Mirror World Is Open To Novel, Novella, And Collection Submissions

Deadline: December 31st, 2018

To submit to Mirror World Publishing, please send the following:

  •  A query letter (stating the genre, word count, and target audience of your manuscript)
  •  A one-page synopsis of the plot, including the ending
  •  The first three chapters or equivalent sample, attached as a .doc or .docx file

All submissions should be sent to:

[email protected]

 

Expect us to take up to six to eight weeks to respond. We try our best to provide some feedback regardless of acceptance and we respond to all queries we receive.

Our submissions period annually is typically from November 1st until the end of the year. Outside of this period, we accept submissions by personal invitation only.

In the meantime, we encourage you to improve your submission by watching the videos below, reading our guidelines, or keeping up with our blog for helpful tips and tricks of the trade.

We’re a small independent Canadian press and we are passionate about success. We partner with our authors to make the books we produce the best they can be and we aim to market them together for maximum exposure. We’re proud to be able to offer full paperback and e-book services, higher royalties than the industry standard  (50% of net profits), author copies at better than wholesale rates, and worldwide distribution. We respond to all queries we receive within six to eight weeks with a personal response including suggestions on how to improve your manuscript even if it is not the right fit for us, so there is no need to send a follow-up inquiry.
We’re looking for Escapism Fiction…

Our goal is to provide our readers with the ability to escape the mundane through wildly creative fiction. We’re looking for books that act as gateways to other worlds, times, or versions of reality. We prefer strong story telling and strong character development as well as imaginative settings and interesting themes. If your manuscript transports a reader somewhere else, tells an engaging story, and then brings them back feeling like they learned or experienced something new or unique, then we want to publish your book!

*If you are not Canadian or do not currently reside in Canada, we are still willing to review your submission, however due to government regulations regarding grants, we are regretfully only able to publish a small number of international titles each year. 

 

As for genres, we consider primarily:

  •  Speculative Fiction
  •  Fantasy
  •  Science-Fiction
  •  Romance, incl. LGBT
  •  Adventure
  •  Paranormal
  •  Comedy
  •  Historical
  •  Cross-Culture
  •  Portal Fiction
  •  A blend of any two or more of the above genres
  •  Cross-genre, mixed genre, or things that don’t fit genre norms
  •  Outside the box thinking, imaginative and creative fiction
  •  Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, or Children’s 

 

As for types of manuscripts, we consider primarily:

  •  Novels (130,000 words maximum)
  •  Novellas (25,000 words minimum)
  •  Collections of poetry or short stories with a cohesive theme or a continuous story arc*
  •  Graphic Novels (art included)
  •  Children’s books (art included)
  •  Colouring books (art included)
  •  Roleplaying System Guidebooks (art included)

We don’t like to limit ourselves, so if you have something you think would fit with our current list of published works, please send it. We’d rather take a chance outside our comfort zones than miss something great.

That being said, here’s a list of things we’re NOT interested in:

  • Non-fiction
  • Memoirs or autobiographies
  • Literary fiction
  • Self-help or inspirational fiction
  • Hard Sci-Fi or Military Sci-Fi
  • Horror
  • Thriller/suspense/true crime
  • Christian or other religious fiction
  • Contemporary fiction
  • Contemporary romance
  • Poetry anthologies or short stories

Via: Mirror World Publishing.x

Taking Submissions: Breach #10

Deadline: December 31st, 2018
Payment: Short stories: 1 cent a word, to a maximum of $20. Poetry: $5 per piece.
Note: NZ and Australian authors only

Guidelines

We publish SF, horror and dark fantasy short fiction from NZ and Australian authors.

We publish bimonthly and open for submissions for the month prior to release. Our submission periods for 2018 are as follows:

Issue #08: August (to publish in September)

Issue #09: October (to publish in November)

Issue #10: December (to publish in January 2019)

In the Zine

All work must be original and previously unpublished. We pay for first worldwide publication rights for six months and nonexclusive reprint rights. Copyright belongs to the author or artist. We simply ask for you to credit Breach as the site of first publication if your work is then subsequently reprinted elsewhere (after the six month exclusive period).

Stories between 500 and 2000 words, in doc format.

Poetry of a page length, doc format.

Cover art in A4, 600dpi, RGB.

Payment

Short stories: 1 cent a word, to a maximum of $20.

Poetry: $5 per piece.

Cover art: $20 per piece.

From August, 2018 we’ll also accept submissions of longer works of novella (17,000 to 40,000 words) and novelette (7,500 to 17,000 words) length. Our short stories lean toward horror and the darker side of science fiction and we’d like to carry that over to longer works. If you’re interested in publishing with us, please send the first chapter and a single-page synopsis as a Word doc using the form below. All work must be original and previously unpublished.

Breach pays 50% of royalties from all print and ebook sales – we don’t offer advances. We pay for exclusive worldwide publication rights for one year and non-exclusive reprint rights. Copyright belongs to the author.

Via: Breach.

Taking Submissions: The First Line – Spring 2019

Deadline: February 1st, 2019
Payment: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry and a Contributor’s Copy

To celebrate twenty years of publication, we’re going to revisit the past. There are no new first lines for 2019. Each issue will be comprised of original works based on past first lines.

Were you inspired by the fall 2008 first line (Roy owned the only drive-thru funeral business in Maine.) but didn’t see the sentence until 2015? Or maybe you started writing a story for the spring 2005 issue (Life would be so much easier if I were a cartoon character.) but you never got around to submitting it. Or maybe you sent us a story that just missed the cut and you reworked it and want to try us again. Well, now is your chance to make up for missed opportunities.

