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Here at The Dark Sire we LOVE Gothic fiction. That’s why we publish it. There is something grand about it. As we read it, it arouses our deepest passions or fills us with the deepest dread. It sends chills up and down our spines. Gothic stories are filled with revenge, hope, disappointment, otherworldly terrors, evil villains, and the occasional damsel in distress. The author may take us through a decaying mansion with a labyrinth of secret passageways or a gloomy forest, we are all enthralled by those things that go bump in the night.
Gothic fiction may have had its beginnings in England in the latter half of the 18th century, but it fell out of favor only to be re-imagined by the gifted pen of Edgar Allen Poe. Stories such as The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Premature Burial innovatively reinterpreted the Gothic genre for his American audience, by adding the psychology of this characters as they descended into the madness that consumed them. Poe, himself, called it “the terror of the soul”. He believed that terror was a legitimate literary subject. And, at TDS, we do, too.
Gothic literature often juxtapose wonder and terror in an effort to encourage the reader to suspend their disbeliefs, to fire their imaginations, to accept the macabre and morbid as normal. Castles or mansions are not just neglected buildings. They have secrets of their own which affect those who live there. It mirrors the internal struggle of living, juxtaposing their hopes and dreams with the reality of the decay that surrounds them.
The Gothic allows the reader to confront his or her own fears. Fear is a driving force. It can lead the characters to commit uncharacteristic crimes or to overcome whatever obstacle is before them.
Here at TDS we strive to publish the best in Gothic literature. We look for stories that embrace the marriage of the supernatural and metaphysical worlds, stories such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, or even Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera.
But there are many great Gothic novels. Some of our favorites include:
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Gormanghast Novels by Mervyn Peake
Subscribe to THE DARK SIRE for the best in Gothic Literature.
FREE Paperback Copy of Issue 3
To enter, follow these easy steps:
1. READ the digital copy of Issue 3, available at joom.ag/hcaC
2. REVIEW the issue using Survey Monkey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5CV79QB
The winner will be contacted via email, so be sure to provide your
name and email address in the survey. (Your information will not be
sold or used for any other purpose than this giveaway.)
Giveaway open from May 1, 2020 to May 15, 2020.
Winner will be announced May 16, 2020 on Twitter,
Instagram, and Facebook (@DarkSireMag).
Artists deserve more promotion than just being published in a magazine. After all, poems are being made into a song and short fiction is being made into an audio recording. So what then will be done with the artwork in The Dark Sire?
Simply put: The artwork will be exhibited at TDS events for attendees to view. Artists will send prints for event use and the editor will display them for all to see.
Exhibitions may start in late 2020 with Issue 4's author event.
As the editor of The Dark Sire, Bre Stephens is always pushing beyond the page to promote TDS creatives. This means that she continously talks to people about TDS and works hard to build a platform that authors and artists can be proud of. Recently, she talked with two Twitterzens who just finished reading a TDS issue. Although they did not give her a full review of the magazine, they did share their opinions and even stated a few favorites.
First, there was Motoki, a writer and editor who read issue 1 because she wanted to start at the very beginning. Motoki loved TDS and the layout of its website. This is great news! The TDS website had recently changed from author-based to reader-focused, so getting feedback on website layout means that readers are enjoying the TDS online experience - a must if the platform being built is to be a success. Then Motoki listed her favorites from the issue. "They were all good," she admitted, "but I really loved Gregory Kimbrell's [poetry] and Vampyre Paladin, which was a fun read."
Gregory Kimbrell had two poems in issue 1: The Dice Throwers and Haishutsuryou (Output). Though two different pieces, Gregory's poems unite in their carefree exploration of self-identity. The poet himself sees his writing as a "subversive act of myth making, of smashing old worlds and building new ones." Maybe this is what held Motoki's interest.
Brenda Stephens contributed with a book serialization: Vampyre Paladin. Paladin is Brenda's debut novel, as she was exclusively a short story writer until 2019. Her work is a self-described mix of gothic and horror with a splash of realism. Influenced by Edgar Allan Poe and Anne Rice, she "endeavors to create stories that will engage the mind and address social issues."
Although Motoki only referenced two favorites, it's clear that she enjoyed the whole issue, much like the second reader, Kristina Stagg.
