Deadline: April 30th, 2018
Payment: $50 and royalties
Do you really love classic fantasy, but also love making totally modern snarky jokes? Have you always wanted to write an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural? Do you want to write about an amazing fantasy heroine who doesn’t seem to fit into any other setting? Then this is the anthology for you!
ELF SAGA is a series about heroines from all over the world coming together to solve mysteries, slay beasts, save innocents, and deal with family drama (usually). It’s also about making fun of your situation, even as your situation is trying to eat you alive. It’s about pointing out absurdity, even as you’re forced to be friends with that absurdity. It’s about laughing at death, even as you’re dying. (But mostly laughing.)
This new anthology, ELF SAGA: BEYOND DOOMSDAY, is set around the time of the novel ELF SAGA: DOOMSDAY. Writers are invited to create their own original characters to explore new corners of this vast fantasy world. You are encouraged to read the novel (it’s free) to get a sense of the world and the tone, and then let your imagination run wild. You can set your story before, during, or after the novel (the world changes a lot during the novel, so it may matter to your story). Let’s get right into the details:
Anthology Title: “Elf Saga: Beyond Doomsday”
Submission Length: 5,000 – 10,000 words
Pay per original story accepted:  Flat fee $50, payable upon publication, plus  one (1) equal share of all profits generated in the first six (6) months after publication. The anthology will be priced at $3.99. (For example: if the anthology were to make 2,000 sales, this would result in $5,400 in revenue. Subtracting costs for artwork and initial fees would result in profits of about $4,400. Dividing between 10 stories would result in a royalty payment of about $440 per each story.)
All payments will be made via PayPal.
Submissions due: April 30, 2018
Notification of Acceptance: May 31, 2018
Projected publication date: August 1, 2018
Joseph Lewis, Producer and Managing Editor, will select the stories that will appear in this volume.
Cover Artist: Series artist Linggar Bramanty
This release will NOT be published as part of Kindle Unlimited (KU). After 90 days, authors of stories not previously published will be free to publish their stories independently.
Idea pitch: You can send me an email ([email protected]) to pitch your idea and get a little feedback up front, or you can dive right in, write your story, and let me see it for the first time when you submit. Your choice. (Choose wisely!)
Authors who are accepted agree to supply one-sentence blurbs about their story, representative photographs of their faces, and a brief author biography.
Authors who are accepted will be expected to promote the series to the best of their ability.
Prepare your submitted stories in Word (.doc or .docx are both fine), Times New Roman, Font size 12. Single spacing, only one space after a period. When you have a scene change, indicate it via a line with three asterisks, centered, with a space in between, like this: * * * Nothing else fancier!
Preface your story with the title, your name, your email address, and the word length. All of this makes your story easier to read and edit, and then quickly format for publication.
When submitting, include in your email any pertinent facts, such as: You’re a New York Times Bestselling author (which would be great, but certainly isn’t a requirement), you have a notable social media presence, a large list of newsletter subscribers, etc.
Guidelines for Acceptance: Here are some of the key things I’m looking for in your submission: strong characters, imaginative imagery, humorous dialogue, relatable relationships, some action and adventure, maybe a little social commentary, and of course, decent writing/editing. Bonus points if your story fits beautifully into the ELF SAGA world. Extra bonus points if you can make me laugh out loud.
The following is not a proper series bible, but a collection of notes that should help you get started.
This short story collection is set during the events of the novel DOOMSDAY. The following people, places, and creatures are available for you.
The World: “Vaenos” is a world very much like ours. It has several continents, dozens of nations, and diverse ecosystems. Across these lands are many elf societies and cultures loosely modeled on real peoples and places.
People: Everyone is an elf, which is short-hand for “ethnically diverse humans with pointy ears”.
The Drogori: A group of elves who bond with and ride dragons. By consuming the powdered bones of dead dragons, these elves have acquired (over generations) the ability to sense the presence of dragons, to commune telepathically with dragons, and to become immune to dragon fire. They are easily identified by the small red scales dotting their skin. Individuals with long Drogori lineages may also have horns. A longer lineage is easily seen by the greater size of the horns, and the individual has stronger connections to dragons. They can be found anywhere in the world, but recently have been hunted and pressed into service for either Tenjia or Varada for the ongoing dragon wars.
The Alcani: A group of elves who bonded with and rode unicorns. Once found all over the world, the Alcani (and unicorns) went extinct 100 years ago. At the end of DOOMSDAY, there are only two Alcani in the world.
The Feyeri: A group of elves who bonded with faeries. They can only be found in the mountains of Varada. At the end of DOOMSDAY, there is only one Feyeri in the world.
Ambermagi: A group of elves dedicated to scientific pursuits, generally centered on the electric-like power that can be stored and extracted from amber. Known for tinkering in all areas, including vehicles, weapons, tools, and more. Mostly found in Aram, but also known to wander.
Witches: Mysterious individuals, usually Drogori, who can manipulate arcane forces in many ways, including bending time, cursing victims, seeing the future, and controlling gravity.
Shamans: Unique and revered individuals who can see and speak to ghosts. Mostly found in remote northern communities. Known to help lost spirits pass over to the next world, and to battle evil spirits who refuse to leave.
Sword Saints: Unique to Shihoku, these skilled warriors can move and fight with superhuman power.
Dragons: Your standard fantasy monsters, available in all sizes and colors, with various numbers of eyes and wings and tails, with a variety of breath attacks. To most people, they are natural dangers. To certain governments, they are weapons of war. To the Drogori, they are sacred companions.
Unicorns: Fearsome black steeds with golden horns and manes, and the magic power to shield the land from dragons. At the end of DOOMSDAY, they are resurrected and returned to the world.
