Submit Your Stories Sunday: industry

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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at Speculative City‘s call for industry themed stories and reading Cat Rambo’s story Left Behind in Clarkesworld magazine.

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 Speculative City: Industry

Eligibility: original stories poetry or essays on the theme of industry up to 5500 words, including urban fantasy

Take Note: the editor is specifically looking for stories of the effects of industry upon individuals and communities within the cityscape

Payment: $20-$75

Submit by: August 19th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

This week we’re reading Left Behind written by Cat Rambo and published in Clarkesworld magazine. You can read it online by clicking here.

This science fiction tale, set far into the future, follows a woman who prepares the elderly to move into a virtual mind world based upon their memories while their brains and bodies unconsciously pilot ships filled with dormant humans into deep space. Only the elderly, based upon a lack of neural enhancement available in their youth, are capable of piloting these ships and as such, are considered a valuable commodity. There are massive financial incentives for families to turn over their elderly.

These un-enhanced elderly are now dying out, signalling the end to our protagonist’s profession and financial doom. The worlds she builds for these future pilots are a constant reminder of luxuries she will never afford now, as well as the choices and mistakes she never had the chance to make.

A fun trick of science fiction is the ability to create an industry that doesn’t currently exist, and use it to mirror contemporary society. The disparity between the rich and the poor and the psychological effect this has on the protagonist’s sense of valueless-ness is familiar. She works in an industry that could not exist without her, yet since she is not in a supervisory position she will be the first let go when it falters, which is any minute now. She is frantic to escape, to find a better life than the one which awaits her. This is the effect of industry upon her community, glimpsed through the individual.

Although Rambo’s story is clearly set within a city, I recommend, for this call to a publisher named Speculative City, to engage this setting more in your submission.

What other industries exist that you can use to plot a story for this call? Do any industries have a good effect on their communities? What does that look like? Can you spin a story out of it? Yeah? Then get writing and good luck.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: fantasy fall

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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at Cloaked Press‘ annual Fall into Fantasy anthology and reading A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies written by Alix E. Harrow and published by Apex.

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Fall into Fantasy 2019

Eligibility: original fantasy stories of all sub-genres between 2-7.5K words.

Take Note: this is a wonderful place for new writers to build their publishing credits or get their first publication. If you write science fiction, bookmark this publisher as they put out an annual “Spring into SciFi” anthology as well.

Submit By: August 15th, 2019 (please note this is annual publication though the due date for 2020 may change)

Payment: $10 OR a contributor’s copy.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

We’re up for a fairly wide theme with this one, all genres of fantasy, a fair word count, and one teeny-tiny line in the print that reads “we want stories that delight.” Fair enough, I’ll give you a story which delighted me: A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow and published in Apex. You can read it on their website by clicking here.

This is, specifically, a story about portal fantasies and the bibliophiles who devour, who need, who long to get lost inside them. And a witchy librarian who feeds them to us-I mean those-bibliophiles. If you read portal fantasies, you may be familiar with the sort of restless ennui that comes with never finding a portal of your own. Harrow has turned that feeling into a story then flipped the tale and told it from the perspective of the person manipulating those portals, however subtly, and evokes nothing short of story magic. I love this story and I hope you do too. I hope it delights and inspires you to write your own magic. Good luck.

Happy writing!

IWSG: breakfasting with fear

Hello and welcome to the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. On the first Wednesday of every month we get together to write about writing and support each other. Not a member? Stick around, read some posts, see what you might have in common with a network of fellow writers – you can find them all by clicking here.

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This month I wanted to repost a blog from 2017 that’s been resonating with me again. This time of year writing gets challenging for me and my confidence nosedives hard. Maybe I’m not alone, so without further ado, here’s Breakfast With Fear:

“Hello, Fear.”

“Hello, Paige.”

Paige strode across the sunny terrace to a bistro table set for two. Wisps of gauzy fabric whispered about her bare feet. She threw herself into a shaded chair with the petulance of a teenager whose been called a child. “What’s on the menu today? A cup of discouragement? A plate a self-loathing?”

Fear smiled, revealing his fangs. “Both, actually.” He served these dishes to her cold. “Enjoy your breakfast.”

She sipped at her cup in cheeky rebellion. It was all she had left and she refused to fight with him. “I must say, I couldn’t help but admire your work in the United States this week.”

