Submit Your Stories Sunday: Escape Pod. Also Death Metal. And Endangered Birds.

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 Escape Pod and reading (or listening to) Elly Bangs’ The Last Stellar Death Metal Opera from Escape Pod‘s episode 697. TW for suicide ideation.

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Escape Pod

Eligibility: science fiction stories from 1 500 to 6 000 words

Take note: All submission must be anonymous. Escape Pod publishes story texts on their website and produces an audio version for their podcast. They buy first print and audio rights. Also reprints, please navigate to their website linked below for those details.

Submit by: Escape Pod will close submissions for the summer season starting June 2020

Payment: $0.08 per word, USD

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

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

This week we’re rocketing into Escape Pod‘s archives to read (or listen to) Elly Bang’s The Last Stellar Death Metal Opera. TW for suicide ideation. Click here to go read or listen now. Trust me, don’t skip this one, it’s a delight. I picked this story because it’s easy to connect with and a lot of fun, which is rare and wonderful, and because it asks deep questions about what humanity might be like if we became immortal. Who will our heroes be? Who will we fixate upon and where will this hero worship lead us? And more importantly, if we don’t save those octopodes from being flash-boiled in a supernovae, who will?

And now for something different:

I rarely share calls that do not offer payment to writers, but sometimes ones come up for charities that capture my attention, like this one. Back from the Brink is a UK conservation agency seeking sci-fi poetry and fiction up to 2k words with a focus on saving endangered species. Science fiction has long had the reputation for inspiring tech, and this collection is seeking to focus that reputation to solve a worldwide dilemma. Have any ideas? Again, this is not a paying market, but you might be able to do some good. Check out that call by clicking here.

Happy writing!

Inktober: the finale

Happy Halloween, writers and readers! We made it to the spooky end of Inktober: Writer’s Edition, in which I wrote a 50-word story based on a set of prompts everyday this past month. You can read the beginning with prompts here, and my weekly compilations here, here, and here.

Without further ado, here is my final set of entries.

Day 24: dizzy

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Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Jake’s kisses made Louis dizzy. Louis knew it was because Jake’s species was toxic to humans but damn if it didn’t feel good. They should stop before the toxins grew too strong for them but Louis had always been a sucker for forbidden love and Jake, well, Jake was hungry.

Day 25: tasty

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Few things were as satisfying as the tasty crunch of broken glass when she chewed it between her stainless steel teeth. This glass must have been made from the sands of Mars, the unique bouquet of Martian radiation burning bubbles into the soft brass of her throat as she swallowed.

Day 26: dark

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Photo by Daniel absi on Pexels.com

“I’m not mad, I tell you, I’m a visionary! If you can make power from solar energy, you should be able to make dark power, see? Sun to the black hole, one emits energy, the other absorbs it. All I need to do is harness the power of that absorption.”

Day 27: coat

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Photo by Marcelo Dias on Pexels.com

This coat was my mother’s but my body has changed so much since the war. I hear it tear as I slide the coat over my shoulders, my carapace piercing through the fabric. The zipper will not close against my chitin breastplate no matter how I fumble with my pincers.

Day 28: ride

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Photo by malcolm garret on Pexels.com

“Let’s ride.” Seven-year-old Famine climbed onto his muddy BMX. Pestilence placed her favourite doll into a pink basket which hung from her Schwinn. War rode a red Raleigh with training wheels and had spikes on his helmet while his little sister, Death, followed on her battered tricycle, handlebar streamers flapping.

Day 29: injured

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Photo by Jan Kroon on Pexels.com

The ship shuddered when he applied pressure the seam of rivets running up the leeward bulkhead, her whimper echoing through the docking bay. She’d been injured. He pulled out a map of her species’ skeleton, tracing the fracture lines with his fingers and calling for his team of medical engineers.

Day 30: catch

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Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

“Come in,” said the re-animation specialist. “Before you catch your death out here.”