Faeries: Your standard little person-shaped flying creature. They drop trails of green glitter as they fly about, causing lush plants to randomly grow in their wake. Capable of more complicated healing and resurrection magic under the command of a Feyeri.
Mermaids: Also known as ningyo, these half-elf, half-fish creatures are as intelligent as they are cruel and dangerous. Known to hunt and devour elves at sea, and sometimes to transform their victims into ningyo as well.
Spirit Creatures: Ancient beings of unknown origin, they include Coyote, Raven, Inari the Kitsune, Horus the Falcon, and others. Fond of elves. Known to meddle in elven affairs, and to transform individuals into powerful warriors and sages.
Normally, I do a review of my previous year in January. This year, I didn’t do one because I was so happy the year was over. I don’t base my success soley on the dollar amount in my bank, or the number of books I’ve sold. I base it on progression.
At the closing of 2017, I was able to breathe, and suddenly my eyes focused on the incoming year and I felt a sense of relief. I had progressed. I knew in my cold, dark heart, the new year would bring with it much more for me … because I would make it happen.
I am not going to sit on my ass and wait for it to come to me. I’m putting the eggs in the basket and skipping right into the scary forest where hope and dreams either get buried and die, or grow into the monsters we nurture them to be. I’m a woman and I write horror. I’m a mother of monsters. I want to feed and play with them until they are grown and venture from the cave, into your nightmares.
Do you want to play with me?
EXCERPT BELOW FROM “EXCORIARE” – COMING SOON
The sound of her breath caught up with the tempo of her heart rate. In out, in out, in-out-in-out. Closing her eyes, Fay allowed her head to fall back into the rapturous abyss, its arms around her like a lost lover. The night was black. No moonlight due to the clouds of the incoming midnight storm. It was like falling in love. Fingers splayed, the sticky fluid ran slow and freely down her arms and she let out a slow exhale like an orgasm rising from deep in her womb, up through her lungs and finally escaping from between her lips. Staring up at the blanket of space, starless and silent, tears of ecstasy fell from the corners of her eyes. A release of all the rage finally melted away until she was quivering like a virgin on prom night. This … she whispered to the voices chattering deep in her mind, mmm, this.
There were no words to describe the feeling. So, she closed her eyes again and leaned forward against the cooling body of the man beside her. His eyes stared back at her, pupils dilated into large black dots against a backdrop of blue. She needed to touch him again, and lifted her hand to do so. Tracing his jawline, she smiled as the rough stubble from his five o’clock shadow brushed against her fingertips. His lips were soft and full, still wet from the kisses he trailed along her neck. When her thumb brushed over his mouth, it opened, and he let out a breath, jagged and shuddering. He tried to speak but it was nothing more than a croak.
“Shh,” Fay whispered, leaning in to speak the words against his mouth, “Don’t speak. Just feel.”
Sliding her hand over his chin, she pressed against it, so her tongue could easily push inside. With a low moan she trailed her hand further down his chiseled body, hard from years of dedicated military training, and finding the trail of soft hair over his naval, she continued until she found it. It was hard and stiff against her palm. Still wet from when she left it. Tightening her fingers around it’s girth, she pulled slowly, and he moaned deep into her mouth. Fay hissed in pleasure, pausing to savor the moment until she could hold back no longer. Adjusting her grip once more to ensure her hand wouldn’t slip, she gave a thrust and sent the hilt of the hunting knife straight back into the gaping wound it came from, forcing more blood to gush over her fingers.
The man’s body spasmed and his eyes widened with a sudden influx of life, pulling him back from the grasp of death. He still had a little fight left in him, after all. The excitement coursed through Fay’s body, tingling across her skin underneath the leather bodysuit, and her temperature rose most notably between her legs. She had wrapped them around one of his, the one jerking and trying to kick at her. Flexing the muscles between her thighs, she held onto him. His limbs tangled between hers; in her mind she transformed into an anaconda, gripping so hard he could feel his bones ache just before his knee popped. Before he could scream, Fay eyes stared into his and she gripped his tongue with her teeth, pulling until the muscle was stretched into a thin, rubbery band. Her date for the evening struggled with a renewed, fight or flight vigor, in an attempt to survive. Throwing her head to the side with a rough tug, the man’s tongue snapped and wiggled in her mouth, slippery with blood and intermingled spit. Fay released the hold she had on the man, shoving him onto his back as she rose to her feet like a steam from the earth. Tipping her head back once more, she let the piece of flesh slide down her throat with a thick swallow and tuned out his waning, gurgled screams.
With her arms outstretched, she let the cool night air rush over her, blowing her hair back from her bloodstained face and announced to the world, “This is who I am.”
I am, she declared to the voices and to the world, Everything you want to be, and more.
By her “Darque Design,” Lisa Vasquez creates vivid, twisted horror with the precision of a scalpel, and cuts into the reader’s psyche with “fleshed out” characters. In her most recent release, THE UNFLESHED: TALE OF THE AUTOPSIC BRIDE, the main character, Angus Wulfe, gains notoriety for being as vile and twisted as the iconic Dr. Hannibal. Lisa’s writing style has been compared to the works of Mary Shelley, Baz Luhrman, and the Grand Guignol (John Palisano, Bram Stoker-winning author of NERVES), and is being hailed as, “A writer of nightmarish vision and a new, poetic voice in today’s horror genre” (Peter Molnar, author of THE CLOCKWORK LAZARUS).
Lisa is the CEO of Stitched Smile Publications, the owner of Darque Halo Designs, the Publisher’s Liaison for the Horror Writers Association, and volunteers as a mentor to other authors.
