All posts by jlvampa

Tips to Help Survive NaNoWriMo

To all of our writers, it is that time of year, so we have to ask. How is NaNo going? Are you hitting your goals? Or scrambling to catch up? Maybe you are somewhere in between and planning a big sprint this weekend? Or is it already feeling hard to hit your daily goals?

NaNo month, even as just a reader, is one of my favorite times because when I finish whatever book I’m reading I know that somewhere out there… someone—possibly you!—is writing a book that will sweep me away that I can add to my Favorites List.

But what can you do when the initial gale of inspiration fizzles from the daily grind? There are a few options!

(1)Take A Break:

I know it may seem counterproductive to meet your goals by not working, but before you dismiss the idea…

If I’m going to be working for a while at my desk, I’ll end up with that moment (moments really) where I’m wanting to work, and needing to, but nothing is happening. Then, before I know it, I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor for a minute or two, maybe even five.

That would be the moment I know I need to step away from whatever project I’m working on to give my brain and body some space. Yes, your body needs space too! Move around to get your blood flowing again. Jog in place, or just stretch and wiggle all the stiffness out. (Improved blood flow means your brain is working better!) I also like to leave my tumbler (cup) in the kitchen, so I have no option but to move around. Same with snacks!

Need something with a bit more structure? Did you know you can actually improve your writing word count with timed sprints? Write for 15 minutes, take a 15 minute break… and so on for your writing time. Some writers have delved even deeper into this science to find their own personal Sprint times and Ideal Writing Time during the day.

(2)Set Smaller Goals:

But I have to get to 50k, or 30k, or 90k… That IS the goal. But, those are End Goals. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you think about how many words you have left to write… or if you can tell me the exact word count you HAVE to have daily now to meet your goal because you took a few days off…

Breathe. (That’s important for your health too! )

This tip simply means reward yourself for small goals. Don’t only pat yourself on the back for reaching The End at your chosen word count. If it was your best today to write 50 words, celebrate it. If you set goals to write 500 words in one hour, reward yourself! If I get my required hour of work done (sometimes I work in 30-minute intervals for more mentally taxing projects) I reward myself with half that time to either watch an episode of a comfort sitcom, or leisure-read

(3)Give your File an Unprofessional Name:

Yep, that’s actually writing advice. And it’s for… the Perfectionists. Or, just so you don’t have to stare at “WIP” all the time. NaNo is a challenge simply to get your words written, you do not have to come out of NaNo with a ready to publish novel. So shake that stress off and have fun with your titles! I know many authors who don’t even finish a novel during NaNo, they just designate that time to get a sizable chunk of their manuscript written because they adore the community.

If you already have an amazing title picked out and are having trouble getting the words on the page: There can be a ‘too’ official feeling that comes with it that can psych your brain into thinking you must bleed perfection alone onto the paper. Not so! Whip out your throwaway titles.

Terrible First Draft, Fertilizer (Draft), Version 0

If the title you put so much thought about is keeping your fingers stiff—give it its own file in a pretty font and get back to writing! Dead Draft Walking, Dawn of the Draft, Happy Ever Drafter?

(4)Ambiance!

Music, anyone? It’s one of my favorite ways to find a moment of peace when I am ready to gather my fellowship to cast Baby Shark back into the place from whence it came. And, music can be a good way to hone in your focus. (Someone literally designed video Game Soundtracks to keep your attention. I’ll share my favorite below!)

The right song can just change your day. And, it can help you set your writing mood too!

Pre-Made Options:

Dark Classical Music:

Dark Fantasy Music:
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1JHNMPqpiB9sxCXuka85XT?si=9afad9235356400c 

And I did promise you one of my favorite things to listen to when I need to focus!

The Elder Scrolls V Original Soundtrack:

Youtube has some great ambiance resources as well! From epic fantasy battle music, to cozy library vibes, all you need to do is search ‘writing ambiance’ and many wonderful youtubers have done the work for you. 😉 That way you aren’t so distracted by finding songs that you forget to write.

