Submit Your Stories Sunday: Daily 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 inspire your submission and to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Daily Science Fiction and we’re reading Mary E. Lowd’s Home Remodeling from their archives.

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Daily Science Fiction

Eligibility: original, well-written speculative fiction from 100-1500 words.

Take Note: no reprints, no simultaneous subs, and they rarely publish horror

Submit by: no deadline, this call is ongoing

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word for worldwide rights

Click here to the to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week we’re reading Home Remodeling by Mary E. Lowd, published earlier this week at Daily Science Fiction.Click here to go read that now.

I chose this story because there are notes that resonated with me, trapped in my home on what suddenly feels like an alien planet. Nothing is what it once was. People are shadows seen from the safety of their yards or two metres away, looking tense, delivering groceries with shallow pleasantries. Also cats, because thank goodness for pets now we’re in isolation (need a pet? Call the SPCA and foster one while you’re home alone). My cats and dog are the stars of social distancing… on my lap, asking for snuggles. Keeping the kids entertained.

I’m finding it difficult to read during this crisis, but stories that have some element of similarity with this situation are still grabbing, and holding, my focus. However, it’s tricky to find stories with those qualities that aren’t going to make it even harder to sleep at night than it already is, SO… Home Remodeling is a lovely little respite. I hope it inspires you to write yourself an escape from the newscycle.

Keep healthy, eat some vegetables, stay home, and write.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: translunar traveler’s lounge

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 to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Translunar Traveler’s Lounge and we’re reading Catherine George’s Calling on Behalf of the Dark Lord.

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Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Eligibility: fun, speculative stories up to 5,000 words

Take Note: stories should offer hope rather than bleak futures

Submit By: this opening closes April 15th, 2020

Payment offered: $0.03 per word, with a minimum of $20

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week we’re reading Catherine George’s Calling on Behalf of the Dark Lord from Translunar Traveler’s Lounge’s current issue. Click here to go read that now.

I like this story because it catches the rare fun aspect TTL is looking for, and it gives us something new to consider at the end. The protagonist has been listlessly going from dead end job to dead end job and finally ends up at the dreaded call center. Except in this call center, she’s a demonic telemarketer hunting up followers for the Dark Lord. It’s a far cry from the partial year I spent in the hell of call center work. People don’t yell at you when you’re calling direct from Satan, apparently. The job seems to suit our protagonist, she gets better and better at it and it starts to change her… drastically. You’ll have to read to find out the rest, I’m afraid.

Stay safe everyone, wash your hands, and please take care of your mental health. If you feel like everything is too much, that you’re teetering on the brink of a breakdown, take a step back. If getting a rejection on top of this pandemic is going to be too much, then don’t submit right now. Rejections can hurt on good days and these are not good days. We are all handling this differently, so please tend to your creativity. Writing can be an excellent escape and that is the only purpose it needs to serve until we are on the other side of this.

Be well.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Clarkesworld

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 to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Clarkesworld magazine and we’re reading D. A. Xiaolin Spires’ story Coffee Boom: Decoctions, Micronized from the March 2020 issue.

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Clarkesworld

Eligibility: science fiction and fantasy stories from 1,000 to 22,000 words. Translations welcome.

Take Note: stories should formatted for online reading (i.e. overlong paragraphs or experimental paragraphing are discouraged). The editors also have a list of ‘do nots’ on their submission page (linked below).

Submit by: ongoing open call

Payment offered: $0.10 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

The current issue of Clarkesworld holds a story that is close to this coffee drinker’s heart: Coffee Boom: Decoctions, Micronized by D. A. Xiaolin Spires. Please click here to read that now. As the hordes, um, hoard toilet paper I’m sitting here worried about coffee. We don’t grow any in Canada. If shipping shuts down, I… (sobs).

I want to say I’m not some sort of coffee snob, but I only drink freshly, *finely* ground dark roast from my french press. It’s actually the perfect coffee maker if you live in an area prone to power failures like I do (crap, I hope no one realizes I was hooked on my french press long before I moved here). I also drink it black, but again, that doesn’t make me a coffee snob. I just got used to drinking it that way back when I was a student and I couldn’t afford luxuries like milk and sugar.

