Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just a Friendly Reminder

Tainted Tea needs you! Remember, we accept work on a rolling submission basis, so feel free to email your stories, poetry, or art at any time. We love reading and looking at art work.

Here's a rough idea of what we're looking for. But feel free to submit any type of story, poem or artwork that evokes a sense of fear, shock, or horror, or all of the above.

We're also happy to answer any questions you have, so send them over to TaintedTea.Editors@gmail.com

Please see our Submission Guidelines for more info.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kickass Trailer: "End of the Line"

Rated one of the Top Ten Horror Movies of 2008 by Horror-Movies.ca, this film is about members of the Church of Hope trying to right man's wrong...by reaping people?

Rev. Hope sends out these religious terrorists to "cleanse" man by unsheathing daggers from huge, metallic crucifix.

The time has come. Armageddon has arrived.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kickass Trailer: "Trick 'r Treat"

In this highly anticipated horror film (at least for the editors), you'll think twice before blowing out a jack-o'-lantern...lest you dare to face the wrath of Sam, the mysterious, burlap sack masked trick-or-treater who offs people on Halloween night.

Regardless of it sounds like an homage to John Carpenter's Halloween this movie makes me salivate. It's on-again/off-again DVD release is set for Fall, '09.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kickass Trailer: "Dead Snow"

In pure horror movie essence, Dead Snow revolves around a group of Norwegian med students vacationing in the mountains. Instead of the anticipated boozing, skiing and "sexing," they get a throng of WWII Nazi-zombies (Nazombies, if you please).

Entertainment Weekly
calls the movie "Cheery, silly, splattery, and respectful of its elders (and betters, particularly Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead)." There's just one thing we have to say about this: "Groovy!"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Possible Stickers?

Coming soon to a bathroom or sign post near you.

This just in...

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles of The Mercury Theater on the Air presented an adaptation War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Welles narrated a series of news bulletins about martians taking over the world. Due to some listeners tuning in mid-broadcast they thought the invasion was real.

Now it's your turn to get those news media/tabloid consumers riled with your own script or news article of an alien invasion; There are so many possibilities such as just a regular ole 1950s invasion, or maybe an illegal alien invasion (i.e. zombies). But whatever you do, the alien should not utter: "Take me to your leader!"

6 Easy Steps to Maintaining Your Craft (and Sanity) While in School

Papers are building up like plaque on teeth. Extra curricular activities and volunteer work bring a burden, not to mention going to frat parties! Your brain has to settle after being jolted from one class to the other.

You sit at the computer and try to get those voices that have been nagging at you all day onto paper. The warming sun is drawing nigh, barely casting it’s rays through the sheets of Post-It notes sprawled over the window (History presentation: Oy!; French test: Mon dieu!).

Wincing as if you’ll turn to dust as the sun brushes your skin, you utter those six infamous words from your pursed, tired lips: “I’m too tired. I’ll write tomorrow.”

This is where I scream-(Noooo!)- and you plead for my help. Follow these six easy steps and you too will maintain your craft.


Being a young writer can get stressful as people don’t always take us seriously. Befriending other young writers can help reduce that stress. They understand just what you’re going through whether they’re in school or not.

With your “writing buddy,” as my friend and I call ourselves, exchange tips and criticism. You can meet writing buddies anywhere. I met my writing buddies through school and MySpace.com.


Make sure that the writing course is free. Writing is supposed to be fun, not a hole in your wallet. Online courses are better because they’re done on the Internet and at your own pace. Try www.absynthmuse.com for some free, fun courses geared towards young writers.

Not only will these courses give you a chance to interact with other authors, some experienced, others not, but it will give you a chance to shine and better your art. And they’re free!


Buy some spiral notebooks in bulk at a wholesale store (it’s cheaper that way). In that notebook you’ll keep all your writing.

When you start to write that first sentence most likely you’ll keep on writing. In no time a story will have blossomed.

Ask someone to buy you The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer, or The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing by Monica Wood for your birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.

The books have writing prompts and inspirational quotes to keep the juices flowing and help you through the dilemma we call “writing.”


You have academic goals, why not have writing goals? Tell yourself that you want to write at least one short story by the end of the semester. Don’t worry if it’s just a first draft. Like wine, you have to let your story age before the editing stage in order to get the best quality.

You can set your goals higher such as writing a novel, but write at least one short short--a story between two and six pages long. If you write the short short and you hate it, at least you wrote something.


You shouldn’t punish your talent. Let it roam free and just write! While others schedule time to work out (or make out), why not enjoy your own hobby?

Learn to time manage and sneak writing into your daily planner. When at lunch or sitting in the park, observe and write.

What do you see? What do you smell? How does the air taste? Ask yourself all these questions and more. Step outside of the cubicle! One answer to your plethora of questions can set your mind into full throttle, resulting in a beautiful story.


Stephen King once wrote in an article written for The Writer’s Survival Guide: “Ask yourself frequently, ‘Am I having fun?’ The answer needn’t always be yes. But if it’s always no, it’s time for a new project or a new career.”