A ‘Quick’ Playlist of a few Ambiance videos. (There are over 24 hours on this playlist alone!)

(5) Reach out!

You are not alone in your endeavors. While some people may enjoy being alone, even introverts need a level of social interaction. If you are introverted, find someone non-taxing to reach out to so that you aren’t so alone with all of your regular writer struggles while you take on the amazing challenge that is NaNo! If you are a socializer, enjoy how close technology can bring you. Create your own NaNo Team chat on Facebook or Discord so you’ve got a small group of fellow writers to speak with regularly so you don’t go crazy with yourself in a room alone.

Wherever you are in your goals, I need you to stop and read what I have to say next… It doesn’t matter what genre… whether you are writing slasher horror, literary pieces, fantasy, or something else…

Your story came to you for a reason. Maybe you wanted to scare someone, give them a feel-good escape, or craft a world with the depths of Tolkien, or become the next Mary Shelley. Maybe you just simply wanted to entertain someone for a while. Your creative voice, your ideas, and your dreams are worth it. They are worth being told. And YOU are worth telling them.

Bonus:
What happens if you did all that, and you can just feel in your gut that you don’t have the material to reach that 50k and up goal? We firmly believe that ideas should be expressed at their natural length. So our advice is NOT to force it. There are still readers that want your non-novel length fiction – which includes TDS! If you write gothic, horror, fantasy, or psychological realism in the vein of Poe, Shelley, Tolkien, or Dostoevsky: submit 3 chapters of your novel or full novella to TDS Submissions.


How are you doing with NaNoWriMo? Are you meeting your goals?
Let us know in the comments below!


TDS proudly brings you gothic, horror, fantasy, and psychological realism
from talented creatives. You can order past and current issues
from the TDS Store.

Influences of TDS’ Founding Fathers

Since its inception, TDS has followed in the footsteps of our founding fathers: Edgar Allan Poe (Gothic), Mary Shelley (Horror), J. R. R. Tolkien (Fantasy), and Fyordor Dostoevsky (Psychological Realism). If these literary geniuses and genre pioneers influence TDS and our authors…who inspired them?

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

― Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is, arguably, known as one of the first writers to dabble in what would become known as the short story. But, who influenced Poe on his path as a poet and author? The most notable of Poe’s influences were Lord Byron and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Poe often mimicked the lyricism of British poet, Coleridge. As a young writer, Poe wrote in Byronic style, inspired by the European poet, Lord Byron. The majority of these poems are considered Romanticism and are not immediately identifiable as Poe’s works, even to devout fans.

In addition, Poe had another well-known influence for his writing and she just so happens to be another of our “founding fathers.” None other than Mary Shelley. Her sole popular poem is said by her biographer to be incorporated directly into Poe’s To One in Paradise. Shelley and Poe also shared a muse in Lord Byron.

“The beginning is always today.”

― Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s own life would have served as enough of an influence to pen horror for most writers. To take it a step further, Frankenstein was inspired by a horrible nightmare she had on holiday with her future husband in The Year Without a Summer (1816).

Certainly these things had an effect on Shelley’s writing, but such writers as Lord Byron, John Milton, and her own father, William Godwin, inspired the First Lady of Horror.

Milton, in particular, had quite an effect on Shelley. His works such as The Modern Prometheus and Paradise Lost explored themes of creation and the fall of man. Themes that are incredibly prevalent in Frankenstein.

“Never laugh at live dragons.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was a master of mythology. He studied Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Greek, and Finnish folklore and mythology, by which he was heavily influenced.

Tolkien was also famously friends with C.S. Lewis. Both authors influenced and supported each other’s work, their faith an underlying theme of their writing.

Some of Tolkein’s other influences were Beowulf, William Morris’ Roots of the Mountains, as well as novelists and poets Andrew Lang and Edith Nesbit.

