Submit Your Stories Sunday: Creatures


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 book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

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Tell-Tale Press: Creatures

Eligibility: Original or reprint speculative fiction tales from 500 to 5 000 words on the theme of creatures. They also seek novelettes from 7 000 to 10 000 words.

Take Note: Under represented creatures will be favored over the usual vampires, werewolves, etc.

Payment: this is a bit complicated, bear with me. Fiction from 500 -1K words will be paid $5. 1K to 3K will be paid $10. 3K to 5K is $25. Novelettes are offered $50.

Submit by: March 4th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Submission:

The Resurrectionist by E. B. Hudspeth is a fictional history and art book in one. The first half of this volume is the biography of a mad scientist, Dr. Spencer Black. The second half offers the Doctor’s masterpiece: an anatomy book of mythological beasts, drawn in the classic form.

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The Resurrectionist reads as a dark history book. Spencer the boy is forced into grave-robbing with his physician father, stealing corpses for cadaver research. When he is grown, Spencer also enters medicine, specializing in anatomy and gaining surgical experience with deformities and mutations. Soon Spencer develops his own theoretical evolution, supposing that humans were once closer to mythological beasts before we evolved out of our (possibly) best selves.

To further his studies, Black turns to traveling carnivals and cabinets of curiosities. His reputation in the medical community disintegrates as he attempts to publish his theories. Black then becomes a carnival showman, creating his own little oddities to delight the public. When the excitement of those creations wanes, Black begins experimenting with animals, creating living mythological franken-beasts. Inevitably, humans are next as his traveling show descends deeper into macabre and twisted wonder.

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An illustration from The Resurrectionist, by E. B. Hudspeth

Reading about how Dr. Spencer Black creates his mythological creatures, while deeply unsettling, provides a fascinating wonderscape for tales of creatures to grow from. If nothing else, flipping through the anatomy drawings are sure to spark your imagination with a creature tale or two.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

The SFWA has announced it will be raising what is considered a professional rate from $0.06 per word to $0.08 per word effective September 1st, 2019.

Happy writing!

when the Moon came for dinner

We invited the Moon for dinner last week. To our delight, the Moon accepted our invitation and was courteous enough to shrink down for the event. I served a meal of mulled stardust and broiled comets from a recipe book I bought in a dream when I was seven.

The girls, of course, wanted pictures and the Moon obliged. I must say, I am happy with how they turned out. It’s nice to have memories of special guests the girls can look back on once they’re grown.

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Little Nim, who rarely stays up late enough to enjoy the night sky, marveled at our guest and screamed when we tried to take them away.

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Evening, who can often be seen waving to the Moon and shouting “Hi, Moon!” every chance she gets, was especially joyful to see her friend up close.

Toys were pulled out and stories created. Evening insisted the Moon must have dragons, and the Moon did not disagree. Blizzard the cat wanted in on the fun and investigated Evening’s carefully staged dragon silhouette.

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Shortly after taking this photo, Blizzard snapped up the dragon in his fuzzy jaws and ran off with him. Much hissing and fire-breathing ensued. I was embarrassed over the cat’s behavior but the Moon insisted it was the most excitement they’d had since the Pleiades passed through last month.

Blizzard returned with whiskers singed and bent. We haven’t found the dragon yet but we can hear him in the basement at night, breathing fire and munching stolen cat food.

Nim cried when it came time for the Moon to leave. Evening gave them a hug goodbye. I packed up the leftover comets and sent them along in case the Moon got hungry later. We stood on the porch and watched the Moon float up into the sky.

“Can we invite the Moon for dinner again, Mum?”

“That’s up to the Moon, dear.”

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: hidden histories

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 book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

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Third Flatiron’s Hidden Histories Anthology

Eligibility: Speculative stories between 1 500 and 3 000 words OR 600 word humor pieces featuring a secret history taking place in the past, present, or future.

Take Note: read the call (linked below) carefully to determine the difference between the publisher’s idea of secret history and alternative history.

Payment: $o.o6 per word

Submit by: January 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Submission:

ZeroS by fellow Canadian writer Peter Watts is a futuristic secret history following a recruit into the Zombie Corps. After being temporarily reanimated post-death, Asante is offered a split-minute decision to continue being dead or volunteer for a five year tour of duty as a new kind of soldier. He chooses to volunteer and finds himself a beta-test soldier in what he calls the Zombie Corps. There are bugs to work out, twitches, and lengthy sessions where his brain is nothing more than a blind passenger in his rebuilt body. He can deal with this, but as he completes more missions and pieces together shattered glimpses of horror, he realizes that no government body can be sanctioning the Zombie Corps, and he may not be on the side of the war he wants to be.

