If you wanted a thing

Smoking Pen Press is issuing a Call for Submissions for a short story anthology

Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts, oh my!

Smoking Pen Press is issuing a Call for Submissions for a short story anthology.

This will be the next title in the Read on the Run series (See A Step Outside of Normal, A Bit of a Twist, Uncommon Pet Tales and A Wink and a Smile) and the tentative title of this new anthology is Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts. Please note that this is only a tentative title and it is not intended to encompass all possibilities.

We welcome stories involving all types of supernatural beings… and mixing and matching of different types of beings in the same story is acceptable. There is no requirement as to genre; stories can be sci-fi, mystery, romance, adventure, etc. Simultaneous submissions permitted, but please let us know if your submission is accepted elsewhere. Reprints are accepted as long as all rights have reverted to you; please identify your submission as a reprint when you send it in.

The deadline for submission is December 15, 2018. Stories should be between 1200 and 6000 words. Submissions should be polished (ie, not first draft), in Word (.doc or .docx) format and written in English and should be sent to Do not use headers or footers in your manuscript. Use at least a 12 point common font such as Times New Roman.

As with all previous Read on the Run titles, this title will be published in both digital and paperback form. US and Canada authors of stories that are selected will receive their choice of a one-time payment of $20 USD, or 2 complimentary copies of the paperback; non US/Canada authors will receive their choice of a one-time payment of $20 USD, or 1 complimentary copy of the paperback.

For more information you can email us at

Dead Ends: The Five Best Horror Road Trips — Sci-Fi & Scary

Dead Ends: The Five Best Horror Road Trips By Lisa Kröger, Contributing Author to Lost Highways Anthology My first car was a silver Ford Mustang. I was in high school in 1996, the year my father handed me the keys. I knew what that meant. I’d seen enough movies in my short life to know…

via Dead Ends: The Five Best Horror Road Trips — Sci-Fi & Scary


Tune into Just the Facts with J. Jonah Jameson to learn more about the feline felon, Black Cat. Marvel’s Spider-Man: The Heist is available for download on the PlayStation®4 system now!


Before the beginning

I’ve been haunted by it for many years by an introductory line from a five-time Emmy Award winning two-season HBO series, Carnivàle. Airing from 2003 to 2005, its story arc connected a dust-bowl depression narrative to an epic battle between good and evil. What stirred me was the show’s prologue, which opens on a very tight shot of the dimly lit visage of Samson, a lead character played by Michael J. Anderson. Samson is a little person who manages the carnival, and he has his own theory of fantasy. As he lifts his gaze to the camera in the show’s opening seconds, he grows oracular. His lips move before he speaks, and he slowly pronounces his lines, his voice like gravel stirred into sentences: “Before the beginning,” he intones, “after the great war between heaven and hell, God created the Earth and gave dominion over it to the crafty ape he called man. In each generation was born a creature of light and a creature of darkness, and great armies would clash by night in an ancient war between good and evil.” Samson tilts his head sadly, takes a pause, and tells us. “There was magic then… nobility… and unimaginable cruelty. So it was until the day when a false sun exploded over Trinity and man forever traded away wonder for reason.”

Trinity was the name of the first atomic blast, a second sun described then as a “cosmic light” that rose over ground zero at Alamogordo, New Mexico, in a valley called Jornada del Muerto (“Journey of the Dead Man”). This other sun was visible for 180 miles. But Samson, I fear, missed a beat. Humans did not trade away wonder for reason in that awesome moment. Reason is a good thing and in short supply. The opposite is true. At 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1945, reason evaporated in a fireball as hot as the stars and rose into an iconic mushroom cloud requiring shelter, beneath the wings of fantasy. ~Jeff Shear

This originally appeared in A Brief History of the Fantasy Genre