Author Archives: gwendolynkiste

Autumnal and Awesome: Submission Roundup for September 2023

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! As always, there are lots of great writing opportunities this month, so hopefully, if you have a story seeking a home, one of these markets will be the perfect fit.

The usual disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; I’m merely spreading the word. Please direct your questions to their respective editors. And with that, onward with September’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

We Are the Quiet Ones
Payment: $25/flat
Length: Short stories up to 3,000 words for fiction; Flash, micro fiction, and narrative poetry up to 1,200 words
Deadline: September 10th, 2023
What They Want: This issue is seeking quiet horror and dystopian stories on the theme of “The End.”
Find the details here.

Weird Horror Magazine
Payment: .015/word
Length: 500 to 6,000 words
Deadline: September 16th, 2023
What They Want: Open to a wide variety of weird and horror fiction.
Find the details here.

Yule: A Collection of Yule Time Tales
Payment: $10/flat
Length: 2,500 to 8,000 words
Deadline: Open September 11th to October 16th 2023
What They Want: Speculation Publications is seeking Pagan Yule stories from a variety of genres.
Find the details here.

Payment: .10/word for original fiction; .03/word for reprint fiction; $50/flat for original poetry; $25/flat for reprint poetry
Length: 1,000 to 5,000 words for fiction and nonfiction; open for poetry
Deadline: Opens on October 1st, 2023 (though the submission portal fills up quickly)
What They Want: Open to dark speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

Rainbow Horror: Interview with Maxwell I. Gold

Welcome back! Today, I’m thrilled to spotlight author Maxwell I. Gold. I had the pleasure of meeting Maxwell at StokerCon in June, and one of the things I remember most about him is how we both repeatedly complimented each other’s fashion choices during the convention. The other thing I remember is how kind and helpful he was throughout StokerCon, which meant that I was quite happy to hear that he was going to be the Interim Executive Director for HWA. We’re lucky to have someone so dedicated at the helm of the organization.

Recently, Maxwell and I discussed his new book, Bleeding Rainbows and Other Broken Spectrums, along with his love of prose poetry and what he’s got planned next.

A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I’ve always loved to write, ever since I was little – well, younger, since I’ve always been on the shorter side. Actually, I had (still have) a small, velvet-bound spiral notebook with a bunch of poorly written short stories I penned when I was in 5th grade because I knew then I’d always wanted to be an author. You can imagine the mockery in the late 1990’s from a bunch of elementary kids. Some of the earliest writers I read were actually not horror, but I grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, Alexandre Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, and many classical writers.

Some of my favorite writers include Clark Ashton Smith, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Chambers, Comte de Lautreamont, and many contemporary authors including Lucy A. Synder, Paula D. Ashe, Michael Bailey, Matthew M. Bartlett and recently I’ve fallen in love with the work of Tom Cardamone.

Congratulations on your collection, Bleeding Rainbows and Other Broken Spectrums. What was the inspiration for the book, and what themes in particular do you feel are most important in Bleeding Rainbows?

The book arose out of a discussion with Hex Publisher founder, Josh Viola after agreeing to do a poetry collection for his publishing company. He asked if I might be interested in exploring homoerotic poetry, so, I began to wonder at the possibilities of combining both the weird and cosmic with homoerotic.

The collection follows a path through colors and feelings starting with the obvious crimson red desire, ending with dark uncertainty. It was my hope that the collection, while pulling at the erogenous (yes, you read that correctly), primal subconscious desires that lurk inside all of us – I wanted to tug at something darker and more urgent. The other. The fear that there’s something else on the other side of the closet door. I tried to touch on themes both historical and psychological including toxic masculinity, abusive relationships, and the gay civil rights movement.

There’s a lot packed into 66 poems.

I’m a huge fan of prose poetry, and your particular approach to it is both beautiful and horrifying in all the best ways. What inspires you to write prose poetry? Do you remember your earliest experience as a reader of prose poetry?

The musicality of prose poetry is something that I greatly enjoy, and I’m inspired by almost everything and anything I can find when it comes to crafting new poems. Dreams, random word associations, or even side conversation can spark the strangest line of poetry where I’m taken down a rabbit hole into a bizarre, twisted place. Oftentimes, whenever I wake from a vivid dream (or nightmare) I’ll write down the images or deranged sequence of events then revisit it later. There’s no one singular well as to which I draw inspiration from, though I feel that’s safe to say for many of us as writers.

Some of the earliest bits of prose poetry I recall reading were honestly some of the old myths such as Metamorphosis by Ovid which qualifies more in the realm of epic poetry, though at a young age I found myself reading Ovid, Hesiod, Blake because I was in love with the beautiful imagery and fantastical sounds and places these poets were conjuring. I’ll admit that I did not discover horror until much more recently.

What upcoming projects are you working on?

My chapbook another Mythology which explores old myths through a new lense with queer representation will be released by Interstellar Flight Press in September.

I will have a new prose poetry collection released next year. I’m afraid I cannot announce the publisher yet, but I promise you’ll know, soon!

And of course, you can find Bleeding Rainbows and Other Broken Spectrums on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through Hex Publishers directly! If you order a hardback copy through the publisher you’ll receive a special bookmark (and that’s all I’ll say).

I’ve written a few poems for anthologies that are coming out this year including Back 2 OmniPark (ed. Ben Thomas and Alicia Hilton) from House Blackwood, Playlist for the Damned (ed. Willow Dawn Becker and Jess Landry) from Weird Little Worlds.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at my website – or on instagram @cybergodwrites

Big thanks to Maxwell I. Gold for being part of this week’s author interview series!

Happy reading!

Summer and Stories: Submission Roundup for August 2023

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! As always, there are lots of great opportunities this month, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then one of these markets might be the perfect fit!

