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Taking Submissions: Eat The Rich

Deadline: April 30, 2024. Submissions will be kept open for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, chronically-ill/disabled, and writers from other historically marginalized groups until May 15, 2024.
Payment: $.05 per word and a contributor’s copy
Theme: Speculative fiction about billionaires being eaten

Submissions will be open from April 1 – April 30, 2024. Submissions will be kept open for BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, chronically-ill/disabled, and writers from other historically marginalized groups until May 15, 2024.

The Rules


Taking Submissions: Impressions Volume 1

Submission Windows: March 15th to March 31st and April 8th to April 30th
Payment: 8 cents per word
Theme: Dark speculative fiction that transports the reader somewhere interesting, see below for details. Themes that will fit well are death, loss, love, grief, trauma, self-exploration, discovery, and hope.

  • EARLY WINDOW — March 15 at 12:01 am EST to March 31 at 11:59 pm EST

  • GENERAL WINDOW — April 8 at 12:01 am EST to April 30 at 11:59 pm EST

  • REVIEW WINDOW — May 1 to May 26

  • OFFERS FINALIZED — May 28 to May 30 (tentative)

  • WORD COUNT — 2000 to 5000 (hard limit)

  • PAY — 8 cents per word



  • REPRINTS — Yes, but with some caveats (see TOC GOALS below for more info)



“I knew they’d speak to you,” the Curator says, anticipation in his tone. But his voice seems far away now, carried off on a hollow wind, and you swear you can hear the rhythmic ticking of a pocket watch, beating like the cadence of a gallows drum.

“I call these works IMPRESSIONS,” says your host, leaning in, quieter still. “They give you a glimpse into another life, a scene playing out in some other realm. And a mind as alive as yours, well… it just fills in the rest…”

Fills in the rest? You think. What does that mean?

But the question barely registers now, your thoughts little more than dreams fleeing the sunrise. The image—the impression—has its hold on you…

EMBERLETTER PRESS, in association with HAMLET PRODUCTIONS and STUDIOCOR3, presents IMPRESSIONS VOLUME 1, a new multimedia anthology series from the mind of author and filmmaker Geoff Emberlyn. Life and death, denail and loss, sadness and the surreal are all captured here in 22 tales of imaginative horror, dark fantasyscience fiction, the macabre, the cosmic, and the weird.



Epeolatry Book Review: The Collector by Laura Kat Young


Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: The Collector
Author: Laura Kat Young
Genre: Dystopian Horror
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: 12th September, 2023

Synopsis: A frightening dystopian horror novel where grief is forbidden and purged from the mind – a nightmarish mix of 1984 and Never Let Me Go

Sorrow is inefficient. It’s also inescapable.

Lieutenant Dev Singh dutifully spends his days recording the memories of people who, struck with incurable depression, will soon have their minds erased in order to be more productive members of society. After all, the Bureau knows what’s best for you.

At night though, hidden in the dark, Dev remembers and writes in his secret journal the special moments shared with him – the small laugh of a toddler, the stillness of a late afternoon. The first flutter of love. But when the Bureau finds out he’s been recounting the memories – and that the depression is in him, too – he’s sent to a sanatorium to heal.

A nightmarish descent from sadness to madness, THE COLLECTOR is a dystopian horror novel where grief is forbidden and purged from the mind.


Trembling With Fear 3-31-24

Greetings, children of the dark. A quick word first up: the next short story submission window opens tomorrow, 1 April. No, this is not an April Fool’s Joke. Send in your darkly speculative fiction that’s less than 1500 words. Yes, the word count matters. No, we won’t consider it anyway if it’s a bit longer or if it doesn’t meet any of our other submissions guidelines, which you’ll find here. Make sure you use the form to submit, and that you choose TWF from the drop-down menu, and then indicate it’s a short story and upload in a .doc or .docx please, otherwise we might not see it or be able to review it. The window closes in TWO WEEKS. 


