Submit Your Stories Sunday: Dream of Shadows

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 we’re looking at a new market, Dream of Shadows, and reading The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power by Karen Osborne and published in Uncanny Magazine.

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Dream of Shadows

*new market

Eligibility: original fantasy or horror fiction up to 3K words featuring honest, daring protagonists reaching for a goal. One story will be published on the Dream of Shadows website per month, culminating in a 12-story anthology at year’s end.

Take Note: the wording and title strongly suggests dark fantasy will be preferred over brighter fare.

Payment: 20 Pounds per story

Submit by: no deadlines posted as yet, but keep an eye on the site linked below for any changes

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

This week we’re reading The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power by Karen Osborne and published by Uncanny Magazine. This story, like the ones requested in this week’s call, involves a honest, daring protagonist pursuing a goal. This is story easily falls under the dark fantasy category the Dream of Shadows is looking for. You can go to Uncanny’s website and read it by clicking here.

The Dead follows the story of a sin-eater aboard a vessel eternally bound for Paradise. The ship’s captain employs the sin-eater to absolve their conscience of any misdeeds. Upon the Captain’s death, a new sin-eater, in this case an underage girl, must literally swallows the Captain’s sins forever, while the Captain’s successor eats their blessings. The new Captain moves forward in blissful ignorance, questioning nothing about her position’s right to authority over the three classes of citizens aboard the ship.

The past Captains come alive inside the sin-eater, clutching at her voice when she tries to speak of their monstrosities, throwing her to the floor in convulsions when she fights back, forcing her to relive the murders they committed again and again. Her experiences during this physical and mental invasion speak to the honest and daring protagonists the Dream of Shadows call is looking for.

We never learn her name. It is erased by her profession and the hundreds of Captains that invade her soul, but she dares to tell her story just the same.

After she uncovers a dark truth about the ship’s journey and the last Captain’s bid to remain in power forever, she has to find a way around the hundreds of previous Captains inside of her, working against her, to tell the people and to show the new Captain the truth about what this Captain has inherited. This is the goal she reaches for, the goal that builds the story tension to a shriek of nail-biting intensity.

By its nature this story is dark, delving into the what-ifs of humanity’s dark side, religion, and the easy corruption of power. As readers we can pull so many parallels with our modern troubles. Osborne’s ending satisfies, but I wouldn’t call it happy. The Dead, in their Uncontrollable Power leaves us thinking, a trick that good dark fantasy does well.

Writerly News

The Nebula Awards ceremony was last night and you can view all the winners at the SFWA site here. Congratulations to all the nominated and winning writers, you amaze me!

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: recognizing fascism

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 we’re looking at the anthology Recognize Fascism and reading Cyd Athens’ Poison in Fireside Magazine.

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Recognize Fascism

Eligibility: fantasy and science fiction stories from 250 to 5k words on theme of the first moment a character recognizes fascism and determines to resist.

Take Note: this project will only go ahead if crowdfunding is successful. This is fairly standard for most anthologies and while it does involve some risk, writers should not be deterred from submitting.

What makes this call stand out: with professional payment, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize some of the names in this anthology when it’s finalized. Get in there and submit your story alongside your favorite writers. You never know.

Payment: minimum $0.08 per word.

Submit by: June 3, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

For this week’s inspiration story, I’m stretching the theme a bit to bring you a story that makes you, as reader, the character who first recognizes fascism and resists. You can read or listen to Cyd Athens’ story Poison in Fireside Magazine by clicking here (there is no charge to read/listen to this story but please consider subscribing or buying the issue if you are able).

Poison is written in second person, which gives the reader a deeply immersive experience into the story. In this instance, Athens uses this perspective to reveal the story details like little bombs as you, the reader, awaken to the story reality alongside the character awakening from their poisoned cryo-sleep. Disorientation follows, a strong sense of something isn’t right here and suddenly we’re pushed into an erupting violence and it’s shoot or die, survival instincts screeching as the part of us that’s holding back wondering “Whoa! What is going here?” gets smaller and more subdued as we rescue our fallen friends and race to safety. Once there, Athens pulls back and fills in what we’re missing. Yes, we’ve committed genocide in this story world, we had no choice, we are forced into it by our rulers. The clues were all there, but the confirmation sits awful on us all the same.