The following is the schedule/list of first lines for the 2019 issues (click the season to see the entire list of first lines for each issue):

Spring 2019
All submissions must begin with one first line from Volume 1, Issue 1 to Volume 5, Issue 4.
Due date: February 1, 2019

All submissions must begin with one first line from
Volume 1, Issue 1 to Volume 5, Issue 4:

Vol. 1, Iss. 1: Just like his fifth grade teacher, Mr. Young, had always told him, Brian put on his thinking cap.
Vol. 1, Iss. 2: The rules are clearly spelled out in the brochure.
Vol. 1, Iss. 3: “Well, there’s ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”
Vol. 1, Iss. 4: As the curtain rose, the scenario began to play itself out.
Vol. 2, Iss. 1: The picture told the entire story.
Vol. 2, Iss. 2: The person on the train kept saying, “I believe,” over and over and over.
Vol. 2, Iss. 3: My father and I left on a Thursday.
Vol. 2, Iss. 4: I remember the radio was playing the best song.
Vol. 2, Iss. 5: Whitney Heather Yates knew she was in trouble from the moment she learned how to spell her name.
Vol. 2, Iss. 6: It sounded like she said, “Every day when I get home, I find a naked body in the bed.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 1: “It was the only thing he couldn’t do for her.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 2: The party was only the beginning of what would happen tonight.
Vol. 3, Iss. 3: Hal couldn’t sleep.
Vol. 3, Iss. 4: “Step this way as our tour of Earth continues.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 5: “Please state your name for the court.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 6: “How did you end up with a nickname like that?”
Vol. 4, Iss. 1: The first thing I saw when I woke was Chris’ face.
Vol. 4, Iss. 2: “The incident on the island is the stuff of legend, but let me tell you the real story.”
Vol. 4, Iss. 3: Jimmy Hanson was a sallow man who enjoyed little in life save for his _________. [Fill in the blank.]
Vol. 4, Iss. 4: I can’t believe I just heard that.
Vol. 5, Iss. 1: Paul Fischer was a graduate student studying biochemistry at Emory when he met my mother.
Vol. 5, Iss. 2: The view from up here is incredible and makes me feel _________. [Fill in the blank]
Vol. 5, Iss. 3: “So, all of it was just a lie?”
Vol. 5, Iss. 4: I opened my e-mail with a mix of apprehension and excitement.

A few notes:

  1. Don’t just resubmit a story we’ve already rejected. We will know. We have every story submitted to us on file and why we rejected it.
  2. Also, we understand that writers may add our first line to a story they are currently working on or have already completed, and that’s cool. But please do not add our first line to a previously published story and submit it to us. We do not accept previously published stories, even if they have been repurposed for our first lines.
  3. However, if you used one of our past first lines for a story that was published in another journal or magazine, write and tell us about it.

Fiction: All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won’t get your story tossed from the slush pile).

Poetry: All poems must be written with the first line provided. The sentence can be broken across lines, but the punctuation cannot be altered or dropped. Poem length is up to the poet.

All Submissions: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.

Multiple Submissions: We don’t mind if you want to submit multiple stories or poems for the same issue.

Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to submission (@) thefirstline (dot) com. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Please do not send pdf versions of your story or links to Google docs. Make sure you tell us what issue you are submitting to in the email Subject Line. Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The First Line‘s post office box. No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage.

Notification: We don’t make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within two to three weeks after the issue’s deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the Web site as we will indicate each issue’s production status there.

Payment: We pay on publication: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). We also send you a copy of the issue in which your piece appears. You’ll receive your money and issue at the same time.

Note to our international writers: Postage cost for sending author copies overseas is becoming outrageous, so we are reducing international author payment by the amount it would cost to send one author copy overseas. However, if you would like to receive an electronic version of the issue (PDF) instead of a hard copy, author payment will not change.

Via: The First Line.

Taking Submissions: Breaking Bizarro

Deadline: March 31st, 2019
Payment: $10 and a contributor’s copy

Death’s Head Press will be accepting submissions for Breaking Bizarro, an anthology of weirdness, starting December 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019

Have you watched Eraserhead? Have you read The Breast by Philip Roth? These things are WEIRD! Bizarro is a genre that thrives on absurdity and satire and often grotesqueness. It’s surreal and imaginative. Breaking Bizarro will scream weirdness to its readers. We predict an instant cult classic here!

What we’re looking for:

  • Death’s Head Press is seeking short stories between 3,000 to 8,000 words.
  • The short stories MUST BE BIZARRO FICTION. If you’re unsure what that means, look it up. Or read pretty much anything by Carlton Mellick III or Danger Slater.
  • We will only accept one submission per author for this anthology. So, send us your best! Simultaneous submissions are fine, but let us know if another publisher picks up your story before us.
  • We are not scared away by graphic content. Although, this anthology does not necessarily require such content. Whatever it is, make it weird!

How to submit:

  • Email your submission to [email protected] with the Subject line reading BREAKING BIZARRO ANTHOLOGY.
  • Consider the body of your email the cover letter. Give us a brief description of your work (3-6 sentences), list any previous published works, and tell us any relevant information about yourself.
  • Attach your entire manuscript to the email in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats.
  • Use 12 pt font in Times New Roman.
  • Your author name, email address, book title, and word count should appear on the first page of your manuscript. All subsequent pages should have your name, title, and page number in the header.
  • Get your work as clean of grammatical errors as possible. We don’t expect a perfect manuscript, but if it is riddled with one mistake after another, then we’re unlikely to accept it.

Payment for this anthology will be $10 and a contributor paperback copy.

*Due to the graphic themes of our publications, and possible legalities, we ask that potential authors be 18 years-of-age and older.

*Reprints may be accepted on a limited basis. Basically, if you’re sending us a reprint it needs to be damn good and not under contract anywhere else.

*Be respectful. We’re a new press and still ironing out the wrinkles. Sending us nasty emails instead of politely asking us questions is a good way to never find your way into our books.

