There have been reports of weird display errors on the site. I think I’ve solved the problem, but please let me know if you spot anything amiss. Thanks.
March 14, 2013
January 3, 2013
Happy New Year, kiddies! I hope this is a lucky ’13 for each and every one of you. I’ve been hard at work on a big collabo with Michael A. Arnzen and the good people of Raw Dog Screaming Press, and we’re finally ready to announce the launch of Michael A. Arnzen’s Fridge of the Damned magnetic word kit!
It’s a 220-word set of magnetic tiles, featuring eerie and gruesome vocabulary drawn from Michael A. Arnzen’s own poems. It’s guaranteed to make the outside of your refrigerator as terrifying as the inside. All we need is your support over at Kickstarter! Get the magnets for only $10, and backers at higher levels will receive fantastic rewards such as books, CDs, original poems and design projects, and even in-person meet-and-greet sessions!
December 12, 2012
What do you get when you multiply six-six-six by two? You get twelve-twelve-twelve, of course! So I’d say that makes today a perfectly auspicious date on which to finally announce the winners of the 2012 MicroHorror Story Contest!
But before I name the three champions, I’d like to keep you in suspense just a little longer while I introduce my co-judges.
You probably already know Oonah V Joslin. Writer, poet, editor, and three-time MicroHorror winner, she graciously accepted a promotion to contest judge so other folks could have a chance. It’s an honor and a pleasure to judge alongside her once again this year.
And new to MicroHorror, none other than Michael A. Arnzen! Mike is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, and teaches a unique Master’s degree program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University. He’s a true master of the craft of short-short horror. To learn more about him, you may wish to watch this brief video I produced. Mike, thank you for volunteering to help judge!
That’s quite enough preamble. On with the winners! In no particular order…
Oonah says: Chiseled was one of the shortest pieces entered this year but it said a lot about the thinking behind art–the canvas, the page, the marble–and something, a struggle for life, going on in that concrete block. Short and absolutely terrifying, it intellectualised a horrific act in the name of art. This one is cold. It stays with you. Well done, Caelin Beaty.
Mike says: A devious interpretation of the classic quotable quote from Michelangelo: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Here the angel is death, frozen in the struggle to survive. What makes Beaty’s sudden story stand out for me is what it accomplishes in its brevity: it packs a perverse punch and delivers the blow with impact. Very Poe-like in its narrator’s insanity. Bonus points for making it about itself, as well, in the line about transforming “the blank page.” Great microfiction.
Oonah says: Disturbing Art by Mara Morrigan is short and impressive. It centred well on the main theme, Art, had a good ‘hook’ at the start, gave plenty of gore in the middle–kind of like the jam in the doughnut for me. It also had a nice mix of story and speech that kept the plot moving along. Best of all, I just didn’t see that ending coming.
Mike says: Morrigan’s story got me with its surprise ending, when the narrator, in essence, pulls away their mask. Mara succeeds in keeping the spotlight on one thing only to allow the story to sneak up on you from behind. What also works so well in this story is the way it invites a second reading, and when you read it again you see all sorts of clever things in the dialogue that take on a more sinister meaning once you know how it ends. The entire story is itself an instance of “Disturbing Art.”
Oonah says: The Blood Worms is as surreal as it gets in the mind of an artist. This is a well written and disturbing piece. The first line sets the tone perfectly:
Raymond felt the transition from oil paint to blood was completely natural.
That transition into madness is one that we take with Raymond and it seems at the end that blood-slick worms dancing on black upholstery is perhaps the natural dénouement to this state of mind. Fine writing as always from Angel Zapata.
Mike says: How could anyone not be intrigued by a title like that? The concept of this one is pretty strong, but Zapata’s story really won me over with its chilling imagery–and the sheer insanity depicted here really transfers from the story into the reader’s mind. “Blood Worms” is written with a sure hand, driven to deliver the goods, and it succeeds in depicting an artist’s vision as a disturbed one. The last line stuck with me long after I read it, like an afterburn.
I don’t mind saying, this was one of the hardest contests to judge yet. There were so many amazing entries that picking just three was nearly impossible, but we did it. Thanks and congratulations to everyone who submitted a story, and congratulations above all to Caelin, Mara and Angel. E-mail me with your mailing addresses so we can start sending out your prizes!
