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Strange Nests in Print!

The print edition of Jessica McHugh’s follow up to A Complex Accident of Life is here! (Finally)

We had some troubles with the KDP requirements (troubles Complex did not have…); and we are not going to compromise on this book. The book looks fantastic, and just as we want it, through Lulu! This title really shines in print, so we hope you’ll check it out.

the secret about dying arrived scrawny. it’s growing stronger & fatter though & whispers, “go mad.”

Beyond ancient gates, among thorny overgrowth and carnivorous blooms, a raven called Death waits tirelessly for its chance to roost within us. Using scraps of love, remorse, anger, and pain, it weaves. With erasure, memory, and discovery, it binds. And from the garden of wounds that grows within our broken hearts, it builds Strange Nests.

In the follow-up to her Bram Stoker and Elgin Award nominated collection, A Complex Accident of Life, Jessica McHugh uses poetry, design, and illustration to unearth the horrific, consumptive, and transformative nature of grief from the pages of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden.

With an amazing cover by Lynne Hansen

Out today in eBook, print

And a PDF edition featuring the beautiful full spread of art and poetry available only on

Advanced Praise for Strange Nests

Strange Nests is a brilliant collection of poems that speak in a subtle voice of deep darkness. Jessica McHugh conjures real magic here.”

—Jonathan Maberry, NYTimes bestselling author of Relentless and Ink

“Jessica McHugh finds the deep truths hidden in plain pages. This collection will plant rose bushes in your heart. You’ll feel every bloom and bleed with every thorn.”

—Sarah Read, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of The Bone Weaver’s Orchard 

“Jessica McHugh’s Strange Nests is a beautiful, somber reflection on life, death, grief, and the bonds between siblings. A wondrous read that will lull you into a lovely breathless silence.”

—doungjai gam, author of glass slipper dreams, shattered

“McHugh’s newest offering of blackout poetry is more than words circled on printed pages, each set of two pages shows the original page covered in beautiful, colorful drawings, the poetry outlined and the second page with the reborn poems. The combination is two pages that visually excites our eyes and new poetry that touches our soul.”

—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author, HWA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and SFPA Grand Master.

Jessica McHugh

Jessica McHugh is a novelist, poet, and internationally-produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-four books published in twelve years, including her bizarro romp, “The Green Kangaroos,” her YA series, “The Darla Decker Diaries,” and her blackout poetry collection, “A Complex Accident of Life.”

Please visit for more samples of the McHughniverse.

As well as both A Complex Accident of Life and Home Birth both published by Apokrupha!

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LampLight Special Submission Call

Update 9 Nov 2021, we are full, submissions are closed, thank you everyone who responded and supported!

“If accepted, this would be my first pro-sale.”

We are going to take a new turn for the submissions. The criteria to submit will be as follows, the following statement must be true:

“If accepted, this would be my first pro-sale.”

And to make that true, we will be raising our pay scale to match:

6¢ (USD) per word (based on HWA guidelines)
5100 words MAX (firm)

Yes, this lowers the max word count, but that is to keep within budget. So this go-round, we will not take any stories over the word count. We’ve added a 100 word buffer, so target that 5,000 word mark as a max. (For this call, strong 1,500 – 3,000 word stories will fair best.)

One of the things we’ve loved over the years is finding new writers and showcasing them for the first time. These two issues are going highlight new writers and hopefully be just the first of many times you will read their work.

Now, since there will no doubt be some questions, here are some answers:


Can I submit a story 5200 words?

No, 5,000 words is the max, with a 100 word buffer.

But what if you just don’t pay for those extra words?

Then it wouldn’t be professional rate, and would miss the intention of the issue.

What if my pro-sale was at a lower pay rate years ago?

If it was the professional rate at the time, it counts as a pro-sale.

What if I’ve had a pro-sale in another form / genre?

