Tagged: Short Story

Being part of a Writing Group
Being part of a Writing Group

Trembling With Fear 09/25/2022

Hello, children of the dark. Hope you’re doing well as the seasons change and the nights draw closer (or get longer, if you’re Down Under!). I’m writing this at the Autumn Equinox, and I’m really noticing the change today. The leaves are turning, the weather is much colder. It’s almost time for jumpers and hot water bottles – and it’s almost monster season, too. The Halloween countdown is on!

At last weekend’s FantasyCon in London (held in an actually quite lovely airport hotel), among the talks on folklore and mythology and craft, the monsters were quietly there, in the shadows, waiting for their moment. And then, first up on day 2, there they were: a panel looking at monsters and monstrosity, and what the monster represents.

This was one of my favourite discussions of the weekend because it really delved into something I’ve been pondering for a while now: what actually makes a monster? Are they a product of the age in which they’re produced? Does a story benefit from showing the monster or should they always lurk just beyond reach? Most of all, though, panellists David Watkins, Kit Power, Andrew Hook, Tracy Fahey and JL George debated whether humans can be the monster, or whether they’re always just evil humans. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and all things dark fiction – comment below or get me on Twitter @novicenovelist.  

For me, that particular panel was a good showcase of the different arenas that dark fiction haunts. We have the monsters, of course – the kaiju, the things from other planets, the vampires and werewolves and demons – but we also have monstrous humans, the serial killers, the evil parents, the disturbed and deranged, and everything in between. We have so much we can play with when we inhabit the darker edges of fiction, and for that I am very grateful. I’ve got a hankering to write a vampire story now, but I should probably focus on the damn Victorian occult novel that’s already waiting for me!

For now, I bring you this week’s TWF tasting menu. 

In our trembling main course, Harris Coverley takes carpentry to a horrifying extreme. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Mike Rader contemplates a new kind of daytime TV
  • Alan Moskowitz ponders the origins of a very famous “doctor”, and 
  • Christopher Saylor gets digging for company

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our submission guidelines page. We are scheduling towards the end of the year for short stories now, but we are ALWAYS looking for more drabbles! Flex those creative muscles and try to tell your story in just 100 words, then send ‘em over to us.

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Anyone looking to make a last-minute order from our store, I apologize, that time has temporarily come to an end! The store will re-open, but it will be a while, and likely on another domain. I feel that for the last two months now, I’ve been promising that we’re going to have some exciting news soon. I’m going to stop talking about it now until any of it actually happens (watch there now be 20 announcements next week.) We’re quite close on much of it but just aren’t quite over the border yet. SOON my friends. SOON! 

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 09/18/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I’ve been reflecting this week on the idea of community, and how important it is to us even when we operate in such a solitary (and sometimes lonely) world. I wrote on this a few weeks back, but it’s back on my mind. 

Like many of you, I’m sure, I have often felt like the outcast, the needle in the haystack, the odd one out. I have often felt like I stick out like a sore thumb, that everyone is staring at me, laughing behind my back. This is, of course, largely to do with my own mental health (hello, chronic depression and anxiety!), but it’s also the world we live in today. Community is hard to come by.

But that’s also why we’re lucky, dear readers, to inhabit this world of dark and genre fiction. I have always found genre writers to be the most welcoming, the least judgmental, the most compassionate and caring of humans. And I’m personally very lucky to be nestled amongst them this weekend. As you read this, I’ll likely be finishing up at the British Fantasy Society’s annual convention, my first foray into the fantasy world after taking my baby steps into the world of IRL horror cons over the last few years. While I will have a security blanket with me in the shape of my other half and a handful of friends, I have no doubt I will be meeting some fabulous new people and making new friends. I can’t wait.

For now, though, I bring you this week’s TWF tasting menu. 

In our trembling main course, Jeremiah Minihan picks up a hitchhiker with ulterior motives. This is followed by three delicious quick bites:

  • Paul Latham explores a new home
  • JJ Munro offers a poetic piece of curiosity, and
  • RJ Meldrum ponders what true evil looks like

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. 