You can read Lisa’s in the following collections: HYDROPHOBIA: CHARITY ANTHOLOGY FOR HOUSTON (victims of Hurricane Harvey), ATZ: THE GATHERING HORDE, and in Kevin J. Kennedy’s COLLECTED HORROR SHORTS (Christmas, and Easter editions).
For more information and updates on Lisa’s work, you can find her at: www.unsaintly.com.
Payment: 1 cent ($.01) per word to a maximum of $50. Poetry pays $20 flat.
Nonfiction from 2,000 to 7,500 words. Scholarly and/or critical articles pertaining to Ligotti or associated authors (see below). As for contemporary authors to add to this list, Livia Llewelyn, S.P. Miskowski, Matthew M. Bartlett, T. E. D. Klein, Gemma Files, Ramsey Campbell, Allyson Bird, Laird Barron, Nicole Cushing, Mark Samuels, and many more have produced work that we would love to see subjected to intelligent critical analysis and discussion.
Literary Horror Fiction from 750-6,000 words. Note: We are looking for original work inspired by Ligottian and/or related themes (regarding which, see the list on our main page).
Poetry at a length of no more than 50 lines, dealing with subjects and themes that fall within our area of interest.
Artwork that similarly addresses our subject matter.
The following authors and their work are of especial interest to Vastarien:
William S. Burroughs
Louis Ferdinand Celine
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Edgar Allan Poe
Peter Wessel Zapffe
LENGTH: See the specific guidelines above for length requirements for different types of submissions. Additionally, in no case will a submission over 7,500 words be considered for publication without prior approval. Words subject to inclusion in the overall word count shall include the body of the submission and any explanatory footnotes; citations shall not be included in the overall word count.
PAYMENT AND RIGHTS: We pay 1 cent ($.01) per word for nonfiction and prose fiction, to a maximum of $50. Poetry pays $20 flat. Payment for artwork is negotiable. We purchase first serial and electronic rights. Upon publication, rights revert to the author, but we retain the right to continue selling back issues of the journal and the right to archive your work online.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Submission is via Submittable only:
ACCEPTABLE FILE TYPES: DOC, DOCx, and RTF
RESPONSE TIME: We aim to respond to submissions within two weeks (though final selection can take longer). If you have waited longer than 60 days, feel free to query us at [email protected], with QUERY plus the title of your submitted work in the subject line.
INTERNATIONAL AUTHORS: Vastarien welcomes submissions from authors outside the United States.
DIVERSITY STATEMENT:Vastarien believes in promoting a range of excellent writing and artwork from authors of diverse backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations. We encourage submissions from authors and artists traditionally underrepresented in horror and pieces that reflect these varying perspectives.
VASTARIEN DOES NOT ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING:
Unsolicited reprints (defined as essays, articles, stories, or poems that have already appeared anywhere online or in any other published form)
Happy February, a time also known as Women in Horror Month, but for better or for worse, the world is learning that horror happens to women year round.
With all of the recent revelations about rampant sexual abuse in entertainment, sports, and politics, it’s hard to stomach people still not choosing to believe the victims. I’m happy to see that more and more institutions are taking their stories seriously and punishing known abusers. However, we can’t forget these abuses went on for so long because those in charge refused to take action until the reality was too powerful to ignore. By then, serious life altering damage was done. What if people took accusations of abuse seriously when they were first occurring?
I was struck by this notion during a viewing of the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. I tweeted that the moral of the story was that if a woman says there’s a monster is around, believe her. If the police listened to what Nancy had said about Freddy at the start, more people would’ve been spared a gory death.
Horror movies can be parables concerning what women say about the presence of predators. A parable is defined as a “simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.” Notable horror movies are largely about what happens to people who don’t think there’s a monster around. This may be an extreme exaggeration, but horror has always been a reflection about what scares us, and sometimes that’s a woman telling the ugly truth.
Along with A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Nancy Thompson, there are two other film heroines who’s stories illustrate this point best: Aliens’ Ellen Ripley and Hellbound: Hellraiser II’s Kirsty Cotton.
There are few heroines who are as iconic as Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley. Much has been written about the character’s narrative greatness. Everyone remembers her shoving the alien queen out the airlock, but it’s my opinion that one of her finest moments doesn’t have her fighting the xenomorph at all.
If we were facing the alien, I bet all of us would want to react with strength and a level head like Ripley. But it all likelihood, we would be cowering in fear at the xenomorph like Pvt. Hudson (RIP Bill Paxton). Or worse, we could be the obstructive bureaucrats of Weyland-Yutani.
The scene that stands out to me is when Ripley is being debriefed by Weyland-Yutani at the start of the film. Despite the continual dismissiveness of the executives during the inquest, Ripley keeps pushing back. When the chairman tries to give the final word to shut her up, Ripley demands that he listens to what she has to say, ending with a warning concerning the safety of the colony LV-426 and the alien threat, “And all this bullshit you think is so important, you can just kiss all of that goodbye!”
Sounds familiar? It should. Only once their wallets are in danger do the executives take Ripley seriously. After the sexual assaults perpetrated by Kevin Spacey became publicly known instead of being a secret, Netflix canceled his show and Ridley Scott replaced him in All the Money in the World with the less controversial Christopher Plummer. Sure, they may have had altruistic reasons for their actions. But let’s be honest, it was about money, just like Weyland-Yutani.