I’m glad we’ve established that I’m just a regular coffee drinking writer who would never be swayed by a story about a protagonist in search of the perfect cup of coffee. Or one where said protagonist would go so far as to plan the heist of super collider in search of the perfect cup of joe. Or, you know, one where the drinking of such a cup of java would vastly improve not only one’s life, but one’s entire outlook. I would never be able to empathize with characters or a story like that.

In short, this is a wonderful story. I hope you get to read it while drinking your favourite cup of coffee. { FWIW, I also love tea, but this story isn’t about tea, sorry, may I recommend John Chu’s Probabilitea to soothe your ruffled feathers? } Have a read of some of the other Clarkesworld stories while you’re there and get a feel for the editor’s taste. Wash your hands, write some stories, stay home if you can, and keep healthy. I want to read your stories one day.

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: On Spec

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 to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to On Spec and reading Marissa K. Lingen’s Say it With Mastodons as published in Nature: Futures.

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On Spec

Eligibility: speculative, character-driven, high stakes stories up to 6,000 words

Take Note: while worth the wait, writers should be aware that this market can take several months to get back to you.

Submit by: this submission window closes March 28th, 2020

 Payment offered: $50-$200 Canadian, dependant upon a tiered word count, one contributor’s copy for stories under 1K, with anything over receiving 2 contributor’s copies and a one-year subscription

Click here to go the original call for full details.

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

On Spec is available at Weightless Books and other fine book retailers, but they don’t offer any stories for free. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but in this column I want to support impoverished writers struggling to make it with an empty cupboard and wolf at the door. If you can, please buy and read a few issues of On Spec, it’s always a wonderful read. Today we are going to switch things up a bit and read a story from a writer On Spec has published at least four times. It’s safe to assume they like Marissa K.Lingen’s work, so we’re going to read her story Say it With Mastodons as published on Nature: Futures and available to read here.

Like On Spec stories, Lingen’s Say it With Mastodons is character-driven. Indeed, the protagonist has taken incredible leaps to recreate mastodons as a means to say I love you – without actually needing to say I love you – as awkwardly and sweetly as possible. The stakes are high because the protagonist is clearly uncertain of this declaration and how it will be received and since it also appears cattle is dying of the black leg plague, their act of love might be helping save the communities involved. We never quite get all of those details, but they are not the protagonist’s focus in their stumbling, rambling, desperate hope. They feel like a real person and here I am, hoping their mastodon-infused love is returned or at least they hold hands for a moment before the agony of awkwardness overcomes them both.

Good luck to everyone submitting to this call, and as always,

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: liquid imagination

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 to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Liquid Imagination and we’re reading My Little Monster by Iseult Murphy from Liquid Imagination‘s November 2019 issue.

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Liquid Imagination

Eligibility: intense and emotional speculative (or literary) fiction up to 8, 000 words.

Take Note: this market has format guidelines that differ from Standard Manuscript Format, please read guidelines carefully at the link below.

Submit by: open today, March 1st, 2020 until 6-8 weeks before the May issue’s release date (please note this is not specified, so get your submissions in early)

Payment offered: $8 for short stories, $3 for flash (below 1K words), with $2 bonus if payment allowed by paypal

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

A story to ignite your writing mojo

Iseult Murphy’s My Little Monster was published in Liquid Imagination‘s November 2019 issue and is available to read online by clicking here.

This cautionary fable tells of a blacksmith, Jonathon, who purchases a creature called a Diae from a fairy market. He is given specific care instructions and told to share what wealth his beautiful monster brought him when the fairy market returns in the next year. At first all is well, but Jonathon grows jealous of the children who come to play with his Diae, of the people who come to admire it, leaving small gifts in return. Jonathon retreats in a paranoid state of forced reclusion, taking his Diae with him, but the creature suffers in this state, its beauty fading into ferocity.