Fear sat down in the chair opposite hers, crossing his legs and taking a nibble from her plate. “It’s almost too easy. The threat of nuclear war makes everything so deliciously tense.”

“Hmmm.”

Fear leaned forward, licking his lips. “What about you? How’s the writing going? Received any rejections of late?”

Paige shook her finger at him. “Naughty Fear. I haven’t even finished my breakfast yet.”

“Ah, then allow me to offer another dish: a bowl of ‘my accomplishments are all worthless’ stew. Full of all the things that eat you up on sleepless full moon nights.”

“How generous of you, darling Fear!” She watched him cringe at her ‘darling’.

“Now, Paige, be careful. You wouldn’t want to piss me off.” He snarled, his eyes flashing.

She leaned across the table, sweeping her cup of discouragement, her plate of self-loathing, and the stew to the hard-tiled terrace ground. They shattered with a satisfying smash. “Do your worst. You were always going to anyway.”

Drool began to ooze from his fangs. He always loved his victims best after they moved past the simpering, tearful stage. Paige held his gaze. She was growing stronger. He would make a writer of her yet.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: story vending machines

Welcome to Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a new call for submissions to find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll highlight a story to help newer writers understand how to best fulfill the call and kickstart your creativity.

This week we’re exploring Short Edition’s call for short stories and poetry to place inside their vending machines and reading Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn from Short Edition’s website.

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Short Edition

Eligibility: short stories and poems up to 8 000 characters and children’s stories up to 7000 characters. Please note this is characters not words. Spaces are included as characters. (tip: if you’re using MS word, the wordcount function also displays characters with and without spaces)

Take Note: the rights requested wander from the norm, so read them carefully before submitting to ensure you’re comfortable with them.

Payment: $75 for poetry, $125 for short and children’s stories (currency unclear)

Submit by: call is open at time of writ, no closure dates listed.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Creativity

Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn is one of the science fiction and fantasy stories published by Short Edition and available to read on their website by clicking here. What begins as a simple day in the life of a virtual reality programmer twists into a heart-pounding tale as a bug switches off the safety parameters with an 8-year-old inside.

O’Neal’s story works for a broad audience by grabbing our heartstrings (save the kid!), keeping the technical aspects of the story low, and employing unlikely heroes we can’t help but cheer for.

These short story vending machines have been turning up here in Canada at large airports, appealing to bored travelers who might not have the time or attention span for the novels sold at the airport bookstore. There’s a difference between this kind of audience and the ones who might pick up an anthology or read a literary magazine. Experimental fiction probably won’t succeed as well in this venue, nor will intricate stories which require close attention and deep thought. Controversial topics likely won’t do you any favors here either. Simple, easy-to-read fiction that entertains should be your goal and O’Neal’s story does this well.

Good luck with this one, and I hope to see your story in a vending machine one day.

Happy writing!

the summer of the candy moths

The maple trees bring us maple syrup in early spring and now it’s early summer they gift us with visits from Rosy Maple Moths. These vibrant little beasties lay their eggs on the maple trees where their larvae will hatch and munch the leaves. Their populations are reasonable enough our maples don’t sustain permanent damage (although this could change with climate collapse) so we’re free to delight in our candy-colored visitors. They certainly help boost this writer’s sense of wonder during the dreaded summer slump.

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Peekaboo!

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Submit Your Stories Sunday: oldies

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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at Third Flat Iron‘s call for longevity submission and reading Kameron Hurley’s The Corpse Soldier as published in Uncanny Magazine.

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Third Flat Iron

Eligibility: speculative stories from 1500- 3000 words on theme of longevity and how that longevity is won. Any horror should be light.

Take Note: submission formatting is precise and on a different page than the call for submissions – don’t miss it.

Payment: $0.08 American per word

Submit by: August 3rd, 2019 (submissions open July 10th, 2019)

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

A story to inspire your submission

This week’s story, The Corpse Soldier by Kameron Hurley, would be too long fit Third Flat Iron’s call for submissions, but it should get your imagination in gear thematically. The Corpse Soldier is available to read in Uncanny Magazine by clicking here.

