Horror Tree's weekly newsletter of submissions, content, & more!

Word of the week: Dox – search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the internet, typically with malicious intent.

Hello readers! Welcome back to another round up of articles, fiction, submission calls, and other bits and bobs of interest for writers that I’ve found while lurking on the internet this week. A new podcast caught my attention, Dead Languages, hosted by Carson Winter and P.L. McMillan. They dropped an intro episode, but promise to talk about writing and craft, specifically in the field of horror fiction in future episodes. I’ll be looking to future episodes with interest, and will be sure to share any excellent craft advice here.

These past few weeks have seen some drama and chaos in the writing community on Twitter and on a few other platforms, and I just want to take a moment and remind you all that there are some really amazing people in the indie writing community. I’ve made connections with talented writers and met some truly wonderful people. If there is someone who you feel makes the community a better place, I’d encourage you to let them know you appreciate them. You never know when a few kind words might make a difference in someone’s day.

As always, you can find me (Holley Cornetto) lurking on Twitter @HLCornetto. Now, onto the latest articles on writing from around the web.

Newsletter Sponsor:
Kindertrauma Kickstarter

For this week's sponsor, we'd really like you to check out the Kickstarter for Kindertrauma. Kindertrauma: We Know What Scared You is a documentary that examines the fears we learn as children and how they can enhance our lives and enjoyment of horror. It includes insight from some pretty amazing horror creators and is well worth checking out! So be sure to head over to the Kickstarter for Kindertrauma today!

Horror Tree / Trembling With Fear Update (This section is generally updated by your fearless editor and chief, Stuart C.!):
Okay. There have been some neat progress this week. We have our staging server for the new hosting and layout live. It isn't fully ready for primetime quite yet but it is a LOT closer and I'm thrilled that we're finally making improvements there. I've also managed to do some editing to a novella that I was able to type The End on recently so seeing progress there has me thrilled on the writing side of things. 

Future projects after the upgrade:
- Work on our next set of Trembling With Fear anthologies
- Add new features to the site that are waiting on the upgrade
- Potentially release an app for our mobile-first readers

One last request, please throw us a follow on MSN or on Horror Tree's Medium!

And now, I return you to your regularly scheduled update of awesomeness from Holley!

Newsletter Bonus:
Our subscribers now get 15% off at PsychoToxin Press for direct orders. Visit them today right here and use the code ToxicTree to claim your offer!


This week, we have articles on general, business, and writing craft from around the web. First up, an article about book covers. While this applies to many self-published authors, I think small press publications who make their own covers might benefit from this article too. I’ve seen some great cover work from self-pubbed authors and small presses, but I’ve also seen covers that were cringe-inducing. Look to the tips in this article to help keep the cringe at bay. In the business section, we have two articles, one on writing newsletters and the other on querying and submitting. Please note that not all of the advice offered in these articles are going to apply in every situation, but regardless, there might be some information here worth noting.

In the craft section, I have an article by September Fawkes about influence characters. Prior to reading this article, I wasn’t familiar with the term “influence character,” but upon reading, the term makes a lot of sense. These influence characters are often some of my favorites in literature. I’ve often thought of these characters as the tiny angel/demon on the protagonist’s shoulder, pushing them forward (or backward) through the narrative. I’m grateful to finally have a name for what these characters represent.


Women Writers, Women’s Books: “How Your Cover Speaks Volumes” by Christina Hamlet


Linda S. Clare: “Platform: Writing Newsletters” by Linda S. Clare.

Jane Friedman: “Querying & Submitting in 2023: Q&A with Jeff Herman


My Story Doctor: “The Influence Character: One of the Most Important Roles” by September Fawkes.

Free Fiction Roundup:

I have three stories to share this week. First up is “Hermit Crabs” by Jennifer Fleck. I was drawn into this story immediately based on the situation, and the way the author immerses the reader without info dumping or exposition. We learn the rules of the protagonist’s existence by experiencing it firsthand. The other revelation in this story for me was the goodness in it. Often, stories like this are told from a horror standpoint, but this one took a different direction, and while I love horror, I felt the positive vibe of this story was refreshing. Next up this week is another recipe from one of the most unique fiction markets out there. This one is called “Recipe for the Morning After,” and it is as well-written as it is disturbing. Our last entry this week is from Warren Benedetto, and is called “Things are Looking Up.” This story has a strong themes of love, and gives new meaning to the phrase “death do us part…” Enjoy, readers!

