It’s utterly ridiculous. Perhaps it’s because of the hunter/gatherer idea, that women aren’t built for quests, and should leave all the sword-fighting to the men. I don’t know. We talk about these things in my house a lot, and we all seem to agree and disagree on points. But I respect women who aren’t necessarily maternal. I’m not, and I have a kid. I didn’t even want children, and she was a happy surprise! But I’m glad I have my daughter, for children make you see the world in an entirely different light, especially as a woman.

Selene – If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?

Claire – Golly gosh, I can’t imagine not being a writer (double negative! Haha). Umm….if I didn’t have epilepsy I’d likely be in the army or air force, as I wanted to be a pilot, and I think having epilepsy really strengthened my idea of myself as a writer. I’d love to be a surgeon or work in medicine in some field. Probably neuroscience, which is hilariously ironic. I also wanted to be a mechanic, which is also ironic. I think I just like how things are put together, and how to pull them apart. Especially bodies. I’d also probably be a nomad and live overseas somewhere. But alas, I’ve not yet been elected queen of the world. One day.

Selene – What advice would you give someone who wants to write, especially horror?

Claire – Lean on your own experiences. Use your own life for inspiration. We often don’t think of ourselves as incredibly interesting creatures, but we are. Humans are the most interesting creatures of all. Horror is not all about slasher films and buckets full of blood (although I LOVE buckets full of blood), but our innate desires, our fears, the limitations of our human bodies. Look to yourself for inspiration. Look to those around you, even if you only see them on the bus once a week and don’t know their names. Fear and love are polar opposites, but find a way to tie them together unusually or disturbingly. Then you’ll find the horror within.

Selene – What’s next for you, and do you have anything else you’d like to talk about?

Claire – Let’s talk about sex, baby! I’m looking forward to the publication of  ‘Misanthropy,’ and also my short story ‘The Eagle,’ the June 2018 feature story for Disturbed Digest By Alban Lake publishing. I’ve never had a feature story before (although I write cover stories for work), so I’m super keen for the issue to come out. I’m also hoping I’ll finish my novella, but considering how long it took for me to write ‘Only the Dead,’ one can never know! I’ve only written 19,000 words out of my planned 25,000-40,000, so who knows? The story is taking itself in a different direction than I planned, so there’s no telling what I’ll end up with. Hopefully, it’s readable! I’m also hoping to get a full-time job. Employers seem to ignore applicants who aren’t allowed to get a licence, so I’m planning on stealing a monster truck and bulldozing companies who won’t hire me even though I’m overqualified. So, depending on what happens, I might be in jail! Now that’s true women in horror!

Selene – thank you so much for your time, Claire!

If you would like to find out more about Claire and her work, you can find her via the below links:

Website: www.clairefitzpatrick.net

Twitter: @CJFitzpatrick91

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ClaireJean1239


Taking Submissions: Holy C.O.W.!

Deadline: November 30th, 2017
Payment: $0.07 – $0.10 per word + contributor copy.

Holy C.O.W.! SF stories from the Center Of the World is an anthology of Speculative Fiction stories rooted in the ancient Fertile Crescent, Levant and the Middle East, but stretch into the near and distant future.  Holy C.O.W.! is seeking all styles and sub-genre, including humorous speculative fiction.  Addition consideration will also be given to artists who live or are from the region.

SUBMISSION WINDOW: November 1 – November 30, 2017
LENGTH: 500-6000 words.

PAYMENT: $0.07 – $0.10 per word + contributor copy. Payment will be made upon acceptance. Our preferred method of payment is via PayPal, but you may request a check.

FORMAT: ODT RTF or DOC. Standard Manuscript Format or some close approximation.

SEND TO: [Upload your stories via this submissions link.]

Limit of 1 submission per author — even if you receive a response before the submission window closes please do not send another story unless directly invited to do so.

Please do not respond to rejections. The email address associated with submissions is not monitored. If you wish to query for any reason, please use the contact form or e-mail us: editor at holycowpublishing dot com.

RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 90 days from date of release. Non-exclusive print, e-book, and audio rights afterward.

POLICIES & RESPONSE TIME: No reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions please. You may query after 30 days. Please send only one submission per author unless directly invited to send more.

We’re looking for speculative stories rooted in the Fertile Crescent, Levant and the Middle East.   The region should be an integral part of the story, and not simply a transplant.  For ideal example think of how Mike Resnick’s story “Kirinyaga” relates to Africa culture and issues.  We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives.  Authorized English translations of original stories, particularly from regional artists, are also welcomed and encouraged.

Via: Holy C.O.W. Publishing.

Taking Submissions: This Book Is Cursed

Deadline: March 1st, 2018
Payment: ½ cent per word for original works, $10 for reprints, and a contributor’s copy
Note: Reprints Allowed

Edited by Howard Rachen
Deadline: March 1st, 2018

The curse is as old as folklore itself. They are the malediction of gods and witches, protections of the pharoh’s tombs, the warnings for would-be thieves. Before the days of Hollywood, the werewolf was the victim of a curse. Today they linger with sports teams and in the theatre.

Armoured Fox Press is looking for all manner of horror stories related to curses. Bloodlines with a black mark, tainted objects, locations under a hex, and anything else cleverly twisted into a curse. Be creative, don’t just send us yet another unlucky penny, but something new that makes us hesitate to step on a crack or ignore that warning.

We will NOT accept:
Racism, sexism, or discrimination presented in a positive light.
Pedophilia or sex with characters under the age of 18.
Rape, torture, dubious consent, forced seduction.
If you are in doubt, ASK. Better to ask then to get a straight up rejection!
And remember, this is a non-erotic anthology, so please, no sex on screen. (this line can be changed)
Furry (as this is not a furry anthology)

Submission Details:

Length: Max 7,500 words. .

Payment: ½ cent per word for original works, $10 for reprints. Authors will receive a contributor copy.

How to submit: Please use standard manuscript format. (http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html)
Email a doc, docx or RTF file attention to Mr. Rachen at [email protected].

No simultaneous submissions please (Don’t also send your story elsewhere at the same time), and no more than one submission.

Original stories and reprints welcome. (see Payment)

We purchase exclusive publication rights in print and electronic formats for the period of one year from date of publication for the stories and non-exclusive rights in perpetuity thereafter. Submissions must not contain any copyrighted characters which the author does not hold the copyright on. Reprints will not be subject to this. Please state when you submit if the story is a reprint or not. Having the story posted online counts as ‘published’ and will be treated as a reprint.

Response time: Please expect responses within six weeks of the deadline, but please do not query until eight weeks have passed at the request of the editor.

Via: Good Reads.