Submit Your Stories Sunday: eclipse glasses

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 submitting to Third Flatiron‘s Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses anthology and we’re reading Mary E. Lowd’s story Necessary as a Rose in Kaleidotrope.

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Third Flatiron: Gotta Wear Eclipse Glasses

Eligibility: speculative stories of a positive future between 1,500 and 3K words, or humorous pieces around 600-1k words.

Take Note: think along the lines of “my future’s so bright I gotta wear eclipse glasses”

Submission Dates: this call is open from February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo:

This week we’re reading Necessary as a Rose by Mary E. Lowd as published in Kaleidotrope. You can click here to go read that story now.

Lowd takes us on a journey through space with a lonely astronaut and a rose bush they believe is embedded into the workings of the ship. They feed the rose, speak with it, nurture it, and watch it bloom, but as time goes by, the astronaut’s mind grows more and more erratic. They question themself. Why are the rose’s petal purple and orange? What does that mean? Have they flown through dangerous radiation? Why are these new petals pink? Each of these questions deepens the astronaut’s paranoia as they drift, alone, unable to fill in the gaps of their knowledge, through space.

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Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

I wouldn’t call the future in this story ‘so bright I gotta wear eclipse glasses’ but I chose Necessary as a Rose because it offers multiple elements that suggest a brighter future. One of the most profound elements, for me, is the inclusion of nature. I was raised by trees, so when I read/see a lot of military-type sci-fi stuff I get an ache for the lack of nature and a weak-but-present sense of claustrophobia without something green and alive nearby. Nature helps ease human stress and strengthen our sense of wonder, which can lead to a happier future.

Another element of a positive future is the astronaut’s journey: they are travelling to a new world to accomplish their dream of being an architect. We find new worlds! We can have satisfying careers again! And finally, we see how much the citizens of this future care for strangers, and that promises much more below the surface of the story.

What’s the brightest future you can imagine? Can you see it? Okay, toss in some conflict and get plotting. We’ve got less than a month until Third Flatiron opens.

Happy writing!

 

one hundred rejections

My writing goal for 2019 was to get one hundred rejections. Because what writer wouldn’t want to get rejected that many time, amirite? A few writers recommended this to me as a means of putting my work out there. To get that many rejections,  you have to submit a lot of stories, and along the way, some of them are going to find homes. The goal also gets you studying markets more closely and watching for more opportunities. No market is too small or too strange.

I pulled in 106 rejections with 10 acceptances over 122 submissions. In the unseen shadows of those numbers, I had four stories held for consideration at a handful of my dream markets. This was a major boost for me, even if they ultimately wound up in the rejection pile. In the end, 2019 was my best year, acceptance-wise, yet so I’ve decided to make this an annual goal.

Now, I do recommend trying this if you’re making a move to take yourself seriously as a short fiction (or novel writer, for that matter), but… you should be prepared. There are approximately 365 days in a year, so you can reasonable expect to receive a rejection every 3.65 days. That’s a lot rejections, but hey, that’s doable, right?

WRONG.

Because it doesn’t go like this at all. All those editors and slush readers get together, probably with some sort of booze or I don’t know, psychedelics made from writer’s tears, and pick a single day to just reject the heck out of you. And you can bet they’re giggling while they do it. There are long stretches of nothing, which always get your hopes up because a late response could mean that they’re thinking about your story. At this point you’re probably clicking stats on The Grinder every hour, deep in the pit of rejectomancy. Then…

BOOM.

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You get four rejections in a single day.

I have no advice for those days. I wish I did. Practise self-care, yes, whatever that means to you. Two rejections? Pfft. No big deal, I am a writer, dang it. Rejections are my life. Three rejections? Hey now, that stings a little. FOUR? Oh sweet baby Yoda, nothing has hurt like this since Whatstheirface dumped me in grade 11.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Big, deep breath.

I’m sure there’s a callus that grows over your soul at some point and in the year 2030 it will take forty rejections per day to turn me into such a sniffling mess (the climate apocalypse plans on making me jaded AF). There was a point when one rejection felt as discouraging as four did in 2019-which brings me to another thing that this whole one hundred rejection goal did for me-it made me more resistant to rejection. Four? Before 2019 I’d never received more than one a week, max, and if we want to be writers, we do need to get used to rejection. Gosh, we’re in a masochistic profession.

I’m still not where I’d like to be in terms of faith in my own writing, but I am learning to need that faith less, and to trust my voice more. Which is probably what I needed to learn more than anything, TBH.

