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.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: flash for the abyss

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 Abyss and Apex is opening soon for flash fiction and we’re reading The Gifted Sommellier by Grayson Bray Morris from the Abyss and Apex archives.

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Abyss and Apex Magazine

Eligibility: imaginative, character-driven, speculative flash fiction, defined as less than 1250 words.

Take Note: flash fiction submissions are to be included in the body of your email, not a separate, attached document.

Submit by: The flash fiction opening is vaguely defined as “the first week of August,” which suggests August 1st to 7th. I recommend submitting early to avoid disappointment on the 7th.

Payment: $0.06 per word

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your imagination:

Today’s story comes from Abyss and Apex‘s flash fiction archives, The Gifted Sommellier by Grayson Bray Morris. You can read it on the Abyss and Apex website by clicking here. TW for discussion of abuse.

The Gifted Sommellier introduces us to a wine expert (or sommellier) who serves the dead the perfect vintage to help them pass on. For reasons unrevealed, the Sommellier and the woman who asks for their help, have not crossed over. Instead, they serve the dead with honor and respect inside a strange hotel which hints at a much larger world in the ‘Divinika’. Throughout the story, the Sommellier collects clues from the woman as they narrow the possibilities of who she is and which wine will send her to the mysterious next.

This is a brooding, imaginative tale of considerable depth. Morris gives a single sip from the life of the Sommellier, a story told from their perspective and spurred on by their desire to solve problems. They thrive on finding the wine to release a trapped soul. The harder ones are the most fulfilling. As such, their character drives the story.

If you read through the other stories available in Abyss and Apex‘s archives, you’ll find the stories are written with a similarly lush prose as Morris used. Another fine example is the wonderful short story One Soul, Parchment Thin by Calder Hutchinson, which is a feast of delicious prose. Write your loveliest, poetic lines for Abyss and Apex, writers. Good luck.

 

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: industry

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 industry themed stories and reading Cat Rambo’s story Left Behind in Clarkesworld magazine.

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 Speculative City: Industry

Eligibility: original stories poetry or essays on the theme of industry up to 5500 words, including urban fantasy

Take Note: the editor is specifically looking for stories of the effects of industry upon individuals and communities within the cityscape

Payment: $20-$75

Submit by: August 19th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your writing mojo:

This week we’re reading Left Behind written by Cat Rambo and published in Clarkesworld magazine. You can read it online by clicking here.

This science fiction tale, set far into the future, follows a woman who prepares the elderly to move into a virtual mind world based upon their memories while their brains and bodies unconsciously pilot ships filled with dormant humans into deep space. Only the elderly, based upon a lack of neural enhancement available in their youth, are capable of piloting these ships and as such, are considered a valuable commodity. There are massive financial incentives for families to turn over their elderly.

These un-enhanced elderly are now dying out, signalling the end to our protagonist’s profession and financial doom. The worlds she builds for these future pilots are a constant reminder of luxuries she will never afford now, as well as the choices and mistakes she never had the chance to make.

A fun trick of science fiction is the ability to create an industry that doesn’t currently exist, and use it to mirror contemporary society. The disparity between the rich and the poor and the psychological effect this has on the protagonist’s sense of valueless-ness is familiar. She works in an industry that could not exist without her, yet since she is not in a supervisory position she will be the first let go when it falters, which is any minute now. She is frantic to escape, to find a better life than the one which awaits her. This is the effect of industry upon her community, glimpsed through the individual.

Although Rambo’s story is clearly set within a city, I recommend, for this call to a publisher named Speculative City, to engage this setting more in your submission.

What other industries exist that you can use to plot a story for this call? Do any industries have a good effect on their communities? What does that look like? Can you spin a story out of it? Yeah? Then get writing and good luck.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: House of Zora

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 a call from a new Canadian market, House of Zora, and reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance, originally published in the anthology Cosmic Powers and reprinted in Lightspeed Magazine.

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House of Zora

Eligibility: speculative stories from 1k to 7500 words, with a preference for 3500-5K

Take Note: the HoZ editors are looking for stories set in the future with a strong attraction to resistance, activism, transhumanism, feminism, and 2SLGBTQIA+

Payment: $50 – $75 Canadian dollars

Submit By: July 15th, 2019

Click here to go to original call for details.

A story to inspire your submission

This week we’re reading Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance by Tobias S. Buckell, originally published in the Cosmic Powers anthology and available to read online at Lightspeed magazine by clicking here.