Kristina was the winner of the first-ever TDS online giveaway of issue 2; her excitement of winning issue 2 was contagious. Like Motoki, Kristina is no stranger to creative fiction, being a writer herself. After reading her copy, she didn't hesitate to state her faves: The Village - Part Two: The Apprentices and The Mask.
David Crerand returned from Issue 1 to continue more of his work on The Village, which comes from "a concept piece that involves a series of stand-alone stories based on vampires whose lives are crafted after occupations of typical medieval residents." The Village - Part Two: The Apprentices is a fun and twisted short story that consumes the reader as events unfold. David's work on the series continues in Issue 3, which Kristina is looking forward to.
Carl Hughes wrote The Mask, a short story that delves into mystery and mayhem from the very beginning, leaving the reader dazed-and-confused and screaming for more. The author himself calls his work a "specialisation in writing horror, the offbeat and bizarre." Hailing from England, Carl's work definitely has an old world taste and flavor, which is no doubt why this story made Kristina's favorite list.
According to Motoki and Kristina, The Dark Sire is a wonderful magazine that readers look forward to. And, if the whispers of TDS filling a void in horror and gothic creative fiction are true, it seems as though TDS is going to become a staple for a very specific demographic of readership. With all of this in mind, it's nice to know that TDS is being well-received and enjoyed. It's things like this that will keep TDS around for years to come.
Stay up-to-date on everything TDS by following online: Twitter Facebook Instagram
Fernando Fidanza has chosen his third poem to become a Folk song, this time C. Christine Fair's "A Brother's Revenge."
Unlike his work on Bartholomew Barker's "Silence," Fernando takes his time getting into the lrics, strumming a slow but powerful guitar that twangs with deep emotion. The pulsation of the guitar creates a thumping beat in your chest to go along with the "heart, heart pounding" lines of the poem.
Fair was without words when she heard her poem was made into a folk song. "This is crazy. I've never heard of this before." She put the experience in the I did not see this coming category and went on to thank TDS and Fernando for the opportunity.
More poem transforations to Folk songs by Fernando are coming. His first two compositions were S. M. Cook's "Hell's Love of Heaven's Hatred" and Bartholomew Barker's "Silence," respectively.
Listen to C. Christine Fair's poem as a Folk song, composed by Fernando Fidanza on YouTube:
Secondhand Bookery, an independent and family-owned horror/science-fiction bookstore based in Stephen King's hometown of Bangor, Maine, has decided to sponsor The Dark Sire literary magazine. The decision was made official on the evening of March 19, 2020.
"As the editor of TDS, I am thrilled to have Secondhand Bookery as our sponsor," Bre Stephens said. "I can't think of anyone better to support us and our mission."
Secondhand Bookery specializes in online sales of books, apparel, artwork, collectibles and more and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Readers can visit https://www.secondhandbookery.com/the-dark-sire-magazine to support TDS, as well as make purchases from the Secondhand Bookery website. They are also encouraged to make Secondhand Bookery the bookstore of choice for all their book and memorabilia needs: SecondhandBookery.com.
TDS wants to know what summer looks like, feels like, and tastes like for creatures of the night. What exactly is summer when you think of gothic, horror, fantasy, and psychological realism? What goes bump in the night... when the weather is scorching? We all know what scary and creepy are in October, or what fatastical and psychological are in December, but what are they in July? The genres must be represented more than just one month, right?
Submit your short fiction, poetry, and art to share your definition of a "dark summer."
Now accepting work in horror, gothic, fantasy, and psychological realism for Issue 4. Simply go to the submissions page to submit work that describes what it means to have a "Dark Summer."
Fernando Fidanza was born in Rome, Italy, in 1976. He majored in Chinese language and culture at Sapienza University in Rome.
A self-taught guitarist and songwriter, he began composing songs and playing in live music venues when he was just 13 years old. His musical influences are Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, Dave Matthews Band, U2, Pearl Jam, Francesco Guccini, Led Zeppelin, Tom Waits, and Eminem.
From those humble beginnings, Fernando grew up to become a musical composer of original scores for movies, documenatries, and media applications in China, where he lived for 14 years.
In fact, Fernando has also traveled with his music.
"I performed live in more than 100 Chinese cities, and I toured the USA and Holland with my folk songs."
And that's not all! He even published a poetry and photography book about China titled Cina: le Radici Profonde (China: Deep Roots), inspired by the Confucian classic The Filial Piety.
When not creating music, Fernando enjoys horror movies and comics.
