Thursday, September 30, 2010

Market News

First up is great essay by Juliette Wade on character arcs. When you're writing stories things should change for your characters, they should be affected by their actions and the actions of others. If they stay the same from the beginning to the end of the story, what was the point of writing it? Unless, of course, they're James Bond or Jack Reacher, then you expect your character not to change.

Sniplits has announced that they'll be closing to submissions on October 31. Until then they'll be accepting stories in the following genres: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Humor, Lit, Mystery/Crime, Suspense/Thriller, Romance, Sports and Westerns. This is a paying market and they do accept reprints.

There are 14 slots left in A Twist of Noir's 100 flash pieces extravaganza. You can find the details for the 600 to 700 flash challenge here

The September issue of Storyglossia is up They're also reading stories for issue #40 which will go live at the end of October.

And issue #4 of All Due Respect is up with a short story called "Even Sven" by Mike Toomey.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bears by Robley Wilson

Sometimes, finding a new story is just plain fun.

Horror Bound Contest

I'm not sure if I linked to this contest before or not, but the deadline is fast approaching so another mention can't hurt. "Carnival of Fear" is the first annual Horror Bound contest. The deadline is October 8 for horror stories of 1500 to 3500 words with a carnival theme. The prizes are $100 - $50 - $25 plus publication for the top three winners and the honorable mentions. You can find all the details at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Around the Web

I found all kinds of interesting tid-bits around the web the last few days, hope you find them interesting as well.

Juliette Wade has an great post with links to information sites about mental disorders. As she explains, if a writer understands the illness/disorder he has given his character he can create a fuller, more realistic character. A hat tip to Charles Tan for this link.

This one is for David in particular, but if you've ever wondered how a writer's imagination works this is one of the greatest peeks into a writer's mind I've ever read. It's titled, "Never Whistle While You're Pissing" and written by S. Metze.

And this last essay is by Steve Weddle over at Do Some Damage. Steve takes a look at some of the writing "advice" that's floating around the 'net.

If you haven't already heard, there's a new issue of Plots with Gun out there in the ether for you noir fans.

Rey Gonzalez has stepped down as editor of the Flash Fiction Offensive and they're looking for a new editor to helm this flash zine extension of Out of the Gutter magazine. If you're interested in the job you can contact them through this link.

Wicked East Press has listed 5 more anthology calls. The pay is 1 copy except for the flash antho which is a 4theluv call.

And Cullen Gallagher over at Pulp Serenade has restarted his Stories for Sunday series and I have to say that I was pretty pleased to see my story, "In God's Own Time" included in his choices along with Paul Brazill's story at A Twist of Noir and BTaP's latest offering "Icarus on the Cliffs" by Katherine A. Russell. It was a pleasant start to a rainy Monday morning. Thanks, Cullen!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Thought I'd toss a question out into the evening air and see what gets tossed back. I recently read a piece on writing where the author stated that we should not only write stories but make sure that they looked good on the page. Mentioned were such things as plenty of white spaces and artfully arranging your sentences so they looked pleasing to the reader. And no, I'm not kidding about this.

Now, I've seen novels with various types of set-ups. "The Diary of Anne Frank" was published in actual diary form. "Up the Down Staircase" was written in the form of memos, student reports and other various items related to school paperwork. I recently read a short story by Heidi Julavits called "Marry the One Who Gets There First" that was set up in the form of a wedding album with bits of story used as the pictures. An excellent story by the way!

While this works for some stories, I would think after a while it would just seem like a gimmick to the readers. So, you writers out there, do you pay attention to how your story looks on the page? Do you look for gimmicky ways to tell your stories? And readers, do you look to see how much white space is on a page and if the lines are set up in a pleasing manner? Do you like stories that are told in different forms like journals or diaries? Or do you find things like that distracting?

Friday, September 24, 2010


It always surprises me how much bias there is in the world, and of course, it shouldn't. We all have a bit of prejudice in us about something.