This is why I chose Poison to match with the Recognize Fascism call: through Athens’ words, we have just experienced the rising of fascism. We had that moment of sensing something wasn’t right, moving to enormously wrong, and a leap into some future’s mirror to see what horrors we have committed while in a stupor of confusion. An allusion to the dulling and desensitization by relentless media brainwash of dictatorships. These are the elements we need to understand, recognize, and feel to write a story for this Recognize Fascism call. Now we just need to build our stories around them. Good luck.

Happy writing!

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: longevity

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.

PLEASE NOTE: there will no Submit Your Stories Sunday next week (April 28th) as I will be attending the Frye Literary Festival in my hometown. The series will resume on Sunday, May 5th, 2019. Thank you!

This week we’re looking into the theme of longevity for a pro-paying anthology and reading Rebecca Lang’s What No One Ever Tells You About Becoming Immortal on DSF.

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Third Flat Iron Anthologies: Longevity

Eligibility: speculative stories between 1 500 and 3 000 words OR humorous pieces under 600 words, on the theme of longevity.

Take Note: the wording suggests the editors are looking for stories focused on the hows and why of the longevity, rather than just the effects or character living with it.

Payment: $0.06 per word

Submit by: this call is open from July 10th to August 10th, 2019. Lots of time remains to craft up a fresh story.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

To get our imaginations fired to answer this call, we’re going to read Rebecca Lang’s What No One Ever Tells You About Becoming Immortal, published on Daily Science Fiction in 2014. Click here to go read that now.

In this story, Lang uses a steady rise of technology to retain and lengthen lives to an extreme point. It begins with nanotechnology to fix the protagonist’s cancer and later, replace her hip. Medical marvels all, but then the story turns, focusing on the uncomfortable fixation with youth that modern media keeps telling us we have. The marvels shift into vanity, or hubris, and things fall apart for the protagonist. She buys her way out of death, but in so doing loses her self. This story is both a tragedy and a vivid reflection of financial privileged society.

Lang’s story answers the questions Flat Iron poses in their call (how is this life extension possible and what are the side effects) from a Capitalist perspective. What perspective unique to your voice and your favorite genre can you use to write a different set of answers to craft your submission around?

The longevity theme also comes with its own inherent trope. Vampire stories, especially, paint the immortal with endless angst about the perceived tragedy of immortality and outliving family and friends. These stories suggest that if death is cheated, all one finds is regret. We see this echoed in Lang’s story as the protagonist acknowledges that while her body lives, she does not. This trope makes these stories nice and safe for us mortal readers. There, there, gentle reader, you don’t want this immortality you can’t have, just be content with your lot.

Meh. I’ve seen people die of old age. I’m not buying this trope anymore.

So why not blow the trope out of the water? How can you subvert it into something fresh and unexpected? What is it going to take for someone to be happy after thwarting death? Do they need to be a villain, an extreme introvert, or… ? Play with it, see what you come up with. Answer the call to adventure – oops, I mean call for submissions.

Happy writing!
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Submission Sunday: Lab Coats and Love Letters

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submission Sundays. 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.

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Spark: Lab Coats and Love Letters

Eligibility: Original, paranormal romance flash fiction (or just regular romance) from 300-1000 words, though stories less than 700 words are preferred. Stories must follow the theme of ‘lab coats and love letters.’ I encourage writers to click through to their website as there are other themes and submission dates available.

Caveat: Authors are required to submit a professional headshot upon acceptance, to be published with the story. Selfies are not allowed. Do you have one? Can you get one? Is this feasible for you considering the small payment offered?

Payment: $0.02 per word, American, plus a print copy of the magazine.

Submit by: August 24th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth reading this week:

This first link is a bit of a rabbit-hole, but as most markets are gearing up for their Halloween issues this should help you get into a macabre mood. It is an in-depth read about coffin flies sure to inspire a macabre tale or two.

The Write Practice published this piece on how to sell your books locally. The last section, on how to sell books in person, was particularly enlightening.

Whether you call them trigger warnings, content warnings, or content notices, Mythcreants has posted a thoughtful argument to their value. I’m still unpacking how I feel about the idea of rating books as we do movies.

Happy writing!