What about you? Did you make any goals for last year this year? Want to hash them out?

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Strange Horizons

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 submitting stories to Strange Horizons and we’re reading Charles Payseur’s The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts from their October issue.

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Strange Horizons

Eligibility: speculative stories up to 10K words, though they mention twice they prefer stories under 5K.

Take Note:Unusual narratives welcome. The submissions page links to a series of ideas to avoid, or ones they’ve seen too much of, so be sure to read through them.

Submit By: Strange Horizons offers ongoing submissions, but only between Monday at 16:00 UTC (this means universal, or Greenwich time) and Tuesday at 16:00 UTC.

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

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

 A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week’s story has elements of both strange and horizons, coincidentally, and it easily fall into the category of unusual. Charles Payseur’s The Sloppy Mathematics of Half-Ghosts (gosh, I love that title) was published in the October 2019 issue of Strange Horizons and is available to read on their website by clicking here.

Payseur drops us onto a ship somewhere in the stars, fighting a war far beyond our usual comprehension. Masterful world-building soothes the sharper angles of this strange place, and human emotion eases us into the odd lives of the characters.

Payseur’s beautiful language and poet-like turns of phrase stand out, a compliment I’d give to give to most Strange Horizons stories, and something worth keeping in mind crafting your own story to submit to this market. Writers should keep in mind that this is a top market, nominated for many awards, and not get discouraged if you receive rejections from Strange Horizons. Likewise, a market being one of the best is never a reason not to try. One day, your stories might surprise you.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Magic Pens

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 submitting stories to the Atthis Arts Community of Magic Pens anthology and we’re reading Michaele Jordan’s Antique, published in Abyss & Apex.

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Community of Magic Pens

Eligibility: stories up to 3 000 words on the theme of ‘magic pen,’ both the magic and the pen aspect up to interpretation. Editors prefer hopeful over grim stories.

Take Note: the editors have tweeted being disappointed that few science fiction entries have been submitted, so if you have an SF idea, run with it!

Submit by: January 15th, 2020 (yes, this is close, but there’s still time if you start right away)

Payment: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Imagination:

This week we’re reading Antique by Michaele Jordan and published in Abyss & Apex. You can read it online by clicking here. While this story has no magic pens, it does contain many magical masks, each one with its own ability, which I think will serve to get your imagination thinking in different directions for creating your own magical instrument. Follow Elsa on her global search for the mask she saw in the cabinet of a childhood, around the world, gathering what skills other masks grant her, to her final and important lesson.

Happy writing!

 

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

This week we’re submitting stories to Flash Fiction Online and we’re reading Ephemera by Catherine George from the November 2019 issue.

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Flash Fiction Online

Eligibility: flash stories from 500 to 1 000 words, original or reprint (reprints are paid at a lower rate)

Take note: authors may submit up to three stories at any given time. The editors also link to a list of hard sells on their submissions page.

Submit by: open to ongoing submissions

Payment: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

Ephemera by Catherine George was published in Flash Fiction Online last November and is available to read here. I chose this story because it made me feel and remember-clearly-the painful details of break-ups. In Ephemera, the souvenirs of a relationship, those small things that are forever linked to that person, get up and leave, off to find that person who abandoned you, choosing them.

That’s a fine premise for a story, but George doesn’t leave it at that, moving us through realizations of the dark side of the relationship that Rose had ignored, made small, and put up with to stay with that person. We journey with Rose in her arc of newly dumped to her re-emerging sense of self, that precious, life-affirming remembering we all get which lets us know we are healing, we can navigate our life without that person after all. This is a lot to pack into a thousand words and George has done this well in so few.

What kind of journey can you pack into a thousand words? Do you know anything inner arc intimately enough? Give it a whirl, take a chance, see where you get.

Happy writing!

 

 

 

space, time, and all worlds wayfaring

I hope everyone is enjoying their Decembering. It’s been a wild month here in the Shelbyverse, what with school Christmas concerts and the usual holiday scramble. Of course, when it rains, it pours and in keeping with that I had two stories come out this past week. The first was my space witch story The Feline, the Witch, and the Universe in the December issue (#135) of Space & Time. In an extra thrill, my name is on the cover! I love magazines and anthologies that do that for writers. They know.

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The issue is available here with a small paywall to purchase the issue of this excellent, (and long-lived!) speculative magazine.

Another one of my stories, Dragon Crossing, came out in All Worlds Wayfarer literary magazine, which you can read online for free by clicking here. This story is very special to me and I’d love it if you read Dragon Crossing. In fact, my birthday is this weekend and the reading of a writer’s story makes a wonderful birthday gift (wink).

