Hello, Writers

Welcome to Red Sands! We are a community for writers of all stages, all genres, and all skill sets. We get together in-person and virtually to read drafts aloud, offer feedback, learn from each other, and be that source of accountability needed to finish a polished project and get it published. No membership fees and anyone is welcome to join. Most of our meetings are weekly. Check out the list of upcoming events HERE.

Don’t see a Red Sands group in your area? Consider starting one! For approved applicants, we can guide you through leading a successful critique group and help connect local writers to your community. Contact Us with your ideas.

This website is still in early development, but keep an eye out for many new features: publishing opportunities, the launch of a literary journal, member bios, blog posts, discussion areas and more!

Santa Steps Out: A History

2000 Paperback Edition

by Justin Tate

It’s spring, 1998. The world is obsessed with Titanic, discovering the Internet through AOL, rocking out to bubblegum boy bands, enjoying newly-FDA approved Viagra, and learning a lot about sex in the oral office–I mean, oval office. It also happens to be the year that fledgling writer Robert Devereaux finally publishes his landmark novel Santa Steps Out.

Since penning the first draft ten years earlier, it’s been a hard-fought battle. Many industry leaders claimed to love it, but never to the extreme of publication. Pat LoBrutto, a highly successful agent, went so far as to say he wanted to tell his grandchildren he edited the peculiar Santa book. Pat pushed the book at Tor, where it seemed like a Christmas miracle was finally going to happen. Devereaux made thousands of revisions per their request. But once again, when it came down to it, nobody dared publish the sex-filled Santa Claus horror novel.

Read More »

5 Things I Learned By Being An Editor

by Michael J. H. MacNeill

Two years ago I got a wild hair up my ass and decided to make a fiction magazine. There weren’t many magazines out there that produced what I wanted.

What I wanted was the equivalent of a low budget, terrible-but-great horror movie. Despite having no budget, and despite having no directorial skills and no trained actors and no sober crewmembers, a bunch of enthusiastic fans with a camera and a heart of gold can still make something incredible. And by incredible, I mean incredibly bad. But something magical happens with these kinds of bad movies. The audience can quickly adopt the movie’s shortcomings, and, somewhere along the line, the chemistry of the water changes. It’s the puppet show effect. Don’t bother hiding the strings. Everybody can tell that it’s a puppet. There are no illusions. The strings don’t matter. You can still enjoy the show.

I wanted that DIY, screw the rules, “lean in” quality in a literary magazine. And, equally as important, I wanted to show off the good work that my writing group was producing. Most importantly, I wanted to reestablish subterranean mutants and slimy, semi-erotic monsters into the great Literary Conversation. So I got to work, learned what I needed to learn, and put out the word.

That’s when I realized I had been fucking up.

Read More »

Throbbing Tales Prize Winner is…..

As you know, all four novellas featured in Throbbing Tales 2019 are standout, knock-you-down thrill rides. But that said, it’s time to announce the winner of Best In Show! Based on a vote of one, by yours truly, editor in chief.

Buckle your seatbelts boils and ghouls, because here comes the drumroll:

After much deliberation, constipation, condemnation, and conflagration, the winner of the Best In Show Award goes to………..

Jason Michael Spurlock!

Congrats, Jason. Your novella T.H.R.O.B. truly showcases what Throbbing Tales is all about, all while elevating the anthology to new heights with your strong narrative voice and dynamite characters. It was an honor to publish your work and I know readers will feel equally honored when they get to read it.

Again, a big thank you to all the authors featured and to all the authors who submitted. I’m already gearing up for next year’s edition, so bring it on!

Much love,

Michael J. H. MacNeill
Throbbing Tales, Editor in Chief

2019 Throbbing Tales: Press Release

Throbbing Tales 2019 has burst forth into the world! Available now in paperback and eBook.

If phones and social media has scrambled our brains and melted our attention span, why haven’t novellas had a resurgence? They’re meatier than a short story and still short enough for us bipedal surface-dwellers to finish in one sitting. So where have all of the novellas gone? 

Throbbing Tales made a space this year to highlight the novella format. I was overwhelmed with the quality of the submissions, and I’m proud to showcase them within these pages. This year’s model contains a wide variety of work, coming at you from every angle. We’ve got weird, we’ve got exciting, we’ve got poignent, we’ve got cannibals and sex-bots and wizards and werewolves. Time to unzip, then zip it right back up, because it’s about to get weird…

Snag your copy this weekend, and spread the word.

Love you all, and congratulations to the authors!

Michael J. H. MacNeill
Editor in Chief

Jaela Lynndon on Contemporary Art

Conventional Art is very, well, conventional:

That’s a painting of a bowl of fruit.

It looks like a bowl of fruit.

The artist intended it to look like a bowl of fruit.