It was James Lincoln Warren's post over at Criminal Brief on Monday that started this particular ball rolling through my mind. He's pretty much of a mind that a mystery story should be about the puzzle, about solving the crime and finding justice at the end of the story. He believes that writers who write stories from the criminal's point of view are just lazy writers who are "romanticizing the worst in human behavior" and he feels cheated as a reader.

Then Brian Lindenmuth's posts at Mulholland Books and Spinetingler about stories that don't fit into the perceived mystery/crime fiction slots. He wants stories that aren't just about the crime but stories that press emotional buttons that make us feel something for the characters or the situation. Stories that go beyond the accepted rules of a genre. He's not looking for a puzzle but a human story.

Now, both of these gentlemen are passionate about their beliefs in what makes a good mystery/crime novel. What I find sad is that major publishers and the reading public seem to agree with Mr. Warren. They want the puzzle, not the humanity. They don't want to dig deeper into the whys of a story. And that's too bad because while the puzzle mysteries are great fun, they're no more filling than cotton candy. Forgotten in the time it takes to melt in your mouth.

And that's where my bias lies. I want more meat on my stories. I want to understand the hows and whys of people's actions. Of course, I like a puzzle in my story, but it's the puzzlement of human nature more than the solving of a crime that I look for.

Russel D. McLean sums it up much better than I can in his post over at Do Some Damage today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Should You Choose to Accept

Patti Abbott's latest flash challenge, you'll be part of a round robin story telling experience. What are you waiting for? Go sign up to be part of a great movable feast of stories.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This and That

Things on the market front have been pretty slow as the month winds down and, damn, another week and we'll be smack dab into October. It's amazing how fast the year goes when you get older.

I do have a contest for our crime writers, though. This is for a first crime novel and not a short story contest. The deadline is November 13 and this annual contest is sponsored by Minotaur Books. There's no fee and you can find all the details at

If you're a Robert E. Howard fan you might find this discussion about Howard being a racist interesting. I find it a bit reprehensible that people choose to disregard a writer's work because it doesn't fit the rules of today's politically correct guidelines. You can't change the past by pretending it didn't exist.

While this isn't a discussion, this post is a great place to find reading material related to gender in sci-fi. They also look at movies and TV shows that address the topic.

For better or worse, I've tried to make it a point not to turn this blog into an advertising board but there are two charity anthologies that I believe could use the publicity.

The first is "Breaking Waves". All proceeds will be going towards the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. You can find the details here

And the second is from John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton's contest that I mentioned here before. "Clash of the Geeks" benefits the Lupus Alliance of America. The download is free but they'd appreciate a $5 donation. You can find the details at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ideas and Stories

Yesterday Brian Lindenmuth emailed a link to the shortest horror story ever written. You can read it here along with a 1 word sci-fi story :) Brian also sent a pair of links that give some history into the horror story. and

Over on Patti Abbott's blog she's talking about where ideas come from with a very good discussion going on in the comments.

Which brings me to my final link. Since I've discussed different aspects of this story here on the blog and Christopher Grant was kind enough to publish it, I thought I'd share. This was the story I was rewriting for Spingtingler's revenge contest but it went way long.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lesson Learned

There is nothing stupider than a writer who believes he/she knows everything there is to know about writing.

A Mixed Bag

I have a very odd assortment of calls for you today! Pink Petal Books is an erotic romance e-publisher and at the link you will find the submission guidelines for a novella contest. 25,000 to 45,000 words of erotic romance with a December 1 deadline. The top three winners receive cash and a publishing contract. They pay 40% royalties on the cover price of ebooks and 10% on print. No fee to enter.

If you're into saving the earth, Vanilla Heart Books is looking for you. They have an anthology call out for their "Nature's Gift" anthology. They're looking for poetry and shorts and non-fiction of 300 to 25,000 words. The deadline is February 5, 2011. Pay is a pdf copy of the book and assorted gifts. They have several other anthology calls on the site that you can check out.

