Tagged: Free Fiction

Trembling With Fear 4-21-24

Greetings, children of the dark. Sad to say our April short story submissions window is now closed, and I thought I’d bring you a very real statistic to show why we moved our submissions process to this strange quarterly beast. 

The statistic is this: in that 2-week window, we got more than 50 submissions.

Yes, 50 stories. Each of you should have now received an email to acknowledge your story is in the system, but if you haven’t and were expecting one, please do get in touch. We are very old-school here at TWF Towers and there is no automated email immediately going back to you to say “hey, we got it!”—it does take an actual human (i.e. me!) to go into the inbox and fish them out, catalogue them, and put them into our system—but I’ve now moved every submission into the next step of the process. From here, Stuart, Shalini and I get to reading, reviewing, analysing, arguing, and finding those stories that we’d like to accept. Of course, with 50+ stories for essentially about 12 spots, we’re going to have to be very critical and maybe let go of something that would’ve made it once upon a time. For that, I’m sorry.

Before the move to a staggered submissions process, we would be getting around the same number of submissions every single month. And there are just a handful of us, all volunteers, trying to make our way through those submissions. And we can only publish one short story a week, alongside our three drabbles. (If you want us to be able to afford more, get to supporting us on Patreon!)

If we didn’t try to limit the opportunity to submit, we would currently be scheduling stories several years in advance—and no one wants to wait a decade to see their story in digital print! (And yes, we still haven’t made our way through all of the stories from the last window, and there’s actually a handful of stories I need to edit and send back to writers who submitted in the last half of 2023. Life, sorry, etc.)

This process is to protect our writers from frustration as much as it is to protect our tiny team from burnout. We do, of course, have many other opportunities within the Horror Tree ecosystem to flex your creative muscles and submit your works. Your story might fit one of the many open calls we list on this site—the very reason for our being!—or maybe you’d like to write for a special themed edition or submit a story for serialisation. We also have our short sharp speculations, aka the drabbles, of which we publish three every single week! Maybe try your hand at some teeny tiny stories, or stringing three of those together on a theme to tell a longer story as an unholy trinity

Anyways, this week’s TWF menu. Our main course is a silent one, and it comes from the dark mind of Mitchell Strickland Jr—and it’s so great to put a strong disabled protagonist on these pages. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • SG Perahim’s monsters under the bed 
  • Santiago Eximeno’s stranded mermaid, and
  • RJ Meldrum’s renovation surprise.

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!
 
***

Last week, I was busy with my youngest being home all week sick; this week, it’s been my oldest. (I swear… if I’m sick next week…) So. I’ve been doing a lot of prep work. There’s not much to show off quite yet, but there is more progress on Shadowed Realms, which is long overdue, and we are starting to hone in on our new layout as well as starting to plan for our next physical release. On the upside, we have a few new contributors interested in helping out on the site, which is exciting news! 

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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 4-14-24

Greetings, children of the dark. First things first: short story subs will CLOSE tonight. Anything submitted after today will not be read, and will not be kept on file until the next window at the beginning of July. Please take note of our submission windows, which you’ll find in the deadlines section of the submissions page, here

Why do we do it this way? Quite frankly, because there were way too many submissions! Not long after I took over this column, it became clear that if we didn’t close to submissions every now and then, we’d have writers waiting literal years for their story to be published. I love that you’re all so keen and ready to submit to us, and that we get so many great stories, but it just became unmanageable. The windows help us to keep on top of things. We still have people waiting several months to be published, but months is better than years. 

If you can’t wait for the quarterly window, fear not! There are plenty of other opportunities. Your story might fit one of the many open calls we list on this here site—the very reason for our being!—or maybe you’d like to write for a special themed edition or submit a story for serialisation. We also have our short sharp speculations, aka the drabbles, of which we publish three every single week! Maybe try your hand at some teeny tiny stories, or stringing three of those together on a theme to tell a longer story as an unholy trinity

See: lots and lots of opportunities out there. The spec-fic beast is hungry and never, ever satisfied…

Anyways, this week’s TWF menu. Our tasty main course comes from David Bradley, who’s dealing with a weird mouth thing. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Cassandra Daucus’s dirty secret 
  • Patrick Winters’s hidden meanie, and
  • DJ Tyrer’s existential angst

PS, the fae stuff went really bloody well, thanks for asking! Keep an eye out for the next one—Writing the Occult: Connection to Land will take place on 15 June, just before the solstice.

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!
 
