Taking Submissions: Mother of Invention

Deadline: August 31st, 2017
Payment: US$0.06 per word.

Mother of Invention will feature diverse, challenging stories about gender as it relates to the creation of artificial intelligence and robotics. This ambitious anthology from award-winning Australian publishing house Twelfth Planet Press will be edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael.

From Pygmalion and Galatea to FrankensteinEx Machina and Person of Interest, the fictional landscape so often frames cisgender men as the creators of artificial life, leading to the same kinds of stories being told over and over.

We want to bring some genuine revolution to the way that artificial intelligence stories are told, and how they intersect with gender identity, parenthood, sexuality, war, and the future of our species. How can we interrogate the gendered assumptions around the making of robots compared with the making of babies? Can computers learn to speak in a code beyond the (gender) binary?

If necessity is the mother of invention, what exciting AI might come to exist in the hands of a more diverse range of innovators?

What we want

We want to cover a variety of AI tropes, from the virtuous to the dangerous, from the purely computerised to the freshly built physical body. We want robots and programs and disembodied voices and steampunk and nanotech. We want stories that unpick the erroneous gendered assumptions around biological reproduction that so often underpin AI stories (do people who can gestate still want to make robots? We think so!). We’ll even accept sexbots and Stepford spouses if the story is good enough. It became pretty clear during our crowdfunding campaign that the notion of “feminist robot stories” struck a chord with our readership, so keep that in mind.

We anticipate that some stories will tackle gender issues (broadly defined) directly; others indirectly. Both approaches are OK! The only hard-and-fast rule is that the creator of the AI or robot must not be a cis man. All other characters in the story, including the robots/AIs themselves, can be of any gender (or non-gendered), and we welcome other exploration of gender in this area too. (We also stress that the protagonist need not be the creator!)

Point of view, theme, setting, everything else is completely up to the author. We’re looking for a diverse range of authors, story settings, time periods, cultural backgrounds and protagonists. Magic, history, fantasy, steampunk and mythology are all options for you to play with; we do not require this to be a 100% science fiction anthology.

In addition to stories about women (both cis and trans) as creators of robots and AI, we are explicitly interested in stories about creators who are trans men or non-binary people (including but not limited to agender, bigender, transfeminine and transmasculine non-binary folk). The creator (or other characters, of course) can be intersex, regardless of gender. We’re especially interested in own voices authors in the case of trans and/or intersex protagonists.

We’re interested in hearing from marginalised writers more generally: for example, people under the QUILTBAG umbrella, including intersex people; people of colour, including Indigenous and Native writers from around the world; and disabled people. That said, we also welcome stories from authors who aren’t marginalised. Please don’t self-reject – we want your stories! If you feel your intersections are relevant to your story, you may mention them in your cover letter, but this is not required. We respect your privacy.

The nitty-gritty

We are looking for stories of 500–5000 words, within our stated theme and not published previously in any medium, including limited audience media such as Patreon. Payment is US$0.06 per word.

Submissions open on 6 July 2017 and close on 31 August 2017.

Send your story to motherofinvention AT twelfthplanetpress DOT com in DOC, DOCX or RTF format.

No multiple submissions or simultaneous submissions. We aim to respond to all submissions by the end of November 2017.

Via: Twelfth Planet Press.

World Fantasy Award Nominations 2017

For those who keep track of award season, the nominees for the World Fantasy Award 2017 have been released!

World Fantasy Awards Administration
Jo Fletcher   •   Rodger Turner   •   Ellen Datlow   •   Gordon Van Gelder   •   Peter Dennis Pautz
World Fantasy Award Nominations
The World Fantasy Award Administration is pleased to announce the World Fantasy Award nominations for 2017. To be eligible, all nominated material must have been published in 2016 or have a 2016 cover date. Nominations came from two sources. Members of the current convention as well as the previous two were able to vote two nominations onto the final ballot. The remaining nominations came from the panel of judges. For this year’s awards. the judges were Elizabeth Engstrom, Daryl Gregory, Nalo Hopkinson, Juliet Marillier and Betsy Mitchell.

