Katrina Gray: Hello, Jeffrey S. Callico and Emily Smith-Miller. Jeffrey, this is your third time on Checking In With Groups. First Negative Suck, then Dark Chaos, and now The Carnage Conservatory. Tell me the truth: at this point you’re just creating groups so you can keep chatting with us, right?

Jeff: Hey, whatever it takes. No, I can’t take all that much credit for Carnage. Emily came up with the site name and the very fantastic subtitle, as well as the web design and format. I just hung around and said, Yeah that’s cool, or Nah how about this instead, etc. Anything to get the word out for this is always appreciated.

So, what were you thinking when you conjured up The Carnage Conservatory?

Jeff: I haven’t written much horror, so I wanted to try my hand at it. Emily has a much better mind for it than I do, but I thought that having a unique website for potential submissions in this genre would be cool. So we discussed it and came up with something that I think will stand apart in many ways from those hundreds if not thousands of other horror sites out there.

Emily:  Well we began to extend down a particularly dark and deranged path, mostly involving literary interest in really fucked up violent murders, sex and good old fashioned mutilation. It was fun but there aren’t a great many writing sites, other than your personal blog, that will accept rather bloody and gruesome stories. Why not make one? We couldn’t be the first who got a kick out of writing sadistic horror stories — and we mean stories not just porn or violent images, something with a point that also makes you grin and say yeah he fucking deserved that. Or even just expose your demons to the world of writing; you are not alone — we like horror movies, what about them moves us? Is it the complete abandon of humanity in the killer? The survival of the victim? What turns us on to the really dark stuff? Horror movies get to have their artistic outlet visually raping your skull, but writing feels like it’s tame on most blog sites. That’s where Carnage came in. Jeff already had Dark Chaos for writers who only come out at night, and other publications which you’ve already noted, but he has guidelines on those. This site has guidelines, I’m not going to specify, but they exist. I’m not a total fucking chaotician, but he wanted us to start this site because let’s face it, sometimes he writes fucked up stuff and I am the perfect co-conspirator to run this naughty little operation. First of all I’m pretty unknown, and not at all upset by that. Second, as some would say, ‘I’m a sick bitch’ only when I want to be and only in print. I don’t torture puppies. And so voila, Carnage was born.

I’m imagining what a real-life carnage conservatory might look like. I’m thinking it’s a cross between the Mutter Museum and a meat-packing plant, with cicadas mating on top of a calf liver. Am I close? Getting there?

Emily: Add some wanton victim hanging from a hook, a couple buckets of blood and HH Holmes reading the paper in the corner while Fred and Rosemary West play cribbage and you’ve probably got it.

Jeff: What you said, what Emily said, as well as an image if you will of maggots and parent flies squirming and buzzing around on a rotting corpse that’s been tied upright to a straight chair for months as some sickly sweet bubblegum-lyric pop song plays repeatedly over speakers you can’t locate in the room, making you eventually realize that the killer was one of the most maniacally evil people in the universe.

What the hell is that scratching sound?

Kids in the cellar. Or is it you?

If you could publish any author or any story at The Carnage Conservatory, who/which would your ideal be? This is a roundabout way of asking what you’re looking for, submission-wise.

Emily: Think Chuck Palahniuk with some excerpts of American Psycho.

Jeff: Emily’s work is a great example, but also that of Cheryl Anne Gardner.

Katrina Gray checks in with Fictionaut groups every Friday. She lives in Nashville with the writer John Minichillo and their lovechild. She is the editor-in-chief of Atticus Review, and she blogs about mostly non-literary things at

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