Submit Your Stories Sunday: story vending machines

Welcome to Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a new call for submissions to find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and offer payment upon acceptance. Next, I’ll highlight a story to help newer writers understand how to best fulfill the call and kickstart your creativity.

This week we’re exploring Short Edition’s call for short stories and poetry to place inside their vending machines and reading Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn from Short Edition’s website.


Short Edition

Eligibility: short stories and poems up to 8 000 characters and children’s stories up to 7000 characters. Please note this is characters not words. Spaces are included as characters. (tip: if you’re using MS word, the wordcount function also displays characters with and without spaces)

Take Note: the rights requested wander from the norm, so read them carefully before submitting to ensure you’re comfortable with them.

Payment: $75 for poetry, $125 for short and children’s stories (currency unclear)

Submit by: call is open at time of writ, no closure dates listed.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Ignite Your Creativity

Susan O’Neal’s Harnessing the Unicorn is one of the science fiction and fantasy stories published by Short Edition and available to read on their website by clicking here. What begins as a simple day in the life of a virtual reality programmer twists into a heart-pounding tale as a bug switches off the safety parameters with an 8-year-old inside.

O’Neal’s story works for a broad audience by grabbing our heartstrings (save the kid!), keeping the technical aspects of the story low, and employing unlikely heroes we can’t help but cheer for.

These short story vending machines have been turning up here in Canada at large airports, appealing to bored travelers who might not have the time or attention span for the novels sold at the airport bookstore. There’s a difference between this kind of audience and the ones who might pick up an anthology or read a literary magazine. Experimental fiction probably won’t succeed as well in this venue, nor will intricate stories which require close attention and deep thought. Controversial topics likely won’t do you any favors here either. Simple, easy-to-read fiction that entertains should be your goal and O’Neal’s story does this well.

Good luck with this one, and I hope to see your story in a vending machine one day.

Happy writing!

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.


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).

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: Kidlit Edition

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.



UPDATE: It has come to my attention that as of January 2019, Zizzle is charging writers a $3 (U.S. dollars) submission fee. I have removed the link to their submissions page as this is not industry standard and writers should be extremely wary.

Eligibility: Zizzle is a middle-grade ‘bookzine’ seeking stories from 500 to 1200 words which will appeal to readers 10 and up, including adults.

Take Note: their submission says that submissions are “free until December 31st, 2018.” Does that mean they will charge for submissions in 2019? Not sure, but I’d recommend subbing before the new year to err on the side of caution.

What makes this call stand out: these hardcover print magazines are stunning, the pay is wonderful, and yahoo, its a new kidlit market!

Payment: $100 USD per story.

Submit by: ongoing submissions, but don’t miss the section above regarding December 31st.

What I’m Reading:

The kids and I have made our way through Eeny Meeny Miney Mo: Tales for Tired Tykes. It’s a fun book of bedtime stories. The girls love picking out the story by choosing a picture and little Nimia is delighted by the bold colors and simple lines of Jon Stubbington’s illustrations.

Table of Contents, with art by Jon Stubbington

Before I go deeper into my review, a caveat. There is a wide breadth of stories in here. There are sports stories, mindfulness tales, and many more, meant to appeal to a wide range of kids, but not necessarily to me. That bias will affect my reviews so I’m going to stick with the fantasy stories for my review, because that’s my wheelhouse. This is ten out of twenty-nine tales. Also, this review is intended for parents, so spoilers abound.

Lida’s Rainbow, by Ariel Stone, is the story of a land brown and cracked, without rain for a generation. The children, except for Lida, don’t believe in color anymore, for they’ve never seen any. After her father gives her a wishing stone, Lida makes her wish and awakens to a beautiful rain culminating in a breathtaking rainbow. This story left me with questions. Why no color anywhere? But the girls didn’t question it, they dug right in and delighted in the first drops falling on the roof and the vindication of the colorful rainbow.

The Boy Beneath the Beech Tree, by Edward Ahern, tells the tale of a terrible ogre who kidnaps a boy to do his chores for him while the boy’s Granny is away. With the help of a skunk, the boy is able to escape by locking up the ogre instead. After he hears the ogre moaning, the boy returns and releases the ogre after making him swear never to harm the boy or skunks again. I enjoyed this story very much, and I loved that the boy returned to the ogre rather than letting him die. I did worry this one might scare the girls, one of whom has endless nightmares about being kidnapped, so I read the ogre in the silliest voice I could come up with to tone down the suspense.. It worked.