If this is your first short story pro-sale then you may submit, even if you’ve had, for example, a professional non-fiction release. If you have short story pro-sales in other genres, however, you are not eligible for these issues.

What’s a ‘Pro-Sale’? In this context?

LampLight is a horror market, so we are going by HWA guidelines for this. A ‘pro-sale’ will be 5¢ per word for a fiction piece, regardless of length. 

This was a flash fiction sale, not a short story sale…

The demarcations between fiction pieces, like flash, short, novelette, are to let the reader know how long they are, and aren’t really different categories. If it was pro fiction sale, it counts.


In your cover letter, please add the following statement: “If accepted, this would be my first pro-sale.”

We open up 15 September, so there is time. We are looking for dark, quiet horror. Guidelines are posted here, good luck! We are excited to read your work!

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LampLight Volume 9 Issue 3

April 2021

The new issue of LampLight is here!

A restless ghost searches for answers. What happens when the stage lights are turned off? A strange illness and secrets from the past collide. A garden of second chances. A new mother’s restless night. Memories of a better time, of a better holiday. and directions Joe Langley’s house

Fiction from:

  • Anya Ow
  • Travis Tyler Madden
  • Natasha Pavlitsevits
  • Gillian Knox
  • Lisa Amico Kristel
  • Amanda Michele
  • Victor Sweetser
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The Night Wire – LampLight RadioPlay

iTunesSoundCloudGoogle PlayRSS Feed

It’s 1926. Jim works the night-shift at a newspaper, sorting out the stories that come in over the news wire telegraph, so he’s used to reading tragic stories. But the story that comes in tonight isn’t a typical news story.

Based on the story by H.F Arnold, found in Volume 2, Issue 3

Starring Bryan Coffee

The audio of a church service was from Eelke, under a Creative Commons License. (

Adapted and Produced by Andrew Wardlaw

If you enjoy this, don’t forget to grab your subscription to LampLight Magazine and never miss an issue!  A subscription supports both the magazine and the podcast.

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LampLight Volume 9 Issue 2

December 2020

The new issue of LampLight is here!

Fiction from: Monte Lin, DeAnna Knippling, V. Medina, Brigitte N. McCray, Sean Mabry

What would you do for your brother? A writer cuts out words, cuts up paper, what do they find? The cities speak, if only you know how to listen. The song of an Appalachian folk legend. A daughter comes home late with a secret. And a Christmas Eve ghost story from 1868.

Get it today in ebook, and subscribe to LampLight and never miss an issue!

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A Complex Accident of Life

Poetry has come to the McHughniverse.

Buy it today!

I am a vessel of dauntless courage and severe evil.

My joy will endeavor, my rage possess.

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jessica McHugh’s debut poetry collection, A Complex Accident of Life, combines visual art and text to create 52 pieces of Gothic blackout poetry exploring the intense passion, enigmatic nature, and transformative pleasure of life, viewed through the kaleidoscopic lens of a female horror artist.

Cover by Lynne Hansen! ( )

Out now on ebook here in our store and Kindle and PRINT

Advanced Praise for A Complex Accident of Life

Full of color and stunning imagery, Jessica McHugh takes Mary Shelley’s classic and finds new depth and meaning within. A Complex Accident of Life is indeed a vessel of dauntless courage, inspiring and hopeful.”

—doungjai gam, author of glass slipper dreams, shattered

In A Complex Accident of Life, Jessica McHugh strikingly combines different modes of art to create a truly unique collection. This remix of a beloved work through blackout poetry shows a lot of care in every selected word and the arrangement within each piece. I enjoyed the visuals just as much as the poems themselves. True spirit, passion, and creativity live within every piece; the book is not only an exquisite tribute to Mary Shelley, but also cleverly showcases McHugh’s own beautiful poetic talent. Highly recommended! 