Via: Death Head’s Press.

Taking Submissions: StoryHack

Deadline: January 1st, 2019
Payment: $0.01 / word

Submissions are currently open until about noon Mountain Time on January 1st, 2019.

Link to the new submission system is below, in the hopes that you will actually read some of the submission guidelines.

What I’m Looking For

To steal a joke, StoryHack Magazine publishes both kinds of fiction – action and adventure.

To be more clear, by action I mean that there should be characters actively engaged with an antagonist who represents imminent physical danger. Fistfights, car chases, vine swinging (alligators or spikes below), jungle insects, all that. But the protagonist must have an active role in the plot, rather than just having stuff happen at him/her.

By adventure, I mean the character does awesome things (is proactive) in a exotic (not mundane) situation. Heroics often enter in. The protagonist can be in a cool time period, a fantasy world, or have a bizarre profession, something about his/her situation should transport me, the reader, out of the mundane world. After reading, I should be able to say a main character “had an adventure.”

I’m open to any genre, as long as there’s action and adventure. And I’m serious when I say any genre. Space opera, spy thriller, sword & sorcery, lost world, high-seas swashbuckling, occult detective, treasure hunt / explorer, western, technothriller, you’re limited only by your imagination. As to style, think Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, Leigh Brackett, Doc E. E. Smith, Kenneth Robinson. Think fun and energetic. I’m not partial to mopey emo fiction.

You should know that StoryHack will not be publishing erotica or extreme gore. Also, I’m not likely to accept a story that has tons of cursing.

A little humor is good, but I’m not looking for farce or screwball comedy. More Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, less Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean.

Also, if you want an edge, right now I’m liking stories set in the modern era. Think action thrillers or urban fantasy.

Length-wise I’m looking for short stories and novelettes. 2,000 – 17,500 words. The sweet spot for me right now is probably 9-10k-ish. Want some tips on writing? Check out my reprints of Pulp-era writing advice. Also, Lester Dent 4 ever, people.

I’m seeking as-yet unpublished works.

Payment

I’ll pay $0.01 / word for worldwide 1st print and ebook rights with 4 months exclusivity. I can pay via check or paypal. I’ll make a sample contract available if you ask nicely.

Formatting / Sending

I’ve loosened up the formatting requirements a bit. Of course, standard short story format is fine, but not necessary.

  • Permitted file formats are doc, docx, odt, rtf, even txt or plain text with markdown.
  • Go ahead and put italics in italics if you’d like.
  • Put your name & contact information at the top of the file.
  • No need to push the approximate word count over to the right.
  • Keep your fonts to standard ones that are easy to read – Times/Times new Roman or Courier/Courier new.
  • Double space helps tremendously with the editing readability as do sensible margins. If the formatting is crazy, I may reject the story on that alone.

Submissions are now handled ONLY through the new submission system. Don’t email them where you did before. I know you’re creative, but please follow the instructions.

Other Stuff

Stories simultaneously submitted elsewhere are fine.

Multiple stories submitted at once, no. Wait until you get a response on the one before sending another. If you break this rule, I will reject them all without reading them.

Thanks

That about wraps up everything I can think of. If you have any questions, let me know.

Via: StoryHack.

Taking Submissions: Apotheosis 2: More Stories of Survival After the Rise of the Elder Gods

Deadline: December 31st, 2018
Payment: 3 cents per word (or 1 cent per word for reprints) and a contributor’s copy

Here are the guidelines for Simian Publishing’s next anthology Apotheosis 2: More Stories of Survival After the Rise of the Elder Gods.  (This anthology doesn’t open to submissions until December 1st 2018, but I like to give my writers plenty of time to ponder the sort of story they might write for me. Due to an illness in the form of a stroke for the editor, we have delayed the opening of submissions.)

 

Apotheosis 2 – More Stories of human survival and defiance in a world subjugated by the return of the Elder Gods. Humanity struggled to grow and evolve as a species for thousands of years forever caught in the shadow of a dread threat known only to a devoted few. When the stars are right, the Old Ones will return to claim utter dominion of the world. Lovecraft Mythos stories often climax at the moment of the fateful return of the Elder Gods and the audience is left to ponder what might happen next. This anthology features stories about humanity under the reign of the Elder Gods and ancient terrors.

What do we mean by Lovecraft Mythos stories in relation to Apotheosis? We’re looking for stories inspired by the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and associated writers such as August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smit , Robert E. Howard , Robert Bloch , Henry Kuttner, and Frank Belknap Long.   We’re also interested in writers that inspired Lovecraft such as Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood and Lord Dunsany. We’re interested in classic mythos gods and monsters and originals that have inspired by the mythos.

Good Fiction Examples:

What type of stories are we looking for? We’re looking for character-driven stories set during a time in the future where the ancient terrors that once ruled the Earth have claimed complete and utter dominion of the Earth. We’re less concerned about the strict interpretation of the Elder Gods than good stories that deal with real human concerns.  How do people survive? How does life change? Will people accept their new gods or will they rebel? What will it mean to be human in such a world of gods and monsters? Surprise us. Don’t give us stories that we’ve read before. We want worlds that feel real populated by characters from different cultures, genders, and ethnicities.   Avoid cultural appropriation. Do your homework. We recommend that you read our last anthology to see the types of stories we enjoy.

What types of submissions should I avoid? We’re not as interested in the moment the ancient horrors return and conquer the world, but how humanity survives after the war is lost. Flashbacks are OK, but the story should not be about that time. We enjoy historical mythos fiction, but this is not the anthology for it. Stories must be set in the future. We are not looking for poetry for this anthology.