First, the usual disclaimer: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; please direct your questions to their respective editors. And with that, onward with August’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Strange Horizons
Payment: .10/word for fiction; $50/flat for poetry; $150/flat for nonfiction
Length: up to 4,000 words
Deadline: August 15th, 2023
What They Want: Editors Suzan Palumbo and Marika Bailey are seeking speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Caribbean and Caribbean-diaspora authors.
Find the details here.

Flame Tree Publishing’s Gothic Fantasy series
Payment: .08/word for original fiction; .06/word for reprints
Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words
Deadline: August 27th, 2023
What They Want: The editors are seeking African Ghost Short Stories from African and African-diaspora writers.
Find the details here.

Why Didn’t You Just Leave
Payment: .10/word
Length: 500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: August 31st, 2023
What They Want: Editors Nadia Bulkin and Julia Rios are seeking stories that focus on why people don’t leave haunted places.
Find the details here.

A Darker Continent: Strange Tales Of Europe At War
Payment: Percentage of Kickstarter
Length: 5,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: August 31st, 2023
What They Want: Editor John Linwood Grant is seeking weird and strange fiction set in Europe during World War II.
Find the details here.

We Are the Quiet Ones
Payment: $25/flat
Length: Short stories up to 3,000 words for fiction; Flash, micro fiction, and narrative poetry up to 1,200 words
Deadline: Open from August 13th to September 10th, 2023
What They Want: This issue is seeking quiet horror and dystopian stories on the theme of “The End.”
Find the details here.

Little Bastards: Too-Short Horror Stories No One Wants
Payment: .08/word
Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words
Deadline: Open September 15th to September 30th, 2023 for general submissions; Extended submission period to October 7th, 2023 for marginalized authors
What They Want: Editors Alexis DuBon and Brandon Applegate are seeking horror stories that are too long to be flash fiction but often too short for most short story calls.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

My new novel, The Haunting of Velkwood, is coming soon!

So you may have already heard me screaming from the rooftops about this, but just in case you missed it…

I have a new novel coming out next year!

*screams from the rooftops once again while twirling with joy*

The Haunting of Velkwood is due out from Saga Press on March 5th, 2024. This story is one of the most personal things I’ve ever written, and I’m beyond thrilled for it to make its way into the world.

Last month, The Lineup was gracious enough to do the exclusive cover reveal, which also included a few words from me about the novel. For those of you who missed it, you can see more about it right here.

And now since it’s been a few weeks since the cover reveal at The Lineup, I’m going to go ahead and post the gorgeous art here on my own blog. So without further adieu, behold the gloriously creepy suburban cover!

I’m seriously over the moon for this surreal little cover, and it represents the strangeness and darkness of the book so well. For those of you who have read my work, The Haunting of Velkwood is probably most tonally and thematically similar to The Rust Maidens; both stories are about small, insular neighborhoods and the women who bear the weight of their families’ worst impulses, all with supernatural consequences.

Unlike The Rust Maidens, though, Velkwood is definitely a very queer book. I’m putting that out there now, because for a long time, the queer content in Reluctant Immortals wasn’t mentioned as much as I’d hoped it would be in reviews and the like. (That being said, Reluctant Immortals ultimately won the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Fiction, so the LGBTQ+ themes did eventually get noticed in a big way, which seriously means the world to me.)

Anyway, if you’ve gotten this far in the blog, then you must be at least a little interested in The Haunting of Velkwood. So here’s the official description:

From Bram Stoker Award­–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a chilling novel about three childhood friends who miraculously survive the night everyone in their suburban neighborhood turned into ghosts—perfect for fans of Yellowjackets.

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now.

Talitha Velkwood has avoided anything to do with the tragedy that took her mother and eight-year-old sister, drifting from one job to another, never settling anywhere or with anyone, feeling as trapped by her past as if she was still there in the small town she so desperately wanted to escape from. When a new researcher tracks her down and offers to pay her to come back to enter the vicinity, Talitha claims she’s just doing it for the money. Of all the crackpot theories over the years, no one has discovered what happened the night Talitha, her estranged, former best friend Brett, and Grace, escaped their homes twenty years ago. Will she finally get the answers she’s been looking for all these years, or is this just another dead end?

Award-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste has created a suburban ghost story about a small town that trapped three young women who must confront the past if they’re going to have a future.

Needless to say, I’m so very proud of this book, and I can’t wait for the release date. I’ll be merrily discussing it plenty more for the rest of this year and into next, so be prepared for lots of talk about hauntings, family secrets, and the women who break toxic cycles. In the meantime, feel free to pre-order the novel if you’re so inclined!

*screams from the rooftop with joy once again*

Happy haunting, and happy reading!

Sizzling Summer Stories: Submission Roundup for July 2023

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! As always, there are plenty of great opportunities this month, so if you’ve got a story seeking a home, then one of these markets might be the perfect fit!

First, a disclaimer as usual: I’m not a representative for any of these markets; please direct your questions to their respective editors. And with that, onward with July’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Electric Spec
Payment: $20/flat
Length: 250 to 7,000 words
Deadline: July 15th, 2023
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction.
Find the details here.

It Was All a Dream, Volume 2
Payment: .05/word
Length: 1,500 to 3,000 words
Deadline: Open July 1st to July 15th for all authors; open July 1st to July 22nd for marginalized authors
What They Want: Open to short, weird horror fiction that reworks an old trope.
Find the details here.

Monstrous Magazine
Payment: .06/word
Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words
Deadline: July 27th, 2023
What They Want: Open to flash fiction that focuses on monsters, pulp, and classic horror.
Find the details here.