The awards will be presented at the World Fantasy Convention Banquet, in San Antonio, Texas.


The Life Achievement Award can only be presented once to a single individual. At previous conventions up to and including the one held in Columbus, OH in 2016, Life Achievement Awards have been presented to:


•  Forrest J. Ackerman •  Lloyd Alexander •  Ellen Asher •  Betty Ballantine •  Peter S. Beagle
•  Everett F. Bleiler •  Robert Bloch •  Jorge Luis Borges •  Ray Bradbury •  Marion Zimmer Bradley
•  Italo Calvino •  Ramsey Campbell •  Edd Cartier •  Hugh B. Cave •  Susan Cooper
•  John Crowley •  Roald Dahl •  Ellen Datlow •  Avram Davidson •  L. Sprague de Camp
•  Leo & Diane Dillon •  Tom Doherty •  Harlan Ellison •  Carol Emshwiller •  Stephen Fabian
•  Philip José Farmer •  Edward L. Ferman •  Jack Finney •  Frank Frazetta •  Alan Garner
•  Angélica Gorodischer •  Donald M. Grant •  David G. Hartwell •  Diana Wynne Jones •  Stephen King
•  R.A. Lafferty •  Madeleine L’Engle •  Ursula K. Le Guin •  Tanith Lee •  Fritz Leiber
•  Frank Belknap Long •  Brian Lumley •  George R.R. Martin •  Richard Matheson •  Patricia McKillip
•  Michael Moorcock •  C.L. Moore •  Andre Norton •  Terry Pratchett •  E. Hoffmann Price
•  Ray Russell •  Andrzej Sapkowski •  George Scithers •  Peter Straub •  Theodore Sturgeon
•  Sheri S. Tepper •  Jack Vance •  Evangeline Walton •  Donald Wandrei •  Manly Wade Wellman
•  Jack Williamson •  Gahan Wilson •  Gene Wolfe •  Chelsea Quinn Yarbro •  Jane Yolen

For 2017, the Life Achievment Award will be presented to:
•  Marina Warner
•  Terry Brooks

•  Mishell Baker, Borderline (Saga Press)
•  Betsy James, Roadsouls (Aqueduct Press)
•  N.K. Jemisin, The Obelisk Gate (Orbit)
•  Claire North, The Sudden Appearance of Hope (Redhook US/Orbit UK)
•  Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country (Harper)

LONG FICTION 10,000 to 40,000 words
•  Kij Johnson, “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe” (Tor.com)
•  Victor LaValle, “Ballad of Black Tom” (Tor.com)
•  Seanan McGuire, “Every Heart a Doorway” (Tor.com)
•  Paul F. Olson, “Bloodybones” (Whispered Echoes, Cemetery Dance)
•  Kai Ashante Wilson, “A Taste of Honey” (Tor.com)

SHORT FICTION under 10,000 words
•  G.V. Anderson, “Das Steingeschöpf” (Strange Horizons 12.12.16)
•  Brooke Bolander, “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” (Uncanny Magazine 11/12.16)
•  Amal El-Mohtar, “Seasons of Glass and Iron” (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales)
•  Maria Dahvana Headley, “Little Widow” (Nightmare 9.16)
•  Rachael K. Jones, “The Fall Shall Further the Flight in Me” (Clockwork Phoenix 5)

ANTHOLOGY multiple author original or reprint single or multiple editors
•  Mike Allen, ed., Clockwork Phoenix 5 (Mythic Delirium Books)
•  Jack Dann, ed., Dreaming in the Dark (PS Publishing)
•  Ellen Datlow, ed., Children of Lovecraft (Dark Horse Books)
•  Karen Joy Fowler and John Joseph Adams, ed., Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
•  Dominik Parisien And Navah Wolfe, ed., The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales (Saga Press)