Zen and the Art of Starship Maintenance begins with a crab-like robot discovering an enemy CEO (loosely, a wealthy privileged) clinging to the hull of the bot’s ship after a space battle. The battle was fought over the idealist “True Form” believers (non-augmented humans) and self-determinant life forms such as our protagonist bot, who chose to become a maintenance bot and leave free will behind. It’s a fascinating take for Buckell to tell the story in first person from the bot’s point of view because it forces the reader, presumably a human in “Truest Form”, to empathize with the character least like themselves.

Our Bot-protagonist is duty-bound to assist CEOs and so our bot brings the man to its private space, thus revealing its own vulnerabilities. The CEO treats the bot with endless scorn and distaste, torturing it for it’s sacrificed free will, threatening what it loves, and finally bribing the bot to take him to freedom. The bot’s friendships are strained, its ideals tested, but its cleverness remains  and bot uses this cleverness to resist into a delicious conclusion.

Buckell’s story ticks off three of House of Zora’s preferences. It features transhumanism (technology-based evolution of humanity), resistance, and futurism. The clever riff on Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance doesn’t hurt and certainly performs well as an attention-grabbing title. For your submission, there’s no need to stuff as many of the editor’s preferences as you can into the story, but if you can fit more than one and still spin a fine story, why wouldn’t you?

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Diabolical Submissions

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

This week we’re looking at Diabolical Plots‘ upcoming opening and reading Matt Dovey’s Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Worship of the Elder Dark?

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Diabolical Plots

Eligibility: original speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, horror) up to 3500 words.

Take Note: authors may submit up to two stories during the open period and submissions should be anonymous

What Makes This Call Stand Out: Diabolical Plots has one opening per year, so this is your chance to get your story into their yearly anthology, newsletter, and website. Their website is attached to the ever-popular The (Submission) Grinder, which writers should make themselves familiar with (and support if you can) if you haven’t discovered it yet.

Payment: $0.10 per word

Submit by: opening is for the month of July

Click here to go the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Submission

When a speculative fiction magazine has an opening, the submitting writer should make themselves familiar with the body of work already published. One of my favorite stories recently published on Diabolical Plots is Matt Dovey’s Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark? I may have hooted coffee through my nose the first time I read it. Yeah. I can still smell dark roast when it rains. Click here to read that cheeky story now.

Dovey’s story is a Lovecraftian riff on the way Millennials are treated in the media. Like all good satire, it exposes absurdity by holding up a mirror and flipping the rules. The story is revealed, reporter-style, from a series of interviews with traditional worshipers mourning the il-legalization of human and animal sacrifices, the lack of Millennial participation, and the inevitable insanity to be unleashed upon humanity without it. Like all good journalism,  the Millennials are also given a say, culminating into the arrival of Eric Rawlins, Millennial, Devoted Son, and rigid – well,  you read the story. Mob rules on this one. It’s funny, it’s timely, and it’s endlessly entertaining on multiple reads: a great story.

In terms of meeting the guidelines, with magazines it’s often easier to write a story already gathering speed in your imagination, rather than diving into specific themes like we do to submit to anthologies. As a writer, you’ve got freedom to roam, which can be liberating but can also freeze you with sudden agoraphobia. My advice? Pick your best story. This is a top market and that makes it hard to get in, so send them the story you’re most proud of. If it doesn’t work out this year, keep writing and try again next year.

Good luck.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: blasphemy

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

This week’s call is for Necro Publication‘s Blasphemous Rumors anthology and we’re reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Dark Angel, Archangel as published on Daily Science Fiction.

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Blasphemous Rumors

Eligibility: original, dark horror stories on theme of religious blasphemy, up to 5k words. Any religion is acceptable.

Take Note: The tricky part of a call for religious blasphemy is working within the confines of a religion you’re familiar with enough to write about. It’s not unreasonable to expect a certain amount of fall-out from your religious Uncle Whatshisname. If you live in a religiously oppressive society (or one that is rapidly becoming one *cough *cough), keep in mind that blasphemy is oft considered a religious crime and carefully consider any risk before submitting.

Payment: $0.03 per word plus two paperback copies

Submit by: July 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

This week we’re reading Dark Angel, Archangel by Kevin J. Anderson and published on Daily Science Fiction. Click here to go read that story now.

