I received my paperback copies of Trembling With Fear: Year 2 and its companion More Tales from the Tree. The five drabbles (100-word stories) I successfully submitted last year were in the two volumes, which included all the stories and drabbles posted by Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear (TWF) ezine in 2018.
Horror Tree will always hold a special place in my writer’s heart. The website has been a free resource for writers since 2011, and I first submitted to Trembling With Fear in 2017. I sent three drabbles that year, and they were all rejected. However, Horror Tree creator Stuart Conover and TWF editor Stephanie Ellis replied with specific advice on how to improve my drabbles. Their supportive feedback for my failures kept me plugging away at my microfiction.
I took their advice to heart and honed my microfiction skills, mostly by reading the previously published drabbles. The result? I’ve had a number of successful microfiction submissions, mostly to Horror Tree. I even won Story of the Week at the 50-Word Stories website for my little darlin’ titled “Bedraggled.”
My experience with Horror Tree taught me that rejection didn’t have to mean dejection. I took their critique of my work as a challenge to get better in all forms of writing.
My first successful drabble published in TWF was a chilling take on domestic violence titled “The Snowman.” It was followed by another drabble about a graveyard encounter titled “Patience.” Both appeared in January 2018 and injected me with added confidence regarding shorter forms of fiction. My next successful drabble was a vicious little love story titled “A Poem for Annabel,” published in Trembling With Fear’s Valentine Edition.
After those three appeared in TWF, I stepped away from drabbles and started submitting longer works to publishers often announced in Horror Tree’s invaluable Calendar that shows the deadlines and guidelines for upcoming anthologies.
But Horror Tree had me hooked on drabbles, so I broke away from working on my short stories and novellas long enough to submit a deliciously devious drabble titled “Halloween Pie” for Trembling With Fear’s Halloween Edition. I wrote my last drabble of 2018 as a tribute to Horror Tree. Posted in November, it was about a guy writing a drabble for Horror Tree titled “The Drabble.”
This year, I’ve upped my game and started submitting short stories to TWF, and I’ve had two of them published in 2019. One is a dystopian rock-and-roll tale titled “Freedom Ain’t Free (You Gotta Bleed),” and the other is a Valentine comedy titled “Stupid Cupid.”
I’ve also had six drabbles published in 2019, half of those appearing in TWF’s Unholy Trinity, a feature that challenges writers to pen three drabbles connected by a common theme. The other three are about a ghoulish party titled “Edgar’s New Year’s Eve Bash”; a twist on the haunted house trope titled “The Rattling of Chains”; and a horrific outing titled “First Date.” You can read them all by clicking on the tab Short Stories Published Online at the top of the page or by clicking here.
I owe a lot of my publishing success with short works to Horror Tree. That’s why Horror Tree is the only website I donate to monthly via their Patreon account. Horror Tree creator Stuart Conover and TWF editor Stephanie Ellis are talented writers in their own right, but they sacrifice their time by volunteering to help other writers. That’s awesome and worth my $10 per month.
Horror Tree is a labor of love, and I’m grateful for the dedication of Conover and Ellis in spotlighting markets for writers, for giving us a place to submit our own works, and for creating a supportive writing community that we can visit for free anytime.
Thank you, Horror Tree!