Thursday, July 12, 2018


As part of my latest anthology project, The Five Senses of Horror, I scoured through Everestian mountains of short story volumes (anthologies, magazines, collections, etc.), searching for the right mix of fiction voices and techniques that interacted strongly with at least one of the five human senses.

So herein, I wanted to share a "Short List," if you will, that I compiled of some suggested short stories during the last 75 years.


EREIN I’VE LISTED A BRIEF selection of recent works within the last seventy-five years (1940–2015) that have a distinct association with one or more of the human senses.

By no means were these stories selected on a basis of them being “better” than any other story, but rather that by their whole, the below reading list helps to push the boundaries of scope and diversity in exploring this subject.

The primary criteria I used in making selections included:
·         Work must be a story of short fiction, approximately 8,000 words or less (i.e. no novelettes, novellas, or longer).
·         Work must include some speculative, supernatural, or horror element.
·         Work must first have been published within the last 75 years, between 1940 through 2015 (*all stories sought during 2016).
·         Work must be available in the English language (whether by original language printing or through translation).
·         Authors cannot be listed more than once.

Whether sights of sparkling refraction, sounds of chirruping frogs, or smells of flowering pear trees, the human senses have consequential impact on storytelling, and the following are some examples of merit:

The Sense of Touch

1948: “The October Game” by Ray Bradbury (Weird Tales, May: Weird Tales); A frenzied husband enacts a plot of revenge against his wife—whom he levels all woes and wishes to hurt in ways worse than murder—by playing a simple children’s game.

1978: “Heading Home” by Ramsey Campbell (Whispers #11-12, October: Stuart David Schiff); A dastardly scientist is determined to wreck vengeance against his adulterous wife and the butcher who’s brutally dismembered him . . . if only he can put himself back together. *

1981: “On the Uses of Torture” by Piers Anthony (The Berkley Showcase: Vol. 3, an anthology: Berkley Books); A sadistic prison warden is appointed ambassador to an alien civilization that measures worth by pain endurance; the warden is prepared to prove his resolution.

1986: “The Skins You Love to Touch” by Janet Fox (Shadows 9, an anthology: Doubleday); Two wealthy antique shoppers discover an off-road country store where the proprietor crafts his own unique furniture.

1990: “Soft” by Darrell Schweitzer (Weird Tales, Spring: David Terminus); After a monumental argument, Richard lies in bed next to his wife while contemplating divorce. He tries to remember just one “perfect” moment with her, and if only he could mold her . . . *

1997: “Autopsy Room Four” by Stephen King (Robert Bloch’s Psychos, an anthology: Cemetery Dance Publications); An otherwise healthy man awakens temporarily paralyzed on an autopsy table. He must somehow signal the mortician he’s still alive before the dissection begins.

2000: “Dead Like Me” by Adam-Troy Castro (A Desperate, Decaying Darkness, a collection: Wildside Press); Instructions for the hapless survivor of a zombie plague on how to mimic the undead and otherwise “fit in” with them so as not to be discovered as living foodstuff.

2013: “Feel the Noise” by Lisa Morton (Shivers VII, an anthology: Cemetery Dance Publications); A disabled veteran suffering from “systemic synesthesia” must translate rewired senses—tastes that have become smells, sounds turned to touches—while trying to find a murdering ex-superior. *

The Sense of Hearing

1945: “The Music-Box from Hell” by Emil Petaja (Weird Tales, May: Weird Tales); A scheming nephew arranges for the death of his wealthy aunt by way of a cursed music-box.

1959: “Eminent Domain” by Cecil Dawkins (Charm, October: Street & Smith Publications); An elderly woman who cannot hear is swindled by a man she takes for the devil.

1984: “Sound Is Second Sight” by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Triumph of the Night: Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, a collection: Silver Salamander Press); A lonely farmer first finds companionship in a barking dog, then in a wife with a beautiful voice. The wife and dog die, but their voices can return.

1991: “Sounds” by Kathryn Ptacek (Masques IV, an anthology: Maclay & Associates); A woman with hyper-sensitivity to sound bemoans every noise in life. *

1999: “Burden” by Michael Marano (, March:; A gay man is haunted by the ghosts of friends and lovers who died from AIDS, as he tries fleeing his past and the terrible burden of remembering them.

2003: “Sounds Like” by Mike O’ Driscoll (Gathering the Bones: Thirty-Four Original Stories from the World’s Masters of Horror, an anthology: Voyager/ HarperCollins (Australia); Larry Pearce has exceptional hearing, which helps him excel at a job listening in on customer service phone calls. His hearing, however, seems to keep sharpening, or is it the stress which makes every noise unbearable?

