Beginnings, Twitter and Hellhounds on my Trail
Hi there. Pull up a chair and let me tell you a story.
Now this tale has a beginning, but where it goes from there depends a whole lot on you, dear reader. You see, this all started with a handful of words, typed out, broken down into electronic fragments, and sent via the internet.
The message read - ‘Do you want to start a horror magazine?’.
It really was as simple as that. Sure, I’d love to tell you that the idea came through an inspired vision, some clandestine hallucination that offered divine insight into the creation of an online magazine, but the truth is that this endeavour was one born out of chance.
While scrolling through my Twitter feed one day, I came across a post that asked for people interested in starting up a magazine. I replied with a jovial gif of Spiderman landing from nowhere, announcing my admittedly half-hearted interest. A swift reply of acknowledged told me to wait for further instructions. Months passed with no subsequent contact and no sign of any such venture arising. I shrugged off the silence, assuming that the post had been intended to garner likes rather than a serious intention and moved on. But a seed had been planted in my head.
Work and the other trappings of everyday life pushed the notion aside. My job role had changed and I started working night shifts, finding myself with a little extra time during the dead hours, which I would dedicate to writing while the world around me slept. I would send away stories to publications at unholy hours, each submission preceded by a ten-minute conversation between my confidence and self-doubt on whether to send the story or not.
Submitting your work for someone else to read is a daunting prospect. Stories are delicate and personal, a piece of imagination that has been carved out with dedication and affection. How many of those stories are told? How many find a home? How many products of hard work never make it beyond the author's eyes?
Each of these questions buzzed around inside my head, illuminating the shoots of the idea that had been planted months previous. It could be done, but it sure as hell could not be done by myself. On a hunch, I took the phone from my pocket and sent the eight-word message to Emma Ormond. That translucent, smoky idea that had once only existed in my head was now solid and had found an escape, working its way into the mind of another.
Less than a minute later, I received an enthusiastic reply.
I met Emma when we worked together in the same team a few years back. Even though the two of us can be awkwardly shy at times, we became friends after discovering we shared interests in a lot of the same things, reading Stephen King being at the top of the list. If there was anyone I would want involved in this project, it was her. We threw ideas back and forth to each other, spiralling from that initial concept of publishing short horror fiction to something much more encompassing.
My vision had never strayed beyond publishing original short fiction. As a writer, I was blindsided by my own immediate interests that I forgot how expansive the horror genre is; film, art and podcasts are but a few of those creative outlets. To explore them, we would need a team of passionate individuals who matched our love of horror. The addition of Geraldine, Lynsey, Shaun and Matt – each bringing along their own unique skills - set the wheels in motion for the entity that would become Hellhound.
So, here we are. Like I said, this is just the beginning of our story and the rest depends on you. We’re in our infancy and still have a lot to learn, but with the support and love of the horror community, we hope to be around for a while, adding a little bit of colour and a whole lot of scary to the world. What we have here is still just an outline of what we want to become; a magazine that offers opportunities to new writers and provides a level playing field for marginalised voices.
We have our hopes and dreams, and maybe one day we’ll share them with you. For now, all we can do is thank you for taking the time to read these words and thank you for supporting a small online magazine starting out on their journey into the big bad world.
We’re stepping out into the darkness now and we don’t know what’s out there. It scares us. It excites us. And who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other somewhere in that shadowland.
Jimmy Nicol – Founder and Editor of Hellhound Magazine