The Folklore of the Kelpie



Every culture has some form of animal lore, from the fox to the wolf to the coyote.  Stories can be found telling tales of shifters who prowl around searching for their next victim.  In Scotland, they have such a creature, and it is known as the Kelpie.

The kelpie of Scottish folklore is a water horse that has ties with the realm of faerie.  It is considered malevolent, however, and could generally be identified by its constantly dripping mane.  In most cases, the kelpie appears as a beautiful horse standing near or in running water, and awaits weary travelers, hoping to entice them onto their saddles.  Though this is where it becomes deadly, as it is said that once touched, magic causes the skin of the rider to adhere to the kelpie, thus making it easy for the kelpie to drown its victims.  Of course, if that wasn’t enough to make you cautious, the kelpie also has the ability to shift, and when it does it chooses the form of a beautiful woman wearing green who entices men into water, drowning them of course.

kelpie 3

As with all stories of faerie creatures, there is also advantages in captureing one as the kelpie is said to possess the strength of ten horses and have the endurance well beyond that.  However, in order to control it, one must have control over its bridle. Otherwise there is no stopping this creature whose tail — when smacked on water — sounds like a thunderclap and causes floods to make it easier to drag their victims beneath the surface.  

kelpie 2Be wary travellers, when traversing the countryside alone.  Keep your eyes peeled for a saddled horse dripping water. For it may not be a horse but a kelpie in disguise, waiting to drown its next unsuspecting victim.

For more reading on the kelpie (sources):

October Submission Roundup

Themed Calls and Markets of Interest

sub oct 1

Machinations and Mesmerism

Ulthar Press is looking for strange, gothic, and fantastic fiction in the manner of E.T.A. Hoffman for an anthology edited by Farah Rose Smith.

Word Count: 2,000-5,000
Deadline: December 24, 2018
Payment: 2¢/word + contributor copy


sub oct 3Flame Tree Publishing

This publication is looking for urban crime. “Stories for this anthology will have ‘gritty murders on the streets of London and Paris, horrors in dark alleys, as well as many more scenes from urban crime that elicit a dark curiosity. Think classic authors such as Edgar Wallace and E.W. Hornung.’” Accepting reprints.

Word Count: 2,000-4,000
Deadline: October 14, 2018
Payment: 6¢/word

Flame Tree Publishing

This anthology is looking for gothic stories for their Gothic Fantasy short story series.  “With handsome young men who never grow old, and the strangest of relatives appearing from dark corridors and long shadows, the frenzied imagination of the American Gothic is a fertile theme for this new anthology in the Gothic fantasy short story series.” Accepting reprints.

Word Count: 2,000-4,000
Deadline: October 14, 2018
Payment: 6¢/word

Tin House

This publication is looking for short stories for their horror issue. “From the mundane frights of everyday life to the truly macabre, if it makes your hair stand on end, we want to hear about it.  Send us your scariest stories, eeriest essays, and most petrifying poetry!”

Word Count: Up to 10,000 words for prose, up to 5 poems
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Payment: Not Specified

sub oct 4.jpgTell-Tale Press

This publication is looking for stories for their Winter Holidays issue.  Stories could be fantasy, horror, mystery, and science fiction and themes include Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Winter Solstice, Chinese New Year, and any other winter holiday.

Word Count: 500-5,000 Words
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Payment: $5-25

sub oct 5

Spring Song Press

This anthology is looking to publish stories that address the “Steam and Lack” steampunk theme in some way, and must have a speculative element.  They are looking for “clever, heroic characters, and fantasy, rather than straight science fiction.” Prefer to publish “clean” noblebright stories.  ““In steampunk, magic and steam-powered technology combine in a setting that offers both possibility and danger. Victorian-inspired and European settings are the most common, but we’re open to stories set in other steampunk settings as well, real or fantastic. The steampunk setting must be apparent in the story, but the story does not have to depend upon the steampunk elements.”

