Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias Vol 2 - Submissions Open

Cover art and design by Kealan Patrick Burke

Coming Soon from LVP Publications: 
The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, Volume 2
Edited by MJ Sydney, Cover by Kealan Patrick Burke

Stories by Michael Bailey, Kealan Patrick Burke, John Peyton Cooke, JG Faherty, Nancy Kilpatrick, Stephen King, John Palisano, Mehitobel Wilson and more...

Submissions details and guidelines are available on the LVP Publications Submittable portal.

Submissions close October 31 at midnight Pacific Time.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias ~ Submissions Open

Cover art and design by Kealan Patrick Burke

The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias

Submissions open to LVP and HWA members: February 21
Submissions open to public: April 1
Submissions close: July 31, 11:59pm tentatively (*see notes below)
Word count: 4,000 to 6,000
Payment: $50 per story, a digital copy of the anthology and a discount code for print copies from Lycan Valley Press

Details: Phobias are defined as an irrational and extreme fear to something. Some of the most widely known phobias include arachnophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, etc. Anything can be a phobia if it irrationally causes an intense and debilitating fear.

What happens when these irrational fears/phobias become reality? Make the fears and the horrors associated with that fear real. Take them from irrational to rational. Pick a phobia from the list below and take that fear to the next level. Make it come to life and give us a reason to be scared. Your characters don’t have to overcome their fears, but if they do, show us how. If they don’t, why not?

We don’t want characters sitting on a sofa in the psychiatrist’s office detailing their childhood or even characters with diagnosed phobias necessarily. Focus on the object of the phobia rather than the phobia itself as much as possible. We want you to make these phobias come to life in ways that will make readers sleep with the lights on, double check the locks on their doors and question reality. 

There must be a strong pulp element to the story as well, keeping in mind that pulp doesn’t mean poorly written. If you’re unfamiliar with the original pulp magazines and stories, please do some research before submitting. Check out Black Mask Magazine and here’s a pulp archive to get you started (warning: reading on this website may be addictive). and also here

Although you are free to write in your own style and that which best suits the story, Lester Dent’s Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot is here for reference should you wish to use it. Here, James Scott Bell talks about writing pulp fiction:

Titles: Please do not use the name of the phobia itself in your titles.

Formatting: Please follow Shunn Short Story Manuscript formatting which can be found here: Or use the downloadable template for Word found here:

Simultaneous and Multiple Submissions: No simultaneous submissions. Multiple submissions from the same author for two different phobias will be considered but please note that only one story per author will be accepted to allow for greater variety and diversity. Previously unpublished stories only, no reprints unless requested.

Email questions to: with “PHB Question” in the subject line.

The available list of phobias as well as the submission form has moved and can now be found on the Lycan Valley Press Submittable profile at under THE PULP HORROR BOOK OF PHOBIAS.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Mother's Love ~ An Anthology of Murder and Mayhem Available!

A mother's love has no boundaries. In every species, mothers risk their own lives and sacrifice themselves to save their children. Throughout the animal kingdom, even the most gentle of creatures attack and kill to protect their young.

We hear news stories of children who commit unthinkable acts of murder in order to protect their mothers, stories of mothers who hire hit men to eliminate bullies or stalkers, stories of both mother and child who die protecting the other.

The bond between a mother and her children is like no other. It is a bond so strong that it can turn love and nurturing into homicidal frenzy. And sometimes it leads to the ultimate sacrifice. It is a bond that cannot be broken by fear, by separation or even by death.

In honor of Mother's Day, 23 writers came together to create stories around the theme of A Mother's Love – stories of mothers protecting their children, stories of children protecting their mothers and stories of mother and child protecting each other – all in 300 words or less.

As part of the event, my co-editor Thomas and I planned to announce one winner story. The winner would receive a handmade Mother's Day necklace and bracelet set. During the cover design, we ended up with an extra necklace so we have two contest winners ~ Mercedes Murdock Yardley for her story, Salt and the runner up, McKenzie Johnston Winberry for her story, Story Time.