Submission Details:

  • Word-count: 2,000 to 7,000
  • Worldwide print and e-book rights (exclusive for 6 months, non-exclusive for an additional 30 months).Exceptions will be made for stories accepted for “Best Of” anthologies.
  • Apotheosis will be available in both Print on Demand and e-book formats.
  • Submissions open December 1, 2018, and will close at 11:59 PST on December 31, 2018. You may submit at: [email protected] via an attachment. (Do not submit before December 1st 2018 or your submission will be deleted)
  • Queries and questions may be sent to : [email protected] (You may send queries and questions anytime.)
  • All responses will be accepted or rejected by March 1st, 2019. Please do not query about submitted stories before then. No multiple or simultaneous submissions. Our word count limits are hard for open submissions. Reprints may be submitted, but we’re only accepting three or four at the most.  (It should be clearly stated that the submission is a reprint in your cover later or this will be an automatic rejection later.)
  • Please use standard format guidelines. If it is difficult to read, we will reject your story. Your story must include your name, address, telephone number, email address, and approximate word count on the first page. Your cover letter should include your complete contact information, story title, approximate word count, and a short bio.
  • We’re only accepting a limited number of reprints. If you are submitting a reprint, please tag the subject with #Reprint. If we find out later your submission is a reprint and it wasn’t tagged, it will be dropped from the anthology.
  • Payment: 3 cents per word (or 1 cent per word for reprints), paid within 90 days after publication. Plus contributor copy of print and e-book.

Via: Simian Publishing.

Trembling With Fear 12/02/2018

Last weekend saw me disappearing from the online world for a little while, mainly because the security settings on my tablet refused to allow me to view various postings/emails on the ‘free wi-fi’ supplied by a well-known UK hotel chain. I had no quibble (one of my favourite words) with that as it gave me a good excuse to sign off and read a book. Anyway, that weekend was spent in Derby at Sledge Lit, a writer’s convention for those who read or write in the spec fic genre. I met up once more with Alyson Rhodes (contributor to TWF, reviewer and interviewer for Horror Tree) and Martin Fuller (TWF contributor and White Belt in Use of the Apostrophe – although Black Belt in Story Ideas). To be able to switch off from everyday life, ie the one you have to live to pay the bills, and just be absorbed into the writer’s life is a wonderful experience. I attended author interviews/readings with Mark Morris and M.R. Carey and sat in on panels featuring Sarah Pinborough and Stuart Turton amongst others. I couldn’t face any workshops as NaNo and editing responsibilities had left me somewhat braindead.

One of the best panels I attended was the one about getting an agent. In this, all the authors completely identified with those of us in the audience. They had ‘made’ it, but they understood how tough it was and that it did not make them any better than us, just that they had finally had the breaks and that it would happen for the rest of us – if we kept at it. So please, go back to those Horror Tree articles on getting an agent and keep on trying.

If you’ve not been to a convention – and this is the first year I have attended any – I would recommend them. If nothing else, they are a great motivator and you come away wanting to write more and get something done, but on the other hand they are also a great way of forging friendships and making you feel like a ‘proper writer’. Whilst I haven’t signed up for any next year, I have bought tickets for StokerCon in 2020 when it will be held in the UK for the first time.  You have until the end of December for early bird prices. I am really looking forward to a ‘horror only’ convention and, as it’s in Scarborough, popping up to Whitby … I mean, Dracula!

One thing I would ask. If you go to any of these cons with friends and you see someone on their own, invite them to join you. Conventions can seem a little ‘cliquey’, lets break down those barriers and invite everybody in.

Also, convention drawback. You buy books and your TBR pile suddenly doubles …

Stephanie Ellis

Editor, Trembling With Fear

I can’t believe we’re in the final month of 2018 already! That’s just crazy how fast this year has gone.

At any rate, I just wanted to re-point out a few areas which we’d appreciate more submissions for if you’re in the mood to get writing!

  • The Unholy Trinity – We’re looking to have 3 stand-alone drabbles that link together either in theme, character or to expand upon one another. They need to work alone but there has to be some connective tissue!
  • Serial Killers – On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’re hoping to print a few more serials. Stories which can easily be broken up into 4-10 installments of 1,000-1,5000 words or so in length (we’ll go longer or shorter a bit as long as it works!) We’re not looking for a story to just be cut up though, these have to work as mini-chapters for the overall tale being told.
  • Finally, in January we’ve got a call for authors in the LGBT+ community or stories that would fit in that area!

‘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

He Could Be a Psycho Killer

The first car to drive by slowed, but passed him. That was okay.

It was the husband who was driving, and he had nearly yielded. In the end, though, the wife had objected: “He could be a psycho killer for all you know!”

Oh well. Rich liked them better alone, anyway.

It was two hours before another car came. It was an old-fashioned model, 1990s at the latest; a thin coat of dust rested atop its matte purple finish. The car thundered ahead, but thudded to a stop ten metres ahead of him and started to reverse. A door flew open. “Get in.”

Rich smiled gratefully and climbed into the passenger side, hoisting his duffel bag over his shoulder and into the backseat.

“Where to?” the driver asked. He had a dull sort of look, like a man who travels from town to town selling insurance or encyclopedias. He had a smell to him, too, like he’d been on the road for a while without a proper shower.

“North Bay,” Rich replied.

Nothing but miles and miles of desolate road ahead of them – he had time to play with this one.

“North Bay,” the man echoed. “My sister married a guy from North Bay. Not much to see.”

Rich shrugged. “Well, you know, I like the quiet life.” He restrained a smirk. “I got a girl out there. Figured I’d move out, look for work, settle down.”

It was a lie, or course. The kind of thing you say when you’re hitchhiking and you want your driver to feel safe. The kind of thing a man with a switchblade in his pants pocket and an axe in his duffel would never say.

The driver nodded. “Sounds very nice.” His voice and mild and non-committal. His inflection didn’t change as he added: “It’s a shame you won’t get there.”