Hermit Crabs” by Jennifer Fleck at MetaStellar.

Recipe for the Morning After” by Nechama Moring at Deathcap and Hemlock.

Things are Looking Up” by Warren Benedetto at Apocalypse Confidential.

– Writing Exercise:

Writers look everywhere for inspiration, but sometimes it helps to shake things up. This week, rather than give you a writing prompt, I want you to use Canva, or another free service, and create a mood board for your current WIP, or a new story. Search Google or Pixabay for images that fit the tone or mood of your story, and create a collage. If you’re feeling very adventurous, use Youtube or Spotify to create a playlist of songs that put you into the “mood” of the story and inspire you to write.

If you post any writing content during the week and think it would be a good fit for us to feature, do reach out and let us know at

Thank you, Patreons! As always, the site's lifeblood is in your hands, and we truly appreciate your support. 

Looking To Help Horror Tree?
Here are the main things we're looking for:
- Advertising and either Site or Contest sponsorships! 
- Someone to help create videos for social media (we have tools, but not time!) 
- Article writers (articles, interviews, reviews, crowdsource compilations, etc.) 
- Sharing guest posts with us or reaching out to us to be a blog tour host. 
- The obvious one here is also to become one of our Patreons or donate via Ko-Fi!

If you're interested in contributing and think you have something that would help out, PLEASE don't shy away from contacting us! (


Paying Markets For Authors For The Third Week of January, 2023!

Hello to all of our author and writer friends! Love was in the air this week, and if you need some speculative takes on love, lust, hate, and obsession, best sure to head over to our special Valentine’s Day release of Trembling With Fear for some fun fiction to fill your day! Welcome back to another thrilling round-up of the best-paying markets for speculative fiction! Belinda Brady is here to bring you the latest and greatest opportunities to get your work out there. So, get your pens and keyboards ready, and let’s discover some amazing markets together! Remember, finding the perfect home for your stories takes determination and patience, but the rewards are worth it. Keep on writing and submitting! Let’s explore the open calls that Belinda has personally selected for you from February 13th-17th. Check out all the details below: Cloaked Press’s – Summer of Speculation Ghoulish Books – Bury your Gays: An Anthology of Tragic Queer Horror Jay Henge Publishing – The Nameless Songs of Zadok Allen and Other Things That Should Not Be Tower Magazine – Tower Magazine Vol 1: End If you’re looking to support Horror Tree, please be sure to subscribe to our Patreon: Donate to our Ko-Fi: or order one of our recent editions of Trembling With Fear! You can find Trembling With Fear: Year 5 here: and Trembling With Fear: More Tales From The Tree: Volume 4 right here: Thanks for joining us, and have a great weekend! – Belinda and the Horror Tree Staff

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Taking Submissions: Last Girls Club Summer Issue 2023 (Early)

Submission Window: April 1st – May 1st 2023 Payment: Short Story-2,500 words or less. $0.01 USD per word/$25 USD max, Poems-less than 200 words $10, Flash Fiction-less than a 1,000 words $0.01 USD per word/$10 USD max Theme: Reparations Last Girls Club Summer Issue Theme is Reparations. The country I live in is founded with a deep blood debt that will continue to haunt us if we do not acknowledge it. Revisionist history cannot kill ghosts. Colonialism exists everywhere. What do reparations even look like? Please go to our website to get a feel for what we publish. Acceptances will be notified on May 15. No more than two fiction or flash fiction stories per author per submission period. Fiction is limited to 2,500 words or less. Authors are paid $0.01 per word upon acceptance ($25 USD max). Flash fiction is limited to under 1,000 words. Authors are paid $0.01 per word upon acceptance ($10 USD max). No more than three poems per poet. Poems are limited to 200 words or less for each poem. Poets are paid $10 upon acceptance. I prefer to use PayPal to pay authors, but will work with authors where PayPal is not available. Nonfiction columns will must be pitched to editor in chief before submission. Email your idea to The Last Girls Club Magazine is a quarterly feminist horror magazine that publishes international short stories and poems from the female gaze. It is an homage to the scary comics and zines of the late 20th century. Please check on the website for the theme in detail. Submissions will be accepted from Jan 1-Feb 1, April 1-May 1, July 1-Aug 1, Oct 1-Nov 1. Final notifications will be Feb 15, May 15, Aug 15, Nov 15. Authors must be 18+. Submissions from underage authors will not...