COLLECTION single author/team original or reprint single or multiple editors
•  Joe Abercrombie, Sharp Ends (Gollancz)
•  Tina Connolly, On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories (Fairwood Press)
•  Jeffrey Ford, A Natural History of Hell (Small Beer Press)
•  L.S. Johnson, Vacui Magia (Traversing Z Press)
•  Ken Liu, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories (Saga Press Us/Head Of Zeus UK)

•  Greg Bridges
•  Julie Dillon
•  Paul Lewin
•  Jeffrey Alan Love
•  Victo Ngai

•  L. Timmel Duchamp for Aqueduct Press
•  C.C. Finlay for F& SF editing
•  Michael Levy and Farah Mendlesohn, for Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press)
•  Kelly Link for contributions to the genre
•  Joe Monti for contributions to the genre

•  Scott H. Andrews for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
•  Neile Graham for her work as Workshop Director of Clarion West
•  Malcolm R. Phifer and Michael C. Phifer, ed. for The Fantasy Illustration Library, Volume Two: Gods & Goddesses (Michael Publishing)
•  Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas for Uncanny Magazine
•  Brian White for Fireside Fiction Company

Taking Submissions: Biweekly Bite

Deadline: August 15th, 2017.
Payment: $5 per submission, plus digital copy of issue to appear in.

The ‘Biweekly Bite’ -the horror newsletter that gives you a short, a flick, and a surprise- is announcing the ’Horror Bites Magazine.’ We’re all about finding creative people doing interesting work and throwing views at them, and the magazine will be our next step in bringing small name horror authors to the people’s attention. We can’t do that without your submissions though!

 August 15th, 2017.
Payment: $5 per submission, plus digital copy of issue to appear in.
Due for publication: in October.
Word Count: 1,500-5,000
Reprints are allowed.

Response Time:  If we don’t get back to you by the end of September, shoot us a quick email.

 $5 per story paid via PayPal, plus a digital copy of the issue you will appear in. Payment will be distributed once we agree on the terms of using your story.

Please send separate submissions attatched to separate emails.

Guidelines for Submissions:

At this time the Horror Bites Magazine is open to all short, horror fiction. Note that there are some things that we don’t publish:

  • Nonfiction (for now).
  • Poetry.
  • Anything to close to ‘the classics.’
  • Violence that doesn’t contribute to the story.
  • Gore for the sake of gore.
  • Torture porn and rape.
  • Erotic horror.

 All submissions are to be sent to kelbywriter@gmail.com

Please format your subject line as “Horror Bites Magazine: [Your Story Title Here].”

In the body of your email, please include your name (or pseudonym) and word count. If the story is under 2,000 words, please paste the text in the body of the email, otherwise please attach it as a .doc, .docx, etc. Just use your better judgement. Only .PDF is unacceptable. 

Accepted stories will appear in the first three issues (October, November, and December) of the ‘Horror Bites Magazine,’ to appear on Amazon, iBooks, Gumroad, and anywhere else E-zines are sold. Once you have a story accepted for publication, we will ask for a 250-750 word author bio and head shot/logo for the author introduction section at the end of each issue. As this is a digital magazine, links to your own platform are allowed and encouraged.

Via: The Biweekly Bite

Taking Submissions: Menagerie de Mythique Anthology Call: Mythical Creatures Anthology

Deadline: September 5th, 2017
Payment: One half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00.
Note: Reprints Welcome. Payment for reprints is a maximum of $10.

