art where it isn’t supposed to be. Plus a TARDIS.

I spend a large chunk of my time making art, so when I find art unexpectedly, it runs shivers into my soul like the first trill of a songbird in spring. Some art forms deliberately make the viewer uncomfortable, and street art is an excellent medium for this, while others settle into their natural landscapes like a bird onto a branch, reminding me that we can be a part of nature too.

This cheery stone greeted us from atop a post at the entrance to a popular hiking trail:

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and then there was this:

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and this:

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and this dark wonder of low tide beachscaping:

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The next bunch we found at Barn Marsh Island beach near Cape Enrage, NB (Canada).  The TARDIS and dalek were built in 2017. You can’t see the dalek’s eye stalk because I prioritized safety (the cliff in the back is unstable) so you’ll have to trust me it’s there. I’m guessing the left-most sculpture relates to the Doctor Who theme as well but I haven’t figured it out yet. As it’s more rickety than the others, it may have been added by another artist later. There’s actually driftwood inside the dalek and the TARDIS to keep them sturdy, and they were SOLID. They lasted a full winter of nor’easters, blizzards, and storm surges before disappearing early in the summer of 2018, and I still suspect someone might have kicked them over at that point.

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These next two are from the same beach, same spot, just this past week. I like to think it’s the same Whovian artist because of the style and the use of driftwood to balance the rock.

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above is the side-view, and this next one is looking head-on at the wall with the Bay of Fundy behind it. Gorgeous.

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Do you find art in unexpected places? I’d love to hear about it if you do.

In writing news, I have a sci-fi drabble, or 100-word story, in the Storming Area 51: Survivor Stories anthology from Black Hare Press and we hit #1 on Amazon in the U.S. last week. Woohoo! You can read the reviews and learn more about the book by clicking here.

Submit Your Stories Sunday, me hearties

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 Inklings Press’ call for pirate stories and reading Candy Comfort by Eleanor R. Wood and published on Daily Science Fiction.

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Inklings Press Pirate Anthology

Eligibility: speculative stories on theme of pirates in or around 5k words. Ghost and space pirates accepted.

Take Note: stories should aim for a PG-13 level audience

Submit by: October 18th, 2019

Payment Offered: $50 (currency unclear)

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

A Story to Ignite Your Writing Mojo

This week we’re reading a pirate flash fiction from Daily Science Fiction, Candy Comfort by Eleanor R. Wood. Click here to go read that now. I like this story because Wood chose to tell the story of a pirate family from the perspective of a little girl who is left behind while the males go raiding, a pack of sweets to comfort her. This perspective is what offers this story it’s freshness in an admittedly tired genre. Finding that unique way to tell your own story is the best way to stand out in your submission for this anthology.

What pirate story hasn’t already been told? I know, this one’s tricky. Give it some thought, brainstorm some possibilities, and get writing.

 

Submit Your Stories… Wednesday

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday (on Wednesday, thanks to Hurricane Dorian knocking out my electricity for a few days). 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 into Translunar Traveler’s Lounge upcoming opening and reading Wings by Vanessa Fogg from the inaugural issue.

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Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Eligibility: fun speculative stories up to 5k.

Take Note: “fun” is defined by the editors as joyful and while lighthearted fiction is welcome, stories need not be exempt from a tragedy which may highlight this joy

Submit by: this opening is from September 15th to October 15th, 2019

Payment: $0.03 per word, USD, minimum $20

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

Vanessa Fogg’s story Wings appeared in Translunar Traveler’s Lounge‘s inaugural issue and follows a story where joy is intertwined with tragedy. Click here to go read Wings now. The narrator princess has cast off her duties to love a common poet, only to find their marriage burdened by a cruel curse which turns the poet into a rotating series of wild animals where he has no memory of himself. The princess finds him again and again, but the queen who laid this curse grows impatient with her daughter’s loyalty and threatens to destroy him forever. The princess is forced to find the only way she can be with her love before the queen finds them.

This is a classic story, which harkens to my favorite movie, Ladyhawke, but Fogg finds freshness in her retelling and an ending which appeals and leaves the reader with a warm and thoughtful joy.

Now it’s up to you, writers, get those pens/keyboards ready and write yourself something fun. Good luck and happy writing!

Dorian delay

Hurricane Dorian is hitting our area this weekend and all things have been moved aside to prep the house and yard against possible damage. Unless it misses our area, I will not be able to post Submit Your Stories Sunday in it’s usual Sunday slot. Instead, I’ll post this week’s Submission opportunity when the storm is passed and any power outages are restored. Sorry for any inconvenience. Stay safe everybody, keep those #stormbooks and #stormchips handy!

somewhere to write, an IWSG post

Hello and welcome to the September edition of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) a writer’s group where all are welcome and invited to share. If you’d like to peruse the other blogs participating, please click here.

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This month’s optional theme is “if you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be, and why?” I’ve got two projects on the go right now, a super hero novella and a “proper” fairy tale (as opposed to a fairy tale set in space). The fairy tale is giving me the most trouble, so I choose to write it in the ruins of a castle in Wales. I don’t know which castle, but a castle, and I choose Wales because I picked out a Welsh name for my protagonist and have recently gotten very interested in learning Welsh. I have ancestors from Wales, or so genealogical records tell me, and I’d like to explore those roots. Until the financing comes through for a trip across the pond, I’ll settle for exploring via my fairy tale I imagine myself writing from the ruins.

Yes, that will do just fine.

But…

I mean, this is a rare opportunity. Perhaps I shouldn’t squander it. Instead, I should probably pick out a science fiction story and get the IWSG group to send me to some far-flung nebula to explore its possibilities. IWSG can do that, right? Right? I could conceivably save up and go to Wales one day, but space travel, that’s got to be pricey. I’d probably have to work my way over on a mining ship or worse, and that does not seem like the kind of place to raise my girls. Or be female.

All right, IWSGers, I’m ready. I choose the nebula. I’ve got my space suit, trusty helmet, pencil, notebook, and a babysitter at the ready. You can send me into space to work on my story now.

 

 

 

Um, writers?

 

 

 

 

 

Hello? Did you forget about me? Is this just a ruse to make sure I stay insecure? Hello?

 

 

 

Hello?

 

 

 

 

Could someone call Ninja Captain Alex? I think I’m stuck.

 

 

 

 

a small vacation

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

Submit Your Stories Sunday: euphoria

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

This week we’re looking at Apparition Lit’s call for stories about euphoria and reading Tina Connelly’s A Sharp Breath of Birds in Uncanny Magazine.

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Apparition Lit: Euphoria

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

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

Payment: $0.03 per word, minimum $30

Submit by: August 31st, 2019

Click here to go the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

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

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

Happy writing, and good luck.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: the Arcanist

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

This week we’re looking at The Arcanist‘s call for flash fiction and reading The Catfish by Earnest Nadim from The Arcanist‘s July issue.

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The Arcanist: Flash Fiction

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

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

Payment: $50, USD

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

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

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

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

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

Good luck, and happy writing.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: fireside

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

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

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Fireside Magazine

Eligibility: original speculative stories up to 3k words

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

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

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

Click here to go to the original call for submissions.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

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

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

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

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

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Uncanny

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

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

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Uncanny Magazine

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

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

Payment: $0.08 per word

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

Click here to go original call for more details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo

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

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

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

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

Good luck, writers, and happy writing.