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: 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: fantasy fall

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 Cloaked Press‘ annual Fall into Fantasy anthology and reading A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies written by Alix E. Harrow and published by Apex.

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Fall into Fantasy 2019

Eligibility: original fantasy stories of all sub-genres between 2-7.5K words.

Take Note: this is a wonderful place for new writers to build their publishing credits or get their first publication. If you write science fiction, bookmark this publisher as they put out an annual “Spring into SciFi” anthology as well.

Submit By: August 15th, 2019 (please note this is annual publication though the due date for 2020 may change)

Payment: $10 OR a contributor’s copy.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

We’re up for a fairly wide theme with this one, all genres of fantasy, a fair word count, and one teeny-tiny line in the print that reads “we want stories that delight.” Fair enough, I’ll give you a story which delighted me: A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow and published in Apex. You can read it on their website by clicking here.

This is, specifically, a story about portal fantasies and the bibliophiles who devour, who need, who long to get lost inside them. And a witchy librarian who feeds them to us-I mean those-bibliophiles. If you read portal fantasies, you may be familiar with the sort of restless ennui that comes with never finding a portal of your own. Harrow has turned that feeling into a story then flipped the tale and told it from the perspective of the person manipulating those portals, however subtly, and evokes nothing short of story magic. I love this story and I hope you do too. I hope it delights and inspires you to write your own magic. Good luck.

Happy writing!

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.

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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: oldies

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 Third Flat Iron‘s call for longevity submission and reading Kameron Hurley’s The Corpse Soldier as published in Uncanny Magazine.

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Third Flat Iron

Eligibility: speculative stories from 1500- 3000 words on theme of longevity and how that longevity is won. Any horror should be light.

Take Note: submission formatting is precise and on a different page than the call for submissions – don’t miss it.

Payment: $0.08 American per word

Submit by: August 3rd, 2019 (submissions open July 10th, 2019)

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

A story to inspire your submission

This week’s story, The Corpse Soldier by Kameron Hurley, would be too long fit Third Flat Iron’s call for submissions, but it should get your imagination in gear thematically. The Corpse Soldier is available to read in Uncanny Magazine by clicking here.

The Corpse Soldier tells the tale of Nev, a soldier who shifts from body to body upon death. Certain he will not escape his current body and unwilling to kill the small girl near him, he gives her his summoning stone and tells her to return it to his masters. The stone gives his masters the ability to recall his soul from death. Ultimately, Nev escapes his dying body that night. Decades pass, he’s fallen out with his old masters, and now he hunts for the stone he gave the girl. Without it, his freedom can never be guaranteed.

Hurley’s spun a new legend of longevity with this story, offering up a mind-boggling weapon for war, a dark and cursed existence, and an excellent kickstart to our own imaginations to come up with our own ideas. What other ways can you play with this theme? What can you do with futuristic technology or endless magic at your disposal? Are their any other ways to live forever?

P.S. I did cover this submission call earlier this year. With an abundance of new readers, the opening coming up fast, and the pro-payment eligible for SFWA qualifications, I decided to showcase it again over some newer calls offering a pittance. If you need more mojo juice for your imagination, check out that original post paired with a science fiction story, to get you going.

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.