As for Kirsty Cotton in the second Hellraiser film, we have a young woman who is presented as being the perfect target for abusers. Traumatized by the murder of her father, she is vulnerable and alone. The big bad Dr. Channard uses this to his advantage. Dr. Channard reminds me of the men who have been named by the #metoo movement. He is a well-off white guy in a position of untouchable power, which he uses to abuse people for his own ends, in particular, women and the mentally ill. This is funny to think about when considering the Hellraiser franchise’s most famous (or infamous) character. Not that we should give Pinhead more credit than is his due, but the interdimensional sadomasochist demon shows more concern for consent and bodily autonomy than the human villains.
What about the ends of each movie? The conclusions offer varied solutions to the women and their monsters: realizing she can’t count on anyone else, Nancy steps up and bravely defeats Freddy alone. Ripley kills the alien queen and saves her surrogate daughter with the help of male allies who trust her judgement. Kirsty and fellow abuse survivor Tiffany work together to stop Julia and the Channard cenobite. All similar to real actions survivors of sexual violence can take.
Of course, this is a narrow set of examples. These films involve a white, presumably heterosexual woman. The only variance besides age I can see is class, as Ripley is a working class woman, while Kirsty and Nancy are both from middle class suburbia. How the stories would progress if they were women of color, queer, or disabled deserve their own article series.
But why should we view these horror movies as allegories? Watching them this way it gives us a chance to relook at how we react to certain events and experiences. Watching horror movies as parables isn’t just for movies made thirty years ago. Jordan Peele’s masterpiece Get Out cannot be seen without considering the world it was made in. As part of its identity as an excellent horror film, Get Out is also an indictment of white liberal “polite” racism. It will likely have another layer of meaning when people watch it again in ten or fifteen years. Same goes with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Aliens, and Hellraiser. The films weren’t made with my interpretation in mind, but the world in which we see them has changed.
Everyone takes something different away from stories. Sometimes people need to see fantastic versions of incidents they’ve experienced to heal. It’s cathartic to watch women and the vulnerable win over monsters. This goes for real life too. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina let 156 women give victim statements at the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. Instead of the final girl taking him down, it’s the final women who win in the end.
Rachel is a writer living in Salem, MA where she works on more projects than she has time for. Her writing has previously appeared in Rose Water Magazine, Ms En Scene, My American Nightmare, and Weirdbook Annual: Witches. She enjoys crocheting, reading massive amounts of books, watching documentaries, and playing video games.
The Horror Writers Association announces the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot. HWA is the premier organization for writers of horror and dark fantasy. “This year’s slate of nominees truly demonstrates the breadth and quality of the horror genre,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President and multiple Bram Stoker Award winner. “Once again, our members and awards juries have chosen outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”
The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur during the third annual StokerCon™, to be held March 1st-4th at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island. The gala presentation will happen on Saturday night, March 3rd. Tickets to the banquet and the convention are on sale to the public at http://www.stokercon2018.org . The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website.
Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman. HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. The HWA formed in 1985 with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe R. Lansdale. The HWA is home to the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® and the annual StokerCon™ horror convention.
We proudly provide the list of talented nominees who reached the final ballot below for each category.
Superior Achievement in a Novel
Golden, Christopher – Ararat (St. Martin’s Press)
King, Stephen and King, Owen – Sleeping Beauties (Scribner)
Malerman, Josh – Black Mad Wheel (Ecco)
Miskowski, S.P. – I Wish I Was Like You (JournalStone)
Tem, Steve Rasnic – Ubo (Solaris)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Cabeen, Robert Payne – Cold Cuts (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Davidson, Andy – In the Valley of the Sun (Skyhorse Publishing)
Hayward, Matt – What Do Monsters Fear? (Post Mortem Press)
Hepler, Jeremy – The Boulevard Monster (Bloodshot Books)
Thomas, Scott – Kill Creek (Ink Shares)
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
French, Gillian – The Door to January (Islandport Press)
Leveen, Tom – Hellworld (Simon Pulse)
Liggett, Kim – The Last Harvest (Tor Teen)
Lukavics, Amy – The Ravenous (Harlequin Teen)
Porter, Sarah – When I Cast Your Shadow (Tor Teen)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Carey, Mike and Arvind, Ethan David – Darkness Visible (IDW)
Duffy, Damian and Butler, Octavia E. – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Abrams ComicArts)
Ferris, Emil – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
Hickman, Jonathan – The Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)
Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 2: The Blood (Image Comics)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Edelman, Scott – Faking it Until Forever Comes (Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them) (Written Backwards)
Jones, Stephen Graham – Mapping the Interior (Tor.com)
Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (Tor.com)
Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (Tor.com)
Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Chambers, James – “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills” (Shadows Over Main Street, Volume 2) (Cutting Block Books)
Mannetti, Lisa – “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse) (13Thirty Books)
Deadline: February 28th, 2018
Payment: 6 cents per word advance up to $300 and royalties.
Edited by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore
What inspired us to create The Twisted Book of Shadows, and what can readers (and writers) expect from this anthology?
Anthologies were a vital, formative part of our development as writers — and as readers. We look back with love and wonder at the efforts of the legendary Charles L. Grant to bring the cream of the horror crop into readers’ hands. His eleven-volume SHADOWS series contained familiar names, but every installment also presented us with the unfamiliar, and often the brand-new. Other Grant anthologies — TERRORS, NIGHTMARES, MIDNIGHT, the quartet of GREYSTONE BAY books — provided the same. Charlie Grant helped move unknown writers into the horror community’s conversation.
