Submission Sundays: the Lantern and the Nature of Cities

Welcome to the inaugural post of a new writerly series called Submission Sundays. Each week, I’ll be bringing you a unique call for submission. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment. As I want this to be an inclusive event, if the call is limited to a certain demographic I will offer a second call for submissions without those limitations.

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Where ever you are on your writing journey, calls can inspire creativity. Getting comfortable with submissions – and rejections – is important. Every established writer has a stack of rejections behind them. It takes guts and a willingness to fail.

Ready? Read on …


Engen Books/Kit Sora Flash Fiction Contest

Eligibility: open to unpublished works no greater than 250 words by Canadian writers (not Canadian? Don’t worry, there’s a second call below) in response to this photo by Kit Sora Photography:

photo by Kit Sora Photography

What makes this call stand out: visual photo prompts open up the imagination in new and unexpected ways.

Caveat: entrants are required to share the contest via social media.

Payment: $0.10 per word, Canadian.

Submit by: April 14th, 2018. No time is given, so err on the side of caution and submit early!!

Click here to head over to the original call for complete details and submission guidelines.

Stories of the Nature of Cities 2099 Prize for Urban Flash Fiction

Eligibility: unpublished work of fiction, one entry per writer, to the topic of a green city in 2099, under 1000 words. Unlimited demographic.

What makes this call stand out: speculative fiction has historically influenced our current technologies, which means your green city ideas now may have an effect on cities of the future.

Payment: one gold prize of $3000 (currency unknown), two silver prizes of $1500, and 3 bronze prizes of $500. Plus publication.

Submit by:  April 15th, 2018, 11:59 EDT

Click here to go to the original call for more details and submission guidelines.

Good luck to everyone  submitting stories and happy writing always,                                                                                                                                                                              Jennifer


the anti-discouragement files

I’ve noticed a lot of discouraged writers of late. Is it something in the season? The air? The  non-existent water levels in the moon’s Sea of Tranquility? Maybe it’s a symptom of a craft that calls for constant effort. I’m not immune, though if there’s a vaccine that works against discouragement infections, I’m in (take note, mad scientists), as long as I don’t have to give up those moments of thrilling encouragement.

One writer, in particular, is a fellow whose blog and writing I’ve been following for a few years. J. S. Pailly’s work at Planet Pailly is fascinating: his fiction, his informative science posts, his wicked illustrations, and especially his dedication.  I learn so much, and with so much wonder, that it feels like a clever magic system. But it’s not. It’s actual science *gasp*. Thing is, James has been discouraged of late, and he’s writing about it. He recently posted this stunning graphic which details a journey which all of us find ourselves on at some point. Clicking on these oddly colored lines will take you right there to behold its wonder for yourself.

If James can discouraged, with his amazing blog, loyal band of merry followers, and mind full of wonder, what chance do the rest of us stand??

I’ve started collecting things. Encouraging things. Things I can stuff away in a file and pull them back out when I need them. It isn’t a big file, not yet, but it has begun. James’ illustration is in there, and so are these:

Another writer I admire (enough to take a course from), Richard Thomas, posted this quick, thoughtful note on facebook 2018-03-09 18.17.22.png

It’s good to get a solid dose of perspective now and then.

I have a small review I received once upon a time which delighted me and first inspired my anti-discouragement file. This review showed up in a black time and has gone a long way to helping me pick myself up after I crash hard.


When I read it, I remember “Making a reader feel this way is why I do this. This is mine to keep. I earned it. Now I just have to keep going” … even when I feel like Sisyphus pushing a big story rock up Mount Publication.

Keep track of the good stuff so it’s there when you need it. We all get discouraged, even our heroes. Remember that. Keep writing.

How do you combat discouragement? Are you a mad scientist looking to create a discouragement inoculation and need some volunteers? Comment below and maybe we can help another writer out.