It was a difficult choice but both of these stories expanded on the theme and took it beyond a mother protecting her children or a child protecting its mother and included elements of both. Congratulations to Mercedes who won the necklace shown on the cover image and to McKenzie who won a similar necklace and bracelet set.

Full Table of Contents:

Story Time ♥ MCKENZIE JOHNSTON WINBERRY (Contest Winner)
Conspiracy of Ravens ♥ ROSE BLACKTHORN
A Moment of Vanity ♥ JEFFREY L. BUFORD, JR.
No Safe Place ♥ CANDY BURKE
Mistaken Identity ♥ TAYE CARROL
Ghost of Christmas Past ♥ LISA DABROWSKI
This Corrosion ♥ MORGAN GRIFFITH
A Dish Best Served Wet ♥ CYNTHIA A. HUDSON
Lack of Evidence ♥ JIM HUTCHINSON
Dead Man's Switch ♥ THOMAS KLEATON
Dog Gone Cold ♥ D.K. MASON
You Shouldn't Have ♥ TERRY MICHAELS
Ballad of a Mother and Slave ♥ DONNA J. W. MUNRO
Sudden Vengeance ♥ JOHN ROSSMAN
In the Kitchen ♥ SHELLY SCHULZ
Leave My Mother Alone ♥ M.J. SYDNEY
Brutus and Tank ♥ PEGGY A. WHEELER
Sibling Rivalry ♥ MATT WINBERRY

And thank you to RayvnRaiyn (who also happens to be my daughter) for the cover design and image. She spent quite a few hours on this and went through just as many drafts creating the cover.

The anthology's eBook edition is now available on Amazon. The print edition will be available in July, along with the upcoming Father's Day anthology.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Coming Soon: A Mother's Love ~ An Anthology of Murder and Mayhem in honor of Mother's Day

Agatha Christie once said, "A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."

No matter the species, mothers will kill to protect their children. They will risk their own lives and sacrifice themselves to save their children.

We hear stories of children who commit unthinkable acts of murder in order to protect their mothers, stories of mothers who hire hit men to eliminate bullies or stalkers, stories of both mother and child who die protecting the other.

The bond between mother and child is strong enough to turn love and nurturing into homicidal frenzy. And sometimes it leads to the ultimate sacrifice. It is a bond that cannot be broken by fear, by separation or even by death.

This Mother's Day, we're taking the mother/child bond and testing it to the the limit with mother's driven to murder, children who consider killing, homicidal frenzy, murder for hire and mothers and children protecting each other in ways you never imagined.

The writers are testing their own limits by writing a themed story of murder and mayhem in 300 words or less. On May 1, the writers will come together to share their stories and one story will be chosen to receive a special handmade Mother's Day necklace and bracelet set.

The anthology event is currently by invitation only. If you would like to be invited to participate in the event, leave a comment below with a link to your Facebook profile or send a Facebook message to M.J. Sydney or Thomas Kleaton for consideration. We expect to release the anthology on Mother's Day, Sunday May 8, 2016.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Loving You To Death ~ An Anthology of Murder

During the month of February ~ the month of love, the month of passion ~ 38 murderous writers gathered in graveyard buried deep within Facebook to plot, plan and cause the death of jilted lovers, cheating spouses, unattainable crushes and heartbroken sweethearts all in the name of love.

There are many different types of love and many different ways to die. Loving You To Death brings them together in 250-word expressions of the deepest love there is ~ deadly love.

Nothing says I love you like a stab through the rib cage, a lovely bottle of cyanide or a chest full of heart worms. Just in time to bring a little more love and romance to your Valentine's Day, Loving You To Death is now available on Amazon

And as a special treat that's better than a box of chocolates, the anthology is available free February 14th! Happy Valentine's Day!