Rich felt a small prick in his thigh. He looked down. The top of a syringe, the needle jabbed into his saphenous vein, was still sticking out of it.

“This’ll go best if you’re calm,” the driver said, as Rich’s world started to fuzz and fade. The driver pulled to the side of the road and stopped. “If you relax, this business can be over very quickly. It’s when folks start to panic that things get messy.”

Rich shoved his hand into his pocket and groped for his knife. He grasped it just as the sedative took effect. His fingers slipped away. “I’ve got an axe,” he tried to say, but his words were slurred and garbled.

“Shhhhhh.”

Rich slumped in his seat. The driver pulled the syringe from Rich’s thigh and restarted the car. Cranking up the radio, he drove for a while before turning onto a gravel road that veered off into the woods.

Madison McSweeney

Madison McSweeney is a Canadian horror writer and poet. Her works have appeared in a number of outlets, most recently Bikers VS The Undead, Under the Full Moon’s Light, Zombie Punks F*ck Off, Horror Tree, and Rhythm & Bones. She blogs at madisonmcsweeney.com and tweets from @MMcSw13.

Be Careful What You Wish For

The policeman looked up to see an agitated woman standing at the reception.

“Yes?”

“It was that stupid man’s fault!”

“Pardon?”

“Meldrum, the writer.”

The policeman knew who she meant.  A local celebrity, churning out dark fiction.

“Well, I know him.  As a joke, he put me into one of his silly stories.  My character killed her husband.”

“And?”

“Meldrum kept teasing me about killing my own husband.  Constantly asking if I’d done it yet.  He wouldn’t stop.  He just kept on and on.”

“And?”

“Well, I did the only thing possible.”

“What was that?”

“Naturally, I killed him instead!”

RJ Meldrum

J. Meldrum is an author and academic.  Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010.  He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Smoking Pen Press and James Ward Kirk Fiction.  He is an Affiliate Member of the Horror Writers Association.

Website: http://wolfstarpublishing.com/meldrum/

Business As Usual

A bleary-eyed man in a stained lab coat handed his proposal (in triplicate) to the bureaucrat in charge of government subsidies for time travel.

 

“For an effective vaccine, we urgently need samples of a non-mutated strain of the virus that’s plaguing the world. My remote-viewing team located a pocket of potential donors two centuries ago in an isolated Alpine village.”

 

“You’re too late,” the clerk said, suppressing a yawn.

 

“Not if we leave immediately! We can still save mankind.”

 

“Sorry. We’re over budget. The last available grant went to a classical musician who wants to study the harpsichord with Beethoven.”

John H. Dromey

John H. Dromey has had short fiction published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Stupefying Stories Showcase, Unfit Magazine, and elsewhere, as well as in a number of anthologies including Chilling Horror Short Stories (Flame Tree Publishing, 2015) and Timeshift: Tales of Time(Shacklebound Books, 2018).

Needles

Entranced by new age music and sandalwood incense, I close my eyes letting the acupuncturist do her magic.

I need serenity. Soon, I will tell Jeremy. He deserves to know. Hell, I was the best man at his wedding.

But it happened. Joanna and I fell for each other. We couldn’t help ourselves, the attraction too great.

My hands and feet hurt, probably guilt throwing off my chakras. Opening my eyes, Jeremy leers down at me.

I jump up, except I don’t, my hands and feet pinned to the table.

Jeremy points a steel needle at my eye, “Hello, betrayer.”

S.E. Casey

Not long after celebrating his twenty years of accounting service in a Boston investment firm, S.E. Casey began to write. As an attempt to quell an unspecific desperation and stave off a growing resentment of everything, he found stories buried in the unlikely between-spaces of numbers, balances, and accounting formulae. This expanding existential collection has been published in many magazines and online publications, which can be found at www.secaseyauthor.wordpress.com.

Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/s.e.casey

 

A Lucky Man Indeed

Eighteen decades into its journey, the freighter Erebus turns lazily against the blackness.

Stacked in her hold: half a million earth men and women. Their stasis pods are stacked like poker chips, each rigged with failsafes and self-repairing circuitry. There is a better chance of a lottery win than a stasis pod fail.

Pod #20456 houses a lucky man indeed, as a minor glitch causes him to wake.

No room to move – scarcely room to scream.

His eyes flicker left and right, and he sees the company he will keep for eternity…

…and decides he has room enough, after all.

Douglas Prince

Douglas Prince is a 28-year-old writer of horror and other dark fiction.

Born in Melrose, Scotland, he moved to the Wirral peninsula in his late

teens, and has lived there ever since. A lifelong fan of horror, he began

writing his own macabre tales in April 2018. He currently lives in

Birkenhead and hopes, one day, to be able to write for a living.

URL: https://theprinceofdarkness.com/

December Is Here, Time To Write!

December – the month of joy, happiness and to finish what you started.

Anonymous

I’m not sure how accurate the above quote is but I do like the idea of finishing things. I’ve had a ton of outstanding additions to the site which I’ve been wanting to do as well as ideas I’ve wanted to write and plan on doing as much as possible in the upcoming month and hope you do as well! I’d love to hear your #AmWriting achievements in the month to follow so; please do share any progress with @HorrorTree!

On a side note, I would like to give an extremely warm welcome to our *4* new Patreons this month! As our community grows it provides more opportunity to everyone who follows Horror Tree, and we’re thrilled to have you on board!

Also, if you’ve had a chance to pick up a copy of ‘Trembling With Fear: Volume 1‘ we’d love it if you could leave a review! It’d be awesome if we can hit 10 by the end of the year!

What Is New At The Horror Tree?!