This gifted musician is the official music composer for the poems published in The Dark Sire. He is also "The Minstrel" talked about in The Dark Sire Podcast (anchor.fm/darksiremag).
Follow Fernando Fidanza on
YouTube: Folk Music Collaborations
Facebook: Old Folk for New Poets
Dark Sire is stretching its wings and flying into the world of Podcasts.
That's right! You'll now be able to listen to some of the magazine's content in small podcast chunks that will span from 20-40 minutes in length. Content to expect from the podcast:
It should be a fund way to get more people interested in The Dark Sire while also being a great way of promoting the work of all the talented authors and poets who contribute to the magazine.
The first episode isn't scheduled until April 2020, but teasers have already been placed on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. To get a headstart, bookmark anchor.fm/darksiremag.
A second poem has been chosen to become a Folk song: Bartholomew Barker's "Silence."
Fernando Fidanza, official music composer for TDS who pairs poetry with Folk music, jumps right into this new song. The poem-as-lyrics begin with the first strum of the melodic guitar, and the music takes us on an adventure not quite filled with silence, but emotion.
Bartholomew stated that Fernando "does a great job putting emotion in his voice" as he discussed the song on his blog. "Maybe it's just me being a proud parent but I think he did a great job. I love his accent. This is the first time I've heard my words sung to music and it affected me more than I'll admit."
More poem transforations to Folk songs by Fernando are coming. The first poem he chose to compose to music was S. M. Cook's "Hell's Love of Heaven's Hatred."
Listen to Bartholomew Barker's poem as a Folk song, composed by Fernando Fidanza on YouTube:
The Times Reporter is a local paper in the Dover-New Philadelphia, Ohio area. Jon Baker, a reporter for the T-R, wrote a story about The Dark Sire, which included a little about our very own editor, Bre Stephens.
The article was on the front page and continued on A4, which means that it was quite a nicely written, longer story. It dove into why the magazine is titled "The Dark Sire" and that it is an international magazine - in less than 3 months!
The headline read: Local Roots, Long Reach. And that's exactly the goal and mission of TDS. We are very proud of our roots but we are reaching for the stars, and don't plan to stop any time soon.
The story ran on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. As of this blog post, the article is accessible at:
TDS is developing an idea for recording its printed short fiction as audio short stories. The idea is to have the author (or another individual) record high-quality audio of the story and then add the story to a new TDS Podcast (currently being developed). The story will also be shared online through associated websites (TDS and BSC Publishing Group), social media, and YouTube.
We hope to have this in place for the Issue 3 launch on April 30, 2020. More information to come soon!
The first-ever launch party and author event celebrating Issue 2 was a complete success! So much so that the Dover Public Library (DPL) in Dover, Ohio wants to collaborate with TDS. That means that our magazine will be in their physical catalog as well as their online e-book catalog. Their online catalog is part of Ohio Link, the state's database of e-books accessible from libraries all over the state of Ohio.
TDS will gain more readers by being available through the library's online system, which includes being accesible to high schools and universities. This opportunity bridges TDS and education, a pairing that could prove impactful to the study of modern literature.
As the editor of TDS and a post-secondary educator, I am very excited for this collaboration. I don't have a date for inclusion yet, but I hope to have TDS available on Ohio Link in March 2020.
Fernando Fidanza of Rome, Italy and The Dark Sire (TDS) are officially colleborating to merge Folk music with poetry. From now on, Fernando will compose folk music for all printed poets in the magazine, using the poem as lyrics.
Fernando has "an uncanny way of understanding the work without even talking to the poet," remarked S. M. Cook when she first heard her poem come to life by way of Fernando's Folk music. "I am so blessed and honored to have my work put into song."
You can listen to S. M. Cook's "Hell's Love of Heaven's Hatred," composed by Fernando Fidanza, on Youtube.
More folk songs will be released in the near future.
Issue 2 dropped on January 31, 2020. Tell us about your reading experience!
What was your favorite short story?
What did you like about the serializations?
Leave some comments below!
After a long wait, The Dark Sire is finally making its debut. The issue is set to release TODAY, October 31st, 2019. In the issue, there are 4 short stories, 6 poems, 2 pieces of art, and 2 book serializations that will be ongoing for the next year. The first issue is a total of 108 pages of great reading material, ranging from gothic to horror.
