Friday, September 17, 2010

Artwork...snapshots of darker realms

We've been so impressed with the submissions and quality of artwork and photography coming out way. We have photographs of actual wood carvings, some lovely ancient cemetery photos, a few black and white still life photos, as well as computer and ink generated originals.

So much so, that Bete Noire Magazine is seriously going to consider doing a special issue of nothing but artwork in addition to the four issues done yearly. We've gotten a lot of awesome, inspiring submissions and it would be a shame to pass them up simply because there isn't room.

If you're wondering what we like in terms of art, the answer is everything. Oftentimes the art we select not only strikes a note with us, but also because it resonates a story that's currently been selected.

....creepy Gothic statues, shadowy silhouettes, please...keep them all coming...we like our art like we like our coffee..dark....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Guidelines and Common Sense...

All too often as editors, A.W. and I are asked why we don't like Anne Rice (for the record, we've never said we didn't like her work, we just prefer our vampires with less angst, less cry-baby drama not wearing last century's formal wear), why don't we like Twilight, etc, etc. We're always happy to explain why, just as we are happy to explain why we like what we like. We share a combined 10 years experience as editors, Bete Noire is our second magazine, and we still love to get asked questions as to 'why'.

But rarely do we ever get pressed by submitters as to why not on certain subjects. Until this weekend. If you've read our guidelines, you'll see we've posted that we will we not accept any story that involve gratuitous and or violence against children or animals, especially those that are sexual in nature. That statement should, SHOULD, be pretty self explanatory.

Yet we were questioned by a submitter when we pointed this out and rejected their story. After their second query and vain attempt to rationalize his submission (which by the way was extremely well written except that it dealt with child killers and the above for mentioned no-no for submitting to Bete Noire), we told the submitter why, and I feel compelled to mention it here, as well as on our facebook and twitter page.

We know that these horrible things occur in real life, and we don't want to be a part of that in any way. There is no story that needs to have violence or sexual deviance against children or animals as a central part to their story. We went on to explain further.

You see, A.W. and I grew up in a county in rural Michigan where, for a time in the late seventies, parents were afraid let their children outside because of the Oakland County Child Killer. We grew up in a heightened state of fear because we knew that the monster in our community was far more disturbing than the ones under our beds. Four children were killed in a year's time frame. No one was ever caught, no one was charged. Some speculate the killer or killers moved to another state, some suspected he/she/they went to prison. No one knew. No one still does.

In high school, I knew a girl who was abducted and killed by serial killer Leslie Allen Williams. Hell doesn't have a fire hot enough to roast this demented f*cker. So yes, A.W. and I will not condone or promote child killing or animal torture of any kind, in any form, in any way.

I hope that this sheds some light on things. Sometimes you have stand for something, even if it means standing alone.

I hope there is now understanding,  and I hope you to read each of your submissions soon...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Links, gossip, and literal meanings...

Recently at Bete Noire we received an email that a link about us from duotrope appeared on Rue Morgue forums asking what we are like, and hoping that we aren't "bitter or contemptuous" because of our guidelines and website.

Not at all. In actuality, our editors are quite quirky and humorous, with a deep love for Weird Al, Star Wars, good wine, obsession with favorite movies, and heavy metal of the 80's rock persuasion. So let me further elaborate on our guidelines.

We don't want Stephanie Meyer's sparkling, angst ridden teenage romance vampires. We'd like a unique twist, not the old cliches. Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Suedopod are the same: they want uniqueness.

We like all dark speculative fiction, from poetry to short stories and artwork. Splatterpunk: not so much and we'll tell you why. If we get rid of all the gross details of blood, guts, entrails and ookiness, if there isn't a story there, then its gore for gore's sake. It's one thing to write a story simply to gross people out, and that's fine. I like Rob Zombie's remakes, and the we love the Saw series (first three). But to just have guts and gore for the sake of describing it without a tight story underneath, well, we're going to pass.

At Bete Noire, we know what we're looking for in speculative fiction. While we aren't favorites of Lovecraftian stories and poems, we will and do, publish them.

The story's central idea is the probably the most important thing that is going to sell us. The descriptions of people, their conversations, the beautiful prose that it entails are just gravy for us if there's a good story there. We're simple like that; we like our meat (story) and potatoes (prose and descriptions).

What do we do for those authors and artists that submit? If we accept you, we let you know as soon as possible. We like our quick response time because we're writers ourselves and know what it's like to wait to hear about submissions. If we don't accept it, we give you a reason why. It might be something simple like, "too many grammatical errors and run-on sentences make for a choppy read, but please polish and resubmit", to the detailed like, "you had a character Jane come in with a bloody axe on page two, but there's no other mention of her."

We're far from snobbish, and we certainly aren't bitter towards our submitters. Do we like Edwardian and Victorian horror, and crave Hitchcockian type stories: sure. But like all editors, while we have our favorites, we by no means play favorites and do not insult our submitters.

For us, we find joy in reading new authors and their work. It's as simple as that.

So in the future, before bending an ear to subjectual gossip, drop us a line with your questions, concerns, dirty limericks; we won't bite. Girl Scouts honor.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stalk Us...

Just a few more places you can stalk us...

......and our Cafepress store is coming along and will be open soon!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Submissions, submissions, submissions...

As an editor, you get a first hand glimpse into the masterpieces that writers crank out with gitty excitement as they submit in hopeful, wanton pleading that this one will get picked up. Over the years, as editors, we've read our share of some truly great pieces, and our share of crap. Yes, its okay to say that because some of those horrid lines still stick out in our minds even to this day. That is probably the truest sense of horror: when bad fiction or lines stick in your brain, taking up valuable space for better prose.

However, we have to say that for submissions for this reading period, we have been both impressed and amazed at the quality of work coming in. Seriously, this humbles us that we are able to read the next Bran Stoker winners, the next Michael Laimo, even the next Stephen King perhaps.

So with that said, please keep them coming, especially the artwork.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010