Diabolical Plots
Payment: .10/word
Length: Up to 3,500 words
Deadline: Open July 17th to 31st, 2023
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Find the details here.

NonBinary Review
Payment: .01/word
Length: up to 3,000 words
Deadline: July 31st, 2023
What They Want: Open to stories on the theme of world tour.
Find the details here.

The Cellar Door
Payment: $25/flat
Length: 2,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: July 31st, 2023
What They Want: The forthcoming issue of The Cellar Door is seeking stories that explore post-apocalyptic worlds in which humans have survived.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!

Favorites and Future: Part Three in Our Pride Month Horror Roundtable

Welcome back for the final installment of our Pride Month Horror Roundtable! Today we discuss books and short stories featuring LGBTQ+ characters as well as these six authors’ hopes for the future of queer literature!

And with that, let’s take it away!

What are a few books or short stories that feature LGBTQ+ characters that you wish more people knew about?

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: A Visitation of Spirits by the late author Randall Kenan ought to be more well-known. It’s not marketed as a genre fiction but it has a definite horror vibes. It’s about the Black church and the exorcism of a Black queer boy.

The Museum of Love by Steve Wiener is a magical realist novel about a French Canadian boy and his journey to self acceptance. It’s full of weird surrealistic interludes.

CHRISTINA LADD: The horror community tends to be ravenously well-informed, but I’ll try. First off, even if everybody knows about them, still not enough people talk about Caitlin R. Kiernan. They’ve been a mainstay of horror for many years, an Atlas on whose shoulders rests so much of the foundation for current trends in cosmic horror. I wouldn’t have heard of Lovecraft—or of the still lesser-known Charles Fort—if not for them, and many of their short stories and novels are touchstones for me still.

Recently, I’ve loved Tell Me I’m Worthless by Allison Rumfit, which wonders how we can stop hurting each other in our current dystopia haunted by ghosts of fascisms past, and Chlorine by Jade Song, which isn’t shelved with horror but definitely has a lot of horror elements that I highly recommend you check out.

K.P. KULSKI: Sara Tantlinger’s novella, To Be Devoured, is gorgeous and horrifying, I highly recommend it to everyone. This is one of those works I feel like the whole world should know about.

Nicholas Day’s novella, At the End of the Day I Burst Into Flames, is hands down one of my all time favorite books. It is gorgeous, aching, and speaks volumes of truth. To be quite honest, this book is very close to my heart and I go back to it often to find myself.

Sang Young Park’s book Love in the Big City was a recent read for me and I dearly loved it. The work is everything aching and yet filled with self-awareness. Not only did it bring me to tears, it gave me a gift of personal growth.

LARISSA GLASSER: The absolute polestar of queer horror is Clive Barker’s “In the Hills, the Cities.” I think plenty of readers and writers in genre realize how much a game-changer The Books of Blood are, but consider when they were written during the height of worldwide conservative hawkishness rooted in Thatcher, Reagan, Pinochet, Ríos Montt, among others, Barker managed to make gay lives seem just as ordinary and capable of being imposed upon by extraordinary events. “Human Remains” and “The Madonna” in the same story cycle touch upon similar themes, but “In the Hills” seems to have gained the most recognition, and justly so. The place to start with Torrey Peters would be her novellas “Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones,” “The Masker,” and her full novel Detransition, Baby. Finally, read Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin. You’re in for one fuck of a ride, and she’s got more coming very soon.

MONA LESUEUR: Not so much a specific book, but you could pick any name out of the ones I listed up above and you’ll have a good time! But if I had to pick one, I wish more people talked about The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan. God, I love that book.

ADDIE TSAI: Bryan Washington’s LOT! I feel like a lot of people know about his second book, but LOT is such an incredible collection of stories, centering my hometown, Houston, in ways that we’ve never seen in American literature before. Mark Oshiro’s Each of Us a Desert is a book that came out in the second year of the pandemic, and so I don’t know if it got the attention it deserved. That novel is so close to my heart, and brought me back into reading since the start of the pandemic, no easy task. I would give that book to everyone in the world if I could.

What are your hopes for the future of LGBTQ+ representation in horror and speculative fiction?

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: I hope more people will accept damaged and unlikeable queer characters. They make for more interesting storytelling than Perfect Queers. I also want alternative family structures explored—poly folk and leather folk as well as more traditional queer couples with children.

CHRISTINA LADD: Ever since The Book of Queer Saints, the idea of problematic or messy queers has been on my mind. There’s certainly a strain of discourse that prefers LGBTQ+ people to be, if not out-and-out (hah) Good Guys, then at least somehow sympathetic. And I get it, it’s still very scary to write stories that some dingus might then brandish at a school board meeting in order to justify banning all queer stories. It’s terrifying, in fact! But I hope that the horror community will not do the dinguses’ work for them. Horror has so often been a refuge for people who have been made to feel monstrous, and I want the genre to continue be a source of catharsis and consolation.

K.P. KULSKI: My hope is that it continues its current course— exploring and embracing. With that said, I would also like to see more representation for those of us who are LGBTQ+ and part of the Asian Diaspora, like Addie Tsai’s Unwieldy Creatures. (More of this please!) Our experiences, often at the crossroads of the immigrant, diaspora, multi-racial, multi-cultural are unique and have specific struggles when we also have an LGBTQ+ identity.

F4LARISSA GLASSER: LGBTQ+ presence and agency will keep genre fiction alive, innovative, and lucrative in the 21st century and beyond. I know there may be some who act in bad faith, who want to exclude trans women from the genre and even from daily life, but I cannot emphasize enough how self-sabotaging that attitude has always proven to be.

