Submit Your Stories Sunday: DSF

elcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at Daily Science Fiction‘s open and ongoing call for flash fiction and reading Clayton Hackett’s Illegal Entry from their archives.

Daily Science Fiction (DSF)

Eligibility: speculative stories from 100-1500 words

Take note: writers will have to create a login to DSF’s submission system, and can use it to check their story’s status. Likewise, it’s free to sign up to receive DSF’s weekday offerings mailed to your inbox to get a solid feel for what the editors like.

Submit by: Daily Science Fiction accepts submissions year round with the exception of December 24th through to January 2nd.

Payment: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re reading a story that came out on DSF a few weeks ago, Illegal Entry by Clayton Hackett. You can read it at Daily Science Fiction by clicking here. I chose this story because it stayed with for a long time after I first read it. In this story, Hackett muses on what would happen if the unnamed Superman/Clark Kent boychild crash landed in rural America today.

It’s an unflinching look at a refugee’s story dressed in the face of one of our greatest heroes. Hackett does play with the form of flash fiction in this piece, mixing fiction with non- fiction: a quietly clever nod to Clark Kent as reporter for the Daily Planet.

Can you write a piece as powerful in as few words? You’ll never know until you try.

(Please note: this post was originally published a few years ago, I’ve got a house full of sick kiddos at the moment. Sorry for the re-run but DSF is evergreen – I submit there every chance I get. Good luck.)

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to help familiarize you with the editor’s tastes.

This week we’re subbing to Translunar Traveler’s Lounge and we’re reading Marissa Lingen’s The Swarm of Giant Gnats I Sent After Kent, My Assistant Manager.

Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Eligibility: fun, speculative stories up to 5,000 words

Take Note: stories should offer hope rather than bleak futures

Submit By: this opening closes October 15th, 2020

Payment offered: $0.03 per word, with a minimum of $20

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Story to Familiarize You With the Editor’s Tastes

This week we’re reading Marissa Lingen’s story, The Swarm of Giant Gnats I Sent After Kent, My Assistant Manager, from Translunar Traveler’s Lounge‘s August issue. Click here to go read that now.

I have no heavy-handed analysis of this fun story for this week, writers. This week was hard. This story offered me a chuckle and a daydream of the good gal coming out ahead that I think we just might all need after a week like the one we had, which… is kind of the point of fun stories like the ones Translunar Traveler’s Lounge is looking for.

If you can still tap into the well of good times inside your imagination, these are qualities to look for in your stories. Treasure the escape in the writing of them and the reader will follow.

Be well, keep safe.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Upon a Once Time

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help you get a feel for the editor’s tastes or the theme of the anthology.

This week we’re submitting stories to Air and Nothingness Press’ Upon a Once Time anthology and reading Maya Chhabra’s Lethe.

Upon a Once Time

Eligibility: stories that mash together two fairy tales from any part of the world, between 1,000 and 3,000 words.

Take Note: writers can glean more information regarding theme and editor’s tastes by reading through anthology’s successful kickstarter campaign. Click here for that.

Submit by: deadline is September 17th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize You with the Editor’s Tastes

For this week’s story I chose a recent Daily Science Fiction publication by Maya Chhabra, who is listed on Upon a Once Time‘s kickstarter as a confirmed contributor. Her story Lethe takes a look at, not fairy tales, but the Greek myth of Eurydice. You can click here to go read that now.

This is fairly short story, even for flash, honing in on the moment of confusion faced by Eurydice as she follows her husband Orpheus from the Underworld. She doesn’t know her own myth, only that he’s come to rescue her. Orpheus is told he can only succeed in taking her from Hades if he does not look back to make sure she’s following him. He fails, of course, and in so doing loses her to the Underworld forever. Chhabra offers us the same story, but through the confusion of Eurydice’s perspective. Lethe, the title of the story, is a river that flows through the Underworld, the one that brings forgetfulness to the dead. They pull together into a sad, quiet loss in this story. I’ve always been intrigued by the losses we don’t know we’re experiencing, and I like the way this story stayed with me.

(On a slightly nerdier note, Lethe eurydice is also a type of lovely moth, though I’m not sure if it will make you forget anything…)

That’s all for this week, folx, I hope this finds you well and safe.

Happy writing!

Book Review: The Drowned Country

The Drowned Country, by Emily Tesh, is the sequel to Silver in the Wood and as such, I cannot properly review it without revealing spoilers regarding Silver, so please, be warned.

The Drowned Country opens upon a bereft and sulking Henry Silver, his grand house a shambles, his mood dark, and Bramble furious with him. Silver is the Green Man now and Tobias has left, called to aide Henry’s mother in her magical work, and their brief romance ended in anger. Heartbroken and still struggling with the new weight of an immortality he’s ill-equipped to handle, Silver is ruled by multiple waves of deep grief.