“The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping is to make sure he never knows he’s in prison.”

― Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoyevsky was himself inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, though he also gleaned much from Charles Dickens, Pushkin, and Nikolai Gogol. Most notably, Gogol’s short story, The Overcoat.

An interesting influence of Dostoevsky’s came when the writer found himself in exile. In the 1840’s, he began attending meetings held by the Petrashevsky Circle. This group of people became known as “social realists.” Eventually, Dostoevsky found the group to be not political enough, and he joined another group called Speshnev’s Secret Revolutionary Society.

In 1849, both of these groups’ members were arrested and held in a maximum security prison in Serbia. During this time, the only literature Dostoevsky was given access to was the Bible. Like any other writer given only one book, he devoured, dissected, and studied it. Unsurprisingly, this heavily influenced his future works.

With a look into the muses of TDS‘ own influences, we hope you’ve found a few more writers to enjoy and inspire your own works. If you’re an author yourself, be sure to submit your works for consideration. If you’re a reader, check out our current and past issues.


TDS proudly brings you gothic, horror, fantasy, and psychological realism
from talented creatives. You can order past and current issues
from the TDS Store.

TDS Turns Two: An Interview with Founder, Bre Stephens

October 31, 2019, The Dark Sire was born! To celebrate our birthday, the new EIC of TDS, J.L. Vampa, sat down for an interview with our founder, Bre Stephens.

Bre has 13 years of experience as a writer, publisher, educator, literary judge, and editor. She has worked as Editor-in-Chief of a TDS and has taught university composition, technical writing, and creative writing. Bre holds an MA in English and Creative Writing, an M.Ed. in ESL, and a BA in Art History. In her spare time, she loves attending Japanese festivals and learning more about world cultures.

“Give a Voice to the Voiceless.”

-Bre Stephens, TDS Founder

TDS: We’re turning two! Congratulations to you, our founder. Can you tell us a little about what led you to begin a literary magazine, now a journal, especially one such as TDS?

Bre Stephens: While studying for my second masters degree, one of my professors asked the class how we would give back to the writing community. At the time, I didn’t think I could. I mean, I was a graduate student who was a writing professor. I didn’t think there was anything left to do other than write my stories. But then, after searching for publication opportunities, I found a major gap in publishing and became aware of all the censorship that magazines employ. The answer to my professor’s question was clear: Start a magazine that specializes in genre fiction and run it without censorship. To this day – 2.5 years after its creation, TDS has provided opportunities for writers that have given them a voice, which is our motto: “Give a Voice to the Voiceless.” 

TDS: You’ve poured your heart and soul into this phenomenal literary magazine. What are some of your favorite memories with TDS over the last two years?

Bre Stephens: There are literally too many to list, but I’ll try to highlight a few. By Issue 2, TDS was an international magazine – in readership and in represented creatives. I was honored to publish some works that were rejected elsewhere due to censorship; authors told me that it took them, at times, years before finding TDS and getting their voices back. The 1st Annual TDS Creative Awards is a special memory to me because I was able to give back to all my authors; we all had fun and everyone loved the skull trophies. And, I will never forget the joy of working with my authors, sometimes with content or editing, and other times with creative consultations. Most of all, though, my ultimate memory is creating a family, where creatives come together, get support, and are uplifted because we are all TDS Family.

“A magazine that specializes in genre fiction and run it without censorship.”

-Bre Stephens, TDS Founder

TDS: So much has changed for TDS since the inception of your idea and the release of Issue One. Even more has changed recently with a new EIC, a fresh, incredible logo, and more. With a new year and a new era descending upon TDS, what are some of the things you’re looking forward to? 

Bre Stephens: Everything! I know the new EIC is going to be amazing. She’s all about aesthetics and sticking to the original TDS brand. She’s the one who crafted the newest cover and TDS logo. If I had to narrow it down, I’m looking forward to seeing the covers for Issues 10-12, the new TDS Book Boxes, new TDS merchandise (mugs, shirts, mousepads), and a brand-new website that will be for a JOURNAL (not magazine). All of those things are just around the corner.

