a small vacation

The summer is winding down and my eldest will be returning to school in just one more week. With that in mind, I am taking a small vacation to focus on family fun with what remains of our summer. I’ll be back with more calls and stories after Labour Day and in the meantime, keep writing, keep submitting, and I’ll keep watching for your names in my favourite journals.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: euphoria

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 Apparition Lit’s call for stories about euphoria and reading Tina Connelly’s A Sharp Breath of Birds in Uncanny Magazine.

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Apparition Lit: Euphoria

Eligibility: original speculative fiction from 1-5K on theme of euphoria

Take note: this magazine has four openings per year, each with a different theme (watch their website for future themes)

Payment: $0.03 per word, minimum $30

Submit by: August 31st, 2019

Click here to go the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week’s story, Tina Connelly’s A Sharp Breath of Birds, was published in Uncanny magazine. You can click here and go read that now. I must say, finding a story that captures the theme of euphoria is difficult in this timeline of doom, which is probably why Apparition Lit chose it. A Sharp Breath of Birds is not a euphoric tale, not at first. The protagonist struggles with her sense of self, her sense of belonging, her… feathers. In growing up she loses the one person who understands her, who might have feathers too. The euphoria of this story is not found until its ending, and then it is still left up to the reader to imagine.

How can you use euphoria to drive your story rather than ending it? It’s interesting to note that astronauts have been reported to experience a sense of inexplicable euphoria in outer space, how that could that be used to craft a story? Romance, always, has its own levels of euphoria. In researching this post I came across stories of drug use, self-harm, and various vices used to reach a euphoric state. I expected to find more stories of the euphoria of birth than I did and I’m excited to see what this issue of Apparition Lit offers.

Happy writing, and good luck.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: the Arcanist

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 The Arcanist‘s call for flash fiction and reading The Catfish by Earnest Nadim from The Arcanist‘s July issue.

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The Arcanist: Flash Fiction

Eligibility: science fiction and fantasy flash fiction stories up to 1k words with a complete story and great characters

Take note: signing up for the Arcanist will deliver their stories into your inbox every Friday as well as being posted on their website, which affords you a wonderful opportunity to get to know what the editors like and reach a wide audience with your own if accepted.

Payment: $50, USD

Submit by: rolling submission dates, open at time of writ but please check the website if you’re reading from the future.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

Earnest Nadim’s story, The Catfish, was published on the Arcanist this past July and it’s a fun read, so don’t miss out. Click here to head to the website and read it.

There is something delightful about taking a familiar, possibly tired,  modern-day scenario and dropping it into a fantasy world. The classic catfish tale, told through texting orcs and a pegacorn’s eyes, has a freshness and heart to it that leaves the reader chuckling, the weight of the work week shuffled off their shoulders. It is these fantasy characters, secure in their tropes, that make The Catfish sing and add this freshness.

Nadim carries us from the discovery of the freshly dead and catfishing orc through to his victim, giving readers the complete story despite the short form. It’s tricky but it’s an important element of flash fiction, and one we must employ when we sit down to write our own submissions for this call.

Good luck, and happy writing.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: fireside

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 Fireside‘s late August opening and reading Advice for Your First Time at the Faerie Market by Nibedita Sen from Fireside’s July 2019 issue.

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Fireside Magazine

Eligibility: original speculative stories up to 3k words

Take Note: Fireside wants “great stories that makes us cry, laugh, or transport us to new worlds.”

Payment: $0.125 per word (twelve and half cents per word)

Submit by: opening is from August 26th to August 30th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for submissions.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

Advice for Your First Time at the Faerie Market by Nibedita Sen appeared in last month’s issue of Fireside Magazine. CW for abuse. Click here to go read the story now. I love this story for the fresh twist it gives on a fairy market tale and for having a rare mother as protagonist.

The mother, whose name we never learn, is first driven to the faerie market to satisfy strange pregnancy cravings. The fey have their sights upon her unborn child, and their food magic protects the fetus when the mother’s abusive spouse pitches her down the stairs. They help her get rid of said spouse, all of this for the usual price: her child. But not until baby is sixteen years old.

