Submit Your Stories Sunday: witches in the city

Notice: due to the death of a friend, I am taking a small hiatus. Posts will resume on Wednesday, March 6th. The next Submit Your Stories Sunday will be posted on March 10th. Thank you for understanding.

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 finish off with a list of writing news and articles I came across this week.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Speculative City: Occult

Eligibility: original stories, essays, and poems set in a city, written to the theme of occult and under 5500 words.

Take Note: the editors define “occult” in the call for submissions, so be sure to click through and make sure you’re on track.

Payment: $20-$75 depending on length

Submit by: March 25, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

This story came onto my radar after it received a Nebula nomination earlier this week (you can find a link to that below in the writerly links of the week) and I’m glad it did. A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow tucks witchcraft into a library, and makes witches of librarians. It’s a delightful read for a bibliophile or anyone who has ever found solace in a library.

assorted books on shelf
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

What I like about this story is how Harrow takes an ordinary profession and makes us see the mundane in a magical light. The power of the story doesn’t come from shock and awe, but from its heart. This heart cannot be divorced from its occult leanings, yet it is vastly different from the usual paranormal tropes. A Witch’s Guide is an outlier, a unique way of seeing and using magic, and it has been my experience that there is a sweet spot of inspiration out there among the outliers. The trick is standing on the outlier’s shoulders, glancing back at the usual tropes from where you’ve come, and noticing what’s taking form beside you.

Good luck, writers.

Writerly links of the week:

The romance world was rocked by a plagiarism scandal on an unprecedented scale that just got worse as the day went on.

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, a pro speculative fiction magazine, has permanently closed to submissions. The last issue will be June/July 2019.

Writer Beware posted about a new scam writers should be watching for: publishers who claim copyright on edits. Yikes. Click here to go read up on that one.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, for the SFWA has released the Nebula nominations for 2018, no doubt making several author’s dreams come true. Click here to go see them now. Congratulations to the writers (squee!).

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: outsiders

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Songs for the Elephant Man

Eligibility: Writers can submit two stories about outsiders, preferably with a tinge of weird, from 1000 to 7000 words. Reprints welcome.

Take Note: the call specifically mentions how outsiders often prove more sympathetic protagonists than the gatekeepers to the ‘inside,’ suggesting this is an important element to the editors.

Payment: 1p per word to a maximum of 50 Euros per story

Submit by: March 18th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire You:

The ‘Elephant Man’ the anthology is named after was a cruel nickname given to Joseph Merrick. Merrick was a scholarly, sensitive man who was exhibited in a circus show as a monster because of his physical deformities when he was young. His sad life continues to capture hearts in books, movies, and history.

Another creature deemed monstrous who has long captured the imagination of humanity is Frankenstein’s monster. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the first ‘classic’ I read as a youth that I didn’t have to struggle through. I picked it up one wintry afternoon and didn’t put it down until I was finished. I followed Dr. Frankenstein’s descent into mad science as he dug up bodies, collected amniotic fluid from birthing mothers, and set up his lightning rods to capture lightning. Dr. Frankenstein may have been the protagonist of the story, but he was the stuff of nightmares.

The monster, on the other hand, I loved. I wept for him, bled for him, and I steeled myself when he made his first kill. I wanted to get inside the book and undo that scene, rewrite it, change it, do something to save the monster from himself. That’s where Shelley’s genius shone.

Of course, I couldn’t crawl inside the book and save the monster, or protect any of the innocents from what was coming next in the story’s terrible climax. In case you haven’t read Frankenstein yet, I won’t spoil it. It is a classic worth the title, and a thrill ride of its own merit. More importantly to our topic, Frankenstein hits on the elements mentioned in the anthology’s call – wherein the outsider garners more sympathy from the reader than the gatekeeper, in this case, Dr. Frankenstein himself. Another element worth studying is how the Doctor’s motivations are equally strong in opposition to the monster’s.

Writerly Links of the Week

Mythcreants posted an article arguing against ‘Cheap Descriptions of Bullying’ which may offer a few suggestions to anyone writing for the above call too.