There were other anthologies that contributed to the trend. Thomas F. Monteleone’s BORDERLANDS series. Kathryn Ptacek’s WOMEN OF DARKNESS. Stuart David Schiff’s WHISPERS series. Kirby McCauley’s legendary DARK FORCES. Skipp & Spector’s milestone BOOK OF THE DEAD. David J. Schow’s SILVER SCREAM. And on and on…
But those books were published during horror literature’s glory days. In the years since, it has grown more and more difficult to persuade publishers to invest in horror anthologies (or anthologies of any sort, really). If Golden wants to pitch an anthology to a mainstream publisher, it’s necessary to compile a list of contributors first. Which means that there’s little opportunity to bring in unknown writers.
Yet those memories remain. We have talked for years about the desire to present an anthology that is open to anyone, and which allows us to follow some personal rules (outlined below). Yes, it’s a massive time commitment, but we—and John McIlveen of Haverhill House—believe it is absolutely worth it. We want to create a market for horror stories that presents a real, professional opportunity.
Further, and of equal importance, we want to create a market that actively encourages the submission of horror stories by diverse voices. We want the best stories, no matter who wrote them. When we say we want a level playing field, that means smashing preconceptions about who writes horror.* We cannot say loudly enough that we hope to receive stories from women, from authors of color, from LGBTQ writers, from any author who identifies as belonging to a marginalized community. We want you as part of THIS community. (*White, cis-het men are obviously welcome. This is not an attack on you, or an effort to exclude you. It’s an effort to level the playing field.)
To that end, THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS …
• Will have zero spaces reserved for marquee names.
• Will use a blind submissions program (we won’t know who wrote the stories until we’ve selected them).
• Will pay professional rates—a minimum of six cents per word, with a cap on advances of $300 per story.
• Will pay royalties—a pro rata share of 50% of all royalties earned.
• Will make our best efforts to spread the word, so that marginalized communities of horror writers will be aware of the call for stories.
• Will employ a diverse Editorial Committee. In recognition of the possibility of inherent bias in our reading, the editors have engaged an astonishing team of diverse writers and editors who will read submissions alongside us and will offer their input and aid in the selection process. These authors and editors have a breadth and depth of experience that has transformed this project into THE horror anthology for the coming year.
How the hell are we going to do this?
If you’ve browsed this web site, you probably already know. We’ve launched a GoFundMe page (CLICK HERE) because we believe there are enough readers out there who will believe in this project to get it funded. We want there to be opportunities out there for horror writers to compete based solely on talent, and to be paid professional rates for their work. Yes, we’re aware six cents per word is not a lot of money, but it’s a start.
We’re also starting with our own money. Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, and John McIlveen have each committed to donate $333.34, making up the first One Thousand Dollars (and two cents) of the money needed to fund this book. The editors are not taking a penny from their efforts until royalties are earned.
What should you donate, and what do you get?
If you believe in this project, you should donate whatever amount you feel comfortable with. $5 or $50 or $500. However, donate at least $25 and you’ll get a free digital copy of THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS. Wait … why just a digital copy? Well … we’re doing this as a GoFundMe instead of a Kickstarter because we want to focus on paying the writers. No gimmicks, no fancy prizes … nothing like that. No incentives other than a great reading experience and a level playing field for authors. We believe that there are enough people out there who believe in this project that we’ll be able to meet our goal of raising $7000 in total (especially since we have already committed to put in the first thousand).
What happens to the money if we go over our goal?
If we’re fortunate enough for that to happen, it’s our hope that we’d roll the additional money into the next volume. If, for whatever reason, there is no second volume, we would disperse the money in equal shares to the authors of this first volume. The editors will not take a penny of the donation money, not even in repayment for our initial donations. A donation is a donation. The only way we’ll earn any money is from actual royalties from actual sales.
When will THE TWISTED BOOK OF SHADOWS open for submissions?
There will be a window for submissions during the entire month of February, 2018. This gives authors nearly four months from this announcement to write their stories. More information will be forthcoming about the submission process. On January 31st, we will announce the email address for submissions on The Twisted Book of Shadows Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/The-Twisted-Book-of-Shadows-834535473417854/). Stories should be 3K words and up. Payment will be capped at 5K words, but we won’t reject a story for exceeding that length. (Though stories above 10K words will be frowned upon.)
What happens if you don’t meet your goal?
We hope that won’t happen. If it does, we might need to accept fewer than our planned 18 stories. But if somehow there is no book, donations will be refunded.
Interested in submitting your work to The Twisted Book of Shadows? That’s good, because we’re interested in reading it!
Submissions Open: February 1, 2018 Submissions Close: February 28, 2018
The editors of The Twisted Book of Shadows want your very best horror story. That’s it. We’re making this call as open as we can make it. Just scare us.
We will be paying professional rates — a minimum of six cents per word, with a cap on advances of $300 per story. We will also be paying royalties — a pro rata share of 50% of all royalties earned.
Stories should be 3,000 words and up. Payment will be capped at 5,000 words, but we won’t reject a story for exceeding that length. (Though stories above 10,000 words will be frowned upon.)
All submissions must be original, previously unpublished stories (i.e. no reprints).
Don’t send us trunk stories. You’re wasting your time and ours.
Don’t send multiple submissions. We want your best. If you’ve got more than one story hanging around, chances are at least one is a trunk story. If you just happen to have recently written more than one story, only send the one you think is best.
Simultaneous submissions are fine, as long as you inform us immediately at the following email address if you’ve sold the story elsewhere.
All stories must be submitted via the following email address, attached as either an MS Word or RTF file. We prefer to receive stories that follow “standard professional formatting;” in other words, double-spaced, using 12 point Times New Roman (or a similar font). CLICK HERE for a concise formatting checklist (although again, we’d prefer Times New Roman as a font, but that’s a minor request). All stories will be received by our web-master, who will log your submission, strip any personal information from your file, and then forward it to the editors.