***
 
 

Oof. It has been a week. My youngest has been sick all week and my oldest has had Jr. High prep + standardized tests + soccer. Not to mention, work has a huge pile of projects on my plate at the moment. I was able to push ahead slightly on Shadowed Realms. However, it’s not quite there yet. I’m hoping that this coming weekend, I’ll be able to get it finished up so we can finally let it loose upon the world! 

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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 4-7-24

Greetings, children of the dark. I’m neck deep in fairies as I write this, getting ready for my big Fae Day event which, by the time you read this, will be over. I feel like I’ve been less engaged in this edition of my Writing the Occult events, and I’m not sure why: life, probably, but maybe also I’m just not a fairy person? Who knows. Maybe by the time you’re reading this, I will have been converted and will be looking under rocks and behind bark for evidence. I’m feeling like a bad Celtic-blooded human right now!

But for that reason, we’ll go straight to the good stuff this week.

Well, first I should remind you that our April short story submissions window is open for just one more week! They are coming in thick and fast, and we are going to have to make some tough decisions. We just can’t run more than one short story a week for many, many reasons, and we get dozens and dozens submitted in each window. We used to get dozens every week, which is why we had to move to the windows! Submissions guidelines are here, and you submit by using this form, making sure to choose TWF from the drop-down box underneath the name field. Please, please upload your story in an editable document format, not a PDF and not posted into the form. And our process is not automated, so it might take me a while to acknowledge receipt of your sub. I will get there, I promise. TWF is powered by human volunteers. 

Remember, though, that we are definitely open to drabble submissions every day of the year, so if you’re not successful with your short, maybe go shorter? Give it a try?

Anyways, this week’s TWF menu. Our tasty main course comes from J.L. Royce, who’s gone off for a hike in the Michigan wilderness. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Brian Maycock’s lazy long weekend, 
  • Noah Wood’s collective creep-out, and 
  • Richard Meldrum’s meeting in a dark alley.

Speaking of the boss man, he’s one of the panelists at Saturday’s 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 featuring Stuart, Jenn Hanson-dePaula from Mixtus Media, and indie writers and promo machines Beverley Lee and Nicole Eigener (aka Nicoverley). Ever wondered how to get your writing *out there*? Join us! It’s free for BFS members, and just £5 for everyone else, plus it will also be recorded if you can’t make any/all of it live. Details are over here.

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!
 
***
 
 

Spent a LOT of time on Shadowed Realms and site stuff this last week. Nothing quite ready for an update but a lot will be announced soonish!

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

(more…)

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. 

Anyways…

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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 3-24-24

Greetings, children of the dark. How goes your new season? Yep, we just celebrated the spring equinox here in the northern hemisphere, and as much as I love the dark stuff, I’m really looking forward to longer days and less need for jumpers. I grew up in Australia, after all; I just can’t get my head around layering and dressing to constantly be adding and removing warm bits!

More important than my need for sun, though: today marks the last day of Neurodiversity Celebration Week. It’s a worldwide initiative that “challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences”, aiming to transform how neurodivergence is seen within the organisations that rule our lives (work, school, daily life), to recognise the “many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent”, and to help create “more inclusive and equitable cultures that celebrate differences and empower every individual”. At least, that’s the deal according to the official blurb on its website

Why bring this to TWF on the last day of the week? Well, because neurodivergence awareness shouldn’t be confined to a single week. Because we should all be better at inclusivity across the board. Because in the last 12 months I’ve been diagnosed as a high-functioning ADHDer with strong autistic traits, including sensory processing disorder and dyspraxia, and I’m still figuring out what that means for me while also trying not to beat myself up for not knowing sooner. (Heck, they just didn’t diagnose girls in the 80s when I was in primary school!) And, importantly, because we in the genre fiction community are surrounded by neurodiversity. There’s something about fantasy, horror and science fiction that resonates with the different, the traditionally ‘othered’ of society. And I really, really love that about our community. And I want to celebrate it every day. 

So let’s take a moment to raise a glass, our fists-of-triumph, our hugging arms, and celebrate the neurodiverse writers and readers of the genre fiction community. Go forth and seek them out, or share your own stories, and let’s do what we do best: support each other. For example, in my other life as publicity and marketing officer at the British Fantasy Society, I published a few pieces this week from member writers sharing their stories, like this one from E.M. Faulds on late-diagnosed ADHD, and this searingly honest one from David Green about autism and writing and the way a lack of understanding can really hit hard. I am so proud of them for sharing their stories in such an open and vulnerable way. Head over and check out their blogs, then check out their works as well because both are fabulous humans. Here’s to the neurodiverse writers and readers of speculative fiction: We are many, and we are awesome. 