Thanks again to Oonah and Mike for all their help in judging, and thanks to Kevin Bufton for donating some great books.
It’s been hard work, but a pleasure all the same. Until next time, stay scary!
December 6, 2012
Dear fiends, the good news is that I’ve finally cleared out the backlog of submissions. It always feels good to get that done. I do, however, apologize for the delay in announcing the contest winners. The truth is that there were just so many amazing entries that my co-judges and I are genuinely having trouble picking the finalists. With luck we’ll reach a consensus soon. In the meantime, thanks for your patience, and thank you for supporting MicroHorror!
November 12, 2012
I’m still reading and posting all the great submissions for the contest. Terrific work, folks! I know it won’t be easy to pick the winners. In the meantime, Kevin Bufton has asked me to plug his upcoming anthology Another 100 Horrors. Just like last time, each of the 100 stories in the collection will be exactly 100 words long. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2013. Go check out the submission guidelines!
November 1, 2012
I forgot to extend the contest deadline on Submittable, so it automatically expired at midnight. I’ve fixed it now. If you tried to submit a contest entry in the past six hours, please submit again. I’m very sorry.
October 30, 2012
It’s nearly Halloween, and although I extended the deadline you still only have a few more days to send me your stories about art. This is the perfect time, though, to tell you a little about the prizes the winners can expect.
You may remember Kevin G. Bufton, editor of Cruentus Libri Press, as the sponsor of the 100 Horrors mini-contest. Well, he’s back, and his generosity knows no bounds. Each of the three winners of this year’s Halloween contest will receive not one, not two, not three, but four upcoming, brand new anthologies from Cruentus Libri Press in beautiful trade paperback. That’s right; if your story is selected you’ll receive one copy each of Suffer the Little Children, From Their Cradle to Your Grave, Darkside of the Womb and Under the Knife–enough horror to keep you awake through many a cold, lonely night. Check out this cover art to get your blood racing.
Thank you, Kevin! And good luck to all of you writers!
October 29, 2012
As you may know, I’m a Baltimorean born, raised, died and re-raised. My city, along with many others, is currently the site of some very unpleasant weather, and I’m sure that some of you are similarly affected. In light of this diluvian event, I’m extending the contest deadline. The deadline for entries is now 11:59pm on Monday, November 5.
Stay safe, everyone. While you still have power, maybe reread some of last year’s entries, all on the theme of water. It seems only appropriate.
October 1, 2012
Wakey-wakey, fright fiends! Time to shake the grave dust off your bones and venture out into this fine October morning. And since it is October, that can only mean one thing: the 2012 Story Contest begins!
This year’s theme… is ART!
Art. What is it? People have been trying to answer that question for centuries, usually so they can exclude things they don’t like, and I certainly won’t be providing a definitive answer here (although, contra the esteemed critic Roger Ebert, I believe it’s hardly fair to disregard an entire medium simply because it’s digital and interactive). The term does cover an awful lot of ground, though, ranging from the static to the dynamic, and capable of catering to every human sense. Art can entertain us or challenge us, and an artist may choose to attract an audience or to repel them. Art may exist for its own sake–ars gratia artis–or it may be commercially motivated–ars gratia pecuniae. Art can be spawned solely from an artist’s inspiration, but it can also be commissioned by a patron with more resources than skill. Art can be as primitive as paintings on a cave wall, flickering in firelight, or it can take advantage of the most cutting-edge technologies.
One caveat: Art is a very rich subject for horror, and this has hardly escaped writers in the past. Originality will be the key to success in this contest. My co-judges and I expect to be surprised as well as scared.
There are no further restrictions this year, and you have the full 666 words to work with. Stay tuned for announcements about this year’s prizes and the secret identities of the judges. I promise you: you don’t want to miss out on this one!
The official contest rules and submission link are here. Good luck to you all!
July 13, 2012
Happy Friday the 13th, fiends! The vacation was great, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things (as the man said as he climbed the steps to the gallows).
I said that I wanted to try a new method of managing submissions, so here it is: Submittable. It should be pretty self-explanatory, I hope, but I’m learning my way around it just as you are. If you have any comments or questions, just reply here or send me an e-mail and I’ll do whatever I can to help out. Please, let me know what you think.
MicroHorror is once again officially open for submissions! Send me those stories!
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