After last week’s missive about neurodiversity, it’s somewhat ironic that I’ve just taken part in a panel about creating more authentic and affecting depictions of mental illness in horror. Ironic, but wonderful: this is my passion topic. And this one was actually my first ever involvement in StokerCon! Big thanks to the wonderful Lee Murray for inviting me, and to my fellow panellists Angela Yuriko Smith, LE Daniels, and John Palisano for their honesty and insights. (Yes, I’m pinching myself that I was among them as well.) It’ll be part of the online programming for StokerCon, 30 May to 2 June; details here

I say it’s a passion topic of mine for a good reason: it’s both personal and professional. I’ve been very honest, both here and elsewhere, about my own mental health challenges and how working with dark speculative fiction can be like therapy of sorts. That’s the personal side. The professional side? Well, you’re reading it. In this role (a volunteer one, btw), I read a helluva lot of dark stories, good and bad and in between. And far too regularly, I’ll read a submission that uses mental health as a lazy trope. Listen up, writers: that sort of thing will never make it through the TWF filters. The schizophrenic serial killer, the obsessive stalker, the “nut house” (yes, we’ve had subs using that terminology) as a setting for gore and violence, using mental health as a punchline, these are lazy tropes. There is so much more you can do to explore mental health within dark fiction. 

We were asked for examples of stories that do it well, so I thought I’d share my recommendations here to show you what I mean. First up, Scott J Moses’s novella Our Own Unique Affliction uses the immortality of vampires to dig deep into ennui, existential crises, suicidal thoughts, grief, trauma, and more. It was one of my favourite reads last year. Also on grief, trauma and identity, try Cassandra Khaw’s The Salt Grows Heavy or Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless, two very different works but both searing. The obvious one for me when it comes to mental illness in dark fiction is Catriona Ward’s Last House on Needless Street—I can’t say any more because that would be spoilerific, but it’s so well-researched, well-informed, and well-executed in its representations. And on the short story side, head towards Sarah Jackson’s stories exploring trauma through hauntings. I took Sarah’s workshop on the topic at the UK Ghost Story Festival and it was so darn good…

Anyways, off my high horse and onto this week’s TWF menu. Our tasty main course comes from Joseph E. Arechavala, who’s having trouble sleeping. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • SG Perahim’s adventures in babysitting, 
  • Lionel Ray Green’s vengeful scarecrow, and 
  • Christina Nordlander’s floral bursts.

To finish, my usual couple of plugs. For the last time: Writing the Occult: The Fae is coming up in MERE DAYS, with a whole globe full of amazing speakers. Never fear if you can’t make the whole day—it IS long—because we’ll record it all, but only for ticket holders. Tickets are £40+bf, which gets you entry to the whole darn day as well as a recording you can come back to in your own time for all time. Tickets here

Also: I’ve roped Stuart into being on a panel at the next British Fantasy Society online event day. The whole day is about “the book journey”—all those things besides the writing!—and I’ll be moderating the panel on marketing with the boss man, Jenn Hanson-dePaula from Mixtus Media, and indie writers and promo machines Beverley Lee and Nicole Eigener (aka Nicoverley). It’s free for BFS members, and just £5 (about US$6.50) for everyone else, plus it will also be recorded if you can’t make any/all of it live. Details are over here.

Finally, last week I spoke a lot about neurodiversity in the SFFH community. After making/politely inviting members of the BFS community to share their own stories, I figured I should probably share my own. So for those interested, here you’ll find my reflection on being an “unpublished author” trying to Do The Thing while trying to understand how they actually tick. “Just make time for it” doesn’t work for some people!

Over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We have a new site sponsor for the month, so if you’re looking to pick up a new book, I highly suggest The Dark Man, by Referral and Less Pleasant Tales by Chuck McKenzie!

Shadowed Realms is INCHING towards completion! We have a final ebook proof copy and the text for the physical copy that we’re currently reading through. Once everything looks good, we just need to finalize the covers for the print copies and we’re in business! 

I’ve got some light, neat publishing news to share for my own work as well! I have two drabbles coming out in ‘Programmed Hearts: Stories of Robots and AI‘ and three drabbles coming out in ‘Wyrms 2‘. Fun fact on the second one, two of the three have characters who are parts of other WIPs and that you may read more about down the line! 