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Indie Bookshelf Releases 02/17/2023

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Epeolatry Book Review: The House Guest by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Taking Submissions: Bury Your Gays: An Anthology of Tragic Queer Horror

Deadline: May 31, 2023 Payment: 7 cents per word and a contributors copy Theme: Tales that explore queer tragic horror, and any other interpretation of the title theme Note: This anthology is only open to queer writers We’re looking for tales that explore queer tragic horror, and any other interpretation of the title theme. Show us what tragic queer love means to you. Horror is a genre with serrated edges—so make your characters bleed. We love queer stories of love but intermingle them with tragedy and horror. Give us characters who are angsty and complex, depraved and lecherous, and take us through their ecstasy of heartbreak and suffering. We want hauntings! Possessions! Lovers doomed to be separated for eternity! Mad scientists reviving their beloved wrong! Gays in hell! Sad Bly Manor gays! Don’t like the bury your gays trope? Curse ‘em with immortality and the indefinite madness that comes with it instead! Most of all, we are looking for compelling characters in stories that stick the landing. Their fates should ideally resonate with their emotional arc. We want feverish intensity, dread, and heartache. When asked, “yo, u good?” after reading your story, the answer should be “no”. This anthology is only open to queer writers. Those questioning whether or not they identify as queer are also encouraged to submit. We are particularly interested in work from underrepresented voices. Note that some writers have been invited to contribute. The anthology will consist of a mix of solicited and selected stories from the open call submission period. Length: 1k-6k words (ideal 2k-4k) Payment: $0.07 cents USD per word, plus one physical contributor’s copy Publication: E-book and print Multiple Submissions: No Simultaneous Submissions: Yes (Please notify us if accepted elsewhere) Reprints: No Deadline: May 31, 2023 Expected publication: April 2024, to launch at the Ghoulish Book Festival in San Antonio...

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Taking Submissions: Tower Magazine February Window

Deadline: February 28th, 2023 Payment: €20 Theme: horror, sci-fi, fantasy and erotica that grapple with the topic of Endings Note: Reprints Welcome Submissions are open from February 01-28 2023 for TOWER VOL. 1: END. We accept all genres and encourage submissions of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and erotica. For VOL. 1: END we’re looking for work that grapples with endings, death, dissolution and finality; sudden, brutal endings; torturously slow breakdowns; how do things come to an end and who gets to decide? Some inspirations: The desperation for an ending to the tortures of Gretchen Felker-Martin’s No End Will Be Found The cyclical violence in “Herbert White” by Frank Bidart The clash between audience and artist’s expectations of an ending in ABC’s LOST The desperate battle against a prophesied ending in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth The incomprehensible disappearance and abrupt end of an internet friendship in Lol Cuthbert’s “This journal has been deleted and purged” How we go on after the end of the world in Gretchen Felker-Martin’s Manhunt, Kentaro Miura’s Berserk and Torrey Peters’ Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones The role of geography and place in predetermining a life as in Cherie Priest’s Those Who Went Remain There Still The endless scroll of Tiktok PAYMENT Payment is €20 per contributor paid via PayPal or Revolut. Co-authored pieces count as one contributor. Issues will be hosted at and available for PWYC down to free. REPRINTS We are open to reprints and encourage submissions of self-published materials (EG. an illustration or comic posted to Twitter, a short story published on SIMULTANEOUS / MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS We’re totally fine with simultaneous submissions, just email us withdrawing your piece if it’s accepted elsewhere. Please only submit once per category, making a different submission for each category. We encourage submissions of related works (EG. a story and accompanying illustration). FORMATTING We love pieces with unusual formats, specific layouts or mixed media, for example, “The Pipeline” by...