2010: “Malleus, Incus, Stapes” by Sarah Totton (Fantasy Magazine, December: Prime Books); A boy discovers a trunk containing relics from his dead father, including an object that allows him to listen to the past as heard through his father’s ear. *

2015: “In the Cave of the Delicate Singers” by Lucy Taylor (, July: Tor); A woman gifted with synesthesia—the ability to feel sound waves—uses her endowment to embark on a rescue mission of cavers who have gone missing in an underground system that is rumored to drive people mad. *

The Sense of Taste

1945: “Taste” by Roald Dahl (Ladies Home Journal, March: Meredith Corp.); A willful stockbroker bets his connoisseur-dinner companion that he cannot name the locale of a certain wine’s vintage by taste alone. The companion accepts that bet, and by blustering, each begins to increase the stakes.

1981: “Dante’s Bistro” by Carolyn L. Bird (The 22nd Pan Book of Horror Stories, an anthology: Pan Books); The celebrated chef and restaurateur, Gothric O’Hooligan-Dante, must continually push the boundaries of exotic dishes he serves or suffer among elitists the ignominy of irrelevance.

1984: “A Matter of Taste” by Parke Godwin (Shadows 7, an anthology: Doubleday); A rarefied gourmand laments the failings of his dating life, for he can find no match to his self-professed highest standards of taste, until he meets Pristine Solent . . .

1990: “His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood” by Poppy Z. Brite (Borderlands 1, an anthology: Maclay & Associates); Two young men who know no taboos grow bored with all life has to offer, even when grave robbing from forbidden tombs. *

1998: “Cassilago’s Wife” by Sarah Singleton (Interzone, #137, November: David Pringle); A lonely traveler finds hospitality at the home of an herbalist and his much younger wife. *

2009: “A Delicate Architecture” by Catherynne M. Valente (Troll’s Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales, an anthology: Viking); The daughter of the best confectioner in the land grows up well-loved in a world of sweets, only to discover the reason she is so loved, in this reimagining of a famous folktale.

2012: “Sweet Subtleties” by Lisa L. Hannett (Clarkesworld, #75, December: Wyrm Publishing); Una Belle is French confectioner Javier’s greatest creation, a culinary fantasy to be dined upon by whatever the audience wishes her to be, although she finds the hardest tastes to satisfy are those of disappointed family. *

2015: “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Nightmare Magazine, October: Nightmare Magazine); A vampire who feeds on the manifestations of bad thoughts struggles with dating, an overbearing mother, and a cruel love-interest who is too much like herself.

The Sense of Sight

1949: “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” by Fritz Leiber (The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, and Other Stories, an anthology: Avon Publishing Co.); A mysterious girl finds sensational fame as a billboard model; she is secretive, never smiles, and her images show a strange hunger in her eyes . . .

1953: “The Living Eyes” by Justin Dowling (Weird Tales, May: Weird Tales); A teenage boy is horrified to learn his widowed father plans to marry a wealthy older woman who is partly-paralyzed, cruel, and has bulging, veined eyes that seemingly are alive in their own way.

1969: “The Movie People” by Robert Bloch (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October: Mercury Press, Inc.); A filmgoer befriends a romantic bit-extra actor who’s found a sort of immortality by hiding in the background crowds of movie scenes.

1983: “The Beholder” by Richard Christian Matheson (Whispers IV, an anthology: Doubleday); A woman inspired to create a painting has found her favorite gallery mysteriously taken over by a new owner who provides her with uncommon paints for her art. *

2009: “In the Porches of My Ears” by Norman Prentiss (Postscripts #18 (This is the Summer of Love), May: PS Publishing); In a story within a story, a man relates his experiences listening to a woman describe the sights of a movie to her blind husband. *

2012: “Some Pictures in an Album” by Gary McMahon (Chiral Mad, an anthology: Written Backwards); A visual exploration of seventeen Polaroid photos taken by a man’s father and arranged in a photograph album leads the man to understand a horrific secret about himself.

2013: “The Marginals” by Steve Duffy (The Moment of Panic, a collection: PS Publishing); Howard begins a new job, sitting in a hidden trailer and carefully logging each person he should see passing by. Except whenever he glances away, more people have appeared . . . or disappeared.