TDS: What would you say is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on this journey as founder and editor of TDS?

Bre Stephens: This journey has taught me so much about publishing, genre, and craft of writing. When I first started TDS, I didn’t really know much about the industry; I learned by doing – and making mistakes. Now, I’m a professional in the publishing industry, a literary agent, and an even better editor. All these skills, and my career growth, is directly influenced by my work at TDS. I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not undergone this wonderful adventure.

TDS: TDS has distinct roots in our founding fathers, but what would you say are the three books that most influenced you personally, as both Founder/EIC and in your life?

Bre Stephens: Instead of books, per se, let’s talk genre and specific pieces. Poe was a heavy influence on me as a child. I remember writing like him when I was just 8 and 10 years old. By the time I was a teen, I was crafting short fiction daily in the vein of Poe. A few of his works that are my favorites, and still influence me today, are Tell Tale Heart, Hop-Frog, Fall of the House of Usher, and, my favorite poem of all time, Annabel Lee. Also as a teen, I loved Anne Rice. Her Vampire Chronicles was my bloodline. I combined my love of Poe with the vampires of Rice to create a writing style all my own. To this day, I use that style; though, now, it’s more sophisticated. Put these together and you have the major influencers of TDS. Just add Tolkien for high fantasy and Dostoevsky for psychological realism, and you have the major players needed to create a magazine (nee journal!). 

“My ultimate memory is creating a family, where creatives come together, get support, and are uplifted because we are all TDS Family.”

-Bre Stephens, TDS Founder

TDS: You are an author yourself. What originally sparked your love of writing and editing as well as the desire to champion other authors? 

Bre Stephens: The championing of others comes naturally with my personality. However, championing writers, specifically, comes from my professor’s questions of how I was going to give back to the writing community. With my education and natural energy, I easily became an advocate for the writing community. My love of writing started when I was 6 years old, which is when I wrote my first stage play (5 whole pages!). My 1st grade class had read a play – or maybe discussed plays, and I immediately was interested in writing one. Writing stuck with me from that point. As for editing, I’ve always loved grammar and after studying it when I was earning my undergrad degree, I just fell in love with the process of editing. Add some courses for my second masters degree (in English & Creative Writing) and it was just destiny. 

TDS: When did you know this was a career you wanted to pursue? Has it always been a dream of yours to start a literary journal?

Bre Stephens: I never considered a career in creative writing. My writing is for myself, no publication really needed. However, after about 1.5 of running TDS, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue more seriously. It led me to founding a small press (bscpublishinggroup.com), where uplifting authors is the number one governing rule, and to becoming a literary agent. I am now in the best position to advocate for and uplift writers, making their career goals a reality. I didn’t find the career, the career found me – and I’m glad it did.   

“I didn’t find the career, the career found me – and I’m glad it did. “

-Bre Stephens, TDS Founder

TDS: Since the journal’s inception, you’ve handled everything from submissions, to editing, to publication and event planning. What is your favorite part of working on The Dark Sire?

Bre Stephens: Layout!!! Taking the raw stories and editing them to fit the TDS Style Guide; formatting the pages for consistency; inputting settings; planning the artwork to go with the works accepted for the issue, which includes pairing the artwork with a specific story. All of that would go under publication, of course, but specifically, layout is my favorite – and I’m going to miss it. 

Help TDS celebrate our 2nd birthday by sharing on social media and don’t forget to get your copy of our newest issue, which is Issue 9, and available now!


TDS proudly brings you gothic, horror, fantasy, and psychological realism
from talented creatives. You can order past and current issues
from the TDS Store.