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Epeolatry Book Review: Les Femmes Grotesques by Victoria Dalpe

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Originality.AI Launches A Free Text Comparison Tool To Detect Plagiarism

In today’s digital age, where content is abundant, plagiarism has become a pressing issue in the publishing industry. Editors of fiction and website owners who deal with the publishing industry face the challenge of ensuring that the content they publish is original and does not infringe on any copyright laws. This is where Originality.AI’s text comparison tool comes into play, providing a quick and easy way to detect plagiarism between two bodies of text. The tool is versatile and can compare text in various ways. Users can simply paste the text they want to compare, share a URL of two articles, or upload two documents with text. This makes it accessible and easy to use for people with different levels of technical expertise. We’ve previously spoken about Originality.AI when asking, “Are You Worried That The “Original” Short Stories Being Submitted Might Not Be Original?” Now, we have another great tool that they’re offering up, and this one is 100% free. (I will note here that our links to the tool Originality.AI do contain affiliate links. This will give us a percentage of any sales made at no extra cost to you and wouldn’t be affected by using their free tool.) Editors of fiction can use this tool to compare a submitted manuscript against previously published works to ensure that it is original. With the tool’s keyword density helper, they can also analyze the use of keywords in the manuscript and compare it against the industry standard. This feature can be particularly useful for editors looking to optimize a manuscript for search engines and improve its visibility. Website owners who deal with the publishing industry can also benefit from this tool. They can use it to compare content from their website against other websites in the same niche to ensure that...

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Taking Submissions: The Nameless Songs of Zadok Allen & Other Things that Should Not Be

Deadline: March 15th, 2023 Payment: $5 USD per 1000 words Theme: Lovecraftian Inspired Cosmic Horror What lurks in the deep? Who listens from the shadows? What sorts of abominable experiments are taking place at the mysterious ivy-covered university? We want your Lovecraftian tales. Deadline: March 15, 2023. NOTE: We are currently only accepting short stories for the anthologies and cannot accept full-length novel manuscripts at this time. ** Please put the anthology you’re submitting to in the subject line of the email.** Payment for accepted stories will be $5 USD per 1000 words for all current anthologies (excepting contests). Payments occur via PayPal, so please have a PayPal account into which we can pay you. We will also provide you with a digital copy (epub and pdf) of the finished manuscript. We’re looking for speculative fiction across all anthologies (unless otherwise specified). That includes everything from high fantasy to hard scifi and anything in between. We do accept reprints, simultaneous submissions, and multiple submissions, though these will slow down our response time. Story lengths should be anywhere from flash-length to about 15k words, but we have at times made exceptions. We know a story is complete when it’s complete, and arbitrary word count requirements are not always helpful. If you have an amazing story that exceeds 15k words, let us know. We may be able to make special accommodations. 🙂 With regard to copyright, we request the non-exclusive right to publish your story in the anthology to which it was accepted. You retain the rights to your individual story to do with as you wish. Please let us know if you have any questions. Note: We do have long lead times with our anthologies, because we want to ensure quality work gets included, and then once the deadline has passed, we...

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Taking Submissions: Short Story Substack March 2023 Window (Early Listing)

Submission Window: March 1st – 31st, 2023 Payment: $100 for the chosen story + 50% of subscription revenue Theme: Any genre, short story Mission = Revive the art of the short story, support artists, and produce something wonderful. Payout = Base Pay of $100 for the chosen story + 50% of subscription revenue to be sent by Paypal, Zelle, or check. Wait, you mean if this substack gets thousands of subscribers, the winner would get thousands of dollars? Yes! The New Yorker pays roughly $7,500 per story and I sincerely hope to go way past that. What does the timeline look like? Submit stories by the end of the month, winner to be announced on the 15th. There is ONE story that wins and receives the full payout. Where do I send submissions? What are the rules for submitting? 1. No Fees 2. Send in Microsoft Word or Google Doc form 3. Any genre 4. 6- 10,000 words. Yes, just 6 words, like Hemingway’s famous 6-word story “For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” 5. Reprints are ok so long as you still have the rights to distribute. 6. Acknowledge Distribution Rights on this Substack – You can still sell your story elsewhere but we need to be able to save and publish it here. The goal is to create a library for subscribers. 7. Only the winner will be published and rights will only transfer for the winning story. What do I get for subscribing? One beautiful story every month. The complete library. The joy of supporting artists and doing something interesting. What if I can’t pay right now? That’s ok! If you publish a blurb about this site on your website, blog, or social media, I will send you one full story of your choosing. Best of all, it is...