She rolled her eyes, swooping her net back and forth through the darkness of the Nether Beyond. “That’s the point,” she muttered, too quiet for anyone to hear, gritting her teeth and leaning further into the void.

Day 31: ripe

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Photo by ViCky SiNgh on Pexels.com

After asteroids, moons became ripe. We traveled the galaxy, collecting them. The wild ones were sweeter somehow. We’d carry them in nets trailing behind the ship, brushing near stars to soften their tough outer skin and through wormholes to liquefy the core ‘til the moons would burst between our teeth.

And that’s a wrap! Now if you’ll excuse, I have to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: urban 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 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 urban horror stories and reading Nathan Ballingrud’s The Maw in Nightmare Magazine.

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Speculative City

Eligibility: horror stories under 5500 words

Take Note: stories must contain a strong city setting, and this city must play a strong role to the story

Submit By: December 2nd, 2019

Payment: $20 to $75 dependant on length of story

Click here to go to original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

This week we’re reading Nathan Ballingrud’s The Maw as published in Nightmare Magazine. You can read it online by clicking here.

Ballingrud’s story plays on several horror elements, we’ve got a familiar city neighbourhood turned sinister, dangerous, and hungry. The dead are not acting dead, not safe, not respected, rather playthings for creatures that play on the nightmare of distortion: the wagoneers are human-like but stretched grotesque, just recognizable enough to make the strangeness of their actions frightening. And into this nightmare cityscape we march, in search of a missing dog. Now here I have to swallow hard, because a missing dog is the one thing that will send a protagonist into the nightmare realm with my heart well in tow.

I won’t spoil the end, that’s for you to read. Can you pull out the elements of the city Ballingrud has woven into this story? Can you see how he has done that? Good, because now it’s your turn.

Happy writing!

 

Inktober’s continuing adventures through the universe

I’m muddling through Inktober 2019 Writer’s Edition, which is rather new and diverges from solely drawing to writing a 50-word story based on the official Inktober’s prompts. Inktober’s having the same ups and downs I’ve come to recognize from NaNoWriMo, moments of fun, crushing self-doubt, why am I doing this, a place of magic beyond the plateau, and… well I’m hoping it ends with the same sense of creativity I get from NaNoWriMo. I’ll let you know once I reach it. The following are my entries for the past week, from day 16-23. You can see my earlier entries by clicking here,  here, and here.

Because these stories are meant to exist as unrelated snippets, I’m including a photo that suits the story’s mood before the story itself, as something of a palette cleanser. They run a wild gauntlet of un-relatedness, but here they are. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and please drop your @’s in the comments if you are Inktobering yourself so I can follow your adventures.

Day 17: ornament

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

With relief the Ambassador shed her body, strange ornament of solid flesh, at the end of her workday. Her ghost stretched, floating free. What a hindrance bodies were, yet so necessary in dealings with these solid, carbon-based life forms. It was strange to think she was once one of them.

Day 18: misfit

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Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

She inspected the device, knowing it instantly. Its core was carved from the hearth stone of a misfit moon, pistons from the mechanimals of Titan, and a human heart to pump the fuel. Her heart. She’d found it at last. She transferred the credits to the peddler. “I’ll take it.”

Day 19: sling

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“I used to sling boosters in the asteroid mines,” she told them, taking the explosives and tucking them into her bra. “I’ve got this.” She dove from the cliff, mechanical wings unfolding and catching the upstream as she soared over the slaver’s camp, the first explosions rising in her wake.

Day 20: tread

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Photo by Katalin Rőfös Horvát on Pexels.com

“Careful,” she touched his arm. “The moss releases a toxin when you tread upon it.”

“I didn’t know you cared.”

“I assure you I don’t, but neither do I care to die at your side.”

The Queen’s words echoed in his mind. “Kill her. No matter the sacrifice, make it.”