You have until March 31, 2011 in enter Deadly Ink's short story contest. Contest stories will be selected for inclusion into Deadly Ink's annual anthology. Each author published receives $25 and all profits from the anthology go to the Christopher Reeve Foundation. They're looking for a max of 5000 words with the story set in New Jersey with a deadly incident that needs to be solved. You can find all the details at No fee to enter. has a few new listings up

And I discovered a new blog called Angie's Desk which publishes anthology calls once a month. Here's the link to September's post

Saturday, September 18, 2010


One of my all time favorite Clint Eastwood lines is "A man's got to know his limitations." I think that applies to writers, too. The longer you write the more you see where your weaknesses lie. For some it's dialogue, others might have trouble with setting, for me, it's description. Knowing your limitations doesn't mean that you're limited though.

Once you've spotted your weakness, you can study to improve that flaw in your writing. What do you study? Not just textbooks, but writer's who excel at your limitation. For me, I've been reading science fiction and fantasy. Why? Because these stories require world building and it doesn't get any more descriptive than that. These writers need to build a world that doesn't exist yet, the reader must feel that it does. Pretty tricky business.

The next step is putting your butt in the chair and and writing. Only through the actual writing can you improve your craft. It's in the words that you can spot those places that need work. I've spent hours writing descriptive passages which made me realize that I really love purple prose, another flaw. So I keep practicing, seeking that place between nothing and over-kill. A writer has the option of stretching his limitations, of getting beyond that cramped box he's dropped himself into. I'll probably always have trouble with description, but at least I know what to look for, what will need work when I start editing and that's where the real writing takes place, doesn't it?

So, what are your writing limitations and how do you step beyond your limitations?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Anthologies Galore!

Well are you lucky today. I thought I'd go web surfing for anthology calls today and hey, well, there's a boatload of them! And pretty much all the genres are included plus a few YA.

Over at Duotrope, ebook publisher, Books to Go Now, is looking for shorts of 2500 to 10,000 words with a 70/30 royalty split The recent updates at Duotrope also include several new press with anthology calls but there's no pay.

NorGus Press has 4 listed
Pink Narcissus Press has 2 listed
Static Movement has 1 listed.

Plus you'll find several new zines listed and 32 markets that have opened to subs.

Warrior Wisewoman 4 is open until January 15, 2011 for shorts up 10,000 words with a payment of 2cents a word.

Bridge House Publishing is based in the UK and has four anthology calls listed. They are for a crime, a sci-fi, an angel, and their 2011 Children's Charity book for YA stories. No titles as yet.

This call was first published in June but the deadline is October 1 The payday here is $500 if your story is selected. Since it's been open for a while you might want to send a query to the editor to make sure all the stories haven't been selected yet. I've noticed that deadlines don't mean much with some antho editors.

If you write erotica Logical Lust has a few calls listed

***Oooops forgot to turn over a page! has two anthology calls for novellas, one a romance which I've mentioned before and the second is a Cyberpunk Romance anthology.

A few links that might be of interest: has anthology and market calls for the spec-fic market

For those of you interested in contests we have Creative Writing Contest, mostly with fees.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Market News

Cindi Myers Market News has a listing for a short story competition from St. Martin's Press and Jeffrey Archer. The deadline is October 1 for short stories up to 5000 words, with the prize being the offer of publication of your short in ebook format. You can find all the details at And be sure to stop by Cindi's blog for the rest of her market news

Beat to a Pulp editor, David Cranmer, dropped me an email to say that submissions, which opened today, to BTaP will only be open until October 15 this time around. has a long list of contests on her marketing blog this week, some free, others charging a fee.

And editor, Steven Jones, has put out the call for the Best New Horror anthology. He's looking for horror short stories and novellas that were published between January and December of 2010. The deadline for submitting stories is January 2011. You can find all the details at

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marketing Day!