Table of Contents

Charles Alley ~ The Note
Rose Anderson / Madeline Archer ~ Starting Over
Steve Barber ~ Church Bulletin
Candace C. Bowen ~ The Crush
Candy Burke ~ Love Hurts
Geoff Collins-White ~ Desert Surprise
Terri Lynn Coop ~ The Brain Eaters
Dovey Mayali Cralk ~ The Dutiful Wife
Paul R. DeLancey ~ Twice The Man
SK Delph ~ Blow Me ... Away
Wayne DePriest ~ The Kiss
Bryan Dodd ~ Thawless Love
Barry Dowdeswell ~ Cleft
Douglas Dutcher ~ Honeymoon Cruise
Ellorien ~ A Bad Match
Amy Gettinger ~ Chocolates for His Sweetie
Denise Hemphill ~ My Ear Family
Foinah Jameson ~ Bad Dog
RJ Jeffreys ~ An Act of Ablution
Karen Oldham-Kidd ~ Split Decision
H.A. Lamb ~ The Last Supper
Elizabeth M. Lawrence ~ Forever
Desiree Lee ~ Second Chances
D.K. Mason ~ Funky Chicken
Eileen Matsumuro ~ Valentine Blues
James McShane ~ Blighted Spirits
Cathy Pace Matthews ~ The Bridge
Carole Oldroyd ~ Let Her Eat Cake
Leona Pence ~ A Mother's Love
Riley Ross ~ Bad Blood
Kim Shaddix ~ The Giver
Kally Jo Surbeck  ~ Warned
M.J. Sydney ~ You Did This
Laurie Tom ~ Til' Death
Kristen Tsetsi ~ Love You Always
Carol R. Ward ~ Love You Forever
Shirley Wetzel ~ Honor Thy Mother
Woodrow Wilkins ~ The Sting of Love

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Elsie Mae's Dream

Photo Courtesy DMedina at Morguefile

I first wrote Elsie Mae's Dream in January of 2011 (which seems more like 50 years ago now) as part of a Black History Month flash fiction competition for a now defunct website. It was one of my first attempts at flash fiction – the second to be exact. With a few (very) minor revisions, here is Elsie Mae's story.

Elsie Mae's Dream

by M.J. Sydney 

Martin Luther King had a dream that one day we would all be equal. That one day we would all be free. He dreamed of a world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. His dream was for the nation. For all people. For me.

My name is Elsie Mae. I am eight years old and I too have a dream. I have a dream that one day my parents will stop getting hurt, that my brother will stop killing and that I can go to bed at night without feeling hungry and cold. I dream of the day I can walk to school without being shot at and walk home without fear of being kidnapped.

In my dream, the sirens next door are silenced and the meth house on the corner is vacant. The streets are safe, the water is clean and the roof doesn't leak. I dream of a life with a real family, with parents that have enough money to stop selling on the streets.

I have a dream that one day I can go to a nice school with teachers who want to teach and kids that want to learn. I dream of becoming a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, a dentist, an accountant, a ballerina. I dream of opportunities – the same opportunities as the rich kids in the next town over.

I have a dream that one day I can read the wonderful stories of Mark Twain without being censored. That I can be free to choose what I read. I dream that one day I will be treated with respect and understanding. That I will be given the opportunity to prove myself and show the world what I am capable of.

I have a dream that my children will grow up to love everyone as I do, that they will be given the opportunities I do not have and that they will never witness the evils of the world as I have. I dream of a future for my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren – a happy life, full of love and compassion. A life without fear.

I have a dream that one day all of my pain and suffering will not be a waste, that my life will have meaning. I have a dream that one day all children can just be children. That the people in my neighborhood will once again find love and compassion for others.

That was my dream. My dream ended that night – the night those men came into my home. They took everything. They took my parents, they took my brother, they took my life. My name was Elsie Mae, I was eight years old and I had a dream.

Original ©2011 and revised 2016.

Friday, October 23, 2015

One Year and Ten Months Later ...

Photo Courtesy of MorgueFile user curlsdiva and used with permission.

Dear readers and fans, ghouls and fiends and anyone else unfortunate enough to stumble upon my random ramblings:

It's been nearly two years since my last posting, one year and ten months to be exact. Forgive me for I have failed. Failed to come up with a good excuse, that is. There isn't one.

I won't bore you with the details of the uneventful happenings over the last 22 months but during that time, there was a significant amount of soul-searching and mind revamping, on a personal level as well as a professional level.

With that, it's time to get back to writing.