Day 21: treasure

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Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

He lowered his blaster to aim at the Andromedan’s third heart. “I don’t give a damn what you do with the treasure but you are not taking my dog.” The yellow lab peered up at him with adoring eyes.

The Andromedan sighed and lowered their weapon. “Can I clone it?”

Day 22: ghost

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Photo by Bestcaption_mph on Pexels.com

The note fluttered with grace to the ground. The Ambassador’s ghost escaped like a breath on a winter morning, her body collapsing to the floor like so much meat. There would be bruises in need of explanation come morning, but she dared not refuse a summons from the Soul Keeper.

Day 23: ancient

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Crushed beneath the woolly mammoth we found this ancient body, preserved in the peat. We radiocarbon dated the remains and it’s as old as the mammoth, but here’s the thing, this corpse had a pacemaker. My thesis advisor says I’m not allowed to say it was a time traveller, but…”

that’s it so far, folx. Happy writing!

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

This week we’re covering Podcastle’s current opening and reading (or listening to) Samantha Mills’ heartbreaking story Strange Waters from Podcastle‘s recent archives.

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Podcastle

Eligibility: fantasy stories of all sub-genres up to 6k words, reprints welcome but a flat free replaces per word payment (see original call)

Take Note: all stories will be published on their website and read for the podcast, so they are paying you for both print and audio rights

Submit by: the current opening runs until November 15th, 2019

Payment: $0.08 per word, USD. It appears as though the website submissions page might need an update on their payment per word, but their submittable page reflects the recent pro increase to $0.08 per word.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

Today we’re dipping into Podcastle’s August episodes to read or listen to (it is a podcast, after all) Strange Waters by Samantha Mills. Click here to go there now.

Strange Waters is a haunting time travel fantasy of a mother and fisherwoman caught out of her time in a sea known for temporal portals. Once lost, she manoeuvres her craft into every possible portal, eager to go home to her children. She moves back and forth through centuries, guided by constant stars to her home city as it grows, changes, decays, and builds. This city knows its time travellers, eager to trade for fish now extinct, to question her for the history of the future, to capture her until she tells them what they want. Through her travels, she sees what damage knowledge of the future has done and refuses to share or learn what became of her children, because she’d rather be there than hear of it secondhand.

This story is deeply imaginative and absolutely heartbreaking. Maybe its my motherhood that clung to Mika’s story so tightly, leaving me in tears by the end, or maybe it’s the skill of Mills as she spun this haunting tale.

What can you do with all of fantasy at your disposal? Are you going to make us cry, laugh, or fall in love? I can’t wait to find out.

Happy writing!

an Inktober collection

Earlier this month I committed to Inktober: Writer’s Edition, which has me writing a 50-word story every day, following a list of prompts you can read here. You can read my previous week of stories by clicking here.

Here are my stories from this past week, interspersed with palette-cleansing photos for your viewing pleasure.

Day 10: pattern

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Her gaze traced the pattern of smoke stacks on the horizon, each one belching poison into the atmosphere. A factory planet, built for production, left to robots to run when the air became toxic. She tied a scarf over her mouth and nose and cursed her luck for crashing here.

Day 11: snow

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Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

Glowing green particulates fell like snow onto the streets overnight. Children scooped it up, packed it tight, and threw green snowballs of it at each other, giggling, innocent. The teachers bit back their warnings. They’d all be dead soon, after all, best let the children have one last good day.

Day 12: dragon

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Photo by Roberto Nickson on Pexels.com

Coils of smoke rose from the broken city like dragon’s breath, the sunset bright with flames of colour. She fixated on the hue of burgundy ribboning across the clouds, memorizing the colour of freedom. A far explosion brought a smile to her lips as she began to count the dead.

Day 13: ash

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Photo by moein moradi on Pexels.com

She stared into the ashes long after the fire’s fuel ran out and cold crept inside her bones. A small collapse of ash startled her to stabbing at the cinders with the knife she’d used to kill him. His teeth grinned from the ashes, promising he’d never let her go.