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Just a ‘few’ things going on this week. Standard Horror Tree stuff, a TON of work for my MBA, actual writing in again, and… not much to report on the new layout quite yet. By the time you read this, I’ll likely have gotten an update. The problem is, I’m writing this to you FROM THE PAST! (Ohhh, Time Travel.) As to the website, we did finalize changing up our contract a bit more for inclusivity. We have a pile of other things in the works that I’m eager to share with you. I promise that some of them are coming soon!

Just a reminder about our store. It will likely be going offline soon for a bit while preparing for the update. It has a huge conflict with some of our set up so we’ll be moving it offsite completely to another domain in the near future. Probably, in the next 2-3 weeks it’ll go offline and come back on the new domain following that. So, if you’ve been preparing to buy some Horror Tree swag, now is the time!

A quick reminder that we’re now on MSN and would LOVE it if you can throw us a follow on MSN! We should have more content coming soon!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 09/11/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I don’t know about you, but I am f***ing exhausted. I’ve had quite a week of being pulled and pushed in all sorts of directions for work and life, and my writing is well and truly on the backburner. But there is light on the horizon: by the time you read this, I’ll have started a class on horror writing with guest lecturers and attended a whole day of folk horror talks as well. 

I’m one of those people who feels a desperate need to keep taking classes, when I should probably just put my bum on the seat and improve by doing. I’ve spent so long avoiding the writing that it’s now a massive, massive cloud hanging over me. I’m in awe of those of you who can dedicate time daily to nurturing your craft; how do you do it?! It’s often said that if it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it – but sometimes it’s *so* important that it becomes a source of fear and anxiety. 

I’m starting to think that maybe I just need to stop overthinking and just do something. I need to go through recent submission calls featured on this here site and pick a few to play around in. (I also stepped in for Belinda to do this week’s subs round-up for Horror Tree; you may laugh at my discomfort over on the Horror Tree YouTube channel.) There’s definitely a lot going on, especially as we reach Official Spooky Season and all the Halloween stuff comes around. This is our time of year, children of the dark! Let us embrace it and create magic and madness wherever we go. Just like these contributors…

We are edging towards the disturbing on this week’s TWF menu. Our trembling main course from Nicholas Zielinski is a disturbing view into family rituals. Meanwhile, we have three delicious quick bites for you this week:

  • Patricia Miller combines creepy dolls and creepy kids in this dialogue-driven short
  • Tiffany Michelle Brown considers how humans and ghosts deal with shared trauma, and
  • Stéphane G Perahim goes shopping with a psychopath

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. 

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

For those of us in the US, I hope that today’s fiction is a distraction from the tragedy that occurred on this day.

As a pre-warning to our store. It will likely be going offline soon for a bit while preparing for the update. It has a huge conflict with some of our set up so we’ll be moving it offsite completely to another domain in the near future. Probably, in the next 2-3 weeks it’ll go offline and come back on the new domain following that. So, if you’ve been preparing to buy some Horror Tree swag, now is the time!

As Lauren mentioned above, be sure to check her out on our YouTube! There is a good chance you’ll be suffering with me on the third week that Belinda is gone for. I apologize ahead of time!

More soon!

A quick reminder that we’re now on MSN and would LOVE it if you can throw us a follow on MSN! We should have more content coming soon!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 09/04/2022

Hello, children of the dark. This writing malarky can be awfully solitary, can’t it? By our very nature, writers tend to be introverts. Add in the lure of the dark stuff, and you’re likely to find us huddled in corners, by candlelight, scribbling away and creating nightmares. 

But, just because we hate to be cast as the creep in the corner, there are exceptions to this rule. Around the world, you’ll find writers regularly gathering to celebrate each other and talk shop at conferences. This aspect of the writerly life is still quite new to me; I only attended my first conference last year, a ghost story festival, which is where I met our wonderful Steph Ellis for the first time. Earlier this year, I was at ChillerCon, the UK’s answer to StokerCon, and felt so welcomed and embraced by the horror community that it confirmed in my heart that I’d made the right decision to properly pursue my writing. 

So imagine my surprise that less than a year after my first proper writers’ conference, I find myself planning to lead a workshop at this month’s UK FantasyCon. Yes, I’m not only going to be there, but I’ll be kicking off proceedings by running a workshop on building an author brand in a natural way, without any of the hacks or tricks that can feel intimidating. It’s kind of a marriage of my old life in content marketing and my new(though fated) life in fiction and writing coaching. If you’re in the vicinity, maybe I’ll see you there?