Then his mother appears, engaging his assistance in the rescue of a girl from a vampire, and he agrees for the chance to see Tobias again. Upon their reunion, Tobias’ stoic exterior plays further tricks on Henry’s tortured mind. When they find the girl, her situation not quite what they expected, Henry catches a glimpse of the Drowned Country, a remnant of fairy land lost, and a sharp spark of hope ignites in his woebegone heart that leads the three of them deep into a world hidden by a dark sea and full of unexpected danger.

I’ll stop there. I enjoyed this novella, missing Tobias myself as much as Henry Silver, but the tone shift from Tobias’ stoic, gentle focus on nature to the twisted torture of Henry’s grief was hard for me, living in Pandemica as we are. It works to get us empathizing with Silver, but I would have given anything to slip into the sweet soothing mind of Tobias for a moment. I begrudgingly took a star off for this, leaving the book with a more than respectable 4 out of 5 stars.

I like the way the story ends, it feels cozy, and there is a reveal and a kindness that pleased my storied heart. Sorry, no spoilers, but this is an easy read in a few short hours to get at that ending on your own. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Podcastle

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help you get a feel for the editor’s tastes or the theme of the anthology.

This week we’re subbing stories to Podcastle’s open call and reading Ken Liu’s To the Moon.

Podcastle

Eligibility: fantasy stories up to 6,000 words (3,000-4,500 preferred)

Take Note: writers are allowed to submit one original story and one reprint story to this call

Submit by: September 30th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize Yourself with the Editor’s Tastes

This week we’re reading, or listening to, Ken Liu’s story To the Moon, from Podcastle’s 2018 archives. There are many wonderful stories published by Podcastle, but I’ve been reading a lot of Ken Liu lately on the advice of a critique partner and I’m finding his voice so kind and soothing during these troubling times that maybe you’ll appreciate his voice now, too. Click here to go read To the Moon now.

To the Moon is the story of an immigrant applying for asylum. As do many of Liu’s stories, several different versions of the same story run parallel, stories within stories. We have the story of the moon, a breathless fairy tale told from a father to a daughter, we have the story-of-necessity, and we have lived truths, stark and nude without the clothing of their metaphors. We don’t know if the story ends well, but that’s what I like about Liu’s work. His stories bring out the kindness inside ourselves as much as they offer alternative means to survive the troubles in which we find ourselves entangled.

I hope this post has found you well and filled with story ideas. In my area of the world school is starting up again and with it comes fresh anxieties to threaten creativity. Be safe and please keep writing.

Book Review: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

Before we get started, I’d like to put out a content warning about partner abuse in this book. The abuse isn’t gratuitous, it’s pivotal to the plot, and you can’t skip over it. Please protect yourself.

The Space Between Worlds follows the story of Cara, a woman who travels between worlds, quite literally, thanks to a technology that allows her to travel through the multiverse. The caveat to this travel is that should a version of yourself already exist on the world travelled to, you will not survive the initial arrival. Because of this, people who have endured high-risk lives, such as Cara’s impoverished upbringing and life in Ashtown, a town exposed to the harsh elements of a heavily polluted Earth. Cara has died enough times that she is able to traverse to over 300 worlds safely, offering her the appearance of safety in the rich, environmentally-protected city of Wiley. But that protection pivots on the Eldridge company’s need for her particular skills and a secret she must keep at all costs.

In every parallel Earth Cara travels to, she meets different versions of her loved ones. Her mother ranges from loving prostitute to a disapproving zealot, her sister from innocent to cunning. Her once and former lover, Nik Nik, is always cruel, always abusive, and always the Mad Max-like emperor of Ashtown when she finds him. Sometimes he knows her, sometimes he doesn’t, but her Ashtown family remains under threat beneath his rule and their history. When she finds a version of Nik Nik that is not, everything in the all the worlds she thought she knew begins to unravel and Cara discovers that she’s not the only one at Eldridge with secrets.

Johnson’s novel makes for excellent commentary about privilege. The disparity of life between the rich Wileyites and the Ashtowners holds no secrets: we see the trauma of Cara’s lives, the terror of the Runners as a child, the rare kindness she found in the safety of her mother’s brothel. We see the obliviousness of the Wileyites, who have little idea what life is like outside their protected bubble.

I found the abusive sections difficult to read but the ending of this book, oh the ending. It is a breath of beauty, an ending so perfect I had to close my eyes and hug my e-reader for a moment. No, I’m not going to spoil it, but as a writer? This is the kind of ending I aspire to, an ending that takes into account everything that has come before, the story it is telling, and the world that has been built. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars, but the ending gets 6 out of 5.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Flash Fiction Online

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help you get a feel for the editor’s tastes or the theme of the anthology.

This week we’re subbing to Flash Fiction Online and we’re reading August by Katie Piper from their August issue.

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Flash Fiction Online

Eligibility: complete stories from 500-1,000 words

Take Note: writers may submit up to three pieces of flash fiction at a time (as three individual submissions through Submittable)

 Submit by: ongoing submission call, currently open

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

 A Story to Familiarize Yourself with the Editor’s Tastes

This week we’re reading Katie Piper’s August. Click here to go read that at Flash Fiction Online. This is a creepy little tale where Piper makes an interesting use of detail. We’ve got a girl who discovers her grandmother’s grave in the woods near her house and who is clearly struggling with a strained relationship and possible neglect from her mother, but we’re only given brushes of these things and our imagination does the work of filling in the details. There’s a trick to this: it makes the story as much the reader’s as the writer’s; it makes us emotionally committed.