It’s a familiar story, but there’s also lesson here about sharing one’s gifts. I’m not sure I agree with the lesson one hundred percent, but I don’t fault it’s delivery. Murphy hits Liquid Imagination‘s desired notes, intensity (the drama in Jonathon’s house as the Diae changes) and emotion (the delirious joy of meeting the Diae, Jonathon’s jealousy, and finally, his fear). Now it’s your turn to hit those notes and send your story off to Liquid Imagination before they close.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: future gender

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 to help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Hybrid‘s Future//Tense: Gender anthology and we’re reading Merc Fenn Wolfmoor’s The Frequency of Compassion in Uncanny.

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Hybrid’s Future//Tense Gender anthology

Eligibility: the Future//Tense anthologies focus on identity in the future, this one specifically on gender identity. 5K to 15K words preferred.

Take Note: Hybrid has no restrictions on gender or orientation. #ownvoices encouraged.

Submit By: open to submissions until April 1st, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.025 per word, to a maximum of $100

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

For this call we’re reading one of my favorite short stories, The Frequency of Compassion by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor. You can read this story online at Uncanny magazine by clicking here.

The Frequency of Compassion follows an autistic, agender protagonist, Kaityn Falk, into deep space, accompanied by their AI, Horatio. Extremely introverted, their solo expeditions suit Kaityn well, though their memories follow and haunt them in the darkness. When Kaityn and Horatio stumble into an unusual distress call, Kaityn’s gender identity is what gives them the tools to understand and survive First Contact.

What I like about this story is it’s emphasis on compassion and that it tackles the question of gender representation head-on within the story. In a flashback we hear Kaityn’s ex argue that Kaityn’s gender identity would only confuse any alien species they might encounter in deep space. The story itself acts as rebuttal to the ex’s argument.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: halloween in springtime

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll recommend a story to inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re subbing to Cast of Wonder’s Halloween special and we’re reading Natalia Theodoridou’s Of Pumpkin Soup and other Demons and Austin H. Gilkeson’s The Ghost of Granny Goneril from Cast of Wonder’s 2014 Halloween special.

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Cast of Wonders: Halloween

Eligibility: speculative stories written for a young adult audience up to 6, 000 words, on theme of Halloween.

Take Note: writers can check out the Cast Wonders’ staff wish list by checking #ShortStoryWL on twitter

Submit by: this opening runs from March 1st to March 7th, 2020

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story (or two) to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week we’re heading back to CoW’s2014 Halloween special, where not one, but two eerie and delightful tales await: Natalia Theodoridou’s Of Pumpkin Soup and other Demons and Austin H. Gilkeson’s The Ghost of Granny Goneril. Click here to go read or listen to those now.

Theodoridou’s story captures the eerie essence of Halloween, the thinned veil and the who-knows-what-may-come-knocking quality to the year’s spookiest night. We don’t get all the answer, either, leaving us to wonder who that boy’s father might be, and how a storm could have a child of it’s own, after all. It’s eeriness, unexplained, stays with the reader like a good ghost story should. Just enough reality to settle into your bones and too much supernatural mystery to probe too deeply for the truth.

Gilkeson’s story, coming second, is lighter fare, capturing the fun of Halloween horrors. That opening line “Dead grandparents give the worst candy” sets the tone right away. This will be more fun than creepy, it promises. And it delivers. This story is cheeky, delightful, and solidly YA. It hits many notes of a teenager’s life and shifting experience of Halloween, while tying in more traditional Halloween tropes and staples in an engaging way.

What kind of Halloween story do you want to write? Will yours be a trick or a treat?

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Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: unidentified funny objects 8

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 getting ready to sub to Unidentified Funny Objects in April, and we’re reading Alex Shvartsman’s You Bet.

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Unidentified Funny Objects

Eligibility: humourous speculative fiction stories from 500-5,000 words.

Take Note: as markets go, this one’s tough. UFO has published big names like Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. Keep that in mind when you sub, send your best, and don’t take it personally if your story is rejected. If you are able to read the forewords written by editor Alex Shvartsman of any of the previous UFOs, he happily drops a dozen hints of what he likes and what he’s looking for. Maybe amazon’s ‘look inside’ feature will help you read those if your local library is short on copies.