Day 14: overgrown

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Photo by Chokniti Khongchum on Pexels.com

Shattered petri dishes lay across the laboratory floor, their samples long overgrown the agar and spreading in fungal clumps. He sobbed with relief and flicked at the green until a cloud of particulates released. Snorting up the spores, his eyes rolled back as a deep sense of peace overcame him.

Day 15: legend

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Photo by Stephanie Souza on Pexels.com

He hit the chords power-hard, eyes shut, hips thrust forward, the song he played a legend. The final riff echoed off the Starcruiser above him and he rose his hand, horns up, to listen as they faded. He nodded, satisfied, and put away his axe. Another planet introduced to Zeppelin.

Day 16: wild

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Watch how he waits, deep in the wild recesses of his own mind, until the first flash of feral anger eases and the bright sludge of adrenaline fades. For a place safe to think, to consider, to plan, and bring the darkest ruin to his enemies. Run while you can.

Are you participating in Inktober or Writober as a writer or an artist? Feel free to drop your @’s below so I can follow along.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: 20 000 Leagues under the Sea

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 Pole to Pole Publishing‘s call for submissions to their upcoming Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered and we’re reading Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Remembered

Eligibility: 3-5K words to suit a PG-13 audience (no sex) that pay tribute in some fashion to Jules Vernes’ story, 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Take Note: stories written in third person strongly preferred and must not disparage the original story

Submit by: you’ve got time because your reading assignment is bigger this week. This anthology opens to submissions January 1st, 2020, and closes April  30th, 2020, or when filled (don’t wait!).

Payment: $0.02 per word, $15 flat rate for reprints, by paypal only

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

A story to ignite your writing mojo

No short stories this week writers, you’ve got to read 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea for this one. I’m hoping your local library has it, but I won’t leave you dependent on that and I don’t want anyone to suffer financial barriers: happily this book is well out of copyright and is available to read for free in its entirety via Project Gutenberg. Click here to go there and start reading now.

Happy writing!

 

my Inktober adventures

I’ve signed myself up for the Inktober 2019 Writer’s Edition, which is rather new and diverges from solely drawing to writing a 50-word story based on the official Inktober’s prompts. The following are my entries for the past week, from day 2-9. You can see my day 1 entry and read the full list of the month’s prompt by clicking here.

Because these stories are meant to exist as unrelated snippets, I’m including a photo that suits the story’s mood before the story itself, as something of a palette cleanser. They run a wild gauntlet of un-relatedness, but here they are. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them and please drop your @’s in the comments if you are Inktobering yourself so I can follow your adventures.

Day 2: mindless

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Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

The fairy stroked the zombie’s face. “They’re mindless not heartless. That’s what everyone gets wrong.”

“What is it with you and the undead?” asked her father. “First that vampire, now him.”

“You did necromance me from the grave when she was five,” said Mother. “Children pick up on these things.”

 

Day 3: bait

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“Just a little dunk for the greater good,” said the fisherman. “Everyone knows they can’t resist the bait of a prince.”

Into the water splashed the Prince, cursing his birthright and this superstition. Mermaids weren’t emptying their nets, it was –

His thoughts scattered as a little mermaid grabbed his hand.

 

Day 4: breeze

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

The wind picked up and he awkwardly put his arm around her so she wouldn’t freeze. He should say something. Something clever. “So… do you ever wonder if maybe meteor showers only exist because a black hole sneezed?”

She smiled, her eyes shining. “I think about that all the time.”

 

Day 5: build

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it me

Build a world from a thought, give it life, give it death. Keep it secret. Build it bigger, amplify its strangeness. Stranger still. Fold it inside out, right again, and somewhere in the creases watch its people unfold, half-formed, un-complete. Keep them secret. Amplify their strangeness, finish them with want.