Literature’s Effect on Halloween

Halloween has evolved over the centuries, taking on the skin of the culture around it. In some parts of Europe, All Hallow’s Eve is spent around bonfires sending fireworks up into the sky, though many have ceased celebrating anything but Guy Fawkes’ Day. In Mexico, Latin America, and Spain, Dia de los Muertos marks the day beloved deceased ones return to earth until All Souls’ Day, November 2nd. They spend this time in reflection and honor of the dead with celebrations and gatherings. In North America, we continue to celebrate Halloween much the way it has been since its origin in Ireland. 

The Celtics in the British Isles as early as the 9th century began celebrating their New Year on what they called Samhain. This marked halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, and the end of the harvest season. Because their days began and ended at sunset, the celebrations began at nightfall October 31, and went on until sunset November 1. They celebrated with bonfires and feasts and even such things as bobbing for fruit. However, much like in Latin America, the Celts believed that the doorways between worlds grew thin on that eve, and the dead could break through to mingle with the living.

With this fear, the Celts believed they could ward off evil by lighting bonfires, carving scary faces into gourds and pumpkins that they’d carved the center out of and placing a candle inside, and by wearing spooky masks. With the history of Halloween, it’s easy to see where our North American traditions come from. But how has literature affected our ways of celebrating?

We must first begin with the classics. Books like Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, as well as the poetry and prose of Edgar Allan Poe are clear influences of our view on Halloween. Anything spooky, horrific, or bone-chilling became something reserved for the scariest night of the year. With such works, we began to associate the macabre with fright night, dressing up as–you guessed it–Dracula and Frankenstein, and decorating with Mr. Poe’s raven.

The gothic aspect of these works drove North America into proverbial fog-laden cemeteries infested with bats and creaking coffins, clanking skeleton bones as their symphony. The Eve no longer held only candy and bobbing for apples, but a deep dive into the macabre. The populace looked for Victor Frankenstein’s monster lurking behind the tombstones, Dracula’s bloodlust haunting them from behind their neighbor’s door, and all the while Poe’s raven would quoth nevermore.

As time progressed, slightly more terrifying works began showing up in literature. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving to name a few. Literature slipped further into the darkness and so did Halloween. With the rise of all-out horror works such as Stephen King’s It, and The Shining, Halloween began incorporating more and more ways to scare ourselves and our friends. Instead of an eve that we scare away the things that go bump in the night, we began to welcome them in.

Many of the aforementioned great works were even made into horror movies now distinctly watched on Halloween. The famed store that haunts your local abandoned warehouse, Spirit Halloween, even boasts a curtained side filled with the terrors that come alive from these books. Clowns with knives, decrepit goblins, bloodied haunting children, and all the goodies to make fright night more eerie such as faux blood, chains, and rusted axes.

We’ve traveled a dark road since the Celts feared the land of the dead would bleed into the land of the living. Certainly there is still a place for that bucket of water with apples bobbing up like the dead, the trick-or-treating, and sweet pumpkin costumes. But there is no denying the effect gothic, horror, and psychological realism literature has had on the way we celebrate Halloween.

Spirit Photography: Hoax or Reality?

Spirit Photography, or the capturing of a spirit on film, first became known in the 1850’s and 60’s with the rise of photography in general. As more individuals gained access to cameras, as well as the means to sit for photographers, the greater chance there was to witness spirits of the dead or supernatural beings captured on film. At least, that’s what photographers like William H. Mumler would wish us to believe.

Mumler was among the first to see spirits lurking in his freshly developed photos. Allegedly, after sitting for a self portrait and developing the film, Mumler noticed an otherworldly image hovering behind him. Assuming it was merely his inattention to detail and the result of not properly cleaning his lens, Mumler sat for the photo again. After development, the figure appeared once more and Mumler claimed it was the spirit of a deceased cousin of his.

With this newfound ability of his, or his camera, Mumler became the first to turn such a gift into a well-oiled, lucrative business, photographing multitudes of people with the spirits of their loves ones. That is, until P.T. Barnum sat for Mumler just after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Lo and behold, the president’s spirit haunted Barnum’s sitting, appearing behind the circus tycoon in his photo. As it turns out, the self-acclaimed trickster of all tricksters simply enjoyed a good humbug and wanted to see if Mr. William H. Mumler and his medium wife were the real deal.