Everybody who sees it can tell that it’s (say it with me now) a bowl of fruit.

Contemporary Art is different:

That could be a bowl of fruit – or it could be various snakes of different colors who’ve just devoured a pack of rats, then curled up together in this bowl, their skins distended into vaguely fruit-like shapes by the currently-being-digested lumps.

Or maybe it’s a horse.

Continue Reading

Call for Submissions: Unfairest

Red Sands is now accepting submissions for a new anthology: Unfairest: Fairy Tales Retold

ABOUT: Fairy tales can’t die. We continue to read them. They continue to affect us. Unfairest will be a collection of work that has the sense of relatability and humanity featured in all of the best fairy tales throughout history. Each story must be a new take on an existing, recognizable tale from around the world. The tale may be obscure, and connection may be quite loose, but the tale’s existence and your work’s relation to it must be justifiable in some way. 

Deadline: APRIL 1, 2020

Format: Short stories, flash fiction, novellas, poetry, and prose. 

Length: Stories 250 – 20,000 words and all styles of poetry will be considered.

Genre: All genres will be considered. Let the muse guide you! However, if you intend to submit “explicit” material such as hardcore erotica or extreme horror, please consider submitting your work to Throbbing Tales which welcomes work of that nature with open arms.

We strongly desire to promote diverse perspectives. We embrace challenging or experimental work, but special formatting or special characters may not be possible due to limitations of publishing and formatting for ebooks intended for a variety of devices.

If your piece does not fall under the submission guidelines, please query before sending it, otherwise it may not be reviewed. 

Submission Guidelines:

Only digital submissions will be accepted. Submissions must be in .doc, .docx, .txt or .rtf format. 

Email Subject line: “Unfairest Submission:” followed by “Title” and “X thousand words.”

Submissions without this subject line may not be considered. We will not accept submissions with the text embedded in the body of an email.

The first line of your submission’s document should contain the title, and the second line should contain the author’s name. We recommend that the document is in a sensible font, such as Courier, Ariel, or Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced, with no special characters. 

Please send submissions to redsandswriters@gmail.com

Happy writing!

100 Best Horror Novels (up to 1987)

This cool book, originally published in 1988, asked famous writers to create the ultimate list of the Top 100 Horror Novels over history. I was so impressed by the obscure and classic titles they discussed, I copied the full list with Amazon links for reference. Check it out!

1592: Christopher Marlow – The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus

1606: William Shakespeare – The Tragedy of Macbeth

1612: John Webster – The White Devil

1794: William Godwin – Caleb Williams

1796: Matthew Gregory Lewis – The Monk

READ FULL LIST…

Call for Submissions: Throbbing Tales

Throbbing Tales is now accepting submissions for its second annual issue… and we’re looking for novellas!

Deadline: OCTOBER 1st, 2019
Format: NOVELLAS (15k-35k words)
Genre: Horror, Humor, Erotica

Throbbing Tales showcases all of the good things in life; Horror, Humor, and Erotica. Priority will be given to submissions that include all three.  This year, we are devoting our pages to the late, great format of the Novella. To us, the novella is a work within the range of 15,000 words to 35,000 words.  Other genre fiction may be considered, depending on the content. Think “Midnight Drive-In Double Feature.” We strongly desire to promote diverse perspectives, especially in Horror.

If your piece does not fall under the submission guidelines, please query before sending it, otherwise it may not be reviewed.

Submission Guidelines:

Only digital submissions will be accepted. Submissions must be in .doc, .docx, .txt or .rtf format.

Email Subject line: “Throbbing Tales Submission:” followed by “Title” and “X thousand words.”

Submissions without this subject line may not be considered. We will not accept submissions with the text embedded in the body of an email.

The first line of your submission’s document should contain the title, and the second line should contain the author’s name. We recommend that the document is in a sensible font, such as Courier or Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced, with no special characters.

Please send submissions
to redsandswriters@gmail.com.  

Prize: One work will be chosen as 1st place, and the winner will receive a trophy! A real, physical trophy!

Happy writing!

RSVP: Book Club

Meeting: Sunday, August 18 @ 11:00am

Let’s read something! This will be a casual Book Club type event. We’ll chat about “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert while eating and drinking all the yummy things that Arizona Wilderness Brewpub has to offer. Emphasis on craft and the narrative strategies, but it can be as simple as what we liked and didn’t like. It’s also okay if the discussion goes off topic! This is for fun 🙂

CLICK HERE TO RSVP

CLICK HERE TO BUY THE BOOK

UPDATE: Thank you everyone who made it to this super fun meeting! And thank you Alex for adding some virtual commentary. Watch her thorough analysis here:

Our next Book Club meeting will discuss “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn. RSVP to the event Here