MONA LESUEUR: More queer horror romance, and more survival horror with a tight-knit queer group and a monster. Gimme lesser monsters teaming up with humans to take down the big monster. Gimme gays vs. dinosaurs. Gimme lesbians dripping with viscera who make out while their limbs mutate. Gimme ghost x human BDSM. Gimme monster love. Gimme messy protagonists. That’s all I ask.

ADDIE TSAI: My hope is that we just see more representation, more popular media, more complex intersection of LGBTQ+ Black characters, Indigenous characters, and other characters of color interacting with horror and speculative fiction tropes in interesting ways. I want to see unsaintly characters, LGBTQ+ storylines that don’t end in erasure, and for god’s sake, no more being relegated to subtext.

What’s next for you? What projects are you currently working on, and where can we find you online?

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: I am currently working on short stories for a couple of anthology invitations. I’ll have a story in BLACKENED ROOTS, a collection zombie stories from Black creators in June. This past March I had a reprint piece in The Dark called “Antelope Brothers” that’s available to read online for free. I can be found at and @ethereallad on Instagram, Twitter and Mastadon

CHRISTINA LADD: Right now I have a lot of short stories in various states of disarray, but my eventual goal is to finish a queer Persephone novel, and also a novel set in Carcosa.

I’m also poking at an eventual collection of stories based on John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, which is a (very biased) account of English Catholic persecution of Protestant, but to me as a modern and nonreligious reader, it’s really just a collection of horrifying ways that humans decided to hurt each other. Reimagining those accounts with modern, supernatural, and queer/feminist lenses has been a pet project of mine. You can read one of those stories here. For everything else, you can find me at

K.P. KULSKI: I’ve been working for awhile on what began as a novella, but has turned into a novel—about a mul-gwishin/Korean water ghost haunting. It’s rooted in post war/Cold War Korean history, as well American immigrant and Asian-American experiences. I’ve also been at work planning and writing an Asian Diaspora Folk Horror television series. I’m still tinkering with the pilot episode.

I’m also looking forward to StokerCon in Pittsburgh this year! If you’re planning to attend, be sure to say hello!

You can also find me online, on Insta @garnetonwinter, and Twitter @garnetonwinter.

LARISSA GLASSER: I’m working on an anthology story about cryptids in Nantucket, another about The Formless Spawn from Clark Ashton Smith’s Tsathoggua cycle, another longer work which will explore some of the themes explored in Arthur Machen folktales. Another book I’m getting into is a trilogy that exclusively takes place inside of vehicles (don’t worry, there will be plenty of killdozers involved, too). Apart from that I’m finishing up post-production for the next Hekseri album which we hope to have mixed and mastered this summer.

I don’t have a website up currently, but the best place to find me online is Twitter @larissaeglasser and that’s also the best place to DM me if I can help with anything or if you just want to debate which Drive Like Jehu album is better. THANK UUU <333

MONA LESUEUR: I currently have a few gestating novellas and a novelette in the works that I hope you all will hear more about soon. I won’t share too many details, as I’m the kind of writer that likes to stay mum until I have all the pages in order for fear of either losing interest or momentum from pressure, but I approach all my writing with a desire to will something into existence that I can’t find anywhere outside my daydreams.

You can find me on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram as @msuspiriorum, though I’m afraid I don’t talk much about my process on social media. I’m always happy to chat about books, video games, movies, TV, anime, manga…but otherwise, I hope you enjoy artwork, pictures, updates on what media I am enjoying, and silly memes!

ADDIE TSAI: I’m actually working on what I like to call a fanfic of UNWIELDY CREATURES, or a spin-off. It will also feature another kind of reimagining, but based in history rather than fiction. Stay tuned! I’m also writing a lot of poems, working on a memoir, as well as a graphic novel! Can we say Virgo? You can find me at my website: I’m addiebrook on Twitter and bluejuniper on Instagram. Come find me!

And that’s our Pride Month Horror Roundtable for 2023! Huge thanks to our featured authors, and please read their work during June and all year-round!

Happy reading, and happy Pride Month!

Representation and Favorites: Part Two in Our Pride Month Horror Roundtable

Welcome back to part two of our Pride Month Horror Roundtable! Today, we discuss LGBTQ+ representation in horror as well as favorite queer authors!

And with that, I’ll let our featured writers take it away!

How, if at all, do you feel that LGBTQ+ representation in horror and speculative fiction
has changed over the last few years?

CHRISTINA LADD: It’s hard to separate out my own experience of reading horror from the genre itself, since I am in no way an expert—I’m a fan, first and foremost, and I read where my on predilections take me. So with that caveat, I’ve been very happy to see queerness presented as a nonissue more and more often; it’s ubiquitous, normal, and quietly foundational instead of centered as The Conflict. There are, of course, also books in which queer concerns are central, and I like those too! However, queer universality delights me in large part because it’s strangely—subversively—maybe even perversely—optimistic. Sure, there are plagues or serial killers or monsters from beyond the stars, but at least nobody is having a snit about two girls kissing.

ADDIE TSAI: I believe that we’re in a very exciting moment for LGBTQ+ representation in horror and speculative fiction. As I said in an interview promoting It Came from the Closet, is there any genre queerer than horror, one that takes everything under the bed–our secret fears, desires, and fantasies–and lays it out for us to confront? I think that we, as living in queer bodies, inevitably queer any genre with our own perspectives and realities, but I think that there is a way that the horror film, which turns everything inside out, enables a kind of queer potential more than any other genre.  But, what we’re seeing that’s changed in terms of LGBTQ+ representation in horror and speculative fiction is explicit representation. No longer are we being relegated as “subtext” but are now finally being included “out of the closet.” I’m thinking particularly about the most recent AMC adaptation of Anne Rice’s The Interview with the Vampire, in which the characters Lestat and Louis are an explicitly queer couple and their dynamic is complicated as a queer dynamic, rather than being implied. We are also seeing more complicated storylines and characters that don’t end with villainizing queer characters, or having their lives end in tragedy. The more representation we have, the more complex our stories can become.