Writing should be fun and stress-free, and most of the time it’s one or the other (and one out of two ain‘t bad). Find new and exciting ways to keep yourself enthralled in your writing.

Make character sketches of your favorite cartoon character; make word anagrams; write out of your genre.

And when you feel like giving up because school or work or lack of loving from your friend with benefits pushed you out of the writing zone, find a quote or phrase to keep yourself going like The Little Engine that Could (“I think I can, I think I can…”). Dory, from Disney/Pixar’s film Finding Nemo, inspired me to use “Just keep swimming.”

So before the sun rises, let your thoughts rise instead. Follow these six easy steps and not only will you maintain your craft while educating yourself, but you’ll maintain your sanity.

*Originally published in The Communitarian

Look Who's Coming to Dinner

We'd like to remind you that Tainted Tea isn't just written for horror writers and readers. Tainted Tea is for fans of all things macabre. The editors love all horror media: books, movies, television...it's not wonder they're favorite holiday is Halloween.

That said, we invite you to sit at our table--rustic candelabras set at each end with thick, spider-less webs strewn across; thin, red wine spilling from goblets made of stone and the stiff butler speaking through pursed lips ("Dinner is served.")

For those brave enough, try this writing prompt:

Pick three horror icons. Anyone related to the horror genre (alive or dead, fictional, etc.) and invite them to dinner. What goes down?

What kind of conversations do you have? Any special meal accommodations for the Creature from the Black Lagoon? You forgot to pick up a bottle of Chianti and Dr. Lecter isn't pleased. Why would you put out the silverware when you knew the Wolfman was coming? Hide the knives, Lizzie Borden just pulled up.

Set the scene and write a page or more (but no less) on the dinner. Be unique, have fun and don't scare yourself too much.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What Type of Story Are You Writng?

Allow me to reiterate: "horror is an emotion." Sure there are other writing elements thrown in such as plot, character and short sentences (this helps with your stories pace), but the core of it all is the emotional aspect.

Yet, within the horror genre there are sub-genres. In the article "What Type of Book Are You Writing?" from the magazine Writing Basics, author Michael J.Vaughn breaks down genres such as romance and Sci-Fi/Fantasy, but most importantly: Horror.

Here are a few types of sub-genres Vaughn mentions that the editors of Tainted Tea particularly get hot for:

  • Comic Horror: horror stories that wither spoof horror conventions or that mix gore with dark humor.
  • Fabulist: derived from "fable," an ancient tradition in which objects, animals or forces of nature are anthropomorphized in order to deliver a moral lesson.
  • Hauntings: a classic form centering on possession by ghosts, demons or poltergeists, particularly of some sort of structure.
  • Quiet Horror: subtly written horror that uses atmosphere and mood, rather than graphic description, to create fear and suspense.
  • Weird Tales: inspired by the magazine of the same name, a more traditional form featuring strange and uncanny events ("Twilight Zone").
  • Zombie: tales featuring dead people who return to commit mayhem on the living.
We've mentioned before that we are open to considering any and all horror, so don't be shy. Show us what you've got. Didn't your mother tell you to share? You wouldn't want to disappoint Mama, would you?

When to submit

Tainted Tea accepts work on a rolling submission basis. We read all year round. If you're willing to submit, we're more than willing to read. Thanks for your interest.

For complete submission guidelines visit our previous blog post. We'd also like to remind you that as time goes on, the editors may change the submission guidelines, so please sure to reread the posts before submitting work.

In the mean time, read this:

"The Professor's Teddy Bear" by Theodore Sturgeon (in Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural Selected by Marvin Kaye).


"Where do you get your ideas?"

That question makes me freeze.

I don't know where they come from, they're just these little green goblins that plunge into my cerebrum, bouncing up and down like a pool of Jell-O. Sometimes my ideas come from a piece of art that triggers something in my brain, or a story I have just read that urges me to produce something as compelling as the author's piece. Once, a few years ago, I fused and elaborated on two, hard news stories I read in the paper.

J. K. Rowling, author of the
Harry Potter series, said that "Harry just sort of strolled into my head, on a train journey. He arrived very fully formed. It was as though I was meeting him for the first time."

But, simply, author R. L. Stine has said that he generates his ideas by asking himself "
What if?"

What if?

It's that simple. And effective. I use it all the time in
all of my writing be it horror or (attempted) romance. Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, must have used in it his short, horror story "Genesis and Catastrophe: A True Story."

Think of the "What if?" as a water fountain. You start with a basin (the idea), add water (paragraphs), plug it in (editing) and the outcome is exquisite: a water show extravaganza that people can't seem to take their eyes off of.

Now it's your turn. Write a story that constantly makes you answer the "What if?" factor. Refer to "The Nightmare Room Writing Program" for examples and exercise.

"Horror, for me, is the compelling
'don't want to look/must look' sense of awe
we feel under the breastbone."
~Mort Castle

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Submission Guidelines

Tainted Tea accepts short stories, narrative poetry, and all forms of printed art. Though we know horror isn't all monsters chasing large-breasted women, submissions must evoke fear, shock, or tension.