And now the regular announcements:
  • Don’t forget – Trembling With Fear Volume 6 is out in the world, and if you’ve picked up a copy, we’d love a review! Next year, we may be looking to expand past just the Amazon platform. If we do that, what stores would you like to purchase your books from?
  • ATTENTION YOUTUBE WATCHERS: We’ve had some great responses so far but are open to more ideas – What type of content would you like to see us feature? Please reach out to [email protected]! We’ll be really working on expanding the channel late this year and early into next.
  • For those who are looking to connect with Horror Tree on places that aren’t Twitter, we’re also in BlueSky and Threads. *I* am also now on BlueSky and Threads.
  • If you’d like to extend your support to the site, we’d be thrilled to welcome your contributions through Ko-Fi or Patreon. Your generosity keeps us fueled and fired up to bring you the very best.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree


Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Ten

  1. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part One
  2. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Two
  3. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Three
  4. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Four
  5. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Five
  6. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Six
  7. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Seven
  8. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Eight
  9. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Nine
  10. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Ten
  11. Serial Saturday: The Cavern’s Memory by Jacob Calloway, Part Eleven – Finale



Part Ten: The Horror Beneath The Veil


Both men tumbled into the void, sliding and rolling through the slimy tunnel of what felt like long, fibrous grass or moss of some kind. Jeffrey could see nothing when he landed at the bottom, pitch black surrounding them both. The floor was rocky but covered with a thick layer of the biomass. As he grasped at the walls for support, he noticed they too were blanketed. 

Jeffrey heard Alan stirring in the darkness near him and hurried over to find him. Feeling around for the gun, he found Alan’s flashlight instead. After clicking it on, he could see they were in a tunnel just tall enough for him to stand, with floor, walls, and ceiling coated in green and orange biomass. The passage extended beyond where they landed, winding deeper into the earth. The glint of the light on the gun barrel showed Jeffrey where to dig it out of the stringy mess on the floor. Alan had fully awoken and stared at Jeffrey with contempt. 

“What the fuck did you just do, kid?” 

“Doesn’t matter now, does it,” Jeffrey replied. “This is what you wanted, right?” 

“You smug piece of shit,” Alan growled, climbing to his feet but keeping his distance. 

“I guess we both-”

Jeffrey was cut off by a deep rumble that shook the rock around them, disturbing the biomass and stirring up that familiar, potent scent. The dizzying wave of toxins blurred his vision, and both men reached for the walls as their knees buckled. When he had recovered his balance, Jeffrey shook his head and cleared his vision to see that Alan was also rubbing his eyes. Keeping the gun aimed at Alan, Jeffrey shined the light down the passage and peered as far into the lengthy void as he could. 

A shriek suddenly echoed through the cave, as though coming from deeper within. Both men froze at the bloodcurdling cries emanating toward them. The shrill screams lasted only a few moments, and then ceased. Jeffrey took a step deeper into the tunnel, straining to peer through the darkness. 

“We’ve gotta help!” he suddenly exclaimed, surprising even himself. 

“W-what the hell are you talking about?” Alan grimaced with confusion. 

“Somebody’s down there, we have to help,” Jeffrey replied with an almost matter-of-fact attitude.

“Kid, there’s nobody there! It’s not real, it’s just trying to draw you in,” Alan explained.

“No, there’s somebody there, she needs our help,” Jeffrey’s eyes had dilated, and his voice was quivering with adrenaline. 

“Look, its fucking with you!” Alan became more agitated. “That’s not real, it’s just a-”

Alan was interrupted by another scream echoing from the darkness. This time, the shrieking sounded like a garbled cry for “help.” Jeffrey’s eyes quickly darted between Alan and the darkness. Waving the gun, Jeffrey motioned for Alan to proceed down the passageway. 

“You’re making a mistake, it’s not real,” Alan persisted as he slowly complied with Jeffrey’s zealous gestures. 

The two men started down the passageway, Jeffrey holding the light above his shoulder and keeping the gun aimed at Alan’s back. The tunnel wound back and forth, gradually descending farther into the earth. As they walked, the crying became louder and more clearly resembled words- those of a woman calling for help. The thick darkness seemed to oppress even the flashlight’s beam of brightness, and the cold, damp air filled their nostrils with that musty, increasingly fetid scent. 