I know, I know – not everyone is lucky enough to go to conferences. Not everyone has the location, the money, the means to attend these things; they can get pricey between tickets, travel and accommodation. And not everyone has the confidence to walk into those rooms alone – I am definitely one of those socially awkward types who cannot do small talk! What is a writer to do in these cases?

I’ll let you in on one of my secrets… over the pandemic lockdowns, I joined a global online writing community that has really helped build my confidence and courage in my convictions. It’s called the London Writers Salon, and it actually hosts Zoom-based writing sessions four times a day, for free. You just join, set an intention, go on mute, and write in community. Something strange happens in those sessions… Words get on the page when you have 100 people on your screen doing the same thing. This community has helped me so much that I actually now host a few of the sessions – usually 8am New Zealand time on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays (a day earlier in the northern hemisphere – it’s 9pm here in the UK or 4pm ET) – so I might see you there some time? If you do join when I’m the host, DM me to let me know you read TWF!

And who knows? Maybe a writing community is just what you need to kickstart your next submission to Trembling With Fear. You could join those providing this week’s feast of darkness. 

Our trembling main course from Beth Mills has a woman trying everything she can to save her marriage. Meanwhile, we have three delicious quick bites for you this week:

  • Michael Bettendorf’s folk horror explores the bond between father and daughter
  • Eddie D. Moore’s retirement is not quite as he imagined, and
  • Mark Humphries’ old wives tale has more truth than you realise

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. 

And maybe I’ll see you at the British Fantasy Society’s Conference? Or in a Zoom room for Writers’ Hour some time soon?

For now, it’s over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Getting closer to being able to share a few updates with you on various projects that we have going and AHHH! It’s hard to keep quiet. 🙂 Nothing to talk about on the new layout quite yet, it is coming soon though!

A quick reminder that we’re now on MSN and would LOVE it if you can throw us a follow on MSN! We should have more content coming soon!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 08/28/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I’m curious: what’s been your relationship with the darker side of fiction?

It’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot these last few weeks – really, since I took over this column from the wonderful Steph Ellis. I had the usual inferiority complex issues about the role (who am I to take this on, etc etc), but amongst all that lurked a different sort of inferiority. It’s the one that criticised me for my on/off relationship with dark fiction. 

For most of my adult life, I told myself I didn’t get along with horror. My 20s were spent in the era of torture porn films, and I was very averse to it. Like all good Australians, I saw Wolf Creek at the cinema and had to look away for most of the last half. That was the last scary movie I saw in the theatre for years and years; I concluded I’d lost my mettle. 

Over the last decade, though, as I’ve been getting back in touch with my own fiction writing – and let me tell you, writing copy and articles for a living had ruined that love, too! – I’ve been re-embracing my dark side. Since the pandemic, even my wardrobe has changed and I’m back to celebrating Halloween fashion all year round. I’m rediscovering myself, and it’s been a journey… Still, I thought, I’m too new to this to be taken seriously yet. 

Then I was stuck on the couch for a week with the much-talked-about injury (I really am not a good patient, you might have noticed!). I picked up my copy of Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell and read it cover to cover. I began to remember these books and ones just like them. I remembered them in my hands, on my library request list, in our home book shelves. I remembered how much I devoured horror fiction as a kid. Point Horror, of course – I was a teenage girl, after all – but also more adult fare. Stephen King short stories. Discussions of Flowers in the Attic. Friends obsessed with Anne Rice. 

One book and one week stirred so many emotions and reawakened so much of myself that I can’t quite believe it. I spent 15-20 years hiding my spookiness so that I could fit in with the real world. Now I can’t wait to escape it and be with you all, dark ones. Maybe this is just a homecoming, after all.

But enough of that. Let’s get to this week’s feast of darkness. Our trembling main course from Lancaster Cooney finds plenty hiding in the dark depths of the earth.

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Dustin Mills channels the oppressive heat of recent times to bring us some body horror
  • Carson Fredrikson can’t quite make it to the end of a challenge, with dire consequences, and
  • Pauline Yates puts a very different sort of meal on the table

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. 

