Submit Your Stories Sunday: time to have fun

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. Following this, I’ll recommend a linked story to help inspire your submission and discuss why I think its a good fit for the call for submissions.

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Translunar Traveler’s Lounge

Eligibility: fun speculative fiction under 5 000 words

Take Note: the editors want stories where the good wins the day

What makes this call stand out: this is the first call for submissions from a new market. Send them your best work and help them succeed!

Payment: $0.03 per word USD, with a minimum of $20 per story.

Submit by: April 15th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

Since this market is new, it can be tricky to know what the editors are looking for. To remedy this, we’ll look at a fun story written by the co-editor of Translunar Traveler’s Lounge, Aimee Ogden. Ogden’s story, Dances With Snoglafanians, was published on Daily Science Fiction (DSF) early last year. You can read it for free on DSF’s site by clicking here. I’ll wait.

*hums a tune while waiting

Okay, so there we had a science fiction story merrily making jokes at our species’ expense. It quietly pokes fun at our hero tropes, hubris, our alien planet stories, and it feels satisfying.

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Photo by Matan Segev on Pexels.com

Ogden increases the cheekiness by spending most of a paragraph detailing how Chris (or is it Steve?) achieves some monumental task, only to spend the final sentence juxtaposing that achievement with a small detail of humiliation and/or incompetence. She doesn’t overdo it, spending three paragraphs in this pattern before moving on, and it works, leaving the reader smirking at Chris/Steve’s expense. This kind of sequence is as fun to write as it is to read. Try it and see for yourself.

The ending (warning: spoilers, but seriously, it’s under 1k words, go read it) reveals that same pattern of false achievement followed by revealed incompetence has also been used over the entire plotline. Chris/Steve has spent his role in the story saving the Snoglafanians and in the final quarter he’s revealed to have played the fool BUT in so doing, does manage to rescue the Snogs from humanity. Its a fun twist that takes the story’s cheekiness to a new level, but it doesn’t come across as insulting to humanity because Ogden has been setting the reader up for it all along. Instead, it’s a good chuckle at our own expense.

An important thing to remember while writing a story like this is to have fun writing it. If you’re grinning while you write it, the reader will be grinning while they read it. Good luck.

Happy writing!

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: dinosaurs

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 ignite your creativity and get you thinking in a new way about your submission and I’ll wrap it up with the writerly news of the week.

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Cast of Wonders’ Dinovember

Eligibility: speculative stories about dinosaurs aimed for an audience 12 to 17 years of age. Characters may be older than the audience, but the story should focus on firsts, wonder, and avoid adult elements.

Take Note: all submissions to Cast of Wonders must be anonymous

What makes this call stand out: Cast of Wonders offers their stories online and in podcast format. Anonymous submissions ensure stories are judge based on story merit rather than by author’s fame/gender/race.

Payment: $0.06 per word for original fiction

Submit by: this call is open from April 1st to April 15th

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A story to ignite your creativity:

My current favorite dino-story is The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat by Brooke Bolander. It appears in the Dinosaur issue of Uncanny magazine where you can read it for free by clicking here. I can’t help but wonder if this story will actually appear as a reprint for Cast of Wonder’s Dinovember call. Cast of Wonders looks for stories with elements of firsts (*takes note*) and The Tale follows a velociraptor who leaves her sisters for the first time. It’s a good fit. She leaves these sisters to solve the mystery of a prince who doesn’t act like other humans. Once in the prince’s castle, the raptor meets his betrothed, a princess with a side of witchery who can speak raptor. While the prince’s behavior proves to be his personal blend of immaturity, foolishness, and privilege, the level-headed princess steps into her story role as friend and ally.

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Cover art by Galen Dara

The Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters is bright and unexpected for being told from the perspective of a dinosaur, and Bolander does it with such perfect detail. The itch of a tick between feather quills where your beak will not reach, the scent of blood, and the joy of a successful hunt – alien, but focused to evoke the empathy of a human reader.

This perspective is further filtered through the writerly tone of the story: a loving grandmother tells this story to us as we lay in our beds, eyes scratchy with sleep. This grandmotherly narrator leads us deep inside a story that otherwise we may have found too strange to bear. Bolander has taken the strange and wrapped it up in something not only familiar, but easy to trust. Sure, your storytelling grandmother might be a velociraptor but shh, quiet, listen, grandma’s talking. Bolander pulls you in, filling your mind with a dinosaur fairy tale and by the end of it we are hatchling raptors peeping from our nests, hanging on her every word.

