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Randomizers can help you brainstorm and break out of habitual thinking. They can inspire new ideas and free you from any boxes you’re trapped in. Browse these randomizers when you’re looking for ways to buff up your story and characters. Want / Need / Secret Randomizer Morality / Job / Hobby Randomizer Love / Hate…

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Author Information

Allie Yohn

Allie Yohn lives in Phoenix with her wife and two rescue dogs. She’s a writer, voracious reader, and a collector of both books and decorative skulls. She believes the best thing in life is having a dog, with explaining the differences between the book and the movie to an interested audience a close second.

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Lisa Morton

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening.” She is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, the author of four novels and over 150 short stories, and a world-class Halloween expert.

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Works for Promotion

Halloween Beyond: Piercing the Veil
Crystal Lake Publishing

When Kayla’s sister Hailey went missing in the nearby Ghost Woods on Halloween night, the last person to see her was the solitary, elderly Brigid. Kayla, who has long suspected Brigid of being involved with Hailey’s disappearance, dreads the first anniversary of her sister’s vanishing even as her best friend Sophie urges her to put the past behind her. Halloween nears and Kayla pays a visit to the pop-up Halloween Beyond store, where an enigmatic clerk named Maeve convinces her to buy a talking-board. Kayla begins receiving messages which claim to be from Hailey, but is it actually something more sinister calling out from beyond the veil? Brigid—who may be a witch—offers to lead Kayla into the Ghost Woods on Halloween in search of answers. Kayla discovers dark truths about herself as she and Brigid confront the terrifying supernatural forces that claimed Hailey.

A Little Yellow Book of Carcosa and Kings
Borderlands Press (Lisa Morton, editor, and Robert Chambers)

The stories included in A Little Yellow Book of Carcosa and Kings —”In the Court of the Dragon”, “The Mask”, “The Yellow Sign”, and “The Repairer of Reputations” —are the four works by Robert W. Chambers that make up his “King in Yellow” cycle. These tales have influenced generations of writers, ranging from tribute anthologies to the first season of HBO’s hit series True Detective. Acclaimed editor and multiple Bram Stoker Award®-winner Lisa Morton provides an introduction and extensive annotations. Limited to 500 copies signed by the editor.

Night Terrors & Other Tales
Omnium Gatherum Press

Twenty-one stories, including the Bram Stoker Award-winning “Tested” and the never-before-published title story “Night Terrors”.

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Author Information

Lee Call

Lee Call draws stuff for a living, and writes stuff for fun. Their favorite things to draw are monsters, animals, and things that make people laugh. Their favorite things to write have people dying at the end. Lee lives in the Desert Southwest with two dogs, one snake, 95 houseplants, and a bunch of tall people.

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Works for Promotion

The Angel Room
J Emrys Press

Everyone has demons, but fifteen-year-old Eleanor can actually talk to hers. Creep’s always been there, her childhood best friend, and the only one who knows her secret. Fish-bone teeth and gravel-voiced. The monster under her bed. When Eleanor’s family moves to a new neighborhood, Creep won’t be left behind. Then she meets Virgil, a reformed bad boy with horses, and Mia, a queer goth-girl, and Eleanor begins to question everything. Can she find the courage to share her story and be rid of Creep forever?

Good Thing He’s Dead
J Emrys Press

When a new zombie accidentally swallows the head of a statue, he tries to solve the problem by eating an increasingly hilarious array of objects. This rhyming tale of ravenous reanimation — a parody of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly — will have horror fans young and old giggling at the zombie’s efforts to improve his situation, with disastrous results.

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Author Information

Angel Leigh McCoy

Angel Leigh McCoy writes paranormal suspense novels. She is the creative force behind the Wyrdwood dark fiction series and the Dire Multiverse world, including the “Dire Multiverse” audio drama, the Danika Dire video game (in production), and various works of fiction to come.


In her modern dark-fantasy Wyrdwood world, Angel has written a suspenseful trilogy, “The Wyrdwood Welcome“ trilogy, and two alternate history tales: a novelette titled “Charlie Darwin, or the Trine of 1809” and a short story, “Nurse Magdaleine.” She is currently working on a second trilogy set in Wyrdwood.



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More about Angel

The Dire Multiverse

Angel has her own indie game studio called Games Omniverse. This group of ninja artists and game designers have been plugging away for years with Angel at the helm, working on a puzzle adventure game set in a magical modern world of The Dire Multiverse.

Short Stories

Dark was the Night contains a collection of her short Horror stories, not for the weak of heart.

She has had more than 25 short stories published, one of which had the honor of being selected for the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year anthology (vol. 5, 2019). Her other credits include stories published in Changing Breeds: Wild West Tales—a shifter anthology for White Wolf’s World of Darkness, Dark Rainbow: Anthology of Queer Erotic Horror, Strange Aeons, Pseudopod, Necrotic Tissue, Beast Within 2, Fear of the Dark (edited by wily Jennifer Brozek) and Growing Dread: Biopunk Visions, among others.

Her list of publications spans three decades worth of overactive imagination.