We had a chance to try out two new types of posts this month and I’d love to hear what you think about them! The first of which was our first “Unholy Trinity” which is a set of 3 stand-alone drabbles that also work together to tell a larger story! The second of which was the first installment of “The Tools We Use” which will be a feature that goes into the various applications the site and writers use for various tasks. If you have any thoughts on either of them, please let us know!
Articles: Suggestions To Fit Writing Into A Busy Schedule, Brain Babies: Writing Through The Pain, The Tools We Use: Stencil, Story Worms: You are More Than your Wordcount, Creative Ways To Brainstorm New Ideas
Book Reviews: The Way of All Flesh
Video Refresh: The Planning Issue, Liz Butcher Interview, The Crossroads, Derek Brown Interview, The Overwhelming Effect
Interviews: Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Carmelo Chimera Of Chimera’s Comics, Andy Lockwood, K.R. Rowe., Eric S. Brown, Marc Vun Kannon
Blog Tour Stop: ‘Arithmophobia’ Blog Tour – The Terror Tree

What Is About To Grow At The Horror Tree?

So last month I mentioned that I was working on a chatbot for the site. Unfortunately, it is still in development Hell. With surviving the Day Of The Turkey as well as The Blackest Of Fridays and everything else going on in Fall – It has been delayed.

That being said, I’m hoping to still launch it in the upcoming month.

Also on the agenda? Officially opening the Horror Tree store! Those who follow us on Facebook have seen samples of some of the products which will be available, and we’re just a couple of designs (and a bit of site layout) away from making them into a reality!

I’d also like to start exploring having an official logo for ‘Trembling With Fear’ designed (both the full logo and a shorthand of TWF), but I’m not expecting to have that happen in the coming month. Anything is possible though!

Looking to contribute to The Horror Tree?

We’re always on the lookout for more help at The Horror Tree! Patreon is always a great way to become involved!

We also always have a STRONG need for book reviewers!

A couple new ideas as of late would be for people able to help with our YouTube video creation, possibly a podcast, meme creation, and as always more article writers!

However, if you’re looking to add your personal touch to things there are other options!
From ongoing contributors to web developers that would be interested in working with us on online applications for authors, to guest blogs, to someone willing to track open markets, to being a stop on your blog tour, and so on. If you are interested please drop us a line through our contact page today!

Wondering What Fiction We Could Use?

Our Trembling With Fear submissions have been going strong (keep them coming!) However, we’re also looking for some specific types of fiction coming up:

  • The Unholy Trinity – We’re looking to have 3 stand-alone drabbles that link together either in theme, character or to expand upon one another. They need to work alone but there has to be some connective tissue!
  • Serial Killers – On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’re hoping to print a few more serials. Stories which can easily be broken up into 4-10 installments of 1,000-1,5000 words or so in length (we’ll go longer or shorter a bit as long as it works!) We’re not looking for a story to just be cut up though, these have to work as mini-chapters for the overall tale being told.
  • Finally, in January we’ve got a call for authors in the LGBT+ community or stories that would fit in that area!

Have anything you’d like to see us add in the future?

We’re here for you so if you believe there is a service, column, or anything else we could list that you’d want to see please reach out via our contact page!

A Brief Social Update!

Once again, we’re trying to share how the Horror Tree is growing socially. I need to keep a focus on this as it is hard to find ways to grow our social media and keeping track shows how many authors and readers we’re able to reach!

  • Horror Tree’s Twitter – We’ve gone up 10 followers and are now sitting at 6766
  • Horror Tree’s Facebook –Has jumped from 1844 to 1866 likes! If you know anyone who would love the site please ask them to give us a like on here as we’d love to break the 2k barrier!
  • Horror Tree’s Instagram – I have no idea what happened here but after our Stan Lee quotes got quite a few shares we skyrocketed up to 5360 followers. THANK YOU for checking us out!
  • Horror Tree’s Pinterest – I almost removed this from the list this week but our follow count went up by 3 to a whopping 15! Even though there isn’t much in the way of follows here, we do get quite a bit of views thanks to hashtags and the platform randomly sharing our posts to people. So that’s something!
  • Horror Tree’s YouTube subscribers have changed from 35 to 37! We’re still trying to put an effort into growing this one for when we move past just doing our previous article listings and would love a few subscribes out there!

As always, I hope we’re helping you out and we’d love to see your comments with any suggestions or thoughts on what we’re doing! Thanks for being a reader!

 

Also, if you’re in need of a bit of a break, don’t forget to play The Horror Tree Game!

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Dan Weatherer

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Dan. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Dan – I’m from Staffordshire, which is a small county in the centre of England. It’s famous for Alton Towers, Arnold Bennett and a local dish known as an Oatcake.

I started writing full time five years ago after being made redundant from my office based job. I became a full-time dad to my daughter (then aged three) and decided to try creative writing in what little downtime I had.

My first short story was based on a local myth that had always captured my interest. ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’ was picked up for publication by Scath Beorh (Haunted Magazine), and it all kind of snowballed from there!

 

Stacey – You’re not only an author but a playwright and screenwriter, as well. Which is quite impressive. What inspired you to make the leap from books to screen?

 

Dan – The first film happened completely by chance and only came to fruition because of the dedication of the individuals involved in the project. Again, this project was based on my first story, ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’.

I heard that a film producer had previously attempted to make a film based on the legend, and, filled with the new found confidence a first publication instills, I approached him and pitched my story.

I wrote a screenplay that incorporated aspects of my original short story, but took place in the present.

A lot of people worked hard for free on the film, and we were fortunate to win several awards. The film has since played at festivals worldwide, and I recently sold distribution rights to the Found Footage Critic channel.

I have written several other screenplays, and have seen a stage play of mine adapted to film. ‘Beige’ can be viewed on the British Comedy Guide Website. (Don’t let the comedy aspect fool you – the film is suitably twisted!)