This issue doesn't have any psychological or fantasy pieces but the Winter Issue, which lands in January 2020, will. So stay tuned!
We're currently taking more submissions for Issue 2, so anyone who wishes to submit should visit are submission page ASAP.
Thanks for the support, everyone!
I want to thank everyone who submitted for the fall issue. I have a few updates that need to be addressed.
First, my team did not anticipate such an overwhelming response to our first issue call for submissions. Not only did we get submissions from day one, but we continue to get at least 10 more submissions per day. For a new magazine just starting out, this is very impressive. I consider our magazine very lucky for having such dedicated writers be interested in The Dark Sire.
Originally, we anticipated the reading rate to be as little as 2 weeks. However, with so many submissions, it's impossible to get through them all -- with the level of dedication we prescribed for each piece -- in such a short time frame. Hence, our read times have changed to 3-4 months, with a maximimum of 6 months due to our qurterly publication schedule.
Second, it is with sadness that I inform you of our reading team's misfortune. For privacy sake, I will not use their names, but, our reading team is comprised of a husband-wife team. They were in an automobile accident recently and have been hospitalized. The husband is doing better and seems stable but the wife is still in critical condition. What this means is that the reading stopped.
As the editor, is now up to me to continue their work, reading all submissions myself. This has caused the reading time to seriously slow down. Instead of launching on September 1st, I have switched to a launch date of October 1. This will give me more time to finish the reading process AND design the layout of the magazine for publication.
Although the system that The Dark Sire had in place is currently paused, I am confident that our next quarter will resume as normal. I'm currently recruiting more readers to join my team for the Winter issue, so current problems should not persist.
And third, because we had such an overwhelming submission phase for our first issue, I will be working on designing our second issue simultaneously. That means that anyone not published in the Fall debut will still be considered for the Winter publication. With this in mind, if you haven't heard from us, don't despair. Your work may be in consideration for subsequent issues.
I'm now looking ahead to see where work can fit the best. I will only contact those who I wish to print. But, that desire may not be for another 3-6 months. Please be patient. Once I know for sure where I will put a selected work, I will contact you immediately.
If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to contact me directly via email or contact form.
The Dark Sire Editor
Following are fourteen (14) common questions that we have received from writers and artists:
1) Do you pay writers and artists for their work?
At this time, TDS is not a paying publication. However, we promote our creatives through author events, social media outreach, and the TDS podcast (in development). For poets, TDS collaborates with Italian musician Fernando Fidanza, who transforms the poem into a folk song. All of this is a concentrated effort on the editor's part to bring your work beyond the page, to promote your work for more than just an issue.
In addition to the above, the editor is constantly seeking other opportunities for TDS creatives, which includes getting the magazine (and its content) reviewed by Booktubers and Twitterzen Reviewers. Currently, TDS has received three reviews and is awaiting more to come in soon. Every issue from now on will be reviewed by at least one reviewer.
Lastly, the editor personally create trailers for select works that are printed in TDS. So, anyone accepted may have a customized trailer for their short story or poem placed across our social media platform, which will further promote your work beyond the page.
Hopefully, you'll notice that TDS is different than most magazines and that we fight to promote the talented individuals that we print. Understandably, payment is important. But it's hoped hope that what we do for our creatives is just as valuable - if not more so - than just payment.
If you wish to be paid for your work, it is suggested that you wait to submit when payment is announced. No guarantees will ever be made to future payment options until pay policies have been established and announced on our website.
2) Who owns the work and/or copyright of the work when published, composed as a song, or recorded as an audio short story?
The author/poet/artist retains the copyright of all original work. In fact, we believe that the author/creator should always be in control of the work produced. That said, the instrumentals composed remain copyright of Fernando Fidanza. No selling of the songs or audio short stories is permitted by any party. **All songs and recordings are for promotional use for TDS, Fernando, and the writers/poets.**
3) How long do you withhold the use of material once accepted?
We withhold the published material for three (3) months, which means the author/artist cannot further publish the material elsewhere during the time it is published in The Dark Sire. After this time period, the material is released back to the original author or artist. Note: The Dark Sire retains the first-publication rights for all its published works.
4) How often is The Dark Sire published?
The Dark Sire is published quarterly (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). The first issue was launched for Fall 2019 on October 31, 2019.
5) I cannot submit my work in WORD or JPG. Can I submit in a different format?