Anthology Editor

She co-edited (with wily E.S. Magill and Chris Marrs) the Deep Cuts: Menace, Mayhem, & Misery, an anthology of fantastic short stories designed to pay tribute to women horror writers. It includes 19 stories by men and women both, as well as many recommendations for short horror stories written by women.

During her six years as the voice director and head editor at Wily Writers, she edited and produced more than 70 audio short stories, published two “Best Of” anthologies, and spearheaded the Twilight Zone tribute anthology: Another Dimension Anthology which won the Serling Award in 2017.

Video Game Narrative Designer

Angel has a long-standing history with designing and writing games, going back to 1992 when she wrote her first tabletop RPG content for White Wolf. She has worked for several AAA video game studios, including Remedy Games’ senior writer on CONTROL, ArenaNet’s (senior narrative designer on Guild Wars 2), Microsoft Game Studios, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, FASA, and other tabletop RPG companies. While working at, she was the official game correspondent Wireless Angel.

Audiobook Narrator

Angel got into story narration in 2012 when she launched Wily Writers, her speculative fiction e-zine. As the executive producer, she directed other narrators and produced stories she narrated herself. These days, she narrates novels and short stories for authors. Among her narration credits are The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror 3 by Comet Press, Behind the Mask: An Anthology of Heroic Proportions by Meerkat Press, and the Calamity Jayne series by Kathleen Bacchus.

Author Doula

In 2021, Angel built WilyWriters.NET as a private book-birthing space where dark-fiction writers can receive support, education, and encouragement for their publishing endeavors. The site provides members with promotional opportunities, education, tools, and support. She runs special events for members and produces content for the Wily Writers Youtube channel, including author readings, book recommendations, and roundtable discussions.


Angel lives with Boo, Simon, Stacey, Walter, Mama, and Lapis Lazuli (kitties) in Seattle, where the long, dark winters feed her penchant for all things spooky and cozy. (She/her, LGBTQ+)

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Looking for a theme for your next anthology? Browse away! For the Wily anthology series, one way we can make submitting easier would be to combine two themes, such as “Love and War” or “Courage and Cowardice.” 7 Deadly Sins Greed Sloth Lust Vanity/Pride Envy Anger Virtues humility kindness abstinence chastity patience liberality diligence love…

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View Angel’s Newsletter Sign up for it on her website. My newsletter is specific to my Wyrdwood novel series. I’ve branded everything around the word “Wyrdwood.” Strange, wonderful, and terrifying beings (and their stories) exist in Wyrdwood, often right next door. I try to relay this feeling in my newsletters. I don’t share a lot…

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View Lisa’s Newsletter Sign up for it on her website. Back about six years ago, I hired an expert in book promotion to help me with sales. Her biggest tip? I needed an author newsletter. The first thing you need to know: most internet service providers will limit the number of e-mails you can send…

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A newsletter is the absolute best way to reach those fans who love your work. You collect their email addresses then contact them directly when you have a new product on the market. Your fans opt in to receive these emails, so you know they want to hear from you, and you’re doing them a favor by keeping them apprised of your news.

  • What options exist for setting up a newsletter?
  • Does a newsletter need to cost money?
  • How often do I need to send one out?
  • What do I say in them?
  • How do I collect emails?

All these are great questions. Let’s look at the answers.

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Categories: Promotion, Public, Writers

Did you know that agents and publishers watch Twitter for novel pitches, especially on certain dates?

Pitch your manuscript to agents in real time on Twitter’s pitch parties or check out some other (non-Twitter) mentoring and editing opportunities happening this year. Disclaimer: please be sure to check out these events for yourselves in case there are any changes, and to ensure they are right for you.

Categories: Business, Public

Technology in the publishing industry has changed dramatically in the past twenty years, and yet, I see many submission guidelines out there that haven’t changed with it. Old-fashioned typesetting is extinct for all practical purposes, and digital publishing (for the Kindle, for example) imposes requirements that publishing in paper doesn’t.

To compete and be at the top of your game, you need to understand how the advent of the computer and digital publishing has impacted publishing. Forget typesetting. Forget typewriters. It’s the 21st century.

Many submission guidelines (such as those at the SFWA site, 2005) are written for the novelist submitting a paper manuscript to a publisher that employs a typesetter. They do not serve the short story writer. Short stories have their own requirements, especially in today’s publishing environment.

William Shunn offers a template and tips
that are quite up-to-date and good.

#1 Rule to Submission Formatting

Read the guidelines and follow them. Every publisher has a different idea of what they want. If you don’t follow their guidelines, you’re giving them another reason to reject your story.

No More Typewriters!

Many of the old manuscript formatting rules came about because of typewriters and the typesetting tools publishers used. We can let them go now. Typesetting these days is all automated. And most publishers just import your Word doc into software programs like Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

Digital Publishing

Many publishers are formatting for multiple media that can be read on mobile devices (phones & iPads) and hand-held readers like the Kindle, the Sony Reader, etc. These devices require publishers to reformat your story for the different media.

Keeping that in mind, there are things you can do to make it easier on them, and things that will have them tearing their hair out.

A Dozen Tips

To preface, I’ll remind you to always, always read and follow the submission guidelines of the market to which you’re submitting. However, you can put a few best practices into your formatting habits that will endear you to editors and publishers.