We’re going to repeat ourselves because this part is that important — all stories must be submitted via the following email address. Don’t attach your submission to a personal email or a Facebook message to one of the editors or the publisher. This is how we’re keeping the submission process truly blind, so it is therefore the one and only portal to have your story considered for The Twisted Book of Shadows.
Deadline: April 30th, 2018
Payment: 4cents per word AUD and contributor’s copy
THEME – MILITARY HORROR. WHAT WE WANT: MILITARY HORROR, AND LOTS OF IT. THINK DOOM, RESIDENT EVIL, TERMINATOR, DOG SOLDIERS, ALIENS (THE SECOND MOVIE, NOT THE FIRST)… ANYTHING THAT CAN BE CALLED A HIGH-ACTION MONSTER STORY. AND SOLDIERS!
THIS VOLUME IS LIKE THE PREVIOUS VOLUMES SQUARED.
WE WANT EXTREME ACTION, AND IT HAS TO BE MILITARY OR PARAMILITARY ACTION. CAN BE MERCS OR EX-SOLDIERS, THOUGH, SO LONG AS THEY ARE HARDCASES.
AND TO SAY IT AGAIN, FULL ACTION. NOTHING LESS. HOO-RAH!
EDITED BY GEOFF BROWN, AMANDA J. SPEDDING, & MATTHEW SUMMERS
PAYMENT: AUD4C/WORD AND ONE CONTRIBUTOR COPY IN EACH FORMAT RELEASED
WORDCOUNT RANGE: 2,000 – 10,000 WORDS (QUERY FOR SHORTER OR LONGER)
SUBMISSIONS OPEN FEB 1 2018. CLOSING DATE IS APRIL 30TH 2018 (ANYTHING SUBMITTED OUTSIDE THIS PERIOD WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT BEING READ OR REPLIED TO).
NO SELECTIONS WILL BE MADE UNTIL AFTER THE PERIOD CLOSES.
PROJECTED PUBLICATION DATE: LATE 2018
Please follow these guidelines when submitting to us:
1. Please put your full contact details and word count on the first page of the manuscript.
2. Standard submission format, with minimal document formatting.
3. Courier or Times New Roman set at 12pt. Italics as they will appear. No underlining.
4. Double spaced.
5. Please don’t use TAB or space bar to indent lines. Use ‘styles’ only. If unsure or using a program that has no styles, DO NOT indent at all. That’s still cool.
6. NO SPACE between paragraphs unless a line-break is required. ONE SPACE after full stops.
7. Please put full contact details on the first page of the manuscript (yes, I said this twice… it’s important).
8. Send your submission to Geoff Brown at [email protected]cohesionpress.com as an attachment (.doc/.rtf only)
9. In the subject line of your email, please put Resurrection: [STORY TITLE] (Replace [STORY TITLE] with your actual story title. Yes, unfortunately I do need to state this)
NO MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS
NO SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS
Please include a brief ‘hello, this is who I am’ in your email body as a cover letter.
Blank emails with attachments will be deleted.
The only variations to Shunn’s format are that italics MUST appear as they will be used – no underlining – and again, only one space after a full stop. Anyone that fails to follow these guidelines will likely see their story shredded by mutant zombie-like creatures.
Hard to know where the odyssey started, except a vague memory of a phrase on the back of a Christopher Moore novel. “Undead redhead?” I asked myself. “Is that not an awesome title for. . . something?”
Flash forward to a challenge I sent out to all the writers I know: write twelve 3-5 minute episodes of a web series, and I’ll produce it. Only two made it to the finish line—Andrew Heard who’s now producing the comic book version of his “Buckethead” concept and, well, me.
There’s a tendency for the practical voices around us to push us to keep some kind of a rein on our creative impulses, to exercise control. I’m here to tell you that sometimes, it’s the idea that tells you what it is, not you that gets to make the choice.
That’s how it’s been from the start with Undead Redhead. The web series version I wrote was fun and open-ended. I didn’t know entirely where it was going because I’d only written the first season and laid the foundation for a second.
Then I met a producer who liked the writing and the concept, but thought it would work as well if not better as a standalone hour of television. My lead actress for the web series had just gone union and I wasn’t able to afford to work with her anymore, so switching to a medium where there’d be more money for talent was a boon. The rise of anthology series like Black Mirror have made single episode concepts viable for the first time since the 50s, unless you count more recent remakes of Rod Serling properties. I just had to find an ending, or at least a more cohesive through-line.
Then the producer suggested that we might as well jump right to feature film. After all, it was only 50% more writing than I’d already done getting us to that hour of TV screen-time, and a more economical way to get a better bang for our bucks.
From twelve web series episodes to a 55-page TV script, and now I was looking at taking the concept to the bigs, an 80-110 page feature film script. That meant I definitely needed an ending, and I’m not too proud to say I’ve known enough producers to be nervous about how the feature would end. If I didn’t nail it down in the script, I could lose control of the one thing that really matters to me: the message of the story.
It might seem a little counterintuitive, but instead of working the feature, I took November of that year to throw myself into NaNoRiMo (Google if you don’t know it!) and wrote the novel of the feature of the web series. I had my ending, and it was in print by the beginning of the new year. If the producer wanted to fiddle, he’d have to go against both me and the source material.
Then that producer found a more pressing project and left me with a script, a book, an unshot web series, and a group of hopeful but increasingly discouraged actors. The concept had jumped off the back cover of another writer’s book into my brain, and although I’d explored at least four different media, it seemed like the final form was still out of reach.