I recently penned a book detailing my experiences as a novice playwright. The Dead Stage, is out now courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing and contains a wealth of advice for aspiring playwrights.

 

Stacey – You’ve also collected quite a few awards according to your website. I couldn’t help but see the Bram Stoker award amongst them. What was it like to be honoured in such a way?

 

Dan – We did win a Bram Stoker for ‘Legend of the Chained Oak’, but it is not the HWA Bram Stoker Award. (I’m still working hard towards that achievement!)

The award we won was presented by the now-defunct Bram Stoker International Film Festival, which took place in Whitby (Dracula fans will understand why) every autumn.

We received the Best short award. The trophy is truly unique, and sits on my desk, reminding me of a time when the words flowed!

 

Stacey – Which author or playwright living or dead inspires you?

 

Dan – When I first started to write, Poe, Barker and Lovecraft were a source of great inspiration to me.

As I began to develop my voice, I looked at the work and influence of Arnold Bennett, who is the area’s most prominent author. Bennett inspires me to create opportunities for others; the area I am from is regarded as one of the poorest areas in the country, where literacy rates are low, and unemployment is high.

I work extensively in the local community to promote the art of creative writing and helped initiate both the Arnold Bennett Literary prize and A Poet Laureate for Stoke on Trent.

 

Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?

 

Dan – Absolutely. I imagine most writers do. My stories contain elements of my life, good times and bad, as well as the hopes and dreams I harbor for my children.

 

Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?

 

Dan – I don’t write daily. I don’t believe writing should be forced. I wait until I “feel” there is a story to be written. It can take a while…it seems to take longer these days, but I’m in no rush. I’m thirty-nine and believe I have many more tales to tell.

 

Stacey – Where do you write? Indoors? Outdoors?

 

Dan – I write from my bedroom. I have a desk with a PC, several notebooks, various bits of stationary and whatever the children have left for me to puzzle over that day.

At one time I had a dedicated office, with a shelf full of oddities I have collected over the years (a memento mori brooch, an electro-shock treatment machine, an infant vampire model etc.), but with an expanding family, space was at a premium and my daughter moved into the room.

 

Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?

 

Dan – I have to write in silence. I cannot concentrate if there is any noise. I can’t even edit to music! I don’t notice however as when I work I become totally engrossed to the point of it mentally exhausting me!

 

Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?

 

Dan – Ignore what everybody else is doing and write your way. Once finished, leave it to settle a while – you’ll know when to come back for the rewrite because you won’t be able to think about anything else.

Also, don’t strive for perfection, because it is an unreachable goal. Work towards producing a piece of writing you feel is a decent representation of your efforts.

 

Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?

 

Dan – I hate to admit, but I’m really bad for this. I find it hard to keep my attention on anything for long. I think this is why I write in short, sharp bursts.

I find collections much easier to finish than novels. I hate to admit it, but I STILL haven’t finished Stephen King’s IT.

 

Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?

 

Dan – The Thing, this past Halloween. I saw it as a child and it terrified me. It still stands up today (as does any decent horror film). The film absolutely nails the atmosphere of distrust. Also, it is still suitably gross.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Dan – I fear something bad happening to my children more than any threat that may come my way. I think any parent does.

 

Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?

 

Dan – No, in the sense that if you have nothing to write about, you just need time to go and do other things. Ideas come and go. I find that an idea needs time to settle internally before I will begin the process of writing it. Those times between ideas? Some might call it writers’ block, but I prefer to look at it as your mind having a cooling off period.

 

Stacey – What are 5 things you cannot live without?

 

Dan – My family, my imagination-Fuel (I don’t drink coffee) painkillers (I suffer awful migraines) and laughter.

 

Stacey – Out of your own works, which is your favourite and why?

 

Dan – Surely the most difficult question of all! I have to say it is always my most recent work because I like to believe I improve with each release. That may not be the case, but a positive outlook is a must if you want to succeed as a writer.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

Dan – I recently finished a story that I wrote for my children. ‘The Necessary Evils’ is a story about two kids who find the entrance to Hell at the bottom of their grandmother’s garden. (The story is a horror of sorts, although nothing bad happens to or is witnessed by the children.) The piece is a comment on the evaporation of innocence, and it is currently with my agent.

My debut novel, The Tainted Isle: English Gothic, is released next Spring courtesy of PS Publishing. The book follows the cases of the UK’s first paranormal investigator, Solomon Whyte, and is based on many, lesser known UK legends.

I’ve also a further novel and novella that I am hoping to place soon!

 

Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?

 

Dan – Please enjoy this recent short that appeared in my regional newspaper’s Halloween edition!

 

Pigman

 

In the heart of England, lies a forest spanning several hundred square kilometres. Hidden among the birch and bracken of Cannock Chase, are (among other, older things) a disused World War Two airfield, an abandoned 17th century village (complete with cottages, chapel, and a set of wooden stocks), and an unusually shaped rock formation known locally as the Moss-Firth Tower, which can be seen from several miles away.

 

There is no doubting the area’s natural beauty, though few locally venture into the woodlands by day, and all do their utmost to avoid the area entirely by night.

 

A legend attached to the Chase, tells the tale of a young girl, whom, pregnant and afraid, was driven from her home amidst accusations of witchcraft. With nowhere else to go, she gave birth in a secluded glade, far enough from the village so that the painful cries of childbirth would be swallowed by the forest.

 

The baby, cursed with Witch’s blood, was born hideously disfigured. Knowing the community would look upon her son as an omen of ill luck, the girl chose to abandon the child beneath the shadow of Moss-Firth Tower. Praying that the woodland spirits who dwelled there would accept her gift to them, she returned to the village to repent of her evil ways.

 

The following winter, the girl succumbed to a fever, taking the secret of her son’s fate to her grave.