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Since we’ve last spoken, my MBA program has started back up, so I’m currently back at it and in another class that will involve math and formulas that won’t apply to what I actually do at my job… 🙂

Our site update is on hold this week as our designer had a scheduled holiday. Hopefully, more on that next week. That isn’t to say that we’ve been standing still! For those of you who submit to Trembling With Fear, we’ve slightly updated our contract to be more inclusive and rephrased a couple of lines that were a bit vague.

A quick reminder that we’re now on MSN and would LOVE it if you can throw us a follow on MSN! We should have more content coming soon!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 08/21/2022

Hello, children of the dark. I write this in the grip of searing pain, my foot propped up with pillows and an ice pack around my ankle. You see, I clearly subconsciously thought what I really needed for my birthday was a super sprained ankle, especially one that was twisted on the way *in* to London’s glittering West End to see a play. Happy birthday to me indeed.

But I’m so glad I persisted with the travel. I’m glad I gritted my teeth, ignored the fast-swelling mass that once was my ankle, and hobbled my way into the Criterion Theatre – because it is there that I experienced one helluva show. It’s not often that I come away from a play unsure what to focus my attention on; something usually stands out, whether it was a specific portrayal or the staging or an annoying audience member who was playing with their phone the whole way through. This time, though, I was dazzled by everything, for I was experiencing the wonder that is 2.22: A Ghost Story

I’m going to be *that* person and say I honestly can’t tell you much about the play without spoiling it all, but it’s true. It takes place over one night in a single room in a flat, where two couples try to stay up until 2.22am to discover the source of a noise over a baby monitor. And I sort of lied earlier when I said I was unsure where to focus my attention because, as I reflect on it now, it’s clear: the writing is superb. It is tight as anything, wonderfully paced, gives just enough but holds onto so much for big reveals. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised, because the writer of this play is Danny Robins

He’s been called “the audio hero of all things spooky”, “a latter-day Alfred Hitchcock” and a “modern-day Van Helsing” by the UK press, but I’ve recently learned that Mr Robins’ work isn’t so well known on the other side of the pond, so let me point you in one direction for a starting block: the podcast Uncanny, which he produced for the BBC. It’s a simple concept – investigations into chilling first-hand stories of paranormal encounters, from ghostly phantoms to sinister folklore and UFOs – but it’s so well executed. He does the background, the interviews, the skeptic vs the believer theories – but he also gets the audience involved, asks for their theories, and comes back to the cases throughout the series. Again, the writing is tight and hits the mark. 

Why am I telling you this? Well, because I like to share good things with total strangers, but also because I’m just 10,000% jealous of Danny Robins’ writing talent. I wish I could be half that good!

Now let’s get to the reason you’re all here, which is not to hear me ramble through the pain. This week’s trembling main course comes from frequent contributor Ron Capshaw, who takes us off to the dentist, Marathon Man-style.

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Charlotte H Lee ponders the unknown dangers of space
  • Bill Diamond shows that we should be careful before we seize our moments, and
  • Mike Rader takes us to the Australian wilderness, where no one can hear you scream.

If these stories inspire you to get writing, you’ll find details on how to submit to us over here on our freshly-updated submission guidelines page. As always, if you have any questions just contact us or get us on Twitter!

Over to you, Stuart…

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

My kids are back to school as of this last Wednesday, and it has been so amazingly quiet during the day. Had I not been flooded with meetings for the day job, I suspect I would have been much more productive than I was. Not as much progress on the new layout as I was expecting this week but it is still moving forward! Hopefully, I’ll have a larger update for you by next week. 

To our UK readers, we currently have a great giveaway going on as you can win one of 2 copies of River of Ashes by Alexandrea Weis and you can enter to win right here!

A quick reminder that we’re now on MSN and would LOVE if you can throw us a follow on MSN!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 08/14/2022

Howdy, writers of the dark. You are my favourites, each and every one of you. How else can we process what’s going on in this world if not through writing our darkest fears, through exploring the possibilities and exorcising our demons on the page?

In the spirit of processing through writing, I asked Twitter the other day for recommendations. As I sit here, an Australian in London, watching everyone trying (and failing) to deal with this new threat of constant heat, I realised I want to read more climate-based fiction, both of the dystopian and of the solarpunk variety. It’s something I’ve dabbled in, and I’d love to do more exploration myself. 