MONA SWAN LESUEUR: It has definitely become more varied and diverse, but this is only the beginning. Soon…we will infest all shelves on Earth, and then we shall expand to farthest reaches of the known cosmos…and beyond. But for now, you can go to your favorite indie bookseller or book chain and order as much as possible! The more we are read, the more we grow.

One of horror’s strengths historically has been the ability to explore characters that otherwise have unexamined in other genres. That still rings true to this day. In horror, you can see LGBTQ+ at their lowest and highest points. We’ve got problems and we’re just as messed up as everyone else. We’ve also got beautiful souls filled with an abundance of love. We just want to live peaceful lives, but monsters keep showing up who insist on eradicating us in any way they can. In many ways, horror is the perfect place to showcase our fullest truest selves, and that is becoming more and more evident as more queer horror gets published and read.

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: There has been an explosion of queer-friendly horror and speculative fiction in the past few years. The visibility is amazing—and all the voices are different. It is no longer novel to have queer characters and queer authors. I love that there is room for more than one Black queer author in speculative fiction. And the queer representation we’re getting is written for a queer audience. No dilution or heteronormative palatability is now necessary, and it makes for richer, more dynamic fiction.

K.P. KULSKI: In my view, in the horror community it’s been mostly embraced and further— actively supported. There are always some people who are hateful, but they seem relegated to the sidelines, and this gives me great hope.

LARISSA GLASSER: We’ve gone from having trans women as the “twist” in Sleepaway Camp or
the “transvestite” in Psycho or the “what a kooky doctor” in Dressed to Kill or the “No Men in this House” in Unhinged to trans women writing some of the best work in the genre over the past decade. I never thought I’d live to see this happen. This may not be universally felt within the horror community, but it means a great deal to me.

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ+ authors writing today?

ADDIE TSAI: Alexander Chee, Jas Hammonds, Mark Oshiro, Zeyn Joukhadar, and Bryan Washington are some of the LGBTQ+ writers I’m really excited about right now.

CHRISTINA LADD: Cassandra Khaw, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gwendolyn Kiste (hiii), Eric LaRocca, Carmen Maria Machado, and Hailey Piper, to name a few (in alphabetical order)!

MONA SWAN LESUEUR: Let’s see… Gretchen Felker-Martin, Judith Sonnet, Paula D. Ashe, Cassandra Khaw, Eric LaRocca, Hailey Piper, Eve Harms, Joe Koch, Johannes T. Evans, Jo Quenell, Katy Michelle Quinn, Fiona Maeve Geist, Emma Alice Johnson, S.G. Murphy, Larissa Glasser…

just to name a few! Growing up I could count my favorites on one hand, and now there is a feast of pages to consume that are written by so many lovely people. I’m discovering new favorites all the time!

K.P. KULSKI: Since I know many will mention the amazing Hailey Piper and Eric LaRocca (as they should, both are exceptional with stunning work), I’d like to put forth some additional names.

Jess Cho. Everything they write is absolute fire on the brain and tears in your heart. I’m a huge fan. Do yourself a favor and look up their work and read it immediately.

Nicholas Day is a friend, a publisher, but also a phenomenal writer. He should be unbelievably famous. His work is weird, violent, gorgeously introspective, and heartbreaking. Gah, it’s so dang good. Go read it now.

Corey Niles is an exceptional talent and we’ve only begun to see what he’s got in store for both horror and the greater literary world.

Joe Koch. Think of the tragic smear of butterfly wings, guts staining the powdery colors into vibrancy and sprinkled with pollen, then you’d have The Wingspan of Severed Hands. Mind-bending, beautiful, and horrific.

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: Hailey Piper, Sumiko Saulson, Tom Cardamone, Matt Cheney, Robert Levy, Maxwell Ian Gold and Paula Ashe. Though there are many, many others.

LARISSA GLASSER: I’m not sure how many times I’ve mentioned Torrey Peters–probably
infinity times, but her writing changed my universe in some pretty epic ways. She shines a searing light on trans and queer lives of every stripe, and my jaw drops at her command with prose and narrative techniques every time. Nowadays there are SO MANY trans writers in the
genre that everyone needs to check out. Hailey Piper is incredibly prolific and brings forth an opaque vision very much like what we read in Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter. Gretchen Felker-Martin is the matriarch of full-throttle grindhouse trans lit–I have so much to learn from her, she totally blows my mind how hardcore she is, it’s like re-experiencing the fiction of Gary Indiana, Jean Genet, even Samuel Beckett. She fucking rules. Other trans writers I hope to see
more from include Eve Harms, Alice Stoehr, Polly Schattel, and I’m sure this list will grow once I check back online. I’ve already mentioned Torrey Peters but let’s not forget the women who also really got this going–Imogen Binnie’s “Nevada,” “A Safe Girl to Love” by Casey Plett, and “I’ve Got a Time Bomb” by Sybil Lamb. These should be in every library on the planet.

How do you incorporate queer characters and experiences into your own work? Is it something you do consciously, or is it simply where your stories ultimately lead you as an author?

ADDIE TSAI: I always center queer Asian characters in my work, and it is always incredibly intentional. I write the books I want to exist, either as I was coming of age as a young adult, or books I wish existed now that I haven’t found.

CHRISTINA LADD: I write very instinctively, and I guess my instincts are regularly queer. Shrug!