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Exploring the Golden Age of Science Fiction: The 1960s and its Influential Authors

Science fiction, often referred to as ‘sci-fi,’ is a genre of speculative fiction that deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. The 1960s was a decade that saw the rise of some of the most celebrated science fiction authors of all time. The works of these science fiction authors from the 1960s not only entertained readers but also challenged their perceptions of reality and the future, leaving a lasting impact on the genre and popular culture. The 1960s was a significant decade for science fiction literature as it marked a turning point in the genre. The advancements in science and technology during this time period, as well as the societal changes that were happening, provided a fertile ground for the emergence of new and exciting ideas in science fiction. The science fiction authors of the 1960s era wrote stories that explored these ideas in ways that had never been done before, pushing the boundaries of what was possible in the genre. They tackled complex themes such as the impact of technology on humanity, the nature of consciousness, and the meaning of existence, and they did it in a way that was both thought-provoking and entertaining. The works of these authors set the stage for the science fiction literature of the future, and their impact can still be felt today. Key Science Fiction Authors of the 1960s The 1960s was a golden age for science fiction literature, and it was during this decade that a group of authors emerged who would go on to become some of the most celebrated and influential writers in the genre. In this section, we will take a closer look at these key science fiction authors of the 1960s, and the impact...

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Love Is In The Air As Tor Launches A New Imprint Titled ‘Bramble’

So, let me stop you before you ask why a speculative fiction site would be posting about a new book imprint from Tor called Bramble that deals in romance. Well, romance is a universal love language, my friends, and according to the press release, “From science fiction and fantasy to contemporary and family saga, romance belongs in every genre, and every genre belongs in Bramble.” Discover a world of love that’s both tangled up and oh-so-sweet with Bramble Books. From the classic “happily ever after” to more complex and nuanced endings, their books will take you on an extraordinary journey of romance. They have stories to suit every taste, with spice levels ranging from mild to hot, and with both familiar and unexpected tropes to explore. In fact, some of their initial titles fall squarely into the realm of both science fiction and fantasy, which I’ll cover in just a moment. The reason that Tor is excited about the new imprint is shared by President and Publisher Devi Pillai who sates: Tor Publishing Group is the gold standard of genre publishing and it’s the perfect time to have an imprint dedicated to romance. Bramble will be the destination for exceptional love stories of all kinds. Expanding into romance gives our team and our readers another chance to do what we do best: get obsessed! Plus, let’s be real, I just want to publish more books I love to read! Joining Pillai will be Monique Patterson, who has signed on as VP, and Editorial Director of the new imprint. Patterson has been publishing romance for nearly 25 years in the industry and will bring both talent and knowledge with her to the table. According to Patterson: I’m thrilled to join Tor Publishing Group and to launch Bramble. There is a reason...

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Taking Submissions: Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores March 2023 (Early Listing)