Submit by: UFO is open from April 1st to April 30th, 2020.  We have time to write and polish and polish again. Let’s do this.

Payment offered: $0.10 per word plus contributor’s copy

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

UFO’s website offers no less than seven free stories to give you a feel for their preferred humour – click here to go directly there. If you’re financially able to obtain a copy of the past volumes or lucky enough to have a library that stocks them, one of my favourite UFO stories is Chad vs the Rebel Alliance by Shane Halbach in UFO7. Yes, I am a Star Wars fan, and yes, this story carefully skirts any copyright infringement, but between us it’s Stormtroopers as dude-bros and it is DELIGHTFUL.

However, since most of us are starving writers and our libraries may not carry UFO7 (but you should ask them to), we’re going to dip inside Alex Shvartsman’s You Bet. Click here to go read that now.

Shvartsman is the editor of the UFO series and wrote this story as a Kickstarter campaign prize. I think it’s a good choice for our purposes because it shows us what the editor himself finds funny. Rather than puns, cleverness is the way to go if you want to get into UFO. In You Bet, Shvartsman introduces us to poker game where the players are tropes. They’re playing for their own relevance, and they only leave the game when they disappear from the larger culture. The story’s humour revolves around the trope characters themselves and how they see the world, so while it makes us chuckle, the jokes also serve to deepen its own themes. That’s impressive.

Now it’s your turn. How do you make your friends and coworkers laugh? Have you tried translating that to paper before? You’ve got nothing to lose but a bit of ink and a little time. Let’s get writing.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Dinovember

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 getting ready to submit to Cast of Wonder‘s Dinovember: intelligent dinosaurs call, and at their behest, we’re reading Ann Leckie’s The Endangered Camp as published by Escape Pod.

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Cast of Wonders: Dinovember

Eligibility: stories featuring intelligent dinosaurs up to 6k words

Take Note: Cast of Wonders requires anonymous submissions and will reject your story if your name is found anywhere on your submission. So don’t miss your last name in the header of your standard manuscript format like I did that one time. Ugh.

Submit By: opening is from March 15-31st, 2020, so get plotting!

Payment Offered: $0.08 per word

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

Cast of Wonders has made it easy on me this week, offering their own example of a story that meets their call’s criteria. That story is none other than The Endangered Camp by Ann Leckie, and you can read or listen to it at Escape Pod by clicking here.

One of the elements that stands out in Leckie’s story (for our purposes) is the perspective of the dinosaurs. They aren’t human, but dinosaurs filtered through a human gaze. Their worldview, culture, mannerisms, and motivations are (dino)saurian. Often referred to as ‘furry fiction’, the reader is pulled into a strong, non-human point-of-view. This requires a deep understanding of the animal in question and strong world-building skills.

For this call, you need to pick your favorite dino, get into their heads, and take them on an adventure. We really do have the best job, don’t we? Good luck, or rather, GRRRRAAARRRRRR!

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Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Abyss & 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 story to inspire your submission and help newer writers understand how to fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week we’re submitting to Abyss & Apex’s upcoming opening and we’re reading Joy Kennedy-O’Neill’s The Roots That Roam from A&A’s 2019 archives.

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Abyss and Apex

Eligibility: speculative, character-driven stories up to 10K words

Take Note: flash submissions must be copied into the submission email, not attached

Submit by: this opening is the first week of February, 2020

Payment: $0.06 per word to a maximum of $75.00 USD

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week we’re dipping in Abyss & Apex‘s archives to read The Roots That Roam by Joy Kennedy-O’Neill. This will help give us an idea of what the editors like. Click here to go read The Roots That Roam now.

This is a tiny story that sandwiches it’s own grimness between two slices of wonder. Trees are walking around, but the civilization’s gone and our heroine is trapped by dint of her uterus, but maybe there’s a chance for freedom yet, if she takes it. Imagining her future is left to the reader to fill in after the story closes, which, in cases like this, reads like a gift.

Good luck to everyone submitting next week, and be sure to let us know when one of your stories makes it in.

Happy writing!