Rather than have the mother give into despair or hope it doesn’t happen as we’ve seen a bit too often in faerie tales, this mother gets to work using every available tool at her disposal to ensure her daughter has the skills she needs to survive in Faerie once they come for her. Cleverness ensues, and it’s a delight to read. Sen is kind and doesn’t leave the mother-or us-entirely without hope, but she doesn’t give us a happy ending either.

For a story so short, Advice for Your First Time at the Faerie Market evokes several rounds of emotion and lingers in your thoughts once it’s done. It thrives in its own descriptions and offers rich layers to a short form. This is what you want to accomplish: a story steeped in the broth of its own world that makes your readers feel everything you can imagine for them. Good luck, writers, and happy writing.

 

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

This week we’re looking at Uncanny‘s August opening and reading John Chu’s Probabilitea from Uncanny Issue 28.

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Uncanny Magazine

Eligibility: imaginative and diverse speculative stories from 750 – 6K words.

Take Note: Uncanny purchases audio rights with the first publication rights. It’s also worth nothing that this is an award-winning market. Few submissions make it through to publication. Send in your best work and don’t be discouraged if you get a rejection.

Payment: $0.08 per word

Submit by: Uncanny is open to submissions from August 1st to the 29th, 2019.

Click here to go original call for more details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

This week we’re dipping into Uncanny‘s considerable archives and reading a story from two issues ago, Probabilitea by John Chu. You can read it on Uncanny’s website by clicking here.

I love this story because it encompasses the elements that make an Uncanny story great: it is effortlessly diverse and wildly imaginative. I have fingers tightly crossed this one shows up on next year’s award ballots.

In this story, Chu has deconstructed the world down to it’s mathematical components, determining likelihoods in human minds which run like supercomputers. Trained to manipulate reality by their parents from childhood, Katie and Jackson are now on their first solo mission to stop a fascist rising in power and about to commit a terrorist act. This is no longer the dust molecules and rain droplets they have spent their youth learning to control. These are stakes higher than a parents’ satisfaction. Much higher.

The world Chu has built in this story is intense, intricate, and stunning. While I’m reading I find myself shaking my head. How. HOW do I write like this? This is masterful storytelling right here and Chu comes across as so dang comfortable working inside this complex and wildly imagined world.  This is what makes an Uncanny story, and we should all be trying to reach this level with our stories, by reading and especially by pushing ourselves, digging deeper, and taking risks with our wildest ideas.

Good luck, writers, and happy writing.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: flash for the abyss

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 Abyss and Apex is opening soon for flash fiction and we’re reading The Gifted Sommellier by Grayson Bray Morris from the Abyss and Apex archives.

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Abyss and Apex Magazine

Eligibility: imaginative, character-driven, speculative flash fiction, defined as less than 1250 words.

Take Note: flash fiction submissions are to be included in the body of your email, not a separate, attached document.

Submit by: The flash fiction opening is vaguely defined as “the first week of August,” which suggests August 1st to 7th. I recommend submitting early to avoid disappointment on the 7th.

Payment: $0.06 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your imagination:

Today’s story comes from Abyss and Apex‘s flash fiction archives, The Gifted Sommellier by Grayson Bray Morris. You can read it on the Abyss and Apex website by clicking here. TW for discussion of abuse.

The Gifted Sommellier introduces us to a wine expert (or sommellier) who serves the dead the perfect vintage to help them pass on. For reasons unrevealed, the Sommellier and the woman who asks for their help, have not crossed over. Instead, they serve the dead with honor and respect inside a strange hotel which hints at a much larger world in the ‘Divinika’. Throughout the story, the Sommellier collects clues from the woman as they narrow the possibilities of who she is and which wine will send her to the mysterious next.

This is a brooding, imaginative tale of considerable depth. Morris gives a single sip from the life of the Sommellier, a story told from their perspective and spurred on by their desire to solve problems. They thrive on finding the wine to release a trapped soul. The harder ones are the most fulfilling. As such, their character drives the story.

If you read through the other stories available in Abyss and Apex‘s archives, you’ll find the stories are written with a similarly lush prose as Morris used. Another fine example is the wonderful short story One Soul, Parchment Thin by Calder Hutchinson, which is a feast of delicious prose. Write your loveliest, poetic lines for Abyss and Apex, writers. Good luck.

 

 

 

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!