The New Yorker posted a head-shaking exposee of best-selling author Dan Mallory/A. J. Finn early last week that has every layperson suddenly interested in the high-stakes, deceptive world of… publishing?

Submit Your Stories Sunday: roaring for kidlit

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Roar Kid’s Magazine

Eligibility: original stories for children aged 3 to 9-years-old up to 500 words.

Take Note: the first issue of this magazine has not been published yet so be sure to read your contract carefully and understand what rights you are selling

What makes this call stand out: this is a lucrative new market in a tiny pool of paying children’s fiction

Payment: $0.25 per word

Submit by: no deadlines on submissions at this time

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Submission:

I could go on about my favorite children’s books for tens of thousands of words, but since you’ve got a submission to brainstorm, I’ll keep it short. My favorite children’s author is William Joyce. Of his books, The Sandman is my favorite. The Sandman follows The Man in the Moon in the Guardians of Childhood series (you may have seen the animated movie Rise of the Guardians with these characters).

20190124_112335.jpg
from The Sandman: Sanderson Mansnoozie in his shooting star ship

The Sandman, Sanderson Mansnoozie, begins his story as the pilot of a shooting star who is attacked by the Nightmare King and his terrible band of Dream Pirates. Sanderson’s star crashes to Earth, where the wishes of children wishing on his star help him dream himself to safety. His ship crashes into the ocean and becomes an island of dream sand. The Sandman sleeps for many years, watched over by mermaids, until the Man in the Moon wakes him to ask for his help watching over the children of Earth.

This is a magical story. I love reading The Sandman to my girls at bedtime, despite it being longer than most picture books. The artwork is exquisite and the story fanciful enough to be a dream of its own, the perfect thing to fill their little minds before falling into their own dreams. This is the kind of wonder-filled story I’m always trying to find for them (and write for them!).

2019-01-24 11.34.22.jpg

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Well-Storied published an excellent post on critical reading you can read by clicking here.

The Dream Foundry is starting a promising Media Exploration Club to help writers learn to navigate mediums new to them.

Canadian writers are asking for help in ensuring they are properly compensated for copies of their work. You can help us by clicking here to read more about these issues . If it sounds reasonable to you, please consider sending the email embedded into the site.

If you happen to live on the East Coast of Canada (like me!), the award-winning science fiction writer Julian Mortimer Smith is offering the workshop Tiny Universes: Writing and Publishing Science Fiction Stories in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on March 2nd. You can read his work in Daily Science Fiction and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016.

Happy writing!

 

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

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.

IMG_20190118_140749_950.jpg

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.

2019-01-19 20.57.41.jpg
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!

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

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.

2019-01-04 12.03.16.png

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.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Fireside and Fragile Things

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Fireside Fiction

Eligibility: original, unpublished, genre stories up to 4 000 words.

Take Note: content warnings should be noted in the cover letter

What makes this call stand out: this is a SFWA-qualifying market, they pay pro + rates

Payment: 12.5 cents per word

Submit by: the current call runs from yesterday (December 15th) to December 31st. Keep checking back on their website for future openings.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Writing:

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman is, as described, a collection of short stories. I often think Neil’s short stories are best read twice to fully absorb, and this collection is no different. 20181215_132531.jpg

While all of these stories are worth reading, there is one story in this tome which every writer should read. It’s a short gem, a few thousand words, in a place where time is fluid. Other People is a masterpiece. You read it, absorbed, hanging on every word. What’s happening is awful, but the protagonist has earned his fate. Then the ending comes, and no matter how many times I read this story, that ending grabs me. There’s nothing to do but flip back to the beginning and read it again, with what you know now. This story is the old ‘song that never ends’, and if you’re not careful you could get trapped in this circular story forever.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

This guide to fantasy subgenres wowed me with its detail. I learned more than I’d like to admit.