I’d call ZeroS a secret history because it becomes obvious in the story that Asante belongs to a secret project, government or otherwise. My hope is that reading it will kickstart your imagination to the possibilities of what makes a story a ‘secret history.’

You can read Watts’ short story for free on Tor.com by clicking here. It first appeared in the anthology Infinity Wars and was featured in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018.

 

 

a clutch of mermaid eggs

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It took years of searching under kelp and seaweeds, of slipping past barnacles at low tide, and hunting through the flotsam of a storm surge. At last I’ve found a clutch of mermaid eggs. With care and a stroke of luck, I might be able to hatch them. I’ve studied the manuscripts, the old legends scraped in stone. If I succeed – well, I’ll have a pair of mermaids to raise as my own, won’t I? Shh. Tell no one and I’ll introduce you to them one day.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Apex

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 book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

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Apex Magazine

Eligibility: original, speculative fiction stories up to 7 500 words. This includes science fiction, fantasy, horror, and any mix of these three.

Take Note: stories previously published on patreon are considered reprints for this market.

What makes this call stand out: Apex offers professional rates and is an SFWA-qualifying market.

Payment: $0.06 per word for print and e-publishing,  $0.01 per word for podcasted stories

Submit by: rotating submission dates, please check Apex’s website

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A book to inspire your writing:

A. Merc Rustad has published multiple stories in Apex magazine. Aside from checking out copies of the magazine itself (e-published in the usual places) I recommend reading Merc’s short story collection So You Want to be a Robot. A. Merc Rustad is consistently on the year’s “best of” collection and awards ballots for a reason. Their stories bend your mind and explode your imagination past borders you didn’t know it had.

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So You Want to be a Robot begins with Merc’s Nebula-nominated This is Not a Wardrobe Door. This is a quintessential Merc story, taking your usual portal story and subverting every trope, juggling it while standing on their head, and giving you the ending you didn’t realize your soul was yearning for. This story has been published in Fireside, Cicada, and Podcastle. In fact, you can follow this link to Podcastle and hear the podcasted version right now.

This collection of Merc’s work includes science fiction and fantasy tales. Gender is a fluid concept here, and Merc’s protagonists’ beautiful way of seeing the world is both familiar yet fresh with each character. I give this book six and a half out of five stars.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Lightspeed magazine is offering a free anthology on their website. What better way to familiarize yourself with what they like to publish than downloading a copy and reading it for yourself?

The author list is up for the Unlocking the Magic anthology, which includes me and my story The Night Janitor and features the wonderful authors A. Merc Rustad, Ferrett Steinmetz, and Cat Rambo. Editor Vivian Caethe created up this anthology as a response to negative mental illness tropes often seen in fantasy fiction. Our stories were vetted by a psychologist before acceptance to ensure they wouldn’t contribute to any negative tropes. I urge you to check it out if this intrigues you. The book is on pre-order now and should be available this spring.

 

IWSG: rough drafts

Happy IWSG day! IWSG stands for ‘Insecure Writers Support Group’ and hundreds of writers participate every month, blogging writerly posts on an optional question or going rogue on other writing topics. Inkslingers of every kind supporting each other and building community. You can click here to see the other blogs and perhaps sign up yourself.

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A story is born in my mind and scribbled out on the pages of my notebook.

I tingle with excitement. I love this.

Words get crossed out. Notes appear in margins. Something is circled – should I delete this? Characters disappear. New ones take their place, or not.

I suppress a thrill. This is becoming an excellent story.

I type it into a document. Hmmm. That part doesn’t sound right. Words get rearranged. A new sentence replaces an old one. A plot hole is revealed. I fill it in and try to smooth the edges.

Oh, I don’t like that. This is awful. What was I thinking?

I put the story aside, but I still think of it. My subconscious mulls over possible solutions. It might be days, or weeks, or… months.

I know it will come. I acknowledge it might take a long time. Deep down, I worry. How will I build a body of work if the quality I’m working toward takes this long? When will my process come faster? Surely it doesn’t take other writers this long.

It does, though.

I work, I read, I follow my favourite writers. Quite by accident I come across a dozen statements in a single day, writers I admire mentioning the few years it can take to birth a story from start to finish. From that first draft to the one which gets accepted. I am normal, I realize, surprised. I am on the right track.

Keep writing. Keep going. We’re all doing fine.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: New England Folk Horror

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 book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

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Would But Time Await: an Anthology of New England Folk Horror

Eligibility: original folk horror stories between 4 000 and 6 000 words

Take Note: the website (linked below) provides links to what they consider folk horror and what they do not. Read with care.