2015: “The Impression of Craig Shee” by David McGroarty (Sensorama, an anthology: Eibonvale Press); A psychologist visits the Scottish isle where her mother once lived in order to study a peculiar painting she made, famous for the disquieting effect it has on peoples’ perceptions. *

The Sense of Smell

1946: “Whiffs of the Sea” by Sir Andrew Caldecott (Not Exactly Ghosts, a collection: Edward Arnold); A wealthy gentleman tells of an ominous painting he once purchased that smelled of the sea and the accompanying nightmares it brought.

1966: “I Mnemagoghi” (English: “The Mnemogogues”) by Primo Levi (Storie Naturali, a collection: Einaudi); A scholarly doctor collects in small vials the scents of his memories.

1971: “The Smell of Death” by Dennis Etchison (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, October: Mercury Press, Inc.); The owner of a roadside diner with a dark past shares a car ride with a reporter searching for an ex-soldier who escaped a NASA experiment after murdering the rest of his team.

1988: “The Odor of Violets” by John Farris (Scare Tactics, a collection: Tor Horror); A struggling author comes across the unpublished novel he was meant to write, accompanied by a strange fragrance of violets. *

1996: “I Am Not My Smell” by Elizabeth Massie (Shadow Dreams, a collection: Silver Salamander Press); A disabled homeless woman who has given up hope against her own repugnance finds a final purpose in life by sacrificing for another.

2007: “Shem-el-Nessim: An Inspiration in Perfume” by Chris Bell (Zahir, #13, Summer: Zahir Publishing); A wealthy 1920s Londoner becomes obsessed with an Oriental-scented fragrance, and pursues to Cairo the mysterious pale woman who wears it. *

2012: “The Scent” by John F.D. Taff (Little Deaths, a collection: Books of the Dead Press); A man walks to work through his aged, declining neighborhood and confronts a luring, unknown scent. *

2013: “Jasmine and Opium” by Rebecca L. Brown (Eulogies II: Tales From the Cellar, an anthology: Horror World Press); A sociopath driven by exceptional aromatic perception follows a woman he desires.

* Story included in the anthology, The Five Senses of Horror


** Buy Here and Now for more! The Five Senses of Horror

Monday, July 9, 2018

New Anthology Release!!! THE FIVE SENSES OF HORROR


An anthology of horror and dark fantasy stories, along with psychological and literary commentary, that explores the relationship and inspiration between fiction and the five senses.

Edited by Eric J. Guignard, with Psychological Commentary
by Jessica Bayliss, PhD, and Illustrated by Nils Bross

Insanely exciting news for the week!! The latest anthology I’ve created is finally available! This one encountered some delays, a couple false starts, but I believe the wait was worth it, as it’s here now and is PACKED with absolutely amazing content!!

THE FIVE SENSES OF HORROR: An anthology of horror and dark fantasy stories, along with psychological and literary commentary, that explores the relationship and inspiration between fiction and the five senses.

I’ve got academic and psychological insight, along with gorgeous gothic illustrations relating to the interaction of our senses and to dark fiction, how it inspires us, how our brain reacts to it, and how this can (and is) used to craft immersive fiction stories that relate to us in meaningful and exciting ways.

Edited by: Eric J. Guignard
With Psychological Commentary by: Jessica Bayliss, PhD
Illustrated by: Nils Bross
Published by: DarK Moon Books (July, 2018)

Available for sale here:



Edited by: Eric J. Guignard
With Psychological Commentary by: Jessica Bayliss, PhD
Illustrated by: Nils Bross

Table of Contents:
“Preface: The Five Senses of Horror” by Eric J. Guignard
“Introduction: Why Do Horror Stories Work? The Psychobiology of Horror” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Thoughts About the Sense of Touch” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Heading Home” by Ramsey Campbell
“Soft” by Darrell Schweitzer
“Feel the Noise” by Lisa Morton
“Thoughts About the Sense of Hearing” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“In the Cave of the Delicate Singers” by LucyTaylor
“Sounds” by Kathryn Ptacek
“Malleus, Incus, Stapes” by Sarah Totton
“Thoughts About the Sense of Taste” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood” by PoppyZ. Brite
“Cassilago’s Wife” by Sarah Singleton
“Sweet Subtleties” by Lisa L. Hannett
“Thoughts About the Sense of Sight” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“The Beholder” by Richard ChristianMatheson
“In the Porches of My Ears” by NormanPrentiss
“The Impression of Craig Shee” by DavidMcGroarty
“Thoughts About the Sense of Smell” by Jessica Bayliss, PhD
“Shem-el-Nessim: An Inspiration in Perfume” by Chris Bell
“The Scent” by John F.D. Taff
“The Odor of Violets” by John Farris
“Understanding and Incorporating the Five Human Senses into Modern Horror Short Fiction Writing” by Eric J. Guignard
“Afterword: Sensation and Perception” by K.H. Vaughan, PhD 
“Suggested Academic Reading for Further Study  
“A Brief Reading List of Modern Fiction Short Stories with Relation to the Senses (1940–2015)”

