Interviews
Interview with Jeani Rector, Editor of
The Horror Zine

                                                  By AL Vermette


While most magazines are closing due to the recession,
one person decided to go against the grain and develop
her own magazine and growing every day.  I decided to interview Jeani Rector,
editor of The Horror Zine on what her new ezine is about.

AL: Please tell our readers how The Horror Zine got started?

Jeani:
Good question!  I used to submit my short stories to online magazines (I
still do sometimes) and when recession hit, it seemed like more and more of these
magazines were going defunct.  When even The Harrow went on hiatus, I realized
things were getting serious.  There were less and less venues in which writers
could see their work published, and the few magazines that were left, the waiting
period for a response seemed to be becoming longer.  So I decided perhaps I
should step up to the plate and do my part.  And then I had another idea: why limit
it to writers?  Why not include poets and artists as well?

I published the first issue of The Horror Zine in July 2009.  Since that very first
issue, the ezine has taken off beyond my wildest expectations, and now of course,
The Horror Zine also produces anthology books.  So technically we are both an
ezine and a paperback producer (I say “we” when referring to The Horror Zine
because I believe the zine is a collective of everyone who contributes fiction,
poetry, and artwork).

I have a funny story for you: When I was trying to decide what to name it, I chose
The Horror Zine simply because at the time I believed that those two words would
be googled frequently: horror and zine.  I figured that people would accidently
stumble across my ezine while searching for other things and discover it that way.  
I never anticipated the overwhelming response to the zine from practically the first
issue and the immense popularity that The Horror Zine enjoys.  When I named the
zine, I hadn’t realized that I could name it anything I wanted and people would
actively seek it out, and not just stumble across it accidently!

AL: The look and feel of the magazines is great, who does your web
design?

Jeani:
Oh how funny; I do.  I am chief cook and bottle washer, although I do have
an assistant editor now, Dean H. Wild, who is an extraordinary talent.
I took a class in the Adobe software called Dreamweaver and bought the space on
the internet domain (I also own the name The Horror Zine).  I paid for the domain
space until 2012 but now I figure I might as well buy a couple more years because
The Horror Zine will be around for a while.

I grew up with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, so women in
horror to me are beautiful and sexy.  I tend towards that
theme in my magazine; but I keep a bit of mystery in the
images I choose so some is revealed but not too much.

AL: How many issues have you done so far and is
there any one that stands out to you as the one you
most enjoyed working on?

Jeani:
Well, The Horror Zine is published once a month
as an ezine and so far (as of January 2011) we have produced two paperback
anthology books. Another book is in the works.

AL: How many writers and artists do you use for each issue?

Jeani:
Another good question!  I try to keep the writers, poets, and artists limited
to only three (sometimes four) people in each category per issue. The reasons
are twofold: one, I want to only display the very best talent possible, so I am
extremely choosy as to who and what I will publish, and two: I need to keep the
volume of published submissions low or else the anthology books that contain
those submissions would be way too long for any publisher to accept.

AL: How often does The Horror Zine publish anthology books?

Jeani:
We have been producing anthology books twice a year that contain all
published submissions to the ezine, but now I am considering changing that to a
book once a year, and making it more of a “best of.”

The nice thing about The Horror Zine books is that we are one of the few book
producers that include a lot of artwork inside the book, and not just on the covers.

AL: Is there anything you have not covered yet in the magazine that you
would most like to do?

Jeani:
I have to laugh here because every issue I tell myself: Self, no more extra
features!  No!  Stop!  Do not go there!

But of course I always add extra features.  First it was the “Special” Page that
always features articles or interviews with famous writers and other notable
people.  Next I added an “Oddities in the News” Page to go with my “Morbidly
Fascinating” Page because I kept reading weird things in the news that I just had
to share with my readers.  Then I added a “Review” Page where I now provide
book and indie film reviews.  And finally (so far) I have just included the “About
The Horror Zine” Page, for people who do not have a chance to see this interview
that I am giving you right now. hahaha

AL: For writers and artists who wish to submit work to you, what are you
looking for as far as artwork, poetry, and fiction goes?

Jeani:
Here is what I am seeking:

Fiction: Original short stories that are creative and fresh.  I am not only seeking
horror, but also mystery, suspense, science fiction, and most of all, good
character development.

I am looking for Hitchcock-type endings, Twilight Zone-type weirdness, and/or
something deliciously twisted.  A surprising ending is a plus.  I am also looking for
good ghost stories, monster stories, vampires, but something exciting and new is
even better.

And!  Remember the legends....vampires are killed by stakes, werewolves by silver
bullets, and zombies by a shot to the head.  If you are going outside the box on
any of these, make it believable for readers who are used to the status quo of
legends.
The best story you can submit has a buildup of suspense, and then contains an
unexpected and surprising ending, no matter what the subject.

Here are some general guidelines to writing short stories:
1) start with action
2) familiarize the reader with your protagonist; make him/her likeable
3) provide an obstacle for your protagonist
4) describe how your protagonist overcomes, or at least deals with, the obstacle
5) give the reader hints as to the ending
6) provide a completely different ending than your hints
It is also important to balance the amount of dialogue to the amount of action.  Too
much dialogue and you are “telling” the story instead of “showing” the story.

Poetry:  I like rhymed poetry; however, if you rhyme it, don't do it rigidly.  In other
words, do not focus on the rhyme instead of the content.  Free-form is also good.  
All poetry must be deliciously dark.  Show some emotion.

I am looking for amazing and beautifully descriptive prose, yes, but I also want the
poem to touch its readers; I want the reader to say, “Yes, I can relate,” or “I
understand,” or “I've felt that way too” when he or she reads your work.

Art:  I’m looking for works that make the viewer want to study your piece.  I accept
all types of art: dark, mysterious and horror art, yes; but also things of beauty.  
You are not limited in your choices of what to send me.  Are you talented?  Then
send me your art.

AL: For the year 2011 what plans do you and the staff of The Horror Zine
have planned for your readers?

Jeani:
I have plans indeed but I will keep them a surprise at this time.  So, check
back with The Horror Zine every month and more will be revealed!

AL: Please give our readers your web site and other info so they can
enjoy your publication.

Jeani:
Delighted to do so.  The Horror Zine  http://www.thehorrorzine.com