Estimated to come out in December.
Word Count:    500-10,500
Theme:    Creatures of myth and fantasy have long been a fascination in cultures throughout the the world. Did they ever exist? Do they still exist now? Imagine a time where these creatures were plentiful. Or perhaps, when they once were but now there is only one or two left. We are looking for stories centered on such creatures, be they unicorns, dragons, griffins, chimeras, or something unknown.
We will consider any sub-genre, but the story must focus on a mythical creature.
Response Time:  Please allow up to one month. After that, if you don’t hear from us then feel free to give us a little nudge.
Payment: Payment will be one half-cent per word, with a minimum payment of $5.00 and a maximum of $15.00. Payments will be made by PayPal in USD. Payments will go out no later than four months after the publication date.
Editing: Yes, your story will be edited if we decide to accept it. After we go through and edit your story, it will then be sent back to you for final approval. In some cases, we may ask for revisions to be made. 
Reprints, Multiple & Simultaneous Submissions: Yes. Payment for reprints is a maximum of $10.
Guidelines for Submissions:
  • All submissions are to be sent to fantasiadivinity@gmail.com.
  • In the subject line please type MYTHICAL ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSION: [Your Story Title Here].
  • In the body of your email, please include your name and word count. If the story is under 2,000 words, please paste the text in the body of the email, otherwise please attach it. 
We will list all published authors on our site. Once you have a story accepted for publication, we will post a little author bio up on our site with a list of all published pieces (published by FDM).

Via: Fantasia Divinity Magazine.

Taking Submissions: The Asterisk Anthology—Round 4: Nautical Nightmares

Deadline: August 31, 2017
Payment: Contributor’s Copy

*SUBMISSION PERIOD: June 1, 2017-August 31, 2017*

The fourth round of the Asterisk Anthology will feature Nautical Nightmares, so send us your most bone-chilling tales of the sea. We welcome sea monsters of all sorts, ghost ships, creepy coastal towns, mysterious islands, and more. Anything that evokes the terror and awesome majesty of the sea is welcome. Note: No freshwater—saltwater only. Short stories (3,000 to 9,000 words) will be accepted until AUGUST 31, 2017.

*We will choose two winners. The first place winner will receive $10 and e-publication of their story on Nosetouchpress.com. The runner-up will also have e-publication on the website. The stories will remain online until the next round of winners is announced. Winning stories will be part of the upcoming ASTERISK ANTHOLOGY, to be published in October 2017. No reprints, please. Prose only. A paperback contributor’s copy will be provided to the winning contributors once the book is published. A signed contract will be required *for publication* online and in the anthology. *

*Email entries to submissions@nosetouchpress.com
<submissions@nosetouchpress.com> .doc or .rtf format • Please state “Asterisk ANTHO-Round 4” in your subject line. One entry per person. *

Via: Nose Touch Press.

Taking Submissions: Below the Stairs – Tales from the Cellar

Deadline: August 31st, 2017
Payment: $50 AUD

Callout for Submissions for a new anthology of short stories, ‘Below the Stairs – Tales from the Cellar’


Featuring stories by Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, HP Lovecraft, and edited by Oz Horror Con’s Steve Dillon, this is the second anthology in our ‘Things in the Well’ series. The first was published in May 2017, titled ‘Between the Tracks – Tales from the Ghost Train’. This also featured stories by Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, and Mark Allan Gunnells, as well as Christopher Golden, Charles Dickens, M.R. James, G.M. Hague, Steve Vernon, Lee Murray, & more.



We’re now reaching out to unearth more best-of-breed tales. We’re after new or – if memorable enough – reprints of short supernatural tales, psychological thrillers or creature features involving cellars, basements, dungeons or other subterranean chambers below the stairs (!) Word count isn’t too important providing the story is complete and memorable, although the length will typically be expected to be in the region of 6-10,000 words. We’re paying a flat rate of $50 (AUD) for this anthology. You will retain rights. More details on request.


For more details, go to the Oz Horror Con web site www.OZHorrorCon.com

Via: OZ Horror Con.

Taking Submissions: Tales From the Fluffy Bunny

Deadline: September 30th, 2017
Payment: $5.00 flat rate plus equal share of 50% of the anthology’s royalties.

Welcome to the Fluffy Bunny

The Fluffy Bunny? You say?

What kind of name is that for an adventurer’s bar?