*shivers with story’s delicious darkness*

There we had a tale of two Deaths and a Death who refused to do their duty. To discuss the blasphemies, I’m issuing a SPOILER warning. Daily Science Fiction has a 1k word maximum, go read the story. You won’t regret it.

Dark Angel, Archangel, by its very nature, falls into blasphemy. We’ve got the traditional deity replaced with mysterious aurora beings powered by the sun. That’s probably not going to get you excommunicated, tbh. But then, as we near the end of the tale and Death reveals that he may have gained power from humanity’s belief and not just from the auroral deities. God might not be as all-powerful as described. Clutch your pearls, readers, because we have religious blasphemy in our midst.

Our dark angel of Death goes into to a sort of Devil-arc as he tries to convince the White Lady that they have the power to refuse the deities’ will to eradicate humanity. This is fun twist because it forces the reader onto the side of the blasphemous, which may not be comfortable for some. The White Angel responds by killing the former Death but it’s too late, the idea of power has corrupted her and she toys with the idea of saving us. The story closes before we learn her choice or how she would get away with it should she choose to save us. It’s left us with damaged deities, corrupted angels, and a looming threat of extinction. And what about that original Death locked under the polar ice caps? Those things are melting, you know.

Such darkness. This story has wonderful depth.

For purposes of our stories, blasphemy is anything that suggests the religious narrative is false or imperfect. This offers many rich possibilities to the writer, especially for dark fiction, as we are already playing on fear. Hone in on a detail which has unsettled you and see if you can build it into a story.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: twins

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 aid new writers in understanding how to best fulfill a call’s thematic elements.

This week’s call is from Celestial Echo Press on theme of twins and we’re reading For Sale: Fantasy Coffins (Ababuo Need Not Apply) by Chesya Burke and published by Apex Magazine.

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The Twofer Compendium

Eligibility: up to three unpublished stories from 500-3k words on the theme of twins

Take Note: submissions are to be anonymous, so format accordingly

Payment: $10 USD per story, plus an e-copy

Submit by: June 21, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity

This week we’re reading For Sale: Fantasy Coffins (Ababuo Need Not Apply) by Chesya Burke. You can click here to go to Apex Magazine and read it for free right now.

*waits*

Burke has created a story of a Nantew yiye, something of a soul escort/protector, in Ghana, Ababuo. The story opens to Ababuo coveting coffins she may not have, yearning to be buried as her kind never can be. Ah, the beauty of the thing we cannot have. We don’t fully understand why she can’t have a coffin, but she is appealing and young and the promise of mysteries revealed pulls us along (warning: spoilers ahead).

We discover that Ababuo has thirteen souls to escort/protect/rescue in her lifetime. I’ll be explicit: Ababuo can rescue trapped souls, or ghosts, as easily as she can use her powers to save lives, but she is limited to thirteen. When we meet her, she has already used ten of these souls, and a desperate father has sought her out to save his twin girls, already dead, but their souls trapped on the train tracks where they died, forced to relive their deaths over and again.

The story carries along past the twins’ rescue, to her next rescue, that of a mother in childbirth, both baby and mother at risk. **super spoilers** Ababuo uses her last two souls, including her own, to save them, thus martyring herself for her values.

The grandmother of this new babe, who watched Ababuo in the coffin shop at the opening of the story, commissions a fantasy coffin in thanks to the girl. Ababuo may not be buried in the soil, but thankful grandmother finds a way around this by setting Ababuo’s coffin adrift on a river in a lovely show of respect.

Regarding the link of twins to the Twofer Compendium’s call, they are not main characters, but pivotal plot points in Burke’s story. For purposes of the call, I’d recommend putting your twin elements to the forefront, but for my purposes of inspiring your creative juices, this story works and it haunts for a time after the reading. It forces us out of the tired (and gross) twin fantasy trope, while packing several unusual story elements around us; a fine recipe for creative thinking.

Writerly Links Worth Sharing:

Aliette de Bodard penned an inspiring acceptance speech for winning a Nebula award for her novella The Tea Master and the Detective last week. Lucky for us, she posted the full speech on her blog so we can bookmark it and re-read it when we need a reminder that it’s okay to have fun with our writing. Click here to go read that now.

Engen Books announced me as one of the authors in their upcoming Flights From the Rock anthology. Huzzah! I’ve had to keep this under my hat for a while (right next to my Paddington Bear-style marmalade sandwich). I’ve got several writer friends in this anthology and I’m excited to be sharing a table of contents with them. Click here to read the announcement.

Happy writing!