I wanted to connect to a bigger audience. I wanted the rush of collaborating with actors, a director, a producer, designers, musicians. . . and see Undead Redhead finally come to life.
From idea to the present, eight and a half years. Pages, drafts, edits: incalculable. Passion: unchanged. This is the way it goes sometimes, friends. You have something, then it’s something else; first someone is desperate to have it, then you’re on your own again.
Today, Undead Redhead is revved up again. I’ve welcomed the marvelous George Mihalka (My Bloody Valentine) as both exec producer and mentor to me, director Winnifred Jong, and producer Robyn Laliberte. We’ve got a tight 8-minute short film version of the story ready to shoot to use as a sales tool, because it’s easier to catch investors with visuals than with words. Or, you know, if the financing doesn’t come through for that, we can always just jump ahead right to the feature film itself. Because, you know. I’m riding this pony, but I’m giving it its head.
Undead Redhead is the horror/comedy novel-web series-TV show-feature film by Jen Frankel about a ginger gal who dies in a terrible wedding bouquet accident and comes back as a zombie – and still Vegan. The book will be available in a brand-spanking new edition soon from Calumet Press. Follow @jenfrankel on Twitter, @jenfrankelauthor on Instagram, and the podcast Jen Frankel Reads Random S#it on your favorite app or iTunes. Jen’s website, where you can discover the rest of her broad talents, is www.jenfrankel.com.
Last week saw a plea for submitters to look at our guidelines and send in stories 1500 words max (we do offer a little leeway on the upside though) and … I found a 6000 word story in my inbox. Please don’t do this, I have read many stories recently, have given all my evenings this week (barring last night) to Horror Tree, have even ignored my family in order to read your submissions – which I do enjoy doing – but I have only so much time to give and I am afraid I will now be rejecting any stories significantly over our submission guidelines without reading them. This may change in future if we are able to extend our publications to short stories and novellas but that will only be when we have more people on board the editorial team. If you would like to see this development at Horror Tree and would be willing to help, please get in touch with us. It is something Stuart and I touch on occasionally and then it gets shot into the long grass due to lack of time. We are considering the possibility of serials in flash but more of that in the future.
In the meantime, keep writing and keep submitting. Something I need to find time to do!
Editor, Trembling With Fear
Year 2 is continuing on strong and February is both Women in Horror Month and a fun set of horror for you all to enjoy!
‘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.
Editor, Horror Tree
Heng sat in the stream that ambled along the outskirts of the village, tossing handfuls of water up into the air and over his back. He loved the feel of the chilled current washing over his legs; it perfectly contrasted with the heat that had permeated the day and the humidity of the newly fallen night, baking the Cambodian forest and all manner of life within it.
In the daytime, all the boys and girls of the village had played and lain about here at some point or other, but now—this late in the evening, and with all of the villagers asleep—the twelve-year-old had the waters all to himself. He’d snuck out of his family’s hut the moment he heard his parents’ and grandparents’ symphony of snoring striking up through the straw walls. It was not the first time he’d done such a thing; he would often sneak about the village at night, feeling as though he had all of the world to himself, believing that the moon above came out only for him to see, that when the wind stirred, it would tell quiet secrets meant for his ears alone.
“Hello,” the wind whispered softly to him in that very moment.
He stopped his splashing, surprised by the airy greeting. He stilled himself completely, waiting for the air to speak up once more. When the sound reached his ears again, he realized it was not the stir of a breeze, but a person’s voice.
He glanced up—and saw a young woman staring at him from the other side of the bank. She was smiling at him.
He could only see her face (as the rest of her body was concealed behind a row of bushes and tall ferns), but what a face it was. It surely didn’t belong to anyone in his village; there was no woman that lovely hereabouts. Her eyes reflected the silver glint of the moonlight; the teeth of her smile were nearly as bright, against the shadows. Her lips looked full and her hair was straight locks of sable. Most astounding was her skin, which glistened and glowed—not with the sheen of sweat, but a strange beauty that only princesses in fairy-tales could have, like the ones his chitea told him.
“H– hello . . .” Heng said in kind. “Who are you?”
The woman giggled and shook her head, refusing to tell.
Heng tried a different approach. “Where did you come from?”
The pretty woman’s smile fell into a small, coy grin as she rolled her eyes about in whimsy. It was as though she were saying: Oh, here, there; anywhere, nowhere. After this, she gave another giggle, and her big smile returned to its full glory.
Feeling bold (and being quite smitten by the woman’s looks and her pleasant laughter), Heng asked: “Would you . . . like to join me?”
“Come!” The woman said in that soft, wafting voice of hers. “Follow!”
The woman started backing away from him, then turned about and headed off into the forest. She disappeared quickly into the branches and the bushes, not bothering to look back and see if he were coming along.
“Wait!” Heng hissed in cautious alarm. “Wait for me!”
He rose from the stream, his shorts soaked and dripping. He ran after her, minding his bare feet as he darted across the forest floor.
For a terrible moment, Heng feared that he had already lost her, as she was nowhere in sight. The trees and vegetation here were dense, and the growth overhead cast everything into near-blackness. He craned and angled his neck every which way, desperately searching—and saw her head ducking beneath a branch some twenty yards away, the rest of her still shrouded by the plants and the dark.
She was moving awfully fast, and he’d have to pick up the pace if he wanted to catch up. He was determined to try, though, and he hopped and sped along, making a path where he could.
He didn’t know how long he gave chase or how far into the trees they went, and he did not care. He merely wished to see her again.
He managed to keep her in sight most of the while, her head dipping and bobbing along swiftly and surely while he huffed and sweated in his hurried dash. But a moment came when she pulled too far ahead of him and disappeared. That fear rose in him again, and he called out to her to stop.