Payment: $75 USD, a print copy, and an e-copy of the final anthology

Submit by: January 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Stories to Inspire Your Submission:

The editors for the anthology have made an excellent list of works they consider folk horror (you can see it in full at the link above). Instead of sending you away from that list and potentially off-track, here are a few links to short stories on their list which are available to read for free online.

The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. This might ring familiar, as it is on many high school’s English curriculum. I hope your high school didn’t ruin it for you.

The Summer People, by Shirley Jackson. As someone who lives in a popular summer tourist area, I tend to read this story from the wrong perspective, and I love it.

The Picture in the House, by H. P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is wordier than modern writers, so if you’ve never read his work before, be patient and let the creepy sweep you along.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Writer Beware posted this article writers should be reading about the latest predatory ‘services’ on the market.

Lightspeed is offering a free anthology featuring some amazing authors! Reading it is a great way to get a feel for the kind of stories they prefer before you submit.

In his latest Storyville column, Richard Thomas gives some tips on reading the ‘best of-‘ collections. My favorite bit of the article is where he mentions his stories take a few years to come to fruition. I’m not alone!

one writer’s year

We’re in that odd place between Christmas and New Years. My birthday lurks in here somewhere, ready to pounce and pronounce me some unholy number. It’s always been a weird time of year for me. When January arrives I breathe a sigh of relief and the tight bundle of anxiety I’ve been wrapped in releases me into a fresh, exciting, new beginning. A return to myself.

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Almost there.

In the meantime, I’ve signed up for Storystorm in January, which I’m excited about. I had a few breakthroughs on the novel I’m longing to write but whose idea isn’t quite cooked yet. Discovering the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers has helped me put my writing year into perspective. I highly recommend it. Due to my December-holiday related depression, I tend to forget the good stuff that happened in 2018. The assignments in the 12 Days brought it all back. Thanks for that!

Here’s what happened:

  • Dragon Crossing won first place in the WFNB’s Fog Lit Books “For Young People” prize. I got to read it to a roomful of writers and it was an amazing experience! After receiving the judge’s advice to turn it into a gothic middle grade novel, Dragon Crossing has been put aside until I figure out if I should flesh it out into said novel or if the magic lies somewhere in the short story form.
  • Toby’s Alicorn Adventure came out in Cricket and it was thrilling to see my story fully illustrated on the page.
  • After seeing a beloved publisher planned to accept unsolicited manuscripts, I pulled out a book idea I’d been plotting and wrote, edited, received critique, and edited again in a few months to make the deadline. What got me was how much fun I had getting Dreamers, Inc. together in such a short period of time. The creative rush had me thrilled to my fingertips. High five to my critique partners who were willing to work with my tight deadline, too. #heroes
  • After two years of revisions I finally got my story The Night Janitor where I wanted it. All the hard work paid off when it found a home in an amazing anthology (TBA) with a Table of Contents that makes my jaw drop. Stay tuned for more details in early 2019.
  • I bid on, and won, a charity auction for a professional critique from the award-winning editors of Uncanny. The story I submitted is one I’m excited about and I hope their critique helps me to take it the next level (in less than two years this time). I’ll share more on this when I receive the critique and process the experience.

So go away, December brain-shadows. 2018 was awesome. Sure, disappointment, discouragement, and regret held space as well, but… meh. They’ve taken up enough of my energy already.

What surprises did 2018 hold for you? Did you have any creative breakthroughs?

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Submit Your Stories Sunday: epistolary fiction

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 book to help inspire your story submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

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Letters From the Grave

Eligibility: epistolary horror from 2 000 to 10 000 words.

Take Note: The publisher, Orbannin Books, is looking for more than just letters. Any mix of modern documents, digital or otherwise, is welcome.

What Makes This Call Stand Out: this is a fun way to stretch your creative muscles and push the boundaries of story. I’m also a huge fan of anthologies that offer a print copy to contributors.

Payment: $0.05 per word plus a print copy of the anthology

Submit by: February 28th, 2019 UPDATE: deadline extended to March 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Stories to Inspire Your Writing:

This week, I’m linking to two epistolary stories featured online to fire up your imagination.

The first story, Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel and published on Tor.com, tells a compelling and thought-provoking story in the form of comment history on a wiki page. It’s fun, easy to read, and makes you think.

The second story, Classified Selections by Phillip Gregg Chamberlain, appeared in Daily Science Fiction last November. This form of epistolary fiction moves into experimental as a series of ads. As you read down the list, your brain makes sense of it by imagining connections, and thus a story is born.

If you’re still struggling with the form, Mythcreants posted an article last July entitled A Beginner’s Guide to Epistolary Writing which may help.

Writerly News Worth Sharing from the Week:

Escape Artists took a difficult stand and declined the Parsec Awards the podcasting family won for Podcastle and Escape Pod. More details on this situation are available here.