July, 2018 Dark Fiction Short Story Markets

July, 2018
New or Reopening Market Listings/ Notes
At Pro-Paying (5 cents+ per word)

Diabolical Plots ezine
Payment: 8 cents a word
Story Length: 3,500 or less
Deadline: Open only during the month of July, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: One month
Description: Science fiction, fantasy, and horror (everything must have speculative element, even horror), including mixed-genres. (This is the same founders of the market submission tracker, ‘The Grinder’.)

Unlocking the Magic (anthology, edited by Vivian Caethe)
NOTE: This is a Kickstarter-funded campaign that already met its funding goal.
Payment: $300/story + royalties
Story Length: 3,000 – 6,000 words
Deadline: November 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: unknown
Description: In fantasy, we read about how people with mental illness are more susceptible to magic, closer to breaks in reality, more likely to be able to see the unseen. These stereotypes are harmful and contribute to keeping people from seeing the good in getting help, taking their meds, and talking to someone. This anthology is about changing the narrative and telling stories of strength and perseverance, of getting help despite the darkness. Not the myth that getting help will kill creativity and magic. Not the story our society tells about mentally ill people: that art and magic must come from suffering. I want stories that show what can be accomplished when we take care of ourselves and seek help. I want stories that show the reality of being mentally ill within a fantasy setting. I want to see how mental illness and its treatment affects the magic that lies within all of us. I want to read realistic portrayals of mental illness in magical worlds.

Release the Virgins!  (anthology, edited by Michael Ventrella)
NOTE: This is a Kickstarter-funded campaign that already met its funding goal.
Note #2: An email proposal is required to make sure you are not duplicating an idea already reserved by one of the accepted authors. Send to
Payment: 5 cents a word
Story Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: September 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: unknown
Description: Each story must contain the line “release the virgins” somewhere within. No constraining genre limit, no constricting theme, just great stories inspired by (and containing) the phrase "Release the Virgins." Should contain a speculative or fantasy element (e.g. Tentacle Porn!).

Deep Magic
Payment: 6 cents a word for the first 9,999 words, with payment capped at $599 for stories longer than 10,000 words
Story Length: up to 40,000 words
Deadline: Ongoing
Reprints?: Yes (pay at 2 cents/ word)
Response: 12 weeks
Description: Clean fantasy and sci-fi stories; a gripping story that doesn’t rely on sex, swearing, and graphic violence.

The Arcanist
Payment: $50 flat payment (thus, 5 cents a word or more)
Story Length: flash fiction up to 1,000 words
Deadline: ongoing
Reprints?: Yes
Response: unknown. “As soon as they can”
Description: Engaging science fiction and fantasy stories (and associated sub-genres, including horror) that are flash fiction. Focus on originality and strong/ interesting characters. Novellas (Second Round of Two, 2018)!
Payment: Not listed explicitly, but TOR is known to generally pay at or above Professional Rates
Story Length: 20,000 – 40,000 words
Deadline: July 30, 2018 through August 13, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: unknown
Description: Any speculative fiction with a science fiction or fantasy bent that “fits into what TOR normally publishes.”

***Non-PRO-Paying Market, but Eric J. Guignard’s “Pick of the Month”

Eye to the Telescope Poetry Journal, #30: Witches (Edited by Ashley Dioses)
Payment: 3 cents a word (max $25)
Story Length: No limitations
Deadline: September 15, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: No later than October 1, though estimated much sooner.
Description: Speculative Poetry (Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association Online Journal). A witch is defined as someone who is said to possess usually malignant supernatural powers. Since speculative fiction covers fantasy and science fiction as well as horror, we’re going to focus on ‘usually’ in that definition. I want any take on witches with any gender. Horrific witches, saintly witches, pretty witches, ugly witches, witches from different planets, witches from different dimensions, historical witches with a speculative spin, etc.