Most of the time, yes, but, it is best to contact the editor to ask for special permission. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org OR use the contact form on the main site.
6) Do you accept multiple, simultaneous, and reprint submissions?
We accept multiple and simultaneous submissions but do NOT accept reprint submissions.
For multiple submissions, there is a limit. We accept upto five (5) total works from a single creative per quarter. This means that the writer/artist can submit what they want, and in a mix of art, poetry, and short fiction, as long as they don't submit more than five (5) total pieces in one seasonal period.
For example: If a creative submits five (5) pieces in March (Spring), The Dark Sire would not accept any further submissions until June (Summer). At that time, the author could resubmit up to five (5) more pieces.
For simultaneous submissions, please indicate this in your query letter and be sure to immediately withdraw any work that has been accepted elswhere by contacting us through email.
7) What is the wait time to submit again after a rejection?
If you are rejected, we want you to hone your craft and reflect on your writing. We also want to see new work. For those reasons, there is a ninety (90) day waiting period before another submission will be accepted for consideration.
8) Can I get feedback on my work if I've been rejected?
There is a possibility, but not likely. Upon email request, the editor may give you feedback that will help your success rate of being selected for publication in the future. If this happens, notes about why a piece was rejected will be included. However, this is at the discretion of the editor and cannot be guaranteed.
9) Do I have to sign any type of waiver or agreement?
No. By submitting your work, you give us permission to publish your work under The Dark Sire name for a total of three months, with the copyright remaining with the author. This also pertains to poetry composed to songs and short fiction recorded to audio, which you gave your permission for by submitting. If you don't wish for the extra promotional benefits, simply decline them in your query letter.
The Dark Sire will contact the selected authors to congratulate them on getting published and to inform them as to which issue the work will be published in.
REMEMBER: The author retains copyright and ownership. The Dark Sire only has the right to print, compose, and record selected works in its own magazine, for purposes of a literary journal. Nothing more.
10) Do you rewrite people's work or edit it in any way?
No. Hence, the creative must proofread and edit their own work, hiring a professional editor if need be. The Dark Sire editor will reject any piece that is not polished and publication ready. This includes erroneous punctuation, spelling, and word usage (that does not have a creative license behind the usage). To assure that your piece is as successful as possible, be sure to submit only polished work - which includes works of art. This is a professional magazine, so be sure to submit only polished, mastered works.
11) Do you print stories, poetry, and art depicting angels, demons, abusiveness, violence, and foul language?
ABSOLUTELY! There are too many literary journals who accept speculative work but then put limitations on content. The Dark Sire is dark for a reason. We want the nitty-gritty horror, gothic, fantasy, and psychological work. Of course, it doesn't have to contain gore, violence, language, and angels/demons to get accepted, but it won't be rejected for it either. You create the genre specific work without refrain or fear, and we'll decide which stories, poetry, and art best suit the genres we represent.
12) Do I have to use the submission form for each title I submit?
YES! The submission process is a two-step process per work submitted. This is because each work should be self-contained. Since every submission must have individual information attached to the material, it is necessary that each piece of work be separated into individual submission forms. The specific required information is explained on the submission form (hover over the ? in each section of the form). If the form is not completed correctly or fully, the editor will disregard the submission without further notice. Be sure to follow ALL the guidelines and directions listed on this site.
13) Which genres do you accept?
We accept all fantasy, gothic, horror, and psychological short fiction, poetry, and art that is dark in tone and/or theme. We also love submissions that combine the genres (a gothic fantasy, a psychological horror). Be sure to mark your submission form for the category and genre in which your work falls. If your piece does not fall into these categories, do NOT submit work. We are only interested in works that delve into the above listed categories.
14) Do you accept cross-over work outside of the four genres you list, like sci-fi horror?
It's possible but we do NOT want sci-fi at all, not in the slightest. If the cross-over is between anything else, you should contact the editor with the synopsis of the story and explain the genres used. The editor will consider if the story and outside genre serve the readership or not, then will advise you whether the submission will be accepted. Contact the editor via email@example.com.
IF YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THE DARK SIRE LITERARY MAGAZINE EITHER BY CONTACT FORM ON THE MAIN SITE OR VIA firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dark Forest
A blog for The Dark Sire, written by Eric Ruark. Look for interviews, genre-related articles, book reviews, writing tips, and much more every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11am (EST).