When Mumler was charged with fraud, Barnum was called as a witness as, according to Oxford University Press papers, an expert on “humbuggery.” Upon reciting his encounter with the spirit photographer, Barnum admitted that he saw the process and even examined the glass himself. Nothing was out of the ordinary, and Lincoln’s ghost appeared as soon as the photo was developed in the dark room. Regardless, Barnum claimed it all to be a hoax. Other spiritualists came forward in Mumler’s defense, claiming their deceased loved ones had truly been there and Mumler had captured them. More skeptics came forward claiming to have seen some of the ghosts in Mumler’s stills walking the streets in living color, alive and well. Ultimately, the court found no true evidence of Mumler’s supposed fraud and he was acquitted. However, his career as a Spirit Photographer was over.

Many skeptics claim that spirit photography is simply a trick of the light, or the result of budding photographic techniques of that day and age. Two methods often blamed for hoodwinking the general public are Double Exposure and Stereoscopic Illusion.

Double Exposure. For an explanation of this technique, we must first understand that in the early days of photography, exposure time was 20-40 minutes at the very least. This means the subject(s) had to remain as perfectly still as possible, lest their image appear blurry. Therefore, if a subject, say, rose from their seat and moved to another, their image would appear twice in the final shot, most assuredly a little blurry at the edges and rather translucent. This effect would also occur if someone shrouded in white linens jumped in the frame for a moment and then jumped back out. This effect can also be achieved post-shooting in the dark room. This is a delicate process, but the layman’s gist is that the photographer essentially sandwiches two negatives together and exposes them for longer than a single-negative image. 

In our day and age, it is commonplace to shoot double exposure, or manipulate it easily within moments using editing software like PhotoShop. To show how easily this can be accomplished, I created this graphic in about five minutes’ time.

Another technique often used was stereoscopic illusion. 

Stereoscopic Illusion creates depth in an image by moving the subject ever so slightly. The brain combines the two (or more) images to create depth. Again, anything recorded with movement during a long exposure time would appear transparent and ethereal.

We can all see where the skeptics are coming from now, yes? But let’s take a journey with the believers…

To delve deeper, we must traverse the difference between Spirit Photography and Ghost Photography. Spirit Photography is when an individual, or individuals, sits for a photo, specifically waiting to see the spirit of one of their loved ones. Ghost Photography occurs when a photo is taken without knowledge of a spirit’s presence and that spirit is only visible on the film or digital camera after the fact.

Here are some of the greatest, inexplicable ghost photographs from the ages between Humbuggery and PhotoShop. 

In 1919 Sir Victor Goddard’s RAF squadron encountered a recently deceased air mechanic, Freddy Jackson, who died two days prior.

In 1963, The Spectre of Newby Church absolutely shattered the conceivable. Reverend K.F. Lord was particularly fond of the altar area of his church and snapped a photograph of it, along with several others detailing the interior of the building. Upon developing the film, the reverend was flabbergasted to find a blurred figure ascending the steps.

Many believe this to be a hoax because the figure is somewhat posed. However, as he claims, the reverend was entirely alone in the church when the photograph was taken. No double exposure was used, and, allegedly, the photos were developed by no one with means to tamper with it. When skeptics came forward, the reverend, guarding his reputation, sent the photo off to scientific experts. The report came back stating that, though the figure in the photo was perfectly poised on the steps and looking at the camera, it was nine feet tall and the photo had not, in any way, been tampered with by any means.

On August 17, 1997, a loving granddaughter, Denice Russell, snapped a photo of her grandmother as they visited that afternoon. Prints were made and almost everyone in the family had the photo of Grandma. It wasn’t until they all sat around one Christmas three years later, looking at old photos, that someone noticed a foggy shape of a man behind her head. The family immediately stated it was the exact representation of their grandfather who had died in 1984.