To date, this is the only dinosaur fairy tale I have had the pleasure of reading. I wanted to highlight the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters for the Dinovember call for this very reason: what other types of story are in need of a dinosaur? What classic story could do with a retelling involving a few dinosaurs in place of human or animal characters? How far can your imagination bend to accommodate a brontosaurus or two?

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

My feeds were filled with book piracy this past week. Like TV shows, movies, and music, illegal book downloads are hitting artists hard. The Guardian posted on excellent breakdown of the hows, whys, and detrimental effects in this article.

Kevin Powers wrote a poignant review of Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House Five for its fiftieth anniversary in the New York Times. CW for war and gun violence.

Happy writing!

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.

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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 Pexels.com

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: outsiders

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.

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Songs for the Elephant Man

Eligibility: Writers can submit two stories about outsiders, preferably with a tinge of weird, from 1000 to 7000 words. Reprints welcome.

Take Note: the call specifically mentions how outsiders often prove more sympathetic protagonists than the gatekeepers to the ‘inside,’ suggesting this is an important element to the editors.

Payment: 1p per word to a maximum of 50 Euros per story

Submit by: March 18th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire You:

The ‘Elephant Man’ the anthology is named after was a cruel nickname given to Joseph Merrick. Merrick was a scholarly, sensitive man who was exhibited in a circus show as a monster because of his physical deformities when he was young. His sad life continues to capture hearts in books, movies, and history.

Another creature deemed monstrous who has long captured the imagination of humanity is Frankenstein’s monster. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is the first ‘classic’ I read as a youth that I didn’t have to struggle through. I picked it up one wintry afternoon and didn’t put it down until I was finished. I followed Dr. Frankenstein’s descent into mad science as he dug up bodies, collected amniotic fluid from birthing mothers, and set up his lightning rods to capture lightning. Dr. Frankenstein may have been the protagonist of the story, but he was the stuff of nightmares.

The monster, on the other hand, I loved. I wept for him, bled for him, and I steeled myself when he made his first kill. I wanted to get inside the book and undo that scene, rewrite it, change it, do something to save the monster from himself. That’s where Shelley’s genius shone.

Of course, I couldn’t crawl inside the book and save the monster, or protect any of the innocents from what was coming next in the story’s terrible climax. In case you haven’t read Frankenstein yet, I won’t spoil it. It is a classic worth the title, and a thrill ride of its own merit. More importantly to our topic, Frankenstein hits on the elements mentioned in the anthology’s call – wherein the outsider garners more sympathy from the reader than the gatekeeper, in this case, Dr. Frankenstein himself. Another element worth studying is how the Doctor’s motivations are equally strong in opposition to the monster’s.

Writerly Links of the Week

Mythcreants posted an article arguing against ‘Cheap Descriptions of Bullying’ which may offer a few suggestions to anyone writing for the above call too.

The New Yorker posted a head-shaking exposee of best-selling author Dan Mallory/A. J. Finn early last week that has every layperson suddenly interested in the high-stakes, deceptive world of… publishing?

Submit Your Stories Sunday: the People’s Preservatory

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.

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The People’s Preservatory

Eligibility: Anonobot is seeking strange, possibly humorous, speculative fiction up to 3000 words. Original fiction only, please.

Take Note: there is no specific theme to this anthology, however I recommend you read their wacky call of submissions carefully to get a sense of their taste.

What makes this call stand out: writers can submit up to three pieces for this call

Payment: $0.08 per word up to 3k, or $1.00 per line of poetry (minimum $15).

Submit by: March 15th, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Something to inspire your writing:

It can be tricky to get going on a story for a call without any theme at all. An abyss of possibilities yawns at your feet. So… besides weird and wacky, what do you do? This is part where I usually recommend a book.

Instead, I’m going to hone in on that weird and wacky element and point you in a direction to creatively “compost” some ideas with those same weird and wacky labels. Neil Gaiman says that stories are born of confluence, of two ideas colliding, and he knows his writing.

One place I like to hunt for that confluence is Magic Realism Bot on twitter. This is a bot account, following an algorithm of mishmash that can end up absurd, strange, weird, and occasionally, like something out a fairy tale. With upwards of 16k tweets under its circuits, I can always find a spark when I’m stuck for an idea. And they are usually weird and wacky.

Here’s a few screenshots I pulled to give you an idea:2019-02-02 19.18.35.png

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If you like what you see, head on over to the blue bird and follow Magic Realism Bot for all the free story fodder you can retweet in a day.

News and Things:

Have you heard about Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass yet? Of course I signed up for my favorite writer’s writing class and I’m excited to review here on the blog for you. However, I am not willing to rush through it and miss a single delicious drop of Neil’s story sorcery.