This week’s newsletter from the UK’s Writer’s HQ is NSFW but strangely uplifting in our troubled times, and especially with all the stress of December holidays looming large. Be the duck.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: lost science 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 story to help inspire your submission and finish off with a list of the best writing-related articles I came across this week.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Nexxis Fantasy’s Lost anthology

Eligibility: science fiction stories following the theme of ‘lost’ up to 15 000 words.

Take Note: the publisher is looking for non-exclusive rights and will accept reprints.

What makes this call stand out: all profits from this anthology go to support Doctors Without Borders.

Payment: $1.00 per 100 words

Submit by: January 1, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Writing:

Instead of a book this week, I thought I’d recommend a short science fiction story to inspire your submission. The Frequency of Compassion by A. Merc Rustad is available to read for free at Uncanny Magazine’s website, and you can click here to go there and read it.

This story is beautiful. I got away from science fiction for a long while and it is stories like this which brought me back in. Space with heart. My stolen heart, in this case. It’s difficult to go in depth of a short story without stealing some of its magic, so all I will tell you is that is a first contact story and it is exquisite. Now, go read it for yourself and be inspired.

sky lights space dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Writerly Links Worth Sharing This Week:

Mythcreants posted an article entitled Taking Character Relationships to the Next Level. Sometimes the oversimplification irked me, but I walked away from this one with a few good ideas.

Masterclass has been advertising that Neil Gaiman will be hosting a writing masterclass in 2019. I’ve put some feelers out to learn more about these ‘masterclasses’ and so far I’m hearing good things from those who have taken them. The writers who got back to me said the classes involve workbooks, assignments, and a great deal of  the host’s process. When I asked what level of writing the classes are best suited for I was told it was up to the writer what they gained from it as it was more method-oriented than theory.  As a fan of Gaiman’s work, I have to admit I’m intrigued.

Happy writing!

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Science 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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Luna Press Publishing’s Open Call for Science Fiction Novels

Eligibility: unpublished science fiction novels presented as a detailed, chapter by chapter synopsis plus the first three chapters. New writers are welcome.

Take Note: each novel must stand alone, whether it be part of a series or no

What makes this call stand out: writers do not need an agent to submit to this publisher (which also comes with a word of caution to be wary and inspect any contracts with care).

Payment: to be determined

Submission window: January 1st, 2019, to January 6th, 2019, at midnight UK time.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Writing:

If you’ve been here long enough, you’ve heard me mentioned Binti and author Nnedi Okorafor before, and that’s because Binti is one of the best science fiction books I’ve read to date.

IMG_20180512_120851_284.jpg

Binti the protagonist is a Himba woman who thinks in mathematics, math trees, and has a deep connection to her earthly home. When she leaves her home to travel to Oomza University, across the galaxy, she brings with her a jar of otjize, or clay from her homeland, that her culture wears in her hair and on her skin. Her ship is attacked by an octopus-like species called the Meduse and Binti finds herself the sole survivor by dint of her otjize. Survivorship thrusts her into a strange new role as an unwilling ambassador for the Meduse, who may not be as terrible as she was led to believe.

There are multiple reasons why I enjoy the Binti series so much (of which there are three so far), but the most compelling for me was the way in which Binti cared for her link to the soil of her home. As a nature lover, the idea of leaving Earth nature behind to travel the stars has always held me back (because all those opportunities I’ve had to travel deep space, right?).

Another highlight is the depth of the Himba culture in this story and what a surprising sense of relief it gave me to experience space travel through a lens that is not the standard, privileged white person standpoint. Space felt new, and somehow more real because it doesn’t exist in the story as simply a territory to be explored and tamed.

Next up are the math trees, which I’m not going to say I fully understand in the mathematical sense, but I could fully empathize with how they could calm someone in sequences of deep anxiety because Okorafor is a wonderful writer and pulls this off masterfully.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Matthew Vollmer’s lovely Glimmertrain bulletin essay, the Literary Masquerade: Writing Stories Disguised as Other Forms of Writing, inspired me to return a piece I had languishing in a drawer. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Darkness and Chillers

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. I’ll follow it up with a book to inspire your writing and a small collection of writerly articles to fuel your craft.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Curse the Darkness: an Anthology of Dark Fiction

Eligibility: Original, speculative stories written on the theme of darkness from 3 000 to 10 000 words. Think Doctor Who‘s Vashta Nerada.