So, I've got a few markets for you today, they're mostly in the sci-fi genre but one is looking for crime stories and another is for the YA audience. I've been thinking lately that maybe more readers are leaning towards the sci-fi/fantasy genre because it allows their imaginations to go places the news and reality TV shows have stolen away from them. Just musing there. This forum has listings of anthologies calls, mostly for zombie fiction but they cross the genres quite a bit. There's some low-paying markets and few non-paying. This anthology is for Canadian writers only. Tesseracts Fifteen: A Case of Quite Curious Tales is looking for sci-fi, fantasy or horror stories up to 5500 words for the young adult audience. They're open until November 30. And I forgot to check the pay, sorry! This is a twice annual print magazine that is looking for crimes set in space. The stories must be 3000 to 10,000 words and they accept reprints. $20 for shorts, $10 for the reprints. They're also looking for articles, interviews, and artwork. I must add here that sometimes there are statements in the guidelines that make me chuckle. "...mysteries set in space and they must be fiction" So all you folks who've been kidnapped by aliens - you're out of luck! :) Daily Science Fiction has launched as of September 1. This is a sci-fi market looking for shorts of 100 to 10,000 words with a special need for flash stories. The pay here is 8cents a word, they have an online submission form.

And if you're looking for a more hi-brow market, has posted the September call for submissions to the literary zines.

And Tales from the Moonlight Path (listed to the left in the flash market section) has gone on an "extended hiatus". Since they've published nothing since last February, I'd pretty much consider them a dead market.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Bit of Linkage

When you live in a country where youth is worshipped, reading a post like this one gives a writer hope. What I really loved about this list of authors and their books was the fact that there were several famous short story collections and one author in his nineties. I can still dream!

With a hat tip to Charles Tan, I found a link to a blog post with a listing of Australian anthology and zine markets. Some of them are open to those living outside of that big continent down under though, so go have a look, you might have a story for one of those markets.

And if you've read the shorts I posted below and in the mood for a bit more reading, you might give this one a try.

Reading Material

The theme of children seemed to be running through the shorts I read online this week so I thought I'd throw together another short anthology for you folks.

The Children's Hour

1. Dead Things by Michael Bracken

2. Della by Jarrid Deaton

3. Kid Eddie by Edward A. Grainger

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Catching Up

Over the past week I've found a pair essays about anthologies. Jeff Vandermeer compares putting together an anthology to cooking, be sure you've eaten before you finish this one because you'll surely be hungry afterwards, both for food and great stories.

Brit Mandelo looks at the future of anthologies from the perspective of one who works in a bookstore.

Katherine Tomlinson puts forward a great argument for writing short stories under 5000 words on her blog. Katherine is the publisher of Dark Valentine.

Sandra Ruttan, editor of Spinetingler was answering questions about submitting to her zine in several places this week. was one and Spinetingler was one of the online zines that MWA approved which has sent more submissions their way this year, so knowing precisely what they're looking for will give you better odds of getting accepted. Besides, Spinetingler is a cool place to be published, even before they were approved! was set to launch in October but they got tired of waiting so they're launching the zine spotlight section - tomorrow! The featured zine is DecomP. They'll be taking a look at the zine and will feature an interview with the editor.

Moon Milk Review has another flash contest running until September 31. The featured picture is pretty cool, it's called "Hands of an Artist". Word limit is 500 and you submit through a Submishmash form. The winner gets published in the October issue. Details at

I mentioned this anthology back in August when the call was first posted. A note from Al Tucher, who placed a story with them already, Yeah, Al!!, reminded me that it was time to repost a link to the call. They opened for subs on Sept. 1 and will close on January 3, 2011. They're looking for historical fiction with a Lovecraftian twist. And they pay.

Also, the lovely Brian Lindenmuth dropped me a few links this past week and while they have nothing to do with shorts, some of you might find them of interest.

The first is called How to Write a Book

The second is a very cool human interest story, and when you think about it, there could be a great short story created from this one.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Astra Publications Again

Talk about your flash in the pan! Astra Publications and all their paying zines are listed on Duotrope as permanently closed. I checked through the links I've posted over the past two weeks and, puff, gone in the ether. Some days there just seems to be neither rhyme nor rhythm to this marketing game. Sorry about that, folks!