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Creatures


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.

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Tell-Tale Press: Creatures

Eligibility: Original or reprint speculative fiction tales from 500 to 5 000 words on the theme of creatures. They also seek novelettes from 7 000 to 10 000 words.

Take Note: Under represented creatures will be favored over the usual vampires, werewolves, etc.

Payment: this is a bit complicated, bear with me. Fiction from 500 -1K words will be paid $5. 1K to 3K will be paid $10. 3K to 5K is $25. Novelettes are offered $50.

Submit by: March 4th, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Submission:

The Resurrectionist by E. B. Hudspeth is a fictional history and art book in one. The first half of this volume is the biography of a mad scientist, Dr. Spencer Black. The second half offers the Doctor’s masterpiece: an anatomy book of mythological beasts, drawn in the classic form.

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The Resurrectionist reads as a dark history book. Spencer the boy is forced into grave-robbing with his physician father, stealing corpses for cadaver research. When he is grown, Spencer also enters medicine, specializing in anatomy and gaining surgical experience with deformities and mutations. Soon Spencer develops his own theoretical evolution, supposing that humans were once closer to mythological beasts before we evolved out of our (possibly) best selves.

To further his studies, Black turns to traveling carnivals and cabinets of curiosities. His reputation in the medical community disintegrates as he attempts to publish his theories. Black then becomes a carnival showman, creating his own little oddities to delight the public. When the excitement of those creations wanes, Black begins experimenting with animals, creating living mythological franken-beasts. Inevitably, humans are next as his traveling show descends deeper into macabre and twisted wonder.

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An illustration from The Resurrectionist, by E. B. Hudspeth

Reading about how Dr. Spencer Black creates his mythological creatures, while deeply unsettling, provides a fascinating wonderscape for tales of creatures to grow from. If nothing else, flipping through the anatomy drawings are sure to spark your imagination with a creature tale or two.

Writerly links worth sharing this week:

The SFWA has announced it will be raising what is considered a professional rate from $0.06 per word to $0.08 per word effective September 1st, 2019.

Happy writing!

Submit Your Stories Sunday: hidden histories

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.

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Third Flatiron’s Hidden Histories Anthology

Eligibility: Speculative stories between 1 500 and 3 000 words OR 600 word humor pieces featuring a secret history taking place in the past, present, or future.

Take Note: read the call (linked below) carefully to determine the difference between the publisher’s idea of secret history and alternative history.

Payment: $o.o6 per word

Submit by: January 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Story to Inspire Your Submission:

ZeroS by fellow Canadian writer Peter Watts is a futuristic secret history following a recruit into the Zombie Corps. After being temporarily reanimated post-death, Asante is offered a split-minute decision to continue being dead or volunteer for a five year tour of duty as a new kind of soldier. He chooses to volunteer and finds himself a beta-test soldier in what he calls the Zombie Corps. There are bugs to work out, twitches, and lengthy sessions where his brain is nothing more than a blind passenger in his rebuilt body. He can deal with this, but as he completes more missions and pieces together shattered glimpses of horror, he realizes that no government body can be sanctioning the Zombie Corps, and he may not be on the side of the war he wants to be.

I’d call ZeroS a secret history because it becomes obvious in the story that Asante belongs to a secret project, government or otherwise. My hope is that reading it will kickstart your imagination to the possibilities of what makes a story a ‘secret history.’

You can read Watts’ short story for free on Tor.com by clicking here. It first appeared in the anthology Infinity Wars and was featured in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018.

 

 

Submit Your Stories Sunday: epistolary fiction

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.

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Letters From the Grave

Eligibility: epistolary horror from 2 000 to 10 000 words.

Take Note: The publisher, Orbannin Books, is looking for more than just letters. Any mix of modern documents, digital or otherwise, is welcome.

What Makes This Call Stand Out: this is a fun way to stretch your creative muscles and push the boundaries of story. I’m also a huge fan of anthologies that offer a print copy to contributors.

Payment: $0.05 per word plus a print copy of the anthology

Submit by: February 28th, 2019 UPDATE: deadline extended to March 31st, 2019

Click here to go to the original call for details.

Stories to Inspire Your Writing:

This week, I’m linking to two epistolary stories featured online to fire up your imagination.

The first story, Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel and published on Tor.com, tells a compelling and thought-provoking story in the form of comment history on a wiki page. It’s fun, easy to read, and makes you think.

The second story, Classified Selections by Phillip Gregg Chamberlain, appeared in Daily Science Fiction last November. This form of epistolary fiction moves into experimental as a series of ads. As you read down the list, your brain makes sense of it by imagining connections, and thus a story is born.