But enough of that. Let’s get to the reason we’re here (as important and, I’m sure, as much as you love my weekly ramblings!).

This week’s TWF menu centres around regular contributor DJ Tyrer’s adventures with mirrors. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Cassandra Daucus’s supernatural helper, 
  • Paul Fletcher’s warning to runners, and 
  • Alan Moskowitz’s vampiric pursuits.

To finish, two quick event plugs. Writing the Occult: The Fae is coming up on 6 April, 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. Early bird price ticket prices end (I think!) today! After that, the price will rise to £40+bf, with sales ending the day before the event. Tickets here. (Yes, I’ll probably plug this every week until the event.)

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 for everyone else, plus it will also be recorded if you can’t make any/all of it live. Details are over here.

OK, enough from me. Before the stories come, as ever, it’s 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!
 
***
 
 
We made some changes in the past week, which hopefully have had ads decreased a bit on the site and made everything a bit more readable. We’re still fine-tuning it, but it should be much more readable now. Fingers crossed. On top of this, we’ve made some progress on Shadowed Realms. We’re in our final area of formatting, and fingers crossed, we will soon be able to release it to the world! 
 
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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 3-17-24

Greetings, children of the dark, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to the Irish diaspora. I’m fighting the urge to make comments about evil leprechauns and suchlike, and am thankful I’m feeling so drained from battling the mega virus from hell all week that I can’t think of anything Irish and witty to say. (The Irish are probably thankful for that, too!)

Speaking of the mega virus from hell—’twas not the plague; the test told me so—it is the reason I’m running a bit behind on TWF correspondence at the moment. A few of you have slid into my DMs to chase me on some things, and I can assure you I’ll get to it. Hopefully in the coming days. And yes, I said “hopefully”, because I have a lot to catch up on! I promise you, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. 

With those two ridiculous paragraphs re-read, I’m telling myself it’s time to cut my fevered losses and just jolly well get on with the show. So here we go.

This week’s TWF menu is some top shelf stuff, that’s for sure. Our feature short story is absolutely stunning—and its author, Miley Chen, is a high school junior, people!! I may as well throw in the towel now… 

That story is followed by the short, sharp (and somewhat gothic/folklorish, aka right in my wheelhouse) speculations of:

  • Steven Patchett’s chosen one, 
  • Samantha Lokai’s gardening tips, and 
  • Joshua Ginsberg’s award-winning service.

I hope you enjoy these offerings as much as I did.

To finish, two quick event plugs. Writing the Occult: The Fae is coming up on 6 April, 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. You’ve got one week left to get tickets at the early bird price of £35+bf; after that, the price will rise to £40+bf, with sales ending the day before the event. Get in quick before that price rise! Tickets here. (Yes, I’ll probably plug this every week until the event.)

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, plus Jenn Hanson-dePaula from Mixtus Media, and indie writers/promo machines Beverley Lee and Nicole Eigener (aka Nicoverley). It’s free for BFS members, and just £5 for everyone else, plus it will also be recorded if you can’t make any/all of it live. Our panel will be up last, at 4pm UK time (11am East Coast / 10am Chicago for the boss’s diary). Details are over here.

And now it’s 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!
 
***
 
 
We’ve had a lot of people reach out over the last three weeks about the notable increase in ads on Horror Tree. Not only do we hear you, we see it as well. The number of ads has skyrocketed. I went in with our ad provider and manually lowered it, but it didn’t have any change. I’ve got an open ticket with our ad network to troubleshoot the issue. I’m hoping that within the next week, things will settle down a bit on exactly how much is being shown. Fingers crossed this doesn’t drag on for a long time as we really can’t afford to lose our ad revenue, but we also won’t have any readers if they stay how they are. So… Hopefully soon. I’ve been in contact with them all week about the issue.
 