The Corpse Soldier tells the tale of Nev, a soldier who shifts from body to body upon death. Certain he will not escape his current body and unwilling to kill the small girl near him, he gives her his summoning stone and tells her to return it to his masters. The stone gives his masters the ability to recall his soul from death. Ultimately, Nev escapes his dying body that night. Decades pass, he’s fallen out with his old masters, and now he hunts for the stone he gave the girl. Without it, his freedom can never be guaranteed.

Hurley’s spun a new legend of longevity with this story, offering up a mind-boggling weapon for war, a dark and cursed existence, and an excellent kickstart to our own imaginations to come up with our own ideas. What other ways can you play with this theme? What can you do with futuristic technology or endless magic at your disposal? Are their any other ways to live forever?

P.S. I did cover this submission call earlier this year. With an abundance of new readers, the opening coming up fast, and the pro-payment eligible for SFWA qualifications, I decided to showcase it again over some newer calls offering a pittance. If you need more mojo juice for your imagination, check out that original post paired with a science fiction story, to get you going.

Happy writing!

 

 

Evil

I have lived my whole life with the privilege of peace
Never knowing it a privilege
And now as Evil knocks upon my door
As it rips children from their mothers
And flings them to sell their flesh in the street
As it invades my community with this sudden fad of hate
I see it in my brothers face
in my sisters sense of race
I do not know how to endure it
How to fight without gagging on the bile of my revulsion
And my contempt for the inhumanity that says we are all different
That justifies immoral acts with the sputum of a child’s tantrum
I’ll not leave it to some Great Invisible
To judge you for your crimes.
I see you, Monsters, gathering around me
All your hate on proud display
You are seen and you are judged evil
I record your every act
Your every curse, your each betrayal
And I will yell it across the expanse of time
To each and every generation down the road
And they will hold up pictures of your faces, stolen from your instagram and say
This! This is what Evil looks like
This is what we must guard against
It looks like you or me,

with all their hate consuming them confusing them confounding them
Nothing but hate on display
While love sells its flesh on the street

Submit Your Stories Sunday: House of Zora

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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at a call from a new Canadian market, House of Zora, and reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance, originally published in the anthology Cosmic Powers and reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine.

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House of Zora

Eligibility: speculative stories from 1k to 7500 words, with a preference for 3500-5K

Take Note: the HoZ editors are looking for stories set in the future with a strong attraction to resistance, activism, transhumanism, feminism, and 2SLGBTQIA+

Payment: $50 – $75 Canadian dollars

Submit By: July 15th, 2019

Click here to go to original call for details.

A story to inspire your submission

This week we’re reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell, originally published in the Cosmic Powers anthology and available to read online at Lightspeed magazine by clicking here.

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance begins with a crab-like robot discovering an enemy CEO (loosely, a wealthy privileged) clinging to the hull of the bot’s ship after a space battle. The battle was fought over the idealist “True Form” believers (non-augmented humans) and self-determinant life forms such as our protagonist bot, who chose to become a maintenance bot and leave free will behind. It’s a fascinating take for Buckell to tell the story in first person from the bot’s point of view because it forces the reader, presumably a human in “Truest Form”, to empathize with the character least like themselves.

Our Bot-protagonist is duty-bound to assist CEOs and so our bot brings the man to its private space, thus revealing its own vulnerabilities. The CEO treats the bot with endless scorn and distaste, torturing it for it’s sacrificed free will, threatening what it loves, and finally bribing the bot to take him to freedom. The bot’s friendships are strained, its ideals tested, but its cleverness remains  and bot uses this cleverness to resist into a delicious conclusion.

Buckell’s story ticks off three of House of Zora’s preferences. It features transhumanism (technology-based evolution of humanity), resistance, and futurism. The clever riff on Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance doesn’t hurt and certainly performs well as an attention-grabbing title. For your submission, there’s no need to stuff as many of the editor’s preferences as you can into the story, but if you can fit more than one and still spin a fine story, why wouldn’t you?

Happy writing!

7 Reasons to Pre-Order Your Flights (from the Rock)

Huzzah and hello, for today is the day I put on my big-girl marketing pants (which don’t fit well and WHY ARE THEY SO ITCHY) to give you 7 Reasons to Pre-Order Flights From the Rock. Flights is a beautiful anthology of speculative flight stories releasing July 14th, 2019, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first non-stop Trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland (AKA the Rock) to Ireland. A century ago, Alcock and Brown spent June 12th preparing to launch their epic flight. This June 12th, we’re preparing the epic launch of our own flights, and I’m here to give you 7 Reasons to pre-order your Flights from the Rock ebook today:

promo.png1. everyone knows advance tickets, especially for Flights, are best booked and ordered in advance. The more advance the better. In fact, I’m pretty sure the best day to order THIS flight is today.