That’s all for now, I’ll be back on Sunday with a new Submit Your Stories Sunday post and in the meantime I hope you find a way to close out this tattered old decade with a smile.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Cossmass Infinities

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 subbing to Cossmass Infinities and we’re reading The Paper-Doll Golems by Gwynne Garfinkle.

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Cossmass Infinities

Eligibility: original, speculative stories from 2 000 to 10 000 words

Take Note: while we’re reading a story freely available on their website (linked below), Cossmass Infinities’ ‘about’ section links to the editor’s former podcast of stories which will help give writers an idea of what they like.

Submit by: current opening closes January 12th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word for original stories

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

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

Cossmass Infinities offers a single story on their website to give us an idea of what they like. This is story is The Paper-Doll Golems by Gwynne Garfinkle and it’s the kind of story that stays with you, though somewhat uncomfortably. You can read it for yourself at Cossmass Infinities‘ website by clicking here. TW for internalized racism.

The Paper-Doll Golems is the story of an invalid girl fighting against her own helplessness. Ruthie has no power in any corner of her life and slowly watches her idolized older sister drift away from her. Her brothers tell her wild tales of a clay Golem come to life and she uses this concept to bring her paper dolls to life, certain she will have a friend to break her endless loneliness. Instead, Ruthie’s internalized racism and the destructive power of her long-term helplessness threaten to steal what little she has left.

Happy subbing, writers! I wish you a happy holiday and hope that whatever you are celebrating this week, you manage to find some time to write.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: CRES

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.

It’s been a tough week seeing more than one good market close but we’re still here. We’ll keep reading, we’ll keep writing, and most especially, we’ll remember to support our favourite magazines whenever we can. Sometimes that means a retweet or a share of a story we love, and often it means financial help when we can too. All of it counts.

This week we’re submitting to Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores (CRES) and we’re reading The King of Flame by Janie Brunson.

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Hey look, shiny new logo. What do you think?

Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores

Eligibility: speculative fiction 1 000 words and up, geographical diversity encouraged.

Take Note: anonymous, limited feedback is available

Payment Offered: $0.06 per word for new, original fiction, $0.02 for reprints

Submission Opening: December 21st -28th

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

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re reading a story that echoes the endless fires in the news, whether it’s Australia, the U.S., or in the Amazon, fires have been raging. In King of Flame by Janie Brunson, the author finds deep, mythological reasons for these fires.

There’s a blur here in the line between psychosis and myth, and if this is something you suspect might trigger you, please read one of the other wonderful stories available on CRES’ website. Otherwise, click here to go read Brunson’s story.

I’ve always been drawn to stories like this, of myths borne of insurmountable foes, that human desire to take something terrible and inconceivable and give it a story and a face we can recognize.  This is where humans first came into stories and this is still one of strengths of our collective imagination. It is the ability to empathize with phenomena and gain the ability to move forward despite a very literal helplessness. We’re screwed, but maybe there’s magic. And that magic – well, that can mean everything, especially in a story.

Happy writing!

 

apologies

I want to send an apology to my readers for missing the last Submit Your Stories Sunday without notice. I’ve been hit with a pretty severe stomach bug and I’m still recovering. With a bit of luck, Submit Your Stories Sunday will be back on track by this coming weekend. In the meantime, stay healthy and keep writing.

December IWSG and the post-NaNoWriMo haze

Hello and welcome to the December edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), place where writers of every persuasion can meet, build community, and encourage each other. Click here to see a full list of the other writers participating in IWSG or maybe join up yourself.

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How was your November? I participated in and won NaNoWriMo on day 30, completing the zero and first draft of my planned novella. Wahoo!

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I’ve written two new stories this month off the cuff, which is my favourite side effect of “quieting the inner editor” for NaNoWriMo – I move out of my own way and just get to the business writing without the doubts. Every year this ability lasts a little longer than the year before, but never quite into spring. Yet.

As for my finished project, it’s resting. I’ll give it some distance before I hit the big edits. The post-NaNoWriMo haze is still upon me, an odd combination of exhaustion and creativity I’d call drunk if I’d had anything to drink. I have another novella I plotted out in early October before my pitch for the one I did write got accepted, so I’ve been reviewing my notes and getting excited about it again. Two short stories which have been simmering on my imagination’s back burner are getting shouty and if I don’t write them soon they’ll never let me rest.

Full speed into December before the holiday slump hits! Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? How’d it go? Do you manage to get much writing done in December?