I just thought I'd add a list of the zines under Astra's umbrella that I provided links for here. If you've sent out a story to one of them, or one listed on Astra's page you might want to send a letter of withdrawal.

Readshift SF
The Written Word
PulpFic Press
nth Dimension
Desert Rose, which was one of the ten that disappeared
Atomic Chipmunk

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Across the Genres

I've got a lot on my plate for this week, so I probably won't be around as much as usual but I have a bit of market news for you.

I've added a few new flash markets over to the left including Romance Flash. This is a non-paying market, as most flash sites are, and looking for love stories up to 1000 words. They have an online form for submissions.

Thrillers, Killers and Chillers has posted an announcement that they're looking for Halloween and Christmas themed stories to take us through the dark days that are coming. You can find all the details at

For our Western writers we have a site called Western Fiction This site contains all sorts of writing advice for those looking to write in this genre. Hat tip to Gary Dobbs over at the Tainted Archive for the link.

The sci-fi zine, Allegory, is open to submissions until October 31. They pay a flat rate of $15 for sci-fi, fantasy, or horror stories. Their submission guidelines are pretty involved, so you need to read them carefully. You can find all the details at

And over at Storytellers Unplugged, Mort Castle has a call out for submissions to "All American Horror of the 21st Century: The First Decade" He's looking for horror short stories published between October 1999 and December 2010 under 5000 words for an anthology. And yes, he has a press lined up and the pay will be based on the royalties. You can find all the details at

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rope and Wire

I received an email from Rope and Wire's editor, Scott Gese, asking if I'd plug the contest on his site. Now, it's been a while since I dropped by Rope and Wire but it's a site well worth the time.

There's all kinds of good stuff for our Western buffs here. They have short stories from both published authors and newbies, going so far as to have a place called the Bullpen so that newbies can get feedback on their Western writing. And they're open for submissions (non-paying) for shorts, poetry, humor, reviews, non-fiction, yeah, pretty much anything Western. Besides the writing, there's a page with recipes, another with old time radio shows, movie reviews and much more.

And now for the contest. They're looking for short stories of 2500 to 4000 words with a November 30 deadline. There is a $15 fee to enter but $10 of every entry fee goes towards the prizes. First prize receives $5 of every entry fee, second $3 and third $2. There is an online entry form to submit your stories, both for the contest and regular submissions. You can find all the contest details at

Head on over, have a look around and enjoy a bit of the Old West.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Some Market Notes

Justin Gustainis left a comment on one of the posts stating that PulpFic is no longer a paying market. PulpFic is one of the Astra Publications print zines and last week this was a market paying the pro rate of 6cents a word. Two days ago I posted the link to Astra stating that there were 10 magazine links and today there are only eight. Seven of these still state that they're paying markets, but since one has changed be aware that the others might follow suit. Proceed with caution when submitting to these publications.

Also, Flash Quake is closing up shop unless they can find new editors. Flash Quake was one of the first paying markets for flash fiction and one many flash writers strived to get their stories published in. They will be missed.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Do you ever take yourself too seriously? You know what I mean. Things like trying for all those wonderfully long, purple-prose filled, adverb trails in your sentences. Only writing a story if it has a "meaning" or a popular theme. Deciding that your story is too good to grace the pages of a non-paying zine, after all, your words are golden, they're worth a great deal of money.

I find myself doing that occasionally and it takes a good swift kick in the butt to remind myself that I'm not one of those golden writers. I'm merely a storyteller and storytellers are supposed to have fun. They're supposed to get their stories out there for people to read.

The core of every story should have that spark of fun in it. Sure, you're writing noir or serious sci-fi or doing that "High Noon" showdown, but if you're not having fun writing that story, it shows. When you're excited about a story and you're Snoopy dancing around the room when a sentence or paragraph comes together perfectly - you're having fun and your readers will, too.