It’s in your best interest to learn how to use Word or some other word-processing software like a pro. Get someone to teach you, or use an online tutorial, such as this basic one for Word from Microsoft. For an “Advanced” Word tutorial, check out this Youtube video:

Here’s a checklist of ten formatting habits you can cultivate to make the job of the publisher/editor so much easier (and have them praising your name more often):

  1. If the publisher requests a particular font, do as they say. But, if not, then use either Courier or Times New Roman, 12-point. Maintain the same size font throughout the manuscript (with the exception of the title). Don’t put in section headers that are larger. If you have headers between sections, keep them the same size and bold them. “Simple” and “functional” are your two keywords.
  2. If your story is in sections, put a single hashtag between sections. The publisher will probably replace that with something more attractive, but it’s important they know that a section break is happening.
  3. Add three hashtags at the end of the story. This lets the editor/publisher know that they have the entire manuscript and have reached the end.
  4. Turn off curly quote marks in Word. These can be a terrible pain in the ass and easily get buggered up. —Instructions—
  5. Turn off automatic ellipsis creation. Use three periods, not the ellipsis character. —Instructions—

    This image shows the Options page. Click “Proofing,” click “AutoCorrect Options,” then make sure you’re on the Autocorrect tab. Look for the ellipsis in the list, highlight it and delete it. Thus, when you type in three periods, it won’t automatically switch to a special character.

  6. If the guidelines do not request a specific format, use italics for italics. Don’t use underscores for italics. That’s as old-fashioned as putting two spaces between sentences (and has its roots in when our grandparents used typewriters and white-out).
  7. Do not put two spaces between sentences. Publishers have to strip them out. If you really can’t break the habit of hitting that space bar twice after a period, then make it your habit to do a Search-and-Replace once you’re done. Swap out double spaces for single spaces. It’s fast and easy.

    My hero, Grammar Girl, gives an excellent explanation on why we no longer put in two spaces after a sentence.

  8. Do not manually insert page numbers. Your word processor has an automatic page numbering system that can go in the footer or header. Use that. —Instructions—
  9. Do not manually insert tabs. Use your paragraph settings to indent that first line. Otherwise, your editor has to go in and delete all those tabs and set the paragraph settings for you. Also, do not manually insert spaces at the beginning of a paragraph.
  10. Use emdashes, and use them properly. I see so many variations on the emdash and endash. The emdash is the longer one. The endash shorter. The rules are fairly simple once you take the time to learn them, and using them correctly in your manuscript will make you editor’s pet.
    • To insert an emdash, all you have to do is hold down the ALT key while you type 0151 on the number pad (not the numbers at the top, but those on the side or in the middle). The endash is your regular ol’ buddy, the dash that’s on your keyboard.
    • If you can’t use a real emdash, two endashes are a lamer substitute but won’t get you mocked.
    • All style guides, except AP Style, recommend NO space before and after the emdash. This means that, unless you’re writing a journalistic piece, you shouldn’t be putting those spaces in there. For example:
      • Correct: The sky was blue—whether we liked it or not—with small fluffy clouds.
      • Incorrect: The sky was blue — whether we liked it or not — with small fluffy clouds.


  11. Learn how to properly use ellipses. We have all gotten into some very bad habits with ellipses because of email, texting, and online chat. Ellipses, however, serve a different role in literary text than they do in casual discussion text.

    Grammar Girl gives a great overview of ellipsis use. With short stories (or novels), however, there are a couple of things to especially keep in mind. In fiction, evaluate the voice of what you’re writing. Unless you’re writing in first person, you’ll rarely use an ellipsis outside dialogue because the purpose of the ellipsis is to show hesitating or faltering speech, or skipped words.

    Furthermore, it is not a valid substitution for a period. We see this often in email and chat windows, but you’ll rarely use it in literary text except with dialogue, where the speaker trails off and drops words (thus, fitting the skipped word requirement above.) For example:

    • Incorrect: John said, “Honey, I’d like to get ice cream before the shop closes…” He stared as an alien burst from his wife’s chest. (The sentence finishes, thus it should be a period, not an ellipsis.)
    • Correct: John said, “Honey, I’d like to get ice cream before the…” He stared as an alien burst from his wife’s chest. (Dropped words make the ellipsis appropriate.)
  12. Consistent formatting is critical. Even if you don’t do it right, do it the same way all the time. It’s those erratic formatting elements that kill your editor/publisher. If you choose to put a blank line between paragraphs (not recommended), then do so exactly the same way each time. Anything you do that makes it easier for your editor/publisher/agent to Search-and-Replace earns you more good karma.

How you format your manuscript isn’t just about making it look good and making it legible. It’s also about preparing it for the transition to a publishable state. If your manuscript requires a ton of work to get it ready, the editor/publisher/agent may pass it up for an equally good story that’s going to be less painful to format.

Do everything you can to improve your chances of:

    1. Being seen as a professional.
    2. Being seen as someone who is up-to-date with current word-processing technology.
    3. Being seen as someone who makes the editor’s/publisher’s/agent’s job easier.
Categories: Business, Public, Writers