She did not call back.
With all the energy and nimbleness he had left, Heng pushed forward, clearing a thick flank of trees, leaping beyond them and out into a small field of grass. The moon shone brightly overhead, illuminating the softly swaying blades of blue-green grass. The woman stood in the center of the clearing, facing away from Heng, her hair bobbing on the breeze.
But she wasn’t standing. She had no legs to stand upon, nor much of anything else, for the matter.
Heng was horrified to see that there was no body to speak of underneath the woman’s head, only a collection of bared organs that hung suspended in the air. A bloody stretch of throat and oesophagus crept down from the base of her skull, leading down to a fat, red-brown stomach surrounded by bundles of intestines, a slab of liver, and a pulsing heart.
Rooted in his dread and choking on his disgust, Heng watched as the head and its organs revolved about, the woman’s face coming into view, her eyes falling upon him with crafty satisfaction. Her beauty had left her, her tanned skin now deathly pale and her once pearly teeth turned to thin needles, like those of a Venus flytrap.
The ahp shot a mocking hiss at Heng and then sped forward, as a viper would towards its prey, the spirit-creature’s organs trailing behind the sinister head.
Heng screamed, meeting death beneath the moonlight.
Patrick Winters is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium Magazine, The Sirens Call, Trysts of Fate, and other such titles.
It kept talking to him. The head swivelling, lips red and open. He hated it. No, worse, he feared it.
Years ago they’d been a star double act topping the bills. Jake Wheeler and ‘Mr Dandy’ in his tiny tux and bow tie. Everyone had loved them.
Until the day Mr Dandy found his voice. The words he used! The deeds he described! Shocked matrons left in droves. Children goggled.
Jake dived into a whiskey bottle. The curtain dropped forever.
“Shut up! You wooden obscenity!”
Jake watched saliva dribble down the puppet’s painted chin.
“Feed me, Jake,” Mr Dandy whispered.
Alyson lives in West Yorkshire with her family and 3 rescue cats. She teaches creative writing classes, writes noir Flash Fiction and ghost stories. She is one of the writers in ‘Women in Horror Annual 2’, in Raging Aardvark’s ‘Twisted Tales’, her stories can be downloaded at www.alfiedog.com as well as being available on various sites like zeroflash/Tubeflash/101 words/three drops from a cauldron. Her debut collection, ‘Badlands’, is due out soon from indie publisher Chapel Town Books.
“Never good enough ” she said to herself. “You always told me how I would never measure up.” Picking up the gun from the table she approached the prone, angry figure.
“I know you want to say something”she giggled, as she toyed with the ropes and gag which kept him from making movement or sound.
“Each time you put me down it hurt.” She caressed the gun she was holding. “I wonder how it will feel for me when you die?”
Shooting him in the heart, then head gave her satisfaction. Turning the gun on herself gave her peace … finally.
Kim Plasket is a Jersey girl at heart relocated to sunny Florida. She enjoys writing mainly horror and paranormal stories and lives with her husband and 2 kids. When she is not slaving away at her day job, she can be found drinking coffee with fellow author Valerie Willis and planning the demise of some poor character. Currently she has several short stories featured in anthologies such as ‘Demonic Wildlife’ and ‘The Hunted’, also has a story in an Anthology Titled Fireflies and Fairy dust with more to come.
He stirred the curry, while watching the rice boil. His wife was upstairs, as always. He barely saw her these days; she never came downstairs, but that didn’t matter. He didn’t need her company to stay sane. The simple reassurance that there was another human in the house was the key to maintaining his mental stability. He served the meal then climbed upstairs.
“Dinner is ready.”
He stared at the corpse of his wife, slumped over the desk where he’d killed her. She’d been dead for weeks. He hadn’t planned on keeping her, but he just couldn’t bear being alone.
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.
Deadline: February 28th, 2018
Payment: $.05 per word
Open for Nothing’s Sacred Vol. 4
From: January 26th – February 28th
Projected Release Date: October 1, 2018
Nothing’s Sacred is Jack of No Trades Productions’ horror magazine. It is made up of original short fiction, poetry, articles, book reviews, two sentence short stories, and comics. As said in the magazines’ namesake, nothing is off limits. The horror within can range from subtle to grotesque, psychological to physical, dark to full out terror so long as it is character driven. Theme wise, Nothing’s Sacred is relatively open outside of distasteful stories of rape, the degradation and/or humiliation of women, and child porn of any kind.
What we’re looking for:
Fiction – 3,000 word max. NO REPRINTSPay rate $.05
Articles – Should be related to or about the horror genre. 2000 word max. Pay rate $.05
Poetry – 3 poems max per submission. 250 words max per poem. Pay rate $10 per poem.
Two Sentence Fiction – Just as implied, these stories are extremely short. We will consider up to five submissions per author. Pay rate $5 per story.
Comics – We first introduced comics into Nothing’s Sacred in Vol. 3 to include a humorous element to our layout. Comics should include elements of horror in them, and may be either a full page or a banner size (as you would find in your Sunday paper), strip. Pay rate $90 per comic.
Pay out for all material: Upon publication
Seeks North American Serial Rights and Electronic Rights.
Guidelines for Submission:
The following guidelines are intended to be used for all of the categories mentioned above. All Submissions should be double spaced and be typed in either Courier or Times Romans (preferably), 12 font. Submissions with multiple pages will be required to have page numbers after the first page.
To submit, email material as an attachment with a description of the story in the body of the email. Also, to ensure that submissions are not deemed as spam, please enter (Submission)after the name of your work in the subject field.