Give yourself a break. Enjoy the work, have a little fun with your words, give your imagination free-range to go wherever it wants. You might surprise yourself, but even better, you'll surprise your readers.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I ran across an Australian zine called Roar and Thunder. They're looking for shorts up to 6000 words with elements of magic, horror, fantasy, or sci-fi. The pay is $5AUS.

Here's another twitterzine for you folks that write extremely short. Textofiction is a non-paying market looking for stories of 140 characters, open genres.

If your muse is in need of a nudge you might find something on Duotrope's theme list. They've got a year's worth of themes and deadlines for you.

And if you're a western writer the deadline for Schlock Magazine's Western issue is November 1. This is a non-paying market that publishes quarterly themed issues for short stories and daily flash stories. You can find all the details at

####Just a quick addition: Flashes in the Dark has put out a call for submissions for their online zine. This is a non-paying horror flash market looking for flash pieces to 1000 words. You can find their guidelines on the right in the Pages section.

Astra Publications

Last week Duotrope listed some new print magazines from this publisher and yesterday a few more went up.

Futura Machine
Read Shift SF
The Written Word

These are all print magazines with pay ranging from 2.5cents a word to 6cents a word. The word counts also vary from publication to publication.

I finally found a home site for Astra Publications On this site you'll find links to all 10 of their publications. Several of which also publish online stories. I posted this link over in the print/anthology section rather than each individual zine.

New Issues

With the beginning of the month comes new issues of our favorite online zines!!

Powder Burn Flash
Mystery Dawg has posted a whole new group of flash stories with some familiar names.

Issue #3 of All Due Respect is up This is a new zine which publishes one story per issue so each story receives center stage until the next issue.

Gum Shoe Review is a mystery review site. They're looking for shorts up to 1000 words and the pay is $10, they also print articles of the same length for the same pay. You can find details at the site and their September issue is up.

I've mentioned Southern Grit a few times here and their first issue has gone live. They'll be open to subs for their winter issue on September 15.

The September issue of Thieves Jargon has gone live What I love about this zine is that you never know what kind of story you'll find.

And the second issue of Dark Valentine went live yesterday. They're doing a fantastic job with this zine! The artwork and the stories are a perfect match and all top notch.

And the September issue of Frontier Tales has gone live Editor, Duke Parnell, is asking readers to vote for their favorite stories in this issue with an eye towards publishing a "best of" anthology.

Happy reading, everyone!! And for those in the states, enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Doorstep Horror"

We've discussed this just a bit here at the Corner, of how crime shorts can fit into the horror market. Well, Conrad Williams says it much better in his essay "Doorstep Horror" go have a read.

The horror market is a wide open field for short crime stories to find a fit.

Submissions are Open!!

It's the first of September and that means there's a whole lotta markets opening for submissions. Over at Duotrope you'll find a list of 142 markets that opened as of today including:

Wigleaf - a flash market. You'll find the guidelines on the about page
Bete Noir - print
Big Pulp
Crimespree - print
Flash Quake
Macabre Cadaver

Links to those are to the left. You can't get published if you don't write/submit, write/submit, and oh yeah, write/submit!!

Waxing Philosophical

I've got a birthday coming up this month, one of those with a big 0mg at the end of it, so when I ran across this quote last night I thought, "Hell, Yes!".

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used-up, totally worn-out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow! What a ride!" --Anonymous

After reading that, my thoughts immediately jumped to writing. And yes, every story we read should make us feel like that. I want that used-up feel, not just when I read, but when I write a story. I want that wiped-out satisfied feeling that I've stepped outside of my comfort zone and written a story that will blow the doors off a reader's mind. That's not too much to ask of oneself, is it?

I found a flash story the other day that just took my breath away. "Free" by Ian Ayris Drop on over and have a read, it's well worth the trip.

And a bit of news I've been sitting on since April 1st. Someone should explain to editors that April Fool's day isn't the perfect time to deliver such news! I've only mentioned this to a few people because things don't always pan out between the editor's desk and a publisher's print run. But, hell, my name is listed, there on the page, with all those real writers! To say that I'm thrilled is an understatement.