Worming and winding, the cavern was filled with the shrieks, yet remained muffled by the mossy growth on that cold, ancient rock; but the wailing was no longer singular. Jeffrey now could make out what sounded like the whine of an infant. He prodded Alan along the passage even faster now, feverishly pursuing the haunting cries without ceasing. The tunnel felt as if it began to squeeze the men as they rushed along, constricting them in an ever-tightening embrace until, to Jeffrey’s surprise, the passage abruptly opened into large space. 

Waving the flashlight around, he could see that the room was tall, the ceiling looming at least twenty feet above, and the walls on either side made the space double that amount in width. The wall opposite the two newcomers was far enough away that it remained shrouded in darkness beyond the flashlight’s reach. Shrieks and cries filled the cavern, creating a horrific chamber of frightful and chaotic noise. 

“We shouldn’t be here, kid,” Alan warned with a grimace. 

“W-where is the-” Jeffrey stammered as he looked around for the source of the blood-curdling howls. 

It was when he took a step farther into the space that a new sound emanated from the darkness ahead and froze him in his tracks. The sound was no shriek or cry, but the movement of some lumbering behemoth hefting its weight around. Jeffrey strained to see into the blackness, forcing his feet to inch forward across the squelching cave floor. As if the dark void in front of him began to move, he could barely make out the silhouettes of massive, shifting parts. The beam of light slowly began to illuminate the entity festering in the shadowed depths of that eon-old chamber. Moving in all directions, expanding and contracting as part of it lurched between the walls of that opening in the rock, Jeffrey tried to fathom what oozed into the space before his very eyes. Nausea welled up from the pit of his stomach as he beheld that revolting, putrid abomination. His broken stream of thoughts flashed between bewilderment and his inner voice declaring that only the most debased and twisted of designers could have fabricated such a thing. 

Uncountable tendrils quivered and reached out from the various sections of whatever part of the body was visible in this section of the cavern, and gaps in the mucous-covered flesh revealed innards with functions and purposes no scientific inquiry could have explained. A heaviness accompanied all the eldritch thing’s movements as it shifted its mass around, slowly easing toward Alan and Jeffrey. The great fungal horror stirred and writhed about, filling the room with that potent, musty scent; vision blurred, and heads ached; heart beats sounded like thunder; the room seemed to peel away into expansive darkness in all directions, a bottomless pit of infinity leaving all feelings of gravity and anchorage behind. Jeffrey violently shook his head, trying to blot out the dread filling the very core of his being at the emptiness around him and the smallness of his own body.

Both men now recoiled in disgust, backing toward the mouth of chamber. Jeffrey surveyed the room with his flashlight once more, and, turning back toward the door, caught in his peripheral vision a slight movement above their escape. To their dismay, corpses in all states of decay suspended by long, fibrous tendrils were descending toward the door from the ceiling. Bodies of men and women and children hung as if on the gallows, and fungal coils served as nooses fused into the necks. As the corpses’ feet reached the floor the deteriorating bodies did not crumple or collapse, but instead stood crookedly, heads limply hanging to one side as the tendrils animated the bodies’ remaining muscular systems. Malformed shrieks and cries from decaying windpipes croaked from agape mouths. The bodies shuffled forward, arms reaching out with barely functioning hands and fingers to investigate the intrusion. 

Alan, noting Jeffrey’s preoccupation with this newfound horror, leapt and knocked the gun from his hand. The corpses immediately sensed the commotion and lurched toward the two men grappling on the ground. Jeffrey kicked Alan away and scrambled toward the exit. Alan, for his part, clambered after the gun while avoiding the grasp of a corpse nearby. Jeffrey pushed through the bodies as he launched himself back into the passageway, shutting off the flashlight just in time for Alan to turn toward him with the gun aimed through the horde. 