Submission Window: March 1st – 3rd, 2023 Payment: 8 cents per word for original, 2 cents for reprints, For artwork: $10 for the non-exclusive right to use each image, for as long as the site is online.  If we publish a print collection we will pay a pro-rata share for each image used. Theme: Well written original work in science fiction, fantasy, myth, legend, fairy tales, and eldritch, in written, podcast, video, and/or graphic story form, and from around the world. Note: Reprints welcome     Submissions Schedule We have a new submissions schedule as of June 1, 2020: The first and second day of every month, 12 am of the 1st to 12 am of the 3rd, E.S.T. Only one submission per person. For reading impaired individuals, our submissions manager and ‘forget password’ have a captcha compatible with screen readers. We pay 8¢ per word for new fiction, 2¢ per word for fiction reprints, 2 – 6¢ per word for new fact-based work, 1- 4¢ per word for reprinted fact articles. For new poetry, we pay $1 a line, reprints would be 50¢ a line, up to 40 lines. We’ll look at longer poems but that would be a hard sell, and words over 40 lines would be paid at 6¢ per word. We began The Kepler Award to recognize and encourage writers of excellent science fiction and fantasy stories that creatively extrapolate on known science in constructive and exciting ways. You can learn about The Kepler Award here. You can read a copy of our standard contract here.   It can be varied as needed to include the rights of translators, voice actors, etc. Writers Guidelines We accept new work as well as reprints, prose and poetry, anywhere from 1000 word flash fiction on up, but all else being equal,...

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Taking Submissions: Invoking Destiny: Wands, Wings, and Wardens

Deadline: May 30th, 2023 Payment: 2 contributors copies Theme: Fantasy stories The Prompt: Set in a time and place of magic, these fantastic tales contain wizards, dragons, fairies, and warriors. Want to explore a world of dragons and wizards yearning to break free? Dreaming about a guardian saving the town of creatures and talking animals from lurking evil in the forest? Dreams can come true, but they can also be crushed. Sometimes, winged fiends win the day. Let your imagination run wild amid these stories of magic and mayhem. Deadline May 30th 2023 at Midnight EST Publication By End of 2023 Award 2 complimentary paper copies. US Only. Access to buy author copies at a discounted rate. We retain first publication rights for the first 90 days of publication. After that feel free to sell and republish your entry as you wish. All entries will solely belong to you. Wide distribution. By sending in a submission, you are agreeing to the rights above and will receive confirmation to further information regarding contest. Contest Guidelines Here’s what we need from you to include: 12 pt font Calibri or Times New Roman Double-spaced throughout (without extra spaces between paragraphs) Indented for new paragraphs 1-inch margin all around Include a title page with pen name & author name Title of work Header with pen name, title, and page number in top right-hand corner. 2,500 – 5,000 words Must be 18+ or have written permission from parent or guardian. Important Notes: If you do not follow the submission and formatting guidelines you will be rejected without feedback and should resubmit. We will not review submissions that fail to follow instructions nor answer the questions we need. You must have your first manuscript completed before submitting. You are only sending us the first 10K words, but it is...

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The Spooky Six with Willow Croft and Tenacity Plys

After we got done dishing over our shared tea- and green apple obsessions, Tenacity Plys and I got down to the interview fun at hand! Tenacity Plys lives in the forest of Prospect Park; there’s also an apartment in nearby Crown Heights where xe occasionally sleeps. Xe has major “former gifted kid energy,” as well as “current autistic energy.” Xe loves found-document fiction, mostly because as an inveterate Homestuck all xe wants to do is write dialogue in the form of instant messages. Plys’s new book Family Curse has been called a “transgressive, scrappy debut,” a “delicious bite of a horror story,” and “a perfectly crafted novella.” Featuring a wide range of neurodivergent characters, Plys seeks to explore what it means to be neurodivergent, especially when undiagnosed. Xe dreams of a neurodivergent literary tradition that will make future versions of xir feel less alone. Plys’s upcoming projects include a punk zine made by a baby AI 200 years in the future, an interactive murder mystery set on a cryptid fan forum, and a choose-your-own adventure about quantum mechanics that doubles as a tabletop roleplaying game. Xe describes xir work as inviting the reader to imagine themselves as part of the story’s world, using form as an interactive element even in more traditionally presented stories. Xe also loves to leave Easter eggs for sharp-eyed readers to find! As xe learns more about coding, xe hopes to expand xir experimentation into video games. In xir spare time, Tenacity does all those twee activities people always put in their bios; xe is a “pickle enthusiast” and an “artist. actor. dreamer.” Lately, xe is also a part-time model. You can find xir around Brooklyn LARPing as a Secret History character, a Jane Austen character, or anyone who wears a peacoat. Follow xir on all...

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