—Sara Tantlinger, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Devil’s Dreamland

Renegade alchemist Jessica McHugh revives Mary Shelley even while vivisecting her mind and reassembling the anatomy of her ideas, remaking her as a hauntingly beautiful structure of undead words and lively art. Unlike others working in the medium of blackout poetry McHugh deploys a wide array of both visual strategies and approaches to composition, rendering “A Complex Accident of Life” compelling and compulsively re-readable. 

—John Edward Lawson, author of Bibliophobia

Jessica McHugh

Jessica McHugh is a novelist, poet, and internationally-produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-four books published in twelve years, including her bizarro romp, “The Green Kangaroos,” her YA series, “The Darla Decker Diaries,” and her blackout poetry collection, “A Complex Accident of Life.” 

Please visit for more samples of the McHughniverse.

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LampLight Update

All submissions from March – May of 2019 have been responded to. Please check your inboxes and Submittable accounts. Feel free to query as well.

I’m sorry for the delays this year. I talk more about that on my blog.

Issue V8.1 of LampLight is out! Print, Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and Smashwords. Get it today.


Fiona Maeve Geist talks about Unica Zurn: Dark Fantasist and Shrouded Muse.

Fiction From:

  • Meghan Cruickshank
  • Katherine Givens
  • Crystal Sarakas
  • Yume Kitasei
  • Daniel Delgado

The December issue is being pushed to January. From then onwards we should be back on schedule.

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Volume 8 Part 2 Submission Window Change

Hi everyone. We are going to delay LampLight Magazine submissions to 15 October (and extend through December 2019!)

This will let us finish catching up on some things, get the September and December issues ready to go.

Apologies to everyone awaiting replies, we are nearly done and this delay will give everyone a fair shot for the next round.

When submissions go live, you can submit here!

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Pre-Order The Ebon Jackal Today!

Preorder on Amazon!

It has been an adventure, but the ending is here… the series that started with The Rings of Anubis comes to its close this June with book 6, The Ebon Jackal!

In this final book, Folley stares into that abyss and becomes the very thing that stares back at her… Three generations of women come together for one explosive conclusion!

Pre-order the eBook of The Ebon Jackal by E. Catherine Tobler today on Amazon!

AND read an interview with the cover designer, Ravven!

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A Year in Review, 2018

A look back at what we published in 2018 here at Apokrupha.

glass slipper dreams, shattered

glass slipper dreams, shattered the debut collection from doungjai gam is out now! filled with loss, sorrow, revenge and remorse, it is not to be missed. Check out this review on Locus Magazine!

The Quartered Heart

The fifth installment in the Folley and Mallory adventures by E. Catherine Tobler came this year, seeing our heroes dealing with a mystery that spans both time and space. Here’s the whole series, grab one today!

LampLight Magazine

We released four issues this year, with a fantastic lineup, with fiction from: Gemma Files, Chet Williamson, Errick Nunnally, Melanie Rees, Lisa May Lu, Samantha Mills, Becca De La Rosa, Irene García Cabello, Pierce Skinner, Daniel Mallery, A.L. Kersel, Jamie Lackey, Margret A. Treiber, Cameron Suey, Robin van Eck, Shameika Moreland, T.M. Morgan, A. Martine, S.R. Mandel, M.C. Williams. Fiona Maeve Geist brought four articles about lesser known, but influential writers. The Volume 6 Annual was released in July, collecting all four issues, two of which were guest edited by Catherine Grant. Get the Volume 6 Annual!

LampLight RadioPlay

We had three episodes of the RadioPlay release in 2018. Inspired by the radio of the past, but built for modern ears, LampLight Radio Plays are audio adaptations of stories from LampLight Magazine. Give a listen! Subscribe today on iTunes, Soundcloud and more!

LampLight Classics

Only one classic released this past year. In honor of the 200th anniversary, we released an edition of Frankenstein. You can still download it free!

Coming 2019

Of course we have more LampLight coming, a new episode of the RadioPlay right around the corner. A few classics lined up as well. The final Folley and Mallory adventure will be here. And of course, some surprises to come!