MONA SWAN LESUEUR: I’m a big proponent of cannibalizing your own life with several tasteful dashes of fantasies, lies, and fears on top, so everything I write is queer in one way or another. It started out as a conscious choice before I even realized I was a trans lesbian, as I always felt most drawn to reading and writing about women. Felt more like myself when around women. It just felt right. In retrospect, my childhood dreams of transforming like a magical girl to fight zombies in a Resident Evil style mansion and then going on dates with girls as a girl where we ride velociraptors make a lot more sense!

K.P. KULSKI: So, I do both—subconsciously and consciously incorporate queer characters and experiences. Characters develop in my mind and they tend to have a sense about them, a feel that without much thought that may include a queer identity. I don’t necessarily choose it for them. I don’t always discuss it either if I don’t think the character understands themself or if they aren’t a person who spends much time thinking about this—they just are. I think that’s a place we need to be careful because queer folks don’t walk around thinking, “I’m queer” at all times. We think “I love,” “I hate,” “I want,” etc. Just like everyone else does. There are times I’ve done it consciously, or more accurately further delved into a character’s queer identity consciously—usually it’s because I’m purposefully exploring an idea and the character’s queer identity is important to that exploration. For example, in Fairest Flesh, I wanted to explore how beauty standards can hurt and be used to divide all women.

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: The inclusion of queer characters isn’t conscious at all! They just show up in my work and take over. When I had a draft of A Spectral Hue that seemed broken and stalled, I had the epiphany to make all of the books characters queer—-and the writing flowed from there. I sometimes have to remind myself to throw in straight representation!

LARISSA GLASSER: I used to think that having trans characters in my work would be tokenizing, but that was just my insecurity and fear taking hold. Most of my work now centers on a trans perspective, but my sources also come from dreams, world events, legends, heavy metal trivia–perhaps it’s random but when a story is filtered through a queer author’s perspective, readers may experience tales they may not have heard otherwise. And that raises our own standard to achieve something great for as many people as we can.

And that’s our roundtable for this week! Head on back next week for the conclusion of this year’s Pride Month Horror Roundtable!

Happy reading, and happy Pride Month!

Pride and Horror: Part One in Our Pride Month Roundtable

Welcome back, and happy Pride Month! For the rest of June, I’ll be featuring a roundtable spotlighting six amazing LGBTQ+ authors! We’ll be discussing their experiences as writers in the industry as well as their favorite LGBTQ+ storytellers.

So as we’re closing out the first week of Pride, I’m so pleased to let these fabulous authors take it away!

Please tell us about yourself and your work in the horror and speculative fiction genres.

ADDIE TSAI: I’m a queer nonbinary (any/all) biracial Asian writer and artist. I started out as a poet, and now I write a little bit of everything. I’ve published two novels. My debut, Dear Twin, is a queer Asian YA epistolary hybrid about twins and childhood trauma, and this past August I published Unwieldy Creatures, a queer biracial Asian non-binary retelling of Frankenstein. My personal essay on Dead Ringers and twinhood was included in the recently released queer horror nonfiction anthology, It Came from the Closet. My first horror love was Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, which I was obsessed with as a teenager, such a fan that I recently traveled to New Orleans to see the Anne Rice archives, which are housed at Tulane University. The earliest fiction I can remember writing were (very bad) rewrites (fanfic wasn’t a word in the 90s) of Rice’s series, centering original vampires, who were identical twins.

CHRISTINA LADD: Hi, I’m Christina Ladd, and I write fantasy and horror stories grounded in obsessively researched obscure facts, usually from ancient history, usually involving dead languages. I end up writing horror not because I set out to frighten others (most of the time, anyway), but because most things scare me.

K.P. KULSKI: Thanks for having me. I’m a Korean-American author of dark fiction, born in Honolulu, Hawaii. I’m also a veteran of both the U.S. Navy and Air Force. Growing up in a military family also meant growing up in lots of places. As active duty as an adult, I continued to move often, so I’m not really from one place, although I spent most of my childhood on the American East Coast.

I love writing about witches and anything dark and twisted beyond the overgrown bramble in the ancient woods. I’m also a big history nerd in all the best ways and used to teach college history courses, so naturally, you’ll find lots of history inspired things in my work. Both my gothic horror, Fairest Flesh (dark historical fiction), and novella House of Pungsu (period inspired) fit this.

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: I’m the author of three collections and two short novels. Three of my books have been Lambda Literary Award Finalists, and I recently won the inaugural Pulver award for Weird Fiction. My writing—save for a young adult novel about bullying—is weird fiction that investigates issues of race, gender and sexuality.

Larissa GlasserLARISSA GLASSER: I am a librarian-archivist working in academia, mostly on the technical side. I see librarianship and cataloging as a type of alchemy, where we provide answers to questions and encourage building independent research skills as well. But in addition to interest in library science, I was drawn to horror and fantasy at a very young age through Tolkien, Clive Barker, Star Wars, and The Evil Dead. Originally I tried writing crime fiction, but after reading Clark Ashton Smith, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Ketchum, I developed a darker outlook and began writing the sort of material I wanted to read. I’ve written several short stories that closely align with my experiences navigating daily life as a transsexual woman, and after discovering more trans authors within the dark fiction genre I wrote my novella F4 for Eraserhead Press. I’m still surprised it caught on with so many people.

MONA SWAN LESUEUR: Howdy howdy! I’m Mona, and my pronouns are they/them/she/her. I’m a desert gal who tends to write surrealist and fantastical horror. I am often inspired by fairy tales, b-movies, anime, and that feeling you get when you explore an abandoned building at 4am with nothing but a sign taped to your chest that reads: “Hey demons, it’s me: your girl. Wanna kiss?”

My most recently published story is a collaboration with Fiona Maeve Geist called “The Taint is Saintly with Her Welcome” for The New Flesh: A Literary Tribute to David Cronenberg from Weird Punk Books.