Word Count: 1,000-10,000 words
Deadline: November 1, 2018
Payment: 1¢/word

sub oct 6.jpgUnlocking the Magic

This anthology is looking for fantasy stories for their new publication.  “In fantasy, we read about how people with mental illness are more susceptible to magic, closer to breaks in reality, more likely to be able to see the unseen. These stereotypes are harmful and contribute to keeping people from seeing the good in getting help, taking their meds, or talking to someone.This anthology is about changing the narrative and telling stories of strength and perseverance, of getting help despite the darkness. Not the myth that getting help will kill creativity and magic. … I want stories that show what can be accomplished when we take care of ourselves and seek help. … I want to read realistic portrayals of mental illness in magical worlds.”  They are looking for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, historical fantasy, steampunk, and any other fantasy with a noblebright theme.  No science fiction of horror, though horror elements are welcome.

Word Count: 3,000-6,000 words
Deadline: November 1, 2018
Payment: $300/story + royalties

Tales from the Canyons of the Damned

This market is looking for dark science fiction, horror, and slipstream.  “Think of Canyons as a literary Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, or Outer Limits — it’s Netflix’s Black Mirror.

Word Count: 500 – 5,000 Words
Payment: 3¢/word for the first 5000 words, capping at $150

sub oct 7.jpg18th Wall Productions

This publication is looking for short stories expanding on H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. They want stories that show the entire world’s response to the invasion.

Word Count: 4,000-20,000 words
Deadline: January 20, 2019
Payment: Royalties


This market is looking for stories that are thoughtful and intelligent about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core.  Could be anything from first contact to invasion/infestation stories, or even about fatal misunderstandings between species.  Articles accepted.

Word Count: 1,000-16,000 words for fiction; 1,000-2,000 words for articles
Payment: 1¢/word for fiction; $20 for articles

sub oct 2Strangehouse Books

This publication is looking for stories written by anyone who identifies as a woman.  From the editors: “There are monsters in every woman’s life. And while maybe not ALL monsters are so bad, I want you to tell me about the dark and twisted ones. Give me protagonists who take no shit. Show me women who save themselves. Does the hero slay the beast, or is she the monster? All types of monsters, protagonists, and antagonists are welcome here. I am looking for speculative fiction containing strong prose with character-driven stories that convey powerful messages. I am particularly drawn to the beautiful grotesque, gothic elements, the macabre, and poetic prose, but I welcome all well-crafted stories to be submitted.”

Word Count: Minimum 2,000-8,000 Words
Deadline: Opens November 1, 2018 and will remain open until word count is met.
Payment: 1¢/word

The Myth of the Amphisbaina

amphisbainaSnakes appear throughout mythology in different forms, from the snake gods of Egyptian mythology to the world serpent Jormungand of Norse myth.  However, in Greek myth snakes played many roles, and one such mythic snake was the Amphisbaina.

According to myth, the Amphisbaina was created when Perseus flew over the Libyan Desert with the severed head of Medusa and her blood dripped down to the sands below.  This snake was two headed, one on each end, and had scaled feet like a chicken and feathered wings. It was considered a formidable adversary, especially since it is said that the snake could charge in either direction, and was described as being deadly poisonous; one bite and the wound would not heal, leaving the victim to die.

pictures-amphisbaenaHowever, even though the Amphisbaina was considered deadly, it was also sought out for its healing properties.  Some have speculated that its dried skin was a cure for rheumatism while others say that if the skin was worn around one’s neck it could cure a common cold.  Another medicinal property tied with this creature states that the wearing of one of these — alive — around a pregnant woman’s neck would ensure a safe pregnancy.  The Amphisbaina wasn’t just sought out for is healing properties. According to myth, it was also said that if the meat of the creature was ingested it would act as an aphrodisiac, attracting many lovers to the one who ate of it.

We always remember snakes in myth to be guardians or gods, monsters or tricksters.  Amphisbaina was created from the blood of a creature, was given wings and feet and dual heads, but it is not a monster.  Instead, the Amphisbaina is a great example about the dual nature of myth — a creature to be feared, and a creature to be revered.bibliothc3a8que-nationale-de-france-lat-6838b-folio-32v

For more reading on the Amphisbaina (sources):

Matthews, John, and Caitlin Matthews. The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: the Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic. Harper Element, 2009