Well, it’s not only the name of the bar it’s also the name of that blade you see hanging over the bar. The blade I used to slay
the ancient dragon Thorenoak.

All adventurers are welcome here. But I have found the ones who are truly the bravest are not those who give themselves or
their weapons grandiose names. They are the ones who are reluctant to tell their stories. However, the best stories come
from the ones who have silly nicknames – like The Fluffy Bunny.

So pull up a chair and tell us how your weapon earned its name. First drink is on the house. And depending on the quality of
the tale another may follow as well.

What we are looking for are Fantasy stories that feature your main character telling a tale about how they or their weapon
earned their name. Humor is a plus.

All stories need to start with: “This is my tale…”

Please note the editor will be adding a frame to each story to maintain the illusion the story is taking place in The Fluffy
Bunny and is being told to the bartender/patrons therein. You do not need to add any elements/breaks in the story – just tell
the story about your hero and/or their weapon’s silly nickname.

Break the story-writing rules if you want. If you use a tried and true plotline, twist it in an original and interesting way.
Original stories are preferred. Query for reprints.

ALL writers are encouraged to submit. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pro with years of credits, a beginner just starting out, or a
teenager – please feel free to send the editor a story. In your cover email, please tell the editor a bit about yourself and a quick
one-line synopsis of the story. Include genre. If experimental, please explain the type or how so the editor doesn’t edit out the
form or reject it out of hand. Thank you.

In the Subject line please put Submission:  Fluffy Bunny: Title of your story: Your name. Attach as an .rft file, please send to:

Submissions Open:  June 15th (DO NOT SUBMIT PRIOR TO THIS DATE)
Submissions Close:  September 30th

Release Date:   Late 2017 / Early 2018
Payment:  $5.00 flat rate plus equal share of 50% of the anthology’s royalties.

Will accept Fantasy
No fan fiction, shared universes, or continuing serials. PG-13 rating, please. No erotica.
No simultaneous submissions.

Length 1000-7500 words. Will consider flash fiction if it’s well-written. Times Roman 12.
Standard manuscript submission formatting must be used. Any manuscripts submitted incorrectly will be rejected.

Bios will be required if your story is accepted. Please write them in third person. Approximate length under 250 words.

Via: Wolf Singer Publications.

‘The Calling’ Blog Tour – Brent Abell On “Writing What You Know”

Re-read the title, I’ll give you a second. Okay, raise your hands if you’ve ever heard those words of advice. One, two… so a few of you have. Do you believe it? Deep down when you write anything from a letter to a story, do you truly write what you know?

Whoa, don’t everybody answer at once.

Those words are advice I think we’ve all heard. I think they are true from a certain point of view. I read a lot of books in the horror genre and if authors are writing what they know, this place is seriously messed up. Demons, werewolves, and vampires are a few of the troupes used in horror, but do we know them? Can we go out and ask a thousand year old vampire how they feel about something as research for a book? No, so how can we write what we know?

Well, we can write about our fears.

When the dark descends and the storm blows in from the west, we feel something inside of us. See the man in the long black coat standing out in the street over there? I see him and he scares me. The world today is a scary place and this fear we internalize is what we can write about.

I know there’s a good chance I’ll never have to run from a zombie. But, the same death a zombie may bring can be brought from many other sources. Death is death and it is the biggest fear of all. Loss is another one of these feelings we feel when we read horror and it’s tied closely with death. Combined, they are a one-two punch to the gut when they catch you off-guard. There are some experiences in my life that greatly influence many of the events and situations I write about.

This is where writing what you know can be cathartic. When I sit behind the keyboard, I can be a doctor and heal myself. I can rip the scab off my feelings and then let the raw emotion bleed out onto the page. I’m writing what I know. I’m writing about the pain and the loss. I’m letting what I know mix with fiction to create a work of art.