What does Pride Month mean to you personally? Do you feel that the writing community is welcoming to LGBTQ+ authors during Pride Month (and beyond)?

ADDIE TSAI: Regardless of how commercial and corporate Pride has become, I still see Pride as a celebration of the first major uprising, and so it remains deeply meaningful for me. I think that it’s taken a LONG time for the writing community to get on board, and we still have a long way to go, but it’s nothing like it was as I was coming of age as a young writer. I’m excited by the communities I’ve been able to find.

CHRISTINA LADD: Though no group of human beings is perfect, I have found the horror community generally welcoming, thoughtful, and kind. So many editors and authors are vocally supportive of their queer readers and writers, and equally loud in rejecting transphobia, homophobia, and general dickishness. And for me at least, this comic is pretty true!

K.P. KULSKI: One of things I love about the Pride is the expressed right to celebration— a joyful authenticity, so when I think of Pride Month, I think of these ideas. To me it’s a reminder to embrace and love ourselves.

Horror continues to be out in front in establishing new norms and I feel LGBTQ+ authors have
become a significant and visible part of our community. We’re telling our stories and for the
most part, I’ve seen a lot of support, lots of fabulous calls to make “horror gay AF” and I love to
see it.

CRAIG LAURANCE GIDNEY: The past few years has lulled us into a false sense of security. Now that the Trans community is being directly attacked and the rest of the community is being painted as “groomers,” Pride is more important than ever. I feel that my little section of the writing community is very welcoming to authors, though every now and then, intolerance raises its ugly head.

LARISSA GLASSER: It’s been over 30 years since I came out as trans, and have been through so many ups and downs on personal and professional levels, Pride Month means precious little to me by now. It’s a nice commemoration, but if modern society is disinclined to offer Pride Lifetimes, equal protection under the law that most taxpayers should expect, I see Pride Month as table scraps with a chain store or bank logo. Recently there was that huge right wing tantrum over Dylan Mulvaney’s platforming Bud Light? That seems indicative of how LGBTQ+ dignity is treated within prevailing media narratives of the early 2020’s. It’s really shitty and reductive. That said, I’d say that any writers in the horror/SF community who have any degree of talent and character should fully support LGBTQ+ authors unconditionally and unequivocally all year long, not just during a commemorative month. Thankfully, I’ve experienced full and unequivocal support from the community since I first began going to horror cons more than a decade ago. So despite the reactionary and cynical backlash against queer rights, I still think big things can have small beginnings. I just think it’s totally absurd when these people say that queer visibility
is an imposition on their daily lives and/or the education of their children. That’s cynical, childish, and totally fucking weak.

MONA SWAN LESUEUR: Beyond the increased recognition that Pride Month can provide, I sadly don’t have much of a personal connection to the month. I mostly associate it with being a period of time where a bunch of outgoing folks the heat and celebrate being LGBTQ+ while corporations try to cash in as much as possible. If I hadn’t been born and raised in the desert, the idea might seem more appealing to me…but I also don’t care too much for crowds. More power to those who want to go out and soak up the sun, but I’d rather be gay with a tower fan in my face.

The writing community I feel is becoming more and more welcoming to LGBTQ+ writers as time passes. There is still plenty of work to be done, but it warms my heart to see multiple books published each year with press coverage. I remember a time where mainstream coverage was rare, so it’s nice to see how far we’ve come.

And that’s Part One in our Pride Month Roundtable! Head on back here next week for the next installment from our fantastic authors!

Happy reading, and happy Pride!

My Schedule for StokerCon 2023

So we’re just over a week away from this year’s StokerCon, and needless to say, I’m so excited for it! (I initially wrote “so stoked” but I mean, that’s a bit too much, yes? All right, fine, I’m totally stoked for it!) As always, I adore StokerCon and get downright giddy for the convention. This year, I’m cheerfully busy with both the in person and the virtual convention, so if you want to catch me somewhere during the con, then you’re in luck!

And here goes with all the places I’ll be next week at StokerCon!

You Can’t Get There From Here: Tales of Weird Pittsburgh on Thursday, June 15th at 4pm
With moderator Douglas Gwilym at the helm, I’ll be hanging out with panelists Frank Oreto, Nelson Pyles, Michelle Renee Lane, and Stephanie M. Wytovich as we ponder Pittsburgh’s place in the horror genre. I know I’ve already said this all over social media, but I’m so happy that StokerCon is in Pittsburgh this year, and as a member of HWA Pittsburgh, it’s so exciting to get to share our love for the city with everyone!

“We Belong to Each Other”: Reclaiming Representations of Bisexuality in 1970s and 1980s Vampire Cinema on Friday, June 16th at 1pm
I’m over the moon to be presenting at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference this year! As you can no doubt discern from the title, my talk is all about bisexual vampires of the 70s and 80s, including Daughters of Darkness, The Hunger, The Lost Boys, and more. I’m part of the block called “The Vampire’s Time Has Come: Symbols, Stories, and Sexuality,” alongside Naomi Borwein and Alex Aleco, and I’m so eager to hear their talks. Tremendous thanks to RJ Joseph and Bridget Keown for putting together this incredible conference. It’s truly such an honor to be presenting at it!

The Cannibal Panel on Friday, June 16th at 4pm
Moderated by the fabulous Sara Tantlinger, I’ll be joining panelists Rebecca Rowland, Owl Goingback, Wrath James White, and EV Knight as we discuss—what else?—horror tales about devouring human flesh. My recent story, “The Hungry Wives of Bleak Street,” is all about cannibalism, and appropriately appears in American Cannibal, edited by the amazing and aforementioned Rebecca Rowland, so it will be fun to talk about that story and anthology as well as hear all about the diverse work coming from other horror writers.