 

It was around this time that stories of a fearsome creature began to spread throughout the village. Massive in size and with hideous, pig-like facial features, the beast had been seen skulking in the tree line, watching the children play.

 

Over the following months, several livestock were taken in the dead of night; their grisly remains found strewn across the ground.

 

There followed an unseasonably harsh winter, and amidst stories of children disappearing into the woodland never to return, the village was abandoned.

 

Centuries passed, and untouched by man, the forest grew dense and the secrets of the village and its surrounding area were buried beneath impenetrable brushwood. It remained unexplored until recently, when a group of scouts visited on retreat, with the intention of camping through the night. Of the fourteen boys that entered the forest, only one was to leave.

 

The surviving boy claimed that, after a day spent wading through streams, climbing trees, and making leaf rubbings, the group, in good spirits, pitched camp near to Moss-Firth Tower. As they settled around the campfire, enjoying their toasted marshmallows and a shared ghost story or two, talk turned to legends of the Chase. Arkela, having been born nearby, began to recount the tale of Pigman, known to all locally as a foul beast, born of the devil’s bride, abandoned and left to forage in the woodlands, several centuries ago.

 

Arkela stated that many believed Pigman to be responsible for numerous disappearances throughout the Chase’s history (disappearances that scarcely made the headlines, but were well documented in regional folklore) and that attempts to capture the creature had proven futile. He added that Pigman could be summoned by the recital of a rhyme popular in local playgrounds. So long as you were located somewhere within the confines of the Chase, and were sat near to an open fire, saying the rhyme aloud would coax Pigman from hiding.

 

As boys will be boys, they dared Arkela to recite the rhyme aloud:

 

“Pigman, you’ve no family,

 

None love you, that I can see,

 

Pigman, such a tragedy,

 

Won’t you come and play with me?”

 

According to the boy, there was a long silence, where only the crackle and spit of the fire could be heard.  The boys looked at one another, nervously waiting for someone to speak, fearing something dreadful might happen if they did not.

 

It was then that a pitched squeal erupted from behind them, and from the shadows came a lumbering shape, its flesh slick with sweat, its pinprick eyes reflecting fury and fire, its snout-like nose, twitching, and its yellowed tusks dripping with saliva.

It squealed a second time, flinging an upturned tree stump in the air as it did so, flinging lumps of damp soil this way and that.

 

The Scouts fled, scuttling off in all directions, but the boy, transfixed by terror, remained. The creature ignored him, its attention focused firmly on the fleeing scouts. To its left, one of the smaller scouts had fallen, his ankle caught among a tangle of shrubs. The creature lumbered towards him, and, with a sickening pop, brought a gargantuan fist crashing down onto his head.

 

It was at this point that the surviving member of the scouts passed out. When he came too, the camp was completely ransacked. Torn tents and a mix of personal belongings littered the clearing. Among them was a small, blue teddy bear, its seams split down one side, the exposed stuffing matted with blood.

 

It is said that Pigman’s squeals can still be heard echoing through the forest, should you pass their outer limits after sundown. Ask locally after the creature and many will laugh in your face, and call you a fool. Ask them to join with you on a walk through the forest, however, and they will quickly fall silent.

 

If you are to take away anything from this tale, heed this warning: if you feel eyes upon you while braving the woodland of Cannock Chase, if you hear a shrill squeal and a rustle of bushes, then, by all means, do be afraid. Tremble, cry, even close your eyes; but do not run, for those that do seldom survive the Pigman of The Chase.

 

 

Thank you so much for your time Dan! If you would like to find out more about Dan and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.

 

www.fatherdarkness.com

 

Ongoing Submissions: Funny Times

Payment: $60
Note: As the name suggests, this is a humor magazine so be sure to read the guidelines. Speculative fiction “can” be humrous so I felt I would throw this one out there for anyone who has a sense of humor out there. I’m not funny so can’t submit to this one.

So they tell you you’re funny, huh? Great! That’s exactly what we’re looking for!

Here are a few things you should know to submit your funny cartoons and stories to Funny Times:

Our print publication pokes fun at politics, news, relationships, food, technology, pets, work, death, environmental issues, business, religion (yes, even religion) and the human condition in general. Not much is off limits, so do your best to make us laugh. Plus we’re advertising free, so whatever we like, we use.

Cartoons should be hard-copy printouts of high-res images (please don’t send your originals … we’re awfully clumsy with our coffee). We accept both single and multi-panel formats, color and black & white, though reproduction is nearly always in black and white.

Stories — the funniest you have ever written — should be about 500-700 words. Don’t send us things that aren’t funny. We won’t publish them.

There is a lead-time of several months because of our editorial calendar, meaning, i.e., December holiday material should be mailed for consideration in September. Please include a SASE for return of your material and/or our response. We do not accept electronic submissions of any type, nor can we reply to you in any way other than your SASE. We’re old school and unapologetic about it. We buy one-time reproduction rights and do not require exclusives; your work is ultimately yours to keep. We pay upon publication, not acceptance, and the rates are $25-$40 per cartoon based on reproduction size and $60 each for story. You’ll even get a complimentary subscription to Funny Times and some serious bragging rights.

Submissions should be mailed to:

The Funny Times
C/O The Editors
P.O. BOX 18530
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Our website is not a complete reflection of the type of material included in our magazine. Might we suggest you send an 8.5″x11″ SASE with proper return postage (about $1.61 these days) for a sample copy?

Bonus Hints: Don’t overwhelm the editors. Send your top 5-10 cartoons or 3-5 stories. Tell us where you’ve been published before and let us know who else thinks you’re funny (this will not necessarily be held against you). Don’t take rejection too hard; it could be that the third time is the charm and we just didn’t “get” you before then.

Via: Funny Times.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This