The Gatekeeper’s Burden

by Josh Schlossberg

As a horror author who submits fiction to publishers, I often find myself standing in the cold outside the gates of the City of Readers. As an editor who gets submissions for anthologies, I’m also someone who decides who gets to come in.

In other words, I’m both a “gatekeeper” and someone who is “gate-kept.” So a question I’m always pondering is: What is the role (and responsibility) of a gatekeeper?

Over the years I’ve submitted my work to hundreds of editors and agents. In my experience, about half of them never respond at all. Many of the rest send a form rejection, usually months to even years later. Only a small percentage get back to me within several weeks to tell me they’ve passed on my work or not, and a handful of those will explain why.

Turns out, every gatekeeper I’ve interacted with has taught me how to become a better gatekeeper myself, sometimes by example, often by teaching me how not to behave.

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Monsters of D&T: ELDER HORROR on July 29

A knife to the brain takes out a zombie. A stake to the heart finishes a vampire. And a silver bullet puts down a werewolf. But the only way to beat old age is to, well, die.

In the first of its “Monsters of D&T” virtual events on Thursday, July 29 at 5 pm PT / 6 MT / 7 CT / 8 ET, D&T Publishing’s Dawn Shea hosts three authors whose new books examine aging—aka “elder horror”—in very different ways.

Summer Feaker (HAVEN MANOR TRILOGY), Josh Schlossberg (MALINAE), and Mark Towse (NANA) will read briefly from their latest works, share their takes on the elder horror subgenre, and reveal their greatest fears of getting old.

Reserve your free ticket now via Eventbrite!

Long Strange R.I.P. in the Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine

jerry

Read my flash fiction story, “Long Strange R.I.P.” in issue #5 of the Rock N’ Roll Horror Zine along with several other gnarly horror writers for a mere $4!

Here’s a teaser:

“Long time no see, Mr. Garcia.” Satan slouched on his throne of charred ribcages and femurs at the center of a vast dim obsidian hall. “Whatever can I do for you?”

The heavy-set, white-haired and bearded man—basically Santa Claus in glasses and a black T-shirt—stood with his feet planted wide on the ashy stone, sulfurous gases twining around his legs like friendly cats. “You know damn well why I’m here,” Jerry said.

“Written any new jingles?” Satan’s black lidless eyes oozed like tar as he scratched the mushroom head of the ghoul squatting to his side. “I still get a kick out of that one song. How does it go? ‘Set out running but I take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.’” 

“It’s gotta stop.”

“Is my singing that bad?” Satan flashed hundreds of tiny, immaculate teeth and the thing beside him tittered. “I forgot to congratulate you on the Hall of Fame induction. Quite the honor.”

“Leave Vince alone.” Jerry stuck out a trembling pointer finger, the finger beside it absent. 

“Ah, yes, how is Mr. Welnick? Still tickling the ivories to your satisfaction?”

Jerry shook his head, spraying droplets of sweat that evaporated in mid-air. “You can’t keep killing them.”

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