Mass Author Signing on Friday, June 16th at 5pm
I’ll be joining an expansive group of authors as part of the mass author signing! White Whale Bookstore will be on hand selling copies of the Stoker nominated works, so if you want to pick up Reluctant Immortals, then that’s a thing you should be able to do! Also, if you have copies of my books already, please feel free to bring them as I’d of course be happy to sign them!

You Just Live Here: Inhabiting the Modern Haunted House on Saturday, June 17th at 10am
I’ll be hanging out with panelists Aaron Dries, Johnny Compton, Craig Davidson, EV Knight, Sarah Read, and moderator Andrew F. Sullivan while we talk all about haunted houses. This one is particularly exciting for me since my next novel features not only one haunted house but a whole haunted neighborhood, so this is definitely timely for me and my own writing. And I can honestly listen to writers discuss haunted houses all daylong, which means I have no doubt this is going to be a great time.

The Invisible Other: Bisexuality and the Horror Genre on Saturday, June 17th at 12pm
Last but in no way least, I’m moderating this super cool discussion alongside panelists J.A.W. McCarthy, K.P. Kulski, Eric Raglin, and Angela Sylvaine. From what I can tell, this is the first ever panel at a genre writing convention to focus on bisexuality and horror, so I’m beyond thrilled for us to make a small bit of queer horror history as I talk with the ultra talented panelists about all things bi+ and creepy!

Virtual Author Reading (On Demand)
And then there’s the content for virtual StokerCon! This year, I’m doing a virtual author reading! I was the reading coordinator for StokerCon 2023, and since we didn’t have enough spots in person for everyone, I decided to take my role as coordinator seriously and not to take up the space of another writer, especially since I know how important author readings are, in particular for newer writers. And as it turns out, my schedule is packed with programming, so while I will of course miss out on the camaraderie of an in-person reading, everything definitely worked out this year. For my virtual video, I read an excerpt from Reluctant Immortals, my little psychedelic gothic baby (which, by the way, is currently on sale over at Amazon), so check it out if you’re part of the online convention.

Something Old, Something New: The Power of Horror Retellings at Virtual StokerCon (On Demand)
This panel, which explores what makes a good horror retelling, features authors Craig Laurance Gidney, Gaby Triana, Jessica McHugh, Alyssa Palombo, Addie Tsai, and Eden Royce. I’m the moderator of this panel, as we discuss our favorite horror tales and why we chose those particular stories to reinvent in our own work. It was a fabulous time conversing with this group of authors, so please give it a watch if you’re hanging around the virtual con!

Monstrous Metaphors: Horror Movies and Cultural Commentary at Virtual StokerCon (On Demand)
With S.A. Bradley as the moderator of this panel that’s all about the politics and cultural significance of horror, I joined panelists Stephanie M. Wytovich, Marc L. Abbott, and Britannic Zane for a lively discussion about the intersections of horror with race, gender, sexuality, and more. We recorded this one last month, and it was an absolute blast. Such a fun conversation with such fun people!

And finally, on Saturday evening, we’ll be attending the Stokers! Yes, I’ve already said it so many times already, but I’m so elated and surprised that Reluctant Immortals is nominated for Superior Achievement in a Novel. For a book that’s all about forgotten women, it’s such a lovely and amazing experience for it to be recognized. I can’t wait to spend the evening celebrating with all the other nominees! It’s such a terrific ballot, and it will be so wonderful to hang out with everyone at the ceremony!

So that’s my schedule for the convention! If you see me at any of the panels or just hanging out around the hotel, please say hi! I’m fairly friendly and would love to meet more of my internet writing friends in person!

Happy reading, and happy StokerCon!

Summer Fiction: Submission Roundup for June 2023

Welcome back for this month’s Submission Roundup! This summer is already shaping up to be filled with plenty of awesome submission calls, so if you’ve got a story searching for a home, then hopefully one of these markets will be a perfect fit!

As always, a disclaimer first: I’m not a representative for any of these markets. I’m merely spreading the word! Please direct your questions to their respective editors. And with that, onward with this month’s Submission Roundup!

Submission Roundup

Cast of Wonders
Payment: .08/word for original fiction
Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: Open from June 1st to June 14th, 2023
What They Want: Cast of Wonders is seeking speculative fiction aimed at a young adult audience (ages 12 to 17). The theme is Banned Books Week, and they’re seeking fiction that show how stories can be a guiding light and help us understand the world around us and dismantle our misconceptions.
Find the details here.

Eye to the Telescope
Payment: .04/word (minimum $4, maximum $25)
Length: up to three poems
Deadline: June 15th, 2023
What They Want: Open to speculative poetry on the theme of trauma
Find the details here.

Alone on the Borderland
Payment: Percentage of Kickstarter
Length: 5,000 to 10,000 words
Deadline: June 30th, 2023
What They Want: Editor John Linwood Grant is seeking weird and strange fiction set anywhere during the broad Edwardian era.
Find the details here.

Dracula Beyond Stoker
Payment: .05/word
Length: 1,500 to 5,000 words
Deadline: June 30th, 2023
What They Want: The editor is seeking fiction that reimagines and expands upon the world of Dracula. For the upcoming issue, the theme is Lucy Westenra (hooray!).
Find the details here.

Electric Spec
Payment: $20/flat
Length: 250 to 7,000 words
Deadline: July 15th, 2023
What They Want: Open to a wide range of speculative fiction.
Find the details here.

It Was All a Dream, Volume 2
Payment: .05/word
Length: 1,500 to 3,000 words
Deadline: Open July 1st to July 15th for all authors; open July 1st to July 22nd for marginalized authors
What They Want: Open to short, weird horror fiction that reworks an old trope.
Find the details here.

Happy submitting!