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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 3-10-24

Greetings, children of the dark. This week, I’ve mainly been pondering my life and trying not to make it morose or morbid. On Tuesday, I was honoured to be asked to speak to a university MA class about being a jobbing writer, which had me reflecting on an almost-30 year career across two continents and way too many different companies. And then on Wednesday, the All Creatives Now podcast released its recent interview with me where I spoke about something very similar. I’m not used to all of this attention. It’s a bit odd, to be honest.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but this sort of reflection doesn’t tend to make me celebrate the wins—it’s more likely to make me lament the losses. And as I stood there, telling this university class about how I dreamed of being an author but was directed towards journalism so I could make a living, I started wondering about what might have been. What if I’d ignored the advice and stuck to my young guns? What if I’d tried, right out of school, to write books? And the truth is that I know I would’ve sucked. I had no life experience. I hadn’t lived. I had nothing to say: I came from a somewhat middle class suburban background, and hadn’t really fought for anything yet. Now, sitting in a different country and comfortably in my mid-40s, I feel more able to do it. I have learned a lot in 30 years of wandering the world of writing, and picked up a few tricks along the way. 

But I also need to work harder on recognising those wins. I need to recognise that I have things to teach, things to offer. That I’m not a bunch of tightly compartmentalised options; I am a singular, whole being with all the good and bad that entails. So, children of the dark, any advice on how I do that? 🤣

Enough of the therapy; let’s get to the point. (BTW, did you know I’m a coach and mentor to writers as well? Little plug there!)

This week’s TWF menu is kicked off by a not-very-nice character being not-very-nice—and it is delightful. It’s one for the geocachers out there, and it’s by Sabrina Fisher. That story is followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Ariya Bandy’s dancing queen, 
  • FM Scott’s musical mindbender, and 
  • Don Money’s haunted hoodlum.

And finally, a shout-out to the lovely Nicole Eigener and Beverley Lee, a West Coast/UK duo who last week launched a book they co-wrote across the Pacific. A Conclave of Crimson combines both writers’ individual book worlds, and is an unapologetically queer vampire love story. It’s available now from here. Nicole and Beverley were guest speakers at my Writing the Occult: Vampires event back in October, and I’m so excited to see their combined work finally released to the wild.

Oh, and speaking of my Writing the Occult events, we’ve announced the speaker list for the next one. Our look at the fae on 6 April will not only consider the fairy in literature and lore, the dark side of fairy folklore, and, of course, the changeling, as well as hearing from Gabriela Houston how to take inspiration from folkloric creatures for your fiction, but we’ll also take a tour around the world to find out how the concept of the fae is manifest in cultures including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, the Philippines, China, Iceland, Latinx, Greece, and South Asia. Event details are here, tickets are now on sale from Eventbrite, and I’d love to see you there.

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! Made a bit more progress on Shadowed Realms and we’re about to pass it off to who is putting it together for us, so more on that soon as well. Sorry for the lack of YouTube videos this week. Belinda was on vacation and while I had meant to put one together… It just didn’t happen. 
 
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

(more…)

Trembling With Fear 3-3-24

Greetings, children of the dark. I’m writing this on 29 February, that day which only happens once every four years. Today, I’m struggling. I am so fatigued I can barely function. I wish I could blame the extra day, but I fear it’s just chronic health issues rearing their ugly heads. So, to inspire—and mainly to distract—I’ve been pondering the folklore around leap years. I jumped on Tradfolk.co to see what they said.  

There is, of course, the well-known tradition around leap day proposals. Back in the day, 29 February was designated as the day when women could propose to men—according to Irish legend, it was declared so by St Patrick himself. While it’s generally considered a myth, I quite like the idea that men who turned the lady down had to respond by giving her a gift of a frock or some nice gloves. Staying with the Celts, Scottish tradition says babies born in a leap year would only experience a life of hardship; there’s similar beliefs in Germany and Greece. Marriages that happen in a leap year are said to end in divorce or the death of a spouse in those same countries. And finally, they say in English folklore that a leap year causes broad beans to grow “the wrong way”. Whatever that might mean!

The question, dear reader, is what strangely dark and speculative stories you could be telling based around leap year lore? It feels ripe for the picking.

This week’s TWF menu doesn’t feature much by way of leap year-infused delectations, but it does seem to have formed a consumption theme. Purely coincidental, I promise. First, Joelle Killian’s all-consuming client has a certain need. That’s followed by the short, sharp speculations of:

  • Íde Hennessy’s webs, 
  • Bruce Buchanan’s tea, and 
  • AW Voelkel’s infestation.

Over to you, Stuart.

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

We made a bit of progress on Shadowed Realms, we’re up to the formatting stage, and it shouldn’t be long after. On top of that, I was able to get some work done in a couple of short stories. I didn’t have much free time this last week and what little I did have ended up working on fixing some post scheduling issues that we were having. Smoothly sailing now though! 
 
 
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

(more…)