Gimme the Loot: Stories Inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. (Edited by Gabino Iglesias; published by Clash Books)
Payment: $50 flat
Story Length: 2,500 – 6,000 words
Deadline: October 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: T
Description: We want the themes in Biggie Small’s music filtered through your own words and experiences. We want the swagger and the success and the hustle of his life to inspire you to create your own thing. We want to feel your love for the man and his legacy in your story. This is a tribute to him, so celebrate him in a way only you can. I wants stories from barrio streets and the mountains and the small towns and from everywhere else—I.E. ANYTHING GOES, even space science fiction, even Bizarro.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June, 2018 Dark Fiction Short Story Markets

June, 2018
New or Reopening Market Listings/ Notes
At Pro-Paying (5 cents+ per word)

Nowhereville: Weird is Other People (via Themed Magazine, EYEDOLON, from Broken Eye Books)
Payment: 8 cents a word
Story Length: 3,000–7,500 words
Deadline: July 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: Unknown (“as quick as they can”)
Description: Urban weird fiction: These are modern weird tales (give or take a few decades) that could only be told of the weirdness of the urban experience and our interactions with one another. Think Modern sensibilities from many different voices that show the immense and diverging possibilities for weird fiction, fearlessly exploring the new and the strange…

Cemetery Dance Magazine
Payment: 5 cents a word
Story Length: up to 5,000 words
Deadline: July 5, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: Up to four months (though known for going beyond this time, up to 12 months)
Description: Tales that are powerful and emotional—creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody. Suspense/mystery/crime tales with a horror element are always welcome. Both supernatural and psychological stories are fine.

Terra! Tara! Terror! anthology (Third Flatiron)
Payment: 6 cents a word
Story Length: 1,5003,000 words
Deadline: Accepting between June 15, 2018–July 15, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: up to eight weeks
Description: (SF/Fantasy/Horror/Humor) Whether the setting is a cabin in the woods (Terra), Fae (Tara), or spaceship Nostromo (Terror), take us there and spin your adventure. For a bit of mood whiplash, we'd like a mixture of dark and bright stories. Examples: Obsession with odd artifacts (like Roadside Picnic's golden sphere?), alternate histories, paranormal romance (no erotica, please, we're PG-13).

The Forge Literary Magazine
Payment: 5 cents a word
Story Length: Generally 3,000 words or less, but may be open to a bit longer. Flash is also highly appreciated (1,000 words or less).
Deadline: Continually open
Reprints?: No
Response: 3 months or less
Description: Prose Fiction--Open to all genres and voices, and stories with any background. Literary excellence is our only criteria. Pieces read anonymously, so please do not put your name anywhere in the file.

ESCAPE ARTISTS PodCasts (4 separate markets; Different Editors, similar guidelines)

Payment: 6 cents a word/ original; $100 flat rate for reprints
Story Length: up to 6,000 words (preferred 4,500 words or less)
Deadline: Intermittent (each market opens as needs)
Reprints?: Yes
Response: Up to three months

1. PodCastle (Fantasy Fiction Podcast)
Description: Publishes in both text and audio. Looking for fantasy stories. We’re open to all the sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between.

2. Cast of Wonders (Y.A. Fantasy Fiction Podcast)
Description: Stories that evoke a sense of wonder and have something unreal about them. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without explicit sex, violence or pervasive obscene language. Think Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.

3. Escape Pod (Science Fiction Podcast)
Description: Our mandate is fun. We are fairly flexible on what counts as “science” (as we’ll delve into superheroes or steampunk on occasion) and are interested in exploring the range of the genre, but we are not looking for fantasy, magical realism, or more than a tinge of horror. If your story isn’t centered on science, technology, future projections, alternate history, and how any or all of these things intersect with people, we’re probably not the right market for it.

4. Pseudopod (Horror Fiction Podcast)
Description: Horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction; strong pacing, well-defined characters, engaging dialogue, and clear action.

***Non-PRO-Paying Market, but Eric J. Guignard’s “Pick of the Month”

Burnt Fur Anthology (Blood Bound Books)
Payment: 3 cents a word
Story Length: 1,500–7,000 words
Deadline: September 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: None listed; estimate 2-3 months
Description: Stories from the dark underbelly of “Furry” life (Animal characters with human characteristics, or a person who dresses up in costume as such a character). All sub-genres of horror accepted—extreme, bizzaro, erotic, new weird, splatterpunk, etc.

Non-Themed Horror Anthology (unnamed as of yet) (Corpus Press)
Payment: 3 cents a word
Story Length: 2,500–4,500 words
Deadline: September 1, 2018
Reprints?: No
Response: By October 30, 2018
Description: Stories that can be characterized as being within the broad category of “horror” fiction: frightening, thought-provoking, atmospheric, humorous and/or satirical (or any combination thereof), but MUST contain a complete tale (i.e. no vignettes).