If you’re still struggling with the form, Mythcreants posted an article last July entitled A Beginner’s Guide to Epistolary Writing which may help.

Writerly News Worth Sharing from the Week:

Escape Artists took a difficult stand and declined the Parsec Awards the podcasting family won for Podcastle and Escape Pod. More details on this situation are available here.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Darkness and Chillers

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. I’ll follow it up with a book to inspire your writing and a small collection of writerly articles to fuel your craft.

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Curse the Darkness: an Anthology of Dark Fiction

Eligibility: Original, speculative stories written on the theme of darkness from 3 000 to 10 000 words. Think Doctor Who‘s Vashta Nerada.

Take Note: the editors specifically request stories that will make them “afraid to turn off the lights.”

What makes this call stand out: this is Unlit Press’ inaugural anthology and they are offering writers good rates from the start. This suggests they are confident that their marketing strategy will put this book, and potentially your story, in the hands of a large audience. Offering writers a print copy further suggests they are not relying on selling copies to said writers to offset their costs.

Payment: 75 Euros and one print copy of the anthology

Submit by: December 31, 2018

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire You:

Chillers From the Rock is an anthology of twenty-five creepy tales written by Atlantic Canadians and published by Newfoundland’s Engen Books. For readers outside of Canada, the province of Newfoundland is often referred to as ‘The Rock.’

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sorry ’bout the raindrops, but they do beat snow

I must admit a few of these stories made me hesitate to turn off my lights. Eryn Heidel’s mysterious, foggy adversary in The Pursuit made me put off going to bed entirely. Do not read it on a foggy autumn night like I did.  Samuel Bauer’s tense take on the Scottish legend of the Nuckelavee made me sink deeper into the safety of my couch cushions. Peter Foote’s wonderful A Friend in Shadow made me pull out my flashlight against the darkness threatening in the corners of my room. The flashlight’s name is Scorch-Bite now. Kelley Power’s oddly hopeful tale Treatment is a horror/fairy tale for the helpless. Depending on which side of the spectrum of evil you may fall on, you’ll either sleep tight or not at all. Read at your own risk.

There are tales here from mildly creepy to full-on supernatural horror, with a handful of paranormal beasts and gore thrown in. The quality of the stories, however, is consistent across the genres. I’ll be reading this one again.

Writerly Links Worth Reading this Week:

I’m still deep in NaNoWriMo and most articles aren’t making it through the writing fog, but the Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library drama certainly did. Facing a strong backlash for the possibly well-intentioned but extremely harmful stereotypes in the graphic novel and the violence it could inspire against Muslim individuals in an environment of seething white supremacy, Abrams decided to pull the book. I think the biggest take-away from this situation is the need to consider what damage can be caused when writers play fast and loose with their imagined perspectives of marginalized people.

Submit Your Stories Sunday: Wonders

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.

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Cast of Wonders

Eligibility: Stories written for an audience of 12-17 years, filled with wonder and emotional resonance. High fantasy, science fiction, and horror are welcome providing they can no adult elements.

Take Note: Cast of Wonder is accepting both flash fiction and short stories during this submission window. Be aware that all submissions are anonymous and adjust your manuscript accordingly.

What makes this call stand out: Cast of Wonders offers pro rates to writers and give you the chance to hear your story read by a voice professional on their highly rated podcast

Payment: $0.06 per word, USD.

Submit by: the current submission window closes December 15th, 2018, but check their schedule in the link below for upcoming dates if you miss this one.

Click here to go to the original call for details.

A Book to Inspire Your Submission:

Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: the Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction is an art-rich extravaganza for the writer’s senses. Featuring essays and contributions from Neil Gaiman, the late Ursula K. Le Guin, Nnedi Okorafor, Catherynne M. Valente, and many more, there is something within these pages for every writer to learn.

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My first attempt to read this book from cover to cover faltered, but keeping it on my bookshelf and dipping into chapters as I need guidance has given me much inspiration. For those who like to know exactly what they’re getting into, the chapter heading are as follows; Inspiration and the Creative Life, the Ecosystem of a Story, Beginnings and Endings, Narrative Design, Characterization, Worldbuilding, and Revision. Included are some of the wildest infographics I’ve seen yet.

This book mimics a university text, but it sets aside the dullness for feats of the imagination and pockets of real wonder. Find a copy, flip through it, and see if you don’t agree.

In writing news, I have a flash fiction story published in the latest Fantasy Files newsletter from Engen Books. You can read it for free here.

Happy writing!