Take Note: the editors specifically request stories that will make them “afraid to turn off the lights.”

What makes this call stand out: this is Unlit Press’ inaugural anthology and they are offering writers good rates from the start. This suggests they are confident that their marketing strategy will put this book, and potentially your story, in the hands of a large audience. Offering writers a print copy further suggests they are not relying on selling copies to said writers to offset their costs.

Payment: 75 Euros and one print copy of the anthology

Submit by: December 31, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire You:

Chillers From the Rock is an anthology of twenty-five creepy tales written by Atlantic Canadians and published by Newfoundland’s Engen Books. For readers outside of Canada, the province of Newfoundland is often referred to as ‘The Rock.’

IMG_20181123_191817_107.jpg
sorry ’bout the raindrops, but they do beat snow

I must admit a few of these stories made me hesitate to turn off my lights. Eryn Heidel’s mysterious, foggy adversary in The Pursuit made me put off going to bed entirely. Do not read it on a foggy autumn night like I did.  Samuel Bauer’s tense take on the Scottish legend of the Nuckelavee made me sink deeper into the safety of my couch cushions. Peter Foote’s wonderful A Friend in Shadow made me pull out my flashlight against the darkness threatening in the corners of my room. The flashlight’s name is Scorch-Bite now. Kelley Power’s oddly hopeful tale Treatment is a horror/fairy tale for the helpless. Depending on which side of the spectrum of evil you may fall on, you’ll either sleep tight or not at all. Read at your own risk.

There are tales here from mildly creepy to full-on supernatural horror, with a handful of paranormal beasts and gore thrown in. The quality of the stories, however, is consistent across the genres. I’ll be reading this one again.

Writerly Links Worth Reading this Week:

I’m still deep in NaNoWriMo and most articles aren’t making it through the writing fog, but the Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library drama certainly did. Facing a strong backlash for the possibly well-intentioned but extremely harmful stereotypes in the graphic novel and the violence it could inspire against Muslim individuals in an environment of seething white supremacy, Abrams decided to pull the book. I think the biggest take-away from this situation is the need to consider what damage can be caused when writers play fast and loose with their imagined perspectives of marginalized people.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Wonders

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.

rawpixel-315198-unsplash

Cast of Wonders

Eligibility: Stories written for an audience of 12-17 years, filled with wonder and emotional resonance. High fantasy, science fiction, and horror are welcome providing they can no adult elements.

Take Note: Cast of Wonder is accepting both flash fiction and short stories during this submission window. Be aware that all submissions are anonymous and adjust your manuscript accordingly.

What makes this call stand out: Cast of Wonders offers pro rates to writers and give you the chance to hear your story read by a voice professional on their highly rated podcast

Payment: $0.06 per word, USD.

Submit by: the current submission window closes December 15th, 2018, but check their schedule in the link below for upcoming dates if you miss this one.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Submission:

Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: the Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction is an art-rich extravaganza for the writer’s senses. Featuring essays and contributions from Neil Gaiman, the late Ursula K. Le Guin, Nnedi Okorafor, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more, there is something within these pages for every writer to learn.

2018-11-17 08.58.17.jpg

My first attempt to read this book from cover to cover faltered, but keeping it on my bookshelf and dipping into chapters as I need guidance has given me much inspiration. For those who like to know exactly what they’re getting into, the chapter heading are as follows; Inspiration and the Creative Life, the Ecosystem of a Story, Beginnings and Endings, Narrative Design, Characterization, Worldbuilding, and Revision. Included are some of the wildest infographics I’ve seen yet.

This book mimics a university text, but it sets aside the dullness for feats of the imagination and pockets of real wonder. Find a copy, flip through it, and see if you don’t agree.

In writing news, I have a flash fiction story published in the latest Fantasy Files newsletter from Engen Books. You can read it for free here.

Happy writing!