Lady Ogress and Oglets, by Lyn Godfrey, follows the sole lady ogre in a village of ogres. After she finds a human baby in the forests, she conceals its humanity by coating it with a green face mask she makes for her complexion. The baby is noisy and fussy but cute and soon all the ogres want one. To satisfy demand, she travels to human orphanages and collects babies, coats them green, and delivers them. She keeps them green by sneaking in at night and giving them another coat. Of course, eventually she is caught, but all is well. The ogres have fallen in love with their babies. It’s a fun story., though I worried over how inclusive it was, despite its theme.

When Rivers Run Up, by Salena Casha, tells the story of an immature water-god dragon in a school for gods who unwittingly unleashes his water powers on a village and can’t shut them off. The villagers are in grave danger of being washed away forever until he uses his wits and fellow young gods’ help to tilt the world on its axis and save the village. Based on Chinese mythology, this is a wonderful story to use to teach kids about the way past generations saw the world.

Hector and the Moon Cat, by Daisy E. White, is the perfect story for kids plagued with nightmares. Hector notices a silver cat on his windowsill as he worries about dark dreams. The cat takes him on an adventure to the Moon Valley and explains that the moon cats collect bad dreams from children and hide them in the dark valley, where they can never return.

The Princess and the Dragon, by Wondra Vanian: Drewhilda’s parents worry that she will never marry and their kingdom will fall to her evil uncle. The feminist in me stopped and had a conversation with the girls about how women are more than capable of ruling before we carried on. Drewhilda is cursed by a witch that she will never find her true love until she tells them she loves them. Of course this is quite impossible and everyone is upset. Drewhilda decides to run away to a faraway aunt, where she ultimately meets a dragon. They become best friends. At last she blurts out that she loves her dragon friend and poof! he turns into a man. The fun part is that he isn’t just a man in his happily ever after, but can turn into a dragon and do terrible dragony deeds (like slaying evil uncles) when he wants. I thought that was a fun twist even though I do worry about the message that dragons could rule the kingdom but not the daughter. Hmmm.

The Post Pixie, by Phillippa Rae, tells the story of a mail carrying pixie who mixes up his deliveries. The gnome receives a tea cosy for a hat, and the Fairy Flower receives a hat to keep her tea warm. When they all meet for tea later, the pixie’s story comes out and everything is set to rights. While this is a simple story, the girls loved the idea of the tea party with gnomes, pixies, and fairies so much they acted it out the next day.

The Other Monster, by Anne E. Johnson, is a silly tale of mistaken identity. Elspeth, friend to the monster Gak, helps an unemployed wizard find the local evil monster only to discover and uncover the many misunderstandings that have lead the local folk to believe her friend Gak is evil. Together, they come up with a way to get the wizard’s job back and prove Gak is kind.

Elizabeth and the Lightning Sprite, by Trish Rissen, follows Elizabeth as she joins a lightning sprite above the clouds. She meets the thunder thumpers and the vast trampolines they use to make the thunder, and rides a rainbow home again when the storm is done. This is a simple story, but it gave my eldest good daydreams and smiles, and that’s what I want from a story.

Sir Blodry, Adventurous, Or: A Good Knight’s Work, Or: A Hero’s Work is Never Done, by D. J. Tyrer, is a humorous story about a knight who didn’t quite slay a dragon, but got all the glory for doing so anyway. King Arthur sends him off to deal with a new dragon and Sir Blodry decides to reason with the dragon, opting for a riddle instead of a fight. His cleverness wins out, the dragon must leave the kingdom, and Sir Blodry’s questionable reputation remains intact. My daughters and I agreed that this is a fun story. Silly in all the right places. Plus, it had cake.


Writerly links worth sharing this week:

J. S. Pailly made this compelling case for why art, and writing, need science. Ray Bradbury would be proud.

Publishers Weekly posted about a creepily detailed phishing scam seeking manuscripts targeting writers.

Jami Gold offered this advice on How to Save a Broken Story.

Happy writing!