And you know what? Twitter is a dumpster fire most of the time, but sometimes the tweeters really come through. My notifications were flooded for days with recommendations from all over the place; so much so that I now feel a need to pull together those recommendations into a document that I can share, just to spread the love. Maybe you have your own beloved CliFi pieces? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter, and let’s keep building this list of greatness

Not much climate stuff for you this week, but as it’s my birthday (yes, today, the 14th) I have decided to indulge myself and bring you stories that align with my own mission: folk horror, the natural world, the mythic, monsters and… ghosts. Of a sort, at least. 

This week’s trembling main course is an exploration of religion, nature and faith through the eyes of a child and a very intriguing woodland. This was actually one of the first pieces I read when I took over from Steph, and it took my breath away. Thanks, Matthew Crowder!

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Regina Beach puts her own twist on an old Welsh myth
  • Paul Latham hides in the closet, waiting for his moment, and
  • Deborah Sheldon shows why you should always help when asked

Enjoy my birthday selection – and be sure to share your own stories with us, too! You’ll find details on how to submit over here

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

Lauren has been just an amazing new resource for Horror Tree! Not only is she keeping me on track with Trembling With Fear’s incoming stories, she has also helped us update our Trembling With Fear Submission Guidelines! Behind-the-scenes, she’s also helping us get a bit more organized in other areas, though that isn’t really something front-facing but will be hugely beneficial to the site on the whole. We’ll have a few other page changes coming up and I should be seeing the first preview of the new layout by next Monday which isn’t a full preview but will be a framework and I’m thrilled to check it out.

In other realms of working on expanding the site… Did one of our recent Author Interviews end up on Microsoft Start?! We would all LOVE if you can throw us a follow on MSN!

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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Trembling With Fear 08/07/2022

Howdy, writers. How has it been a month already since Steph stepped down? I have no idea where the time goes. But just because she’s not bringing you TWF every week doesn’t mean she’s not around: Steph’s had lots of great news for her books and poetry lately, so be sure to check out her website and follow her on the socials to keep up your support.

This new month brings dread for me personally: it’s my birthday at a yet-to-be-revealed point in August. The neverending march of time goes on. I don’t deal well with ageing – I’m one of those who obsesses over missed opportunities and what I haven’t yet done that I really should’ve done already – but the other half is treating me to a night of spooky theatre in London’s West End, so I can’t complain too much! Impending birthday action also means I’m being asked for present ideas from those back home. What’s been your favourite horror or speculative release this year? I’ll add them to the wishlist…

Enough about me, though. That’s not what this brief editorial is for. Trembling With Fear is all about YOU and your creepy, strange and wondrous brains. What have you got for us? Where do you want to take us? Remember, it’s now less than three months until Halloween! What better way to practice your scares than on the page?

On this week’s trembling menu… Roxi Howitt brings us a tale of stormy nights in the middle of nowhere, with weird locals in a motel and a sense that something ain’t right. 

For the quick bites, we have three delicious offerings:

  • Stephane G Perahim’s Shut Up and Drive shows why you shouldn’t hitchhike
  • Nicholas Zielinski’s My Eyes Stare Into Hers ponders the question of soulmates, and
  • Corinne Pollard’s Lava Cupid centres on a necklace that isn’t quite what it seems.

Enjoy this week’s talent – and be sure to share your own stories with us, too! You’ll find details on how to submit over here

Over to you, Stuart….

Lauren McMenemy

Editor, Trembling With Fear

As a Foodie whose wife works in the food industry, I love the idea of referring to our weekly reading as a menu. Though, let’s go fine dining here. This is a tasting menu that you get to enjoy every course being offered and don’t have to select a limited offering. Enjoy this week’s stories! *chef’s kiss*

On the site itself, we’re still busy working in the background in preparation for the new layout. So far, the database has been initially optimized which has sped it up about 25%. This is really noticeable on the backend and, I’m hoping, for all of you as well!

This was my last week for my current MBA class so by the time you read this, I’ll be done for a few weeks. I’ll be really upping what I’m trying to get done so hopefully there will be a few immediate changes that I’ll get to talk about! 

For those looking to support the site, we’ve recently launched a Ko-Fi and always have our Patreon going. We’re still recovering from losing a few Patreons as of late so any help is appreciated there.

As always, I hope you had a great weekend.

Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

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