Submit Your Stories Sunday: witches in the city

Notice: due to the death of a friend, I am taking a small hiatus. Posts will resume on Wednesday, March 6th. The next Submit Your Stories Sunday will be posted on March 10th. Thank you for understanding.

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 finish off with a list of writing news and articles I came across this week.


Speculative City: Occult

Eligibility: original stories, essays, and poems set in a city, written to the theme of occult and under 5500 words.

Take Note: the editors define “occult” in the call for submissions, so be sure to click through and make sure you’re on track.

Payment: $20-$75 depending on length

Submit by: March 25, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

This story came onto my radar after it received a Nebula nomination earlier this week (you can find a link to that below in the writerly links of the week) and I’m glad it did. A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies by Alix E. Harrow tucks witchcraft into a library, and makes witches of librarians. It’s a delightful read for a bibliophile or anyone who has ever found solace in a library.

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Photo by Element5 Digital on

What I like about this story is how Harrow takes an ordinary profession and makes us see the mundane in a magical light. The power of the story doesn’t come from shock and awe, but from its heart. This heart cannot be divorced from its occult leanings, yet it is vastly different from the usual paranormal tropes. A Witch’s Guide is an outlier, a unique way of seeing and using magic, and it has been my experience that there is a sweet spot of inspiration out there among the outliers. The trick is standing on the outlier’s shoulders, glancing back at the usual tropes from where you’ve come, and noticing what’s taking form beside you.

Good luck, writers.

Writerly links of the week:

The romance world was rocked by a plagiarism scandal on an unprecedented scale that just got worse as the day went on.

Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, a pro speculative fiction magazine, has permanently closed to submissions. The last issue will be June/July 2019.

Writer Beware posted about a new scam writers should be watching for: publishers who claim copyright on edits. Yikes. Click here to go read up on that one.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom this week, for the SFWA has released the Nebula nominations for 2018, no doubt making several author’s dreams come true. Click here to go see them now. Congratulations to the writers (squee!).

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Still on Patrol

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.


Still on Patrol

Eligibility: Otter Libris is looking for stories surrounding the tradition of referring to lost American submarines and their sailors as ‘still on patrol’ rather than lost at sea. What happens if those sailors return from patrol? Stories from all countries are welcome. Stories should be from 3 000 to 6 000 words.

Take Note: no stories disrespecting the military or depicting abuse will be tolerated. Writers should also be aware that the publisher expects non-exclusive audio, print, and ebook rights for five years after an exclusivity period of one year has passed.

What makes this call stand out: we’re coming on to the perfect time of year to write a spooky supernatural story.

Payment: $25 per story

Submit by: December 15th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

Here’s an article that offers questions writers should ask of their characters. The majority of these are excellent. None of that ‘what is their favorite pizza toppings’ to be found here.

The Guardian reported on an uproar that happened among booksellers in France last week when an Amazon-only title was longlisted for a prestigious French prize. I think this whole mess highlights the nasty affect Amazon has had on small bookshops, but also shows the conundrum of what an author is to do when Amazon is their only option. Food for thought.

Inclusive YA lit mag Cicada has closed, which gave me pause. 2018 has been hard on some of the great fiction magazines out there.

coffee cup notebook pen
Photo by Free on

What I’m Reading:

I had A.J. Pearce’s historical fiction Dear Mrs. Bird on my TBR list simply because I have a beloved aunt who is a Mrs. Bird. Somewhere on the interwebs I read that fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society would like it which had me racing to the library. Guernsey is so good I have spare copies in case I meet someone who hasn’t read it.  *Ahem* this is the part where I grab you by the shoulders and ask you if you’ve read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. No? I have an extra copy, hold on.

Dear Mrs. Bird is set in London during the Blitz. Pearce mentions in the story notes that she was inspired to write the book after reading through the advice columns of women’s magazine from the Blitz. They gave her a deep sense of the unique challenges women faced at that time.

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The story follows young Fire Brigade volunteer Emmy as she fumbles her way into a job typing up letters for a grumpy advice columnist with strict ideals of what is allowed to be spoken in polite society. As bombs drop and lives fall apart around her, Emmy struggles with ignoring the Unacceptable letters of desperate girls who write in for help with controversial issues. She begins writing back, posing as Mrs. Bird, to help the girls find their way.

This book has many lines that made me stop and think. At it’s heart, this book is about a writer. At one point, Emmy’s mentor of sorts, Mr. Collins, “Find out what you’re good at, Miss Lake, and then get even better. That’s the key.” Such simple, important advice. I had to stop reading and jot it down.

It’s also a book about living in a war zone and a city experiencing relentless raids. There are moments of devastating reality. Pearce writes these scenes with skill, zeroing in on the small moments of character. “Some cried out, saying It Hurts, It Hurts. I ignored them and that was disgusting of me. I ignored people who were dying. At the time, it didn’t feel like a decision. If (redacted) was alive (redacted) would need help, so I kept going.” (edited to avoid spoilers).

Dear Mrs. Bird is an excellent read, I recommend grabbing a copy of your book-getting place of choice and settling in for a few hours.

Happy writing!