In, The Calling, I write about a different kind of loss, but a loss we fear all the same. The book is a water-shed moment for the town of White Creek where it sees its innocence stripped away and its soul lay bare. The events act like a bandage being torn away and just like my own scabs over my emotions, the town of White Creek will bleed out.

I don’t personally know a werewolf or a demon, but I do personally know loss, pain, and regret. Sometimes, we don’t write what we know, but blend it with what we do know for a powerful combination. I give a voice to my pain and it fuels the horror I write. Won’t you come and share it with me? I know you want to…

The CallingBrent Abell

Carl Volker has a problem. After waking one morning with a hangover to find his wife gone, he notices a crow stalking around his yard.  As days go by with no word from his wife, more and more crows gather.

Frank Hill is sheriff in the seemingly pleasant town of White Creek. Up until recently, his job has been fairly mundane but after a recent spree of murders, bodies are beginning to pile up and Frank has no clue as to who the killer may be.

White Creek has kept its secrets hidden well over the years but the sins of its past are coming to light; the town harbors an evil and the bindings that keep it in check are beginning to unravel.

As Frank and Carl’s friendship is tested and their destinies are revealed, the dead accumulate while the crows watch and The Calling begins!

Available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil| India | The Netherlands

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | Brazil| India | The Netherlands


Barnes & Noble



CreateSpace (Print)

Brent Abell

Brent Abell

Brent Abell lives in Southern Indiana with his wife, sons, and a pug who sits around eating the souls of wayward people. His stories have been featured in over 30 publications from multiple presses. His work includes his novella In Memoriam, collection Wicked Tales for Wicked People, and novel Southern Devils; which are available now. He also co-authored the horror-comedy Hellmouth series. Currently, he is working on the second book in the Southern Devils series and the next book with Frank Hill in the White Creek Saga.

You can follow Brent’s work on his homepage.

Trembling With Fear 07/23/2017

‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment. Stuart Conover

Editor, Horror Tree

Diao Si Gui

Fan didn’t know if it was the drink that had led him here, or some strange sense of fate.

He had not intended to venture out this far into the woods, his feet carrying him farther than his mind had bothered to realize. But hadn’t he started drinking all those hours ago to keep his mind so very numb, to wash out the thoughts and the memories that always came creeping back this time of the year? To put this place far behind him?

And yet here he was, all the same, just barely standing on his feet, swaying and looking up at the old elm.

Gang had swayed, too, that night.

His body had danced beneath that one sturdy branch, the rope tight around his neck. Fan could still recall the creaking sound the motion had made.

Had nine years really passed since then? It’d felt like ages to Fan. He supposed the guilt contributed to that. Guilt could add hours to the days, days to the weeks, and so on, stretching the years out like taffy he didn’t want to stomach.

They’d convinced themselves their actions were just, at the time. Now, though, such lies had long-since worn off.

When little Zhao Mei had gone missing that spring of 1988, all of the village had been dismayed. As she’d always been known for being the adventurous sort (and believing the people of the village were too close-knit to fathom a kidnapping), authorities assumed the girl had gotten herself lost in a jaunt through the forest.

One week and a day of fruitlessly searching the woods had passed by, though, and whatever hope there’d been of finding the eight year old had seemed to pass with it. But not for her father, Guang. He still had hope, and above all, suspicion.

He’d convinced himself that his baby had been taken, and that he’d determined the culprit: Gang, the hermit who lived quietly in the woods, and who was only ever seen on his occasional trips into the village.

Guang had brought his closest and oldest friends together one evening, sharing in his accusation with Sun Jian, Wu Yuan—and Fan.

“He’s not a part of this place,” Guang had spat. “He’s a tick on the dog, living off of us when he needs to. We can’t trust him. I swear, he took my girl, or at the least, he knows what happened to her!”

Hot blooded and seeking justice, the three had agreed to confront Gang and help their desperate friend. When Guang led them up into the woods, heading towards the outsider’s hut, not one of them questioned the long length of rope he carried with him.