2.Complimentary pretzels!! And by pretzels I mean a mind-contorting glimpse into my loopy imagination… via my story, Borrowed Wings, found in Flights from the Rock and which may or may not be about the living taxidermy of damaged fairy wings. Twisty. Like pretzels (no regretzels!).

The thing about pretzels is that you’re also going to need something to drink, which brings us to reason #3 why you should pre-order Flights from the Rock today:

3. we’ll let you carry liquids bigger than 100 ml on this flight, bay-bee. Heck, you can read this ebook with a coffee mug/teacup/wine glass the size of your head if that’s your Best Self. You want to soar into the blue beyond on the the wings of your imagination from the comfort of your overflowing bathtub? Go for it.

4.  On Flights from the Rock, there are no economy class seats. Every seat is a first-class trip to Imagination-town.

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5. woke up to discover your passport expired/lost/chewed to bits by your imaginary hellhound Cerberus IV? No problem. The Flights from the Rock ebook will be sent to your device on July 14th by Amazon’s magical ‘whispernet’ and promises not to ask for your passport, I.D., or rifle through your luggage (some exceptions may apply if your e-reader has picked up a poltergeist, haunted virus, or is possessed by a demonic librarian).

6. no extra travel insurance needed! Flights from the Rock‘s Armchair Airlines is covered by your existing health insurance/Medicare so you can feel secure no matter how lost you get in our stories.

7. By pre-ordering your e-copy for $2.99 today, June 12th, you will help my squadron of story-eyed pen pilots defeat the algorithm bombers and soar us to the top of Amazon’s Ace-sellers list, making you a hero and all of us victorious over the lows of reality, gravity, and all the other -itys.

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E-copies will be landing on July 11th, a few days before the official release July 14th, as a thank-you for helping our mission. Pre-orders are available for $2.99 (Canadian funds) by clicking here. Armchair Airlines thanks you for your patronage. And so do I! *hugs you after asking permission*

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Diabolical Submissions

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 inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re looking at Diabolical Plots‘ upcoming opening and reading Matt Dovey’s Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Worship of the Elder Dark?

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Diabolical Plots

Eligibility: original speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror) up to 3500 words.

Take Note: authors may submit up to two stories during the open period and submissions should be anonymous

What Makes This Call Stand Out: Diabolical Plots has one opening per year, so this is your chance to get your story into their yearly anthology, newsletter, and website. Their website is attached to the ever-popular The (Submission) Grinder, which writers should make themselves familiar with (and support if you can) if you haven’t discovered it yet.

Payment: $0.10 per word

Submit by: opening is for the month of July

Click here to go the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Submission

When a speculative fiction magazine has an opening, the submitting writer should make themselves familiar with the body of work already published. One of my favorite stories recently published on Diabolical Plots is Matt Dovey’s Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark? I may have hooted coffee through my nose the first time I read it. Yeah. I can still smell dark roast when it rains. Click here to read that cheeky story now.

Dovey’s story is a Lovecraftian riff on the way Millennials are treated in the media. Like all good satire, it exposes absurdity by holding up a mirror and flipping the rules. The story is revealed, reporter-style, from a series of interviews with traditional worshipers mourning the il-legalization of human and animal sacrifices, the lack of Millennial participation, and the inevitable insanity to be unleashed upon humanity without it. Like all good journalism,  the Millennials are also given a say, culminating into the arrival of Eric Rawlins, Millennial, Devoted Son, and rigid – well,  you read the story. Mob rules on this one. It’s funny, it’s timely, and it’s endlessly entertaining on multiple reads: a great story.

In terms of meeting the guidelines, with magazines it’s often easier to write a story already gathering speed in your imagination, rather than diving into specific themes like we do to submit to anthologies. As a writer, you’ve got freedom to roam, which can be liberating but can also freeze you with sudden agoraphobia. My advice? Pick your best story. This is a top market and that makes it hard to get in, so send them the story you’re most proud of. If it doesn’t work out this year, keep writing and try again next year.

Good luck.