A shot rang out in the darkness, and Jeffrey heard a swarm of dragging feet behind him in the room as he crawled along passageway feeling the wall beside him. Then, a few more gunshots pierced the garbled cries, followed by Alan’s familiar voice shouting in terror and cursing Jeffrey with vitriol as the corpses engulfed him in the pitch black. Afraid to turn on the flashlight too early, Jeffrey continued to grope along the spongy floor as he made his way up the inclining tunnel filled for a few minutes by the echoes of Alan’s agonizing screams. 

Unholy Trinity: “Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective” By Joshua Ginsberg

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.


Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective

Got a supernatural crisis on your hands, but short of funds? More people than you could possibly imagine turn to Frank Harrow and The Four-Pointed Star Discount Occult Detective Agency to get the job done. Frank Harrow is a name you can trust. Mostly.


New Business Maybe


Frank Harrow appraised the couple through a hangover fog and five o’clock shadow that was getting on to midnight. At least they’d called ahead, giving him time to run a load of laundry.

He read the subtext of misery and desperation in their story and etched in their faces. It was all that ever brought folks to The Four-Pointed Star, Discount Occult Detective Agency.

“We just need to find our son,” the willowy blond said.

“…wherever, …whatever, he is now,” her dark-haired wife finished.

Frank didn’t want the case, didn’t like it. But he needed it.

“Give me twenty-four hours.”


Meeting at the Greenwood


It was for a favor that Frank had come to seek his former partner.

He refilled their rocks glasses, watched his old friend lift it to his blackened lips.

“Hey, remember that ghoul that couldn’t keep a low profile?”

Dylan laughed a cloud of dust. “Dumbass kept snatching bites from Hollywood Forever. Look folks, there’s Judy Garland! Oh, wait, there goes Valentino.”

The laughter faded. “Look Dylan, I got a new case, maybe. Can you run a background check for me?”

“Yeah, but you still owe me,” Dylan replied, poking a bony finger through a bullet hole in his shirt.


Case Accepted


The couple sat waiting on Frank’s decision.

“I’m different from other firms,” he began, “in that I’m a lot less money and a lot more still alive. I plan to stay that way.”

He gauged their reactions.

“Discount don’t mean free. Cash only, upfront. No credit, no souls, no exceptions. You want some other kind of help, there’s a crossroads down the way…”


From the cavernous, candle-lit cellar of a decaying mansion nearby, four hooded figures watched the deal conclude through an ancient mirror. 

“He’s taken the bait,” grinned the high priestess.

And the darkness whispered a promise of vengeance.


Joshua Ginsberg

Joshua Ginsberg is the author of Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2020), Tampa Bay Scavenger (2021), Oldest Tampa Bay (2022), and co-author of Secret Orland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2023). His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including Trembling with Fear (The Horror Tree), The Chamber Magazine, The City Key, 365 Tomorrows, and Atlas Obscura. He currently lives in Tampa with his wife, Jen, and their Shih Tzu, Tinker Bell.

Taking Submissions: Close My Eyes Forever: Crime Fiction Inspired by Heavy Metal Hits

Deadline: August 31st, 2024
Payment: $25
Theme: Crime Fiction Inspired by Heavy Metal Hits

Ozzy Osbourne. Lita Ford. Metallica. Megadeth. Kiss. So many heavy metal bands have put their stamp on the music industry. With searing guitar riffs, fierce drums and a headbanging attitude, heavy metal continues to rock out and melt faces from their origins in the 1970s through today. The intensity of that music genre lends itself perfectly to crime fiction. That’s where you come in.



Indie Bookshelf Releases 03/29/2024

Got a book to launch, an event to promote, a kickstarter or seeking extra work/support as a result of being hit economically by life in general?

Get in touch and we’ll promote you here. The post is prepared each Thursday for publication on Friday. Contact us via Horror Tree’s contact address or connect via Twitter or Facebook.

Click on the book covers for more information. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page – there’s all sorts lurking in the deep.


Before you scroll down through the books however, please could you consider checking out the ‘Creatives in Crisis’ section. This has been added to help those who need additional support at this time. Please note I keep these up as long as they’re either running or have hit their targets. The two still showing, Claire Fitzpatrick and Bill Spangler continue to need support. Thank you!