There is also a distinct case that occurred in Manila in the early 2000’s.  Two young girls in the Philippines posed for a photo, not sensing anything out of the ordinary. When the photo popped up on the screen of their digital camera, the ghostly image of a third person could be seen holding onto one of the young women. They have absolutely no explanation for this occurrence.

There are all kinds of theories and camera tricks, but what do you think? Can film truly capture the spirits of the dead, or is it all a hoax? Leave us a comment with your thoughts.


READERS: Do you have a paranormal true story to share with us? We’d love to read it and maybe even publish it on our blog. Send your non-fiction story to: eic.tds@gmail.com (Subject: Non-Fiction Paranormal Story).

CREATIVES: Did this article inspire your paranormal storytelling? Please write that short story, craft that poem, paint that picture, and then submit it to us for publication consideration: https://www.darksiremag.com/submissions.html.

As always, thanks for supporting THE DARK SIRE! If you’re not following us, please do. We are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram under @darksiremag. And, of course, you can pick up a digital copy of our issues on the TDS website or paperback copies through AmazonThe Bibliophile Bookstore (Dover, Ohio), and now Poe’s New & Used Bookstore (New Berlin, Pennsylvania).

TDS Enters a New Era

With TDS’ second birthday just around the corner (Halloween), a new era of all-things THE DARK SIRE has come. With the new look and feel comes a new Editor-in-Chief. But let’s start from the beginning…

If you’re new to TDS, we are a quarterly speculative journal for the unconventional reader, founded in 2019 by Bre Stephens to appeal to those who love the darker-toned fiction, poetry, art, and screenplays. TDS’s founding fathers are the ever-talented and influential Edgar Allan Poe (Gothic), Mary Shelley (Horror), J. R. R. Tolkien (Fantasy), and Fyodor Dostoevsky (Psychological Realism).

Major Changes

First, TDS has updated its branding. The covers, as you might have noticed in the feature image of this post, have completely changed. One of the most notable differences is the name: TDS will no longer be a literary magazine, but a literary journal. This slight difference in verbiage going forward really encompasses the overall feel of TDS and the professionalism we offer to both our readers and writers. That’s because a journal lasts longer than a magazine, seen as a valued piece of writing for years to come. Since we value our creatives, seeing them as family members – and are always thinking of how better to uplift them, being a journal just suits us better. That said, TDS will continue to publish the same great content you’re accustomed to.

Second, we have a great new logo. Simple yet dynamic, the powerful image encompasses TDS’ gothic roots, while also holding onto the traditional black and red coloring.

To go along with the new logo, TDS has a new title design. Though not red, it highlights the gothic and harkens back to Edgar Allan Poe, himself. It’s perfect to usher in this new TDS Era!

The third major change is none other than the introduction of a brand-new Editor-in-Chief, Jane Lenore (J.L.) Vampa.

J.L. Vampa

J.L. Vampa is a published author of Dark Fantasy and Victorian Gothic fiction. She has a background in journalism and in editing, both short and long fiction. J.L. also owns a macabre-style bookish shop and lives in Texas with her musician husband and their two littles who are as peculiar as their parents. 

As the new EIC, J.L.’s main focus is two-fold: To preserve the pillars that have established the TDS brand and to uplift even more creatives for a stronger community.

“I want TDS to be a place where the often-overlooked can
sit at the table and have their craft appreciated, published,
and read by readers who truly thirst for the unconventional.
In addition, I’ll strive to continue to build a strong community
for our authors, poets, and artists, as well as our readers.”

Saying that TDS is changing is an understatement. A better way of putting it is that we’re rebranding, reinventing, and revitalizing ourselves. And you are NOT going to want to miss any part of our new look and feel reveal. More information, updates, and content will be released throughout October, our birthday month.

Look out – The New Era of TDS is now!