The hermit was asleep when they’d broken in his door. They’d shouted demands at him as they kicked and grabbed at him. He screamed and cried. They shouted more.

When he didn’t give them the answers they sought, they’d dragged him out to the elm with the strong-looking limbs. Guang had given the old man a final chance to confess his guilt, threatening to string him up and let him hang until dead.

Still, Gang revealed nothing, and together the four of them tied the rope about his neck and hoisted him up high. They lashed the rope to a root and let the man kick—until he was past kicking.

Fan had since told himself that it was to be a scare tactic, one that had just gone too far. But he knew in his heart that they’d done exactly what they’d gone out there intending to do.

Mei’s body was found a week later, several dozen miles from the village. Her body was frail from dehydration and hunger, but there were no other marks upon her. She had indeed gotten lost, searching for home in the wrong direction.

Zhao Guang committed suicide a few months later, becoming something of a ghost long before his passing. He’d ended it by a hanging. Wu Yuan moved to Hangzhou shortly after that; he died last year, run over in the street. And Sun Jian went two months back, a heart attack taking him in the night.

They’d kept their deed a secret in all that time, and now only Fan remained to tow their regret. He heaved a sigh, let loose his tears, and took another swig from his bottle. He nearly choked on it though, dropping the beer and falling to his knees as he went into a coughing fit.

As his breath returned to him, he heard the familiar sound of creaking overhead.

Fan slowly turned his eyes upward, knowing what he would see. Still, his gut went cold at the sight of Gang the hermit, who was swinging over him, his slack, dead gaze upon him.

He was dressed in the same rags he’d worn the night of his death, his white skin dirtied and showing signs of rot. An unnaturally long, red tongue jutted out from his mouth, lolling and twisted like a dead worm upon a hot street. There was as much demon about the specter as there was man—a twisted form born of the hell that Fan and the others had sent him to.

A hoarse whisper escaped the spirit’s lips, a single, damning word spoken from beyond the grave:

“Innocent . . .”

Fan cried out in terror, feeling all of the forest and its arcane forces bearing down upon him. Whether he knelt under the dead man for a mere moment or an hour, he did not know, nor did it matter. For when he finally rose and stumbled away, the damage had already been done.

Crazed and forever blinded, Fan fled the place of his lasting sin, screaming for death as he went.

A week and a half later, a hiker happened across his body; it lay not so very far from where the young Zhao Mei had been discovered nine years earlier.


Patrick Winters

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.

You can learn more about Patrick at his homepage.

The Summon

To every teenage boy who stay up all night to invoke the devil and summon the dark one to come and collect their tormented souls. Drawing silly chalk lines on the floor, dropping blood on the carpet and reads ancient spells that they don’t understand or cannot properly pronounce. When I finally arrives their faces always becomes pale and they shiver with fear. When they can see my face I always hear a terrifying scream.


-Yes, my son, I reply, I am here, so clean up your f*cking room before I drag your lazy soul back down to hell!

Mathias Jansson

Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and horror poet. He has been published in magazines as The Horror Zine, Dark Eclipse, Schlock and The Sirens Call. He has also contributed to over 100 different horror anthologies from publishers as Horrified Press, James Ward Kirk Fiction, Source Point Press, Thirteen Press etc.

You can find out more about Mathias at his homepage.


It was a day full of teeth marks and tears. Jerimiah pulled Bethany’s hair: he stepped on the hem of her dress. She sunk her teeth into the flesh of his ankle. Instead of giving her a spanking, Momma sent her to church.

Now, Bethany watched gaunt townswomen encircle her. Melodious chanting lifted skyward as they fidgeted over loosely threaded beads.

The women’s frantic breaths siphoned rolling smoke from the air. When they raised their heads, their eyes took an orange hue. It must have been the firelight reflected-a trick of the light.

Bethany would have much preferred that spanking.