In between these gaps, Piper does give us details of the dozens of items lining the Walgreens shelves, the who’s a cat we never meet does not like, what is happening with that man’s tattoos??, and in this seeming minutiae the rules of this story world are built around us. There is room here for magic, but otherwise this world is not so different from our own. Stylistically, it’s an intriguing and compelling technique I’m tempting to play with myself. I hope this story inspires you to try something different with your writing too.

In the meantime, be well and happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Apparition Lit

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help you get a feel for the editor’s tastes or the theme of the anthology.

This week we’re submitting stories to Apparition Lit‘s themed call and we’re reading The Limits of Magic by Samantha Mills.

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Apparition Lit

Eligibility: unpublished, speculative stories from 1,000 to 5,000 words on the theme of Satisfaction

Take Note: all responses will be given by the 15th of the month following the call’s closure

Submit by: August 31st, 2020

Payment offered: $0.03 per word with a minimum of $30

Click here to go to the original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize Yourself with the Editors’ Tastes

This week we’re reading (or listening to the audio version of) The Limits of Magic by Samantha Mills and published by Apparition Lit. The magazine has included an “creator spotlight” after the story is finished, so be sure to read through that section below the story for encouraging stats and submission drama. You can click here to go to read those at Apparition Lit now.

One thing that stands out to me in The Limits of Magic is its depth. We begin in a narrow world, thinking we’re reading a certain type of story, but then it shifts, expands, and reveals a new depth, a new view of the world of the story. More than once, the story evolves like this in unexpected ways.

The Limits of Magic is also a story of sustained oppression, of lives so terrible they cannot be contemplated for fear of becoming unbearable, or more unbearable, than they already are. The scaffolding of a fictional religion is set up to be the main oppressor, or the tool of oppression, while women, and children, bear their suffering. Fear not, it’s not all doom and gloom, this is a story of hope and what happens when you decide you won’t be complicit in your own oppression anymore.

I hope you enjoy this week’s story as much as I did, and good luck to everyone submitting to this call. Be well, and happy writing.

Meriden’s Moonlet at Hybrid Fiction

I’m pleased to announce that my flash fiction story, Meriden’s Moonlet, has been published in Hybrid Fiction‘s August issue. Check out this beautiful cover:

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The issue in its beautiful, hybrid totality is available for purchase on Hybrid Fiction’s website here, and Meriden’s Moonlet is available at Hybrid Fiction‘s website as August’s free content. Click here to go there now. Huzzah!

shelby

Meriden’s story has been near and dear to my heart for a long while. His is the first story in which I tried to express a character’s change from seeing themself as a hero to realizing they’re actually just a bully, and doing something about that. The moonlets, the fireflies, they ignite some magic in my soul. I think this is my favourite story that I’ve written to date and I hope you like it.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Uncanny

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to get you thinking about your own submission and to help you get a feel for the editor’s tastes or the theme of the anthology.

This week we’re subbing to Uncanny‘s once-a-year open call and we’re reading  Tina Connolly’s Once More Into the Breach (But Don’t Worry the Inflatable Swords are Latex-Free).

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Uncanny

Eligibility: intricate, experimental, and speculative stories from 750-6,000 words

Take Note: Uncanny is not open to poetry submissions at this time

Submit by: September 9th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.10 per word

Click here to go to original call for full details.

A Story to Familiarize You with the Editors’ Tastes

This week we’re delving into the strange birthday nightmare that is Tina Connolly’s Once More Into the Breach (But Don’t Worry the Inflatable Swords are Latex-Free) published by Uncanny. You can read this story online by clicking here.

This story reaches some out-of-control proportions that somehow perfectly encapsulates the surreal experience of navigating children’s birthday parties as a parent. At least, it does in my experience. The bewilderment, the horror, the what-in-the-actual-ness of the spectacle, the dread of offspring on sugar, the unbridled excitement making wild beasts of our carefully groomed children. The heady get-me-out-of-here desperation (that’s not just me, right?). I laughed, I cried, I nodded “hell, yes.”

Connolly has clearly made some bold choices in this piece and she pulls it off, but the real magic, for the rest of us, is in the attempt at this kind of experimental writing. We’re probably going to fail spectacularly several dozen times before we get it right, but there is so much to learn as we push that proverbial envelope and see what we do if we fold it this way, then that, and suddenly – an origami delight. Uncanny as a market is so big and so revered you have to take big risks and wild leaps to reach the level required to be there – and if this market falls within your goals, have fun with those risks and leaps because it’s going to take practise to reach this one. Write your heart out, take the chance you never take with your writing, and see what happens.

Have fun with it.

In the meantime, be well, and happy writing.