Please, no novels. Or Twilights.

Tainted Tea also accepts horror movie reviews.

All work must be original and created by the writer/artist. We will accept work that has been previously published as long as the creator owns the rights.

Please email all submissions to TaintedTea.Editors@gmail.com The editors are Kris Fossett and Shane R. Toogood.

Short Story Guidelines
Though there is no specific length, we would prefer short stories under 10 pages (approximately 2,500 words), double-spaced, in a professionally accepted font. Stories must be sent as either a DOC or RTF file. Please include: your name or pseudonym, the title, and the number of words on the first page of the story. On each page of the story, include your name or pseudonym and the page number.

Narrative Poetry Guidelines
Poems must tell a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. As with the short stories, there is no specific length, but we would prefer all narrative poems under 10 pages (approximately 2,500 words), double-spaced, in a professionally accepted font. Poems must be sent as either a DOC or RTF file. Please include: your name of pseudonym, the title, and the number of words on the first page of the poem. On each page of the poem, include your name or pseudonym and the page number.

Printed Art Guidelines
All images must be emailed as either a JPEG or PDF file, with 72 to 150 dpi. We accept everything to photographs to paintings to collages, as long as we can print it online. Please include your name or pseudonym and the title of your work with your email.

Movie Review Guidelines
We accept reviews on obscure, campy horror movies, like Dead Alive, Pinocchio's Revenge, or Blood Freak. Please keep all reviews between 250-500 words, double-spaced, in a professionally accepted font. Please include: your name or pseudonym, the title of the movie, and the number of words with your review.

Simultaneous Submissions
We do not want any writer or artist to miss an opportunity. Therefore, we accept simultaneous submissions.

Response Time
Depending on the amount of work we receive, our response time can vary between three to ten weeks.

Writer/Artist Compensation
Unfortunately, we can't offer monetary compensation for writers/artists at this time. But what we can offer is a beautiful byline.

"Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing."
~Sylvia Plath

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Recommended Reading: Kris's Picks

Well, Shane got to this before I did, and since we often trade books, some of my picks are the same. If you see repeats on our lists, well, they are just damn good books.

Stephen King wrote in On Writing (which you will find on Shane's list), "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot...Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones."

I read because I like stories. Sure, I do learn about the art of fiction, but what it all comes down to is that I just enjoy reading.

  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
  • From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury
  • Master of Reality by John Darnielle
  • Love is a Mixtape by Rob Sheffield
  • How to Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead by Ariel Gore
  • Scary Stories Illustrated by Barry Moser
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recommended Reading: Shane's Picks

Kris and I are book gluttons. We inhale books, gorge ourselves in stories and bathe in all their glory, so it's only natural that we share some of our favorite works with you:

  • "The Gold Bug" (or pretty much the complete works) by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Fear Hall: The Beginning and Fear Hall: The Conclusion by R. L. Stine
  • Black Hole by Charles Burns
  • Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural Selected by Marvin Kaye
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • Sharp Objects: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
  • The Best American Erotic Poems from 1800 to the Present Edited by David Lehman
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux
  • On Writing Horror Edited by Mort Castle
  • Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Man, I could go on. Those are a few off the top of my head. For my full list, please visit my Web site. I'll continue to update them as I continue to read. What are your favorite books? Do you like any of the books on my list? What do you look for in a good book? (Personally, I'm a sucker for characters. If the character is believable, you can put them in any situation--even if it sucks.)

Next time I'll give you my favorite short, horror stories. But until then, sing along with me: "Butterfly in the sky..."

(Don't look now, but writers block is following you.)

Face it. If you're a writer, you've encountered our dreaded foe Elder Writer's Block. Well, we here at Tainted Tea are here to help because, well, we're writers, too and have a forest worth of blank paper.

The Pocket Muse: ideas & inspirations for writing
is a wonderful tool for all writers. The book offers, just as the title says, "ideas and inspirations for writing." One of the exercises seems extremely appropriate for a horror zine:

"Your character is being followed."

Is your character a mountain climber lost on Everest being followed by the Yeti?

Maybe he's metaphorically being followed by his past?

You know, Mary had a little lamb and everywhere that Mary went that damn lamb was sure to follow her...

So what'cha got? Share what you've written in the comments. We'd love to see what you've come up with. Now, get going! Write. Write, I say!

In Summary...

Over the last few blog posts, we here at Tainted Tea have made many decisions on the content we are accepting for our new literary magazine. So, here it is, in one handy blog post:

Tainted Tea is a horror literary magazine brought to you by Shane R. Toogood and Kris Fossett's company, SHAKE Publishing.

We are looking for:
  • Short stories
  • Photographs
  • Paintings
  • Sketches
  • Collages
  • Actually, any sort of art we can print
  • Narrative poetry
  • Movie Reviews
See our previous post on submission guidelines. There will be an updated submission guidelines post soon.

Please, email all submissions at TaintedTea.Editors@gmail.com. If you have any questions about the magazine, writing, art, or anything, feel free to contact us.
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