 

Day 6: husky

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Photo by Frederik Sørensen on Pexels.com

Burly Jane and Husky Hester stroked their beards and contemplated the wreckage of Hester’s starcruiser, planets away from nowhere.

“Helluva first date,” said Jane. “Usually I just say I’m out of fuel and make my move, but you’ve straight up crashed. I admire your commitment to getting in my pants.”

 

Day 7: enchanted

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The planetoid mass was enchanted by the star, circling ‘round for a closer, better look. Non-committal, careful, until a solar flare burst forth and danced an aurora ‘round the mass’ atmosphere. Bewitched, the mass fell into orbit, clutched by the star’s gravitational embrace, and spun themselves into a solar system.

 

Day 8: frail

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Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

He peered down at his suddenly frail physique, his sculpted pecs sagging, nipples turned downwards, his hard-won abs a blob of gut hanging over his hips. His manhood – he couldn’t look. “Why?” he asked her.

The succubus struggled into her underwear and shrugged. “Maybe I like you better this way.”

 

Day 9: swing

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Photo by Luděk Maděryč on Pexels.com

A porch swing rusted on the rain-battered decking. In next week’s storm its chain would break, sending the swing through the rotten boards and catching the attention of the building inspector who would condemn the house. For now it caught the sun and its old chain wheezed in the breeze.


Thank you for reading!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Arsenika

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 Arsenika’s month long opening for flash fiction and poetry and reading The Stories of Your Name by J. M. Melican, published in Arsenika Issue 3.

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Arsenika

Eligibility: unpublished, original speculative fiction only. Writers may submit two flash stories (up to 1 000 words each) AND five poems (line count limit not given)

Take Note: watching the Grinder suggests a quick response time of one or two days on average at time of publishing this post. If you need to be mentally prepared for any rejections, keep this in mind.

Submit by: this opening closes October 31st, 2019, next opening scheduled for April of 2020.

Payment: $60 USD for flash fiction and $30 USD for poetry

Click here to go to original call for full details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

Sometimes I have to dig deep into a magazine’s archives to find a story that truly thrills me, you know the kind, your pulse quickens, your heart makes a little gasp of delight, and your eyes never dare to leave the page/screen for fear of breaking the magic. This time, I found The Stories of Your Name by J. M. Melican right away. I’ll make it just as easy on you – click here and have a read, you won’t regret it.

The Stories of Your Name begins with the romantic imaginings of a lover that travel beyond the expected, wooing and seducing as much as the imagined lover. Or perhaps it is the soft possibility that we are eavesdropping, or playing the lover ourselves. This lover takes us to distant worlds and unknown cultures, spinning tales of the elusive name, and all the while drawing us again. It’s a haunting, wonderful little piece.

This is the kind of story Arsenika seeks to publish; stirring, original, untamed, and written with an elegant prose. This might be a trifle intimidating to new writers, but you’ll never know if you don’t try and trying is how you get good at it.

I will like to add, a little off topic, that if you enjoy this story you’ll also probably like the book This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. To the library!

Good luck and happy writing!

 

IWSG and Inktober for writers

Hello and welcome to the monthly meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, where writers are insecure the confident ones… eavesdrop. If you’d like to visit the other members participating in the meeting (and please do!), click here to see the full list of lovely, lovely, writerlings.

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A few of my writer friends have signed up for Inktober: Writer Edition and I have decided to join then and see how frazzled and creative I can get. I once wrote a microfiction per day for a year, resulting in some terrible stories, a handful of excellent ones, and a wild level of creativity, so I’m excited to see what comes from this.

If this is the first you’ve heard of Inktober: Writers Edition, here is what’s been circling and everything I know:

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I plan to compile my entries into a weekly post for this website, and post them daily on social media. Here’s my entry for Day 1: Ring

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Are you participating in Inktober, as either writer or artist? If so, feel welcome to drop your @’s in the comments so I can follow along with your Inktober adventures. Happy IWSG day everyone!