Sarah Doebereiner

Sarah Doebereiner is a short story author from Central Ohio. For the past year, she has worked with Claren Books as their editor. Macabre themes fascinate her because of their tendency to stay with readers long after the book closes, but the joy in short fiction is the opportunity to try out all kinds of genres.

You can follow Sarah’s work on Amazon.

Glass Slipper

The scullery maid wore the gown and glass slippers created by her fairy godmother to the royal ball. She arrived in a magic carriage pulled by enchanted livery.

The Prince stayed at her side and he never tired of gazing into her mirror like shoes.

At midnight, she ran and lost a shoe. The Prince caught her and knelt to replace it. He stared into the shoe and she realized that he’d been using the reflection to peek up her gown the entire night.

She screamed, “Pervert”, ripped off her other shoe and shoved the high hell into his eye.

Robert Allen Lupton

Robert Allen Lupton lives in New Mexico where he is commercial hot air balloon pilot. He writes and runs every day, but not necessarily in that order.

Recent publications include short stories in the following anthologies:

Uncommon Origins
Twelve Days
Hindered Souls
Potters Field #6
Worlds Unknown #3

The novel, Foxborn, was published by West Mesa Press in April of 2017.

Other short stories are available online from “Crimson Streets”, Daily Science Fiction, and two drabbles have been published in “Trembling With Fear”.

“Running Into Trouble”, a collection of 15 fantasy, science fiction, horror, adventure, and humorous stories, all with running as a central theme, will be published in July of 2017. The novelette, Dejanna of Mars, will be published in August 2017, and the second book in the Foxborn series, ‘Here There Be Dragons,” is scheduled for February 2018.

Other short stories will be published online and in anthologies through the year. Visit Robert’s author pages on Amazon and Goodreads for more information.

Story Worms: Biting the Bullet

Despite being a huge horror fan, I’m scared of a lot of things. The dark, spiders, flying, food with a face. In fact, simply leaving the house each day can feel like a test of courage. There’s just all sort of things that can go wrong, or cause a moment of awkwardness, and I can’t prepare for them all.

But when you’re a self-publishing author, you’re also running a business, and businesses require scary things like marketing and networking. We’re a funny lot, us writers. We hide away in darkened rooms, or basements, or under the eaves, sometimes in quiet corners of coffee shops and libraries if we’re particularly brave, and we spend much of our time talking to fictional characters, and living in fictional worlds. And that’s just how we like it, right? So it’s hardly surprising that social awkwardness tends to be rather prevalent among our numbers.

Last Saturday I attended a local speculative fiction literary convention. I’ve been going for a few years now, and I know a lot of people who go, and I spend the day hugging and chatting and catching up with everyone I’ve not seen for a year. But I remember my first time there. Not only did I have the anxiety of going somewhere new, with people I didn’t know, but I was set to read an excerpt from one of my short stories. The convention hosts several book launches, and the anthology the story was published in was being launched that weekend. It was absolutely terrifying. But I did it, and I’m so glad that I did.

That book launch got me recognition in that community, it made me friends in it, and it led me to what has happened today.

The one thing I always leave the convention with is ideas. Loads of them. Story ideas, project ideas, character ideas, and business ideas. Ways to push my self-publishing business forward.

I approached the event’s organiser (it actually took me 3 days to pluck up the courage to email him!) and pitched an idea I had for a workshop I wanted to run next year. And when he responded, it took me a while to pluck up the courage to open his email. Because this meant so much to me. But, with one eye squinted shut, I read his reply. Not only did he love my idea, but he asked me to bring it forward to the winter event, and he asked me to sit on one of the panel discussions.

Being on a panel discussion scares the absolute bejeezers out of me. I practically grew up on the stage, but I always had a script, a costume, a character to hide behind. This will be me. Unscripted. With a whole audience of people expecting me to say something clever and insightful. So I said yes. I bit the bullet. Because sometimes we have to do the thing that terrifies us the most.

And not just because it’s good for business. But because it’s good for us.


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